Finding the right job after college can be a challenge. You need advantage you can get in today’s competitive job market where employers can choose from thousands of hopeful applicants. Your career counselor can help you with advice, but they can’t do the work for you to land the job. Make yourself a top contender by following these five secrets that your career counselor may not tell you.
Be Diligent in Your Search
Looking for a job is your job until you’re employed. It’s a full-time effort that will take dedication and diligence on your part. Sending out resumes, making phone calls, and pounding the pavement isn’t really fun, but it’s necessary. Take time each day to check available jobs in local papers and online job sites. Set a realistic number of contacts every day and followup on it. Although the tasks are tedious, the end result can be the job of your dreams.
Be Prepared for an Interview
If you’re diligently looking for a job, don’t be surprised if an employer responds. Make yourself easy to reach by phone or email and respond promptly. An interested employer may want to see you right away to fill the position as soon as possible. Make yourself available for the interview when the employer is available. That could be within a day or two so be prepared to act quickly, and realize that it is worth it to re-arrange your schedule or postpone other activities if it means that you could potentially get a great job.
From the initial phone call or email through the interview, maintain a professional approach to the job. Remember, the employer is probably interviewing multiple candidates for the position, not just you. Be professional, positive and assertive during the interview. Express why you want the job and what you can offer the company in return. Be professional in appearance. If that means a haircut and new clothes, get it done. This is a good rule of thumb no matter what industry you are applying for. According to students who received an OU Masters of Civil Engineering, they were under dressed for their interviews after graduation, because people who work engineering jobs don’t typically wear suits and ties. The company you’re interviewing with may dress casually, but it’s always safest to dress professionally for an interview.
After each interview, follow up with a thank you note to the employer. Thank them for taking the time to see you. Let them know that you are excited about the position and hope to hear from them. Your followup lets the employer know that you’re polite, professional and prepared. If they’re interested, there could be a second or third interview. Stay positive and follow up after each interview expressing your excitement in the job.
Set Realistic Goals
Only you know what you want and need to be happy. Set realistic and attainable goals for yourself Know your budget, living expenses and financial needs. Be realistic with your salary requirements, benefits and work goals. Chances are that your first job won’t be your last, but it can be an important stepping stone in your career path. If you truly want to excel in your field, be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up, while learning from those more experienced than you. Your humility and diligence will pay off in the end, and if you are willing to do the “dirty work,” you will likely excel much more quickly than others.
As mentioned before, your career counselor can give you all the advice in the world, but they won’t be there during your interviews, or your first day on the job. It’s up to you to know what to expect in the real world, as well as to know what is expected of you. Your counselor can get you to the door, but it’s up to you to get through the door.