You’ve had an internship (I hope) and now it is time to get a JOB, please be aware that this is a three nor a four letter word. While the wrong job is scary and awful, the right job is an opportunity to learn, grow, and to develop your professional skills. Even if the job is not your dream job, try to gain skills and have experiences that enhance your resume so that your next job is better than your last one. Just because you’ve had an internship and have a degree you do not know everything and will certainly not be the vice president of the company. Be willing to put in the grunt work and long-hours to prove that you’ve got what it takes, and apply for jobs that are appropriate for your level of experience. Your job hunt will be real fruitless if you continuously apply for jobs that require ten years of experience and you have two, this is not even close. Applying for jobs that require 2-3 years of experience more than you do is A-okay, but don’t be ridiculous.
Apply for a job that you believe will enable you to get your next job and then eventually your dream job. Have an idea about where you want to be and how that job will help you on your path. While your path might be murky, a basic stick figure picture would be a good start. While at a job ask for more work, be seen, and ensure your hard work is appreciated and noticed. Request opportunities to lead and showcase your skills and do not back away from a challenge. Avoid being the stereotypical millennial surrounded by entitlement expecting six figures for working forty hours a week with very little prior experience, this person sucks and no one wants to employ or promote them.
Applying for jobs is a numbers game, the more jobs you apply for the better your chance is of getting a job. However, make sure that you take the time to personalize your resume and especially your cover letter for each job. Know which company you are applying for and always write a personalized email to the recruiter/manager/whoever’s email address you can find at the company after your resume has been submitted. Ensure that you are addressing the email to the right person and are speaking about the correct company; yes, I have received emails about jobs at a different company and addressed to someone else.
Prior to your initial phone interview, research the company. You seem like an idiot if you don’t know anything about the company or don't have any idea about why you want the job. Make sure you know what your strengths are and what you will bring to the company, and most importantly sell yourself. Even if the job is not your dream job, make it sound like it is the best opportunity and something you are really excited for. You want to have the ability to turn down the job, don’t give them a reason to dismiss you. Prepare a list of questions that you will ask during the interview, they will give you an opportunity to ask questions and it is expected that you have some. Do not ask questions that are simply a waste of time. Use the questions to asses if this is the right job for you. Good questions to ask are: what is the company culture like? what are some future opportunities for growth or a possible career track? What makes someone exceptional at the position? Can you describe the ideal candidate for the position?
After any type of interview write a personalized thank you note to anyone you speak with. While you could always write a thank you email, it is a very nice touch to also send a personalized letter, this will really make you stand out. Make sure in an email or letter to remind your interviewer that you are interested in the job and are an exceptional candidate because of specific reasons, again, SELL YOURSELF.
If you have an in-person interview, wear a business suit and look nice. Do not wear too much make up and especially do not wear anything sleazy, what kind of job do you think that will score you? Have copies of your resume and bring a pen and paper to write on. Shake everyone’s hand prior to sitting down to interview and make sure to say that “it is a pleasure to meet them.” After the meeting reiterate why you are a good candidate for the job and that you look forward to hearing from them soon. Oh, and SELL YOURSELF. If during the interview they ask what your biggest weakness is or a time you failed, make sure that you say a negative that is a positive. Something like, “I am a really hard worker and sometimes that can be a bad thing as I am extremely goal oriented and will never stop until my work is completed. While at my internship, I worked 16 hours in a day to ensure that my project was done exceptionally well and while I received an award for my hard work I was exhausted.” Yeah… this “negative” is just one giant brag with a slight oh boo boo twist.
Go out apply, don’t be afraid to work hard, put in those hours, be seen, do awesome and kick ass in the professional world! Your career path starts with applying so get out there and submit those resumes!