Why Your First Post-Graduate Job is Important

When college graduates receive their diploma and start their job hunt, they typically assume that the “education” phase of their life is over, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Your first job out of college will teach you innumerable, valuable lessons that you will carry with you through the rest of your career. Find out exactly how important your first “real” job is by reading on below:

  1. You will get a reality check: Starting a full-time position will require you to be somewhere every day at the same time for most likely eight or nine hours a day. Recent college graduates used to waking up at ten, going to classes for a few hours and then returning home will surely have to make a big adjustment for full-time work. In the real world there is no such thing as “skipping class” or “playing hooky.” You will be accountable for your time and a low attendance record will result in more than just a bad grade.
  2. You will learn to be professional: Immersing yourself into company culture will require you to adhere to a dress code, and it will teach you how to speak and interact with others in a professional manner.
  3. You will learn how to prioritize: In college, you were given an assignment, specific instructions, and a due date. In the real world, work is not always so black and white. You may be given several assignments with conflicting deadlines and importance, and you will have to learn how to prioritize your workload.
  4. You will make important networking connections: If you are lucky, your first job can be a great starting point for your career. You can make valuable connections with people who can help you progress within your desired industry or career. In college, most of the networking you did was probably through your professors or parents, but in the real world you can make connections of your own.
  5. You will learn and gain experience: The most important thing you will gain from your first job will be valuable knowledge and experience. The hands-on experience gained in a full-time job will teach you lessons you could have never fully grasped in a college classroom. You will make mistakes and have successes that will teach you life lessons you can take with you throughout your career.

Five Questions Job Seekers Should Ask Themselves

Before you start looking at job postings or even update your resume, you should ask yourself these five questions. If you can’t articulate a clear answer for each question, then you are not ready to start your job search in earnest.

 

  1. What do I want to do?
    • Before you look for new opportunities, you need to be sure exactly what kind of job you want. You can’t effectively look for your dream job if you aren’t sure what that dream job is.
    • You should have a clear job title or career level in mind when answering this question.
    • Bad answer: I want to work in marketing. Good answer: I want to be a junior marketing executive for a small advertising firm.
  2. What are my salary requirements?
    • Again, the answer to this question needs to be specific. You might ideally want $50,000/year, but $45,000 might be satisfactory for your lifestyle.
    • Analyze your salary history and research general salary estimates online to make sure your requirements are realistic.
    • Make sure that your salary requirements are not only in line with your lifestyle, but also with your experience level.
  3. Am I willing to relocate?
    • You need to be prepared to answer this question in an interview, so you should ask it to yourself before you ever get to that point.
    • If relocating is a practical option for you, then you will be able to broaden your job search outside of your local area.
    • If relocating is not an option, then you should avoid applying to companies or positions where relocation is common.
  4. What do I have to offer?
    • You should make a list of your work experience, education, formal training, personal qualities and professional skills so that you can tell a potential employer exactly what you have to offer.
    • Knowing your own experience and skills will also help you to sort through various job postings. If you have a list of your own qualities and experiences listed in front of you, you can easily decide which opportunities you are qualified for.
  5. Are you ready to start a new job?
    • Whether you have been on the job hunt for a while or you are looking to leave your current job, you need to confirm that you are ready to make the move.
    • Starting the job search process before you are fully committed to pursuing new opportunities can be dangerous and potentially lead to self-sabotage.
    • Starting a new position is a huge transition for most people, and finding a new job can take a lot of work. In order to have a successful job search, you must accept these realities and fully commit to your job search before you begin looking for new opportunities.

How to Apply for Jobs That Do Not Exist … Yet

Did you know that as few as 20% of open positions are posted on job boards? This can be an alarming fact for job seekers who apply for work exclusively through job postings found online. So how do you go about landing a job that you don’t know exists, or isn’t currently open? You apply! If you find a company you are interested in working for and see that they do not have any current openings listed that match your skill set, you should still submit a cover letter and resume to that company’s human resources department or to a suitable manager within the organization. That way, when an appropriate position does open up, the hiring manager will hopefully already have you in mind! YouTern.com has provided a helpful template to use when applying for a job that doesn’t exist:

Subject line: <Your Job Title (for instance, “Website Developer”)> Interested in Career Opportunities

<First Name of HR/Recruiter/Hiring Manager> –

My name is ________, and I am a <recent grad from _____ OR your job title and your expertise; for instance, a “web developer who specializes in small business websites.”> I hope you’re doing well.

