20Oct/110

The Ten-Minute Job Search

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

Looking for a job doesn’t always have to be an all-day, um, job. There are things you can do in just a few minutes that will take the edge off the anxiety when you might not have time for a deeper commitment. Here are five things to choose from that you can do in ten minutes to keep your momentum going.

Photo Courtesy of Jon Jordan

5Apr/112

Does Your Resume Bore Even You?

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

How’s your resume? Have you read it, really read, it in the past month? If not, open it up and dust it off. A resume is a living document and should be reevaluated regularly. And if you're not getting the responses you expect from it this is definitely the time to examine the content.

Read it carefully and think about what you’ve learned in your job search since you created it, asking yourself these questions:

5Mar/102

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.

30Nov/090

Oh the resume!

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

Oh the resume! That 100K bit of information that can lead to an interview or lead to nowhere. It’s a confounding document, there are disasters lurking in the margins, disinterest in the bullet points and some more time in your parent’s basement in the objective statement. You’re not sure if an employer will care if you were an Eagle Scout, delivered pizzas or are a champion Scrabble player. It can be terrifying to hit “Send” and know it’s now out of your hands.
But you are so capable of delivering a confident document; you just don’t know it yet. An entry-level resume can be viewed as the easiest record of your qualifications that you’ll ever compose. A smart employer (and you DO want to work for a smart employer) knows that you are unformed and untested. They look forward to hiring entry-level talent as a way to get the best and brightest combined with the high energy that a new graduate can bring. Therefore your first obligation to your resume is to emphasize what you’ve learned so far, how it prepares you to move into the working world and what you’re looking forward to as you do. A potential employer will appreciate a concise assessment of all of this; don’t make them work to find out who you are, they don’t like to do that. Ever.
Whatever you list, whether it’s the curriculum you studied, internships, summer or full-time jobs or volunteer efforts don’t just put them as bullets points of history. What did you learn? Don’t just say, “answered phones, took orders, joined the PR club” How did each of these experiences move you forward? Did they inspire you in any way?

Try this:
You worked at Target for a summer, you want to put down:
• Worked cash register
• Stocked shelves
• Worked at returns desk

BLECH…

What you might say:
I learned the importance of customer service by going above and beyond my job duties to make sure they were satisfied. I gained patience and empathy while working at the returns desk and became proficient at company policy.

You can make your resume much more attractive just by staying away from merely stating your duties or memberships. You’re probably not aware of how you benefited from your experiences but if you think hard about each item you’re listing you’ll find a way to make it a positive outcome.

Here again:
• Member of Public Relations Society of America.

YAWN…

What you might say:
• As a two year member of my PRSA chapter I headed our charity fundraiser, recruited volunteers and we exceeded our goals. It was a positive experience and made me aware of my leadership qualities.

Or if you just went to meetings, paid attention and took something away from your membership you can still say:
• Member of PRSA-attended meetings consistently and gained insight into industry organizations and their goal of continued professional development.

See? You can expand your education and experiences to make yourself much more appealing and interesting simply because through these experiences you HAVE become much more appealing and interesting. Don’t sell yourself short!

Image©toothpastefordinner.com

12Nov/090

Are we human?

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

So you're approaching graduation, or at least approaching the time to start thinking about graduation. And now this goal you've been working toward for, let's face it, your entire life will soon be reached. You'll wear a gown and mortarboard, party hearty for a few nights and high five a lot of people. You'll sit back and sigh, it's over and I'm now a diploma bearing, bona fide college graduate.

And then it'll become completely meaningless. The top will become the bottom.

You'll graduate with hundreds of your closest friends and like those ridiculous robots in the last three crappy Star Wars movies you'll all move forward at the same time, muttering softly to yourselves and then explode. Ok, maybe not explode but you'll look around and realize you're one of many and you're all looking for a job. Suddenly you need to be different from all of them, unique, attractive, sought after and ultimately employed.
So how do you do that when for the most part you ARE just like all the others?
First of all you should stop reading now and give me the finger. I've just taken all your hard work and effort and thrown it in the potty. I've just made you feel what you may be suspecting already. But I'm wrong and so are you.
Now is the time to start thinking about just how very different you are from the people you sit beside and see in halls every day. What do your friends see in you? Why do they seek you out? Ask them. What do you spend your free time doing and how have you spent your summers? Do you like to be alone or if left alone do you just put on some Death Cab and cry in your pillow? What bad habits do you need to fix and seriously, be honest with yourself. Ask your friends this as well and give them a pass on whatever they say. This is a great time to discover your human elements. You will focus on your job skills or promote your internships later but let's just try and figure out what makes you special. Not only will this help you when you write your resume but will help you narrow down where you want to work and how you present yourself to a potential employer. Knowing who you are will give you a boost in confidence, help you define your first steps and even make talking to strangers a bit less horrifying.
So just who do you think you are?