Congratulations class of 2022! You have worked hard and obtained the degree you desired! Celebrate your success!
The next step in your journey is finding full-time employment pertaining to your education. As we mentioned in a previous blog, your first job impacts your career and income trajectory. If you accept a position that causes you to be underemployed now, it is likely you will still be underemployed 5 years from now. This means accepting a job today with an income that is less than you deserve is likely to result in you continuing to be underpaid for years in the future.
How can you avoid this undesirable path? The job search process has three main aspects - career documentation, networking, and interview skills. If any one of these three is sub-par, you may not get the job you deserve. Let's examine each.
High-Quality Resume and Cover Letter
Submitting a low-quality resume and/or cover letter may result in you not obtaining an interview. This means you are out of the running right at the start. Revision Resume has worked with numerous students and generally sees the following issues on resumes and cover letters they have created on their own:
Not Following Current Resume Guidelines
Often, we see resumes that are do not meet industry standards. This is surprising from our new graduates, since their resume is brand new and they aren't just dusting off something old and outdated. Instead, they are getting their information from somewhere old and outdated! It can be tricky to know what is current and what is not. Revision Resume suggests that your resume should include a title (or personal headline) and an executive summary. It should not list an objective statement.
Not Formatting for Skimming
Hiring managers often skim a resume first and then, if they see something they like, they take a closer read. Make your resume and cover letter easy to read by bolding, indenting, and using bullet points.
We often see grammatical or spelling errors on resumes. Hiring managers tell us that overlooking attention to detail can be a reason to discard a resume. Therefore, it is worthwhile to spend time proofreading. Verify you don't have any errors. Check your verb tense specifically. Make sure any jobs you no longer hold are written in past tense and those you currently have are in present tense. Feeling less than confident in your proofreading ability? Consider a resume critique from Revision Resume!
Not Aligned with the Job Opening
Once you find a job opening you want to apply for, be sure to look at your resume and make sure you have highlighted your skills that match their requirements. For example, if the job specifies a software program you know but don't currently have listed on your resume, add it. If it is vital for the role, consider including it within your cover letter as well.
Many people make the mistake of submitting the same generic resume and cover letter to multiple jobs. Unfortunately, these documents don't demonstrate the job seeker has the requirements listed in the job posting. Often, these generic resumes get passed over. Simply adding or modifying bullet points within your resume to explicitly demonstrate you have the requirements they desire may make all the difference.
Networking is often an overlooked aspect of the job search, yet it can be very effective. Reach out to people you worked with when you had an internship or during summer employment. Consider setting up a LinkedIn profile and requesting connections within your field. Revision Resume offers services to help novice LinkedIn users. Attend in-person networking events. Let friends and family know you are seeking employment. They may have connections that they can introduce you to.
Once you obtain an interview, you will need to perform well to receive an offer. Here are a few aspects of the interview to focus on.
Practice common interview questions. It helps to try to think through how you would answer some of the more difficult questions prior to being put on the spot. Use life experiences such as those you had when working a summer job or doing a group class project. Answer honestly but try to focus on showing yourself in a positive light and not perseverating on negative experiences.
Dress, Speak, and Act Professionally
Remember that you are being judged throughout the entire interview process. So, you need to behave professionally the entire time. Be polite to everyone you meet -- even those that aren't conducting the interview. Dressing professionally will give a strong first impression, and it may also benefit you by reminding you to behave in a professional manner as well.
Prepare Your Own Interview Questions
Hiring managers tell us that they view an interviewee with no questions poorly. Therefore, it is important you prepare a few questions of your own to bring to the interview. We have covered this topic thoroughly in other blogs here and here.
It is likely you will face a question or two you are unsure how to answer. Your automatic reaction may be to panic, but we advise you to take a deep breath instead. Remember, interviewing is tough. It is OK to be stumped and it does not mean you didn't interview successfully. Instead, if you respond gracefully, it may elevate you. Here is a blog that provides details on how to handle a question you don't know the answer to.
Post Interview Follow-Up
Appropriate follow-up after the interview can be beneficial. Revision Resume suggests you write a value proposition letter (goes beyond the typical post interview thank you note) within 24-48 hours of the interview. To learn more about value proposition letters click here.
Additionally, we suggest you set expectations before you leave the interview. Ask when you should expect to hear from the hiring manager. When will they be making their decision? If you don't hear by a certain time, what would be an appropriate way to follow up? By discussing these details during the interview, you will know how to act appropriately in the upcoming weeks.
Class of 2022, you have worked hard! Cross that finish line with your head held high and obtain the job you deserve by creating quality career documentation, networking appropriately and impressing at the interview! Revision Resume is here to help you every step of the way. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what assistance you need!