Congratulations! You’ve graduated college. Your long journey from home education or public school drama to learn-who-you-are college life is complete. Next step: the real world.

You have a lot on your mind right now. You have to frame your diploma, open your graduation gifts, and wash a semester’s worth of laundry. Sooner or later, though, you are going to have to face the fact that you’re not going back to school in the fall, and it’s time to grow up and start adulting. Are you ready?

You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, so we’re going to keep this short and easy for you. Here are four small steps you should take right now to start crafting your adult life successfully:

1. Get Your Money In Order

The moment you stepped out of the grand doors of your college institution, your financial circumstances changed drastically. You don’t have a lovely financial aid check coming each semester. Your parents aren’t going to pay your bills any more. If you’re like most college graduates, you now have a student loan to pay. It’s a big smack in the face—you need to take a harsh look at your money situation.

To help with the student loan saga, visit studentloansconsolidation.co to learn how to make it easier to swallow. Believe it or not, there are all sorts of income-sensitive plans for paying back your loans. Your loan officer won’t do this automatically, though. You have to fill out the proper paper work and ask for it.

You should also sit down and create a budget. Figure out what, realistically, you can spend each month on necessities and luxuries. Necessities include food, transportation, and a place to live. Everything else is a luxury.

2. Find a Real Job

Your shiny new degree has a purpose—to help you find a job. It’s the key to unlock jobs that require a college degree. You’ve worked hard to earn it, but now it’s time to let it serve its purpose.

So, you need a resume that shows that you’re more than just that shiny new degree. A creative copywriter can help you spruce up your resume and tell your story in a way that employers see you as the perfect person for the job. You should also tidy up your LinkedIN profile and take a good long look at your social media profiles to make sure you look squeaky clean online for employers. A lot of them will Google you before an interview, so make sure they find exactly what you want them to find.

You also need to prepare for job interviews. Find two outfits you can wear to interviews that are completely professional and make sure they are always clean and pressed, waiting for you to land an interview. You should practice how you will answer common job interview questions, like “tell me about yourself” and “describe a situation where you solved a problem.”

Of course, you also have to actually apply for jobs. Set weekly goals for the number of job applications you will complete, and keep a log of where and when you applied. The log will help you send follow up emails, and it also shows you and your parents the amount of effort you’re putting into your job search.

3. Gain More Skills

Just because you’re done with college doesn’t mean you’re done learning. While you’re job hunting, work on acquiring more skills for your resume, and bonus points if those skills are directly related to your industry. You can learn anything technology-related on the internet, so there’s no excuse not to learn a coding language like HTML or software used everywhere, like Adobe Acrobat.

At the very least, find a course in leadership, management, or marketing. No matter what your industry, eventually you will want to lead something, and learning to market products also helps you learn to market yourself.

The point is, you should never stop learning. The world changes rapidly, and you should be able to change right along with it.

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4. Make a Lifestyle Design Plan

While you’re focusing on finding a job and figuring out how to pay your bills, it’s important that you think about the kind of future you want. You need a clear idea of what you want from your personal life so that you can stay focused on achieving it.

Many people want a family, but there’s no rush for that. Make a list of goals for things you want to do and what your ideal life would look like. Maybe you want to travel the world, or achieve a fitness goal. Maybe you want to meet new friends or stay connected to old ones. Maybe you want a house at the beach or a cabin in the mountains. Making a list, or at least a Pinterest board will help you remember what it is you really want out of life. It will remind you why you’re working so very hard.

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4 Things to Do as Soon as You Graduate College - #career #college #getajob

Being a leader is not an easy job. You’re responsible for making decisions, mentoring your staff, making sure everyone meets critical deadlines, and so much more. It takes more than wielding power to be a strong leader; you must be willing to be humble and give your people the support and credit they deserve.

Being a strong leader is about more than the bottom line. It’s not about leaving your footprint on the world, but rather giving inspiration to your people so they can grow in ways they never thought possible. It’s a tough job, and one most people underestimate, but if you’re a born leader, you have many career paths open to you.

