First Job After School? (Insert Emoji)!

When you start your job search after graduating from college or coding bootcamp or even graduate school, first thing first- manage your emotions and expectations.

fob attitude

  • Don’t be a jerk because everyone remembers when someone was a jerk to him/her.

Looking for a job is a job in itself; it takes time, efforts and dedication. It can be a grueling process from start to finish- filling out dozens or even hundreds of applications, waiting for a response, explaining yourself to strangers, going through the interviews, being rejected many times, hoping for and accepting an offer.

Remember, everyone goes through the same hurdles to land a job. You need to respect each employer’s requirements and processes whether you agree with them or not. Unfortunately, many companies’ recruiting systems are broken and entry-level candidates usually get the short end of the stick. Also, you are likely to be competing with dozen if not hundreds of applicants with similar background and qualifications. The circumstance may be challenging but it is the first test on your perseverance. Who told you it’s gonna be easy? :scream:

You need to be as professional as possible during the application and interview process. Do not show your frustration or desperation in any way to recruiters or interviewers. No need to take it personal when you are rejected; it simply is not the right timing or right company for you.

True professionals start managing their reputation before they hold the title. Employers look for candidates who can work under pressure with emotional intelligence. Compartmentalize your emotions and don’t be a jerk to people you interact with during your job search.

fob jessica

  • Patience is a (required) virtue and time is money. You either need patience and time or patience and money. Prepare for at least one of those options.

It will take a while for you to get an offer and finally get one that you actually want to accept (you may not be lucky enough to find one that you want for your first job but I’ll save that topic for another day). Of course, not everyone is in a good financial situation to be waiting for a perfect job.

Work with what you have as early as possible. You can decrease the time spent on job search after graduation by increasing the time spent on job preparation while you are in school. Know how much time and savings you have for job search and plan accordingly depending on the length of program you’re enrolled in. Start planting the seed and building your resume early. Way early. (P.S. Don’t listen to your academic adviser and pick any major randomly and take on student loans for no reason.)

Like most students, you probably don’t have savings to spend while looking for a job. Get as many internships as possible and start going to job fairs and talking to recruiters when you are a freshman. Connect with older cohort and alumni of your program because most alumni are willing to refer someone from their own alma mater, not to mention most would receive referral bonuses from their employers. :moneybag:

If you can’t afford to take internships for many are underpaid or unpaid, you can still make the best out of your part-time job in the service industry. Most people become good friends with their coworkers and you can leverage your network outside of school as well. There’s only six degrees of separation to almost everyone. Sometimes it’s not about who you know, it’s who knows you.

Fresh Off the Boat Eddie Huang life's heavy son

  • “But it’s not fair!” Oh, honey, nothing is fair in this world. Not a dang thing.

You will probably see some of your mediocre classmates get seemingly the perfect job at some fortune 500 company while you are still taking the never-ending online personality assessment for a random job that you happened to click on. Guarantee that there is at least one person at every company that will make you wonder “How did he/she get there?” “Why is he making way more money than me?” “How is she the manager?”

There will be times that you were told that you’re not qualified because of your lack of the experience and they promoted someone without any relevant skills to that position. There will always be somebody making more money than you doing the exact same thing (sometimes a lot less work) and somebody with more vacation time than you without accruing it. It makes you bitter and cynical and sad. :tears:

That’s not the point. Comparing yourself to others or your imaginary expectations will only kill you slowly. It is exhausting if you try to live a instagram-perfect life, a.k.a looking fabulous while working hard AND playing hard. You are your own audience and the only judge. You have a job, you get paid, and you deserve a good night’s sleep.

Be fair to yourself because the world is never going to a fair place for you or anyone else. Invest in your own growth and development and become a better version of yourself every day. Become more emotionally attractive because how you feel about yourself and how you make others feel are 100 times more powerful than what the eyes can see- your looks, salary or title. :heart:

 

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To LinkedIn or Not?

Linkedin-Job-Search

LinkedIn is one of those things that you either want to do it right or not at all.

The benefits of having an All-Star LinkedIn profile:

  • You can be easily contacted by your network (and beyond) for any of the following:
    • career opportunities
    • job inquiries
    • expertise requests
    • reference requests
    • getting back in touch
    • consulting offers
    • business deals

An increasingly popular trend,  employers and recruiters are checking your social media profiles as part of their informal screening processes, especially your LinkedIn profile.

Busy recruiters don’t check every single applicant’s LinkedIn profile if the resume shows all three ingredients of the Holy Trinity. As a job seeker with a killer resume, you really don’t need a LinkedIn profile when you don’t have time or don’t want to make time for managing yet another social media account. My role of thumb as a recruiter for checking an applicant’s profile is to validate one or more of the following:

  • Missing Contact Information:
    • No kidding. I’ve received many resumes without their phone number and email address. Most of the time I ignore them for obvious reasons but I do try to reach out to some that look promising.
  • Omitted Job History:
    • This is more commonly seen with experienced professionals with more than 15 years of experience. Sometimes candidates try to shorten the length of the resume OR avoid possible age discrimination. My recommendation is to include all but keep the older, irrelevant job history short such as listing companies, years and titles only. If you omit most of your work history without an explanation, it would look suspicious. “How did s/he have all these experiences and titles within 10 years?” “Does s/he own the company?”

Also, the employer will find out about your age eventually- you wouldn’t want to work for an employer who would devalue your worth based on your age, would you? So why waste your time appearing to be ‘younger’ and to be disappointed or dismissed or mistreated later? If you worry about being excluded due to the possible compensation concerns (“Oh s/he’s definitely too expensive for this role with 20 years of experience”), it wouldn’t hurt to include your salary history and expectations along with your explanation such as looking for a career change or enjoying more hands-on projects.

Try to include the reasons for gaps in employment history if possible and appropriate. If you went back to school full-time, state it. If you took a sabbatical, say it. Any legitimate reason without disclosing any or much of your protected class.

  • Omitted Graduation Year:
    • Again, this is more commonly seen with experienced professionals. No point to hide and it may create some confusion, “Did s/he graduate?” “Is s/he still in school? (We’re looking for graduates only!)” “What year is s/he? (We’re looking for juniors/seniors only for those internships!)”
  • Conflicting Location:
    • Please explain in your resume if (1) your current work location is nowhere close to your home address, (2) the position you’re applying is nowhere close to your current home address, or (3) the location of your current education institute is nowhere close to your current home address or the position you’re applying (without explanations, I often assume it’s an online program or the person is passively pursuing the degree while working full-time).
  • “Do I know this person?” “Oh wait… Bob from Accounting used to work for the same employer during the time when the person was there. Let me check if they know each other.” “Wow…she’s the organizer of a networking group that my friend always goes to. Let me check if my friend knows her.”
    • I can’t stress more about the importance of maintaining your professional reputations. Trust me- people remember things about you, especially when you’re stellar or horrible. I hope you’re the former.
  • Missing Target Skills or Results
    • I check the profile to validate the stated experience in the resume when the applicant didn’t include the target skills (e.g. specific software or technical skills) or results (e.g. executed marketing campaigns with 10 million budget and gained 5% market share in the US healthcare industry within a year)
  • Missing (Required) Work Samples or Portfolio
    • It’s an unspoken rule that you should have your own website(s) or links to showcase your work for certain occupations such as designers or developers.
  • Missing Information that We Asked You to Include in the Resume
    • For example: Your resume looks great but we have ten facilities with three shifts in the same city. You don’t answer your phone and we really need to know (or guess) what shift or location you would like to work. 
  • Any Other Discrepancy

Takeaway for all: invest your time in building both your own professional portfolio and networks either offline or online.

Good luck!

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