Archives – October, 2014
It’s that scary time of year again, with Halloween on the horizon. This is the week when all things frightening get a pass – from costumes to tricks, it’s hip to scare and be scared.
But you never want to frighten away hiring managers. It might be a good time to double check that you aren’t doing anything scary to sabotage your job search.
Here are some sure-fire scary job search mistakes to avoid:
Not eliminating resume and cover letter typos. Don’t trust spellcheck! Have someone else read both documents. Review them yourself by reading them backwards. You’ll be more likely to catch spelling errors that way.
Not sending a thank you letter after an interview. If ghosts can contact people through séances, you can find time to write a short thank you note to an employer. It could make the difference between getting hired – or not.
Applying to every position available with a company. Even the most brilliant person isn’t qualified for every position. Doing so shows you lack direction in your job search.
Making online job boards your top job search resource. Job boards should only be a small part of your strategy. Networking through seminars and programs and conducting informational interviews should be a key component.
Not being worried about your social media profile. Employers check Facebook and Instagram to view job candidates’ profiles and pictures. That profanity-laced status update you posted on Saturday night might cost you a job offer.
Not utilizing LinkedIn. A great percentage of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates. Furthermore, employers check LinkedIn to view applicants’ profiles. If you don’t have a profile, or your profile is underutilized, you’ll be passed over.
Going to an interview without practicing your interviewing skills. Whether it’s at home in front of the mirror or during a mock interview, practice answering commonly asked interview questions before the actual interview.
Going to an interview without first researching the company. Familiarize yourself with the company, from its mission to its product. Check out the Facebook page and Twitter feed to learn the most recent happenings and reports.
Treating your job search like a fulltime job. People who are unemployed spend an average of 40 minutes per day job searching. It’s tough to do a fulltime job in 40 minutes. Approaching your job search like a fulltime job yields better results.
Stopping the job search after an interview. It’s not over until you walk through the company’s door for your first official day on the job. Even if the interview went well, don’t stop looking until you have a job offer in hand.
October 28, 2014
It’s a question that career counselors hear all the time when reviewing job seekers’ resumes:
“Do I really have to target my resume to every position I apply to?”
You really don’t have to…unless you want to increase your chances of landing an interview.
Generic resumes don’t tell the employer how your skills and qualifications can benefit his or her company in the specific role they’re hiring. Not taking the time to target a resume may show a recruiter you’re not serious about your job search.
If you want the employer to know why you’re the candidate for the job and that you do take your job search very seriously, read on to learn five simple strategies for preparing a targeted resume.
Know that writing a targeted resume doesn’t mean rewriting your entire resume. You can’t change your education or previous work experience, so you’re not reinventing the wheel with every application.
Start with the objective or career summary. Listed at the top of the resume, either of these categories grabs an employer’s attention and encourages further reading. An objective should state the position to which you’re applying, the name of the company (if you know it) and quickly mention relevant qualifications (skills, education, etc.). Career summaries are a little longer and often utilized by job seekers with multiple years of experience or specific accomplishments they wish to market. It should still be tailored to the employer. Target both. If your degree isn’t specifically relevant to the job, no need to mention it; list your skills instead. If the degree is important for another job, be sure to market it.
List a summary of skills section and use industry-specific keywords. Here’s where you pay attention to the job posting, specifically the requested qualifications. What specific skills are listed? It’s these skills that made you say “I’m qualified for this job.” List these skills on your resume. Know the keywords for your targeted industry and make sure they’re represented.
Consider a “Related Experience” category when appropriate. Of all your previous jobs, is there one that stands out as more related to the particular position to which you’re applying? If so, consider listing that position in a category called “Career-Related Experience,” and place it before the “Employment” section on your resume. Resume entries must be in reverse chronological order within a category. If your job from two years ago is more relevant to a position you’re applying to now, creating this category highlights that experience.
Reorganize categories. An objective and skills category should be first on the resume. But the category order after that depends on the job you’re applying for. Of the remaining categories, which one is most relevant to the position? The answer determines your resume’s category order for each job.
Creating a targeted resume may add some additional time to the application process. But targeted resumes shorten the amount of time you spend job searching by increasing your chances of being hired sooner.
October 20, 2014
The traditional holiday shopping season is shorter again this year. There are only 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas (last year there were 25). That means retailers and other companies that thrive on holiday shoppers must start their season sooner.
Which means the search for seasonal employment opportunities starts now.
Even though the jobs may not begin right away, start researching job openings over the next few weeks. Consider the following tips for finding a part-time position during the holiday season.
Start with the big box stores. They are more likely to increase their staff than smaller stores and boutiques. Target, Wal-Mart and Kohl’s typically direct applicants to apply online through their website.
But don’t ignore the mom and pop shops. The main street shops may not hire as many seasonal employees as the big box competitors, but it can’t hurt to ask.
