The Job Search is a Lot Like Dating...

I was talking with a friend the other day about her latest dating fiasco and it occurred to me that the dating world is remarkably like a job search. Now I certainly do not support too much crossover between the two, but the fundamentals are alarming similar.

Your dating profile and your LinkedIn profile need a lot of thought.

Faceless avatars are creepy
The picture you use will be analyzed by a recruiter or potential suitor so make it appropriate for the occasion and the audience. It is unlikely that you will use the same picture for your dating profile as you do for LinkedIn, but lighting, personality, clothing choices should all be considered when choosing. What does this picture say about me?

These profiles will also be looked at for completeness and to tell the viewer about you. Generic information or missing information does not bode well for you as a date or applicant, so be sure to fill out the profiles completely and with information that would catch the attention of your targeted audience.

Get out and meet people, both in-person and online

The number one way anyone finds a job or a date is by personal referrals. It is unlikely someone is going to track you down in your apartment to ask you out or hand you a job if you are not putting yourself out there. Having a strong network is key and leveraging your network online is a must. Simply leaving your profiles out there will do little for your search for a date or a job, you need to do some of the leg work and contact people with whom you might be interested in speaking. Being able to hold a conversation is an art that everyone needs to practice. 

Good first impression is a must.

When reaching out to a potential date or network contact, how you approach them will make or break you chances for a meeting. Opening with “I need a job” or “I need a date” will likely end with no response or a response I am not able to post in blog. For a job search, it is more appropriate to compliment the person’s career progression and ask for information and advice instead of a job. Everyone’s favorite topic is themselves, so let them talk.

When you do finally meet, be on time, dress appropriately, and be polite. This goes for dating, networking, or interviewing.

Showing interest works better than generics

In a cover letter or initial conversation, everyone wants to feel wanted. For the job search, this means that the company to which you are applying should feel like you know about them and sought them out to apply. Do your research…you know they will be researching you.



You will be Googled.

Around 80% of employers report they are Googling potential hires. I would venture to say that number is even higher for those who are going on a date, especially if meeting online. What are they seeing about you? It is important to keep your online image clean, but even more important to be able to be found online. If you have not already done so, set a Google alert with your name so you are emailed every time you name is posted online. Also, create some professional profiles, like an ePortfolio or LinkedIn to ensure a professional image is projected.

A commitment is often being sought by one party.

Hiring a new person is a costly investment for a company. Just like dating, when a commitment is being sought, it is best to know as much as possible beforehand to make an informed decision. Whether you are looking for a long commitment or not, do not indicate to a company any plans that would take you away from your work in the near future to avoid thoughts of you leaving in less than a year.

Desperation ruins chances.

Whether you are on an interview or on a first date, it is never a good decision to tell the other person how many dates/interviews you have had recently or how badly you want a relationship/job. No one wants to be the last resort or end up with someone no one else wants. Confidence is key but avoid overconfidence if possible.


Personality plays a big part in attraction.

The vast majority of companies are very concerned with hiring someone who will fit into a company’s culture. Your personality plays a big role in showing how you would fit in a company or relationship, so it is essential you let that show through…to an extent at least. 

Remember, an interview is a lot like a first date, you are not going to share EVERYTHING about yourself, only the highlights that will keep the person interested.

Rules for following up.

I am sure there are a lot of rules out there about how long to wait before calling someone after meeting them. The same thing applies to the job search. You do not want to come off as desperate, but showing interest goes a long way. Follow up after meeting a contact within 1-2 weeks and if you have not heard back in the stated hiring time frame, follow up a few days later. There is a fine line between showing interest and being a pest…in dating and in the job search.

Rejection is natural.

Whether you are dating or on a job search, not every person or every company is going to be Mr./Mrs. Right. It is perfectly natural and okay to be not receive a call back or be offered a job. "There are always more fish in the sea," as we are constantly reminded. How you handle the rejection will say a lot about who you are as a professional, so remember to be cordial and thank them for their time. If you are concerned that it was something you did wrong (in an interview, not on a date), you are welcome to meet with a Career Center staff member to discuss the event or practice your interview skills. 



I am sure there are even more similarities than I have expressed here; what have you noticed?

