Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rejection - Handle It With Style

No matter who you are or how long you've been in the world of work, sooner or later, you've been rejected for a job. It's not the end of the world. I mean, think about it: we watch people in politics every year vying for their jobs (at the voters' mercy, of course) and ultimately one or more people walk away without the blue ribbon. But do these people shut down, give up, and blend into obscurity? Generally, no; they dust off, get back to campaigning, and are back in the game pronto - sometimes they change direction a bit, but they get right back to it in some form or another. Job seekers need to take on the same kind of tactics - sure, it stinks to not get a job you were really hoping to get, but get back up and try again.

Here are a few thoughts to getting through rejection:
  • Take a minute to let it go. It's ok to feel bad about losing out, but don't let it get to you. Take page out of the book of Sal Tessio (from the movie 'The Godfather'): "Tell Mike, it was just business." It is "just business." The rejection isn't personal, and although it's easy to take it that way, don't. For whatever reason, you weren't right for the job. Better yet, take the attitude that the job (or company) wasn't right for you. Move on.
  • Think about using the experience to get more information and possibly network. Try contacting the person in charge of the search committee (or HR manager or supervisor - whomever seems likely) and ask if they would be willing to talk with you about how you could improve. Ask if they have recommendations on your resume or constructive interviewing tips. It's a great way to learn. Be prepared to hear some truths, but also be prepared to hear some smoke and mirrors; not everyone will tell you what you need to hear for fear of lawsuits, so don't push the issue if they won't talk.
  • Reevaluate your goals. Are you going in the right direction? Are you applying for positions that are within your grasp? Tip two can help you to ascertain this. Maybe you need to gain some more experience in a particular area or pick up some skills that you might not have gotten in your academic pursuits or past positions - find ways to improve, either through workshops, additional classes, volunteer work or other positions or temp work.
  • Take the attitude that every rejection is just one step closer to the job offer. Sooner or later, the right job is going to come along. Sometimes, and this is a happy problem, a person has two or more offers to consider at the same time. But the thing is, you have to keep putting yourself out there to get those opportunities - don't give up.
  • Keep yourself fresh and have a good support system. Keep in touch with your mentors, past supervisors, and friends and family who are really there for you. The mentors and supervisors can be a gold mine of help if you ask them for their advice about your strengths and weaknesses as well as potential opportunities. And your friends and family - they are there to hold you up and inspire you, the same way you should be doing for them in the same situation.
So job seeker, get up off that floor, dust off and start campaigning again!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Career Fairs

This month, you will probably notice that there are a lot of career fairs going on ('tis the season, after all) - through Wittenberg alone, we are putting on/hosting three: the Annual Summer Job and Camp Fair, OFIC Careerfest in Columbus, and the Annual Job and Internship Fair in Springfield. On top of that, we advertise numerous fairs, including the Columbus Blue Jackets Career Fair and a Life & Health Sciences Fair. So you might be wondering: is it worth my time to go to one, some, or all of these? The short answer: yes.
Now here's the long answer: Job fairs are an excellent opportunity to hit several potential employers at once, face-to-face. In today's techno-driven world of online job applications, everything is so impersonal - you upload your résumé with an e-mail cover letter (if it's allowed) to a faceless site with no ability to follow up and just wait . . .and wait . . .and wait. There's no opportunity to make an impression with your initiative and voice, nor any ability to do any investigation into the company beyond what you see from your research on the web. This is where going to career fairs gives you the advantage; you have the opportunity to make a connection with the recruiters, to talk with them about what you have to offer as well as your knowledge of their company. Granted, your résumé is supposed to be a concise, attention-getter that sells your qualities specific to the job for which you're applying, but in the world of hiring people, we all know that the decision to hire is based on an emotional response - that's right, people; it's all about whether or not they like you. You can't tell from a piece of paper whether or not you're really going to like someone, which is why having the opportunity to actually speak to a recruiter can make a world of difference.
Based on our "Tips for Job Fair Success" sheet, you need to get yourself ready for each job fair you attend. First things first: find out what companies will be there and DO YOUR RESEARCH; look up their website and read it top to bottom - that means following links and drilling down into all of the stuff you can find. This will help you to determine which companies you really want to pursue as well as to be prepared for the "What do you know about XYZ Company?" question you'll undoubtedly be asked (and a word to the wise: answering with, "Not much." is about the worst response you can give - recruiters/interviewers like to hear that you've spent some time getting familiar with the company because it shows an interest in them, not just a job). While you're doing this research, be thinking about how to format your
résumé to best showcase the skills that will be pretty universal to the jobs for which you wish to apply - job fairs don't give you the freedom to tailor each résumé, but you can make it appealing to a broader base; step two is revising said résumé, having it reviewed (hint: we do this in our office), and once finalized, printing it on quality résumé paper (several copies - and make more than what you think you need).
Think that's it? Nope - you have to wear clothes. A suit, if you've got one, but if you don't, wear something business-like (dress slacks with a button-down shirt and tie with a jacket for men, business skirt or dress slacks with a blouse and jacket for women - oh, and appropriate shoes). You also need to scope out the layout, once you're there, and make a plan of attack. Be curteous to the other job-seekers - no shoving, elbowing, or body slams. Greet each employer with a firm handshake (no limp-fish shakes, but on the flip side, no bone-crusher shakes, either), a smile, and your practiced, but not too rehearsed-sounding one-minute intro of who you are (major, experience related to the field and career goals - not your ability to wolf down fifty Buffalo wings in record time). Remember to keep your energy up and to be polite to all recruiters - you never know which one will have a job that's right for you. That having been said, even if they don't have one for you now, there may be one later, so no bridge burning or rudeness, please.
So that's the job fair nutshell. If you haven't been to one, try it! If you have questions or need help with the preparation, just come by and visit us in Career Services . . .that's what we're here to help you do!