Job Search Resources
Choosing and attaining meaningful post graduation employment is an important challenge for college students. You and your fellow students are expected to be active participants; for this process to be successful, everyone involved must work together.
To succeed in today's job market, you must:
Start Early, Start with your Campus Career Center, Research Industries, Jobs and Employers, and Network!
Top Skills and Qualities of the Perfect Candidate:
- Communication Skills (verbal & written)
- Interpersonal Skills
- Teamwork Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Analytical Skills
- Computer Skills
- Detail Oriented
- Problem-solving Skills
- Technical Skills
- Organizational Skills
- Self Confidence
Source: Job Outlook 2011: National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
Your Job Seeker Toolbox from OptimalResume!
Get the Latest Career Advice and Guidance from US News and World Report!
Watch these great career videos from CareerTV at JobsInME.com
The purpose of the interview is to convince the employer to hire you. To do this, you must know what you have to offer and how your abilities match the employer's needs. You must learn to communicate this effectively to the interviewer. Successful interviewing requires preparation and practice.
Preparing for the Interview:
- Be prepared to discuss your educational background--not just the classes you've taken but what you've learned.
- Be prepared to discuss in detail any particular jobs or experiences you have had. What did you learn from them? Are they relevant to the job for which you are interviewing?
- Be prepared to describe yourself. What motivates you? How do you get a particular job done?
- Do you get involved? Are you a leader? How do you interact with co-workers, supervisors, and possible clients?
- Research the organization and position.
- Practice, Practice, Practice!
While you can never be sure what will be asked during an interview, you can be prepared for those questons that are likely to arise. You should rehearse your responses to common interview questions in advance. Practice with a friend, or better yet, participate in a "mock interview." Mock interviewing is when you sit down with a business professional and pretend you are in an actual interview situation. Arrangements for a mock interview may be made through Career Services.
Going to an interview unprepared is like taking a test without studying!
During the Interview:
- Arrive about 15 minutes early: If necessary, drive to the actual interview site prior to the interview to determine traffic patterns, parking, etc. If, for any reason, you cannot make the interview, notify the employer as far in advance as possible. Don't be a no-show!
- Make a good first impression: Dress appropriately, be well groomed, give a firm handshake and make eye contact.
- Conduct yourself professionally: You may meet your interviewer in the parking lot or in the hallway. Be courteous and pleasant to everyone you meet.
- Answer questions thoroughly and with examples: Give specific details. If an employer asks, "Did you like your last job?" Don't simply answer yes. Instead, state what parts of the job you enjoyed and why.
- Examine your body language: Maintain good posture. At times, leaning forward will demonstrate enthusiasm and interest. Watch for crossed arms. Maintain good eye contact.
- Demonstrate enthusiasm: A positive attitude goes a long way. Demonstrate that you are excited about the possibility of working for the company.
- Let them know you are interested: Sometimes employers truly don't know if the candidate is interested. Hopefully, you have demonstrated interest and enthusiasm throughout the interview, but don't be afraid to state in closing that you are very interested in the position.
- Before you leave, did you cover everything? Often, in closing, an employer might ask, "Is there anything else that you would like to mention that wasn't discussed?" Take this time to tell the interviewer about relevent skills, qualities, or accomplishments that were not covered.
- Thank the interviewer: Always thank the interviewer for his/her time whether or not you want that particular position.
Types of Questions:
- "Tell me about yourself." This is an open-ended question usually asked to help "break the ice." Remember to keep your response related to the job. Be specific and don't ramble. Your answer should be about two minutes in length. Watch this New Grad Life blogspot.
- "Questions about anything on your resume." An interviewer may probe for more information or just a general discussion of something you listed on your resume. Be prepared to elaborate on anything you list on your resume--give examples.
- "Give us an example of a time when _______." Based on the premise that an applicant's past behavior will predict how he or she will respond in similar situations in the future, behavior-based interviewing focuses on determining how you have actively applied your skills. Be prepared to give specifics using the S-A-R (situation-action-result) approach.
- "What is your major strength/weakness?" Your major strength should be easy, but be sure to relate it directly to the position. As for your major weakness, prepare to put a positive spin on it. For example, "I tend to be nervous around my supervisors, although I've gained more confidence in this area since my last job where my supervisors encouraged me to ask questions." One way to think of a weakness is to look for something that might be perceived as a gap in your resume. For instance, "You may notice that I haven't held a professional position in accounting, but through my involvement with the VITA program, I flawlessly processed over 50 income tax returns for low income citizens." Remember that your job in discussing weaknesses is to select something noteworthy and honest, but to put a positive light on the trait and to show how you are working on it. Avoid cliches such as "I'm too much of a perfectionist!"
- "If you could be an animal, which would it be and why?" This is not a trick question. You may be asked questions that seem ridiculous or out of place. The interviewer is trying to determine if you can think on your feet.