Small Business Manager

Every business needs a leader. As a business manager, you can oversee the daily operations of any sort of business you like, from small Chick-fil-a franchises to local corporate offices. You will lead a small to medium sized team of usually less than 100 people.

Small business managers oversee daily processes, like scheduling employee shifts and making sure all projects are done on time. Managers are responsible for making sure employees are trained to do their jobs properly. They also conduct employee reviews.

Of course, salary varies widely among small business managers. Education and experience play a big role in determining salary. You don’t have to have an MBA to be a small business manger; sometimes management experience is enough to qualify you for the role.

Education Leader (Principals, Deans, and more)

If you are an educator, you can find leadership positions in your field easily. For the big ones, like principals, vice principals, and deans, you will need a graduate degree, but there are many online educational leadership degrees with solid accreditation.

Educational leadership roles are high profile. Principals become the face of the school. They communicate with the school board and the press, and they handle student disciplinary issues. They also handle employee reviews and hiring. The pay varies by school district, but it always pays more than a teaching role.

CEO

CEOs live glamorous lives on TV and in movies, but if you’re imagining living the life of Christian Grey, think again. Being a CEO is a tough job. You are the person who answers to the board of directors and the stockholders. You are the person they celebrate when profits are high, and the first head on the chopping block when profits are low. You are the face of the company to both employees and the world.

CEOs of big corporations make hundreds of thousands of dollars as their base salaries, and often bring home millions of dollars after bonuses and stock options. They spend a lot of time in meetings, and work closely with their assistants and advisors. According to Inc.com, CEOs have to play a balancing act of making as few decisions as possible in the day-to-day running of their business while they focus on the big picture and the bottom line.

While there are many introverts who become CEOs, it’s a position best suited to people who like people, and don’t mind losing sleep at night while strategizing their next move.

Politician

While politicians are the brunt of many a joke, they’re also leaders with a very hard job. They have to raise money for their campaigns, fight for the needs and wants of their voters, and somehow make ethical decisions in a world filled with personal temptations.

People from all walks of life become politicians, but we most often see lawyers, journalists, and business leaders run for office. For example, Arizona secretary of state Michele Reagan was a small business owner before becoming a politician. She uses her business connections to strengthen her campaigns and is even endorsed by the Greater Phoenix Chambers of Commerce.

Politicians’ salaries vary by area and location, but in some cases, you get to cast a vote on your salary every few years. Not many other jobs have that perk!

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Entrepreneur

If you’re a born leader and you don’t want to listen to an overlord boss of any sort, you might enjoy being an entrepreneur. Starting your own business is a very hard task. You have to be part salesman, part financial strategist, and a fearless leader–all at the same time.

You can start any sort of business you want, but plan to work far more than 40 hours per week. It’s an all day, every day job for most entrepreneurs, especially in the early years.

Other Leadership Careers

Every field has leaders. Firemen have a chief. Deputies have a sheriff. Soldiers have a general. You can find a leadership role in whatever industry thrills you. The best leaders are the ones that empower their staff to make sound decisions and do their best work, but they also command respect in their own right.

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5 Careers for Leaders - Find a career that lets your leadership abilities shine!

A reader asks us for advice in a hard choice: Should she take a part-time job offer, or wait to see if she gets a full-time offer from somewhere else. 

Dear HR,

I have been looking for a job for months! I just applied for a fulltime job at a local elementary school that has amazing benefits, and I’m hoping to hear from them soon. I’ve been networking with the other office workers, and while it’s not a sure thing, it’s definitely more promising than anything else I’ve tried.

Today I was offered a part-time job answering phones in a customer service center for a local company. Do you think I should take it? I really want the Full-time job at the school, and I worry that if I take this part-time job and I get the school job, it will look bad to my new employer to quit so soon. Do you think I should just wait to hear back from the full-time job? I need advice!!

Thank you,

Freaking Out

Dear Freaking Out,

I see your frustration. After a long job search, you may start to lose hope of finding the job you really want. It’s important to keep hope, but realistically, you have bills to pay.

