Does It Have to Be X vs Y?

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

When I was an advertising recruiter I looked forward to entry level hiring. My agency was smart enough to know that the new ideas and new perspectives of recent graduates were vital to a progressive organization. So I’ve been a little startled in the last few years to watch so called Gen Y being looked at a bit like a new breed of human or exotic zoo animal. “What do we feed them? Can they get wet? What's a Band of Horses?” It’s also discouraging to see so many comments from resentful Gen Xers along the lines of “turn down that damned rock and roll!”


Internships and How to Manage Them

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

These days it’s practically required that you have at least two internships during or right after college. Employers will always go for entry-level candidates with productive and relevant intern experiences over those who just didn’t bother and more and more are hiring from the intern pool. So let’s assume you got a fabulous spot with a great company or organization. How can you milk this puppy for all it’s worth?


Knowing Job Titles Makes You Look More Smarter

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

So what do you want to do with your life? You’ve just graduated from college or maybe you’re about to enter your final year. Hopefully (definitely) you’re working on a job search and reaching out to build your network. In a perfect world you know tons of people who can help you, you’re perfecting your communication skills and your resume reads like Tolstoy. Well maybe not Tolstoy because that would mean it’s really long and no one ever finishes it. But you get what I’m saying. The entry-level job world is out there waiting and so you gather your courage and apply for…? What? Do you know the job titles and duties of the positions you’re qualified for? No? Do you know the diff between a communications coordinator and a communications manager? A documents administrator and a documents liaison? I made those last two up but they probably exist somewhere. It’s tough to network and speak about yourself if you’re unfamiliar with what you’re qualified for or know the job titles that exist in your chosen profession. Just throwing a resume out there with a cover letter saying, “whatever you think I’m qualified for” is asking for an eye roll and the electronic version of oblivion. You are in charge of what you’re qualified for.


Eleven Tips on Job Hunting During a Recession

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

I'm sure you’re hearing about how crappy the employment situation is for recent grads. The sandwich board of doom says something like 20% aren’t getting employed and the number of grads with job offers before graduation is half what it was in 2007. But if you put some work into it, mix in a little creativity and stay focused you can get that job. Here are eleven tips to get you going.


Top Ten Job Interview Tips (Or why it’s not a good idea to hug the hiring manager)

By  Lisa Correu and Kathryn Lorenzen, The CareerMongers.

Let’s be honest, interviewing for a new job can be a nerve-wracking and intimidating experience. You’re nervous, anxious, vulnerable and one step away from running for the door. On the other hand, if you are prepared and confident it can be a positive encounter with a potential new boss or co-worker. These tips can take some of the anxiety out of the interview process and make the experience suck a little bit less.


Leave the Hive, Get a Job

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

I’ve been doing a lot of speaking recently to various colleges, career fairs and industry organization events and I’ve noticed a few things. T-shirts are cooler than they were when I was in school and I need to update my sitcom references. But the most surprising thing I've observed is that the sense of urgency I would have expected in upcoming grads just isn’t there. Maybe you’ve been beaten down by all the crappy stats and depressing news stories that keep saying you’re screwed, no one will ever have a job again and we should just kill ourselves. Can’t say I blame you there, I have to turn off the tube, get the hell away from the Wall Street Journal website and run over to College Humor just to keep the noose away from me, too.

So here’s my theory on this. We are pack animals and there is nothing so pack-like as a college campus. You all move in herds, as one, into buildings, out of buildings, down tree lined sidewalks and into other buildings. You’ve been conditioned to think of yourselves as a single entity. Yes I know you’re individuals, yes I know you find ways to stand out from each other and right now your creativity knows few boundaries. But when you regard the world after graduation I think maybe you see it from the group perspective. So when you’re told everything sucks you believe it as a group. If no one’s getting a job than neither are you.


This is your chance. Shake off the notion that you will all move on together and simultaneously apply for the one job that’s out there. Break off, see your potential, and learn to promote yourself as an individual, tell me what’s great about you. Screw the Generation Y, Millennial or whatever hive name you’ve been given. It will only serve to keep you in the group. Lean on the group, use the group for advice, play with the group but keep you to yourself. Sure the unemployment rate for 20-24 year olds is a bitter 16% but the EMPLOYMENT rate for 20-24 year olds is 84%! Somebody’s getting the jobs.

