Your Online Presence (Part 1)

We have been so fortunate that all of the technological enhancements that we’ve encountered has really allowed us to connect with the world around us. Long gone are the days when you mailed letters because long distance phones calls were so expensive. Waited several days for your photos to be processed to share them with your family. Went to the library to do research for a paper that you need to write for school. Technology has really allowed us to spread out and share knowledge with each other 24/7.

The caveat to that is that our footprint stayed in this cyber world for infinity. Whatever you did in your youth will travel with you to your job if you are not careful. Before you start your job search, be sure you clean up your online presence.

#1 Lock down your profiles
Make all of your profiles private with the only way for individuals to see you is by friend request. This is your first line of “defense” to ensure possible employers do not have a chance to see your personal life and make a judgement about it.

#2 Get rid of any obscene images
Scrub down your profile and ensure there aren’t inappropriate hand gestures, you aren’t shown passed out or surrounded by alcohol bottles, and you aren’t doing anything illegal. Also, you may want to consider getting rid of any risque posing pictures of yourself as well.

#3 Review everything that you’ve liked, commented, or have been tagged in
Avoid anything that is religious, political, or controversial in nature. We are all entitled to our own opinion on everything that happens in the world, however that opinion should stay private to those who know us best. The rest of the world should see you as a steward of the world, in a positive, professional light. Unless you specifically chose to work for a religious-based or political-based organization, your profile should stay neutral to religion, politics, and everything else controversial.

#4 Remember: whatever you post online may be used against you at your (future) employer
People forget that many companies do have policies in place regarding your online presence. You become a representation of the organization you work for. If it doesn’t align with the goals and values of the organization, that organization may reprimand you, up to and including termination. I have known several people who had been terminated due to what they posted online.

Bottom line– be careful what you put out there.

Have you ever had to “cleanse” your online profiles before? What were some of the things you decided to remove and/or hide?

The Truths About Your First Job Out of College (Part 2)

We started with Part 1 a bit go. Let’s continue our discussion with 5 more tips.

  1. You have to actually request time off and call in when you’re sick. Long gone are the days where you automatically get a break or when you can just quickly send an email to your professor tasking for make up assignments. Now you have to let your boss know ahead of time. Are you needing a long weekend vacation? Yeah, you gotta put that on the books weeks (or months) ahead of time. Did you wake up feeling like total nonsense? Guess what… time to call (or email or text, whatever the preference is with your boss) about your illness. And also a word of advice: if you’re constantly “sick” on Fridays or Mondays, they’ll notice. Don’t do it. Seriously.
  2. Assignments don’t just fall into your lap. If you’re wanting to prove yourself, but you don’t have anything going on that is “prove-worthy,” you have to ask for it. Or even step out of your comfort zone and recommend something that may benefit your job role, your department, or even the company. Just do it in such a way that you are not complaining about an issue, but rather identify the issue and then immediately follow up with a solution. That gets you double the gold stars!
  3. You can’t be staring at your phone all of the time. No matter how boring the meeting is or if you’re just sitting at your desk, being glued to your phone is a sign of disrespect and inattention. Sure, maybe the higher-ups may check their phones, but guess what? They’ve put their time in and they are higher-ups for a reason. You, my friend, are still at the bottom of the totem pole. You have to make a name for yourself and you have to be 100% present on the job.
  4. Make friends, but don’t get too personal. These are your colleagues. You may form great relationships with them and they may become great friends down the line, but coming to work on Monday and talking about how hung over you are and about the rager you went to over the weekend will not sit well. Exude confidence and professionalism, and your coworkers and peers will take you seriously. Talk about the one-night fling you had, and your reputation will follow you.
  5. Get to the point. At school it was acceptable to extend what would be a one-page paper into a lengthy 5 page essay, but it doesn’t work like that at work. Get straight to the point, talk about the highlights, and then allow your boss (or whomever you may be speaking to) to make a decision on whether or not they want to hear more. This becomes even more important in emails. Keep it high level by sticking to bullet point summaries.

What are some major difference you experienced going from college life to the work life?  

The Truths About Your First Job Out of College (Part 1)

Congratulations on landing your first job! You studied hard in school. Made the grades. Networked your little heart out. Applied to many jobs and had several interviews… and now you landed your first job! You did it…. kind of. Now you need to learn how to navigate the politics of the business world. Learn some of the ins-and-outs now to save yourself some embarrassment later, oh… and keep your job!

