Pros provide advice for job-seekers




Campus Times
May 14, 1999

 

by Jeanette M. Neyman
Staff Writer

Four years, 168 tests, 640 lectures, 2,446 aspirins, 246 slices of pizza, countless cappuccinos, 216 trips to the library, 21 broken dates, 2 broken hearts, 1 goal.

Congratulations. Now it is time to put it all to work.

STARTING THE SEARCH

Hunching over classified ads with your morning cup of joe is a thing of the past.

"The internet is the fastest way to find out open positions at the tip of your fingers," said Laura Venturini, career development coordinator.

Mainstream job sites like careerpath.com have become commonplace information sources.

Several other sites like jobweb.org, collegecentral.com and monster.com are useful, providing not just job listings, but career information as well.

The Career Development Center subscribes to various job sites like jobtrak.com, as well as a list of over 100 career-related sites.

The Internet is a good source for finding information about positions. However, Venturini warns about posting your resume on the Internet.

"Your chances are poor, and it's a passive way to look for a job," said Venturini.

Although only a small percentage of jobs are found through online quests, it is a hot spot if an opening in the technology field is sought.

"Over 80 percent of technology companies recruit from the internet," said Chuck Zigler, marketing executive for Nortel Telecom.

ULV alumni members can click on "alumni" at the University website, www.ulv.edu to post their resume and link to mentoring services and career counseling.

The career development center is an excellent source for graduates.

"Every senior should make an appointment with either Terrie Lopez or myself," said Venturini.

"A session entails reviewing the student's resume, explaining the job search process and going through a mock-interview to refine interviewing skills."

NETWORK, NETWORK AND NETWORK MORE

"Only one job in six is ever advertised," Cindy Chernow, career consultant tells students during her "Schmooz or Lose" seminar.

"The rest are discovered and filled through word of mouth between professional colleagues."

Chernow suggests identifying some people who "work in your chosen field" and ask if they would be willing to talk to you about their work.

"Bring along a list of questions for an informational interview and follow-up with a thank you and periodical telephone calls," Chernow said.

The career development center can provide students with a list of questions to use. It can also provide students with vital information prior to their interviews.

A good beginning goal is to send out five resumes per week and start networking with persons who may have information about an opening. The old adage, "it's not what you know, but who you know," holds true.

"Start simple, with a list of 20 to 30 people," Chernow said. "Ask a cousin, friends or acquaintances who might know of a job opening where they work and the possibilities become staggering."

Do not forget contacting previous supervisors from internships.

"A company would rather hire someone they know," Venturini said.

"They are familiar with your work style and how you fit into the company."

INTERVIEWING

The saying "You don't get a second change to make a first impression" has never held so true.

"Don't come to the interview looking like you're going to a party," says Pierre Vejar, human resource manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

The Black Collegian voted Enterprise Rent-A-Car the No. 1 recruiter for recent college graduates. Enterprise also assists students by presenting seminars on the interviewing process.

Dress to impress. However, do it conservatively in a skirt and blazer with a conservative blouse for women and a suit and tie for men. Do not wear too much jewelry, and, by all means, lose the tongue ring!

"Image is important," Vejar said.

"I assume you are looking your best, and if you dress sloppy, I think, does it get worse than this?"

There are many varied questions a candidate could be asked at an interview, although it is sufficient to say that they are aimed at determining if you: a) can do the job; b) will do the job; and c) will fit into the organization.

"Interviewees who project a strong self image and seem to know what they want impress potential employers," Venturini says.

Key words like "team player" and "time management skills," as well as projecting a positive attitude are integral to today's hiring environment.

"GPA's to most recruiters don't mean anything," Vejar said.

"The No. 1 aspect is personality.

"What I am looking for is how they work with their co-workers and their ability to mesh with our corporate culture."

Vejar also emphasizes researching the organization prior to the interview.

"Employers are impressed with a candidate who has done her homework," Vejar said.

"Ask intelligent questions at the end of the interview," Vejar said. "Or at least say, you have so thoroughly explained the position, I don't have any questions at this time."

Now that the interview is finished, don't forget to send a thank-you letter shortly after the interview.

"Either hand-write on personal formal stationery or type on linen paper in business format," Venturini said.

Including a couple sentences referring to the interview shows you were paying attention.

Don't become discouraged. Rejection is part of the job process.

"It is impossible to get a job in a day -- it takes time, resources and a clear definition of what the student is looking for," Venturini said.

"The earlier you begin the job search process, the easier it will be to transition to the working world."


TOP MISTAKES MADE ON JOB INTERVIEWS

1. Research the company -- knowing information about the company and its goals shows you want a career, not just any job.

2. Dress appropriately -- conservative is best. Don't look like your going to a party.

3. Communication skills -- just answer the question. Don't ramble on or digress.

4. Timeliness -- show up at the interview 10 minutes ahead. Figure out where you are going the day before the interview.

5. Thank you note -- write and send a thank you note.

6. Give interviewer a firm handshake.

7. Avoid messy hair or overpowering perfume or cologne.

8. Don't take cell phones and pagers to the interview

9. Don't talk bad about your previous employer -- even if your previous boss was a jerk, turn it into a positive experience.

10. Appear genuine. A good resume and professional attire will make a small impression if the person is not sincere.



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