College, Graduation, Career, Oh My!

(Originally from my magazine The Odyssey: A Magazine Presented by The Sojourn)

23 tips for making job searching– and landing– easy.

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Photos provided by Megan Gilmore.

Going into senior year not only means being close to graduating from college, but also starting the process of finding a career. To ease seniors’ minds (and even those of juniors’ who are looking ahead) about the stress that comes along with job searching, helpful resources on and off campus are available. Career Development, located in Barnes Student Center, provides LinkedIn training, internship assistance, career coaching, resume development and more. An off-campus resource in Marion is Lark’s Song, which strives to help students transition from college to career.

Tiffany Snyder, director of Career Development, and Megan Gilmore, executive director of Lark’s Song, shared tips for seniors on how to clinch that dream job.

NETWORKING

linkedin-graphicSnyder suggests instead on going online to search for a potential job, to network.

“While there are internet resources out there for you, to go and talk to those who know you best and tap into those connections,” Snyder said.

She said to reach out to the ones you know, but in a professional way such as adding your bosses and internship supervisors on LinkedIn. Snyder said that would lead to them connecting you to professionals who are hiring.

Gilmore said most of the time with landing a job, it’s based on knowing someone. She suggested taking some time to decide what your ideal company or job is.

“See if there’s anyone you can contact in those companies and let them know that you would love to work for them,” Gilmore said.

 

RESUME

Snyder gave three pieces of advice for a resume:

  1.         Drop the objective statement and add a cover letter

                    She said the objective doesn’t say much, so to go the extra step and take the time to write a cover letter.

        2. Making the resume only one page

“There’s something very clean and presentable about a one-page resume that has even white space all the way around,” Snyder said.

  1.         Using accomplishment statements

                    Instead of just listing tasks you did at a job, Snyder said to start with an action verb and incorporate numbers. Example: “Managed a team of four individuals.”

Gilmore suggests after creating the resume, to have at least three people proofread it.

“Don’t just create it yourself and (think) it looks good and send it out,” Gilmore said. “Have at least three people that you trust and can give you some critical feedback.”

COVER LETTER

Gilmore said she thinks including a cover letter when submitting a resume is important. She said it gives you a chance to express your personality to the employers.

“There’s emotion that can be in a cover letter and drive … that you can’t pick up in a resume,” Gilmore said. “(Employers) can see if it’s a good fit for their culture and for their team.”

Snyder suggested when writing the cover letter, look at the job description and your resume and choose what makes you the ideal candidate for the job. After choosing, you can talk about that in your cover letter so there is a common thread that runs through the cover letter, resume and job description.

“It’s so hard to write a cover letter because you want to say it all,” Snyder said. “But, just remembering that even though it’s a letter to not be intimidated and to be mindful that your employer doesn’t want read a ton.”

INTERVIEW

It can be hard to decide exactly what to wear for an interview. Snyder suggested making sure not to draw too much attention to yourself.

“You are going to sacrifice a little bit of your own style … but you want to do that because you want them to hear what you have to say,” Snyder said. “It’s always best to be overdressed than underdressed.”

Walking into the interview, Snyder said she thinks it is great to introduce yourself to the employer with a firm handshake and say your name. When closing, she also said to shake their hand again, say thank you and to restate your interest in the job. She said doing so is closing the deal.

While preparing for what the interview could be like, Gilmore suggested to practice answering basic interview questions.

“Stand in front of a mirror, ask your roommate to ask you those basic questions so you can hear it coming out of your mouth so that you feel confident going into it,” Gilmore said.

After the interview, Snyder said to make sure to follow up.

“While it seems maybe like extra work, there is something powerful about a handwritten note,” Snyder said.

Gilmore said she thinks it’s best to follow up within 48 hours, and to not be afraid to take the opportunity to ask any other questions that you might thought of once you left or if you want to clarify something you said.

“Maybe they asked you something you weren’t quite sure about and you needed to gather some information or you felt like you fumbled a little bit, you can clarify that in a follow up email,” Gilmore said.

A WORD OF ADVICE…

Snyder said to remember even your character could land you a job.

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Photos provided by Tiffany Snyder.

“Sometimes your character and your daily interactions and your personal network and how well you’ve managed that and invested in people is just as important as staying up until 2 in the morning and making sure your resume is perfect,” Snyder said.

While finding a job is important, Gilmore said the transition from college to career is really difficult so she suggested it’s a great time to focus on taking care of yourself.

“Figure out what gives you life and nourished your soul and start practicing self care in a ritualistic daily sort of way so that you are filling yourself up because the transition is hard,” Gilmore said. “Surround yourself with the right people that are going to love on you and invest in you. And that’ll help lower your stress level.”

 

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