Tag Archives: Job Search

The Dos and Don’ts Of The Post College Job Hunt

By Margaret Aprison

Hello to all my scared, confused, and frustrated recent grads! Hope you’re well and not going insane over this whole “you must find a job” thing. Right now, you’re probably thinking, “What am I doing wrong? I have a degree! I did well in school! Why don’t I have a job?” Hopefully, these tips will help put you on the path to employment.

Do: Realize College Is Over

Many of my friends graduated yet still held on to their college lives. They thought that they could still go out every night, drink until the world turned blurry, and sleep in until noon and would somehow still be able to find work.

This does not happen. College was a glorious four-year period. But, it’s over. Take good care of your body. Go to bed early, get healthy amounts of sleep, and eat right! No employer is going to want to hire someone that looks hung-over, depressed, or sleep-deprived.

Seriously…drink some tea, exercise, watch what you eat, and enjoy life being a college grad.

Do: Become A Brand

You need to realize that you, your name, and your image are now wrapped up in the brand that is, well, you! What you put online is considered a “digital shadow.” Anything you say, upload, or even retweet becomes a part of you. Make sure your brand is a good representation of your professional attitude.

Don’t: Forget To Use Twitter And Facebook In Your Job Search

I was always told to hide my Facebook and Twitter pages when searching for a job. However, I decided not to. In an age when even your 92 year-old Grandma has a Facebook, employers aren’t going to play dumb. Give up the act; they know you’re social!

Instead of hiding, make your social network a voice. If you volunteer in your spare time, post photos. If you are looking for a job, tell people! Posting a simple status such as “Hey friends, I’m looking for work in the Chicago area. Any help is appreciated” is a great way to reach out to your valuable social network! (Hey, it’s called a ‘network’ for a reason.)

In terms of Twitter, USE TWITTER. I can not emphasize this enough. Let’s say you are looking for a Marketing internship in Atlanta. Go to Twitter and, in the search bar, type “Marketing Intern Georgia.” A plethora of options should show up. If not, try other key words. Even if your perfect job doesn’t appear, it will at least show you companies that are hiring in your area!

Also, friend and follow potential and/or interesting employers! This is one of the best ways to learn about a company. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, CareerBuilder, and many other social networks to aid your search.

Do: Be In-Your-Face

Note: you can send more than two emails! Be in your face and show the employer that you want this job! It takes two minutes to send an email. Employers are busy people and often put off the hiring process until they are desperate. Always email employers to say thank you and check in during the job search process.

Don’t: Forget To Update Your Resume At Least Once A Month

Your resume should never feel stale. Keep it updated every month. This should also remind you to be active while job searching. Volunteer, shadow business professionals, and even read career-related books. Never, ever just sit on your butt waiting for the perfect job. Make sure your résumé is changing and growing with experience!

Do: Set Goals

Right now, like many other recent grads, I’m living at home.

My next goal: By New Years, I want to know where I see myself living. This does not mean I’ll be living there; I just want to know the path to achieve my goal.

Remember when the goal was to graduate? Well, congrats, you did that. Now, you need some new goals. Setting goals is a great way to survive in this new period of post-college life. Make a list of career (and social goals) you want to achieve this month, year, and 5 years down the line. This is a great way to prioritize your life to make sure that if you get a job offer, it aligns with your life goals.

Do: Eliminate Stupid Stress

This is something I had trouble with. In college, you sometimes have to deal with people you don’t like, professors who for some reason hate students, and social commitments that made you stay up until 3am. In this period of life, take care of yourself. Job-hunting is stressful. Having to deal with that stress plus “stupid” stress will only make things worse. Once again, college is over (hey that must be the theme of this article!) and your priority should be YOU! Start being selfish. This exercise will also build self-confidence. If you can be happy with yourself, employers will be happy with you.

Don’t: Forget Patience Is A Virtue

Be patient. The perfect job is right around the corner. Or if not, the awful-paying yet wonderful-experience-gaining job is! Take opportunities that will let you grow as a person. Say no to job offers that make you anxious, question your morals, or just make you feel uncomfortable.