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before they Hatch

When you tell me about the full-time job, you describe how great the job is, how great the benefits are, and that you’ve done a bit of networking with other people who work there. None of this guarantees you the job. None of this even guarantees you an interview.

The truth is, state jobs get more applicants than they can reasonably consider properly. Your application is in a stack with 50 or more other applications. If you’ve been looking for a job for awhile, your application materials and approach to job searching probably need a little work. No judgment, but it’s just a fact of life that most job seekers hit a point where they’re just plain tired of filling out applications, so they stop customizing their resumes and cover letters for each job. So, employers don’t contact them because it’s not obvious that they’re the right person for the job. It’s a slippery slope that feeds the “I suck” monster in your head.

If employers don't contact you, it's because your application materials don't make it obvious that you’re the right person for the job. It’s a slippery slope that feeds the “I suck” monster in your head. #resume #rejection… Click To Tweet

Pay Your Bills with the Part-Time Job

Unless you’re independently wealthy, your bills are probably piling up during your job search. You need cash. You also need opportunities to network and regain your money-making confidence. A part-time job can help with all of those things.

If the part-time job is absolutely awful, then quit. Employers know that not every job is for every person. It’s not as big of a deal as you think.

Part-Time Jobs Can be Fantastic

Taking a part-time job has many advantages. Sure, you might not receive full-time benefits like healthcare plans and 401Ks, but part-time jobs rarely expect you to have full-time loyalty to them, so you can start a side hustleto make up the monetary difference. Plus, some part-time jobs pay a little more than entry-level full-time jobs simply because they don’t offer benefit packages.

Investopedia.com lists other benefits of taking a part-time job, like reduced transportation costs and reduced stress. They also mention networking opportunities—an essential part of building any career.

If You Get the Full-Time Job Offer, Act Classy

You should still pursue finding a Full-time job that makes you happy, even if you take the part-time job. If the school job calls you for an interview, put on your pearls and your heels and rock it. If they offer you the job, do your happy dance.

When you put in your resignation for the part-time job, ask your boss for a private meeting and start the conversation with, “I hope you will be happy for me, but I’ve been offered a full-time job that suits my skill set completely.” Explain to your boss that you appreciate the opportunity he or she has given you. You never know—he might offer you an even better Full-time position.

Regardless, leave with class. Be grateful. Be graceful. Follow your coworkers on LinkedIN. Every contact is a good contact when you’re job hunting.

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Best of Luck,

HR

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Part-time jobs can be beneficial in the right circumstances. Find out how!

Why I won't hire you - confessions of a hiring manager

Have you ever wondered why you didn’t get a job that you thought was perfect for you? It’s easy to blame the employer for not giving you a fair chance, but the truth is, it might be your application materials or some other easy-to-fix thing that’s keeping you from your dream job.

Jarell and I are currently looking for a marketing intern for our parent company, Escape the Classroom. We love to hire interns because it makes us feel like we’re “giving back” for all of the help we’ve had along the way in our own careers. We know it is nearly impossible to break into most industries right out of college unless you have some sort of experience. So, we are happy to provide experience to students majoring in fields like education, marketing, graphic arts, and technology.

The problem is, a lot of intern applicants make giant mistakes that keep us from hiring them, and I don’t think they even know it—which is why I’m writing this probably-too-honest post. This list isn’t just for interns. If you’re having trouble getting a job, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you are guilty of any of these very correctible job application sins:

1. Your Application is Incomplete

The number one reason we don’t hire a job applicant is simply because their application is too incomplete for us to decipher who they are, what their experience is, or what they want to do. We know job applications are annoying, so we try to keep ours rather short, but we still have applicants who don’t answer the questions we pose.

We have no choice but to reject applicants who don’t bother to fill out the entire application. We look at every application with a compassionate spirit, but not all employers do. Most are going to take your unwillingness to complete the application as a sign that you don’t really want the job…and they won’t bother to call you for an interview.

No matter what, always complete the job application in its entirety. It’s the first impression for a lot of employers and you don’t want their first impression of you to be that you’re either uninterested in the job or you’re lazy.

