Putting Your Best Foot Forward

September is here which means back to routine. For many of us that means going back to school and working our ever-so great part-time jobs. But how about when school is done and you’re looking for that full-time job or to start your career? Many of us are left in this grey zone. We want to get our foot in the door but don’t know how or maybe we’re just too intimidated. Don’t sweat it! I’ve put together some tips and tricks to get you closer to that dream job.
First thing to do is RESEARCH. For example, if you’re looking to kick-start your career in Communications, look at the communication teams at different companies (big and small) and agencies. Are you looking for a communications position within a fashion house or are you more interested to work for a hospital? Start getting specific, not too specific but know how the industry works and where you would like to see yourself.

Clean up and tailor your resume to fit the industry you’re interested in. If you’re looking to land a position at a not-for-profit company, your retail experience at the local grocery store isn’t as important as your volunteer work at the Christmas Food Bank with your family for the past 4 years. It’s important to showcase your experience in and out of the industry but prioritize, no one wants to look at a resume that is 4 pages long and outlines each store in Vaughan Mills that you worked at. Also beef up your skills. If you know how to use a DSLR camera and are an expert in all MS Office programs, put it down. Keep your resume relevant with the most updated information that will make you look like the best suited candidate!
LinkedIn is your friend. Go through your profile and update your information whenever needed. Be active and post interesting articles or polls, connect with users by congratulating them on an achievement or liking and commenting on their posts. Get a professional headshot. Those Instagram selfies won’t cut it. You want to look mature, so ask a friend to snap a shot of you either in your field or at school (giving a presentation or in your work environment) or on a simple clean wall. Club photos probably won’t work to your advantage.

Go for coffee, lots of coffee. Whether you’re looking for a job or not, ask people in the industry or at companies you want to work for out on a date, a coffee date. Let’s put it this way, everyone loves talking about themselves so don’t be scared to ask, most of the time they will say ABSOLUTELY. Network with the individuals you want in your network, those who can help you out, pass on opportunities or just give you great advice. Here are a few questions you can ask when you’re meeting someone for coffee:

  • Where did you go to school?
  • Where did your career start?
  • What do you like most about this company?
  • What does your average day look like?
  • How was your first job experience?
  • How do you feel about unpaid vs. paid internships?
  • What advice do you have for me when trying to get a job? Go for an interview?

Preparing a few questions is always useful especially if you want to know specifics about something. If they don’t have the answer, they definitely know someone who will.

Follow Up! After you meet with your new friends send them a message, not right away (don’t be a 5-stage clinger). Thank them for sharing their time to meet with you and talk. This would be a great opportunity to volunteer your time to them. Ask them to keep you informed about events taking place and volunteer opportunities. Not only would this be a great way to gain experience, you’ll be keeping that connection active.

TIP: Bring a book! Not only is it a great way to keep busy while taking the subway or waiting in between appointments, it’s a great conversation starter and can bring you into an entirely different conversation than imagined.




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