Avenica CEO Scott Dettman Interview with Cory Hepola, WCCO

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Avenica CEO Scott Dettman Interview with Cory Hepola, WCCO

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

Avenica CEO Scott Dettman joined WCCO host Cory Hepola to talk about how companies are approaching the hiring process amid COVID-19, in addition to providing tips for job seekers who are now navigating a virtual job market.

Listen to the full interview on the WCCO Radio website, or click below.

About Avenica

Avenica is an innovative education-to-work platform focused on bridging the skills gap to connect more people to better career opportunities. Through high-impact training and a comprehensive career discovery process, Avenica has helped thousands of people kickstart meaningful careers.

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Your Online Presence Could Help You Get a Job

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Your Online Presence Could Help You Get a Job

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

It’s possible that you’ve managed to make it all this way in life without joining a single social media platform, but for the other almost 90% of you social media participants, ask yourself these questions: what would someone see if they searched for you online, and could what they find hurt your chances at getting a job?

It’s with hope that each candidate a company hires, not only can fulfill the duties of the position, but helps to further solidify their culture and fulfill their company mission. As such, you as a job seeker should assume you will be fully vetted to ensure you’re fit for the position and company. That absolutely means they’ll be Googling you and creeping on your social media. Assuming we’re all fully aware of the negative effects inappropriate language and photos can have, as well as, discriminatory comments about race, religion, gender, etc., let’s discuss how social media can actually help you in your job search efforts.

For most people, social media is far more than just a way to stay connected with friends and family. It’s an extension of your personal brand, and, because it’s your own curated content of thoughts, words, and photos, it reflects the way you want to be represented and seen. So why wouldn’t you make every effort to make yourself look good?

Google yourself

What pops up in association with your name will influence what people think about you. To know what others will see and get a comprehensive overview of your online presence, simply Google yourself. There’s content out there that you do have control over, so get started with identifying what you can clean up. Obviously if you’ve made a news headline or have a criminal record, you have little to no control over that content, but anything you’ve posted on and from your social media sites, you have ultimate control over. You can either set your social media profiles to private and continue to post freely, or you can remove the content directly from your personal accounts you wouldn’t want hiring managers and recruiters to see.

Add to your Google results by creating your own website or blog to publish stories, images, videos; becoming a contributor to an existing website or blog; and joining forums or discussion group. Add content to your social media that shows you engaging in good times with friends and family and with your community. Show your personality, lifestyle, hobbies, and interests in fun, positive ways so hiring decision makers get a sense of how you’ll fit into the company.

Move beyond building a network

If you haven’t already, get on LinkedIn. Keep your profile updated, search available opportunities in “jobs”, and build your network. But go beyond basic, get engaged and be an active participant. Build your professional brand by sharing articles that speak to the kind of professional you are and want to be, and show potential employers/peepers your unique perspective through professional, thoughtful commentary. Consider the content you share carefully and know that you will be judged—positively or negatively—on it. Just make sure it’s an accurate representation of the person and professional you truly are.

Now back to those of you who haven’t taken the plunge, what do you think your absence says to recruiters and hiring managers? For good or bad, it allows others to make and pass their own judgements. They could be positive impressions—this person prioritizes and values true interaction and connection and that’s why they’ve stayed away. But they could also be negative—this person is antisocial, has something to hide, or can’t go with the flow and has to go against the grain (could be seen as positive or negative). Obviously, you have to make the choice for yourself, but more and more, people are taking to online research before making hiring decisions. If you can control your own narrative and online reputation—for the most part—you should do so in a way that puts you in the best possible light.

These efforts can take time. If you’re still a college student, start now so you have a robust online presence by the time you’re ready to begin your job search. But it’s truly never too late. No matter where you are in your career, you should always monitor and make improvements. As with your resume, your online presence is like a living document that develops, evolves, and grows as you do.

