A Little Planning Can Give You a Big Advantage
As graduation season approaches, it’s a good time for first-time jobseekers to evaluate the impact they’re going to have (or, not have) on the job market. Being new to the job market requires being prepared, and having certain items at your fingertips even before submitting that first application.
While the greatest portion of those new to the job market in Q2 of any year is undoubtedly college graduates, there are others who may also be searching for their first job, or for the first job in a long time.
We hope the following tips are helpful to all – college graduates, servicemembers entering the private sector, or anyone entering the workforce following extended time at home.
Lay the Foundation: Have a Résumé and an Active LinkedIn Profile
Even jobseekers with minimal or no work history should draft a solid 1-page résumé to cover skills, interests, personal accomplishments and recognition received. Servicemembers coming off active duty could likely have enough experience to generate a 2 page résumé.
The goal here is to have a résumé prepared so that no time is wasted when you see a desirable job posting or if someone in your circle of friends tips you off to an opportunity.
LinkedIn is not a platform only for seasoned professionals. Everyone can benefit from raising their professional profile in the marketplace by creating and maintaining an active LinkedIn profile. Not sure how to begin? This checklist was created for college students, but offers many tips translatable to anyone who wants a LinkedIn profile but doesn’t yet have a deep employment history. Once your page is active, begin building your network by sending connection requests to everyone you know! Networking is the most important task you should be committed to at this stage.
Study Common Interview Questions and Prepare Your Answers
This tip continues the theme of preparedness. We’ve heard from clients who landed interviews the very next day after submitting their new résumé online – you definitely don’t want to be caught off-guard!
Lists of sample interview questions abound online. We recommend the following approach:
- Become comfortable with answering at least 3-5 common interview questions; commit your basic responses to memory but don’t memorize a script – this comes off sounding robotic in an interview.
- If time allows, run your responses by a close friend or family member and request feedback.
- Review our tips for answering an interview question known to cause anxiety.
- Prepare some questions to ask your interviewer. Here are 3 examples.
Not feeling 100% confident? Those who enjoy taking preparation to the next level may want to consider booking a session with a Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP®). The CEIP will conduct a mock interview with you over the phone and offer additional guidance. If interested, click here to learn more.
Create Job Email Alerts
We recommend setting up “saved searches” or job alerts on both LinkedIn and Indeed. There’s no worse feeling than being late to an opportunity or missing it altogether. LinkedIn goes the extra mile for jobseekers and will even alert you to opportunities for which you can be an “early applicant.”
Follow these steps:
- LinkedIn: click on Jobs. Enter a search term and a location. Toggle the “Get job alerts for this search” feature to “on.” You’ll then be able to set a frequency and method for receiving the job notifications.
- Indeed: enter a search term and a location. Scroll until you find the box that contains the phrase “Be the first to know about…” and click Activate.
Brush Up on Skills Applicable to Your Line of Work
This final tip is about increasing your value-add potential. For example, if asked during an interview about your comfortability with Microsoft PowerPoint, you can answer with resounding positivity even if you’ve never or rarely used PowerPoint previously in a professional or academic setting.
How is this possible?
Well, because of the abundance of resources and tools available online, many of which are free! YouTube should be the first site you visit; among the many tutorial channels available, Teacher’s Tech is one of our favorites.
Whether it’s brushing up on a foreign language to improve bilingual fluency, aquatinting yourself with the latest research in a particular scientific field, or completing a paid certification course online to shore up relevant knowledge in a particular area, you should identify opportunities relevant to your field.
In addition to providing valuable résumé content in certain cases, shoring up certain skills (especially Microsoft Office usability) mitigates potential awkwardness in an interview. It also demonstrates for your interviewer that you’re eager to pursue continuing education and enrichment even while it required doing so on your personal time.
Have other tips to share that have worked well for you? Leave a comment and help others who are new to the job market!