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Congratulations on attaining your degree! It’s a special time and a proud accomplishment. You did it! You’re finished! With school that is. Now it’s time to do some learning about the survival techniques in the “World of Work” in a competitive environment. Are you ready to take the next steps?
Hopefully you have a good resume prepared, if not, that will be your first priority! Need help? Many colleges have career centers that are willing to help you with your resume, but if you don’t have that option try the “resume help” of the top job search engines or find a resume expert on Linkedin or Facebook. The aim of this resume is to create enough interest to garner you an invite for a job interview.
Start by doing research on job postings and companies that may interest you. There are several good job search websites available to assist you in your search and they may give you ideas on places to connect with people in your field of interest. Once your resume is polished the next challenge of course will be getting that resume out to the right people. This may require some new techniques and will become your new “job search homework assignment”. Find the sites that interest you and submit or post your resume there.
Scouting through the want ads is important to create your own “wish list” of the type of job you want and a summary of what’s important to you. While times are tougher than ever for new grads, ideally, you will want to find a position that matches your goals and values. The goal is to find a win-win situation for your first job. This will happen when you find a job in an area you excel in. That way your employer gets an enthusiastic “new grad” ready to get out and make a difference, and you will be motivated by what you’re doing while gaining valuable experience to advance in your career.
Now, getting the resume to the correct sources will also require you to use some networking techniques.Networking, both social media and person-to-person will be essential if you want to get the word out that you are looking for a job or are interested in a certain type of position. Both online activity and the in-person networking with people you know and their contacts are extremely important to your success in this difficult environment. Please don’t rely only on one source. Working every possible contact and opportunity to connect is the target you are aiming for here.
The next step, once you are starting to get some interest from employers, is to start preparing yourself to go out there and sell yourself. If you’re not getting any interest then go back to the first step. This may be a signal that you are not highlighting your knowledge and skills in the best light, which is always difficult for people entering the workforce. The goal is to summarize what you’ve done so far and to attract interest from someone who wants to know more about you as a possible candidate for a job.
If you are starting to get invited to interviews you will want to be prepared. The time to start your preparation is best done before you are invited, not the night before the interview. Planning ahead will make you feel more confident. With more confidence you will be more relaxed and you will have a better chance of connecting with the interviewer which is a main step in acing the interview.
Interviewing is a learned skill and as with every other skill you’ve ever learned – you have to learn techniques and practice, practice, practice. One way to practice is to do a mock interview with someone – a friend, professional or a coach. Make sure the person you decide to get feedback from can be objective and is not reluctant to tell it like it is. Frankly, family members tend to be too gentle or too harsh in their feedback. I recommend asking a professional person with interviewing experience for help with a practice run.
When you do get that call for the interview you may feel some anxiety about the process. It’s not unusual to feel nervous before and even during the interview. It is a new and uncomfortable situation particularly if it’s your first interview. Everyone, even executives may feel nervous about the interview. Fear of rejection and judgment can create feeling of inadequacy. The best way to deal with these feelings is to change your thinking about the process. Begin to think of the interview as a two-way process. It’s like going on a date in some ways. You are going in to check them out, and at the same time they are checking you out. Think to yourself: “If it works – great! If not, there will be other opportunities.”
Remember, you bring a lot of what happens during the interview into the interview yourself. Let go of any anxiety and think of this as an opportunity for a great beginning! School is back in session – at least until those job offers come through for you. Good luck!