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Your First Year on the Job: Don’t Just Survive, Thrive

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Your First Year on the Job: Don’t Just Survive, Thrive

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

Your first year on the job can be rewarding and fun, but it can also be challenging, confusing, and stressful. Learning all the components of your role along with meeting your new team and finding your place in it are hard enough, but then you actually have to work?

But you want to thrive, not just survive. So, how, as a new employee, do you start adding real value to your team and company? Our advice? Start small, and don’t try to do it all at once.

Understand Your Role and Your Responsibilities

You, especially in the beginning of your career, are a small cog that helps to operate one mechanism in the large machine that is your company. Depending on the size of your company, the tasks you carry out in your position can have varying degrees of effect on the business as a whole. But no matter what, your actions contribute to or impede the overall success of the company, especially in the smaller environment of your team. Adding value starts with just doing what’s expected of your position. While it sounds simple, each position has many different components, and it can take time to learn and carry them all out. And that’s okay. Learn your new position inside and out, and make sure you’re meeting expectations. Ask questions, get clarification on your assigned tasks, and check in with/update your supervisor regularly to ensure you’re on the right track.

Identify Opportunities

As you’re learning your role and getting comfortable performing the expected functions of your position, start identifying opportunities where you can provide additional support, solve problems, improve processes to cut out inefficiencies. And whenever possible, go beyond simply identifying the problems; provide solutions, ideas, and a plan of attack to support your ideas. One good think about being new is you come in fresh eyes, a different perspective, and new ideas. Just remember to be thoughtful about your approach. Think through different possible outcomes and write in contingencies and alternatives. Most importantly, highlight the benefits. Do your ideas save time and or money, eliminate a problem, or create a new/better process? This is your money shot, so don’t forget to play this part up.

Build Relationships

You’ll be spending a lot of time at work, so you might as well enjoy it. Building strong relationships within your team and with various business partners not only makes your time at work more enjoyable, it helps you to be more productive and engaged. Additionally, if you’re in a customer/client-facing role, it’s vital to build and maintain strong, trusting relationships. The relationships you build and with whom can have far-reaching effects on your career and your ability to develop, advance, and gain buy in for your ideas and projects. Start with your team; be trustworthy, support when and how you can, and bring a fun and positive attitude. Join in on social events like happy hours and company outings. This is a great way to meet and interact with people in a more casual setting where you can really get to know people, especially those outside of your team.

Your first weeks, months, and even year in a new position can really set the tone for how you’ll perform and be recognized in years to come. So make it count. Start with getting really good at your job, be a good team member and colleague, find opportunities to add value, build and maintain great relationships, and most importantly, have fun. Again, you’ll be spending a lot of time at work, so do what you can to make it a fun and positive experience for you and others around you. You’ll be happier, more productive, and hopefully, more rewarded for the effort!

About Avenica

Avenica is an innovative education-to-work platform focused on bridging the skills gap to connect more people to better career opportunities. Through high-impact training and a comprehensive career discovery process, Avenica has helped thousands of people kickstart meaningful careers.

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4 Productive Ways to Start Your Day

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4 Productive Ways to Start Your Day

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

Mornings are great. Mornings are my favorite. That is until the alarm goes off. Getting out of bed might be the hardest thing you today, especially if you have a strong relationship with the snooze button. Changing your morning routine—or creating a morning routine—can help make the rest of your day more productive and successful. It might be challenging at first, but committing to a routine gets easier and easier every day you do it. Start with these four simple steps, and you’ll be crushing your morning routine in no time!

Make your bed

Don’t tell my mom I said this, but she was totally onto something here. In his commencement speech at The University of Texas, Admiral William H. McRaven said this, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of that day, one task completed will turn into many tasks completed.”

Exercise

Throughout your entire day, people are depending on you for something. In the morning, before others are up, may be your only chance for “me” time, especially if you are a parent, have a significant other, are employed, are student…are alive. A morning workout sesh is the perfect time to plan your day, set goals, and get yourself pumped up for a productive day. Not to mention the scientifically proven benefit of higher fat oxidation that can happen before brekkie and a more enhanced metabolism.