2. Your Resume (or application) is Unprofessional

When we see short resumes for intern candidates, we understand that they don’t have a lot of experience and that’s why they’re coming to us for an internship. What we don’t understand is why they list “JV Cheerleader” as work experience on their resumes.

Here’s a quick list of unprofessional things we’ve seen on recent resumes and applications that you should change immediately:

  • Parents or other family members listed as references
  • High School clubs and awards listed as work-related accomplishments
  • Traits like “punctual” and “hard worker” listed as skills
  • Email addresses like “PookieBear92” or “SandysSister34”
  • Missing contact information, like your phone number or mailing address
  • Missing “professional profile” that starts the story of your resume
  • Glaring typos and spelling errors (the obvious kind that elementary students would notice)

3. Your Resume Does Not Fit the Job Description

Employers don’t have a crystal ball. They can’t see how your skills and talents align for the job they advertised unless you show them.

You need to craft a customized resume for every job advertisement you answer. This means rewriting your professional profile at the top of your resume to include keywords from the job description, rewriting your job descriptions for previous jobs to show that you’ve done tasks that will transfer to the job for which you are applying, and rewriting your skills list to reflect the skills the job advertisement lists.

If you’re applying for a web designer job, don’t turn in the same resume you used for a chicken fryer job at KFC. You may be qualified for both jobs, but you have to reframe your resume’s story to show an employer you’re the right person for the job. Click To Tweet

4. You Didn’t Include a Resume at All

One of the most disheartening things we see in job applications is when a job applicant doesn’t send us a resume at all. Instructional designers like our Escape the Classroom mottos of rebelliously smashing boring educational experiences, so they often fill out the contact form and tell us how much they’d love to work for us…but that’s it. They don’t include a resume or cover letter.

We always answer our emails. We answer these well-meaning educators and ask them for their resume, cover letter, and online portfolio. They never respond.

You need a resume. It’s your argument that you’re the right person for the job. You can’t apply for a job (outside of retail or food service) without one and expect to land an interview.

We will makeover your resume for just $49!

5. You Didn’t Include a Cover Letter

Probably 50% of the job applications we receive do not have cover letters included. It only takes a few minutes to craft a cover letter, so why would you avoid it?

The cover letter is your introduction. It tells an employer who you are and starts your argument as to why you are the perfect person for the job. Not writing one for each individual job tells the employer you aren’t serious about the job and don’t really care if you get it or not.

6. Your Cover Letter is Rude

Believe it or not, the only thing worse than not submitting a cover letter at all is submitting a rude one. When you try to bully an employer into hiring you or making a quick hiring decision, you are not going to get the job. No way. No how.

I say this because we have applicants send us cover letters that end with a statement like, “I have many other job offers, so I need to know right away if you plan to hire me.” No, I don’t plan to hire you.

This kind of statement tells the employer that you are high maintenance, conceited, and trouble. You might think it shows confidence, but it doesn’t. Employers want confident employees, but they also want kind employees that they can trust to make good decisions and impress clients with their diplomacy and helpful attitude.

As a female business owner, the last thing I want to do is hire someone that tries to bully me into it. It’s just not going to happen.

7. You Don’t have Work Samples

We don’t expect our interns to have full portfolios yet, and we give a lot of thought into assigning interns to projects they will be able to use to build solid portfolios so they have something to show future employers. However, if you are applying for a full-time or part-time job in any sort of art, design, writing, or technology-related industry, you must have work samples.

If you don’t have anything you can show, make something. In instructional design, I always want to see finished projects from potential designers so I can have a conversation with the designer about how they planned and built the project. It tells me a lot about whether or not the designer is a good fit for the kind of work we do, because not all instructional design is the same. We focus on high-end projects with a lot of media. Some designers were only trained to plan instruction in text-based format. Both are important types of instructional design, but the skill sets are very different.

The same is true with graphic design. Every artist has her own style, so employers want to see if the artist style matches their needs. Samples are key to this sort of job.

If you work in an industry that requires work samples, make sure you have them!

