Friday, May 31, 2013

Career Day 2013: Tips and tricks for entry-level and seasoned professionals

Preparing yourself for the next step in your career requires personal and professional development. That’s why Career Development Services hosts a Career Day event each May that consists of workshops, lectures, and discussions to help students and alumni improve their networking, interviewing, and leadership skills.

This year’s Career Day took place on Saturday, May 4 and received extremely positive feedback from attendees. Check out some of the pictures we snapped during the event.

We wanted to recap some of the best tips that were shared over the course of the day in case you missed it.

For entry-level job seekers. We shared a lot of great information to help entry-level job seekers brush up on their career skills. We offered a workshop on the art of interviewing, as well as one on the importance of personal branding. Here are some of the most important tips that we covered for entry-level job seekers.
  1. Ask questions during your interview. No matter the method of interviewing, have some background knowledge on the company you’re interviewing with. Do your research online so you can ask thoughtful questions about its mission, its people, and the place you would fill there. It shows that you care enough to take interest in what that company does.
  2. Don’t use your cell phone. Before walking through the doors at your next interview, turn your cell phone off or put it on silent. Don’t check your cell phone at all during your interview. This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people forget this simple interview etiquette rule. You should dedicate your time during your interview to really engaging with your interviewer, as well as assessing the company to find out if you could see yourself working there.
  3. Dress professionally. The importance of this tip cannot be overstated. A first impression is extremely important during an interview -- you only have a few minutes to make your interviewer remember you out of many candidates. So make sure to dress professionally by wearing a business suit and avoiding anything short, tight, or soiled.
  4. Establish your personal brand online. Over 90 percent of employers will search for a job applicant on social media. So make sure that your internet brand on any public social networking site, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, showcases your abilities and persona in a positive way.
  5. Keep it professional. When you’re interacting online, everything that you post can be traced back to you. Remember: nothing you post on the Internet is private, so use the rule of thumb that if you wouldn’t say it to your employer or boss, don’t post it online.
  6. Differentiate yourself. There’s a reason why people will pay more for a Banana Republic t-shirt than a Hanes t-shirt. Both may be made of white cotton, but Banana Republic has differentiated itself as a high-quality brand that’s worth more. Do the same with your personal brand. Showcase personal achievements that demonstrate abilities employers want to see. Are you hard-working? Show off awards you received through clubs and activities at school. Do you dedicate a lot of time to your community? Highlight the most recent event where you volunteered. These personal branding steps can go a long way with potential employers in helping you stand out from the pack.
For professionals looking to advance their careers. We also covered advice for professionals who have job experience and are looking to take their careers to the next level. Experts shared advice on how to sharpen social media skills and use them for professional development and thought leadership. They also covered how to become a better leader and hone leadership abilities. Here are some specific tips heard throughout the day.
  1. Networking is networking. Social networking online is very similar to networking offline and many of the same rules apply. So be social, engaging, and active when building your thought leadership on social media, just as you would with people in your industry during a cocktail party.
  2. Make it relevant. Thought leaders are experts in one particular category or industry. So to grow your audience, share content, advice, and information on social media that’s relevant to people in your industry. This could include business, healthcare, information technology, politics, travel, fitness, and more.
  3. Don’t go dark. If you’re committed to building your thought leadership online, you must dedicate some time to engage every day. It doesn’t have to be hours -- start with just five minutes three times a day to share, engage, and commune with those on your networks.
  4. Leaders need support too. It’s always important to surround yourself with supportive people, no matter your level in your career. Seek out a mentor who is able to give you sage advice, as well as colleagues with whom you can collaborate.
  5. Learn as much as you can. A true leader never stops learning, and is willing to learn from and work with his or her colleagues. So continue to read about your industry, attend classes, participate in conferences, and network with colleagues.
  6. Don’t be afraid to give or receive criticism. At the end of the day, being a professional involves some criticism, whether it’s from your boss, your colleagues, or your clients. Instead of fearing it, embrace others’ feedback and use it to better your leadership qualities and your career.
No matter what level job position that you’re seeking, it’s important not to let obstacles stop you from achieving your goals. Author Mr. Jim Smith, Jr. had a great way of putting this during his keynote speech at our event. He said “move that bus,” meaning you have to remove excuses to get to the next level in your career. He covers more of this mantra in his book, “The No Excuse Guide to Success: No Matter What Your Boss or Life Throws at You,” which he gave out to attendees.

We had a great Career Day, and hope all who attended took away some valuable knowledge they can put to work in their jobs.