Eat breakfast

Speaking of brekkie, too many people skip it. And, no your Grande Mocha Frappuccino doesn’t count. Breakfast kickstarts your metabolism and provides the energy needed to start your day at peak performance.
Better focus ✓ More productive ✓ Delicious ✓

Goal Set

From your everyday tasks to big accomplishments, think about how you’ll complete them or make progress towards them and what tools, resources you’ll need. Set priorities and schedule out your day to ensure you’re committing enough time and focus to what needs to be done. Make a list, putting it in writing helps to solidify your commitment and helps to keep you accountable. Plus, being able to check things off the list is peak gratification. Here are some goal setting tips to help you get started.

Good and positive behavior is habit forming if done consistently. Start with just one of the actions and keep adding on until you’ve got all four. You’ll be healthier, more focused, more productive, more organized, and pulling back the covers of your well-made bed every night will be so satisfying.

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Taking Advantage of the Years Before Graduation

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Taking Advantage of the Years Before Graduation

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

While graduation might seem like a lifetime away, there’s a lot you can be doing now to help make the transition from college student to working professional easier and more successful. From internships to part-time jobs, building up a network, and identifying future career interests, junior year is a great time to start preparing for life after college.

Load up on professional experience

Internship and other professional opportunities for rising college graduates are usually plentiful but can have a competitive and challenging application process. Gaining professional experience prior to graduation requires an application process that can sometimes seem lengthy. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to start researching and applying to opportunities that are of interest to you and would provide useful professional experience. Think of these opportunities as a free trial of your future career. Try to find something that aligns to what you’d like to do after college to see if the experience strengthens your interest or makes you reevaluate your career path.

Professional experience doesn’t have to come in the form of an internship. From customer service to leadership and management to problem-solving skills, there’s a lot you can learn from part-time and summer positions in the retail, service, etc. industries. Just make sure you’re taking advantage of any opportunities that might arise or taking initiative to seek out and request opportunities.

Study Abroad

If you’re able to, a study abroad experience is far more than the opportunity to travel to and experience a new destination and culture. As the world becomes more interconnected, it’s imperative to understand how globalization affects people and business. Studying abroad provides the international experience many students lack when starting a career and provides an immersive education on engaging with others from different backgrounds and cultures. This is especially important when applying to positions with companies who have global, international footprints.

Identify career interests

Few students start college actually knowing what their career track will be. Many students change their mind and major throughout college. Take advantage of your school’s career development center to help you discover where your interests intersect with your skills and strengths. Having more direction now will help you to hit the ground running and be more focused and targeted in your career search upon graduation.

Build up your professional skills

Professionalism is a nebulous, overarching topic, including everything from appearance, communication style, attitude, work ethic and integrity, and competence. It’s a lot. Start honing your professional presence by attending networking events and observing others’ interactions and behaviors. Request informational interviews which will help you practice speaking with professionals and provide helpful insider insight into various organizations and professions. The more you can learn from can learn from successful professionals, the more prepared you’ll be for life after graduation.

For many, your final year is going to be a crush of activities and experiences, and you won’t want to miss out on a thing. Setting yourself up for success in the years leading up to your final semester helps lighten your load and gives you more time to prepare, practice, and perfect.

Learn more about how Avenica helps college grads kickstart careers through the CareerActivation™ Program.

About Avenica

Avenica is an innovative education-to-work platform focused on bridging the skills gap to connect more people to better career opportunities. Through high-impact training and a comprehensive career discovery process, Avenica has helped thousands of people kickstart meaningful careers.

Tips for Applying to Your First Job Out of College

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Tips for Applying to Your First Job Out of College

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

If you’re a first-year student, it might seem like an entire lifetime away, but really, graduation and getting your first job out of college are just around the corner. After that, there’s so much waiting for you just beyond that symbolic toss of the diploma into the air. Your college days will fly by and before you know it, you’ll graduate and embark on a new part of your life—one that hopefully begins with a full-time job. As with any job, be it your first one out of college or a higher-level position several years down the road, you’ll have to apply. This brings to mind an important question – when should you start applying for your first job out of college?