- "Do you have any questions for us?" Always have questions! Be sure not to ask questions that can easily be answered through research or questions that the employer has already answered for you during the interview. Doing so would signal that you did not do your homework or that you were not listening. Questions might include:
- Technology the company uses
- How your division interacts with other divisions of the organization
- Characteristics of a star performer
- Why the interviewers were drawn to the company themselves
- What will need immediate attention upon starting the position
- What the interviewers consider the most challenging aspects of this job
Don't ask: questions about salary, vacation, benefits, and retirement--they reflect misplaced priorities. These questions should be saved for "after" you have been offered the position, unless your interviewer brings up the topic. Some positions may require you to "state your salary requirement" in which case you must do your research and always leave room for negotiation.
After the Interview
- Send a thank you note: Send a short personal note to the interviewer within 48 hours. Keep the note brief, but reiterate your interest in the position (if you are, in fact, interested) and use the opportunity to mention a key point that you failed to mention in the interview.
- Evaluate your performance after the interview: Make notes on how you did overall, what were your strengths, what needs improving, is the job right for you, and would you enjoy working here. Your interviewing skills will improve as you learn from each interview.
Dressing for an Interview
Need advice on how to dress for an interview? Syms Dress to Achieve is specially designed for college students.
Visit the following sites to gain valuable information on starting salaries. As a new graduate, you should take the time to investigate salaries to ensure your expectations are in line with reality. Remember, salaries can vary greatly depending on many factors such as field of employment, location, supply and demand, etc. So...do your research!
Today's successful job candidate must use a diversified approach to job searching . . .
- The INTERNET provides a wealth of job search information. In fact, with so much to choose from, you should develop a strategy before you begin. Our job search links are a great place to start, but if you can't find what you are looking for, trying a general search engine such as Yahoo, Google, or Altavista.
- Among career professionals, NETWORKING is often deemed the most effective and most widely prescribed method of job searching. Networking means making connections with people who can help you with your job search. Your network should include family members, friends, professors, advisors, alumni, current and past employers...anyone you come in contact with who can help you with your job search. Don't be reluctant to let others know you are looking for a job (create business/networking cards!), most people are happy to help. You should get LinkedIn and/or Twitter your way to a job!
- JOB PLACEMENT CENTERS offer a variety of employment services, which include job search workshops, referrals to jobs and computerized listings of local, state and national job openings through America's Job Bank.
- AMERICA'S ONE-STOP CAREER CENTER SYSTEM is another national employment service initiative. Again, resources are at the local, state, and federal level. Visit Career One Stop for a state list. Don't forget to visit our local MACHIAS CAREER CENTER, which serves UMM students.
- JOB FAIRS bring the job seeker face-to-face with many employers in one location--they provide a great opportunity to learn about careers and make initial contacts. Numerous job fairs are offered throughout the state each year. Visit MCCC for a complete list of consortium fairs.
- PRIVATE TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES are popular because they work on behalf of clients to find jobs. These agencies offer assistance with job search skills, and job assignments may lead to full-time permanent work. Working for a temp agency can help you gain valuable work experience too. Kelly Services provides staffing services and employment opportunities in all states across the U.S., and Manpower, Inc. is a world leader in the employment services industry.
- Local and regional employers don't always post on major job sites. Instead, they tend to advertise in their local newspapers through CLASSIFIED ADS. Most online newspapers offer a help wanted section. Check out the BANGOR DAILY NEWS or the ELLSWORTH AMERICAN. You can search directories of online newspapers, both national and international, at NEWSPAPERS.COM or ONLINE NEWSPAPERS.
- PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS are an excellent resource for career exploration, networking and keeping abreast of industry trends. Visit JOB WEB for a list of professional associations broken down by major. Don't forget to ask faculty for their recommendations too--they know which associations are best for their respective fields.
- Don't overlook jobs advrtised in industry TRADE MAGAZINES, which provide another great source for industry news, trends, and tips. FREE TRADE MAGAZINE SOURCE.COM offers free subscriptions.
- Most COMPANY WEB SITES tell you everything you need to know about them, including job opportunities. There are many such as HOOVERS that will point you to employers' web sites.
- CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE can provide you with information on specific geographic locations. You can request an employer listing or relocation packet.
- YELLOW PAGES also offers useful information. You can identify employers and organizations for possible places of employment.
- OTHER COLLEGE WEB SITES are excellent for learning about job fairs and viewing information on employers. Some schools allow access to their jobs database (most require passwords), and offer a wealth of job searching tools and resources.
- COOPERATIVE EDUCATION, INTERNSHIP, VOLUNTER WORK....all previous work can provide a link to future employment. Again, use your connections.
A SAVVY JOB SEEKER WILL USE MULTIPLE METHODS!