Four Career Services Directors from Louisiana colleges share tips for new graduates just gearing up to enter the job market
From THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in IMDiversity.com’s sister-site, THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online in a series for new graduates connected with the Jobs-for-US-Louisiana special promotion. Jobs-for-US provides targeted job search help for workers in the state seeking employment opportunities, as well as special promotional incentives, advice and online job search tools to encourage young people entering the job market. For more information, please visit Jobs-for-US section at the link below.
Transitioning from college life to the work world can be a daunting task. Having an approaching graduation with a lack of job prospects can make even the coolest person hyperventilate. Though finding a job isn’t always easy, it’s certainly not impossible. In fact, job seekers can greatly increase their chances of finding the right job by using the right job search techniques. Unfortunately, many students don’t learn those techniques because they don’t take advantage of a great resource that is right there on their college campuses. Career Services departments help students to enter the work world by providing connections with prospective employers and teaching students and recent graduates job search strategies that work. They can offer a wealth of knowledge on everything from preparing a winning resume to dressing to impress on the interview. We’ve worked to multiply student’s access to great job search advice by gathering the comments of Career Services Directors; these experts offer the following advice.
University: Remington College
“Which suit? Which shoes? Do I need a haircut?” These questions are common pre-interview thoughts but the audience is rarely taken into consideration. To prepare for the interview, the applicant should be able to answer questions such as, “Do you understand the framework of the company?” or “How would you be an asset to the company?” To answer those in-depth questions preparation past the outward appearance must be completed before the interview. To properly plan for the interview, the applicant should complete a checklist before the process begins.
First, when receiving information for the pre-interview process, be sure to ask who will be conducting the interview and their position in the company (i.e. a human resource representative, a manager, or the CEO). To complement the interview process, research the company to enhance knowledge of the internal functions, responsibilities, partnerships, and community involvement. Knowing the background of the company will enhance the applicant’s ability to appropriately respond to questions from the interviewer. Preparation is the key to increasing interview success. Finally, to gain an edge on an upcoming interview, visualize the interviewer and what your future contribution to the company will be.
Name: Carolyn D. Thomas
It’s important for students to be flexible about their career options. Don’t limit yourself to one particular type of employer. Every business needs accounting and computer personnel. Consider a career with the federal government. Many students think government jobs are dull, when in reality the work can be very rewarding.
In searching for a job, presentation is critical. Have your resume critiqued by your career services staff to ensure that you’ve presented your skills in the best possible manner. Your appearance must be professional. Your oral presentation skills are extremely important. Be prepared for behavioral interview questions, be comfortable, and tell “your” story. Lastly, don’t take rejection personally, and don’t quit! Looking for a job can be a job in itself.
Name: Mary D. Feduccia, Ph.D.
You’re In Control!
In considering all of the factors that are important to employers as they recruit students in colleges and universities nationwide, college major, grade point average, and work-related experience usually rise to the top of the list. Granted, the importance of these three factors should not be underestimated and are critically important in the selection of candidates for interviews. However, once an interview schedule is developed and the day of the interview arrives, there are several factors that are totally within your control that will make the difference in who gets invited for second interviews, and ultimately, who receives the job offers.
As employers conclude a day of interviews in the on-campus recruitment program at Louisiana State University, they are asked to complete an evaluation of Career Services and of the students they interviewed. One of the questions on the evaluation is “What are the top three things you look for in a candidate (for example, grades experience, etc.)?” Repeatedly, the most popular factors include the following: “motivation”, “attitude”, “enthusiasm”, “energy”, “commitment”, “eagerness to learn”, “excitement”, “ambition”, “confidence” and others along these lines.
Think about it! You’ve already impressed the employer with your resume or you wouldn’t have been invited to the interview. In preparing for the interview, of course you’ll thoroughly research the organization and create a great first impression by being well groomed and professionally dressed. But once the door closes and the interview begins, remember that you hold the power to determine your ultimate success. Realize that you are in control and express yourself so that your enthusiasm, energy, confidence, etc. are evident to the recruiter. Then sit back and watch what happens!
Name: Timothy Alan White, M.Ed.
The best way to compete for jobs is to out-smart the employer and competitors. You must market yourself in a way that seems appealing to a possible employer. How would you do this you ask?
With this advice you should be well on your way to starting your career.
For many students and recent graduates the job market can be frightening because it is un-chartered territory. However, with the right advice you can go from being nervous to confident, apprehensive to self-assured, and a college student to a member of the workforce!
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