This week a Twitter pal asked for my thoughts on career development andlanding a position for interns or new grads. Of all the positions I’ve held in public relations, none were attained with a cold call. It’s the network, purely and simply; social media proves that every minute. The opportunities are endless, regardless of age, to begin distancing from the pack of job seekers. Here are a few obvious tips as good reminders:
- Launch a LinkedIn profile. This is the consummate business networking community, and a young person can make a big impression using LinkedIn to best advantage. See a potential employer? Network the heck out of that connection without being annoying.
- Set up a Twitter ID and use it! Tastefully add a professional avatar. It’s not enough to say you’re on these networks; show activity. It’s too easy to find out the truth these days. Speaking of which, Facebook…need I say more?
- Master the basics of job seeking. It begins with a powerful resume featuring objective, employment history (how many jobs did you work to pay for school?), internships, volunteer gigs and achievements. Clearly position these and be prepared to discuss the experience for each.
- Complement studies with extra-curricular activities and internships. Anyone who carries a heavier load shows they can manage the same or more in the workplace.
- Set up informational interviews, and research prior to a meeting. When no information exists online about a person, it’s likely their name is too popular. If Google doesn’t yield any information try another route and use that data as an icebreaker. If people don’t have time to meet in person, ask for a telephone conversation or Skype conference call.
- Come prepared to an interview with something to show; if not writing samples then a project or work experience. Short on examples? Use results from a team-oriented class project. If you volunteered abroad, show organizational skills and share the scrapbook or photo album of the excursion. Lastly, bring a reference from a professor or someone in business who can vouch for you.
- Pick up the phone! Balance the use of e-mail with the telephone. A lot can be discerned from people’s mannerism, tone, inflection and command of English when on the phone. Do not be afraid to make personal contact; it’s the only way to make a true impression.
- Send a thank you note. While a hand-written note is preferred (and impressive), an e-mail is acceptable. Common courtesy has gone out the window. When a young person makes an effort to be respectful and appreciative for someone’s time, it’s noted.
In summary, the main point is to make a positive and lasting impression. When you’re invited in for a cattle call, how can you ensure I remember you 10 days from now?