Are you a college student and new to the job hunt? Have you been applying for jobs and aren’t getting the response you thought you would? Are you simply looking to polish your professional profile? If any of these apply, then here are some tips for you!
1. Use your school’s career office. This is one of the most important steps you can take to help your career. It’s never too early or late to go in and speak with a career advisor. Career centers will offer a variety of services for students, such as resume and cover letter editing, mock interviews, networking tips, and interview coaching.
2. Network, network, network. Building a list of connections is often vital when searching for a job. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you know. Friends, family, and former teachers might have the information you need to help you move in the right direction. If you have a professor at your school that you feel comfortable speaking with, they might have information for you as well.
3. Clean up your forms of contact. It’s a good idea to double check privacy settings of your commonly used social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Make sure that the profile picture that you’re using is appropriate. Have you created an email strictly for professional use? It might not be a bad idea to do so. Using your school email is often fine, but remember that you might not have access to it once you graduate. Another commonly missed form of contact is your voicemail greeting. Keep it simple and to the point, such as simply stating your name, and that you will get back to whoever is calling as soon as possible.
4. Be patient. More often than not, the very first job application you send out will not lead to your employment. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately get a response you were looking for. Keep looking and applying for jobs, even if you’ve already applied for a job that you’re positive you’ll get. If you apply for a job that you think you have a good shot at getting, follow up after sending your resume if they do not expressly state no phone calls or emails, but do not call or email multiple times if you don’t hear anything immediately.
5. Use professional networking websites. Many students don’t utilize websites such as LinkedIn, but they can be valuable in building your network. Other social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook can be useful as well, but again, make sure your profile looks professional.
6. Know what you’re looking for. What type of work are you looking for? Part-time? An internship? Summer work? Are you a senior who’s getting ready to start a long-term career? Do you need or have experience and training in the field you’re looking in? Having all of this information ready can help a great deal, especially when you are going to speak to your school’s career office. The more you prepare and know about what you’re looking for, the easier it will be for somebody to help you.
7. Practice interview questions. There are many common questions that interviewers ask, and if you have already practiced answers for them, it will show that you have come prepared for the interview. This also helps your interview run smoothly, and you won’t spend time grasping for an answer. Outside from your career office, you can use a friend or family to help you run through questions.
8. Research potential employers. Before you apply for a job, it’s a good idea to look into a company before you send out an application. This will give you an idea if you think you’d be a good fit with the company, as well as giving you more information that what’s available from a brief job description. If you then get an interview for a job, that gives you a chance to ask specific questions about the company that you may have. This will look good to the employer, as it show’s that you’re serious and interested. There’s also strong chance that any interviewer will ask you questions about their company, such as “Why are you interested in working here?” If you’ve already done the preparation beforehand, it will show that you have come prepared.
9. Say thank you. After an interview, make sure to thank the person (or people) who have interviewed you, not only before you leave, but by a form of communication as well. Sending a brief email of thank you note two or three days after your interview is a nice touch.
10. Proofread. Before you apply to each new job, make sure you proofread everything. Always double-check that your resume and cover letter mention the correct job. Double check for any spelling and grammatical errors in any form of communication you’re going to send out. If you have recently moved or gotten a new phone number, make sure that you are putting your new contact info on your application materials. It would be a shame to miss out on an opportunity because of one of these small errors.
It’s fall and it’s time to head back to school…. AND get to work!
As any professional will tell you, getting an education is important, but not as important as getting perspective. I remember my first job out of school and I was shocked by two things – first, I didn’t learn as much as I should have – especially those skills needed to actually complete the job. Second, I was surprised how the content I learned actually applied to real-life situations. It wasn’t until I was placed in a situation where I had to make the jump from classroom to implementation that it clicked – “Oh, I guess I do have to write reports for something other than class credit.”
Most schools will teach you the info, but not the application of the info. For example, schools can teach you to write, but how many teach you to write a properly formatted memo? Many schools will teach you speaking skills, but how many teach you how to communicate one on one with someone else to negotiate a contract? At school we learn the content, but there is no substitute for applying the skills on the job and the only way to do that is to actually get a job!
I know you’re busy and your grades are important. I know you probably don’t need the extra cash, BUT you’ll be thankful you took that part-time job when you are looking for full-time employment after you graduate. Working while in school does several things – here are just a few:
- It helps you apply what you learn in school
- It helps you learn what you didn’t learn in school but need to know
- It tells employers that you have some experience
- It shows that you’re not afraid to work (believe me this is more important than you can imagine)
- It gives you a chance to be accountable to someone else
- It gives you the chance to interview
- It builds a list of quality references
- It helps you network
- It could lead to a permanent job opportunity
- It helps you figure out what you like and don’t like
- It forces you to manage your time better
- It gives you perspective!
Getting the job I want is difficult – I can’t get the job I want
So what?! Take the job you can get, put your “all” into it and get the most out of it you can. You’ll be amazed at where it leads you. Also, regardless of how important you deem the job to be, remember that this job is very important to your employer. This means you need to practice those skills that are going to make you indispensable to your next employer. Those skills are:
- Showing up on time
- Following through on a commitment
- Following directions
- Being appropriate in appearance and actions
- Helping your employer be successful
- Being honest
- Being trustworthy
- Communicating successfully
Don’t wait until your senior year to start worrying about a job. Those that focus on employment early in their school career will have a far superior chance at getting a full-time job. Not only will it be easier to get a job, but you’ll already have the needed perspective to set you ahead of your peers fighting for the same job.
