Interview Accessories that Build Confidence

Now that we’re working with our 4th college graduation class, we realized it helps to have a checklist for interviews to insure you will have everything you need to be successful at Career Fairs, campus, and on-site interviews.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • Portfolio (black or brown, ideally leather, that includes pad of paper, pen and a place to store extra resumes and business cards
  • Business cards – we suggest students check their career center first as some universities offer this service. If not, head to vistaprint.com (cheapest) or www.moo.com (more options). Better for sales, tech, and advertising so you can make a unique impression.
  • Extra resumes – always have 5-10 on hand, more for a career fair
  • Mints
  • Healthy snack bar – in case there was no time for lunch
  • Appropriate attire – check career center guidelines or confirm with employer’s HR contacts regarding expected attire for interviews and events

If you want to learn more about the content for business cards, please read our blog post: How to Create a Student Business Card

How to Create a Student Business Card

Why do you need business cards?

We want you to stand out among all the other candidates. People that present business cards to professionals are more likely to get one in return. This also makes you more memorable when they return to the office.

When do you use business cards?

Career fairs, networking events, information sessions, and meet ups

Where do I get cards?

Order at vistaprint.com or at moo.com. Vista Print is usually the cheaper option. Check with your school career center first as some schools offer business cards with the university logo for a nominal fee.

Business Cards need to have the following items:

Name (First and last name)

LinkedIn Headline (type of role you’re looking for)

Phone · Email

Target City (if you are targeting a specific city only)

University

Major · Graduation Date

 

Example:

The Job Search Process – Where Do I Start?

A blank piece of paper can be inspiring or intimidating, a clean slate or a lack of ideas. The start of the job search process looks like a big white space to most college students and new college grads.

Before you “do something” which typically means applying to a myriad of jobs you know little or care nothing about, I encourage you to honestly evaluate and rank your personal priorities first so you can use this list as a roadmap to direct your search.

Think about and rank the importance of these factors relative to one another so you can see what’s important to you (not your roommate, sibling, or parents)

  • Money – salary range for the jobs/areas of interest
  • Geographic location – specify where you want to live
  • Mission and Value – the importance your values align with the company
  • Company – a list of companies you admire and would move anywhere for
  • Job role – you are driven by what you do every day in terms activities
  • Industry – you have an aversion or a passion for a specific industry
  • Company culture – physical location and team environment
  • Company size – start-up, mid size or Fortune 500

Once this exercise is complete, you will have learned a lot about yourself. Plus, these findings can drive your next steps.

 

The Value of Volunteering Off-Campus

Many college students spend a significant amount of time trying to fit in. When it comes to the job search process, the goal is the opposite. How do I stand out from the crowd?

One of the easiest and most meaningful ways is to determine where you volunteer your time and what skills you build or apply to the organization. The opportunity to contribute to an organization you truly care about is available in almost any college town.

Instead of dedicating all your time to campus organizations, explore music or art non-profits if this is your personal or professional area of interest. Volunteer to apply your marketing or fundraising skills to a pet shelter or food bank or improve your foreign language skills teaching computer classes at a local refugee center.

Your passion will shine through in your interviews and your authentic stories will be different and memorable to recruiters. Be different, step off campus and lend your valuable skills to a well –deserving non-profit. I’m sure you will reap more benefits than they do.

 

Are You Considering Growth when Choosing a Career Path?

Not since the Industrial Revolution has there been so much disruption in the global labor market. The share economy (uber, Airbnb…) didn’t exist 10 years ago. Driverless vehicles, consumer space flight, and new artificial intelligence and virtual reality applications will forever change careers in many diverse industries including law and medicine.

Historically, the top earning potential for women has peaked at 39, 48 years old for men. In this time of massive disruption, it’s important to target roles and industries that are forecasted to grow so you are not forced re-invent yourself due to a lack of job growth or job loss in your highest financial performing years.

Check out these 10 career fields that are forecasted to grow:

http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2012/09/10/10-businesses-that-will-boom-in-2020

Balance Your Hard Skills with In-Demand Soft Skills

Employers will be the first to admit that effective soft skills in combination with proven hard skills are the key to success. This is especially true for students pursuing internships and entry level positions post graduation as most jobs will require team and project based work.