It Depends

The answer to that question will depend on your experience and career interests. The job search process can be lengthy, and, when done right, includes practice interviews, company research and informational interviews, writing and perfecting your resume, and finally, submitting your application. Of course, that’s not including the interview process, but that’s a whole other blog post all together. So give yourself enough time to do it right. Start several months ahead of graduation; by the time you graduate, you’ll either be ready to start your new job or ready to take on the interview process.

Specialized fields and industries

Those who’ve had a position or an internship in specialized industries such as finance, marketing, or analytics, might receive a full-time offer upon completion of their degree and might have a different apply path that’s determined by the employer. For others trying to break into these fields, remember that these industries tend to be more competitive, and firms will hire early to secure the best talent. Applying early for these types of positions might give you a leg up, but check back on their career websites frequently so you don’t miss out on open opportunities.

Hiring classes

Some larger companies have hiring classes, hiring up many college grads all at the same time to go through the orientation and on-boarding together. Do a bit of research in advance to find out the best time to submit your application for these companies. These opportunities can be a great way to kickstart your career, as they build in professional development programs tailored to recent college grads in entry-level positions. (Helpful sidebar: Avenica recruits for these kinds of classes frequently, so if you haven’t already joined our network, now’s a great time. By joining, you’re essentially applying to all the positions Avenica recruits for in your area all at one time. The perfect time to apply for one of our opportunities? Right now. We’re always accepting applications! If we don’t have something perfect for you right now, we’ll keep you in mind should the right opportunity come up).

Start early, be patient

In general, the closer you get to graduation, and of course just after, is best for applying to jobs. If you see an exciting opportunity but are still finishing up your last semester, go ahead and apply for it! Most companies will understand that you won’t be available until you graduate, but they might appreciate your hustle and think you’re worth the wait. However, applying too early in your final year, when you still have much of the school year left to go, might be a waste of time. Employers usually won’t want to wait quite that long. A month to three months out is plenty of time, since you don’t usually get immediate results and not every opportunity pans out. But just think of it as learning opportunities for you to gain experience and confidence with each application and interview.

Many companies hire on an as-needed basis, so their job postings may be sporadic. If you’re not seeing immediate matches for your skill set, don’t be deterred; job opportunities fluctuate just about as often as fashion trends.

About Avenica

Avenica is an innovative education-to-work platform focused on bridging the skills gap to connect more people to better career opportunities. Through high-impact training and a comprehensive career discovery process, Avenica has helped thousands of people kickstart meaningful careers.

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Personality Tests: How Well Do You Know Yourself?

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Personality Tests: How Well Do You Know Yourself?

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

How well do you really know yourself? Do you understand your strengths and weaknesses, know what makes you tick, and recognize why you act the way you do? Even if you think you already know these things, there’s probably still a lot to uncover. One way to better get to know yourself is through personality tests. And there’s really no better time to do it than right now while you’re in college. Taking a personality test can help you navigate and determine your career options. Having an understanding of your future career goals now, can greatly help you in planning out the rest of your academics.

There are several widely used personality tests, many you’ve probably already heard of. Here are a few you can do online, and best of all, they’re free. Because college ain’t cheap, man.

6 Personalities
This test breaks people into four categories called roles; analysts, diplomats, sentinels, and explorers, with four sub-categories for each called strategies that identify preferred ways of achieving goals. Taking this test helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses and understand how you interact with and engage in the world around you. You can also learn about other, more well-known people with your same personality type. Are you a Diplomat, Protagonist like Oprah Winfrey or an Analyst, Logician like Bill Gates? I’m positive that I’ll be Sentinel, Defender, because I’m obviously a Beyonce.

