Know Your Industry And Impress Your Boss

By Lisa Correu, Principal/Job Search Advocate, AfterSchool Career Workshops

Are you up to speed on your industry? Do you know what the bigwigs are up to? If you want to catch the eye of your employer or interviewer and blow them away bring up current trends, recent market shifts or industry predictions and watch them melt into stunned little puddles of joy. When you can speak about matters pertinent to an entry-level position that's fabulous. When you can speak with knowledge about matters that go beyond your pay grade then that’s just fabulouser.  Way fabulouser. Yes, I made that word up.


Pay Attention!

By Lisa Correu, Principal/Job Search Advocate, AfterSchool Career Workshops

My son was speaking to me the other day about something that seemed important to him but I was deeply involved in writing some web copy and since his conversations lately have run to why the dog shouldn’t be on the couch I just sort of ignored him. So when he finally screamed, “The cupcakes are BURNING!” I realized he really did have something to say and I pulled the scorched pan from the oven, said something bad under my breath, and decided to never bake again.

It’s easy to become a bit too focused sometimes, a little myopic and ignore what’s just outside your nose. You’re probably guilty. You’re in school, have been for several years and now you’re almost at the end; you can taste that diploma and you hopefully (ok definitely) have your job search going. But you also need to keep your eyes on the bigger world. Keep up with the news, stay abreast of what’s happening culturally, delve a little deeper than you might normally and click on random links when you’re surfing. If you find a word you don’t know, look it up. Look at bestseller lists and read music and movie reviews. Pay attention to editorials both locally and nationally and start reading the business sections of newspapers. Begin thinking about how what you read applies to you; make it personal, it’s time to start including yourself in the population. And watch this come in handy when you can conduct an intelligent conversation with a new contact or, even better, a hiring manager. Contributing to a conversation and taking it further will win you real points.

I’ve met a few entry-level candidates over the years who were very aware of the world around them, about history, about past culture and, bizarrely, music made before 2003. They made the best impressions and were hired more often. Sadly, they were more the exception than the rule. There are many small ways to surpass the typical candidate. Paying attention is one of them.

How does all this produce a successful job search? Find out at our day-long job search seminar with AfterSchool Career Workshops and get on the path to a successful career!


Your own personal Stephen

by Lisa Correu, Principal/Job Search Advocate, AfterSchool Career Workshops

One of my very best friends, I’ll call him Stephen, because his name is Stephen, is completely fearless. He can walk up to anyone and within minutes they’re like old friends. I used to say he could talk the knife from a serial killer. Problem is he would have talked him into a sharper knife just to help him out a little. He is open, completely affable and there isn’t a disingenuous bone in his long body. Me, on the other hand, I’ve always been rather shy, my worst nightmare used to walking into a room of strangers and it still gives me a bit of the heeb jeebs when I have to do it. But a long time ago I learned to channel Stephen. I just throw his cloak about my shoulders and well, shoulder on. I’ve learned how to talk to people I don’t know, make phone calls to strangers and be more myself at the same time. Don’t get me wrong; Stephen isn’t perfect, his car used to be a trash bin harboring more bacteria than your average housefly. He’s always late, more often than not he looks like he slept in his clothes and he can’t remember a punch line. But he’s given me the ability to be brave. So when the time comes to pitch yourself to a prospective contact, interviewer or just a person you’d like to get to know better channel your own personal Stephen. Use him to put the veneer of fearlessness about you and go forth and conquer.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be yourself, not at all, not even a little. Especially when it comes to job interviews and, well, your actual life. What I’m saying is that there will always be people around you that you can learn from and if one of them teaches you to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations you’re more likely to make a positive impression. You can relax enough to engage in good conversation and make some new friends or important connections. You’ll also give off an air of confidence that will no doubt impress a prospective employer. So get out there, think about your Stephen and see what happens! You'll find the confidence you need and then it's all yours.

Want to learn more about overcoming job hunt shyness? Come to an AfterSchool Career Workshop day-long seminar and learn the secrets to a successful, productive and non-intimidating job search!