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Graduation season is a time to celebrate years of hard work and dedication. As many walk across that stage and receive their diploma, one thought comes to mind, “what comes next?”
Everyone’s approach to the post education phase is unique. Some will go on to higher degrees, but most commonly, many new graduates will be joining the workforce and finding out which career path suits them and will lead them to their dream job.
The transition from student to employee can feel a little uneasy and stressful at times, but companies like ICONMA have many recruiters, working with candidates in various industries to help find a career path that is for them. Very soon after receiving your diploma, you will be connecting with recruiters and managers to go over your resume. They will help walk you through your resume, application, submittal, interview and receive your first job offer.
We asked our experienced staff at ICONMA what their best tips when entering the workforce and how you can start your job search off on the right foot:
From your recruiting industry experiences, what advice would you give to graduates just beginning their job search?
“Network, Network, Network! Ask to job shadow to get a real hands-on experience about what career options are out there!”
“A candidate should upload resume on job boards and mark themselves available in LinkedIn (the most used tool by recruiters and candidates). [They] should join groups on social media platforms that are relevant to their job search.”
“[Candidates] should create a professional LinkedIn account, if not already established. Post a professional photo, include any professional working experience, education, volunteer work, etc. Sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, State Job Boards, and Social Media are great places to start a search.”
“You want to ensure you have a resume that is up-to-date and professional. From there, you can begin by posting the resume to different job boards, as well as checking out your College’s career center. An area that most people forget about is family and friends – referrals sometimes make for the best job of your career. My first role in staffing was a job that I obtained by networking with my cousin who then passed my resume to her manager. 22 years later – I’m still in staffing.”
What are your best resume tips?
“Proofread, proofread, and proofread again! Metrics and any skills surrounding leadership/mentorship as also key items to add. Be sure to have a few bullet points outlining your experience with each job/internship. 1 bullet point likely doesn’t explain all that you did! This is your time to shine.”
“The most important tip is to limit to 2-3 pages. Mention bullet points and explain them in the interview. Do not write stories in the resume. Make sure your contact information is at the top of your resume and is correct. The font used should be same and consistent throughout the resume. Ideal font is Times New Roman in 12.”
“Having a concise, detailed resume is highly recommended. Use a professional font, and ensure you list all keywords that align with what you are looking for in which you have experience in. Call attention to your accomplishments, whether it be volunteer work, academic achievements, internships, etc. I recommend even if there no professional experience to highlight these items as many times they can cross over into relatable experience for a position.”
“Keep it simple. Too many times people try to use a resume template that is full of graphics and such. The only time a resume should include graphics or be in a different format is if the role you are applying for is a creative type positions, i.e. Graphic Designer, UX Design, Instructional Design, etc. Be sure to also include the month/year for all jobs on your resume – most employers want to see your previous experience and time at each position. If you are just graduating and do not have any “professional” positions to list on your resume, focus on your jobs worked while attending college, list any internships or externships; if you volunteered – list that.”
What are your best job interview tips? How should candidates present themselves?
“[Be] professional, but personable.”
“[Arrive] 10-15 minutes before scheduled time, well prepared for the skills and the company being interviewed for, dressing up in business attire. For video interview, the candidate should use laptop/ desktop and not phone, the room should be well lit and quiet. Being honest to skills they have, not lying, clearly talking about their aspirations and goals, not saying negative things about past employers or managers”
“Professionally, research the company you are interviewing with, and whom the interviewer is within the company.”
“Dress to impress. If the role is a large corporation, be sure to dress in business professional. The only time you should dress down is if the Interviewer has specifically asked you to.”
What questions should candidates ask during/after the interview?
“What does success look like in this role and how is it measured? Do you have any hesitations about my resume or qualifications to do the job? Why do you enjoy working at “X” company?”
“How the role will sit in the organization, what are the expectations manager has from the candidate, how does this role help them evolve in their career?”
“During – what is the culture, where do you see the company in 5 years, what have been the companies’ biggest achievements, what is the growth potential for this position, what has made you continue your career with this company? Following – what are the next steps, what is your timeline for hiring, is there anything I may have missed that would aid in me being selected for this position? If you are interested in the role, finish off strong by highlighting how your experience aligns with what they are seeking to fill the open position. I always recommend sending a short, thank you note following an interview.”
“What are you looking for in your next employee? If this is a metric driven position, ask about the type of metrics and if they are feasible, i.e. do many people meet the metrics? What would the first 90 days of the position entail? I am looking to grow with a company – are their growth opportunities in the long run?”
What materials should candidates bring to the interview?
“Bring any writing samples (if applicable) and several copies of your resume. You never know who might pop-in on your interview.”
“[Candidates should bring] Hard copy of their resume, copy of degrees/ diplomas, any certificates or anything the recruiter asks you to bring.”
“If in person, I recommend bringing a copy of your resume, cover letter, any recommendations from past employers, professors, etc. If virtual, many times the hiring manager will have these documents on file.”
“Always bring extra copies of your resume, as well as any type of material that will help sell you for the position. If this is an Instructional Designer role, bring an example of some of the material you’ve created.”
What are some things new graduates should avoid when searching/applying for a job?
“Be selective about applying to jobs and do your research about the company up front. Some organizations flag candidates that mass-apply to every job. Ask your network if they know anyone who has worked at “X” organization and ask to be connected to speak with them about their experience.”
“[Candidates should avoid] only focusing on the pay rate. Their initial goal at the beginning of their career should be to choose a company where they can learn the skill set. They should also look for good company culture.”
“[Candidates shouldn’t take] a job, to have a job. If you are in a place to find a position that you are excited about, that aligns with your financial goals, start there.”
“Don’t apply for jobs just because of pay, apply because the job interests you. Pay can always increase, interest normally doesn’t.”
What are some things new graduates should avoid when searching/applying for a job?
“Take notes before your interview and bring them with you! Bring a copy of your resume to have in front of you too! Stay organized and track what jobs you apply to, did you hear back from them, where did you apply, etc.? It’s easy to lose track of this especially when you are considering numerous opportunities.”
“Do not run behind big names and it’s okay to fail. What is important is to choose wisely when applying for a role or company and make sure your expectations match with what the company is looking for. Focus on learning and not pay rate exclusively.”
“Be selective, there are so many tools to aid in the job search process. If you do not have a resume, look at templates, or build out a resume within one of the job posting sites such as Indeed, CareerBuilder or Monster. Create a LinkedIn, and set it up to show that you are looking for work. Look for companies in which align with your personal and professional goals, and apply for a handful of positions each day. Technology makes the process much less cumbersome, and there are a lot of helpful websites, and blogs to aid in your search. If you are open to contract work, or working with a Staffing Agency, they take the hard work out of the equation by partnering with you, and helping you find your ideal position.”
“Expect the unexpected – as they always say, good things come to those who wait.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2022! Check out the job portal on ICONMA’s website for new job opportunities posted daily and remember to follow us on social media @ICONMA via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for daily hot jobs postings.
May 24, 2022