Ways in Preparing for Your Career Success, Part II

By: David

From my previous post, “Ways in Preparing for Your Career Success,” I mentioned that I would expand and explain on the tips and advice that I received from a workshop I attended a few weeks back. Though many of these may sound self-explanatory, I will still add minor details to each piece of advice. Well, what are we waiting for, let’s get started!

What Can You Do While Still in School?
As college students, we are privileged in so many ways, yet there is still so much to learn whether it’s in the classroom setting or a taste of the “real” world. So what is it that we can do while still in school to prepare for career success? Wait no further, let us learn more and dive into these 10 tips:

Develop your brand!
From online to offline, it’s important to put yourself out there in the professional world. Whether it’s now or later, branding will always prove to be an essential component in career success. Branding is important because it’s the image that you are portraying to others to see. Check out a past blog post from Abby, one of our alums, on 3 easy steps in starting your brand process.

Clean up your online image
In addition to branding, it’s important to clean up your online image! With the rise of social media, students today are finding ways to keep up to date with the social scene. Though this is very entertaining, it can also prove to be embarrassing as employers today are using social media as a tool to check on candidates more than ever (Source: CareerBuilder).

preping-for-career-success

Build relationships offline
Okay, I’ll admit it and flat out say that I suck at this myself quite bad. For our generation today, I perfectly understand that building relationships outside of our social circles have become quite the challenge. The anxiety (even for an extrovert myself) of making sure there’s no awkward silence when conversing has been quite the goal for students today. Regardless of communication abilities or the anxiety of awkward silences, it is still important to build relationships in real life.

Build relationships online
On the flipside of the coin, as important as it is to build relationships offline we should put the effort in doing the same online. Whether you recently met an interesting peer at a job fair, had a great discussion with a new colleague at a conference, or simply met a new friend at a party – Continue. To. Grow. That. Relationship! This is important because you’ll never know when you’ll need to keep in touch with that person again and it’s not as if you need to be their best friend or ally, but rather, don’t be a stranger should something come up that involves the two of you.

Tailor your LinkedIn profile
Going off building online relationships and branding, it is important to also tailor your LinkedIn profile! I can’t tell you how many times people have added me without a proper LinkedIn profile (no picture, no description of what you did, no message indicating of how we’re connected, etc.). Aside from my social media pet peeve, I want to emphasize that having a strong LinkedIn profile will attract a lot of recruiters and employers, and in addition, your friends and peers will be quite impressed. 😉 So take the time to tailor your LinkedIn every here and then.

Target your efforts
If you’re anything like me, it may be really hard to narrow things down sometimes (well, it’s hard every time actually). So what does it actually mean to “target your efforts”? In literal terms, it means, well, to focus your energy. A big mistake that I often run into is wanting to do everything! Despite checklists and planners, it can get really hard to focus on one thing, but, as always, just take it one step at a time.

Share your passion(s)
No matter what field or career path you decide on or even if you haven’t decided yet, don’t forget to always bring and share the things that you are passionate about – whether it’s art, social justice, sports, education, or anything else. There will always be opportunities for your to share the things you are passionate about and blend it with the work that you are doing.

Show gratitude
You don’t need a turkey and mashed potatoes to be thankful. Showing a token of appreciation to those who helped you goes a long way. This is especially important in cases of recommendation letters, referral to a position, or even connecting you to a third party. Always show your gratitude.

Follow-up
I’m terrible with this myself, but it’s important to always follow up with connections. This can be with professionals, professors, workshop presenters, staff members, peers from an event, etc. It’s always nice to send a quick reminder of who you are and to touch base with the person. Another thing to keep in mind is to always follow up after an interview. Following up and showing gratitude for the interview itself is nice and proper etiquette, but make sure to follow up as soon as possible!

Give back to your network
We all know that one person (at one point in time in our lives) who just leech and mooches off everyone – take, take, take, take, with nothing to give back. If there’s one thing to take away from this post, it would be this: don’t be that person! Be genuine and authentic towards your network, social groups, and relationships. Yes, there’s a sense of professionalism that needs to be maintained in your career but always be willing to give back to your network to help and assist others.  Don’t be afraid to be the first to “scratch other people’s back,” but do know that there’s a breaking point and that you’re not being taken advantage of. All in all, my guess is that majority of the people out there in the workforce will be willing to give back to their network, so don’t be afraid to do so either.

