It is time for our last summer check-in with recent graduate Kelly Sanders…
“As this is my last summer blog entry, I thought I’d come full circle and write another top ten list. Over the past couple of months I’ve applied for a lot of jobs (somewhere over a hundred – I’ve stopped counting), and gone on many interviews. In that time, I’ve noticed a lot of things about the job search process, and I’d like to share them!
The Top Ten Things I’ve Learned From My Job Search
- Tweak your resume for each job you apply for – make your background applicable to what you’re applying for, and watch the length of your resume. For instance, my ‘full’ resume is three pages long. Generally, for entry-level positions, you don’t want to submit a resume longer than one page. So, I always cut my resume down to one page and only include the experience that is most relevant to the position I’m applying for.
- Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a call back right away – the hiring process takes a LONG time. Even if you get a call back and then have a successful interview, it might be weeks before you actually start a job. So start looking for a job AT LEAST one month before you want to start working.
- Have a backup plan – even if you have some great connections, they may not help! I have plenty of friends and former coworkers who have provided job leads, but that only goes so far (unless your friend happens to be the hiring manager!). Don’t rely solely on your connections, and continue working to meet new people and find new leads.
- Use recruiting firms – there are many firms out there that specialize in placing new grads in full time positions. For instance, Naviron is a recruiting firm that specifically looks for new graduates to place in sales and marketing positions. Seeking out companies like this can be really helpful in your job search.
- Broaden your search – don’t confine yourself to one industry because it really limits your options. If you’re looking for entry-level positions, you should be open to trying different industries or job functions – something may surprise you and you might find your new passion!
- Buy a suit – or something similarly professional. It really can’t hurt to be dressed up for an interview, so a suit (or matching separates) is a great investment when you’re looking for a job. If you’re low on cash, consignment stores often have some great finds (a Calvin Klein blazer for $10? What?). Generally, just look put together and professional, but be comfortable – there’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable in your clothes when you’re already nervous for an interview.
- Be confident, but not cocky – I was recently on an interview, and the VP of Human Resources told me that many ‘kids my age’ didn’t have the right mentality, that they come in for an interview and ask how long until they’re running the place. Basically, don’t be that person! You can be gracious while still expressing confidence in yourself and your abilities.
- Do your research – and I don’t just mean that you need to read the company’s website before the interview! Look for news involving the company (or its parent company), read about their clients, their case studies, etc. Know why you’re interested in working there, and have information to back it up.
- Have meaningful questions prepared to ask – basically, don’t ask questions just because you feel like you need to. Find questions that mean something to you. For instance, I’m always really interested in the corporate culture and why people chose to work for that company, so I always try to work in questions based on those two things. And, if you’re informed and all of your pre-prepared questions are answered over the course of the interview, just say so! Silly questions will just end up hurting you.
- Always, always, always write thank you notes – and I don’t mean emails, I mean real, handwritten thank you cards. Your interviewers will appreciate it, and it gives you a leg up on the candidates that didn’t think to do it.”