This is a guest post by Carissa Collins.
1. Respond early.
If you’re a Millennial (age 14-34), you are acquainted with procrastination. If you search “#procrastinate” on Tumblr, you’ll see memes that go something like this: “Procrastinator? No. I save all of my homework until the last minute because the I’ll be older, therefore more wise.” We know we’re procrastinators and we’re not ashamed. But the thing is, employers don’t appreciate procrastination. Submitting your job application the day of the deadline is not applauded. Responding to an email five days later doesn’t get you any brownie points. Employers are looking for initiative and efficiency. If you’re the very first applicant, your application will get the freshest look-over. It’s as simple as that. Also, get job alerts. If you register for WayUp, you’ll get recent job listings. These are perfect for applying early and showing your initiative. This is great small step if you’re a known procrastinator.
2. Write well. Spell right.
Grammar may be something you learned once upon a time in fourth grade and promptly forgot. But did you know that having proper grammar could be a factor in your future salary and job position? And take note of job descriptions too. Even if you’re not an English major, many jobs require “excellent written and oral communication skills.” Guess what? This includes grammar! Here are some great online guides if you need help dusting off your grammar knowledge.
3. After you interview, send a follow up email AND a handwritten thank-you card.
This is your one-two punch when you want to clinch a job. First, send your interviewer a thank-you email right after the interview. This email will show that you appreciate him or her taking the time to give you an interview. It’s both timely and shows gratitude. Then send a handwritten thank-you card. I know what you’re thinking. “That’s old fashioned. No one uses snail mail anymore except for my grandparents when they send out birthday cards.” But believe it or not, writing a thank-you card will set you apart from your peers. This is because everyone else is thinking it’s outdated. Also, people like receiving mail. So when your card arrives, it will be hard for your interviewer not to smile (or at least consider your candidacy more seriously).
4. Squeaky clean social media.
This is a deal-breaker for employers. In fact, 43% of hiring managers have rejected applicants because of inappropriate material found on social media profiles. Here’s a good trick to use before you post something on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Ask yourself, “Would my grandmother be happy to see this picture?” If the answer is no, then you should skip it. Why let one night of partying ruin an entire career path? And if you can’t help but post party pics, make sure your privacy settings are ironclad. Who knows, your hiring manager may be one your high school friend’s aunt. Adjust your settings so that even friends-of-friends can’t see your photos.
5. Press on! Don’t take things too personally.
Part of our struggle as Millennials is that we have very high self-esteem. While this might be good for confidence, it’s hard when it comes to criticism and rejection. The truth is that you may be rejected many times before you find the right job or internship. But your friends and parents will still love you, no matter if you got “that job” or not. Take rejection as a learning experience. You’ll be therefore wiser, and ready for the right job in the future.
About the Author:
My name is Carissa Collins. I’m a junior at Gordon College, just north of Boston. I love writing, sunshine, and big band music. My dream job is to tweet for a living as a social media manager. But in the meantime, I’ll settle for being a professional hummus taster.