Perky Perspectives

A positive view from young professionals building their careers


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Step Right Up!

The county job fair is coming to town!The county job fair is in town!

 A job fair was coming up and my interest was sparked, as the event would include non-profit, government, small, mid, and large-sized companies. Even though the booths at this job fair weren’t going to have tasty fried food on a stick or the tracker pull, the potential to meet, ask questions, and set-up interviews with employers looking to hire is an event all job seekers crave.

Career fair ready!I prepared for the job fair similar to how I would for a first interview. I started by practicing my short, 30 second TMAY (tell me about yourself) introduction that I would use to make a good impression. I also practiced other basic interview questions; such as rehearsing my successful projects in AmeriCorps, career goals, strengths, and weaknesses. I then came up with some informational questions to ask the different employers. My final preparations involved printing out copies of my updated, proof-read resume, putting extra business cards in my portfolio folder, and picking out my professional attire.

On the day of the career fair, there were unfortunately only 6 companies present. After visiting all of the booths, I did not find a position that aligned with my career goals. This was discouraging, as it would have been nice to get a foot in the door to somewhere of interest. Yet as I walked out of the conference room I felt at ease. First off, I had gained some practical practice interviewing. Furthermore, speaking about my past work experience had refreshed my confidence in the fact that I have a lot of professional skills and abilities to offer to a company. Speaking about prior projects also reminded me of my passion for working in the community development and service sector. Overall, I realized that even though I am young, I have a developed skill set that makes me a qualified candidate for the area in which I want to work. This energy has carried through the last two weeks, and I have even heard back from two places.

As I continue with the job search process, I am going to work on increasing my time actually meeting with people. The value you get from meeting with a recruiter in person is ten times greater than conversing with a recruiter through email. While this can be a long process, the end result will be worth the wait. I hope you can find ways to meet employers and others who can support you to reach your career aspirations as well!

Best to you,

Kristin

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40 Applications and Counting

I recently received an invitation to interview for an organization I’ve submitted several applications (40 to be exact) for various positions. Finally an interview! I think this breakthrough was the result of networking. I submitted 36 applications and had yet to hear back. In the midst of submitting applications, I found a friend who worked at the organization and was willing to pass my resume on to a recruiter. This brought an opportunity to meet with a recruiter with whom I discussed my work experiences and received feedback. A week after the meeting and submitting applications for four more positions, I received the email for the opportunity to interview!

I just completed the interview which made for an interesting experience as it was done over the internet. Faced with the typical interview questions, I had to record my answers on video using my webcam. With the grace to record my answers till I was satisfied, this interview turned out to take a while because I felt the pressure to make sure my answers sounded flawless, and well, I had several takes for all 11 questions.

I’m sure the interview would have taken less time if I had been practicing. My last position as a substitute teacher had ended two months prior, and I have not spent much time answering interview questions that incorporated my new professional experiences. So my first piece of advice (and note to myself) is to regularly practice interviewing. I’m going to try to do this at least once a week.

From this online interview experience, one insight on being strategic and efficient in practicing questions is to record yourself. I was able to catch verbal crutches in my speech, as well as pick up movements I do that could be distracting to the information I’m attempting to communicate. Practicing in front of a mirror is helpful, but recording yourself will allow you to accurately hear and view how you present yourself. Make up a list of interview questions, there are many online resources (such as Vault, Wetfeet, Glass Door, LinkedIn) to help make up this list. Get out your updated resume. Then get access to a recording device, such as a webcam, a digital camera, or phone. If you don’t have one, borrow from a friend, or a local library.

Many people say job hunting is a game and it’s tough. Be strategic as you play. After all the effort that goes into applying and networking, once you receive an opportunity to interview, being able to effectively communicate your experiences and “sell your brand” is what will separate you from other well qualified candidates to land the job.

Now as I wait to hear back from the interview, it’s back to the job hunt game and staying positive!

Best to you,

Kristin