Now that it's officially summer, I can only assume that you are growing frustrated at your job search. Please don't give up hope. It's hard to find a job when it appears that everyone else is gunning for the same job and has the same skill set as you. It's time to set yourself apart.
First, as I've stated before make sure your resume is current, free of errors and concise. If you think your resume needs work, please seek the advice of your college or a local community college. The same advice goes for a cover letter. Remember, add something salient to each cover letter that shows you know what the company or organization is about. For example, if you were in charge of events for your sorority, say so. Many organizations are looking for self-starters who have experience in handling these types of tasks.
Secondly, when applying to jobs please read the job descriptions and find out something about the company. It's crucial to know if you're qualified for the job and if you'll enjoy working for the company. Though it might seem beneficial to apply for as many jobs as possible, even if you have no interest in them, having a targeted job search will help you in the long run. If you go and interview for a job you have no interest in, the interviewers will likely see right through you and realize you are wasting their time.
Many people grow nervous when it comes to the actual interview. It is important to be confident and prepared. If you are naturally shy and unsure of yourself, go to a few mock interviews at the local community college to grow more comfortable with the situation. Don't think of the situation as intimidating - the interviewer is looking for a new person and is hoping you succeed. I think it's a good idea to research the company and bring a few notes to the interview with you. You should clearly understand the company's mission, history and client base. This information can typically be found on a company's Web site. There are a myriad of articles on how to handle interviews and all offer great advice - find what makes sense to you and prep before the big day. Some of my biggest pieces of advice are: always be positive and optimistic; avoid talking too much or talking over the interviewer; and never pause during questioning - if you need time to think about an answer, you should say so. Don't say "um" or stare blankly. I think it's also important to have follow up questions for the inevitable time when the interviewer asks if you have any last questions. Ideally, you should come up with two or three questions that show you understand the company and the work you will be doing. However, if these questions have been answered during the course of the interview, I recommend asking what a typical day is like at the company. This shows you are invested and you won't have to think of a question on the spot.
When the interview is finished, it is always important to send a thank you card. In this fast-paced generation, an immediate email is acceptable but I recommend sending a traditional card as soon as possible. Many employers think young people are out of touch with this way of thinking, so you will set yourself apart from other candidates. In the end, isn't that what you are hoping for?
By: Amy Muldoon
Amy Muldoon graduated from Penn State University in 2005 and worked in corporate public relations for three years before returning to graduate school at Holy Family University to become a secondary English teacher. Her strengths include: drafting speeches, writing talking points for media interviews, making corporate presentations, and writing for publications.
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