The pressure to find employment is finally building—thanks to the combination of a tough job market and the impending end of my student loan grace period.
I knew it was time to look for outside help, so I recently connected to a career adviser and recruiter in my area. (Well, technically. His office is about 35 minutes away and in a different state.)
Fellow job seekers (I know there are plenty of you), you may wonder whether working with a professional is worth it. Everyone’s experience is different, but here are a few things I have learned after a few weeks.
The first thing my career adviser had me do was take several personality and career assessments. The first asked about what I value in an employer and myself, the second asked a lot about my future goals, and the third was a variation of the Myers-Briggs evaluation.
I wasn’t sure why any of it mattered—until we turned to my résumé.
I recently revised it myself, but when my career advisor took a look, he changed everything. We removed outdated experience, totally revamped the formatting, and added a lot of descriptive language, much of which came from those assessments. Some were strengths and qualities I never considered. After taking the personality profile, though, they became evident.
Most importantly, my new résumé speaks highly of my work and me—something I’m not always comfortable doing. Having a trained professional review your résumé can reveal some great accomplishments. If you don’t want to go that route, ask someone who knows and appreciates what you do to give it a look. Odds are, you’ll find characteristics you may have missed either way.
Every college student knows that LinkedIn has become a vital part of job searching and the professional world. I always knew this, but never really knew why. People always described it as “important” and “useful,” which I believed, though they never told me how to use it properly.
My career advisor started simply, helping me polish my profile. We made my contact information far more visible and focused my summary statement.
Next, he gave me a task: reach 150 connections. Why 150? Apparently, that number acts as a statistical threshold on LinkedIn. You’ll be more prominent when people search and your overall network will grow to the point that makes you a much more visible profile.
So, I headed to the “People You May Know” tab and got to work. In about 2 weeks, I have 40 new connections and have just about reached 150. On top of that, I’ve joined several LinkedIn groups and started following companies that interest me.
Now, when I search for jobs, it’s more and more likely I will have a connection at that firm.
I suppose the big question would be, “Was it worth it?”
It’s early, as I’m still working with my adviser, but I think it’s been an obvious improvement. I believe the tangible differences in my résumé and LinkedIn profile, as well as discussion about goal setting, interviews, and searching for jobs, will increase my chances going forward.
In fact, my adviser even asked me to do some part-time and freelance work for his company. It’s already paying off. Hopefully, that’s just the beginning.
Have you worked with a career adviser before? Share the lessons you took away from the experience.
(Photo: Brendan Riley)