Do the extra credit: Step 1. You look on a company's website or a job search site and find a job you love. Step 2. You apply directly from that site. Step 3. Avoid step two at all costs. If you apply in this manner your application will get lost in the "black hole" of job applications. You'll be applying against thousands of other job searchers. Instead, do a little extra work for a bigger pay off. Scour the internet and LinkedIn for the hiring manager's name and address. Not only will a real live human be on the other end of that email, but they'll be about to see you have great perseverance and investigative skills.
You have a few months to go before you say Sayonara to school and officially become a working professional. You might have taken Psych 101 but chances are you never took a class on how to get a job or what to do when you scored your dream gig.
What if you're applying for your first job...ever: If you've recently graduated from a Masters, MBA or undergraduate program your first thought will most likely be...I have NOTHING to put on my resume. I have never worked! Except, that isn't exactly true. List your hobbies, clubs, conferences, volunteer experiences and activities you are a part of. Have you ever had a leadership role (class president, yearbook editor, captain of JV Field hockey) list it! You should also include what you learned from your school courses; business, teamwork, computer programs, marketing skills, public speaking, etc. All of these items should be a part of your resume. You'll see how quickly your resume fills up after some analysis.
Conquering a job interview: Be prepared. You would never show up to class without reading an assignment and same goes for a good interview. Come armed with information about the company, your boss, and your role. Sign onto LinkedIn and study the Company Page and the career trajectory of your hiring manager.
Be wary of pushy parents: Your parents will always want the best for you but there is a professional line they should never cross. Under no circumstance should your mom and dad be at the interview with you or apply for you. Think I'm kidding? A parent at my firm did just that. He didn't see anything odd about asking me to hire his daughter to be an intern and tell me how great she would be, how he'd be involved and how much he'd be "checking in."
Your parents would never take a test for you or sit in your Spanish class...I hope... same rules apply for the office. You should ask your parents to reach out to their network of co-workers, clients, and friends to see if someone might know of a job opening up. After that, YOU need to be the first point of contact -- not your mom. You could also ask your parents to review your resume or help you with a mock interview. After that, though, you are on your own.
When the new boss is always M.I.A.: If you only have a ask your questions the first few minutes of the day. Let them know you are interested in the business and want to be the best employee for them. Have an idea? Let them know that moving the straws next to the soda cups creates efficiency.
When the office is cliquey: High school cliques annoyingly also exist off campus. Often times these mean girls will at first see you as a threat. Be as friendly as you can to them and try to learn. Make them feel like they are the BMOC. However, if they are still icy – do your best to ignore them. Don't let it get to you and focus on the job at hand.
Ready for a promotion? Before you ask, make sure you deserve it. Here's a list of 4 questions you need to ask yourself:
- Are you helping the company's bottom line?
- Are you punctual and working overtime if you have last-minute client requests?
- Have you been there longer than six months?
- Have you felt that you've made your boss' life easier and are taking on more responsibilities?
If so -- go in for the ask. If not, be the best employee you can be and ask for a promotion 30 days down the line. If you are asking, make sure you come prepared with reasons why you have earned this. Have sales increased since you started? Are you able to get through your work much faster than other employers? Have you created a business website or helped with the social media strategy? Are you volunteering for projects outside your typical responsibilities?
Making a grand & graceful exit: Your employer knows that you won't be at their firm forever. Set up a meeting to chat privately. Start off the conversation by letting them know how amazing it has been to work there (even if it wasn't) and how much you have learned from them as a boss. Then let them know you'll be leaving and will give 2 weeks' notice so they have time to find someone to replace you.
Always end on good terms with a boss – you never know if you'll want the job again down the line or which business owners your boss is friends with in town. You'll also want to count on them for a reference.
After sending your resume out, you finally have a job interview. Here are 5 things you should never say or wear during an interview.
Not: What do you do here?
Fix: If you walk into an interview and you ask the interviewer what they do at the organization that is a fail. First off, you should have researched the company. Secondly, you should have looked up the person you are interviewing with on LinkedIn. Never go into an interview unprepared.
Not: I left because my boss hated me.
Fix: Never, under any circumstances say an unkind word about your boss, coworkers or company. You never want to insert the negative in a job interview.. Always keep things upbeat and positive. Loyalty and trust go a long way in terms of employment. Your new boss wants to ensure you'll use that same digression during your potential career with them.
Not: Over inflating your salary.
Fix: The jigs up. With platforms like Glassdoor and Salary.com as well as industry insight, hiring managers have a general idea of what you are making. If you over ask (and I'm talking more than the cursory 5-10% - you have a big chance of not getting the job. It shows you have unrealistic expectations and have not properly analyzed the market. It's encouraged to negotiate but know what is appropriate.
Not: Not wearing the right clothes.