I realize you do not currently have a job opening listed for a <Your Job Title>; however, I would still like to make introductions and explore ways I can help your team with <your value proposition; for instance, “developing user-focused website projects.”>

I checked out the <company name’s> website and like the projects you are currently developing, in particular:

  • <the name of a relevant project with an explanation for why you are interested>
  • <the name of a second relevant project with an explanation for why you are interested>

For the past _____ years, I have worked with <your experience so far with examples of past clients; for instance, “various media firms in Houston to create sharp websites for a range of clients. I have completed websites for a veterinary clinic, auto body shop, 24-hour gym, family-owned grocery and a teacher’s supply store.”>

When time allows, please see a few examples of my work here:

  • <Link to Example #1 of your work, if available; you can also attach files if it makes more sense>
  • <Link to Example #2 OR attached file>
  • <Link to Example #3 OR attached file>

Note: If you are a recent grad with limited real-world experience, provide links to college projects, case studies, internship projects or volunteer efforts. Let the person see what you’re all about!

I have attached my resume to the email. Please let me know if I can provide more information.

Sometime in the near future, I look forward to speaking with you.

Your Name

Your Email Signature with Contact Information

 

 

Source: http://www.youtern.com/thesavvyintern/index.php/2015/01/29/job-seeker-advantage-applying-for-jobs-that-dont-yet-exist/

 

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.

 

The Importance of Building Relationships with Networking Contacts

As we have said time and time again, networking can be the key to you finding (and landing) your dream job! The problem is that many professionals get lazy after making a connection with a new networking contact and fail to follow up afterwards. For example, you meet someone who works in your desired industry, or works for a staffing agency that specializes in placements in that industry. You discuss your job search and exchange business cards with a promise to keep in touch, but you never hear from them again, nor do you reach out to them on your own. Failing to follow-up with a networking contact could potentially result in you missing out on a great opportunity, so read our advice below and learn how to properly follow-up in a way that can benefit your career.

  • The first step would be to research your new contact. Google them and/or connect with them on LinkedIn to learn more of their own work history and how it could benefit you.
  • Next, you should reach out via phone or email within two weeks of meeting them. Sending even a brief email can help to cement your initial connection. For example, say that it was a pleasure to meet them and you would definitely like to connect again soon.
  • Setting up another meeting, such as having lunch or meeting for coffee, would be your next step. Bring a copy of your resume with you, and discuss your career goals so that you can see whether or not your new contact would be able to aid you in your job search.
  • After having a meeting with your contact, it’s important to continue to follow-up and stay in touch. Check in with them every couple of weeks or so in order to keep your connection strong.

How to Improve Your Career in 2015

A new year brings new opportunities and the chance to set some new goals for yourself and your career. Here are some ideas for how you can improve your career this year:

  1. Learn a new language: diverse communication skills are highly desirable in the workplace.
  2. Pursue a new degree or certificate: a higher degree or certificate could be your ticket to a promotion.
  3. Build your professional network: attend local networking events to meet professionals who could help you in your career.
  4. Take a trip: international experience is another highly desirable skill.
  5. Use your vacation days: many professionals argue that taking time off from work can result in higher productivity levels upon your return.
  6. Take on new responsibilities: build your experience by volunteering for new tasks.
  7. Exercise more: exercise can help decrease your stress levels, which will make you more productive at work.
  8. Wake up 10 minutes earlier: allow yourself more time to get ready in the morning to ensure you are always punctual for work.
  9. Talk to your boss: ensure you are on-track and meeting expectations by keeping an open line of communication with your supervisor.
  10. Organize your time: always keep your calendar handy to ensure you never miss a meeting, deadline, or call.

Being Punctual

Punctuality is a critical quality for any professional to have. While this may seem obvious, a lot of professionals struggle with being on time in this busy modern world. Even unemployed job seekers need to be aware of time frames and deadlines when interviewing for and applying to jobs. For now, we will focus on the importance of being on time for a job interview and provide some rules to help make sure you are always punctual in the future.

Rule #1: Don’t be late.

  • If you realize ahead of time that you are running late for an interview, call your interviewer immediately and let them know your situation. Be sure to apologize for the inconvenience.
  • In a tough job market, hiring managers have their pick when it comes to capable candidates. Even showing up five minutes late for a job interview could disqualify you for a position.
  • If a hiring manager can’t trust you to show up on time for an interview, they have no reason to trust that you will be on time for work or meet project deadlines.

Rule #2: Being too early is the same as being late.

  • Do not show up more than fifteen minutes early for a job interview unless you were otherwise instructed.
  • Showing up too early for an interview can make you appear desperate to hiring managers. Think of a job interview as a first date, you wouldn’t want your date to think you were overeager or desperate either.
  • The same as if you were late for an interview, a hiring manager will attribute you showing up a half hour early to your bad time management skills.

Rule #3: Know where you’re going ahead of time.

  • If you have time and are unfamiliar with the area, visit the company’s office prior to your interview so that you know exactly where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.
  • If you don’t have time to physically scope out your route, use the Internet to plan it in advance.
  • If you are driving to your interview, make sure you know where you are going to park. You don’t want to be late because it took twenty minutes to find a parking space.

