How to Take Initiative

Taking initiative is a crucial skill for any employee who wants to succeed in the workplace. As a temporary employee, taking initiative could help land you a permanent job offer, and as a permanent employee, it could lead to a raise or a promotion. Learn how to find opportunities to take initiative in our advice below.

  1. Offer Assistance:
    1. When you have downtime in between projects, you should seek extra opportunities to help out around the office.
    2. Offer to assist your supervisor or coworkers if you see them struggling to meet a deadline or finish a project.
    3. When it comes time to hand out bonuses or offer promotions, your boss will remember the times where you stepped up to the plate to offer assistance.
  2. Seek Improvement:
    1. A proactive employee constantly seeks ways to improve processes around the office.
    2. Always keep your eyes peeled for ways to make office procedures more efficient and effective, and then share your suggestions with your supervisor.
    3. For example, if you think you have a great way to boost your company’s online presence, come up with a pitch for your boss and present it to them.
  3. Solve Problems:
    1. Take the initiative to solve problems when they arise whenever possible. A quick problem solver is a great asset for any manager.
    2. Being a great problem solver will take stress off of your boss and they will surely appreciate you for that.
    3. Although, if there is ever a problem that you believe you are unauthorized to take care of, you should definitely seek assistance before trying to solve things yourself and stepping on any toes.
  4. Ask for More Responsibilities:
    1. If you feel you have mastered your current responsibilities and have extra time to take on more work each day, you should let your boss know.
    2. Rather than sitting around waiting for your boss to give you more work, you should go to them and let them know you can handle more.
    3. Ask your boss if there are any tasks that you could take off their hands and manage yourself. Seeking additional responsibilities will show that you are ready for a promotion, and also possibly deserve a raise.
  5. Work Hard:
    1. Taking initiative doesn’t just mean seeking extra work outside of your set responsibilities. It also applies to exceeding expectations for those responsibilities.
    2. Try to plan ahead in order to turn in your work ahead of deadlines or prepare in advance for projects that haven’t started yet.
    3. Taking initiative is not just turning your work in on time, but turning it in early. Similarly, taking initiative is not just getting the job done, but doing it well.

You should aim to exceed all of your supervisor’s expectations for your work, and go above and beyond the call of duty whenever possible. Frequently taking initiative is the surest way to succeed and grow as a professional.

What to Do if You Didn’t Land that Summer Internship

In your younger years, summer vacation was just that – a vacation. But now, as young adults, high school and college students alike use their summers to gain valuable work experience in the real world through internships. As summer quickly approaches, your chances of landing that summer internship grow smaller and smaller. If you have lost hope of finding one this year, don’t worry, there are other ways for you to gain that valuable work experience over your summer break.

One great way to earn some money while also gaining professional experience is to register with staffing agencies to find some temporary work for the summer. Temp jobs allow you to work for competitive hourly wages in professional office environments. Staffing agencies hire college students who have not completed their degrees and place them in administrative, clerical, and junior-level temp opportunities, even if they do not have much office experience.

Another option you have to gain valuable work experience is to volunteer with an organization in your field. While they may not be able to hire you on as a paid intern, plenty of companies will gladly welcome the free help in exchange for helping you gain more work experience. This is not a good option for students looking to gain some money over the summer, but if you’re financially stable and not strapped for cash, this could be the right choice for you.

Lastly, consider signing up for some summer courses at your school or a local university close to home (if that’s were you’ll be). The additional credits could go towards advancing your degree, helping you graduate early, or even lead to you picking up a minor degree or certification relevant to your desired field.

If you weren’t able to land a summer internship this year, don’t worry! There are plenty of other ways to spend your free time that could help you gain valuable knowledge and experience, which will surely benefit you post-graduation!

How to Land a Job with Little (or No) Experience

College graduates and entry-level workers continually face this age old dilemma: you can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. Don’t worry; we are here to tell you how you can spin your lack of professional experience in a positive way in order to help you land your first job.

First off, networking is currently a very popular way to get your foot in the door with a company in your desired field. While your resume might not have much to show in terms of experience, a networking contact who knows you well can vouch for you to a hiring manager. Rather than send your resume blindly to job postings, build your professional network and see if there is anyone you know who is hiring, or knows someone who is! A lot of times, a good personality fit is just as important as relevant experience, so you should try to make friends in the right places!