Sakanu Career Assessment
We’re all probably good at things we don’t necessarily like, and conversely, there are things we like but just aren’t that good at. Like, I love crafting, but my creations always look more like Pinterest fails, and I’m actually pretty good with numbers, but thought of doing anything in finance, accounting, or math is my nightmare. The Sakanu Career Assessment evaluates your aptitude and interests to help guide and provide options for your career discovery.

Emotional Intelligence Quiz
The concept of emotional intelligence has been a buzz-worthy topic for quite some time now and has become pretty ubiquitous in the professional/business world. In this assessment, you can learn about your EQ and how it affects your interpersonal relationships and interactions. The more you know about your EQ and EQ in general, the better you can get at recognizing and understanding your own emotions, as well as, having a better understanding other people’s feelings and motivations. Overall, it helps you build relationships, handle and resolve conflicts, and perform better in group and team settings. So, it’s basically like magic.

While none of these assessments are perfectly accurate, they provide a lot of good insight into the kind of person you are and provide some general guidance and direction for helping you plan your career and professional development goals. If anything, it’s a great distraction from the grind of classes, homework, and studying.

And just for fun, and because you’re dying to know…

About Avenica

Avenica is an innovative education-to-work platform focused on bridging the skills gap to connect more people to better career opportunities. Through high-impact training and a comprehensive career discovery process, Avenica has helped thousands of people kickstart meaningful careers.

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Navigating the Professional World

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Navigating the Professional World

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

So, you’ve landed your first professional job out of college – congrats! With the relief of job searching coming to an end, it can feel like the hard work of setting a good impression and showcasing your strengths is behind you. But in many ways, this work is just beginning. Beyond excelling at your day-to-day job, there are a number of ways to continue to set a good impression with your boss and colleagues. Here are five ways to navigate the professional world like a pro:

  1. Dress to impress
    Just because you saw one of your co-workers wear a hoodie to work last Friday, does not make it the new normal. While dress codes may vary, seek to dress on the more professional side and take pride in a well-maintained physical appearance. Not sure what to wear? Good rule to follow is that it is always better to be over-dressed then under-dressed!
  2. Keep your social media clean
    Your online persona is just as important as your workplace behavior and can go a long way to show maturity. Regardless of privacy settings, you should assume that anything posted online is public information. From photos to opinionated posts, only share what you’d be comfortable sharing with your boss and/or the senior leaders at your company.
  3. Approach your work with humility
    Some of the most attractive qualities in a new hire are the eagerness to learn, the openness to assist outside of the job description, and a willingness to do typical entry-level work (aka “grunt work”). Aim to be resourceful, but don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know the answer. Offering to pitch in on projects or tasks that are outside of your job description—as long as you are getting your assigned work done—is a great way to offer added value. Also, recognize that some of the work you may do won’t be glamorous, but that can be the nature of entry-level jobs; keep a positive attitude, and before long, you may be managing the person doing that work!
  4. Drink responsibly
    Navigating your first corporate happy hour can be exciting, but it’s important to remember that you’re not at the pub with your friends. Regardless of what your other co-workers are doing, limit your alcohol intake to what you can stay in control of and responsible for.
  5. Keep your emotions in check
    With most jobs come with a certain level of pressure, uncertainty and even conflict. Keeping your emotions in check is a sign of maturity and responsibility. Confide in friends and family when you find yourself getting emotional, but stay committed to keeping your composure in a work setting.

Although the initial, formal interview process is over, you are now informally interviewing for your first promotion. Be yourself, but recognize that your interactions (at all levels of the company) are making an impression and impacting your future prospects within the company. When in doubt, look to role models and professionals above you who are well respected to emulate their behavior and/or seek mentorship and advice.

About Avenica

Avenica is an innovative education-to-work platform focused on bridging the skills gap to connect more people to better career opportunities. Through high-impact training and a comprehensive career discovery process, Avenica has helped thousands of people kickstart meaningful careers.

