Archives – May, 2014

Are you doing ALL that you can to find a job?

Accenture, a global consulting company, recently released its 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey. The survey examines the difference between graduates’ expectations of the world of work and the reality of that world. The results are pretty interesting.

One statistic in particular stands out: 69% of 2014 graduates expect to find work within the first six months after graduation. However, for graduates of the classes of 2012 and 2013 only 42% found jobs within the first six months after earning their degrees.

Factors that affect the length of a job search:

  • The state of the local and national economy
  • Quantity of jobs in a candidate’s preferred location (not many film jobs in Iowa, for example)
  • Demand for a candidate’s skill level and degree
  • A job seeker’s flexibility regarding types of jobs, geographic location, salary, etc.
  • Quality of the job search

The fifth factor – quality of the candidate’s job search- is critical and one that the job seeker completely controls. For graduates who didn’t find a job within the first six months after graduation, it’s worth asking what their efforts were like. If you’re job searching, ask yourself: Are you doing everything, using every resource and considering every option in your job search? Before answer yes, ask yourself if you’ve done the following:

1. Join professional associations: Every industry, from accounting to zoology, has a representing association or society. Members have access to membership directories, job search databases and other resources. 

2. Join regional groups: Most major cities organize groups that allow residents to meet others. A city’s Chamber of Commerce is a great resource for locating such groups. Meetup.com is another source. The common interest might be professional, cultural, hobbies or a combination.  

3. Attend meetings and seminars: Simply joining a group isn’t enough. Be an active member. Attend networking meetings, seminars and conferences. Meet people face-to-face.

4. Become active on LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a social media outlet for professional purposes. It needs to be part of your job search toolbox. Learn how to create a LinkedIn profile and utilize this critical job search tool. The CPCC Career Services LinkedIn How To video can help.

5. Volunteer: Get involved in a local community group or cause that interests you. You’ll meet people who share a common interest in that group or cause. Volunteering is one more avenue for meeting people.

6. Conduct informational interviews: Find a professional working in your targeted industry. Contact someone employed at a company you want to work for. Set up a 30 minute meeting to  talk about the company or the profession, ask questions about the person’s career path and receive suggestions for your job search.

Networking is the commonality for all of these tips.

Most job searches take longer than anticipated and it’s not uncommon to spend more than six months searching. But regardless of industry, geographic location or flexibility when considering options, job searching takes longer if you aren’t actively connecting with others.

 

 

May 19, 2014

10 simple job search etiquette tips you must follow!

JOB SEEKERS BEHAVING BADLY

There’s a headline you don’t want to be a part of. But your job search tactics may unknowingly be letting you. Are you following these 10 rules when it comes to the dos and don’ts of job search etiquette?

When you apply for a job, follow the directions given. Don’t blow off a requested item just because you don’t feel like doing it. Conversely, don’t submit any more information than employers asks for.  If they only want a resume don’t send a resume and a writing sample and a list of references and letters of recommendation. All you’ve proven is your inability to follow directions.

Clean up your online presence. Quit letting friends tag you in pictures from Saturday night’s party. Stop trashing coworkers and using foul language in your tweets and status updates. Guess who’s seeing your pictures and updates: Employers. And they aren’t inviting you for interviews thanks to your online presence.

Ditch the personality email address. Shopaholic@gmail.com, Funfoodie@hotmail.com and lovingGod@yahoo.com are fun and personal, but unprofessional. For job searching, use an email address that’s a combination of your name/initials.

Stick with a business letter format when applying via email.   Emailing and texting encourages quick conversations where grammar rules are tossed aside. Bring them back because this email is a cover letter or job prospecting letter. Begin with the proper salutation (Dear Mrs. Jones; Dear Mr. Smith). No text lingo or emoticons. Don’t LOL, 😉 or 🙂 at an employer. Ever.

Don’t no-show for a job interview. It’s rude. Things come up: Someone gets sick, your car breaks down. If there’s no way you can make the interview for legitimate reasons, contact the employer as soon as possible to inquire about rescheduling. If you change your mind about the job, you should still call the employer to decline the interview. But think long before doing this. Once you say you’re no longer interested in the position, it’s a done deal.

Dress appropriately for interviews. Why are so many blog posts still written about what to wear and not wear for job interviews? Because apparently interviewers still aren’t paying attention.

Send a thank you note – immediately. Email or write a thank you note within 24 to 48 hours after the interview. Is it required? Technically no. Should you consider it required? Absolutely yes.

Follow up with employers – don’t stalk them. When it’s your turn to ask questions during the interview, find out what’s next in the hiring process. The answer gives you an idea of when you could expect to hear about a job offer. Use this time frame to gauge when you should contact the employer if you haven’t heard anything. Just remember the difference between contacting and harassing. Daily or weekly phone calls and emails guarantee you won’t get the offer.

Give a job offer strong consideration before accepting or rejecting it. Don’t take job offers lightly. Employers don’t want to hire someone, only to have them quit during the first week or month. Conversely, once you reject a job offer, it’s unlikely you’ll be considered for future opportunities. Weigh all the pros and cons before making your decision.

Remember that your behavior isn’t fleeting – it’s forever. The world of work can be small. The way you behave from start to finish during the job search and hiring process is part of your professional brand. Employers share notes. Don’t be the topic of conversation that gets you blacklisted from future opportunities.

May 13, 2014

What you’re missing if you don’t complete an internship

Many academic programs and majors require students to complete internships and co-ops. Some do not. If an internship isn’t mandatory for your area of study, and your schedule allows time to pursue one, give it strong consideration.

When you don’t complete an internship you miss out on the chance to:

1.       Get hands-on work experience. Possessing practical knowledge about an industry boosts your qualifications.  You can create an “Internship” or “Related Experience” category on your resume, and then talk about relevant job duties and projects during an interview. Very impressive.

2.       Gain an edge in the job market. Two candidates interview for a job. Both earned the same degree. One candidate has minimal work experience while the other has completed one or more relevant internships. Who initially appears more qualified for the job?

3.       Have the chance to try a career path before committing to it. Reading about a profession through career exploration websites is helpful. But nothing beats the chance to experience a career before committing to it. In addition to doing the actual work, you’ll have the chance to talk with people working in the industry.  

4.       Network with professionals. Most jobs are found through networking. During your internship you’ll meet people who become colleagues, supervisors and mentors. They’ll recommend professional groups to join, LinkedIn resources to check out and additional people to meet.

5.       Learn how to work in an office. Following an office dress code and other office policies, arriving at work on time, handling conflicts within a work setting, interacting with professional peers and supervisors. It takes skill and practice to learn these concepts.

6.       Apply classroom knowledge to work environments. Academic preparation shows your ability to learn concepts. Internships give job applicants the chance to apply concepts to real-world settings. This is what employers are interested in hearing about.

7.       Develop skills. Employers look for skills when reviewing applications. In addition to industry-related skills you develop transferable skills that are critical for success in many job settings.

8.       Acquire references. References vouch for your abilities to perform tasks or use skills to succeed in a job. It’s important to acquire professional references. Internship supervisors and coworkers serve that purpose.

9.       Become more confident. Getting experience builds confidence. If an interviewer asks if you can do something, you won’t have to rely on hypotheticals (“Yes, I could do that if I have the chance.”). You can say “Yes I definitely can do that,” and provide concrete examples.

May 6, 2014


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