A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
In This Issue (06/06/03):
- Making a good first impression at a new job
- Helping a teen find a summer job
- Taking the time for career self-assessment
- Dealing with being terminated from last job
|Q:||Jessica writes: Hi I just graduated from college and am one of the lucky ones I guess because I have a job offer. I am supposed to start working in the marketing department next week and I have no clue what to expect – and more importantly what they expect of me. How can I make a good first impression? I really want to succeed in this company.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Wanting to make a good first impression with your new employer is very smart thinking. As with any situation people often take short-cuts in making conclusions about people — and first impressions can make or break your future in any organization. Now don’t panic. I’m not necessarily talking about work expertise first impressions as I am attitude first impressions. Most employers don’t expect new employees to solve all the company’s problems the first day; however the way you handle yourself around the workplace is of vital importance and does indeed start the first day.
So what are some ways to make a good first impression? I don’t have room for all my suggestions so here are the most important:
Being the newest member of the organization — the rookie — is both a challenging and exciting time. Just relax and remember to make the best first impression you can.
You can read all 20 of our tips for making a good first impression by reading the latest article published on Quintessential Careers Your First Days Working at a New Job: 20 Tips to Help You Make a Great Impression.
And check out the new Workplace Resources section of Quintessential Careers.
|Q:||Ana writes: My name is Ana. I am about 14 and a half years old and I live in a big city. I am trying to find a summer job like waitressing but I am not finding any luck for a job that I am eligible for at my age. I feel that I would be a very good waitress because I am very good with people. Please help me find something and if you have any information at all please email me back. Thank you.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: In some ways you may be lucky not to be old enough to work as a waitress because so many summer jobs that in the past have been filled by teenagers are being filled by all the displaced workers from this so-far jobless economic recovery. Rarely have experts seen an economy that appears to be picking up steam while jobs remain steady — or even decrease.
So what can younger teens who want to earn some money over the summer do if they can’t work because of state labor laws? Well you could fall back on something like babysitting but especially because you live in a city I suggest that perhaps you form a club or group with some of your friends from school and start your own business.
There are lots of business ideas for teens wanting to make money this summer. You can start a:
And for those teens outside the city a lawn-care or house-painting business are other options.
Remember to consult with an adult before you start any business — and be prepared for some people who will try and take advantage of your age.
Read lots more advice in my article published on Quintessential Careers Job Ideas for Teems 15 and Younger: Beyond Babysitting.
|Q:||Liz writes: My name is Liz and I’m twenty-four years old. I’ve been in between jobs for almost six years now and I feel I can’t get a break. I don’t know what I want to be. What can I do to find out what I’m supposed to do as a career?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: The most important thing you can do for yourself is to take the time to really get to know yourself to assess your likes and dislikes your strengths and weaknesses. From that point you can begin building a career plan to help move you in a forward direction.
How do you go about with self-assessment? Well you can take some tests; there are lots available in print and online. But before you do any of those tests — if you even bother to — first spend some time with yourself getting to know yourself better. Make a list of the activities you like to do — and not just from your previous jobs but from your hobbies and other interests. Then make a list of the things you never want to do again. Now sit down and think about your strengths and weaknesses.
Once you’ve done some self-assessment the next step is looking for careers that utilize your strengths and the activities you enjoy. There are any number of resources to learn about careers – from utilizing the resources of a career counselor to any number of print and Web resources. One of my favorites is the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Handbook describes what workers do on the job working conditions the training and education needed earnings and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations.
Once you’ve identified a career path (or paths) the next step is identifying potential employers. There are any number of ways of doing this such as completing a job search on some of the major job boards to see what companies are hiring in your field. You can also go to your industry’s niche job board(s) and search job listings there as well. Finally industry associations are also good sources of potential employers.
The final step is getting your job-search material in order for the career change. You’ll need a new resume new cover letters and preparation for job interview questions.
Some resources to help you in this process:
|Q:||James writes: I was terminated from my last job. On several employment applications since then I haven’t been able to get employed. I always tell my prospective employer about my last employer and that I was indeed terminated. Should I omit my past employer that fired me on my future employment applications? Can my past employer tell others that I was fired? What is my past employer allowed to communicate to others?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I can’t say this fact often enough: job-hunting is all about marketing and selling. Get the prospective employer hooked on your mix of skills abilities and accomplishments — and then let them see any warts or scratches in the polish. In other words never broadcast anything negative about yourself to prospective employers.
Please note. I am not saying you should lie or cover up any negative information. What I am saying is that you should never volunteer the information. Eventually you’re going to get a question about why you left your last job — but hopefully after you’ve had plenty of time to sell yourself.
Remember also that in this economy lots of people — unfortunately — have been terminated downsized or rightsized so you are not alone.
Can your past employer slam you if a prospective employer calls them? Sure. How many actually will do so in this very litigious society? Very few. If contacted most will simply offer your dates of employment and some vague reason for termination — thus it’s up to you to fill in the details in as positive a way as possible including demonstrating what you have learned from the experience.
It might also help to read my article Getting Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth published on Quintessential Careers.