Are you about to graduate? Know someone that is? Fanscapers, Allie Wester (ASU ’07), Irene Shin (UC Irvine, ’09) and Andrew Germer (Pepperdine MBA ’10) share some tips, tricks and simple ways to stand out as you navigate the waters for your first post-graduation gig.
Something that all three agree with is to research the company before applying and again before interviewing. Allie simply states, do your homework before you speak with a potential employer and Irene suggests that you also check out the company’s social activity (Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to see if it’s one you’d like to work for. But before you even get to the application process, Andrew (Fanscape’s most recent hire) strongly suggests that your public image serves as your professional image – clean up those Facebook pages everyone. Here are six other great tips that can help you land that perfect first job:
- Get organized – Not all job opportunities are listed on Mashable and Monster. Make an excel spreadsheet with your dream places to work in one column, and links to their job opportunities pages in another. Check each link daily or every other day. That’s how I found my job at Fanscape – right on the careers page! (Allie)
- Identify your strengths and recognize your core competencies – This can be tricky, especially if you have little or no work experience, so take some time to evaluate yourself – main takeaways from previous experiences and what you hope to learn from the new position. As honestly as you can, try to find things that distinguish you from your peers. Try to think of your skills that will translate to the professional world (communication, project management) rather than academic skills (courses completed, GPA). Leverage those skills and you will be more confident and comfortable when talking about yourself. (Irene and Andrew)
- Tailor that cover letter – this may sound like a no-brainer, but when employers receive hundreds and even thousands of applications via various online sources, this is your way to stand out. They may be one of the hardest things to write but this is your chance to illustrate why you want to work for the company, what you can offer the company and how THEY can benefit from hiring you. Feel free to be bold – using phrases like “I am writing to request an interview in person at your earliest convenience so that we may discuss my potential fit for this opening in more detail,” this shows to an hiring manager that you are confident and clearly expresses that you are serious. (Allie and Andrew)
- Professionalize your online life – just as you are researching a company online, they are also researching you. Once you make the more obvious edits, such as cleaning up those photos on your Facebook or MySpace pages, “Google” yourself and check out the first 8-10 pages to make sure there’s no erroneous or inappropriate results that could be hazardous to your job hunt. The more and more you congregate online, the more and more it is available to the general public, so be careful what you’re saying out there, it could hamper your ability to land that dream job. Also make sure those Facebook privacy settings are set to your liking – keep in mind that Facebook defaults its settings to public. It is up to you to if you want those photos, opinions and “likes” private or public. (Andrew)
- Blog about it already – With sites like WordPress, Tumblr and Posterous, blogging has become incredibly easy. Host a blog and contribute to it regularly. If it is not already taken, you should immediately secure the web domain of your name, for example, JoeSmith.com. Domains are very affordable ($10 or less per year) and are something that will add to your professional appearance. Also, most blog sites will let you use another domain as the blog’s address. If the first result on Google is yourname.com and your site contains postings about topics relevant to your potential industry, you are pretty much guaranteed to have made a great impression on the employer and have given yourself the edge you need. (Andrew)
- Look sharp and be prepared for that interview – in addition to getting a good night’s sleep the night before, a good rule of thumb is that it’s always better to over dress than under dress. Sure, it can be sort of weird when you’re in a suit and the person interviewing you is in jeans – but it leaves a lasting impression and shows you mean business. Take that research you did on the company and be prepared to ask questions that are germane to the position and company and while you’re at it be prepared to answer why you feel that you’re the right person for the job. (Allie and Irene)
And by all means send a Thank You note. In addition to being polite and the right thing to do, it keeps you top-of-mind in this competitive job market.
Congratulations on graduating and good luck on the job hunt!
Allie, Irene & Andrew