  1. The salary you accept will be the one you’ll have until your annual review. Thats 365 days from the day they hire you. Be smart and do your research ahead of time. A degree is excellent and shows that you are willing to go the extra mile and committed to continue to grow, but without the experience, it won’t do you much good. Be honest with yourself and the salary research you conduct. On the other side, don’t sell yourself too short either because this is going to lay the ground work for the rest of your career.
  2. Making a mistake won’t dock you points on your grade. It will affect your reputation, your boss’s reputation, and can have an impact on the business as a whole. There are some mistakes that are small and inconsequential, but before you try to take the reigns on a large project or a significant decision, talk to your boss first.
  3. If you want to move up, you have to get your name out there. Being smart and having potential is what got you the job in the first place. Doing a good job, networking with your peers and other departments, and getting involved in the company is what gets you noticed and moving ahead. Do not pass up an opportunity to event plan, to come in early, or stay a little bit late to “help out.” Those little actions add up to large opportunities.
  4. You are not at a position to say “No.” You are starting towards the bottom of the totem pole, just like those before you. You are not above the task that is being asked of you, even if it’s reloading the paper into the copy machine. The more helpful you are, the more you are noticed and acknowledged as a team player. Don’t ruin your chances by saying you are “above” the task that is being asked of you.
  5. Be nice to the admins. They will play a significant role in your networking web. They know the people that can help you out. The nicer you are to them, the more likely they can help you get the CEO to come to the employee event you helped plan, which in turns gets you face time with… the CEO! They also talk to managers, directors, and other employees. Let your reputation speak for itself.

What are some hard lessons you may have learned from your first (or second, or third) job out of college?

Checklist: Your First Day on the Job

Congratulations on landing the job! What a huge stress off your shoulders. Now you have to figure out how everything works. Although you may get a quick tour around the office and you know where your desk is, sometimes the little things get overlooked and 2 months down the line you may feel like a fool asking for the number to IT. Get prepared with what I think are the top 10 things you should identify within the first week you are at the new job:

  1. Where’s the closest restroom?
  2. Where do I store my lunch?
  3. Where do I eat lunch?
  4. How do I get in contact with IT&S?
  5. How do I get in contact with facilities/maintenance?
  6. Where/how do I use the printer/copier?
  7. How do I find someone’s extension if I need to contact them?
  8. Where are the meeting rooms?
  9. Do you put everything on the calendar or are there more spontaneous meetings/calls?
  10. Where are the office supplies? How do I order office supplies?

I’m sure you’re staring at the list thinking how basic it is, but you would be surprised how much can be missed on your first day. There is a lot going on, between HR related paperwork and orientation and walking around the office getting introduced to everyone, the little things are often times missed. be smart– stay sharp– ask these simple questions to be prepared!

What first day questions do you wish you would have asked? What are some common things that you forget to tell the new people on day one?

Oh, and P.S. You may want to work on a 30 second elevator speech about where you’ve come from and what you’ll be doing, because let’s face it– as you’re walking around meeting all of these new people, they’re all going to be asking that question. If you don’t know what an elevator speech is, you’re in luck because that’ll be coming up soon!

Work While In College

HOORAY! First and foremost, thank you so much for stopping by my site. I am beyond excited to finally launch my resume creation and career development business & blog. This has been a dream of mine that I’ve been sitting on for a long time. A passion that has finally come to fruition. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

As one of my first posts, I want to share some wise wisdom with you, especially if you are still in college. Are you ready for this? This will be mind boggling…. you need to be working while you’re studying.

I know, I know… it seems silly to think that you have to work and study at the same time, but I promise you that it will only come in handy once you graduate and are out on your own. Working while you’re in college doesn’t only provide you additional income, but it also gives you something that money can’t: experience.

It’s a tough world out there. You will have a lot of education (and loans!) when you’re out of college, but there won’t be as many jobs available to you. You’ll be competing with people with more experience than you for the same jobs. I won’t sugar coat this: you’ll be backed into a corner and scratching your head because companies won’t hire you due to not having enough experience, but you need them to hire you so that you can get that experience. So, how do you get that experience if they won’t hire you? Well, here are 5 easy tips you can follow to get that experience while still in college:

  1. Work in the industry that you are most interested in getting into. Just be honest with yourself: you won’t start at the top. You won’t be anywhere near the top, but you will be in the industry gaining that experience you’ll need to keep going.
  2. Realize that you are NOT too good for an entry level position. Additionally, starting in an entry level position while in college will also give you a slight upper hand out of college because you may become qualified for the next step.
  3. Apply for Work-Study programs. It’s a great place to get work while on Federal Assistance, get experience, and network! One of the best things you can do is network with associates not just in the career path that you are interested in, but also those outside of it as well. You never know when those paths will cross.
  4. Get an internship. Even if  you don’t get credit for it or it’s unpaid, you are still gaining valuable experience and establishing strong networks (which I talk about in my last note below). Internships give you a small glimpse into the world that you are interested in being a part of. Even if you get an unpaid one, it will still be worth it (believe me, I’ve had to do that before). In addition to the on-the-job skills you learn, you will also learn incredible skills on how to budget your money and manage your time more effectively.
  5. Network. Any person you come in contact has the potential to be the key to getting your job. It can be a friend of a friend’s, someone you met at your local religious group, or a group of people who share the same passions and hobbies. It doesn’t matter who or where you meet these people, but establishing that network and tie with them will help you gain employment in the future.

I don’t give you these 5 tips because that’s what the research and professional articles suggest… I give you these tips because these are tried and true concepts that have worked for many people I know, including myself.

Now tell me, what is it that you want to do when you graduate? And, what are you doing now to gain the experience for that job? And for those who have already graduated: How many times did you change your degree plan? What was it like getting your first job out of college?