Remember to breathe, relax, and keep your eyes open. Getting a job ASAP is not the goal…. The goal is to get started on a rewarding career.

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How Brand Building Can Boost Your Job Search

Let’s face it, searching for a new job is basically marketing yourself. In broader terms, you are a brand and your work history is your product. And, even though you may not be Coke or Nike, positioning yourself as an established brand can put you at the head of line in your job search. Just follow these easy steps…

Establish Your Personal Brand
In the connected world, this is easy. Start by establishing your own web site and make it a promotional tool for you and your skills (don’t worry if you’re not a code writer, since setting up a web presence is as easy as setting up a WordPress or Blogspot account). Include your résumé, recommendations and/or testimonials from previous employers or clients and, if applicable, an online portfolio of your previous work. If possible, include video testimonials or even a promotional video highlighting your skills. Make sure everything you place on your website paints a clear picture of who you are, what you do and have done, and what you can offer a potential employer.

Polish Your Brand
Now, Google yourself and see what comes up. If your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts show up at the top of the list, make sure they all link to your promotional website. In addition, make sure everything on every one of those websites, reflects positively on you and your brand. In other words, as fun as Facebook may seem, there are some things that just shouldn’t appear there if you’re looking to enhance your brand.

Expand Your Brand
Coke and Nike are big brands because they’re everywhere. And, while being everywhere on the web is virtually impossible, there are plenty of things you can do to raise your profile and boost your Google ranking. Start by blogging. Blogspot and WordPress are both basically designed as blogging sites and, by commenting on news and events in your industry, you can establish yourself as an authority. From there, find and read other related blogs and don’t be shy about adding to the conversation. Doing so will further establish your brand presence and expand your web presence. Like all your social networks, make sure every comment reflects well on your skills and brand and links back to your website.

Sell Your Brand
With your web presence and authority established, it’s time to get your name out there the old-fashioned way. Attend meetings, workshops, and seminars in your field and don’t be shy about handing out your cards. Make sure to follow up new acquaintances with an email or even a written letter. Offer to speak to groups or present at conventions. Play up your awards, accomplishments, and other recognition that position you as an authority (both inside the office and outside your present employer). Just as Coke and Nike have grown worldwide, make growing your network an ongoing part of building your brand.

In today’s economy, brand awareness is what sells. And that’s why establishing your brand on the Net, in the office, and around town, can help raise your profile and put you at the head of the pack in your job search!

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The Irreparable Reference

We’ve written previously about how your social profile on the web can affect your job prospects, but surely an employer would never go viral with negative information about your performance (or lack thereof), right? Wrong!

I came across this story last week and was both amused and shocked at the same time. It details the blog post of Heather LeFevre, an Amsterdam-based ad agency planner who, after a new hire (Sam Ismail) turned out to be a con man with a marked inability to actually show up for work, blogged to the world about his lame excuses, his pattern of deception, and her desire to “remove a cancer from adland.” Though she called him “exceptionally bright and charismatic,” LeFevre also added a slide show to document all of Ismail’s deceit, theft, and false identities she had subsequently discovered. The goal of her post, LeFevre noted, was to prevent anyone else in advertising from being used or deceived by Ismail.

While Ismail might be able to pursue some legal action (LeFevre has since removed her original post), one thing is certainly clear: his career in advertising is most likely over. LeFevre might have been charmed enough by Ismail that she didn’t bother to check him out via Google, but future employers likely won’t be, especially if they simply check a reference. Ismail did post a response but it was probably too little, too late. Barring an identity change, background scrubbing, plastic surgery, an SEO campaign, and maybe even entrance into the Witness Relocation Program, Ismail will almost certainly have to find a new career.

Granted, this is an extreme case and, barring bad behavior up to and including murder on the job, a poor reference on your previous job performance probably won’t wind up on the Internet. That said, regardless of how you left (or will be leaving) your job, be mindful that in the digital age, as this example shows, everyone can have a voice, an outlet, and an audience. And when they go public with what they know, it can be on World Wide Web for everyone to see! Be careful not to burn your bridges and make sure you keep control of how everyone sees you in your job market!