Fix: Do your homework. Understand the company culture by studying the type of office environment they envision. Don't show up to a start up in a three-piece suit and don't show up to a PE firm in dark jeans and a blazer. You need to look the part. Look like you could easy blend into the team.
Not: You admit to being desperate.
Fix: No hiring manager wants to hire someone who has bounced around from interview to interview. They want to know that you are a strong candidate who is passionate about the position and the product. They want to know your strengths, ideas, and insights. Keep your interview track record under the table. Lead with confidence and understanding of the company.
If you are in college (or have a child who is), it's time to start the search for a summer 2015 internship. While some people might think seven months is a bit too far in advance to start searching, they would be wrong. Competition to get an internship in your desired industry, much less company, is aggressive.
Internships act as a solid bridge between the academic and business worlds. Good internships connect you with great contacts, experience and a good working understanding of the industry. The best internships provide you with tangible training, relationship-building events, hands-on experience and career development seminars. Vault.com recently released their list of the Top 50 Internships for 2015.
Vault surveyed 5,800 interns at 100 different internship programs for theirInternship Experience survey. The survey was based on the following criteria: "quality of life, compensation and benefits, interview process, career development, and full-time employment prospects."
"Today, 40 percent of all entry-level full-time hires in the U.S. are sourced through internship programs," according to Derek Loosvelt, a senior editor at Vault.com. "This means that, for those looking to work for the most desired and admired employers in the country, internships are no longer a luxury but a necessity."
10 Best Overall Internships for 2015:
1. Bates White Summer Consultant Program
2. Elliot Davis ENVISION
3. Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP's Summer Internship
4. Bain & Company Associate Consultant Intern and Summer Associate programs
5. Northwestern Mutual Internship
6. Plante Moran's Internship Experiences
7. KPCB Fellows Program
8. Evercore Advisory Summer Analyst and Summer Associate Program
9. CapTech Summer Internship Program
10. Anadarko Corporation Summer Internship Program
Vault, in addition to ranking the Best Overall Internships, also ranked internship programs in seven industries: Accounting, Consulting, Energy, Financial Services,Investment Banking, Media & Telecom, and Retail & Consumer Products.
Best Accounting Internship: Elliot Davis ENVISION
Best Consulting Internship: Bates White Summer Consultant Program
Best Energy Internship: Anadarko Petroleum Summer Internship Program
Best Financial Services Internship: Northwestern Mutual Internship
Best Investment Banking Internship: Evercore Advisory Summer Analyst and Associate Program
Best Media & Telecommunications Internship: AT&T Finance Leadership Program
Best Retail & Consumer Products Internship: Kohl's Information Technology Internship
According to Loosvelt, the company has been studying, surveying and ranking employers for quite some time. Mainly focusing on consulting, law, banking and now expanding into consumer products, tech, energy, media and entertainment. Why study the internship programs of these industries?
"Internships have been growing in importance, as nearly half of all entry-level full-time jobs at the top employers in the country are now sourced through their internship programs. So we found it important to give readers a better sense of the best internship programs out there, and to give them information about what it's like to intern at top employers as well as how to get these internships," says Loosvelt.
Loosvelt says Millennials are looking for jobs and careers that have meaning.
"Of course, prestige and salary are still important to Millennials, but I don't think they're the most important factors by far (like I think they were to, say, Generation X). I think Millennials want to make an impact. They want to feel their work is meaningful (the definition of what's meaningful varies, of course, from person to person)," says Loosvelt. Some people might want to advance the tech field in Silicon Valley, others might find their meaning in charity, while others are spreading awareness via social media or through education.
"Millennials are very focused on career advancement and training," Loosvelt says. "They're attracted to positions in which they'll be able to make difference right away-that is, being able to contribute to their firm's success without much waiting/training period. And they want to know that they'll be able to advance quickly if they succeed. They shy away from strict advancement time periods. And I believe that Millennials are also less fearful when it comes to changing careers and entrepreneurship -- starting their own ventures. This might just be because it's easier to start businesses these days; for example, brick-and-mortar stores aren't necessary to begin because, in most cases, all you need is a web domain and an idea; it doesn't take that much money to get going."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Millennials will be the majority of the workforce in 2015. Loosvelt agrees that more companies (like the ones ranked in the study) are putting more time and resources into their programs in order to attract top talent and retain them.
There has been a major switch as companies have been putting a greater emphasis on training and development in internship programs. "This is partly, I assume because they realize it pays to do this. If you treat your internship program like one long training period (and now sometimes students will intern two and three summers with the same firm), once your interns start full time with you, they're ready to perform real work, not to mention they're apt to stay at your firm for a lot longer period of time that is, they'll be less apt to jump ship to another firm just for the money since they have a stronger connection (more loyalty) to you," says Loosvelt.
