Monday, August 01, 2005

How To Land Your First (Any) Job

This year’s 1.4 million college graduates may enter the best job market in three years. Still, it takes an experienced worker more than three months to find a job. Experts say new grads shouldn’t take the whole summer off. Here’s their job-hunting advice for the Class of 2005:
A Game Plan
Five to 15 resumes in a highly focused job search are more productive than hundreds in a random search, says Bill Coleman, senior vice president of Salary.com. First, identify what you want to do, where you want to live and the type of company you want to work at. Next, look for people who can help you apply there. Tell everyone your target jobs and employers, and ask your parents’ friends and colleagues for advice. Talking to them is good practice for interviews.
Your Résumé
Stick to one page and a simple layout that notes:•Your college and degree. Don’t list a grade-point average below 3.5. It only puts you at a disadvantage vs. graduates with higher averages. A résumé without a GPA won’t be tossed unless it’s a requirement; and if an employer asks about your GPA, you can soften bad news with an explanation.
•An objective. Sound as if you know what you want. (“My goal is a job that will lead to a career in marketing.”) Don’t worry if you’re not really sure yet, says Mark Cenedella, CEO of TheLadders.com. Your first job won’t lock you into a lifetime choice.
•Work experience. Don’t just list job duties, describe the results you achieved. (“Senior Day Camp Counselor: I wrote, directed and produced a play featuring 15 six-year-olds, on a limited budget.”)
•Strengths. What are you good at? (Meeting deadlines, organizing, creative thinking?) These abilities should tie into your job and personal achievements.
•Skills. Knowledge of computer programs, fluency in a second language, license to drive a truck.
•Extracurricular activities. “You never know when you’ll connect with someone because you’re both interested in building for Habitat for Humanity,” says John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “Your interests help a company get a better handle on who you are and separate you from the competition.”
The Cover Letter
It must be specific to each company or job you apply for. Your letter should be enthusiastic and grammatical and fit on one page. Ask someone you respect to proofread it. End the letter by saying you’ll follow up with a phone call—but even if you e-mail it, wait three days before you call.
The Interview
Do your research. Many recruiters say job applicants are clueless about the companies they interview at. There’s no excuse for that. You can find out everything you need to know on a company’s Web site. Be ready to ask a few questions about the firm and the job and to say why you’re interested in the company, what appeals to you about the job and where you see yourself in five years.
“The ability to write and speak well is a major plus,” adds Bill Coleman. It helps to be able to improvise too. One of his early interviews went fine until the interviewer asked, with a smile: “By the way, how many l’s are there in William?” “I immediately realized there was a mistake on my résumé,” he recalls. “I figured I was likelier to have put in an extra l than to have dropped one, so I said: ‘In my name? Three.’ ‘Really!’ she said, ‘I thought it was a typo.’” P.S. He got the job.
Follow The Rules•Record a new voicemail greeting. Replace “Yo, dude, leave your digits!” with “This is John Smith. Please leave a message. I’ll return your call as soon as possible.”•Don’t use an e-mail address like honeybunny@xyzmail .com. Create one that uses your first and last names.•Proofread your e-mail to employers. Use the same rules of punctuation, grammar and style you’d use on paper.•Keep your cell phone off during job interviews.•Address the interviewer as Mr. Smith or Ms. Jones unless you’re asked to use his or her first name.•Dress conservatively. No jeans, T-shirts, low necklines or sandals—even for interviews at dot-com companies.•Send thank-you letters after interviews.

This information would be good for anyone trying to get a job.
By Lynn BrennerPublished: June 12, 2005 Parade Magazine

7 Comments:

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Beth said...

My niece needs a different guide. Something like "How to Stop Being Lazy So You Will Get a Job" ... something like that, yeah.

 
At 8:53 AM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Yeah, I know several people who need who need those kinds of tips.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Better Safe Than Sorry said...

my oldest daughter had such a terrible time trying to find a part time job for the summer, no one seems to want to hire seasonal help anymore. she wants to work, to help pay for school, so she doesn't have to go in debt, but all she could find was part time, it's a vicious circle.

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger David said...

I think I will send this to my college son - looks good

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger Sandy said...

Hey cool blog. Pretty baby two posts down!
I need this advice soon, as I'll be headed back to work...someday..

 
At 8:20 PM, Blogger Bar Bar A said...

My nephew needs this advice, I will send it to him! I was in HR for 9 years and think this is a really excellent article. Thanks for sharing it with us!

 
At 12:02 PM, Blogger Nettie said...

Wow, you are so useful, I'll keep this in mind!

 

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