Today's blog post outlines some helpful tips and steps to follow when conducting your job search, and for helping you through the interview process.
January 26, 2015 By Katlynd PoultonEveryone knows that looking for a new job or a co-op placement can be stressful and some of us don't know where to start. It's important to have a plan when seeking new employment, while always putting your best foot forward. Employers receive multiple applicants looking to obtain the same position, it's critical that YOU stand out! If not, your resume may get lost into the abyss of candidates pretty quickly. The following 7 simple steps are intended to assist you with your job search and obtaining employment:
1. Start Your Search Early
Early means early! Most job postings expire fairly regularly, so make sure you aren't missing out on valuable opportunities. This step is especially important for future co-op students; programs with scheduled co-op terms allow students to plan well ahead of time for their placements. Before applying for any jobs, make sure you have given yourself enough time to tailor your resume and cover letter; these pieces act as a first impression with the employer, make sure it's a good one! Applying for jobs ahead of time will help reduce stress, allow you to plan accordingly and hopefully land you the job you actually want!
2. Get to Know the Employer
Getting to know the employer before you meet face-to-face is important. It allows the applicant to get a feel for the organization, its mission and values as well as target audiences. Before meeting your potential employer, you should take the time to research key points about the responsibilities of the organization that you may want to incorporate into your interview answers; this often impresses interviewers as it demonstrates resourcefulness and professionalism. Take a look at the employer's website and social media pages to get a sense of their environment and initiatives.
3. Research the Job Role
Make sure you know what the role demands! It is in yours and the employers' best interests to ensure you're prepared for the role that you are applying for. Before submitting an application or resume, read the job requirements and make sure you have the necessary experience before taking a next step. To go along with that point, make sure you thoroughly understand the job role in case asked about it during the interview process. Find roles that will allow you to succeed and work to at your full potential, these jobs will be the most meaningful and rewarding experiences. If you know what the employer will be expecting from you well ahead of time, there is no need to stress!
4. Practice, Practice, Practice…
Before heading to your interviews, practice! It is best if you can anticipate what the interviewer may ask you, that way you can strategically plan your answers. Cut out all the “um's and ah's" and get to the point! You want to demonstrate that you've come prepared, understand the expectations and can be a valuable asset, if you can't do that… Don't be expecting a call back. Write down as many interview questions as you can think of and prepare a short, concise answer for each. Once you've done that, have someone go through the questions with you so that you can PRACTICE!
5. Make a Lasting Impression
“They were great!" – That's what you want the interviewer to say about you after your discussions. How can you make sure you're making a good impression? Easy – consider your body language, tone of voice and professional appearance. Nonverbal communication says a lot about a person so be aware of your facial expressions, use of eye contact and body posture. Practice sitting up straight, making eye contact and keeping a neutral facial expression; another great non-verbal interaction is a firm hand shake.
6. Provide Credible References
Your references are the final impression of you given to the employer so choose people who have great things to say about you, have known you for a significant period of time and who also demonstrate professionalism! Great references for students are there professors. If you have developed a strong professional relationship with a professor, ask them to act as a reference for you; these individuals know your work ethic, your personality and what assets you can provide. Make sure you ask permission from ALL of your references and give them a heads up before leaving their information with the employer; it is common courtesy and references will appreciate being notified ahead of time in order to prepare what they're going to say about you.
7. Follow Up
This may be the last step, but it is just as important as all of the others. Following up with the employer is O.K – actually, it's recommended! One week after submitting an application or one week post interview is a good time to follow up with the employer, letting them know you are still interested. It is vital that you don't pressure the employer for the job; your intent should be to once again share your interest for the position and hopes to be considered. Not every applicant will follow up, but making sure that you do will guarantee that you stand out as a worthy candidate.