8. Your Reference Leaves You a Bad Review…or Doesn’t Know You at All

When you list someone as a reference, make sure you have their permission. Believe it or not, we have potential employees list references without telling the reference they plan to list them. So, we call the reference, and they tell us unflattering things about the job applicant. Even worse, some don’t remember the job candidate at all!

Your references are your allies in finding a job. When you list a reference, you’re telling the employer that this person has nice things to say about you. It’s absolutely tragic when your reference trashes you. There’s no coming back from that one—we simply aren’t going to hire you.

9. You Don’t Answer Your Email Regularly

If incomplete job applications are our number one reason we don’t hire someone, number two is when a job applicant doesn’t respond to our emails. Once we’ve chosen our interns, we always email them and confirm that they still want the job and then ask them to attend an information session with us. After the information session, we send them a contract to sign, which includes a start date. Amazingly, at least 1/3 of the potential interns we select never bother to reply to our emails.

If you want the job, monitor your communication channels. You should check your email no less than twice per day.

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Who am I Going to Hire?

This post may come across as negative, and it’s not meant to be that way at all. Everything I’ve listed in this post as a reason I don’t hire someone is completely fixable on the part of the job applicant. I will interview the job applicant that completes the application in its entirety, attaches a resume that shows he or she is the perfect person for the job, writes a lovely, friendly cover letter that explains why he or she wants the job is qualified for it, and answers my emails in less than 24 hours. Most employers feel the same way.

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Why I Won't Hire You - Confessions of a Hiring Manager

You can’t work when you’re hungry. Your brain needs fuel to keep up with your workload. If you’re snacking on donuts and potato chips in the afternoon, your productivity is probably slipping by around 1 PM.

There are better snack foods that can boost your productivity and help you reach your workday goals. Instead of grabbing junk food at the office vending machine, stock your desk and lunch bag with these brain-boosting snacks:

1. Chocolate for Enhanced Productivity

Chocolate can boost your productivity

Is there any happier food in the world than chocolate? It’s rich, luxurious, and meant to be savored. Its mood-boosting properties are celebrated around the world, and happy people are often more productive.

The Huffington Post reports that “women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than women who treated themselves to fewer than 9 grams,” so eat it up. It’s also reported to lower blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol, and your risk of heart disease.

Stay away from the Snickers in the vending machine. Instead, opt for good-quality dark chocolate. If dark chocolate isn’t your thing, you should try the flavorful varieties from Vosages Haut-Chocolat. My favorite is the hard-to-find Naga flavor, but the Black Salt Caramel bars and the Pink Himalayan Salt caramel bars are fantastic.

2. Pistachios

Eat pistachios to boost productivity

A cup of pistachios packs 25 grams of protein. Nuts.com reports that cashews have a healthy ratio of beneficial fatty acids, and contains vitamin B6, which is essential for cognitive function (you know, the cornerstone of productivity).

Buying a few pistachios at the gas station is quite pricey at around $3 for an 6-ounce bag, but you can buy a big bag at Sam’s Club for around $15 and have enough pistachios for a month or more. Most diet gurus recommend buying pistachios in their shells, but who has time for that?

3. Cashews

Eat cashews to boost productivity

If pistachios aren’t your thing, then try cashews. As a softer nut, cashews have a lighter flavor than other varieties. A shot glass full of cashews will net you at least 5 grams of protein as well as 20% of your daily-recommended value of magnesium.

Cashews are often priced lower than pistachios. A big, 18 ounce container costs about $10 at Wal-Mart, and they stay good for a couple of months in a sealed container.

4. Sunflower Seeds

Eat sunflower seeds to boost productivity

A quarter cup of sunflower seeds contains 82% of your daily recommended value of Vitamin E, so eating these will not only boost your productivity, but it will help reduce inflammation.

Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin B1, magnesium, vitamin B6, and folate. Nutritionists like Dr. Axe consider sunflower seeds a top 10 food for their nutritional value.

I buy sunflower seeds at Trader Joe’s for around $4 a bag, and I mix them into chicken salads, use them in place of croutons on dinner salads, and feed them to the kids by the handful.