Next, it’s important to highlight the skills you’ve gained outside of a professional work environment. This includes skills you’ve picked up from group projects at schools, part-time jobs, etc. Think of situational examples you can share with a hiring manager in which you used valuable skills such as team work, problem solving, or organization.

Another great way to boost your resume before applying to permanent jobs is to try temping. Temp agencies frequently hire recent college grads with little experience, and temp jobs provide job seekers with the opportunity to work in a professional setting and gain much-needed experience. Temping is also a great option for recent grads that are not sure what field they want to jump into. You can temp around at different offices in different industries to figure out what you like best before committing to a permanent job.

 

What do Employers Expect from Recent Graduates?

When an employer is looking to hire a recent graduate to fill an open position, certain qualities can outweigh others. Typically, the most important thing a recent graduate can offer an employer is relevant experience, but there are other qualities that come into consideration.

First off, relevant experience typically outweighs relevant knowledge. For example, having three marketing internships under your belt and an English degree can be more beneficial than having a marketing degree and no relevant work experience.

Next, having a relevant degree can outweigh your place of education. For example, having a marketing degree from a state school would make you more qualified for a marketing position than a Political Science degree from an Ivy League school.

Another factor that a potential employer will consider is whether or not a recent graduate would be a cultural fit with their organization. Some companies seek job seekers who have a lot of independence and are able to work autonomously, while others want team players who are able to work collaboratively and share the credit of a job well done.

Lastly, an employer will want to see that a recent graduate has demonstrated growth and the ability to learn throughout their academic and professional careers. For example, they want to see that you were promoted in your job at the library from Front Desk Clerk to Catalogue Manager. Or that your internship in freshman year asked you back to work for consecutive summers.

Keep these factors in mind as you start to apply for jobs post-graduation, and make sure potential employers are aware of all your best qualities and experiences.

Job Search Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths and antiquated ideas about job searching that job seekers acknowledge as hard fast rules. We have chosen to highlight a few of these myths that we find particularly irksome below:

  1. Your resume should only be one page.
    • The one-page resume rule seems to have been around forever, but reducing your work history to one page can be a critical mistake for job seekers.
    • Hiring managers would much rather see your entire work history laid out on three pages worth of resume than have you exclude relevant work experience in order to fit everything on one page.
  2. Your college major will determine your entire career.
    • While there are certain career paths that require particular majors, such as engineering or mathematics, your college major does not have to dictate your entire career.
    • When choosing the perfect applicant for a job, hiring managers consider a whole lot more than what your major was in college. Relevant experience, applicable skills, and personality are all additional factors in a hiring manager’s decision.
  3. You should apply for every single job posting that you are interested in.
    •  If you are not fully qualified for a job posting you see, don’t waste your time applying for it. Job postings typically list qualities or experiences that applicants must have, but a lot of job seekers seem to ignore them. Being interested in a job and believing you can do it does not make you a qualified applicant.
    • Wasting your time applying for jobs you will never get is a big mistake for job seekers. Focus your attention and effort on jobs that you feel you are honestly qualified for and believe you can get. This will eventually lead to a much more successful job search in the end.
  4. You need to have an objective or mission statement on your resume.
    • Listing a specific objective statement on your resume can lead hiring managers to believe you are only looking for one particular kind of job and won’t consider you for other opportunities.
    • On the other hand, having a broad, generic objective statement on your resume is basically useless. Objective statements serve no real purpose and are therefore unnecessary to include on your resume.
    • Instead of an objective statement, use your cover letter to let hiring managers know what you are looking for and why you feel qualified.
  5. Companies and hiring managers will never be able to see my social media profiles.
    • Many professionals believe that their social media pages are hidden from the eyes of hiring managers. They change their names on Facebook or change their privacy settings assuming that no potential employer will ever be able to see their pictures and posts.
    • The truth is, it’s not that hard for a potential employer to see some, if not all, of your pictures and posts on social media.
    • Changing your name on Facebook to a combination of your first and middle name or even replacing it with a completely made-up name will not deter an employer who wants to find your profile. If the email address that you use to sign onto Facebook is the same email that you put on your resume, all employers have to do is search that email address on Facebook instead of your name. The profile linked with your email address will come up no matter what you’ve changed the name on your profile to.
    • Also, with constantly changing privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s easy for old photos or posts to suddenly become visible again if you haven’t taken the time to update all of your privacy settings.