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Archive for March, 2007

It’s that time of year again. Spring break is over, and seniors are approaching their last months of college. Anxiety levels are high as each month passes and you still don’t have a job, which begs the question…why not? Are you looking hard enough? Are you following up after you submit your application? Are you interviewing, but not getting any offers? Or, are you just not applying to enough jobs?

Recently, I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal that struck a chord. It advised students how to stand out at a job fair and, when I got to the last paragraph, Mark Mehler, a principal at CareerXroads, a recruiting technology consulting firm in Kendall Park, NJ, said: "You have to have 100 leads a month active to get 10 interviews to get an offer. If you get the 10 interviews that means your resume is working. If you don’t, it means your resume needs work. If you get to the finals in the 10, but don’t get the job, the candle has gone out. You haven’t sold yourself. You don’t have the passion."

I’m not far enough removed from my own post-college job search to not remember it well. You do have to apply for A LOT of positions to get the interview and to find that job, but 100 leads might be a little steep. This is not to say you don’t have to apply for numerous positions – I probably had upwards of 50 leads and still landed 10 interviews.

A few personal tips on how to land that first job:

Apply for Everything

You can’t apply for only one job and assume it’s yours. My college mentor gave me the best advice I’ve ever gotten: Apply for everything. I applied for positions I knew I would never get and positions I knew I would never want. I often got interviews for the jobs I was less interested in, which gave me interview experience – and you can never have too much of that. Plus, applying for everything gave me chances to network. I heard back from numerous employers who told me they would keep me in mind for other opportunities, and they did. There’s no such thing as "over applying." So start applying; then keep applying – and then apply some more.

“You won’t know until you try.”

At least that’s what Mom always says. Applied to the job-hunting process, you won’t know that you won’t get your dream job if you don’t at least try. My very first interview out of college was for an internship at a magazine. I went to the interview with the highest confidence; until I got lost on my way and I was an hour late. We all know being late is a big no-no in the interview process – but at that point, I thought, “What do I have to lose?” So, I showed up, had a great interview and I left thinking I had no chance in hell of getting the job, but at least I tried. A week later they offered me the position and told me they hired me partly because I was late! If I’d had the guts to show up after that, I must be a real go-getter. (Note – Don’t try this at home!)

For more tips interviewing, check out this article on why you might not be getting the interview.

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