Some of you may know this but I graduated college in December. I have been in the midst of the job search since. Well after all the interviews and the emails and the calls I got a job! This week was my first week. I wanted to do kind of a diary of the interview process and the first month or so on the job. Below are my thoughts on the interview and search process.
The Interview/ Application Process
I was interviewing for about 2 months (which includes time when I was in school and interviewing). While that is not that much time, especially in this market, it does hurt. First of all before you start applying for jobs, determine a city(or cities) and a list of target businesses in those cities you would love to work for. If you are in advertising check out http://www.agencycompile.com/. For other businesses check out the cities Chamber of Commerce to look for businesses in the area. http://www.uschamber.com/default. This is a great way to get a landscape of businesses in your search area. If you are into social media you may want to use location based searches on twitter so you can see who is tweeting in the area.
Once you compile a list of desired companies check out their websites to see if they have a Twitter or a Facebook. If they do make sure to use social media to reach out to them. It is often a much more direct method and may be an in for you whereas just email@example.com would not. It also makes you stand out and seem like you are really interested in the company.
Also, when you are applying for jobs apply to the firstname.lastname@example.org I know it seems like a black hole, and sometimes it is but I got some of my major interviews through this channel. This is where it REALLY helps to make your resume stand out. Check out my previous posts on how to do that. http://studentbranding.com/your-resume-make-it-stand-out/ http://studentbranding.com/your-resume-keep-it-brief/
The most important tip I can give you is to be patient. Companies are hurting and not in a hurry to hire. It doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in you but they are moving slowly because they do not know what will happen in the next couple of months in the economy. This gives you a great opportunity to stay in the mind of your interviewer. I suggest emailing once a week to check in after you have heard back after your first interview. However, when you email add some value to your email. Send links to articles you have found about the company, industry or something relevant. Stay in the mind of the interviewers but do not be annoying. Every industry and company is different, do what you feel is right but do not harass for that is the quickest way to ruin a good thing. Also every email you send needs to be meticulous. There are a lot of candidates out there so triple check every name and all the spelling. Also send handwritten thank you notes. They show that you care and you are really interested.
Also while you are waiting, get a hobby, volunteer, or get a part time job. These all give you things to talk about during the interview and make you look like a go-getter, not just someone sitting at home waiting for emails.
If you do finally get the job, remember all offers are negotiable. Companies are tight on money these days so they may not be able to offer you a lot more salary wise but they may give you more room on benefits or transportation. Negotiate your salary, but do it in a respectful way – you do not want to seem greedy! If you have questions ask them and if the HR person can’t help you ask to be connected to the benefits manager or someone who is a specialist in that category. A really important tip is to ask about promotions. How soon do they happen? Does the company promote from within? Is there a formal review system? Does the company actually follow through with their promotions? ( many don’t stick to it, and it is an important question if you want to be promoted) These variables are crucial because your starting salary may not be exactly where you want it but if you only have to deal with it for a year because that is how quickly you get promoted it may change your mind.
Importantly, do not let them rush you. Take a week, talk to your parents, professors, advisers and friends and see what they have to say. They may bring up important things you didn’t consider. And they can help you get a feel of how your offer stacks up in you industry.
Shannon is a senior at Boston University majoring in Advertising in the College of Communication. She has experience working for NBC Universal in New York City as well as PJA Advertising and Marketing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She loves clean functional digital design. Digital is the future of advertising and marketing and Shannon likes to stay involved and on trend. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter.