Hello STOGC community!
Graduation season is once again upon us and the air is full of the hopes and aspirations of the most recently minted college graduates. Now that the hard part is completed (i.e. getting that amazing degree), the fun can begin; it is time to get that first “real” job!
Here are five tips for the new graduate who is now looking for a job that is perfect for his/her talents and experience ….
- Have an elevator pitch: The very first thing you need to do is figure out what you want to do! Write it down. Talk it through with your friends and family.
Once you figure out what you want to do (perfect job, what your strengths are, what you see yourself doing and where), figure out how to say it succinctly in one to two sentences or in 30 seconds or less … i.e., the time you’d have in an elevator with the hiring manager of your dream job.
- Create an amazing LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn is such a powerful tool and recruiters use it. A lot. In fact, a recruiter from eBay found me on LinkedIn and that’s how I came to Silicon Valley from Seattle.
When making your profile, post a nice and professional-type photo of yourself. Put on your interview outfit and have a friend snap a picture. I would recommend tacking up a solid sheet on the wall to create a nice backdrop to give it that professional-quality appeal.
Better yet, if you know a professional photographer, ask him/her if they would take your picture in exchange for something that you can provide them (free assistant work for a shoot, update their website, serve as a model for a shoot, or even make them a home cooked meal) … be creative in what you can barter! Hey, the worse thing they can say is no!
- Network, network, network: Everyone you know and everyone you meet is a potential job lead. Let people know you are looking for a job, what you are looking for, and what your experience is. This is where you use your elevator pitch.
My son is a newly minted graduate who will soon be starting graduate school. His field is poetry, creative writing, and music. I was recently on a business trip to San Diego and was seated next to an interesting gentleman who, as it turns out, is a long-time crew member for the band “Suicidal Tendencies.” I told him my son is in a band trying to get a start and asked if he (my son) could email him to ask some questions about the industry. The guy was pretty tickled that I asked and said he would love to help out.
When I first graduated, the idea of “networking” was actually pretty frightening to me. But let’s break it down … what exactly is so intimidating? You will be striking up a quick conversation or email exchange with someone. How do you feel when someone wants to connect with you? I think it’s great! You aren’t bothering anyone … go for it! The follow-through is the key to networking actually working!
- Be a nervy chick (or dude): Shrinking violets don’t get the job … the nervy chicks do! When I worked for Lever Brothers Company (now Unilever U.S.) in New York City, my boss was Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the company. She paid me the best complement when she called me a nervy chick. Whenever I’m in a situation and I feel intimidated, I remember that I’m a nervy chick and I can do anything. However, the key to being a nervy chick is knowing when to dial it down.
- Humility is good: While you are out there networking and looking for that great job, be humble. Let others know you are good but remember that you are not the greatest thing since sliced bread. Let hiring managers know you will be an amazing hire but remember you don’t know more about the job than they do. Take feedback. Listen; really listen to what people have to say. That advice will serve you well your entire career.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out these fun commencement speakers:
- Charlie Day from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” at Merrimack College. He says you don’t have to be fearless; just don’t let fear stop you!
- Oprah Winfrey giving the 2013 commencement speech at Harvard where she talks about pushing yourself because there is no such thing as failure … it is just life trying to move us in another direction.
- Stephen Colbert from “Colbert Report” giving the 2013 commencement speech at the University of Virginia encouraging graduates to find their own path as there is no secret society to show you the way. Your life will not be defined by what others left to you; every generation must define themselves and make a world that suits them.
- Jane Lynch from “Glee” giving the 2012 commencement speech at Smith College encourages new graduates to live in the now and to look at what is right in front of you rather than worrying about what’s next.
If this post helped get you prepared for you upcoming interviews then also try looking at Glassdoor.com, salary.com, and recruiter.com for helpful resources in your salary negotiations.