Classroom to Corporate—Part 3

 

PROFESSIONALISM

Everyone knows how to act like a professional, right? Oh so wrong! Sure, we might know how to speak correctly, give a firm handshake, chew with our mouths closed during the lunch meeting—you know, the basics. But oftentimes it’s the little things we never think about that might cause others to question our professionalism. And you never want that to keep you from getting ahead.

Communication  Image by Boykung

Verbal

I’ve said it before. Verbal and written communication both count. I met a student years ago who really struggled in this area. The problem was she didn’t know it. She simply spoke the way she’d always spoken, which was more than likely a result of what she’d always heard. I remember hearing a popular financial expert say something similar. He heard a recording of someone’s radio broadcast and thought, Wow, listen to that slang. That guy sounds way too casual to be taken seriously–then immediately realized he was listening to a clip from his own show! He had no idea how much room there was for improvement up to that point. Once he did, he went through training to help him become a better communicator. I gave the student the same advice.

You might think, what’s the big deal? People should accept me with all my flaws. That’s fine for an entrepreneur perhaps (and even they could discover clients prefer to deal with someone who can adequately demonstrate their expertise via their communication style) but right now, you represent a company and its brand and there is a certain way they’d like you to do so.

No one is immune. I’d like to think after all the years I’ve spent in a professional role that my communication is stellar, but I sometimes still catch myself being a little too lax in conversation and I have to take my own advice.

Written

Image by aopsanRealizing that spelling is not everyone’s forte, spell check—and real live proofreaders (aka co-workers)—are your friends. Imagine if your manager sent out a message filled with misspelled words. Wouldn’t it make you scratch your head in confusion? Make you wonder how he ever got promoted? You might even doubt his ability to successfully run your division and be reluctant to follow his lead. I very rarely send out an email or letter at work without having someone else read it over first because when we read our own material it’s easy to overlook typos. Much to my chagrin I’ve even gone back to some of my posts here to make corrections!

Obviously, there are medical conditions that make written communication a struggle, so remember, there is nothing wrong with seeking help. Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, and author Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland) all overcame the challenges of dyslexia to achieve great success.

One other note under the communications heading: say no to ringback tones. If someone calls you at the office, or your manager calls you for some reason, you don’t want Blurred Lines or Thrift Shop blaring. This is your career, not the dance club.

Take a moment to choose a more appropriate setting for your phone, and remember to stop back next time for more advice on professionalism in the workplace.

Advertisements

Classroom to Career-Part 1

You’ve been at the new job for a couple of months—or you’re preparing to begin a new job. A perfect time for some tips about how to make that transition from the classroom to corporate!

 MONEY

 When you find that first job after graduation you will more than likely receive the largest income you’ve had up to this point. It might seem like a lot of money, but it’s important to make a budget. Think about the unexpected expenses that might crop up. Maybe your roommates are moving out and you’ll be paying the rent and bills on your own. That will include utilities—gas, electric, phone, cable and possibly water. Groceries cost more when they’re not split between a couple of people. By the time you add all that up you could eat into a big chunk of your take home pay. With taxes, 401(k) and insurance benefits coming out of your check you’re bringing home only about 60% – 70% of your salary. That’s where your budget starts. Not with the gross. It might seem obvious but often people forget to consider typical deductions.

As I mentioned in a previous post, make wise decisions. Do you really need to get the priciest apartment? Do you need a new car right now or can your old college beater last a little bit longer? When I started my career I thought about buying a brand new Saturn. Beside the fact that, at nearly six feet tall, I could barely fit in it, I didn’t have much extra money for a car payment. So I kept driving my ‘85 Chevy Cavalier for a few more years. Yes, the paint on the hood had faded from blue to a curious gray, and by the time I was finally able to give the car up it had no heat, no air conditioning and some decorative rust around the doors. But by then I had been promoted to upper management and I was allowed to drive a company car. Now, many years later, I still don’t own a car of my own, but I get a new one every year— and since my company pays for gas and maintenance and we’re self-insured I save a ton of money.

As Dave Ramsey says (www.financialpeace.com), live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else. Small sacrifices now allow you to have nicer things later on when you’re not indebted to everyone else. A good rule of thumb is to live on 80%, give away 10% and save 10%.

College Students

TIME MANAGEMENT & WORK/LIFE BALANCE

Yes, college is challenging. Juggling classes, study time, organizational involvement, work—and, let’s face it, if you’re dating someone that takes a huge chunk of your time too—can be difficult. But the bright spot is, if you’re lucky, your weekend starts on Thursday night. I was even fortunate enough a couple of times to have all Monday and Wednesday classes so my weekend started even earlier!

