Yesterday I was asked to provide some on-the-fly job seeking advice for new grads. Upon review, I decided it’s good enough to share with others. There’s no fluff here… just a perspective from someone who is used to sitting across the table from a candidate. You’ll see writing styles on job seeking that are all warm and fuzzy; I prefer to shoot right between the eyes to make sure there’s no room for misinterpretation.
Please share this with fellow new grads, grandkids, kids, parents, teachers… anyone who might be in a position to send to a New Grad.
Not necessarily in any order:
1) Clean up your Facebook page and tagged pics, use your friend list function to restrict priviliges so a recruiter doesn’t run across pics of some weird, possibly illegal, fraternity initiation activity. Delete all pictures of you with your bong, your 24 oz. can of beer or bottle of Jack. And delete any pics of exposed body parts, tattoos and tongues or be sure you’ve assigned restricted privacy to said albums.
2) Quit any Facebook groups or Pages that might be deemed controversial during the job search process. If you belong to a page ‘Bin Laden’s Jihad Rocks”, your interview won’t be going well unless it’s in the Middle East.
3) Fill out your job history on Facebook to match your LinkedIn profile and paper resume (which, by the way, should fit on ONE page in 11 pt type… two pages if you have exceptional honors, have served for the Peace Corps overseas or invented something for NASA.
4) Update your Facebook profile pic to be more professional.
5) Learn how to use your Facebook profile to professionally network. On a frequent basis, post a link to something insightful about the profession you wish to join. See if the companies you’re looking at have a Page, ‘Like’ it and scour it for clues on its corporate culture. I also advise candidates to stalk the company from outside one morning and note how people are dressed. Dress one step up from what you see.
6) Volunteer activity is important. Learn to help others – and share links to those events on your wall.
7) Learn how to use LinkedIn (hint: start by asking your parents and their friends to connect). There are a ton of YouTube ‘how to” videos on all aspects of LinkedIn. Keep consistency between all online profiles and your resume. Get a custom LinkedIn URL which incorporates your name. Professionals have custom URLs. Amateurs don’t. We know the difference.
8) A professional style headshot is necessary on LinkedIn. Not full body, not you with your dog or girl/boyfriend or spouse, certainly not you standing in front of your car (how STUPID and clueless is that?). A nice head shot. And try not to take it against a wall where it might be mistaken for a copy of your mug shot from your local police department.
9) Never, ever, use the default LinkedIn invitation text “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” Replace it with something personal, e.g…. “I met you at x and we spoke about y – would you please be so kind as to connect with me here on LinkedIn? – Thank you…’
11) Get your Google profile up and get the custom URL.
12) Learn how to Twitter – plenty of hi tech jobs are being tweeted. Google for docs on how to Twitter for a job.
13) Don’t underestimate the value of a solid handshake while you look someone in the eye. Fishy handshakes are, well, fishy. Wishy washy people have fishy handshakes. Practice with your dad if you have to. Many women are insulted when they receive a lesser handshake. Be firm and confident without crushing someone’s fingers together. Part of a good handshake is when the web in between the thumb and forefinger connects soundly. When the webs meet, it’s almost impossible to hurt by squishing someone’s fingers and rings together. The shake is mostly with the BODY of the hand, not the fingers, anyways.
14) Sit up straight, for Christ Sake and uncross your legs.
11) Practice talking for periods of time without saying ‘um’, ‘er’, ‘like’, ‘you know’. And ENUNCIATE when you speak. Channel your inner Henry Higgins.
12) The value of a handwritten thank you note on classic stock is an extremely valuable tool that will give you an edge – OVER ALMOST ANY CANDIDATE. Remember to mail it within 24 hours. Steer away from stock that says ‘thank you’ already on it. Also steer away from stock that has bunnies and cute things on it. Seriously consider making the investment in professional thank you notes with your initials from a place like Crane’s. Huge bang for the buck. Employers notice those things. Custom stationary on good stock says ‘class’ and ‘character’.
13) Visualcv.com is quickly becoming a powerful promotional piece. Example:http://www.visualcv.com/susiesharp I chose the paid version ($50) so I could have the custom URL. I added a PDF of it to the Box.net application I have on my LinkedIn profile. It was downloaded 440 times in the first 3 weeks. It prints out nicer than the LinkedIn profile.
14) Remember to attach the URLS for your LinkedIn and your visualcv under the signature section of your email.
15) SPELLCHECK, dammit, and remember to say THANK YOU.
16) Network, network, network. And then when you’re done, network some more. Accumulate business cards and start translating them to LinkedIn contacts.
17) Sidle up to your parents’s friends… find out what they do and learn a bit about their businesses… they could be potential employers.
18) Get a reasonable amount of sleep and don’t party the night before an interview. We Can Tell.
19) Don’t get carried away with perfume and aftershave. You don’t know who’s allergic.
20) Don’t comment on the picture of the family and the dog on my desk. It’s not my family or my dog. It’s a decoy to see if you’ll try to get over-personal and suck up to the interviewer.
21) And while you’re not slouching, lean forward just a bit to look like you’re actually interested in what we’re saying.
22) Research my darned company before you come in the door. And don’t expect me to lure you. It’s a buyer’s market out here. You better come in telling me what you’re going to do for ME.
23) At the end of the interview, always ask what the next step is, and when you should contact a Human. Be proactive. Let us know that you’re interested.
24) Remember to bring a couple of nicely printed copies of your resume. If you’re smart, it will be in large enough type that I won’t have to squint, and enough white space that I can jot down a note or two. One typo and your resume goes directly to the circular file. Include your online profile URLs. Do not list an email like firstname.lastname@example.org. Show a little restraint and have some dignity, please.
25) Ask me when you’d be eligible for vacation during the interview and you are TOAST.
I’ve got a million comments to make, but this is enough to get the average graduate going. Oh – I forgot one last thing… put down the danged video game, get off the couch and turn off the TV until you’ve landed a job.
Do you have any more tips? I’d love to hear! Just post them and any links in the comment section below. (Note: Off-subject comments will not be allowed to remain.)
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