Rule #4: Show up early, but don’t go in.

  • The best advice we can give you is to intentionally allow yourself extra time to get to your interview. This will give you some wiggle room in case you run into unforeseen trouble such as traffic or delays on public transportation.
  • Even if you don’t hit any delays and end up outside of the office twenty minutes early, don’t go in! Find somewhere nearby you can kill time prior to your interview such as a coffee shop or deli. Use the extra time to review your notes one last time.

How to Build a Relationship with a Staffing Agency

Staffing agencies and recruiters can be a great resource for job seekers. By building a strong relationship with an agency, you are essentially enlisting an entire company to help you find a job. Learn how you can build a beneficial relationship with a recruiter or staffing agency by reading our tips below:

  1. You can benefit by building a relationship with an agency before you need a job.
    • If you are thinking about quitting your job or you sense a big layoff looming at your current employer, you should reach out to an agency ahead of time so that they can help you be proactive in your job search.
    • Your proactive attitude and willingness to find a new position before leaving your current one will certainly impress an agency and show off your great work ethic.
  2. Be completely open and honest about your experience and your needs.
    • You should always be honest with an agency about your education and experience level, as well as your background. They cannot fully help you find the best suited position for you if you are not honest with them.
    • If a potential employer requires a background check, or an education or employment verification before making an offer, it’s important that you have provided accurate information to your agency.
  3. Be realistic when setting your career expectations.
    • While recruiters can help you find your dream job, they cannot promise to land you a position that you aren’t fully qualified for, so make sure your job expectations are realistic.
  4. Stay in touch!
    • Make sure to always respond to a missed call or email at your earliest convenience to ensure you don’t miss out on any great opportunities.
    • It’s also important to let your recruiter know how your job search is going. If you have job interviews scheduled or are going away for a few days, you should make sure to check in with your recruiter to let them know. This way they know not to schedule any other interviews for you during those times.

Writing the Perfect Cover Letter

The most important part of writing a cover letter is understanding the purpose of a cover letter, and that is to explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job you are applying to! In order to write an exceptional cover letter, you simply need to explain what qualities and experience you have to offer a potential employer. To do this, you will need to study the job description or posting carefully and ensure that you understand what the hiring manager is looking for. Make a list for yourself of the major qualities listed in the job posting. Then you will need to draw upon your own experiences and qualities to prove that you meet those qualifications. They want someone with a business degree? Be sure to mention your Bachelor’s in Business Management. They want a strong team player? Mention that time you helped your coworker finish a project in order to meet a big deadline. Once you have covered all of the bullet points on your list, you will want to include a few sentences explaining why you want the position and why you are interested in working for that particular organization. At this point, you should have an excellent cover letter on your hands! Be sure to proofread your work for spelling and grammar mistakes and make sure it is properly formatted, and then you are ready to submit it with your resume for consideration!

Interview Do’s

While every interview situation is different, we have created a list of the ultimate interview “do’s” that are guaranteed to increase your chances of successfully landing a job offer.

  • Do arrive on time: Plan to arrive fifteen minutes early for your interview. Potential employers will assume you have bad time management skills if you are late for a scheduled interview.
  • Do talk positively about your former employer: Talking positively about a former employer will show loyalty and respect, which are both traits employers look for in potential candidates.
  • Do bring several hardcopies of your resume with you: Even if you are not asked to bring a resume with you, you should always have a few copies on hand just in case you need them.
  • Do avoid over sharing personal information: While it’s important to share your work experience and skills in detail, you should avoid talking too much about your personal life and opinions.
  • Do ask for your interviewer’s business card before you leave: You won’t be able to follow-up appropriately after your interview without your interviewer’s business card.
  • Do make consistent eye contact with your interviewer: Displaying good body language and making eye contact will help to further engage your interviewer.
  • Do avoid wearing a lot of cologne or perfume: You don’t want to bother your interviewer’s allergies or distract them with an overabundant fragrance.
  • Do dress appropriately: Dressing inappropriately for an interview is the number one way to discount yourself from consideration.
  • Do act interested in the company and position: Although you know you’re interested in the job, you still have to prove it to your interviewer. Potential employers want to see just how dedicated you are to working for them.
  • Do thank your interviewer for their time and consideration: It’s always a good idea to follow-up after an interview with a nice thank you note.
  • Do avoid chewing gum: Chewing gum during an interview is not polite, and it can be very distracting for your interviewer. It can force them to focus on your chewing rather than what you are saying. Avoid bringing any food or drinks for the same reason.
  • Do turn off your cell phone first: You don’t want your phone ringing in the middle of an interview, so make sure you turn it off before walking in. Even silenced cell phones occasionally vibrate or make noise, so turn your cell all the way off to avoid any unwanted distractions.