Oct 18, 2011
by Julie Leutschaft
Q. I recently graduated from college with a degree in Business. I’m having a difficult time entering the workforce because I don’t have any applicable work experience. Do you have any advice for college grads trying to enter the workforce?
~ Paul C., Bend
If you don’t have any work experience but you do have a college degree, I recommend you look at any entry level opportunity in the area of administration, customer service, business, marketing, human resources, sales, etc. The best way to figure out what you want to do for a career is to get broad based exposure. You will meet people and learn business processes and workflow for best practices.
At this point, don’t worry about the job title, pay or the benefits. What you need immediately is a “career entry point.” Use this experience to soak up knowledge and get an introduction to the inner workings of the business world. You also might want to look at seasonal jobs like entry-level customer service jobs with Altrec or TRG just to get a feel for what is out there. When you see the different disciplines that make up a company you may gravitate towards one area.
Also, make sure your resume and cover letter are solid with no misspellings and prepare for the interview by role-playing what might be asked of you. Also, be positive and willing to do anything to get your foot in the door. Your assertiveness and “can-do” attitude will impress your future employer. Lastly, and most importantly, manners and grace will open doors for you more than experience and education. Be polite, have a firm handshake, use eye contact and address people by their name. Basic etiquette and decorum will show the employer how you will treat their customers with compassion and respect. Always, follow-up with a thank you letter again expressing your interest in the job and thanking them for the time they took out of their busy day to interview you.
Q. I have never been on a professional interview and I need to know whatto wear?
~ Jacklyn T., Bend
Always over-dress for the interview as you only have one opportunity to make a first impression. It is always better to over-dress than under-dress, but you don’t want to be too buttoned-up that you leave the impression that you are stilted and can’t cut loose. Dress appropriately for the culture of the company.
For instance, if you are interviewing in healthcare or the banking industry probably dress more conservatively – maybe with a tie for a man and skirt or dress slacks for a woman. If the company culture is more hip and casual then reflect that in your dress. I am a big proponent of the clean, neatly pressed white blouse or dress shirt and dark skirt or slacks – always makes a good impression.
To all you men out there, make sure you are clean-shaven, nails manicured and hair groomed. Do not wear perfume or cologne and do us all a favor and spit out your gum. Be clean and comfortable, carry yourself with confidence and hit it out of the park!
Julie Leutschaft, MPA, MHA is the CEO of The HUMAN Touch, LLC – Human Resources and Career Counseling firm www.thehumantouchHR.com or call 541-410-0631.