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I recently sat down with some major players in the entrepreneurship market to discuss the best advice we can ever receive as a youth when it comes to career and the secrets were exposed.
Whether you are just getting out of college/university or looking to make a job switch in the new year, we’ve got you covered when it comes to tips you will want to know prior to submitting that application or heading to an interview.
1. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.
We love this quote because we all know that when you feel good about yourself, your confidence increases. This rule is a definite for when you are going to an interview and also applies for when you are seeking employment. If you are currently in a job that you dislike or are unemployed, it helps to dress in a way that will boost your self-esteem and keep you motivated to reach your goal of landing your ideal position.
2. Send thank you notes after an interview.
Handwritten notes are dying and it says a lot to go the extra mile to thank someone for their time. The extra effort shows how much you care about the job in which you are applying for, and could help you get a second interview.
3. If you do not get a job at your desired company, analyze why and keep trying.
History is full of stories about people succeeding after trying multiple times. When not hearing back from a job, really examine the whys and figure out how you can improve your chances the next time you apply. Is there a typo on your resume? Do you lack the appropriate experience? Did you apply to the position too late? Do all within your means to figure out how you can improve. For example, if you applied for a manager position and realize you might need a few more years of experience, try applying for a coordinator or assistant position to get your foot in the door. Chances are the company will notice your hard work and you will eventually get a promotion to a management position. When you are starting out, it is really about gaining experience and just getting within the company’s door. Whatever you do though, DO NOT GIVE UP, and just keep trying. A wonderful quote to live by — “Don’t get down. Get busy.”
4. If you are in college, apply for multiple internships.
Yes, definitely target companies that you dream of being a part of someday, however, apply to a wide array of companies in the same way you did for colleges. While in an educational setting, it is key to gain some sort of work experience and it is a good idea, given how competitive internships are, to give yourself as good a chance as possible to lock in an opportunity that you can put on your resume. It might not be the top company you applied for, however, it is definitely better than being without a real world opportunity to develop your skills and build contacts.
5. Do your research. Prior to an interview, be sure to have done your investigation work about the company and, if possible, who you will be interviewing with. Companies want to employ those who are passionate and knowledgeable about the company’s mission. Definitely have questions in your pocket as well, and make sure they are ones you genuinely want to ask, due to that HR can more than likely read if you are not being genuine.
6. When starting a job, do not be afraid to ask questions. There are no dumb questions and it is much better to ask for clarification on an assignment as opposed to making a mistake. Obviously, you do not want to be asking questions every minute, but there is no harm done in wanting to do your job in as clear a way as possible.
7. Maintain a positive attitude and look at every assignment as one of the most important in your career.
Whether you are getting coffee for your supervisor or giving a presentation to the board, you never know where your actions will take you on your professional journey. Even if it is a task you are not thrilled about, such as making copies, remember to keep your goal in mind and trust that the task is a stepping stone to get you where you ultimately want to go.
8. Network, network, network. And network some more.
Our team believes hugely in building your professional contacts through networking — and this starts in college, hence why internships and career fairs are very important. If there is someone you look up to within your desired industry, reach out to them and introduce yourself. LinkedIn is an invaluable tool to build your network, and there is no harm done in taking the initiative to make a connection. The only harm that can be done is to yourself if you do not take the step to try. Plus, you never know, the person you connect with might just be the one to help you land a job.
9. Have a role model.
Whether it be your mom, Linda Ikeji, Dayo Showemimo or Oprah, have someone that you look up to and aspire to be like someday. Having someone in mind who can help you see a path to follow will bring clarification and guidance on how to make a career happen.
10. Try not to look sideways, but ahead.
Lastly, it is very easy to get dragged down by peers who might be getting certain opportunities you want. However, firmly remember and trust that everyone is on their own path and things happen at different times for each individual. Turn the negative energy into positive and keep persevering forward. Your hard work will eventually pay off.