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

Developing Your Online Presence

By: Megan

We all have a presence online. Whether you made an account to comment on an article one time or you are constantly posting on every site you have, you’re visible. Employers know that, so the problem then becomes what they see. Having an active online presence can help or hurt you in so many ways. Here are a couple of tricks for 3 of the sites that tend to trip people up.

Developing Online Presence

Facebook

Privacy settings are always changing, so it’s important to check back in. They occasionally send out emails to let you know: read those. You’re probably already censoring what you put on Facebook for your family, but remember that what your friends post can be seen too. Set it so you have to approve tags, that way pictures that may be interpreted the wrong way don’t get to see the light of day-at least attached to your name. Your privacy settings should enable you to block an employer from seeing what’s here, but remember: this is still public.

Twitter

Twitter is a quick way to connect with people. Say what you want, and be done with it. But in being short and sweet, you have to remember that gets lost quickly. With Twitter, you have to be constantly updating, replying, retweeting, and commenting. Set your accounts on news sites to tweet when you comment (and then make sure you comment what you want seen).

On Twitter, you can get quick updates on anything. This is an awesome place to make your voice heard. You can talk about your causes or what really makes you you. Connect with people in your field, or from your school. This is a great way to get some superficial connections to role models. Once you’ve gotten there, you can find them on another site.

LinkedIn

This is like the professional Facebook. You get to write everything you wanted to about every position you’ve ever held, and people can look through it at their leisure. The groups are a good place to talk to people about topics you’d like to know more about, or just to expand your ideas. Remember, employers can definitely see this. This is a place to put your best foot foreword. If Facebook is a day out with friends, LinkedIn is a suit and tie. We’ve written quite a bit about LinkedIn, go take a look! You can also stop in to our LinkedIn Drop-ins Thursdays from 2-4pm to get some help.

Final tips for being online:

  • Know your audience (and your privacy settings).
  • Be active! Don’t let your account go dormant forever. That’ll undo all your work.
  • Remember: this is print. It doesn’t go away.

Of Possible Interest:

Read Megan’s other posts

Personal Branding – Knowing Yourself

By: Abby

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about how to brand yourself. Personal branding means figuring out who you are and communicating it to the world – or employers – often times, over social media. Personal branding is a very important part of the job search. It can give people a huge competitive advantage and help you reach your dream career.

Yet, it might be difficult to brand yourself before you actually know yourself. This process can be difficult for some.

I was reading a post by Kristen Fischer on personalbrandingblog.com that talked about this exact issue.

know yourself

Before you delve into your personal brand points, and your story, it is important to fully understand who you are and what you offer. If personal reflection doesn’t come easy to you, here are a few questions to spark this conversation:

  1. What do you value professionally and personally?
  2. What do you have to offer that no one else does?
  3. What do the people you work for, or your clients, need from you?
  4. What three things do you want your brand to emulate?
  5. How do you want people to perceive you?
  6. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
  7. What can customers/clients/employers count on you for?
  8. What is your competitive advantage as an individual?

Take each question at face value and just start writing whatever comes to mind. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert in yourself and you’ll be able to spread the word about how employable you are with the world – or employers.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Abby’s other posts

Have You Googled You Lately?

By: Ashlee

Google yourself.

Yes, you read that right. Your laptop is already open, so go ahead. Open a new browser window, head over to Google’s nifty little search engine, and type in your name. What pops up first? It could be your Facebook profile, your Twitter feed, possibly even a cooking blog you started back when you were in high school, and sort of left hanging out in the blogosphere. Whatever it is that appears as a result of your search, there is one important question you should ask yourself: Are you okay with what Google turns up about you? An even bigger question to consider: Are you okay with potential employers seeing it? That answer may change the way you see yourself online.

Taking my own advice, I went ahead and googled myself. Typing in just my first and last name, the first three things that came up were my Twitter feed, my Pinterest account, and the ‘Contact Us’ page from my current job’s website. Alongside that, the first three images one will see of me are a photo from an internship I worked a couple summers ago, my current professional headshot, and my icon photo from my Twitter account. Those six things right there can give an employer an incredible impression as to what type of person I am, both professionally and personally.

Employers do research on Facebook and, yes, they Google your name. Social media is a huge part of our everyday lives. I bet a $100 right now that along with reading this; you also have your Facebook and/or Twitter open. Maybe Pinterest? You get my point. We’re plugged in all the time.

It’s hard to come across anyone who doesn’t already have an online presence, so why not take the steps to make it work to your advantage? First things first, you have to know what’s out there about you. This is where googling yourself comes in. After that, take the proper steps to change what potential and current employers could find out about you through a simple Google search.

Don’t just search your first and last name. Type in your phone number, any and all your domain names, and your email address. Change your Facebook profile privacy to only allow your Facebook friends access to your profile. If you insist on keeping your Facebook profile public, remember a picture is worth a thousand words. Do you really want an employer seeing pictures of that one Spring Break where you got, like, sooo totally wasted? Not really. A good job is more important than showing off how fabulous you looked in a bikini while drinking in Cancun.

You want your online presence to wow a potential employer just as much as when you meet them in person. They want to see you’re a well-rounded individual. You have a blog where you like to review the latest and greatest books? That’s great! It’s also showcasing skills you possess, like excellent writing and time management. Now that’s something an employer wants to see.

As you start your job search, you always want to make sure you have your bases covered. Presenting yourself doesn’t only include a great cover letter, a perfect resume, and amazing references anymore. It also includes your online presence. Save yourself the heartache, and clean up your digital trail.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read more of Ashlee’s posts