Thursday, August 5, 2010

What it takes to get a job in 2010: Part 2

This is the second installment in a series on what it takes to get a job in 2010. Whether you're changing careers or entering the workforce for the first time, there are some specific areas that should get your attention as you prepare to begin your job search. Part 1 takes a look at the importance of your GPA. Read on for another tip!

Get work experience. This is a qualification that can potentially overshadow a low GPA. But you must be prepared to talk intelligently about your past internships, co-ops, and full-time positions. What was your role? What were your strengths? What did you achieve during your time there? And as always, solid recommendations from past managers are a bonus.

Applicants run into two issues here: How do I make the most of the work experience I have, and how am I supposed to get experience if I need it to get hired in the first place? That's where your school's career center comes in. At Peirce, CDS takes the mystery out of getting your foot in the door of the corporate or non-profit world.

  • Many adult learners (like the majority of the Peirce student body) have the benefit of work experience under their belt. For them, the key is to leverage that experience in the resume writing and interview process. CDS offers resume writing and interview workshops that instruct students on the best way to communicate their skills both on paper and in person.

    On a resume, show potential employers that you were an asset, you were driven, and that you moved things forward during your past positions. When you get to the interview, be prepared to present that same information succinctly, confidently, and professionally. Sometimes, all things being equal, the student who can tell a consistent story of ability that starts with the cover letter and resume and ends with the interview and thank you letter is the one that lands the job. CDS can help write that story with increased consistency.

  • Never had a job? You'll have better luck in your search if you complete an internship or co-op program. An internship is a temporary position where you work closely with full-time employees to learn the skills related to their business. It can be paid or unpaid. A co-op is more closely tied to coursework, and is completed to earn credits. Both give you hands-on experience and are great ways to show you've been exposed to the business world.

    Peirce offers a pre co-op class and co-op program where students can gain valuable hands-on experience under the direction of a faculty member. Ultimately, it's the students’ responsibility to find the position, but Peirce can provide co-op searching guidance, help with the application process, and offer support along the way. This program ensures that you get everything possible out of your experiential opportunity.

Wrapping up the series, I’ll take a look at today’s most marketable skills – and how to make sure employers know you have them!