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The Power of People

While we often speak about the importance of networking in a job search, take a few moments to consider these three stories…

In the 1930s, my Uncle managed the Kent Coffee Shop in the western Kansas town of Ellis. During that time, he got know one of his vendors, a man who sold coffee and coffee filters.  A few years later, as the Great Depression continued, the man, looking to catch up to an old acquaintance, randomly found my Uncle’s name in the Wichita phone book, where both were then living.  Acting on a whim, the man called my Uncle and, as they caught up, mentioned that he needed a job.  My Uncle, then working in the Cessna plant, invited the man down the next day to go to work for him.  Both men wound up retiring from Cessna, but I first heard this story in 2006, when the man’s daughter came to my Uncle’s wake service to pay her respects to the man her father had told them about their whole lives, the man who gave him the job that became a lifetime career, my Uncle, Penny Windholz.

In 1970, a young Navy lieutenant and a distinguished, older gentleman met in a Washington, D.C. waiting room.  Comparing their meeting to passengers on a plane, the inquisitive Navy officer, who was nearing the end of his service and worried about what he’d do with the rest of his life, began peppering the quiet and reserved older man with questions.  Discovering some shared experiences, the younger man asked the older man for his phone number and, over the next few years, called him frequently.  When the younger man emerged from the Navy, the older man became a source of advice, direction, and even a career coach. Their relationship would become life-changing when the younger man, Bob Woodward, by then a reporter for the Washington Post, became known the world over for helping to expose the Watergate conspiracy, which led to numerous criminal investigations, convictions, and ultimately, the resignation of President Richard Nixon.  The older man also became known to world, as Deep Throat, the deep background source that helped guide Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they unraveled the maze of Watergate.  Though Woodward swore that he would never reveal his friend’s identity while he was still alive, Mark Felt, the number two man in the FBI during the Nixon presidency, revealed himself as Deep Throat in 2005.

In the mid-1980s, Oklahoma was still recovering the bust in the oil industry.  This hit home for me as my father, who was the truck sales manager at a Ford dealership in Oklahoma City, followed record sales years during the waning years of the boom in the early 80’s with record numbers of repossessions, as struggling oil companies had to hand back the trucks they’d purchased during the good times.  Another casualty of the bust was Sooner Ford, one of my father’s primary truck sales competitors.  Within days of Sooner’s closing, one of their salesmen, who had been acquainted with my father over the years, appeared in his office seeking a job.  The man returned several times over the next few weeks to check in with my Dad, and to use the office as a base to freelance a few truck deals with some of his customers.  Apparently, his persistence paid off, as my Dad ultimately hired him and he’s still selling trucks for the same dealership to this day.

So, what do all these stories have in common?  People.

In the cyber age, we’d call what occurred in each of the stories leveraging your network.  However, in the days before the Internet, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and email, it was called cultivating your relationships.  And the important thing to take from all this is, ultimately, regardless of how big your network is, it won’t do you much good unless you take the time to cultivate relationships with the people behind the contact name.  Though there’s still room for hundreds or even thousands of contacts in your job search network, remember that the most important part of any job or job search is, first and foremost, people and the relationship you have with them!  And whether those people are current or former co-workers, competitors, associates, vendors, or just friends you make along the way, the relationships you grow today can blossom into a new job tomorrow!

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Thoughts On Networking And Connections

By Kay Stout

Electronic collaboration is the perfect solution when you need information and/or help from a friend or colleague.  You don’t have to be in the same room, city, or country, you just need to be connected electronically.  I was reminded of this when Employment-Essentials asked for my contribution. Enjoy – and stay connected electronically.