I get asked often, what are soft skills and which ones do employers care about?

Soft skills are harder to measure and are sometimes referred to as someone’s Emotional Intelligence. The all involve communications skills and the ability to collaborate and get along with others.

Check out these top 10 soft skills to ensure you are building these in campus clubs, professional student organizations or part-time work.

https://www.thebalance.com/top-soft-skills-2063721

The good news – soft skills can be learned, yet they need to be put in to practice so you can discuss examples during your interviews.

3 Tips for Successful Holiday Networking

The holidays are a time of merriment and good cheer, so it’s a great networking opportunity to meet or re-connect with extended family and friends in a low stress social setting. Your goal – articulate a 30 second pitch so you can follow-up with a nice LinkedIn note and a request for an informational meeting or call within 1-2 weeks while you’re interaction is still fresh in their mind.

3 Tips for Successful Holiday Networking:

  • Introduce yourself and make sure you get their first and last name
  • Clearly state what you’re studying, where, and what your goal is
  • Make a note of all people you met before leaving the party so you can look them up on LinkedIn, send a note with a request, and ask to connect

Pitch example: I’m a senior Corporate Communications major at (your college) hoping to apply my digital marketing skills for a Dallas company.

It works! Last December, one of our clients had 10+ informational sessions from holiday interactions and landed his dream job.

Hone Skills Employers Want Over the Holidays

We understand that your top priorities when thinking about the winter break involve sleep, family, friends, and fun outings. Yet, with almost a month of unstructured time available, it’s a great time to jump online and learn some new tools or increase your skill level on others.

Search YouTube and Google for free training resources for these 4 suggestions:

  • Excel – there’s always something more to learn
  • Trello – popular project management tool used by 4 million users and counting
  • Photoshop, iMovie & others – photo and video editing
  • Tableau – transforming data to visually appealing dashboards

For additional ideas, check out this article that highlights 38 skills employers want.

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5686-the-most-in-demand-career-skills.html

Just think about all the skills you can add to your resume and LinkedIn after winter break to stand out from the crowd!

Networking – Top Priority in the Job Search Process

Growing up, my dad often communicated three valuable pieces of career advice:

  • Be curious – ask professionals what they do and why they enjoy their work
  • Ask for help and help others when asked
  • Treat people the way you want to be treated – one day they may work for you or you may work for them

Needles to say, decades later, this advice rings true.

What my father was saying is that the job search process should be social and communal, not isolating. This recent study affirms the social approach as it found that 85% of all jobs were acquired through networking.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-survey-reveals-85-all-jobs-filled-via-networking-lou-adler

As highlighted in the article, the key is not the quantity of the interactions but the quality. Every informational interview should have a clear purpose and a goal to move you forward. With access to 400 million professionals at your fingertips on LinkedIn, I encourage you to reach out!

3 Tips for Tapping the Hidden Job Market

I am a witness to the reality that 60-70%+ of all jobs are not posted. As a personalized career advisor for college students and new grads, I routinely get calls from friends and colleagues asking if I can refer someone with a particular skill set.

This is also why we have our clients spend a significant amount of time reaching out to professionals at the companies and in the roles they think they want to pursue so they learn about the company culture, skills required, and activities performed before they ever apply for a job. Most importantly, our students learn what roles are best for them from the employer perspective, if they will be hiring, when, and who else they should connect with to move things forward.

Tips for tapping the hidden job market:

  1. Make a list of companies that you are interested in and use LinkedIn to identify and reach out to contacts that are currently in the role you want to explore
  2. Research alums that were in your sorority, fraternity, club or professional organizations as recent grads tend to be the most helpful (they remember how stressful the job search process really is!)
  3. Tap your neighbors and parent’s networks for contacts at companies you want to target

The advantages to this approach are many; you’re building relationships, practicing your informational interviewing skills, and learning a lot about what you do and don’t want to do in the process.

Isn’t this better use of your time than spending hours a day blindly applying to job postings online?