5. Boiled Eggs

Eat boiled eggs to boost productivity

Eggs are an awesome snack food. They’re inexpensive, portable, contain 6 grams of protein each, and are packed with essential nutrients like iron, phosphorus, vitamin A, and a range of B vitamins. Recent studies show that eating eggs can help you lose weight—not that you need to lose weight, but it’s nice to know.

Boiled eggs are a big part of my “eating for productivity” plan. I buy two 18-packs of eggs every week and immediately boil one of them and set it in the fridge. When I’m running late and don’t have time for breakfast, I have eggs waiting for me. When I need an afternoon snack and the potato chips are calling my name, I peel an egg instead.

6. Avocados

Eat avocados to boost productivity

Avocados are getting a bad rep lately. Most of the year, they are quite expensive, and millennials reportedly pay $19 to eat them on toast, but nutritionally, they’re a super food filled with beneficial fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Avocados can help you get over your afternoon slump. They’re rich in folate, which helps prevent “build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain” (medlicalnewstoday.com).

The best way to eat an avocado as a snack is with whole grain chips or crackers. Guacamole, with antioxidant-rich tomatoes and onions, increases their benefit. Use a generous amount of lime juice on your guacamole, and keep it in the fridge at work for up to four days!

7. Blueberries

Eat blueberries to boost productivity

Blueberries are a major memory-boosting fruit. Eat This, Not That reports that “the flavonoids in blueberries have been shown to improve spatial memory in rats. Their antioxidants help lessen inflammation.”

If blueberries aren’t in season near you, you can buy them freeze dried at Trader Joes or other health food stores. You can also find blueberry raisins, though they tend to be higher in sugar content than their freeze-dried counterparts.

8. Granola

Eat granola to boost productivity

Whole grains top the list of brain foods for most nutritionists, but making whole grains portable without adding a bunch of junk to them is tough. My daughter and I both eat gluten free due to celiac disease, which means we have to be very careful with whole grains. Luckily, we’ve been able to find gluten-free granola mixes at places like Earth-Fare and Whole Foods.

Look for a good mix that has low sugar content. We like the French vanilla almond granola you can buy in bulk at Whole Foods.

9. Almond Butter

Eat almond butter to boost productivity

High-protein nut butters make excellent snacks, especially when paired with fruit. One tablespoon of almond butter contains 3.4 grams of protein, 11% of your daily value of magnesium, and 3% of your daily value of iron.

Try eating almond butter as a dip for your favorite apple. It’s also good with pears.

10. Pumpkin Seeds

Eat pumpkin seeds to boost productivity

Even if you can’t order a pumpkin spice latte, you can still give your brain a boost with roasted pumpkin seeds. Dr. Mercola explains that pumpkin seeds are full of “magnesium and manganese to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses wrapped up in a very small package. They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which can give your health an added boost.”

You can find pumpkin seeds in grocery stores and some convenience stores. I like to eat them in homemade trail mixes with sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.

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Don't embarrass yourself at a job fair by not knowing the companies there.

Job fairs are loud, crowded hiring blitzes where after awhile, most every applicant starts to look the same to employers. If you want to walk out of a job fair with a job—or at least an interview—you have to stand out from the crowd and show potential employers that you’re the perfect person for the job.

Here are 10 ways you can make the right impression and maximize your job offers:

1. Research the Companies You Know Will be at the Job Fair

Start preparing for a job fair by looking at the list of companies that will be at the fair. Google each company and look at what they do. Look at their LinkedIN pages and see who works there, and what their job titles are. Decide which companies best suit your career goals, and learn as much as you can about those companies.

If you’re looking at big, national or international corporations, spend some time learning about the company’s history and who their customers are. Larger companies usually have an online employee manual or benefits website so you can research what a potential offer package might look like. The more information you have, the better.

You want to know enough about a company to be able to speak intelligently with their representatives at the job fair. The last thing you want to do is show up to the job fair without any knowledge of the companies represented there, and then ask, “oh, what do you do?”

 

2. Make Sure Your Resume Isn’t Boring

If you’re still using the standard MS Word template to make your resumes, it’s time to make a change—right now. Job fairs are full of candidates that show up with a stack of black-and-white, text-only, boring resumes and hand them to every company they see. Be ready to stand out in that crowd.

