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.

 

 

Job Interview – Benefits of Boasting

Bragging or boasting about yourself is generally unacceptable, especially in the workplace. You never want to be perceived as arrogant or egotistical, so you avoid patting yourself on the back in public. As a job seeker, sometimes it is important to brag or boast a little bit, especially in a job interview. You don’t want to be arrogant about it though, so learn how to brag in an acceptable way in our advice below.

  1. Know your strengths:
    • If you are going to brag in an interview, you have to be honest about your abilities and strengths.
    • Focus in on things that former supervisors or coworkers have applauded you for.
    • For example, if a supervisor frequently complimented your writing abilities, that is something you should highlight in an interview.
  2. Brag about your success:
    • If you helped your former employer meet their sales figures or exceeded your quarterly goals, be sure to mention that in an interview.
    • You should definitely mention any instance from your past positions where you went above and beyond the call of duty.
    • Potential employers want to know what value you can bring to their company, and listing specific figures you met or increased in a former position is a great way to show them.
  3. Don’t exaggerate your abilities:
    • While you are highlighting all the great qualities that will make you a fit for a position, be sure you don’t let things get out of hand. Exaggerating your abilities is pretty much the same thing as lying to a potential employer.
    • For example, if you are proficient with the Microsoft Office Suite, that doesn’t make you an “expert,” or mean that you are capable of using Excel to do anything an employer might need you to.
    • Be honest and let a potential employer know that you are confident and comfortable handling a task, without leading them to believe you are an expert at it.
    • On the other hand, if you are an expert at a task, be sure to tell them. Any certifications or training courses you have taken are definitely worth mentioning.

 

If you can learn how to brag in a tasteful way, without exaggerating your abilities or being overly arrogant, you are sure to have many successful interviews in your future.

Top Ten Rules for Job Seekers

Every job is different, and so is the application/interview process for each job. While it’s difficult to create rules that will apply for job seekers everywhere, we have done our best below. Check out the rules we believe are applicable for any professional looking for work:

  1. Always bring a few copies of your resume to an interview, whether or not you were asked to.
  2. Always read job descriptions thoroughly and research companies before submitting an application.
  3. Always err on the side of overdressed rather than underdressed when choosing your interview outfit.
  4. Never show up more than fifteen minutes early for an interview. (Unless otherwise instructed by your interviewer)
  5. Always include your address and contact information on your resume.
  6. Review your resume frequently and revise it as necessary.
  7. Always specifically follow a hiring manager’s instructions regarding applying, following-up, interviewing and/or testing.
  8. Never call a potential employer to ask a question that could easily be answered with a perfunctory search of their website.
  9. Always ask your interviewer for a business card so you can follow up appropriately.
  10. Never lie about your dates of employment or your reason for leaving your past employers.
  11. Never wear strong perfume or cologne to an interview. A great interview can be ruined if your fragrance irritates your interviewer’s allergies.

Keep a Positive Attitude

It’s easy to get down on yourself or feel defeated after a long job search with little progress, but don’t let your lack of success affect your motivation! Confidence is key for a successful job search, so make sure you keep a positive attitude.

  1. Be grateful: One way to stay positive is to be appreciative of any opportunities you do find. Send a follow-up thank you email to potential employers after every interview. Make sure you let them know how grateful you are for their time and consideration.
  2. Don’t assume: Don’t assume that you are the perfect fit for every position you apply for. Make sure you do your homework and research each position/company before sending your resume. Many applicants are offended or surprised when they don’t receive an interview request for a position they think they’re perfect for. Avoid this stress by only applying for positions you know (not think) you are a fit for!
  3. Stay confident: Job seekers who have been in the market for a long time can begin to feel defeated. Don’t bring this negative attitude with you to job interviews! Potential employers want to hire positive, confident professionals, so be sure to present yourself that way!

Writing the Perfect Cover Letter

The most important part of writing a cover letter is understanding the purpose of a cover letter.  The point is to explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job! 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 in a candidate.  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 capabilities 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.  Only then are you ready to submit it with your resume for consideration!

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.

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.

The Most Important Part of Your Resume

What is a resume? A document that showcases you as a professional and demonstrates to potential employers why you are the perfect fit for their open opportunity. The main purpose of your resume is to show why you are qualified for certain positions, but a lot of job seekers tend to forget this fact when applying to jobs. Don’t lose focus by spending too much time worrying about trivial aspects such as the length of your resume, the formatting, or the objective statement. The most important part of your resume is your work experience and how that experience applies to the jobs you are applying for.

When applying to individual job postings, you should tailor your resume for every, single one! You need to thoroughly review job postings to comprehend exactly what experience and qualifications a potential employer is looking for, and then ensure that you meet those requirements. If you do have the required experience, make sure your resume clearly shows that!

For example, if an employer is looking for someone with strong Excel skills, they want to see that you have used Excel in prior positions. Instead of just listing “Excel” under the Technical Skills section on your resume, clearly state how and where you used Excel throughout your work experience. A potential employer should be able to see exactly where you used Excel and how you used it without having to call you and ask about it.