I was talking with my 15 year old recently and the topic of being a “hard worker” came up. I asked him to do some work around the house and while he did what was asked it was done late and not without complaint. When I talked to him about what it meant to be a hard worker he felt that the term “hard work” related to him because he completed the task AND the work he did was difficult. For any employer or manager the term “hard worker” has a much different meaning than many employees understand. For teens, becoming a hard worker and understanding what a hard worker is can make a huge difference in your success. Here are the 5 steps we use to identify hard workers at CollegeHelpers.com and the expectations we set for any new entry-level employee. As we like to say – “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” – Kevin Durant. Needless to say, my son has also now learned the difference.
How to be a hard worker
Step 1 – Do the work
My son had the first part right – you’ve got to do the work you’ve been assigned – even if it’s hard.
Step 2 – Do the work when it’s supposed to be done
Hard workers know that if they have a job to do that they should do it ASAP in relationship to the other jobs assigned, not when it’s convenient. If you’re not working on something else at the moment – do it immediately. Don’t wait for the “right moment” or until you feel motivated to get the job done and most of all don’t wait to be told a second time.
Step 3 – Be happy you have work to do
We had an intern working with us recently who sighed every time she was assigned a new task. There is no bigger turn-off for an employer than an employee who doesn’t want to do a job. When asked why she was sighing her response was that the task didn’t interest her. She is now doing uninteresting tasks somewhere else. Being a hard worker means getting the job done with a good attitude even when it’s not fun. We all have to do work we don’t like that’s why it’s called work and it’s how we make opportunities for career progress.
Step 4 – Don’t wait to be asked to do something
Hard workers know the path to success is about getting things done. If you don’t currently have a task to do find something productive that is useful – be proactive. It’s great if you can do steps 1 through 3 but what really proves you’re a hard worker is finding your own work to do without being told. A hard worker doesn’t just wait for the job, they go out and get it done on their own.
Step 5 – Do the work without expectation of praise
We all like to hear that we’ve done a good job, but hard workers learn to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment more than the praise of others. Not surprisingly, those who don’t need to be praised are the ones who receive praise the most.
How employers can create hard workers
As employers, we should help educate the next generation of workers. Set clear expectations when hiring a student to work for you and be clear that you only hire hard workers AND tell them what makes someone a hard worker. Last step – recognize their efforts when they get it right even when they don’t expect it!
So you’re interested in hiring a college student to work for you? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that hiring and working with a current college student is the same as when you were their age. One of the biggest mistakes an employer today can make is to underestimate current college students when recruiting them for a part-time, internship or seasonal job. How can that be? You remember being 17 to 22 years old and the process was pretty simple. You needed some money, you found a job, you did the work, and you got paid. While the process hasn’t changed, you’ll find that the students you’re trying to recruit and employ have changed and how you market your job opportunities to them will determine the success of your hiring campaign.
Affectionately referred to as the Millennial Generation, college students today are well educated, optimistic, open-minded, collaborative, well connected, service oriented and highly sought after. They have high expectations for the people they work for so recruiting them requires special attention. Gone are the days of putting up a “Help Wanted” sign and expecting the students to come waltzing in. Those employers who have had great success in recruiting students understand what the “recruits” are looking for in their job search. Using our 10 tips listed below will help you craft the perfect job announcement for reaching the Millennials.
- Use your personal voice – Students want to be able to connect with a potential employer and get a sense of your personality. They understand that most jobs are “work”, but they would like to know what type of person they will be working for and that you’re approachable. Drafting the description for a large business? No problem! You can still incorporate the personality of the company/office/store where they will be working into the description.
- Tell them how they can make a difference working for you – How is this student going to impact your business, family, community, etc? It’s not enough for a millennial to just “do” a job, they want to know how they fit into the big picture and make a difference. Keep in mind that you want to focus on meaningful work – students can quickly pick up on a “con” job. Also, BE SPECIFIC. Simply writing “Work for us and make a difference in our business,” won’t cut it.
- Emphasize work with peers – If there is any possibility that your job opportunity will allow them to work with and/or make friends, highlight it! Students are very comfortable working in teams and they naturally gravitate to jobs that allow them to interact with their peers.
- Don’t be afraid to set the bar high – Students are willing and able to work hard especially if the job is challenging and doable. They seek out opportunities that expand their abilities and push them to a new level. Also, communicate that you are looking for students that can demonstrate excellence with the skills you are interested in. Doing so provides the students a chance to prove that they are better than the competition.
- Highlight the use of technology – Current students live and breathe technology. If your job can make use of their technology skills, be sure to include it in the job description.
- Multitasking – Is multitasking part of the job you’re offering? If it is, be sure to provide it in your job description. While you might get nervous at the thought of trying to do too much at the same time, current students relish the opportunity to utilize their multitasking abilities.
- Make sure you’re competitive with the salary – Students want to be paid what they are worth and as long as they have job choices, they will opt for positions that are paying within the market.
- Highlight any perks available – This one often goes overlooked because employers don’t often think of perks from a student’s perspective. Free food, gas money, housing, a quiet place to study, scholarships, experience for their resume, discounts, clothing… What does your job offer in addition to money?
- Can you be flexible with the schedule? – Face it, students are busy – both with school and their social life. Any flexibility you have in scheduling their work hours will work in your favor.
- Location, Location, Location! – While you may have some luck advertising your job in print, you will have much greater success with online avenues, especially those that target your specific industry or need.
If you’re interested in hiring a current college student for a part-time job, seasonal job or internship; you can reach students from all over the country in 1 location easily at CollegeHelpers.com!