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Adulting Career Transition

4 Tips for Finding Your First Job After College

September 18, 2021

Though you may have been able to follow a clearly defined path towards graduation throughout your college experience, at a certain point that path ends and another begins. As you finish your degree, the time comes to embark on the search to find your first job. This can be intimidating, but a basic knowledge of some of the best practices for first-time job seekers can make the initial search much smoother. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you prepare for finding your first job after college.

Perfect Your Application Tools

It can be helpful to hone a variety of different skills that can make the application process smoother while simultaneously increasing your chances of landing a job.

One critical element of the modern recruiting landscape is a solid, polished online presence. Ideally, this is something you should be working on far in advance of your first application via cultivating a positive, professional manner throughout all of your social media interactions. Past behaviors, comments, and attitudes can all come back to haunt candidates as recruiters scour their online profiles in an attempt to learn more about them.

With that said, even if you haven’t taken the time to do so yet, it is never too late to start cleaning up one’s online presence. Make sure to clean up your common social media profiles and take time to create a fully filled out LinkedIn profile in order to facilitate your communication with other professionals in your field as well as potential workplace recruiters.

It’s also crucial to prepare your resume ahead of time. While you may not have a plethora of past experiences to populate it with, a well thought out resume that properly represents your professional and academic experience, as well as any other relevant skills, is important.

When you go to apply, ensure that every application is uniquely crafted for the position you’re applying for.

Network, Network, Network

Whether you’re an industry leader with a dozen years of experience or a fledgling college graduate, the power of networking cannot be underestimated. While readers of this article will likely still be in the early stages of their career, it is still absolutely worth the time to invest in networking with professionals within your industry. Great avenues for networking include attending professional organization meetings for those in your field and reaching out to a potential mentor on social media. Whatever avenue you choose, finding ways to network is an excellent way to increase your chances of finding a job quickly.

Use the Resources You Have Available

College graduates typically have a host of various resources available to aid them in their search for employment. If your institution has a good alumni network, it can be beneficial to try to tap into it. Another option is to take advantage of your school’s career center and meet with a career counselor to discuss ways to go about your job search. This can be helpful for refining your search, perfecting your resume, and helping to work through any other questions you might have.

Making It Through the Interview

There’s nothing more exciting (or nerve-wracking) than getting your first interview. Naturally, you’re going to want to do everything you can to prove you’re the best candidate for the job. Here are a few tips for successful interviews:

First and foremost, you need to dress the part. Even if the job you applied for has a casual dress code (or you’ll be working from home in your pajamas), you must dress professionally for your interview. First impressions are everything! 

Second, it’s always a good idea to practice your answers to common interview questions. You don’t want to find yourself tongue-tied or coming up blank when potential employers are asking questions you should have expected. It’s practically inevitable that you’ll be asked the old chestnut “Tell me about yourself,” so be ready with a professional, authentic answer.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t speak negatively about your previous employers. Prospective employers will end up thinking you aren’t capable of resolving problems with your managers through negotiation and diplomacy. You may be perceived as a gossip, complainer, or simply unprofessional. If you’re asked why you left previous jobs, have constructive answers that don’t put the blame on a specific person (i.e. “there was no room for advancement.”)

Accepting a Job

Once you begin to hear back from recruiters, you’re going to want to prepare for job offers that could follow. If you decide to accept a job, make sure to be thoughtful and respectful in your acceptance in order to maintain a professional demeanor as you prepare to join the ranks of your new employer.

Typically, a job will first be offered over the phone or in person. If you accept, a formal job offer letter will follow. If you feel you need time to consider the offer, don’t be afraid to ask. In fact, rushing to accept a job can often be a mistake. Just make sure your request for time is made respectfully. Once accepted, make sure you understand when you are to begin working. The one thing you should absolutely avoid doing at this point is negotiating over the salary. This should be done earlier in the process and can appear dishonest if done after an offer has been made.

As a final note, once you receive the formal job offer letter itself, make sure to respond appropriately in turn. There is more than one way to accept a job offer, and it’s likely you’ll accept the offer initially over the phone. However, whether you accepted on the phone, or asked for additional time to make your choice, once you have reached a conclusion, it is important to confirm your acceptance of the job offer in writing. An official job offer thank you letter typically reiterates the primary details of the offer, the start date, and a personal acknowledgment of your interest or excitement in starting at the company.

Confidence is Key

If you take the time to prepare for your job search, you are much more likely to find success quickly. Not only that, but a professional approach to your search and a polished, pulled-together demeanor as you go through the hiring process will enable you to start your new job with confidence and likely create an added level of respect from your new employer as well.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Career

Is Coding a Basic Life Skill and Essential for the Future?

August 31, 2021

Coding is the process of writing or creating instructions for computers to follow using programming languages. It’s used to program technologies used every day like websites, apps, and other computer software. People are becoming more exposed not only to more gadgets powered by code, but the modern world is becoming more reliant on the internet and code-powered software, making computer literacy essential.

Learning, or at least understanding the basics of how to code will come in handy not only if you pursue a degree in software development or computer engineering, but also as a skill to have in your toolbox. Coding is a skill that can be taught and picked up by kids as young as 5 years old, and with technological advancements, teaching kids basic coding hasn’t been easier. Here are a few other reasons coding is a basic life skill and essential for the future. 

Coding Helps With Problem-Solving

Learning to code helps you approach problems logically since it’s essentially giving a computer a task to accomplish based on a series of steps you’ve created. These instructions can range from simple to complex, where more complex tasks or codes are a collection of simpler codes just put together. Knowing the basics of coding helps you break down a big problem into smaller pieces and be able to analyze or look at things from a different perspective.

Demand and Earning Potential for Coding-Related Jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that careers in computer and information technology will grow by 11% between 2019 and 2029, faster than the 4% average projected growth rate for other occupations. Some job opportunities that use coding include website and software developers, software engineers, data analysts, database and system administrators, and data scientists. According to the BLS, in 2019, the average median salary for coding and programming-related professions was $39,810.

While these jobs may increase in demand over the next few years, some skills needed for these jobs include a mastery of front-end and back-end programming languages, tools, and structures, as well as strong analytical ability, and problem-solving skills.

Practical Application

Most people have the impression that coding or learning to code comes in handy for technical professions, but there are other practical applications of coding knowledge as well. For instance, some projects may involve working with a team or coordinating with other developers, experience from working on these projects may translate into better teamwork or dynamics with others in the future. Coding also entails having keen attention to detail, critical thinking skills, and patience since coders should be able to notice the smallest mistakes in a code and be able to work through any issues that may come up while working on a project. These skills are not only valuable to coders but can also be useful in one’s personal life as well.

Coding Resources

There are numerous free resources available online once you decide to learn to code. Sites like Coursera, Udemy, Codecademy, AGupieWare, and edX offer free coding courses, and multiple Youtube videos and blogs are available to watch or read through as well, depending on your learning preference.

People are only becoming more exposed to technology every day, and knowing how to code as a skill can not only help you navigate and use these technologies better but help you maximize these and make the most out of them as well.

BIO: Arleen Atienza has been writing for several organizations and individuals in the past six years. Her educational background in Psychology and professional experience in corporate enable her to approach a wide range of topics including finance, business, beauty, health and wellness, and law, to name a few.