Showing your demonstrated experience is especially important if you are looking to transition into a new career or a higher level role. For example, if you are a teacher applying to be an administrative assistant, you need to demonstrate how your work experience as a teacher qualifies you for a role as an admin. Or if you are a junior associate applying for a senior position, show how your role has prepared you to move up to the next level.

While details such as the formatting and wording of your resume are still very important, showing your demonstrated work experience is the major priority for your resume. Always remember to tailor your work experience for each and every job posting to ensure a maximum return on investment of your time!

8 Ways to Fast-Track Your Job Search

If you feel like your job search has been dragging, we’ve provided eight easy ways to speed things up and improve your chances of landing that ever-elusive job offer!

  1. Focus on applying to particular job opportunities or companies
    • Rather than blindly sending your resume to every job posting you see, focus on applying to specific opportunities and/or companies.
  2. Only apply to relevant opportunities
    • Don’t waste time applying to jobs you don’t really want or aren’t fully qualified for. That is time you could spend perfecting your applications for more suitable opportunities.
  3. Conduct in-depth research on potential employers
    • Before going to an interview, make sure to thoroughly research the company’s history, mission statement, culture, and more to ensure you are fully informed.
  4. Present yourself well
    • This includes sending out a well-proofed resume, dressing professionally for job interviews, and maintaining a professional reputation online.
  5. Network, network, network
    • Building a strong professional network takes a lot of time and effort, but networking is a great resource for job seekers who are having trouble finding work on their own.
  6. Demonstrate genuine interest
    • You should demonstrate your interest in a potential position in every interaction you have with the hiring manager or recruiter.
  7. Don’t forget to follow up
    • Always follow up after a job interview or after sending a job application for a position you’re passionate about. This is another great way of showing your interest in the opportunity.
  8. Maintain a positive attitude
    • Keeping a positive attitude is critically important for a successful job search. Don’t lose hope of finding your dream job, no matter how bleak things may seem.

When to Consider Temporary Work

While a full-time, permanent position is the ideal for most professionals in the workforce, temporary positions can be a great option for many people who find themselves looking for additional income and/or experience while pursuing that permanent job. Below, we have listed several situations where temporary work could be beneficial to your search for a permanent position. Although, our list is definitely not comprehensive; temporary work can be a great option for just about anyone.

  • Recent Graduates: Temping is a great option for recent graduates who do not have a permanent position lined up upon graduation.
    • Temp work can help give college graduates more real world, professional experience to add to their resume, especially if they did not complete any internships or work study programs while in school.
    • Also, temping can help fill in the employment gap on your resume between graduation and starting your first permanent position. Potential employers will be impressed to see that you have been working and gaining experience while pursuing more full-time work.
    • Temp work can help get your foot in the door with a company that you would not otherwise have access to. If the company you are temping for is pleased with your work, they could consider you for any full-time openings they have.
  • Professionals In Between Employment: Temping is also a great option for more experienced professionals who find themselves in between permanent positions.
    • As for recent graduates, temp work can help fill in employment gaps on your resume.  Even if the temp work you are doing isn’t exactly relevant to your career goals, at least you can show a potential employer that you have not been sitting idle while searching for a new position.
    • Temporary work is also a great source of income for those in between jobs. While you probably won’t make as much as you were in your last permanent position, a little money is better than no money.
    • Temp jobs can also help expose you to new industries or environments that you might not have had the opportunity to explore otherwise. You might find a new interest or change your career goals after having a great experience temping within a different industry.
  • Not Quite Yet Retirees: Temp work is an excellent option for professionals who have decided to end their full-time careers, but aren’t quite ready to stop working altogether.
    • A lot of experienced professionals who have decided to retire from their full-time jobs are still looking for part time work to bring in a little additional income or help fill their suddenly empty schedules.
    • Temp work is a great option for these not quite retired professionals, because they can do short term or daily assignments, without making a long-term commitment.
    • Professionals with a full career under their wings have years of experience to offer staffing agencies. They are typically viewed as reliable, hardworking temps with valuable years of experience.
  • Re-Entry Professionals: Professionals who are reentering the workforce after taking some significant time off from their careers should definitely consider temp work as a way to get reacquainted with the office environment.
    • Coming back into the job market after a long break in your career can make it hard for you to start right back where you left off. Temp work can help you get your foot in the door with a major organization, and prove to them that you are ready to restart your career.
    • Temp work can also help you readjust to the nine-to-five work schedule and help you redevelop your daily routine.
    • Picking up some temporary assignments can allow re-entry professionals ease back into the workforce instead of charging in at full speed.

The aforementioned groups of professionals all make valuable candidates for temporary work and should consider picking up temp assignments if they are in the job market. Although just about anyone who finds themselves out of work should definitely consider temping. The only reason we would deter a candidate from considering temporary work is if they already have a steady, permanent job with a stable salary.