For Young Job Seekers…

A young person was working with me on her job hunt. So many questions/confusions! Which cities are best? Which industries should she target? Is cover letter necessary? Are those really called “experience?” These are the summary of our exchanges:

  • No one owe you a job. No one care if you think it is not fun. Treat job hunting as a full time job and do it seriously. Spend 4 to 6 hours a day doing it. Develop a routine, err on over-doing and over-thinking. This is not your Mom’s job and really would have profound impact on the rest of your own life. Why are you not motivated to do better than trying to score better on your Internet games?

  • Did you consider starting your own business? Is there a passion in you that just need a bit more motivation? Don’t get intimidated by your lack of business experience. Being young is a very previous resource. You can afford to fail now, not later.

  • Resume serves two purposes: get you an interview and guide the interviewers to ask you the right questions. It is a marketing material. In these days, there is no excuse not to customize it for every jobs you apply.

    Edit your resume at least 5 times and spend at least 20 hours on it. Scrutinize every words and formatting decisions. Strive for perfection. Ask people for suggestions and feedback. Find people who had hired many to criticize it. Keep an open-mind and don’t be defensive. If you can recite your resume in heart, that’s about right.

    You must have a cell phone and email address on the resume. Skype handle is good to have, not required. You need to provide an easy way for them to find you. If it is not easy, you lose.

    I have once find a resume that was otherwise attractive, but without phone numbers. The response from the email was that the person treated his cell phone number “private” and wouldn’t share it with any “strangers.” Seriously?! If it takes 2 hours to arrange an interview for you and 5 minutes for the other applicants. You lose. Get yourself a second line or email account!

  • Unless you are willing to put in roughly 10 hours and 5 edits to create a cover letter, don’t. The “intro” message should be very short. Don’t repeat what’s on the resume and write only what’s relevant to the job. Always edit before you send. It is far easier to screw up cover letter than not doing it at all.

    Those who actually did spend the time get an advantage. But I rarely saw good ones, particularly from young candidates.

  • Create your LinkedIn account, put the same material in your resume there. Make sure your profile picture is not funky. Contact your bosses and colleagues to “endorse” you. Upload a pleasant, well-lit, head-and-shoulder picture.

  • If you have a Facebook account, try removing party pictures and offensive postings. Google yourself and tried to clean up anything embarrassing. If your name is too common, add middle name or initial to the resume. If you blog, check your recent postings. Yes, your future employer will Google you before making you an offer.

  • Referrals from direct friends is the most effective way to get hired. Contact all your siblings, friends, and whomever you meet in any social functions for referrals. It is best that they themselves send in your resume with a positive intro (This is my friend. She is great. Our company will do better with her. ETc.) Otherwise, send to the hiring manager yourself and state very clearly who referred you. If the position is out of state, remove the address from your resume.

  • Ask those who are in your parents’ generation for the same thing. Remember, personal referrals or “word of mouth” is the most effective way to get hired. Very large number of jobs are not posted to the public.

  • Go back to the school (yes, physically) and visit the career center and inquire their various campus recruiting programs. Ask for a list of companies that recently visited the campus or showed interests in hiring entry level positions. If possible, email to the hiring managers. Otherwise, send a paper version of the resume to the HR department.

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One Response to For Young Job Seekers…

  1. krish says:

    Dear Sinyaw,
    thanks for the do’s and don’ts for young job seekers…..

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