Positioning yourself for your very first job is not a walk in the park. It takes time, planning and knowledge about the job you’re applying for.
This can be the deciding factor in whether or not you get the job, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Determine your goals
Take time to sit down and figure out what your professional goals are. You may not entirely know right now, and that’s okay! Just sit down and write things out, research various careers, and figure out what seems best for you. Figure out where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, then look for jobs that will help you attain that goal.
If you’re not entirely sure of your interested field, reach out to various professionals on LinkedIn and ask for informational coffee meetings. You will get to know a little more about their chosen field and company, as well as grow your network for potential employment opportunities.
Create a resume
Creating a resume is not as scary as it seems. You can find free formats on Google and change the headings to fit your own personal major and experiences. It’s important to highlight items that will impress a future employer. So, if you are applying for a non-profit agency, include more information about your volunteer experiences rather than your part time babysitting job.
If you are going into a creative field like advertising, create a portfolio to help you further stand out from the crows. This will show your potential employer that you already have experience and proof to show it. If you haven’t ever published anything, now is a great time to start! Austin Kleon said, “Don’t wait to know who you are to get started.” Start creating your own personal brand now and allow it to show through on your resume.
Research the company
I cannot stress this enough, make sure you research the company you are interviewing for! Each of my interviews has begun by my employer asking me to describe what I know about the company. You should know what the company does, its different departments and overall size.
Practice mock interviews
Reach out to faculty in your school and see if they have programs set up. Various clubs and advisors around SJFC’s campus will perform mock interviews and give feedback for free! Many companies will also do informational interviews, where you can sit down to learn more about the company, their culture and what they expect out of their employees. The more you practice interviewing, the better you become at positioning yourself for your interview.
Send a “Thank You” note
This seems cheesy, but interviewers love it. Take the extra time to buy a card and handwrite one! This plays a role in positioning yourself as a job candidate who cares. Something as small as a thank you note makes a difference.
Don’t let rejection ruin your attitude
Even after mastering each of these steps, there is still a chance you won’t get the job. Don’t let that stop you, though– ask for feedback from your interviewer and keep in contact or keep good relations. Chances are another job will open up and they’ll remember your name for the position. Either way, you will have an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and potentially open new doors in the future!