30Dec/090

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!