Not so in Corporate America. You might have friends who are still in school and they’re still hanging out until all hours during the week. This is your opportunity to make some good decisions. Sure, you can probably get away with that every once in a while, but don’t wait until you doze off in a team meeting before you learn to say no. Save the late nights for the weekend. Some of you might actually have to commit to going to bed as early as 10:00 pm.

I’ll admit I’m a night owl, but when the alarm goes off in the morning and all I can do is groan, I know I will be in bed early that night. I can’t sit through interviews, make good decisions or contribute to my team when I’m tired. Not to mention, my sunny disposition is a little more on the stormy side.  😉

Once you begin your career—unless you’re in education—Spring Break, Summer Break and, sometimes, holidays like President’s Day or even the major holidays you love could become a thing of the past. That’s not to say you won’t have vacation or other paid time off, but often new grads are surprised when Martin Luther King Day comes along and they’re expected to go into the office. If it’s a day that is important to you plan ahead and use one of your paid days.

 

Take Care of You

All work and no play…stinks! No it’s not the usual saying but it’s true. Even if you love your career, if that’s all you have in your life you will eventually wear yourself out. Take up some activities both with and away from your co-workers. It’s important to build camaraderie with your team; it can benefit you in the office. At the same time, many people need time to decompress which can be difficult to do in the company of your team members. So make sure you don’t inadvertently cast your friends aside just because you’ve landed a new job. I know someone who schedules quarterly outings or get-togethers with friends so they don’t lose touch in the busyness of everyday life. You’ll make new friends along the way, of course. Some of which will be your co-workers. In that case, you might need to make a pact to leave the office at the office. Otherwise it might feel like you never left work!

I take my workout clothes with me to work so I can go straight to the gym. I’m involved in a writing group and my church’s worship team. I salsa, go to local festivals (who doesn’t love a funnel cake?) and plays. I recently even went to the symphony a couple times. Not my thing, but it was worth a try. And in the past I was on a few softball teams. The point is, though I love my career, I have interests outside of work that allow me to continue to love it.

Stuck in a rut? Here are some ideas: join a book club, the gym, coach a team, have card tournaments, invite friends over for a cook out, mentor someone or pick up a new hobby. Check out http://www.meetups.com to find groups of people with similar interests.

I’ll see you back here next time for some tips on professionalism in the workplace.

Where the Jobs Are 2013

You visited all the top job sites, prepped your resume—and had someone review it beforehand, thank you very mucJob Searchh—and applied for some jobs you came across that first day. There are tons of them though, and it turned out to be a grueling day. You posted your resume so now all you have to do is sit back and wait for those employers out there to find you, right?

Actually, you couldn’t be more wrong! Remember what I’ve said in the past—with so many people seeking work, it’s all a recruiter can do to keep his head above water at times. Between the career fairs, job postings, phone screens, interviews, coordinating the interview process, running background checks and, for some, generalist duties (benefits, legalities, unemployment claims, trainings…)

Wait, what was I saying? Oh, yeah. We recruiters are swamped! That means, that while we still prospect, you can’t count on us seeing your resume as the only way to find job leads. And while the popular ones—Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed—will all send you jobs that might be of interest you’re going to find a lot more opportunities by having a plan for your job search. Not to mention, as a recruiter, I want a self-starter who is results driven and ambitious, not the guy that waits around for something to fall into his lap.

 

Below is a list of the top fields hiring new grads this year, so there are definitely jobs out there. The question is, how do you go about finding them?

1.             IT — 26 percent

2.             Customer service — 19 percent

3.             Finance/accounting — 16 percent

4.             Sales — 16 percent

5.             Business development — 15 percent

6.             Health care — 12 percent

 

(Find the complete article at http://www.examiner.com/list/top-6-jobs-for-college-new-grads-2013)

 

Top Places to Search for Jobs

Internet 

By all means, do not discount the job sites listed above. You might also check out career rookie, simply hired and even snag-a-job. Granted, Snag-A-Job primarily posts part-time jobs but perhaps that can lead to a full-time position. These sites are definitely viable, and the place I find many of my new hires, but I encourage you to go beyond the obvious. Check out Twitter, Linked in and Facebook.

