Monthly Archives: April 2013

Career Prep Before the MBA Program

It’s the time of year when prospective MBA students are looking towards leaving their current employers and transitioning back to the world of academics. Almost every reason a prospective MBA student has for applying to B-School comes down to career. Whether they want to dramatically change professions or the trajectory, MBA candidates seek to change something in their careers. As with any new initiative, people start out extremely motivated and ready to work. At the beginning of their programs, most MBAs aggressively nod their head at advice from their career coaches and promise to stay actively engaged in their job search. Naturally, this energy starts to wane after the grind of academics kicks into high gear. After students begin to realize the amount of time and energy their academic program requires, they start to prioritize their time which sometimes results in the job search being moved down the list. Some students move their job search down the list farther than others, but suffice it to say that job search energy will decrease to some degree within the first month or two of an MBA program.

Knowing the importance of a successful job search in addition to the importance of successful academics, consider implementing the following early to get ahead of the job search process:

  1. Connect with your career advisor (coach) this summer to begin identifying your goals, strengths and weaknesses in regards to your future career goals. Learn what areas in regards to your job search that will require coaching and refining, so you can spend less time making mistakes this fall. National Career Fairs and internship postings start popping up on the calendar very early; therefore, MBA candidates must be prepared to compete effectively in the market.
  2. Start writing your resume NOW! Refrain from taking your original resume and adding a few updates. Start from scratch and construct a targeted resume that presents your professional brand. Seek professional advice from your career coach and learn how to write a new resume that connects your past accomplishments and experiences with your future goals and the skills needed for success with a potential employer.
  3. Join the professional organization most respected in your field of study. Anyone returning to school for a career in human resources should join the local and national chapters of the Society for Human Resources Management. Be sure to not just stop at joining the organization and looking for the next national conference. Engage with other members. Contact the organization officers or board of directors and ask questions on how you can get involved. Look for ways to connect and learn from others in your chosen profession. Share information with other members through a LinkedIn group or Twitter. Show the membership that you are eager to learn and someone to meet. The best way to do this is to focus on being interested in others. Be interested in career paths, companies, and latest trends in HR, etc. Help others help you.

One of the worst things that a potential MBA student can do is wait until the last minute to start thinking about how to activate the search for an internship. The typical professional job search can take upwards of eight months. Waiting to start your job search until the time you begin your academics will most definitely ensure that one of the two will have to suffer. The best job search approach is one that is steadily active and involves great initiative. Start today by seeking ways you can kick start your job search before you arrive on campus and establish a activity rhythm that will sustain you during the busiest of times. Don’t miss the perfect opportunity due to poor planning.

 

 

 

 

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Contacting Employers the Old Fashioned Way

Who would have ever thought that the use of telephones and the US Postal Service would become old fashioned to job seekers? On the flip side, who would think bringing back these old fashioned resources in finding employment could be considered creative? Today’s younger job seeker is amazed at the idea of calling a potential employer over the phone much less sending a resume and cover letter through the mail. The very idea of printing a resume, printing a cover letter, signing the cover letter, addressing an envelope with a stamp, stuffing then sealing that enveloped and finally walking this envelope to the mail box is almost inconceivable in today’s job market.

“Pounding the pavement” has become a lost art in seeking employment. Too many have flocked to the comfort of the online application process. As I have said many times, applying for a position online is a task. An effective job search is a process. As a job seeker, what are you willing to do in addition to applying online to secure your targeted job?

When looking for innovative or unique ways to be noticed by potential employers, why not first return to these two basic techniques used from the not so distant past:

Pick up the telephone: The internet provides easy access in finding general telephone numbers to every business in the world. Call employers. You can certainly call the HR department, but you will probably be more successful by calling the department in which you want to work. Emails can often time get lost, but phone calls are rarely lost or overlooked.

Mail your resume: Typing resumes and cover letters on bond paper and sending these job search packets through the mail used to be the most widely used practice for job seekers just 20 years ago. Today, very few job seekers take the time to print resume and cover letters to mail much less know what bond paper is in the first place. In addition, we are more likely to read the mail we physically receive over every email we receive. The volume of mail we receive at the office has dramatically decreased. Job seekers stand a very good chance of their letter being opened.

Applying online will get your resume into the company applicant tracking system. While some companies do look at these resumes for identifying talent, candidates must take extra steps to be noticed unless you believe in the needle in a haystack theory. In order to prove your interest and commitment for the job to employers, think about returning to basics if you will. Purchase a book of US postage stamps, stationery paper and envelopes, and good ink for your printer. The walk to the mailbox will be good for you. In addition, use the Internet to find a few phone numbers and dial the telephone. Dare to be innovative by returning to what many consider “old fashioned.” You might be surprised with the positive feedback you receive.