You can buy resume templates inexpensively on Etsy. Look for a colorful template that has spaces to highlight your skills and professional profile.

Avoid the “objective” line on your resume because everyone at a job fair has the same objective: to get a job. Click To Tweet

If you are applying for jobs in two or more different industries, make sure you have separate resumes for each industry. Each industry has specific keywords, so make sure your resume addresses them.

3. Prepare Your Elevator Speech

You need a 30-second pitch, or “elevator speech” ready for the job fair. In such a crowded space, you have to make an impression quickly. You won’t have a lot of time to convince the company representatives that you’re the right person for the job, so your best bet is to have a speech prepared.

The best elevator speeches highlight your qualifications as well as your knowledge of the company. You are trying to show that you’re extremely talented, confident, and a perfect fit for the company’s needs.

Here’s a template to get you started. Fill in the blanks and make it your own. Note that you should really prepare a few of these so you can customize them based on the company and industry you are trying to impress:

Good morning! I’m ________ and I am excited to meet you. I’ve followed your work on _______ for years, and I find it inspiring/exciting/amazing. I’m a __________________ with _____ years of experience creating __________. Like you, my work _______________. I have achieved _______________. I would love to talk to you more about your work and how we might collaborate in the future when you have time. Here’s my resume/business card. Let’s connect on LinkedIN, too.

Make it your own, but the goal is to show that you rock, you’re knowledgeable about the company, and you see yourself as an asset. You’ve got this!

4. Dress to Impress, and Remember Your Pop of Color

One of the first things employers will notice about you is how you dress. This isn’t the time to choose comfort over fashion. Wear your favorite power suit or dress.

No matter what you choose to wear, make sure you have a pop of color. If you wear a grey or black suit, wear a colorful scarf or camisole. Draw attention to your face with color.

You want to be memorable. You’re more likely to be remembered if a person can associate you with something you wore. Colorful accessories help you stand out in the right way.

When we go to job fairs and conferences, I typically wear a royal blue or purple dress with nude pumps. These are colors that work for me, but you likely have your own color palette that works for you. The worst thing you can do is dress in all black or another neutral color. You’ll blend in too much with everyone around you.

5. Be Conscious of What You Carry

Don’t be the person who drops a bunch of papers everywhere when she goes to shake hands with a potential employer. Don’t be the person fidgeting with her car keys while talking with a recruiter. Think ahead about what you are going to take with you into the job fair.

You will need a place to put brochures and business cards as you receive them from your new contacts. You also need something to write on, and a place to keep your resumes flat.

I use a leather portfolio when we attend business meetings. Something like this will work:

It has a pocket on the right for keeping resumes straight, a notepad for taking notes, and a smaller pocket for stashing business cards and brochures.

On top of this, I usually carry a small purse for my wallet and car key. Look for a purse with a shoulder strap. You always want to have one hand free for shaking hands. It makes you seem approachable.

A simple, black folder from the dollar store works better than nothing, so if you’re short on cash, use that as your back up. Make sure it doesn’t say anything on it. Nothing is more unprofessional than folders that say “Trapper Keeper” or have psychedelic Lisa Frank unicorns on them.

6. Use Your Time Wisely: Target 5 Companies

Depending on the type of job fair, there could be as many as 200 companies ready to meet potential applicants. You should have five companies in mind when you walk in the door. Talk to those companies first before you turn your attention to other potential employers.

It’s better to make five excellent impressions than 100 half-hearted ones. Focus on your favorites, and then walk the fair with an open mind. You never know when you’ll see a potential employer you overlooked that might be a perfect fit.

7. Smile and Offer Your Hand for the Handshake First

When you approach a company’s table at the job fair, smile at the representatives and extend your hand for the handshake first. This shows that you’re confident and someone they definitely want to get to know.

After the handshake, you can lead the conversation with your elevator speech and see where it goes. Even if you’re nervous, smile and be engaged with the company’s representatives.