True, the careers popping up on on Twitter could be in Timbuktu, but if you utilize the search feature and enter your city (ex. Jobs Atlanta) you can see the companies posting local jobs. Follow them and it could open up a world of opportunities that might never be posted in the more traditional ways. The same goes for Linkedin. In fact, if you visit your home page, on the right side mid-way down, you’ll see job opportunities that might be of interest to you. If you follow the link for more jobs you will also see which of your connections already work for those companies. Now you have an in—as long as you haven’t been randomly connecting with people you don’t know on Linkedin. You can reach out to your friend to do research, ask questions and, perhaps, even ask for a recommendation.

Is one of your friends raving about his new job on Facebook? Is he posting about how much fun he’s having, how much he loves his manager and his team and just got promoted after only six months? Find out where he’s working. Have a conversation and see if that company is hiring in your field.

 

Employee Referral 

Many companies, mine included, offer incentives for employees who make referrals for employment. Let your friends know you’re looking. Keep your resume up-to-date and be prepared to email it at a moment’s notice. The last thing you want to do is make your acquaintance wait while you make revisions.

A few years ago my brother-in-law, John, was in between contracts in the pharmaceutical research field. John’s resume found its way to the desk of a hiring manager and a colleague who knew John saw it. Because she was familiar with him, his performance and his work ethic she told the hiring manager, “You need to hire him.” John got a phone call, had a brief discussion and hung up with a job offer! Sometimes it really is who you know.

 

Colleges 

As I mentioned in a previous post, career services at your alma mater is a great place to visit. You can also jump on the career services website and browse jobs that have been posted by their employer partners. During the school year attending the career fairs is a must! You can make a much greater impact as a real live person vs. just words on a piece of paper that can get lost in a sea of other resumes. If I am impressed with someone face-to-face I am much more likely to bring that person in for an interview.

 

Networking 

During a presentation a few years ago the speaker emphasized the importance of a viable network. If you can’t help others and vice versa, he said, you don’t have a network, you have a netbroke. One candidate I came across definitely understood this. He worked at a country club throughout college where many affluent guests were members. He was a server but knew he was in a position that could open up doors later on. He kept resumes in his car and had his elevator pitch memorized, so when he got a chance to strike up a conversation with a business owner he was ready. That interaction led to an internship in New York where he was able to hone his marketing skills in a position the company created for him. When you impress people sometimes they go out of their way to help you!

I mentioned Linked in before, but it deserves another mention in this category. Take time to join groups of interest and comment in discussions. That way you can meet more people to add to your network. I recently posted a job and got a recommendation from someone who’d read my feedback. For my contributions in another group I was recognized as the Contributor of the Month and was offered a gift card. I was able to provide valuable information and, though it wasn’t my motivation to do so, I got valuable feedback in return. The same can be said of your job search.

 

Other Sources

 Employment Agencies

Employment agencies can be very expensive for companies so the agency might have a limited number of clients. Similar to your internet search, don’t just sign up and sit back and wait for a phone call. Agencies have numerous clients which means your competition could be significant.

Local Organizations

Oftentimes your local Chamber of Commerce, Urban League, even the unemployment office will have a place for employers to post jobs, so check out the website. In addition, they and other local organizations might host a few public career fairs. Do an online search for “career fairs (name of city) 2013” to see what events will be held locally this summer.

Think outside the box 

If you want a job in a creative field, be creative. With the internet at our fingertips people are thinking way outside the box. I read a story about a guy who put up a billboard to get the attention of employers—and found a job! Utilize Youtube to put together a video. Pin your works of art on Pinterest. Take pics of your fashion designs and post them on Instagram. How about using your marketing skills to draw people—including employers—to your blog? What better way to prove your results than a huge following.

I have yet to hear anyone exclaim, “Yay! I get to search for a job!” Let’s face it, it’s not fun. Keep a positive attitude, but don’t make your job search last any longer than it has to. Take advantage of these tips, exhaust every avenue and keep plugging away until you get that job offer you’ve been seeking.

 

New Grad & No Job Offer? Make Your Summer Count

So you haven’t landed your dream job yet. Last time we established that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But you can’t justify your break forever. What can you do to improve your chances of getting the one you have your eye on when you embark on that career search again?

First, let’s review the obstacles you encountered.challenges

You only applied for one job. But, hey, it was the one and the first two interviews went really well. How were you to know they’d offer the job to someone else? Bad move. Take advantage of all the money you invested in college and visit Career Services. They have relationships with tons of employers and can give you some referrals.

