Archive for Category: Internships
Posted in Career Advice for Young Professionals Communication Skills Generation Y/Millennials Getting from College to Career Internships Job Interview Advice Job Search Tips Personal Branding Professionalism on December 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm
Top 10 Job Hunting Tips of 2010
I absolutely love end of year lists, and swooned when I found Time.com’s list of The Top 10 of Everything of 2010.
Although Time’s list of lists is pretty comprehensive, ranging from apologies to new species to Twitter moments, I wanted to add my own top 10 list — top 10 tips for job seekers. Here are the tips that readers found most helpful this year.
1. Ask for honest feedback. Recruit a trusted relative, career services staff member, professor or friend to assess you honestly as a job seeker. Ask the person to list your best qualities and most impressive accomplishments. On the flip side, ask for constructive feedback on your weaknesses. Find out if the things you’re most concerned about — lack of experience, a less-than-desirable GPA, shyness, etc. — are legitimate concerns or if you’re obsessing over nothing. If your fears are unfounded, let them go once and for all!
2. Don’t be turned off by the terms “internship” or “part-time.” This tip came from Lauren Porat, co-founder of UrbanInterns.com. In a difficult job market, sometimes you need to be flexible and “settle” for a less-than-perfect opportunity, such as a non-full-time job. According to Lauren, many people have developed incredible careers by serving multiple part-time clients. Also, starting out this way may allow you to get your foot in the door with some very cool, interesting startup companies.
3. Overprepare. Think about your confidence level when you walk into a test for which you’ve studied really thoroughly versus how you feel walking into a test for which you’ve skimmed your notes for ten minutes the night before. Most people don’t realize that a job hunt is something you can study for. Before attending a job fair, spend an hour or two on the websites of companies that will have booths. Before a job interview, spend an hour reading the organization’s website (especially the mission statement, recruiting pages and recent press releases) and study the LinkedIn profiles of the people who will be interviewing you. Read e-newsletters and blogs from your industry to keep up with current events that might be discussed at a networking event. The more preparation you do, the more confident you’ll feel when you interact with recruiters and other professionals you’ll encounter during your job search.
4. Do not ask to “pick someone’s brain.” Okay this one is more about how not to ask me in particular for advice on your job hunt (or anything for that matter!). Some people don’t mind this phrase, but I definitely do. Why? First of all, I think it sounds kind of gross (think about it). Second of all, it is very one-sided: if you are picking my brain, what’s in this conversation for me? It feels as if I’ll be left brainless afterwards. My advice is to always request advice in a way that makes the ask-ee feel respected and like he or she will leave the conversation with something, too.
5. Clean up your online image. According to a recent Microsoft survey, 85 percent of HR professionals responding said that positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions, and 70 percent said they have rejected candidates based on information they found online. Make no mistake about it: your online image will affect your job search and your career. If you haven’t already, set up strict privacy settings on all social networks (often, including on Facebook, the default setting is for all of your information to be public, so check every setting!), take down any inappropriate pictures or content, set up a 100 percent professional profile on LinkedIn and Google, and think twice before posting any new content on Facebook, Twitter or a blog. In many recruiters’ minds, you are what you post.
6. Spell recruiters’ and hiring managers’ names correctly. Of the emails I received responding to a part-time position I posted this year, about half (!) spelled my name wrong. To me, that was an instant sign that a candidate lacked attention to detail. None of these people were called for an interview.
7. Don’t be too early for a job interview. While we’ve all heard the advice never, ever to arrive late to a job interview, employers are equally peeved when you arrive too early. By all means get to the company’s building or parking lot as early as you’d like, but don’t enter the actual office any more than 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time.
8. Focus on what you can do for your employer, not the other way around.
In cover letters, email messages, conversations with recruiters, salary negotiations, etc., make sure you frame your value in terms of what you can offer, not what you need. Recruiters roll their eyes at cover letters that begin with, “I would like to find a position in which I can learn.” Likewise, negotiations fail when you ask for more money because, “I need it.” You’ll have a better chance of getting what you want when you focus your argument on how it will benefit the company in terms of increased sales, more productivity or lower costs. Always ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?”
9. Never call to say “Just following up.” There is a fine line between appropriate persistence and pointless pestering. It is absolutely fine to call or email a recruiter to say thank you for a company information session, to ask a few questions or to mention that you’ll be attending another event they are hosting. But “Just calling to follow up!” doesn’t add much to your candidacy. If you find yourself calling multiple times with no response, you may have to accept the fact that, as the famous dating book title says, this particular employer is just not that into you.
10. It’s never too late to say thank you. I’ve had a lot of students ask me “how late is too late to send a thank you note?” and I truly believe that a thank you is always warranted and always appreciated, even if it comes much later than expected. If you do find yourself sending a belated thank you, simply say something like, “I truly apologize for the delay in thanking you…” or “This note is late but I am deeply grateful…” It’s better to feel a bit awkward and do the right thing than to hope the person doesn’t notice that you never showed your gratitude.
What other job hunting tips were most helpful to you in 2010? Please share!
Tags: advice for college grads, career, Career Advice for Young Professionals, employment, Generation Y/Millennials, Getting from College to Career, job search, job search tips, job searching, jobs, Networking and Personal Branding
A recent BusinessWeek cover story called today’s graduates “The Lost Generation,” citing statistics that young people who graduate in recession years continue to earn less over the long-term course of their careers.
