1. Use LinkedIn. Spend serious time on LinkedIn. Complete your profile, keep it updated, follow companies, build connections, join groups related to your industry and apply for jobs. If you spend over ten hours a week on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter, do yourself a favor and use some of that time on LinkedIn, too.
2. Visit the Career Services office. I can honestly say that I never stepped foot in my alma mater’s Career Services office, but I now understand that I missed out on solid, free advice from professionals experienced in the very thing that stood between me and a career – the job search. Take advantage of the tips, advice and employer connections.
3. Practice interviewing. People think, “Oh, I know what I would answer if I was asked <insert interview question>.” But you really need to practice interviewing out loud. Get used to hearing your responses, the cadence of your delivery and any little nervous pauses, like “Ummm” and “Uhhh.” Realize how many times you say the word, “like.” Get a group of friends together and meet once a week to practice interview questions or better yet, schedule a mock interview with Career Services!
4. Invest in professional interview clothes. You might already have a nice suit in your closet, but get it out and try it on. Does it need to be altered or dry-cleaned? Do you feel comfortable in it? Do you need to buy a new tie or dress shirt? Are your shoes shined and ready to go? At Sullivan University, every Wednesday is Professional Dress Day where day students are expected to come to class professionally attired. This gives students a good opportunity to build their professional wardrobe. You don’t want to get a call on a Tuesday for an interview on Thursday and feel unprepared!
5. Set a professional voicemail on your phone. A standard voicemail will work just fine. Understand that a recruiter doesn’t want to hear your personal theme music.
6. Have a professional email address: Better yet, use your my.sullivan.edu email address for your job search! I have heard from many recruiters that a resume with an inappropriate email address instantly goes into the “NO” file because even a tiny slip like this one can speak volumes about your ability to be professional and detail-oriented.
7. Check your Facebook privacy settings. Turn your wall comments off, disable photo tagging and set everything to a minimum of “Friends of Friends.” Google yourself and see what appears. Know that recruiters are Googling you, too!
8. Connect with a mentor. Mentors come in all stages of life. Utilize LinkedIn to network with someone who is more established in the industry you’re pursuing. Keep in touch with your favorite instructors and professors after graduating. They are great resources for you, usually have years of work experience in the industry and could be a good resource for future job opportunities.
9. Join professional associations. Find a local networking group for young professionals. In Lexington, the Lexington Young Professionals Association (LYPA) is a good place to start meeting people. There are numerous professional associations in the Bluegrass area – Career Services can assist you in connecting with the right one for your field.
10. Don’t get too high or too low. The hiring process is a roller coaster – there will be times when you feel elated and times when you feel despondent. Try not to let your emotions get too high or low – just ride it out until you receive an offer, and know that Career Services is always here to cheer you on!
About the author:
Julie Saifullah has been the director of Career Services at Sullivan University’s Lexington campus since December 2006. Prior to her current position, Julie was the associate director of Career Services at Florida State University’s College of Law, and has also been employed as a career planning and employment specialist with SC Vocational Rehabilitation, and as an employment specialist with Michigan Works!
Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio University and a Master of Science degree in Human Resources from Sullivan University. She is an active member of Bluegrass Society of Human Resource Managers (BGSHRM), and has served on the board of the Kentucky Association of Colleges and Employers (KACE) for the past four years.