This time, make sure you cast a wide net. Where do your interests lie? Is it only nursing, or do you also enjoy physical fitness, social work or other fields where you’d be able to help people? Or you might be interested in some totally unrelated fields—aviation and IT and law. Personally, I am not only interested in recruiting, but finances, writing and philanthropy. Since few jobs would incorporate all of these areas, you will have to satisfy some of your interests outside of the workplace. Just make sure you tailor your resume accordingly when applying for jobs. Don’t send your aviation-related resume in for a programming career at Microsoft.

Do some research to find out if you’ll need more education or a certification for your desired career. If so, consider it—the cost, the time and what sacrifices you might have to make. Perhaps, with those qualifications under your belt, even more avenues will be open to you.

You bombed the interview. It happens. Use it as a learning experience. You will live to interview again—believe me. I walked into an interview for a sales position my senior year in college. Back then I was extremely shy. (Shocking, I know.) Much to my horror I found myself facing five—yes, five—interviewers.

It did not go well. I filed it under the category of Things I Don’t Speak Of. If interviews make you break out in hives, this is another area where Career Services, local organizations like the Urban League or other job centers can help. Take advantage of a mock interview (or two) or a resume critique and get some feedback on where you can improve. You’ll walk into your interviews much more polished than you were in March.

Lack of experience 

If this is the case, is there something you can do over the summer—volunteering, working part-time, taking a course—that can help you gain that experience? Let’s say you applied for an accounting position but you never had an internship. Why not try to obtain one over the summer if a company is open to hiring graduates as interns? If that doesn’t work read some entry-level accountant job descriptions. Will the company accept banking as related experience? If so, head over to US Bank or 5/3rd and fill out an application. You’ll not only gain cash handling experience, you’ll gain customer service and sales experience as well. You might even qualify for promotion into their accounting division after a few months of proving yourself.

This is the best way to gain experience—hands on, and it’s what I personally like to see on a resume. But there are also other ways which I’ll cover below by order of preference.

 

Honing Your Skills

Do not take a random summer job if you can avoid it. Choose one that will help you gain new skills. If you were turned down for a communications position and re-apply for the position in the fall with the same resume you’ll more than likely get a similar result. And I’m not sure you can sell your parents on taking another three months to find work.

Previous jobs

As I mentioned, I love to see real life experience on a resume. Because I hire for a sales & management trainee position I am even more drawn to candidates who held leadership roles or who met goals. So if you work in a department store and there are no sales goals established by the company, and you would like to get into sales, set some goals of your own and highlight the results on your resume.

Volunteer/Organizational

Rotary, relay for life, habitat for humanity, missions trips just to name a few. This is also solid experience because it involves real situations. Don’t settle for showing up at organizational meetings and filling in where needed. Is there an opportunity to take the helm for a project? Conceptualize and plan events? I am so impressed by candidates who can organize and motivate teams to accomplish tasks. Why? Because so few recent grads have that experience.

No too long ago I hired two candidates who had been on missions trips. They had to raise money (sales/persuasiveness/resilience), set appointments (communication/self-starter) and organize Bible studies and outreach (time management, leadership). All of this while in school (flexibility/adaptability).

Classroom — This is impressive when you have had the opportunity to present solutions to an actual company who decided to implement them. However, classroom experience is typically hypothetical or simulated. While it gives students an understanding of what happens in a company nothing beats that face-to-face customer encounter you had as a server where you were able to turn him into a repeat diner at your restaurant. No theoretical idea can take the place of the organizational process you implemented at your last job to help keep track of inventory that was later adopted by three other divisions.

Years ago I interviewed a solid guy for our internship program and asked him to tell me about a time when he had a leadership role. He was an Assistant Manager at a car wash but for some reason he started telling me about his classroom project. I interrupted him and said, “If you tell me about your capstone… You were an Assistant Manager! Tell me about that.” We both laughed, but he got it. He went on to describe some of his responsibilities, the number of people he managed and even how he was able to impact the bottom line. I brought him on board and after he graduated we hired him full-time.

Check out this link for even more ways to gain experience:

http://education-portal.com/articles/10_Ways_for_New_College_Graduates_to_Gain_Job_Experience.html

Transferable Skills

Let’s face it, there is only so much experience you can gain in three months’ time, so what’s an alternative? I guarantee many of you already have valuable skills you never even considered—transferable skills.