8. Ask the Right Questions

A job fair is a good time to “feel out” a company to see if they’re a good fit for you, so make sure you have a good list of questions to ask. The right questions are ones that are focused on how your goals and the company’s goals might align. This isn’t a time to ask about vacation time and medical benefits, but instead ask about what the company’s goals are for this year, and how they’re measuring success. Try questions like:

  1. I read about your XYZ project on your website. It sounds fascinating! How are working towards that goal?
  2. There seems to be a lot of potential to _______ in this field. How is your company approaching it?
  3. I would love to learn more about how your company is achieving __________ this year. What steps are you taking?

If you have time, you might also ask the representatives what their favorite thing about working for the company is. The answers to this question will tell you a lot about the company.

9. Always be Closing

Keep your eye on the prize. You are at the job fair to make connections, land interviews, and receive job offers. Keep that in mind with every conversation.

If the representative isn’t scheduling an interview or saying they’ll be in touch soon for one, you should approach the topic yourself. Ask, “Is there a good time we can connect in the next week or so to discuss the position?”

Try to nail down a time to chat, or at the very least, try to get the name of the hiring manager, if he’s not present at the job fair. You want to walk away with something firm, not just, “we’ll be in touch if we’re interested.”

10. Send Follow-up Emails the Following Day

When you leave the job fair, you will have a good idea which companies you want to work for and which you don’t. Even so, you should send follow up emails to the people who took the time to talk to you. Thank them for their time and tell them how great it was to meet them. Ask to connect with them on LinkedIN and to keep you in mind if they see a position that suits your skill set.

Make sure to ask for business cards or contact information if it’s not offered to you. Job fairs are excellent places to network, so even if you don’t walk out with a job, you should at least walk away with a dozen or more new contacts for your network.

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How to Rock and Job Fair and Walk Out with a Job  10 Ways to Rock a Job Fair


 

Side hustles are becoming a way of life for many of us. We consult in our industries, write blogs, teach part time—you name it. Your side hustle is giving you valuable experience and building your skill set. With any luck, you’re also building your network. You should list your side hustle on your resume in most cases. It’s too valuable not to!

List Your Side Hustle on Your Resume Just Like any other Job

In your list of work experience, list your side hustle just like you should any other job. Give yourself a title and list your duties.

The job duties you list for your side hustle are entirely your choice. For example, if you are trying to show a potential employer that you are a strong managerial candidate, you can list your small business owner duties, like expense tracking, employee scheduling (even if the only employee you schedule is you), and project management.

If you are trying to change industries, look at the duties the employer lists for the job you want and figure out how what you’re doing in your side hustle that fits the ad, and write that for your job duties. The closer you can get to the job advertisement’s language, the better your chances at scoring an interview.

If your side hustle is more in line to the job for which you applying than your full-time job, list it first on your resume. Since you are doing both jobs presently, this is completely your choice.

Choose Your Side Hustle Job Title Wisely

You can play with your title. If you do business under your own name as a consultant and haven’t incorporated, stick with “consultant.” If you write a blog, but see yourself becoming a freelance writer, call yourself a “writer.” Your side hustle gives you the opportunity to craft your story in whatever way you need to for the job you want.

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Add Your Side Hustle Skills to Your Professional Profile

Certainly by now you’ve ditched your resume’s objective in favor of a professional profile, so now is the perfect time to add the skills you’ve been cultivating in your side hustle to your professional profile. All the experience you’ve been gaining on the side should shine at the top of your resume.

Be sure to list the soft skills you gain as your own employer, like marketing and branding. If you are running your own blog, you are probably learning SEO skills. If you hire independent contractors to help you, you are adept at contract negotiations and payroll processing. These are all perfectly transferrable skills.

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When Not to List Your Side Hustle on Your Resume

If your side hustle could get you fired from your current job, and you want to keep your current job, don’t list it on your resume. The world is too small to take this risk. Your new potential employer may know your previous employer, and this could spell disaster.

If your side hustle is completely unrelated to the job for which you are applying, leave it off of your resume. If you work as an accountant by day but mow yards on the weekends, the gap between the two jobs is too wide to help you in your job search.

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