So get out there, get that urgency and use it to get ahead of the hive. And then you can re-group with the hive over beers and bitch about your jobs. It’s what the rest of us do.


Oh Wise and Recent Hire, Do You Have 20 Minutes?

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

So how ‘bout those informational interviews? They’re a fantastic way of intelligence gathering and getting your name out there for potential openings.  They’re great practice for real job interviews but without the crushing nervousness. You can ask for feedback and the interviewer won’t feel the pressure of having to hire.  Plus, the more people you meet the more familiar you'll become with the jargon and buzzwords of the industry. Interviewers will respond to this when you meet with them to discuss an actual opening.

But let’s dig a little deeper into our bag of tricks and go beyond the normal informational interview. Rather than concentrating solely on mid- to upper- level people or managers consider reaching out to people just a few years out of college. They can be a source of great job search information, advice and encouragement.  They’ll know the duties and requirements of entry-level positions and most will be happy to help someone close to their own age.


What do you want, an invitation?

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

I am a procrastinator. I’ve been putting off writing this blog. No good reason, I love to write and since this is also my job I need to get off my tuchus and do this. But you see, I have a Facebook ad to put into play, I need to Tweet something of interest to our followers that won’t get lost in between the teeth whitening mom and the wingnut that thinks our President is from Venus. I have to get my son enrolled in school and vacuum my house. Actually that should be first.

So I get it. You’re in college and there are things you’d rather be doing than thinking about getting a job when they make you leave after graduation. Especially now when things are just crappy for college grads.

But a job search can’t start too soon. And if you think that means just looking for posted job openings you should come and join us in 2010. The vast majority of entry-level jobs aren’t posted.  A job posting costs the employer money so they’re reserved for upper level positions that are harder to fill. And that means it’s time to buckle down and do your homework. Don’t you hate that cliché? But it’s absolutely true. You will have to build a network, learn everything you can about companies in the city you choose to live in, figure out where the jobs are and learn to speak about yourself in a way that makes people want to help you. Oh yeah and then there’s that pesky resume and cover letter, interview skills, follow up, offer negotiation and you’re thinking about taking a nap now aren’t you? Can’t blame you there. But all of those things I just typed are things your competition isn’t doing. They’re sitting and surfing for openings on Monster.com and wondering why no one is calling them back. So think of this as working without a job. You wouldn’t go to work and complain that you have to work would you? Would you accept a job and then tell your new boss you’ll come in when you get around to it? Don’t wait to work at getting work. No one performs well when they’re panicked. At least not for long and certainly not at their best.

So get off your tuchus and get to work.


Surviving a Long Job Search

Guest Blogger Michael Wells, Marketing Assistant at DaVinci Roofscapes

So, you just graduated, or perhaps graduated a while ago, and you're looking for the first company that will take a chance on you. The bills are piling up. The six-month grace period on your loans is coming – or gone. You're looking for a spark of life on the Internet – anything that will give you direction or hope.

I spent a year and a half looking for my first job. And the most important thing I learned? Perseverance. The ability to keep moving forward, in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.

These are the things that kept me moving forward and may help you:

  1. Find an unpaid internship. The experience is worth more than money.
  2. Set up informational interviews. (Don't roll your eyes.) It's a great way to build your network.
  3. Know the top ten places you want to work. And know them inside and out.
  4. Network, network, network. When you think you've networked enough, network some more.
  5. Keep in touch with your contacts.
  6. Find things that draw you closer to what you ultimately want to do. Subscribe to Ad Age, Communications Arts, etc.; join the local American Advertising Federation chapter or other local industry associations; get involved in charity work; take more classes; read industry books.)
  7. Form a virtual agency. I did. Gather together people in the same boat as you and find a pro-bono client to create work for.
  8. Start freelancing.
  9. Work social media. You'll be amazed at the number of positions posted through LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook that you won't see anywhere else.

In the end, you've got to love this business. And be willing to work through all the crap that is between you and your first job. Remember, at any moment, your first job is right around the corner. Keep moving forward and you'll find it.

Happy hunting!


Ask Questions!

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

I was talking with a partner in a very good design firm about our workshops and he told me one of the things that really irks him when interviewing prospective hires. My friend: “Do you have any questions for me or is there anything else you’d like to know about our company?” Interviewee: “No not really. I’ve been to your website so I pretty much know everything I need to know.”
And another one bites the dust.