Some of the most beneficial skills include: leadership-ability to motivate a team, communication—written & verbal, flexibility/adaptability, teamwork, time management, self-starter, problem-solving, organization, creativity, resilience, results driven

Recent grads often discount their “college jobs”, but don’t sell yourself short. Server, Sales Associate, Laborer (warehouse, landscaping), construction and athlete are all job experiences that will add to your skill set. Think about the skills you’ve gained and ways you can highlight them on your resume and, once you land the interview, what specific examples you can share that prove you have that competency.

Job   Title Experience   &Transferable Skills
Server Multi-tasking/adaptability, customer service, sales,   leadership–ability to oversee a process
Athlete Leadership, work ethic, tenacity, resilience, teamwork,   dedication, goal-setting, problem resolution, results driven, time management   (school, practice, games/meets & sometimes a job)
Landscaping/Construction

(bonus points for crew leader)

Self-starter, ability to meet deadlines, teamwork;   entrepreneurship if you started your own mowing business, leadership
Tutor Planning, training, teaching, motivation (with proven   results), communication
Resident Assistant Leadership, customer service, planning, problem resolution,   organization, creativity, sales if you had to persuade other RA’s to accept   your ideas, budgeting
VP of fraternity Event planning, leadership, creativity, able to motivate a   team, sales—ideas or fund-raising activities, budgeting

Job Shadow

One final suggestion for your summer. You think you’d like to work in a non-profit, but you’re not entirely sure. Why not tap into your network this summer for a connection in that field? (Networking is a topic all its own that I will cover in a future post.) Perhaps you can shadow someone a few days a week or even volunteer. This will give you insight an interview might not offer and you could discover you’re not as interested as you thought or it’s the perfect fit for you.

Remember, just because you haven’t landed your first job is not a license to take it easy this summer. Take advantage of some of these tips and, after you get a few months’ experience under your belt, get back out there! Everyone had to start somewhere. Make that first step pay off in the long run.

First Job Offer Woes

After you’ve stood in line at career fairs, after you’ve sweated your way through endless grueling interviews all you can think about is that job offer. And you finally get one! But wait. Should you just go and accept the first job that comes your way? It depends.

When I graduated from the University of Toledo there was no particular city that appealed to me so I decided to move back to my hometown. But for some reason I applied for a job in a small city. After six years in school—full time—I finally held a degree in marketing with an advertising focus. Trust me, after all that time I was set on getting a job in advertising. What I discovered was that advertising jobs weren’t so readily available. Which is why I suppose I applied for the advertising job at a little radio station in…we’ll call it Littleton, so as not to insult anyone in the real city.

Normally, I’m 15-30+ minutes early for any appointment but I somehow ended up skidding up to the doors of the radio station about 10 minutes late. I’d miscalculated how long it would take me to drive to Littleton from Toledo. In reality, I think I knew on a subconscious level I really didn’t want this job. But I sat through the interview and it went really well.

Well, maybe Littleton wouldn’t be so bad. I drove around town a bit, checking it out, and ended up at the mall. I’ve never been one for shopping but I figured the mall would be a good representation of what the city had to offer.

In a word: tiny. In fact, it would have to get bigger to be tiny. But I overheard someone mention another mall. I stopped a woman to inquire about it.

“Oh, you mean the small one?” the lady asked.

“You mean this is the big one???” This was an OMG before OMG was even a thing.

Now what was I going to do? The radio station wanted me to come back in a few days to take a personality assessment test. I drove back to Toledo pondering the dilemma. Easy! I’d fail the test. I mean, it’s not like I could actually turn the job down, right? I was a brand new grad who ought to be lucky someone wanted to take a chance on me.

I arrived in Littleton as scheduled and took the assessment. I wasn’t quite sure how to fail a personality test but my theory was to answer the opposite of what I thought they’d want in the person they wanted for the job. I left confident in my failure and with a spring in my step.

A few days later I got a call. The lady on the other end of the phone raved about how great I’d done. Oh, come on!! How was I going to get out of this? Reluctantly I went for the final interview in Littleton hoping against hope they’d choose another applicant. It never dawned on me I was probably the only idiot who’d applied.

At that time I worked in the Admissions Office at my university. I talked to Shelly, one of the Admissions Counselors, who is still a good friend today, about the situation. And what she said changed everything. I might be a new grad but it didn’t mean I didn’t have a choice about the career I accepted. She assured me I shouldn’t feel bad about turning the job down if it wasn’t the right one for me. Something else would come along. What a relief! But I still hoped I wouldn’t have to have that difficult conversation.