It’s true that everything that was old, soon becomes new again.  In today’s job search the buzz word is “networking”.  While many see it as a rather new element of the job search, like the Beatles once sang, With a Little Help from my Friends, in today’s world it is about making a connection with someone.  The fun today is you can make a connection electronically, in the comfort of your home in your favorite at-home attire.  Remember, if you are connected by Skype and a camera, you might even be seen ‘round the world in a less-than flattering way.  Also, everything you say electronically may be transmitted by someone in such a way that it goes around the world.  So think twice, type once, and hesitate  awhile, before you hit the send button.

Also realize that, just as one Can’t Buy Me Love, you can’t Buy Me A Job.  But you can make connections that will prove invaluable with today’s job search.  And, if you stay in touch, they can prove even more valuable five to ten years from now.

There was an interesting article last fall in Forbes, profiling Sheryl Sandberg and her makeover of Facebook.  Everyone wants to be connected, to network, and to reach out to family and friends but, as the article highlighted, the challenge is, how does that help from my friends translate to money for the people behind the scenes who’ve written the connections that make Facebook so much fun?

Before they become profitable, Facebook’s theme song could be A Hard Day’s Night as they grapple with the balance between connectivity and profitability.  For us, it will be how much connectivity do we want and with whom???  We want help from our friends – – but not all our friends. It is going to be an interesting journey for everyone.

Kay Stout owns and operates P S Consulting, an Oklahoma City-based human resources firm offering career counseling, executive placement, and military transition services. The company specializes in consulting advice that will provide the catalyst to help their clients achieve their desired position.

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How To Find Hidden Jobs

Even in a down economy, there are still good jobs available. However, since those positions are often unadvertised, it’s important you know how to tap into the hidden job market.

Now more than ever, it’s important to develop professional and personal networks because, in this day and age, who you know is as important as what you know. Building strong networks professionally and personally can give you an edge over the competition in a job search.

Start building your network via friends and acquaintances and then current or former co-workers. From there, connect with suppliers, clients, and even competitors. There’s strength in numbers, but it only takes one of your connections to think about you first for the job you’d be perfect for!

Even if you currently have a job you love, it’s good advice to keep feelers out anyway. Job requirements or personnel can change, so you never know when you may decide to seek a new job. That’s why keeping in touch with friends and colleagues can put you at the top of their mind if and when they hear of a position opening. And that’s the inside info that can get you in the door for a new job first.

Finally, even if you don’t land the first hidden job you encounter, it can still work to your advantage. The person or persons you interview with, even if you don’t get hired for the position, are contacts that can expand your professional network even further in the future. And that can give you access to even more hidden jobs.

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The One Question To Ask Yourself Before Every Interview

By Kari Mirabal

For many people, searching for a new job means asking, “What’s in it for me?”  However, with unemployment at its highest rate nationally in the last 20 years, job seekers might find more success if they instead ask, “What’s in it for them?”

Applying the “what’s in it for them” strategy requires you to successfully demonstrate your transferrable skills to a potential employer.  That means acing the interview and being able to show what you can do for a company and why they should hire you, in a quick and concise fashion.  Remember that the primary interest of an interviewer isn’t to hear your life story, but rather to determine if you, as an employee, can help their company reach their objectives. And the easiest way to do that is to turn your skills into selling points in your career campaign.

To do that, make sure you know what your transferrable skills are and be ready to present them in an interview.  Start by writing down your top ten skills and then ranking them in order of priority.  Then, consider examples of work experience you can use to illustrate how your skills translated into saving money or making money for your company.  Finally, practice presenting your examples verbally in 60 seconds or less.  Prepare and present your answers confidently and with the company in mind at all times.  Remember that general interview statements like, “I’m organized” mean nothing unless you can explain how your organizational skills will help their company get ahead.

It’s up to you to present what you can offer a potential employer.  So brush up on your interview tactics, learn to present your transferrable skills quickly and concisely, and put the best light on what you can offer a new company.  And remember that how you answer that one important question, “What’s in it for them?” can mean a great new job for you!

Kari Mirabal is a Career Advisor, IT Recruiter and Speaker specializing in helping individuals clarify their career goals and develop action plans to attain them through career transitions.

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