Look outside retail. Other organizations notice an increase in traffic over the holidays, too.
- Restaurants, catering businesses, floral shops and shipping facilities are some examples.
- With many people traveling during the holidays, opportunities may also exist with companies that cater to travelers, like hotels and even pet sitting businesses.
- What jobs exist solely because of the season? Think Christmas tree lots, gift wrappers and Santa’s helpers!
Dress appropriately when inquiring or interviewing. When you walk into an establishment to ask about job openings, don’t be surprised by an impromptu meet-and-greet. It’s likely the manager or assistant manager will speak to you, so wear business casual attire to make a good first impression.
Be prepared. In addition to proper dress, bring all the necessary documents when you visit businesses to ask about job opportunities. Examples include:
- A pen, in case you’re asked to complete a written job application.
- Your resume.
- When necessary, appropriate documents to show your eligibility for employment within the U.S.
- List of references.
- Time: Allow enough time for conversation if the supervisor or manager wants to talk with you.
Practice your interview skills. This may not be the full-time job interview after graduation, but it’s still an interview and you still want this job. Smiling, maintaining eye contact, delivering a proper handshake and solidly answering (and asking) interview questions are just as important. If you don’t take this seasonal job interview seriously, the hiring manager has no reason to seriously consider hiring you.
Know your schedule. One of the first questions you’ll be asked is your availability. Be honest. Know how many days per week and hours per day you can work. When establishing a start date, keep in mind important items like your class schedule and final exams.
Work hard and seasonal may become permanent. While companies reduce their staff after the holiday season ends, manager recognize solid employees when they see them. Don’t overlook the possibility that this seasonal job may last well into next year.
Career Services can assist your seasonal job search through:
- Resume and interviewing preparation;
- Job postings through our frequently updated job board (employmeNC);
- On-campus recruiting (check our website to see which companies are visiting campuses to speak to students about job openings);
Additionally, this year Career Services is hosting a Seasonal Job Fair at the CPCC Cato campus. Mark your calendar for Tuesday October 28 from 10 am to 12 pm. Local employers hiring for seasonal jobs will be on campus to recruit candidates and collect applications.
October 13, 2014
October is LGBT History Month, an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in American history. The month-long observance coincides with National Coming Out Day, which occurs on October 11.
The job search process can be stressful for many. But LGBTQ job seekers may find themselves faced with additional career planning concerns related to their sexual orientation and gender identity. The workplace is progressing, but still present challenges. Career counselors in the CPCC Career Services office can answer questions or concerns students may have about how their sexual orientation and gender identity may factor into their job search.
There are no steadfast rules to follow, but the following tips and resources can help LGBTQ students and job seekers begin to develop a plan.
Know yourself. Regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity, knowing your skills, interests and values as they relate to the world of work is an important – and often overlooked – step in the career search. When beginning the process of self-assessment, how much of what you learn is related to your sexual orientation/gender identity? Valuing a diverse environment and adapting quickly to different environments may be skills and values that you have developed from your experiences as an LGBTQ person. How do you want these traits to be carried out in your career search?
Understand the law. There is currently no federal law that protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination. Selected states and municipalities have incorporated their own policies. Know which states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Research companies. Companies and organizations in a variety of industry are recognizing the importance of sensitivity and inclusiveness for LGBTQ employees. Do some investigating. Does the company’s non-discrimination policy include sexual orientation and gender identity? Are domestic partner benefits offered? Is the organization listed on any LGBTQ best places to work list? Do you know company employees who you feel comfortable asking about the office culture as it pertains to sexual orientation/gender identity? LinkedIn features many LGBTQ professional groups that can provide some of the information you seek.
Consider your options. Whether or not an LGBTQ employee choses to come out in the workplace is a personal choice. Sexual orientation/gender identity is a part of the work environment in some capacities. For someone who is not out, questions about weekend activities or the decision to display desk photos of significant others are suddenly not so simple. If the decision is made to not come out, how if at all will it impact interactions with coworkers?
As with any job search, resources and research can help. Become familiar with the following campus, local and national organizations and websites that can provide information and support for LGBTQ job seekers.
Spectrum Club CPCC student organization for LGBTQ students and allies.
Time Out Youth Charlotte-based organization providing support, advocacy and education for LGBTQ youth ages 13-23.
LGBT Community Center of Charlotte Charlotte-based organization offering programming and resources
Human Rights Campaign Provides information about corporate policies and culture surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity.
Out For Work A national organization that educates and empowers LGBTQ college students and allies for the world of work.
Simplyhired Search job openings within LGBT-friendly companies.
Note: The Levine Museum of the New South presents the exhibit “Out of the Shadows: Gay America from Kinsey to Stonewall,” now through January 25, 2015. This exhibit, organized by the Stonewall National Museum & Archives, offers a thought-provoking and historic look at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered culture since World War II.
October 6, 2014