The new school year is already in motion and before you know it, you’ll be knee deep in term papers, class projects, extracurricular school activities and the like. At this point, you should have pinpointed what you would like to accomplish in order to reach your prospective employment goals. Are you looking to snag an internship at your dream company? Or are you presently ready to dive in and snatch a top-tier position? With a change in season, here comes a time to prioritize and focus on key factors needed in order to set yourself up for a positive search experience. Let’s discuss the top 4 things you need to do for fall to increase your job placement chances.
Setting your intention
The first thing you need to do is be clear about your intention. What do you want your outcome to be if you’re particularly searching for an internship or job? There is a huge difference between setting goals and setting intentions. Setting intentions is monumental because it becomes the foundation of your search. Knowing what you want to do in your future is setting a goal. But gaining the focus to go after what you would like to attain is setting an intention. Ideally, it should guide you as to how you are spending your time. As all collegian women know, once you start your full course load and your schedule is full, there is absolutely no time for anything else. Searching for an internship or job at this point is futile. The lack of time and focus will only push your search to the wayside becoming the second most important thing to your studies. Set your intention from the beginning so you know exactly what to expect from yourself and can put full weight behind finding what you want.
Understanding your value
Are you aware of what you have to offer an employer? What are some unique skill sets that you have? For example, if you’re an engineering student, employers know that you are going to understand the basics and foundation of your job title. However, maybe something that they are not aware of is you’re a wiz at Powerpoint and it’s something you actually enjoy. Or, perhaps you’re very resourceful and have excellent research skills, and enjoy taking the time to research different options and solutions.
One of the big mistakes students make at job interviews is making it all about themselves and why they’re so special. When in all actuality, employers are really looking for someone who’s going to be comfortable with bringing solutions to the table for problem-solving. It’s important to know your value. Sit down and really take out the time to think about what makes you uniquely you, beyond being a student working towards a degree.
Standing out in the crowd
Everyone is vying for the same position, therefore, you have to present yourself in a way that will make an employer want to add you to their team. In an interview, the first thing you want to do is be very attentive. Ask pertinent questions. What can you do to help identify a problem that rests with this prospective employer? When you do figure out what can be done on your part, impart with the details when you send your follow up. Accompany your ‘thank you’ with a 30-day plan that addresses said problem along with your other value adds. Mention that you will execute your plan within 30 days to help add value to your new team and the company. This will definitely stand out opposed to the regular ‘thank you for your time’ email.
Don’t just sit back, engage!
Another mistake that collegian women make during the interviewing process is sitting back, answering questions and leaving the interview without showing interest or asking any questions about the company. You should be also interviewing the company to see if it is a good fit. Don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager specific questions like, “how do you define and measure success?” or “can you share or explain to me your leadership style?”
These questions can give you insight into the inner workings of the company. If you’re a person who prefers to be left alone after being given instructions, but this person tells you that they are a hands-on manager, then you already know their style is somewhat of a micromanager. This could either work for you or not, but you will never know the answer if you don’t ask the questions. Truthfully, most leaders are very comfortable in responding to these inquiries, because true leaders are trying to find the best fit for the position. Time is money! No one wants to be in the same position again a month later looking for someone else to fill the role because it wasn’t a good fit, to begin with.
Everyone should recognize that the fall semester should be regarded as a lifecycle. How often are you applying? Are you going to apply to five jobs a day so by Friday you have twenty-five prospects under your belt? Set attainable metrics and goals for yourself. And beat them! Polish up your elevator pitch. Do your homework about the company your interviewing with. Have your questions ready. Then after the interview, prepare yourself accordingly. Don’t be afraid to follow up. Get your impressive ‘thank you’ email ready to go. Don’t give up if you don’t hear what you don’t want to hear. Use that to build your foundation and spring forward in the spring semester. There is no right or wrong way to go about planning an interview cycle, but adhering to some sort of plan that supports you on top of your educational responsibilities will guide you along in the right direction.
Arlena Jackson, MBA is an international career consultant, writer, keynote speaker and leadership trainer dedicated to the advancement of emerging young women worldwide. Considered the “career whisper” for early career professionals and emerging leaders, Arlena founded Elevation Ally after spending nearly 20 years in various executive roles where she led global communications teams with IBM, NASA, Emerson and Salesforce in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Arlena is a sought-after keynote speaker, workshop presenter and panelists with high schools, universities and companies on careers, leadership, women at work and success in the workplace. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with Arlena on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn and Instagram.