This weekend, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert addressed the same issue, writing:
“These recent graduates have done everything society told them to do. They’ve worked hard, kept their noses clean and gotten a good education (in many cases from the nation’s best schools). They are ready and anxious to work. If we’re having trouble finding employment for even these kids, then we’re doing something profoundly wrong.”
Like BusinessWeek and Herbert, I am very worried about the situation for recent college graduates. Today I want to share with you what I’m doing about it:
I have and always will pay any interns who work for me. If you are a business owner, I ask that you do the same. (more…)
Thank you to Youth Radio for interviewing me recently on the topic of “What next?! Finding a job after graduation.” Here is an excerpt of the interview:
Q: So I’ll be graduating college next semester. What do you recommend I should be doing now to prepare for the job market?
A: I think you want to get as much real experience as you can. Whether it’s internships, part time jobs–anything where you can have accomplishments, real world experience and are meeting as many people as you can. I don’t mean networking in a cheesy way, like using them. I just mean meeting other people and offering to help them, and someday they might offer to help you. Also use your college’s career services office. So many college students I know don’t take advantage of that. They can help you make sure your resume is excellent.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake that grads make when they’re job hunting?
A: The biggest mistake is doing nothing, becoming paralyzed by the bad economy. The reality is you have to get out there and do stuff, even if you don’t get your dream job right away. Take a retail job, temp, volunteer, do something just to get out there. Don’t stay at home playing video games. It sounds obvious, but a lot of people think it’s better not to take a mediocre job or temp — but it’s better to be out there. If you’re a barista at Starbucks, then be the best barista at Starbucks. That’s better than sitting at home waiting for the perfect job. A lot of people disagree with that mentality, but I feel pretty strongly about it.
With graduation around the corner and the economy plunging deeper into recession, many students are facing the possibility that they may graduate without full-time jobs. While this is not the ideal scenario, especially for those with student loans, it is not the end of the world.
There are many ways to make money and build your career without a full-time job. Plus, you’ll keep busy and you’ll be “out there” while continuing to look for a full-time position. Many short-term or part-time gigs also have the potential to lead to more permanent employment situations. The following suggestions may not make sense for everyone, but they might open your eyes to some new possibilities.
Temp. Temporary employment agencies are hurting along with the rest of the economy, but they are still a good option to try. Here’s the trick: Register with a few agencies, register in person and follow up regularly (every few days) to see if any opportunities are available. It’s common for companies to hire temps into permanent positions, so it’s worth the extra effort to win a temporary assignment. Plus, you may gain some experience — and potential interest — in a field that you didn’t know about previously.
Become an Urban Intern. Urban Interns is an innovative Web site that connects small-business owners and busy professionals with a pool of qualified, college-educated part-time assistants looking for flexible paid or unpaid opportunities. The site just launched in New York City and will be expanding to other metropolitan areas. According to Urban Interns co-founder Cari Sommer, “Urban Interns offers opportunities ranging from assisting with marketing projects, doing online research and customer outreach to running errands and organizing files. When an Urban Intern registers, he or she can dictate what tasks are interesting and hours of availability.” As with temping, an urban internship has potential to lead to a full-time opportunity in the future.
Image: ABC News Photo Illustration
As spring break approaches, many college students are making plans for summer internships. As I’ve blogged about previously, internships are more important for young professionals than ever. Thanks to Heather Huhman, of the Entry Level Careers Examiner, for sharing eight of my tips for internship achievement.
1. Learn how work is different from school. Of course, the most exciting difference between college and the real world is the fact that you get a paycheck instead of grades. However, there are a few other changes an internship can help you adjust to. For instance, missing a deadline has major consequences. As an intern you’re supporting full-time employees whose jobs are their livelihoods—there’s no room for messing around with projects they’re relying on. Furthermore, your work as an intern could directly impact the bottom line of the organization you’re working for, particularly if you’re dealing directly with clients or customers. Your professionalism is not requested; it’s required. (Or you might get fired.)
2. Step outside your comfort zone. Internships are a great time to take risks, face your fears, and challenge yourself to try some big new things.
3. Be proactive. Asking, “What is a good thing for me to work on when you’re busy and I have nothing specific to do?” shows that you are a go-getter who wants to contribute and learn as much as possible. And, you may get assigned a cool project that no one else was smart enough to ask for—something that you can highlight on your résumé and promote in future job interviews. Remember, raising an internship from the “busy work/no experience” level to the “real experience” level is in your hands.
Click here to read the rest of the eight internship tips.
Have a question about internships? Post in the comment section below and I’ll answer this week.
Posted in Career Advice for Young Professionals Generation Y/Millennials Getting from College to Career Internships Job Search Tips Recommended Career Resources Unemployment on December 18, 2008 at 1:57 pm
Yesterday I was a guest on NPR’s Talk of the Nation on the topic of “Where to Look for Jobs in the Recession.” Laurence Shatkin, author of 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs, and I shared our tips, and host Neal Conan took calls from listeners.
Many listeners shared upsetting stories of layoffs and difficulty landing new jobs, and many also offered suggestions on what companies and industries are still hiring. We discussed opportunities in healthcare, education, accounting, trucking, energy, defense and more. Listen to the full program here.
We also talked about the fact that job hunters today have to cast a very wide net in their jobs searches. To that end, here are several recent articles that offer an abundance of suggestions, resources and opportunities: (more…)