Read David’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Daria Shevtsova

What Now?! A Simple Guide for After the Job Fair

By: David

Alright, so now that you’ve attended the job fair you might be clueless as what to do now. I know that lost feeling all too well, but lucky for you this blog post will be highlighting some tips and advice on how to follow up with employers and recruiters after the job fair. The majority of these tips are briefly touched on in one of our handouts, “Checklist For Job Fair Success.” Hope it helps and enjoy!

After the Job Fair

The first thing you should always do is connect with recruiters on LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, GET ONE! Sorry, I don’t mean to yell, but I just want to emphasize the importance of LinkedIn. It’s pretty much Facebook for the professionals (NOTE: the “professionals.” You, my friend, are now a professional). You can see all of our posts on LinkedIn here to really get your profile built. Since we’re on the topic of social media already, the next thing you can do is personally connect with the company on Twitter or Facebook. The chances are slim to great depending on the company itself whether they will actually have a social media account. If all else fails, you can feel free to connect with recruiters on their professional Twitter/Facebook account. Here’s more information on using social media in your job search.

After connecting with recruiters on social media, the next best thing would be to send personal thank you letters and resumes to the specific recruiter whom you spoke with and from there you can begin the application/inquisition process. This should be done three business days after your initial meeting with the recruiter. When contacting the recruiter, always make sure you use proper email etiquette to keep things professional. Check out this article on Inc.com for the essential tips. After 10 days have passed from the first meeting, make the first call to determine if employers have reviewed your application, check vacant positions, and to display your deep interest in the company. This might seem kind of overboard, but it shows initiative and your desire to work with a  specific company over other candidates.

Overall, you should always keep a log of accurate records of when and where you met recruiters, when you sent letters and resumes, important contacts, and any additional important information that might benefit you in the long run. Also, make sure when you reach out to other representatives, you mention names of specific recruiters of whom you met at the fair within your cover letter. Within the cover letter, you can talk about your interaction and conversation with the recruiter, or any interesting anecdotes.

All in all, it’s always important to maintain connections with recruiters. Even if there aren’t any current opportunities for you, there may be a chance that you’ll get a position down the line. One important thing I would like to stress is professionalism. To some extent, it’s always nice to have the personal and casual aspect to the conversation, but try to keep your formalities until you actually get the job. You want to keep your professional image clean and classy. I hope this helps you all with your adventures of finding a job or internship in the near future. Best of luck to you all and as always, stay gold folks!

Read David’s other posts

 

Post-Interview Follow-up MUSTS!

By: Ashlee FB

While many people highly anticipate the process leading up to an interview such as building one’s wardrobe, rehearsing interview questions, researching companies, etc., many forget the important steps to take after the interview is over.  By following up, you’re letting the interviewer know you are serious about the position and have taken time out of your day to go above and beyond coming in for the interview. Following up sets you apart from the rest of the interviewees.

Thank you notes

1) Send a follow-up email

The follow-up email should be sent as soon as you have access to a computer. This email may include thanking the interviewer(s) for their time, talking about what was discussed in the interview, highlighting your interest in the company, or contact information. Whatever you decide to include in your email is up to you based on what you find appropriate. However, it is an imperative step in the interview process as it reiterates why you are a stand-out for the position.

2) Connect on LinkedIn if you haven’t already

This is a step many people forget to take. By connecting on LinkedIn you are showing interest and initiative. You are potentially making a long-term contact within the company, so it is good to be connected professionally. Remember to avoid the generic requests! Be personal and friendly in your request to connect.

3) Send a hand written thank you

In our world of technological communication these days, a hand written thank you card can go a long way. Those with a more traditional style will especially appreciate a hand written card. Again, send this card as quickly as possible, as chances are, they will be interviewing many people at this time.

4) Answer your phone!

I find it astonishing how many people our age fail to answer their phone if it is a number that is not recognized. While searching for a job or internship it is crucial to answer calls, as they may be job offers or requests for another interview. If you are unable to take the call, it is imperative you have a professional voicemail greeting set on your phone. This has a large role in how the interview team perceives you and also ensures they have called the correct number.

I hope these steps will leave an imprint as to why following-up with an employer is so crucial! Again, good luck in your career and internship search!

Of possible interest:

Read Ashlee’s other posts