Social Media: Pitfalls and Step Ups


There is no secret that social media is here and will be here to stay as it works to draw the masses of people all over the world closer together. Now this can be amazing for all things career related as different companies, brands, consumers, and producers have the ability to reach out to each other. It also has the ability to create a general consensus on various events. This is where social media can become a cautionary tale over and over again. Social media has created a very distinct line to where many have fallen victim of not getting employment opportunities and even fired for reckless behavior over the last few years. It is very much ok and within your rights to voice your opinion on anything, but the way to go about it and the language used has often been the problem. Often times during the hiring phase, companies will check out social media presence to grasp a better sense of who you are.

On a lighter note, social media can be very helpful as you are transmitting new ideas as well as absorbing them. Luckily for this generation, LinkedIn, a professional social media, has been created to better serve the community of professionals that are tried to branch out to other professionals across the world. I highly recommend giving this one a try. It has been helpful to me in my job search and in finding other professionals within my field. When you create a LinkedIn page, it will be completely blank as your typical social media would be. It allows you to input all of your different experiences to display to potential employers, peers, and coworkers as a way to connect on a professional level. The neat thing about LinkedIn is the recommendation feature that is built in the program. It is set up so that your peers and people that know your work ethic can cosign your strengths and skills. LinkedIn’s primary goal is to draw you closer to other professionals and that is exactly what it does. It allows you to add them to your online network as well as provides you with a wide array of paths that have been taken by other professionals to help you reach your career goals after graduation. It gives you a real world view that we all have to start somewhere whether it is serving as an intern or taking on a leadership role in a student organization.


What do you want your social media to say about you? Will an employer shutter away thinking of a complete disaster or think that you are thoughtful and aware of the outside world without using damaging words? Take all of this into consideration when participating online as it can be both a pitfall and a step up. Hopefully, each and every one you will use it for a step up. Technology is always advancing and career readiness has taken a major leap in the technological direction by fully embracing LinkedIn as a way to gather information on future employers and future companies to create the best fit for everyone involved. So go ahead and enjoy your posts, blogs, picture sharing, and trending topics, but use judgement as the internet doesn’t go away no matter how much time has passed.  

Contributed by:
Wade Manora, Jr.
Graduate Assistant

Establishing A Clear Career Objective


Imagine you are at the car lot to end all car lots. Every car known to man is available for purchase. The salesman asks you which car you want. Money is not a concern when purchasing this car.  Take a moment to picture in your mind your ideal car. On a sheet of blank paper, describe this car.

Looking at your car description, take note of a few items. Does your description name the make and model of the car? Did you include model year or exterior color? Have you gone as far as to think about the interior material, rim size, and any additional desired upgrades? If you were to describe your ideal car to the salesperson at the car lot would they be able to clearly understand and picture the vehicle you are imagining?

At some point in your college career you will probably be asked the question, “What do you plan to do with your degree?” or “What type of job are you looking for after graduation?” Your ability to clearly and specifically answer these questions will determine the level to which the person asking the questions can help you in your job search. The first step in any job search is to define your objective. If you aren’t certain of the type or even types of positions you want, how can you go about effectively searching for jobs, networking with potential employers, or soliciting support from friends, family, and faculty?

Just like knowing the specifics of your ideal car can help your salesman locate it, knowing your career objective will help your target audience, those in the position to help you reach your goals, be able to connect you with desired opportunities. 

As you develop your career objective think about the following criteria:
  • What industry do you want to work in? Examples: Manufacturing, Banking and Finance, Logistics, Healthcare, Retail, Education, Hospitality, Agriculture, Real Estate, etc.
  • What kind of role do you want to play? Examples: Research and Development, Consulting, Design, Engineering, Business Management, Service, Accounting, etc.
  • Would you prefer to work with a smaller or larger company?
  • Is your ideal job located in a certain part of the country?
  • Are you looking for a company that offers a certain salary or benefits? Examples: Affordable Health Insurance, 401k Matching, On-Site Childcare Options, Flexible Work Hours, Bonus Pay, Tuition Reimbursement, an Employee Gym, etc.
  • What are the key skills and qualifications you can offer a potential employer?
Having a specific career objective in mind will help you pitch your goals and value to others who can support you in your job search. It can also provide motivation to jumpstart your job search in the midst of fulfilling your many other roles and responsibilities. As you begin to identify and apply for opportunities note criteria that you are willing to compromise on or be more flexible with and items that are non-negotiables for you. Modify your objective as needed as your goals become clearer.