Then the call I was dreading came. Much to my dismay they loved me and wanted to offer me the job. (Darn this charm of mine!) The conversation turned to pay. To say it was low was a severe understatement, like saying Harry Potter was a small success. Were they serious? It would be different if there were opportunities for advancement but there weren’t. I was going to be stuck with that pay for who knew how long. And Littleton was a tiny town far away from friends and family. And civilization.

So I took a deep breath and politely declined. The lady wanted to know why, of course, and I explained. That’s when she told me they’d upped the pay $2000.

Wow.

Now, as a professional, I realize I should have spoken up sooner. As a tremendously busy recruiter I hate to waste my time, so I regret doing that to the hiring managers. But after making a decision I was finally relieved. And Shelly was right. I got turned down for a couple other jobs but I also got a couple more offers. I accepted one of them and, eighteen years later, am still with the same company and have received five promotions over the years. Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t in advertising. But we’ll discuss tunnel vision in another blog post.

Recently I had a similar situation come up and I remembered this dilemma. As an aspiring author I have been attending conferences and reaching out to agents and editors in hopes that someone will either represent or publish my young adult manuscript. About three weeks ago I got an email that I thought was another rejection. But no, a publisher was interested!

And so much faster than I anticipated.

The company sent me the contract and I began reading it over. It might has well have been hieroglyphics! What was a decent advance for a new author? What about royalties? I started doing some research and reached out to other authors and agents that I’d met at the conferences for advice. The feedback varied from: It sounds very reasonable except ____ to: ‘Get a book on the shelf no matter what’. And, ‘They need to increase royalties and you need to keep the foreign, dramatic and commercial rights’.

What? I need an agent. Badly.

And then I remembered Shelly’s advice. Just because I’m a new author doesn’t mean I have to take the first deal. I learned a lot over the past few weeks and something else will come along.

Bottom line?  If the job that comes your way is right for you, grab it. If not, it’s not the end of the world. Just like me, your perfect fit will come your way in due time.

Didn’t Get the Job? It’s Not You…

You got the interview. And then you got the rejection letter. This is why you shouldn’t take it personally.

When you’ve needed a job in the past it was usually to pay the bills, so you took whatever came along. Fine. Suffering through a tough job or two builds character. Plus, it can help you figure out what you do or don’t want to do for the rest of your life.

(My character-building job was quite a memorable experience at an insurance company where I stared into a machine for 5 hours a day searching for medical claims copied onto microfiche. Fun times.)

But now it’s time for a career, and that’s a whole different ball game. This is the place where you’ll be spending 40+ hours a week for the next few years of your life. Trust me, you don’t want to do that shaking your fist at the heavens every morning and gritting your teeth.

We recruiters make decisions daily about who to bring onboard which means, inevitably, candidates get turned down in favor of another applicant. We can tell you that at some point—perhaps even weekly—we’ve received the following email:

Can you please tell me how I can improve or be a better candidate for this opportunity in the future?

A valid question perhaps, but consider this: sometimes the position just isn’t the right one for you. There is no class to take, nothing to practice and no magic wand to wave and change your personality. It simply isn’t going to be a win-win situation. For a company and employee to have a happy marriage so to speak, you should be able to meet the company’s goals and they should also be able to meet yours. That’s right, you’re interviewing them too!

Often times what you’ve envisioned the job to be doesn’t come close to the reality. Trust that the recruiter knows the job and, therefore, after having an interview we know if you’re a fit…or not.

If you want to be a teacher and the company is hiring accountants…it might be a bad fit.

If you want to work weekdays only and the position requires that you work weekends…it might be a bad fit.

If you prefer to finish Task A, before you move on to Task B and the position requires you to multi-task on a daily basis…it might be a bad fit.

If you don’t like people and you have to resolve customer complaints…

You get the picture.

This doesn’t mean you should try to snow the interviewer. Telling us what you think we want to hear (aka lying) could land you shoveling frozen cow patties in Antarctica because of your stellar, yet embellished, answers. We can only make the right decision when we get to know the real you.

By all means go to a mock interview at your college or local career center, have your resume reviewed and think about your answers before you go to an interview. But be honest. In some cases, if we get to know the real you, another job could become available where you’d be the perfect fit and we can reach out to you later on.

No, you might not get into your dream career right away, but in choosing, at least pursue a job that will help take you in that direction. If you’d like to be an Outside Sales Rep, take an entry-level job in retail where you have to meet sales goals. You’ll learn some selling basics and might even find out if you love (or loathe) selling. If you want to be a Sports Commentator, take a job in ticket sales for a sports team and learn the business from the ground up.

It all boils down to this quote: Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

So choose wisely.