"Companies are increasingly offering better benefits and perks," he adds, "as they understand that Millennials are interested in flexible schedules (to raise families and/or engage in outside-of-work activities) and in having a community feeling at work, which wasn't so much the case with respect to past generations."
When it comes to applying for a job, your cover letter is the gateway in terms of getting a hiring manager intrigued enough to click on your resumé. However, that gateway is often filled with a ton of roadblocks — caused by you. Here are six ways to make sure your cover letter gets the attention it deserves:
1. Get the Name Right
You know how much you hate it when Starbucks baristas misspell your name? Not surprisingly, the people reading your cover letters hate it when you get their names wrong, too.
Take the time to make sure that the HR contact's name is spelled McCarthy — not MacCarthy. Is it Mr. Alex Meyer or Ms. Alex Meyer? (If you don't know, find out.) Type the person's name into LinkedIn and make sure to get it right. I've been called Mr. Jacinto or addressed as simply “Dear Jacinto” more times than I care to remember.
Also, if it's a email@example.com email address, go the extra step to determine who the actual hiring manager is and address the cover letter to him or her. Never write “To whom it may concern.” It concerns Mary Adler, Hiring Manager at Accosta Accounting. She'll appreciate the research.
2. Keep It Personal
Stop copy-and-pasting your form cover letter. Hiring managers see right through this lazy attempt at career searching. Your defense that the companies are all alike? Well, that might be the case, but your job as an applicant is to highlight why each and every company you apply to is “the one.” That means making the cover letter as personalized as possible.
3. Research Who You're Emailing
Study the person's career and mention it in the cover letter, if applicable. For instance, “I read your recent article… admire your career… loved the product launch you worked on…” Everyone likes hearing a little bit of praise. Whatever you do, avoid this major mistake made by a candidate who had no idea what I did for a living.
4. Connect the Dots
Your cover letter is the key to getting into the front door of an employer. This is your opportunity to tell your story and help HR understand your career. Do you want to make the move from PR professional to journalist? This is the place to explain that. No need to rehash your resumé. Instead, focus on a strategic career story that will align you with the job in question.
5. Fight the Urge to Ramble
It starts out as an extra sentence or two, but when you're done, you've created a short story instead of a cover letter. Save some mystery for the interview. The person reading your cover letter is busy — and chances are, so are you. Don't waste anyone's time with a rambling cover letter.
6. Keep It Short
Three paragraphs is a good length. I've seen cover letters that are a bit longer and a tad shorter, but it all comes back to the quality of the words. No need to start off with, “My name is ______.” Chances are they'll be able to tell that from your email address and signature. And if you aren't a recent graduate, there's no need to highlight the school you attended, either.
How to Read Between the Lines of Job Descriptions
When you are applying for a job, keep in mind that you aren't the only one who is sprucing up your resumé and cover letter lingo to help sell yourself. Job descriptions are written with the same type of intent. You never know what kind of environment you'll be stepping into, but carefully decoding job descriptions can help pull back the uncertain layers. Here are five terms you may run into and what they mean:
1. “Self-Motivated Team Player”
You need to expect that this work environment will not give you a lot of direction, hence the “self-starter” request. Creating work for yourself without an agenda from a supervisor is expected. When you do “play with the team,” you'll be expected to contribute ideas and work with different types of personalities. It also means that you'll do as the boss says and work on projects across the company as needed.
2. “Excellent Salary”
This is an advertising tactic to get potential hires to apply. “Excellent salary” means different things to different people. Some people think 70K is excellent, while others believe 150K is excellent. Traditionally, salary is discussed after an offer is made. The employer believes they've sold you on a great job, even if the true salary might come up short on your end.
3. “Good sense of humor required”
This office resembles a fraternity which includes an environment where foul language, eating contests and practical jokes are welcome. It is also code that they don't take the work that they're doing too seriously, which might mean that they won't take you seriously. You need to be comfortable working in a very relaxed environment where people might be playing flip cup while you're working on a deadline. In order to be accepted, you'll need to be a team player and participate in a pizza-eating contest or two.
4. “Must have a 'no job is too small' attitude”
In my first job, this meant that I spent Saturday nights lugging heavy metal objects to company events. Other times, this will mean you'll be expected to pull an all-nighter to finish a PowerPoint deck, or maybe come in a half-hour early a few times a month to prep for a meeting. It also means that you can virtually never utter the phrase “that's not my job,” because it's been spelled out in the job description that you are up for every task (unless it is illegal or immoral, of course). Otherwise, this boss will expect you to shut your mouth and do the job.
5. “Extremely organized”
Almost every job description includes “organized” as a requirement, but when they add an “extremely” you might have a problem. This boss will be a control freak with a major case of OCD. He or she will expect you to have an immaculate filing system, an alphabetized book collection, and for your workspace and desktop to be as neat and organized as their own. If you thrive in a messy space, this isn't for you.