You’re in your final year of post secondary education and you’re looking forward to waltzing into your first exciting “real” job. But in today’s competitive human capital environment, few new hires are being recruited directly out of school and you’ll likely have to work harder than ever to garner the attention of businesses. Young professionals are still in high demand, but the talent pool is larger, more diverse and more competitive than ever. So wake up students and stop hitting that snooze button, because it’s time to pour the coffee and face the real world. What advice can I share? These four tips that will surely help you confront your biggest career challenge yet: getting the right job.
Interviewing Is Key
Unless you have a highly specialized skill set (and that doesn’t include high score on X-Box), you’re going to have to interview for a job. The interview is the first chance you have to make a first impression and it sets the tone for your career persona going forward. Be prepared by thinking about the questions that an employer may ask, researching the company in depth and being confident and professional. Be authentic and you should be able to stay ahead of the curve.
Bet On Them Seeing Your Facebook Page – And Govern Yourself Accordingly
Don’t think the corporate world won’t be peeking in on your social media habits. It’s the fastest, most convenient and, oddly enough, most reliable way to learn about a potential hire. If you say or post something negative, it will most certainly come back to haunt you. Make sure if you plan on getting that “killer” job or even being taken seriously, you remove the less than flattering pictures from the night of your cousin’s surprise birthday party (and the shots of you recovering the day after). Remember, the Internet doesn’t have a filter or an expiry date and businesses will not waste time on those potential hires who do not pass muster during the initial screening phase.
Be Strategic and Plan to Succeed
There’s no reason why you can’t consider your final year of school as a test run for the real world. In other words, set your schedule at University or College to mirror a typical workday. Get yourself in the routine of starting early, meeting deadlines and performing at optimal levels during the peak working hours of 9 and 5. Remember, if you’re used to working until 3 am and sleeping until noon, you’re in for a real shock. Don’t think it matters? Think again, because nowadays, employers are savvy and have been known to ask about work habits at school as a way to gauge whether or not potential hires are a good fit.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
If you are lucky enough to spark the interest of an employer or you manage to get your foot in the door, plan to be nothing short of spectacular. That means there is no tolerance for missing days, showing up late or less than stellar performance. Sure, there are work environments out there that are more flexible. Google employees are known to have significant freedom in the workplace. Flexibility, however, needs to be earned over time and you’re simply going to have to roll up your sleeves and work hard to earn that allowance.
Attracting and retaining talent is still a worthwhile strategy pursued by the world’s most successful industries, which is contributing to the increasingly competitive job market. The very nature of human capital means you’re going to have to work hard for every opportunity that comes your way. Keep your eyes open, your nose to the proverbial grindstone, be authentic and plan to succeed, and you will.