Next time you are asked the once dreaded questions, “What do you plan to do with your degree?” or “What type of job are you looking for after graduation?” you can respond with more than the quick, vague default answer, “A good job.” 

And I'll take one of these babies in the driveway.




The Importance of Gaining Experience: Get Started Now!


You may think, how can I make myself more marketable post-graduation? If you guessed a good academic record, you are partially correct. Strong school performance is no longer the main quality that employers look for in potential employees. Yep, you guessed it, gaining experience has become the key to making you a competitive candidate for your desired positions. Gaining experience allows you develop the skills that are necessary for success within your future career. As you are building up your resume, employers will be able to see what you have completed and how your experience makes you the perfect candidate. Many of your experiences will also allow you to meet other professionals or coworkers that will create a good network to help you pursue your desired career. A managing director with High Fliers Research reported that experience is just as important as gaining a college degree at this day in age. Now you are thinking, where do I start? This will depend on your interests and what will be most beneficial toward your career goals. Here are various ways you can gain experience.

Internships
Internships allow you to experience typical responsibilities and gain a better understanding of your desired career field. Internships are typically outside of the classroom and an intern is supervised within their work environment. A good time to complete an internship is during summer break as this allows you to work with a company or organization for an appropriate amount of time. With this professional development opportunity, employers are more likely to pick a potential candidate with an internship experience than a candidate without one. Selected majors and graduate programs require internships for course credit, which you would need to consult the university in order to complete. Visit jobs.auburn.edu to connect with employers and apply for internships.

Campus Involvement
Being involved on campus will help you develop the transferable skills that you can bring into your future career. Examples of these skills can include good communication, motivating leader, team-oriented, organized, dependable, problem-solving, and many, many, more. Whether it’s being a Morale Captain for Dance Marathon or being a committee member with University Program Council (UPC), any type of campus involvement can give you the opportunity to gain these universal skills that employers want to see. Visit auburn.edu/involvement for a list of organizations you can join, and more details on how to get involved.

Job Shadowing
Job shadowing includes observing a professional in your desired career field. You are able to walk through a “typical day on the job” with this competent worker who will guide you through their workday and give you any advice about their profession. This also gives you the opportunity to see your desired position in a realistic setting. Not only does it give you the opportunity to gain experience, but it may serve as a deciding factor in terms of continuing to pursue this career, or potentially choosing a new one. Make sure to do your research before your shadowing and come up with a few questions to ask the professional at the end of the day.  


These are just a few different opportunities, so make sure to visit auburn.edu/career/experience to get more information on different ways you can gain experience and become a successful professional in the work field. If you would like to talk more about gaining experience, please feel free to come into our office and meet with a Career Counselor during our office hours. Remember, get started now so you can create a successful future! 

Post by: Kaela Jimenez
Career Center Graduate Assistant
Graduate Student in Counseling

It's the Most Wonderful Time...for Informational Interviewing


On November 5th LinkedIn promoted “Bring Your Parents to Work Day” to help parents learn about what their adult children do for a living and to encourage them to continue providing career advice after college. In a survey of over 20,000 people, they found that 55% of parents admitted to not being entirely familiar with what their children for work. Many parents know their child’s industry, employer or job title, but few know about the day-to-day responsibilities, tasks and accomplishments that comprise those titles. The same likely goes for children lacking awareness of their parent’s jobs.

During the upcoming holiday season take advantage of extra time with your parents and extended family to learn more about their jobs and career paths. Ask questions about what they do, what they like about their jobs and how they got into their chosen field in place of small talk about the weather and how your fall semester was. This informal informational interviewing can you help as you explore your own career path. You might even find that a member of your family is doing the type of work you desire and can serve as a connection for internships and full-time jobs. Or, you may learn about an interesting new career that you never knew existed.

Come back to the Career Center in the spring to discuss this new found information and use web resources at auburn.edu/career to do more exploration. Our career counselors can help you choose a major to reach your career goal or talk about how you can use your current major to pursue various career options.

Happy Holidays and Happy Info Interviewing!