By Kristine Alfes and Mark Schostak
Well, it’s about that time: growing up. This means there are bills to pay and things to buy, or maybe there is an upcoming date. Regardless, there is one thing holding you back: you don’t have a job! How are you supposed to get anything done? Here is some advice that will help you to land that position and create a career pathway. Take some deep breaths and keep reading.
The First Step: The Look
Play the part. First impressions are, unfortunately, based on looks. Therefore, you must look eager to work. Do not carry yourself in a droopy manner or look like a mess. The easiest way is to stand up straight and walk with a purpose. All you need to do is be relaxed but still be a professional version of yourself. This translates through your clothes also. Clean, neat, and professional is what most employers look for when meeting a new hire. Gentlemen should consider trimmed facial hair, fresh breath, and nice cologne. A clean, pressed button-down shirt with a tie will be enough. If you’re going for that higher position in the company, tuck that shirt in and throw a suit jacket on top. Avoid sneakers at all cost. Ladies should consider a modest blouse with a pair of slacks or a clean-cut dress. Practice good hygiene and exemplify professionalism in your overall appearance.
The Second Step: The Resume
Whether you’re going for your first job or your last, always maintain an organized and updated resume. Any employer noted on your resume should have a small blurb stating what positions you held and what job duties you performed. Everyone looks for experience first, so sell yourself to be the best candidate for the position. If you do not have any previous skills to show off, write down accomplishments. Good grades in school, extracurricular activities, or community service work will give a positive image to the prospective employer.
The Third Step: The Interview
Employers will often conduct an interview to see what kind of person you are and if you’re a good fit for the position and company. The interviewer will ask an abundance of questions–the trick to blazing through the questions is to be relaxed and focused. Do not over-complicate the answers so as to avoid saying things that you do not want them to hear. Answers that are plenty informative without being too detailed or long-winded will more likely lead to a good interview. Always be honest, and whatever you do, do not be condescending toward any person when describing a previous experience or when describing those around you currently. Afterward, you will have the opportunity to ask a few questions of your own. Do not be afraid to ask any questions about the company, leadership, or growth opportunities. It shows that you have an interest in them and are eager to be a part of the company. Always research the company prior to the interview, as it is good to have some general knowledge and questions prepared in advance. Be mindful of the types of questions as well. Asking about pay during the first interview may lead to mixed reviews about you in the employer’s eyes. As long as you are the best version of yourself, that position is golden.
These are the basic steps to gaining the experience and confidence to get you through to that job. Always have a sense of professionalism about you, but do not go overboard or understated. Everyone has the potential to make an impact, one job at a time. Plus, if you ever feel nervous, just take a deep breath and take one step forward at a time.
We know that you can do this. Good luck!
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Culinary Arts, Class of July 2018