The Insider

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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Changing The Student's Perspective

by Kevin T. Buckley, CPC

Changing the Student's Perspective:

The business world and the student world are two different realities. As a student, you acquire knowledge, research facts, prepare reports, discuss your findings and are tested on what you have learned. While there is a degree of cooperation with others required in the academic world, you are working to advance your personal interests for the most part.
It is different in the business world where you learn to apply this knowledge and coordinate information from various sources in order to define customer needs and solve other people’s problems on a daily basis. Of equal importance in business is your ability to work with other people of different backgrounds, take direction, use initiative, extend yourself for your employer and be viewed as a positive person who makes a valuable contribution to the department you are hired into.
Changing how you see yourself is important to market yourself effectively. There are certain basic expectations that employers have when they are looking at new graduates and you need to convince them to buy the product that you selling: You. The question to ask yourself is: How can I create buyer interest? This may mean dressing and speaking differently and keeping foremost in mind that you are marketing who you are and what you can contribute.
Think about your skills, your strengths and your experiences:
You need to express how you have applied yourself to your studies, put in the extra efforts required to learn the subjects you have studied and give examples of how you have successfully arrived at this point.
If you have had the opportunity to work in an industry related co-op placement, then there is some assessment that the employer will have, based on your employment reference.
As an entry-level employee with no co-op history, the employer doesn’t have a track record to measure your performance. Instead, they will look at grades, honours awarded, scholarships received, Dean’s list citations and related projects completed.
They will also look at the part-time jobs that you have held, and will be interested to hear about how you progressed in them. The skills you used in these jobs may be transferable to other employment. They will look for evidence of the ability to learn quickly, deal with customer issues, get along with co-workers and work in an organized, self-motivated manner.
Your extra-curricular activities are also taken into account. If you showed a tendency to organize, be involved, lead, assist or contribute towards a goal, this is a good indicator of how you may behave in the future.
Employers hire people who have demonstrated that they care about their careers.

The fact of graduating is the first indication to a potential employer that you will care about the work that you do. Many employers have said to us that in the absence of an established track record, they will tend to hire someone on the basis of what attitudes, energy and personality strengths they see that can be a foundation for training and future growth.
Confidence :self-assured in the ability to learn quickly; certain about one's interpersonal skills; self-motivated in seeking out new challenges to test abilities; a deeply held belief in yourself, your values, your standards and your worth.
Attitudes: the willingness to put in the efforts, to stay the extra hours, to cooperate with enthusiasm, to be eager to learn, to be realistic in terms of expectations, to be patient with the time required to advance, to be open to new challenges.
Responsibility: to be accountable and conscientious, to “own” the tasks and duties assigned, to act with integrity, honesty and with the team’s goals in mind, to be someone that the employer can rely on to be available and committed to doing a good job.
Energy: to work hard and seek additional work when a project is finished; diligent and effective in using time, determined to complete work in a dynamic and proactive manner.
In the employer’s mind there are several factors to consider:

You may ask: Well, what if I haven’t got any work experience, how do I convince them to hire me? You first need to put yourself in the employer’s shoes. You need to understand the employer's point of view and concerns and address them:.
Will this person be easy to train and how long will it take them to learn their job?
Will this person be staying long enough for us to benefit from having trained them?
Do they have a good attitude - a willingness to cooperate and be a good team player?
Will this person be someone who gets along well with other people?
Will this person be someone who can take on additional responsibilities in the future?
Does this person have realistic salary expectations?
Is this person patient enough to work through the ranks?
What influences a manager in making an entry-level hiring decision:

As recruiters, we often see that favorable hiring decisions are often based on a person’s attitudes and approach in entry-level situations. Hiring managers, being human will tend to hire people that they can identify with on a personal level. If you show confidence, willingness to learn and work hard and flexibility in an interview, you are making a positive impression. If instead you are perceived as demanding, arrogant, negative or unrealistic, the opposite impression will be made. Managers like to hire people that they like. If you show a positive attitude in all your discussions, you will likely experience positive attitudes from others. Each and every interview is an important opportunity to practice one of the key skills you will draw from throughout your career – the ability to network with other people. In the end, a decision to hire you will be influenced not only by what you have done and how you have expressed yourself, but also by who you are as a person and whether or not you have convinced the employer that you are a person that will fit the department and be someone that they want to work with in the future.

You have made the first positive step forward in your career through your education. It is up to you to tell the potential employer how you arrived here and where you can make your best contribution.



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