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The Gig Economy: How Entry-Level Job Seekers Can Side-Hustle Their Way to a Career

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The Gig Economy: How Entry-Level Job Seekers Can Side-Hustle Their Way to a Career

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

These days, it seems everyone’s got a side hustle. Maybe it’s a freelance gig, contract work or the ever-popular Uber, Lyft or BiteSquad driving opportunities. It seems the gig economy is here to stay.

With millions of Americans (more than 150 million by 2020, according to Intuit) working as private contractors in a variety of fields, it can be an attractive proposition for entry-level college graduates seeking a paycheck while on the job hunt. However, there are a few important considerations that will help young job seekers balance the need to make a buck with their long-term career ambitions.

Here are a few tips for entry-level college graduates to contemplate before jumping head-first into the gig economy:

Stay focused on your future career

With cash in hand and a flexible schedule, it may be tempting for job seekers to slow their career search momentum. Creating and maintaining a solid job search strategy is essential for making the most of gig economy work while still keeping a future career top-of-mind. A smart approach would be to devote a specific amount of time each day or week – in proportion to the time spent working – to job hunting, résumé polishing, networking and interview practice.

Choose gig work that fits your career ambitions

In addition to income, an added benefit of gig work for entry-level job seekers is the potential to build work skills, which can then be marketed in pursuit of a long-term career. Consider taking on gigs that will be most useful for specific career paths. For example, someone seeking an account management position would do well to choose a gig that builds customer service skills. A job seeker trying to break into an entry-level creative position, such as graphic design or copywriting, should sign up for contractor “matching” services like Fiverr and Upwork.

Be ready to transition to full-time work

Don’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to gig work. Underemployment – college graduates working in positions that don’t require a degree – is at an all-time high, largely because graduates are simply happy to be getting paid. But it’s not a sustainable path for future career achievement, and entry-level job seekers working gig positions should always be ready to ditch “easy money” for more lucrative long-term opportunities.

Contract gigs can be very useful for job-seeking college graduates by providing valuable work experience while generating income. As long as the gig economy remains a means to an end, not an end in itself, an entry-level career will still be attainable. In fact, working a steady gig can be a great way to demonstrate dedication, self-direction and resourcefulness to prospective employers.

So, go ahead, Class of 2018 – don’t be afraid to “get your gig on!”

About Avenica

Avenica is an innovative education-to-work platform focused on bridging the skills gap to connect more people to better career opportunities. Through high-impact training and a comprehensive career discovery process, Avenica has helped thousands of people kickstart meaningful careers.

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Stand Out for the Right Reasons with Hiring Managers

Insights

Stand Out for the Right Reasons with Hiring Managers

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

As a job seeker, you are currently experiencing one of the best entry-level hiring climates in more than a decade. That means opportunities abound for you. However, hiring managers are looking at more than just your qualifications and education; they’re looking at your professional etiquette and interview behavior as well.

In a recent CareerBuilder survey, hiring managers within the private sector reported that more than:

  • 37 percent of college graduates did not send a thank-you note following an interview
  • 35 percent of those interviewed did not know anything about the company
  • 31 percent did not submit a cover letter
  • 29 percent did not ask any questions during the interview
  • 26 percent did not have professional references
  • 26 percent had poor grammar on their résumés
  • 21 percent had unprofessional pictures on their social media profiles
  • 19 percent checked their mobile phones during the interview

While it may be easy to explain these behaviors as typical for inexperienced job-seekers, avoiding these pitfalls give you a much better chance of making a great first impression and getting hired.

Even though a wide majority (82 percent) of hiring managers agree that academic institutions are “adequately” preparing students for the roles needed in their organizations, the lack of basic etiquette during the interview process gives many of these same employers pause as they decide who to hire. Simply put, while you might be well-qualified and able to do the work of the position, you might never get your foot in the door if you’re not following these best practices.

How a candidate prepares for and behaves in an interview can tell hiring managers a lot about their drive, professionalism, and attitude. It also provides insight into the candidate’s ability to interact with customers and colleagues in a professional manner and a lens into the candidate’s work ethic. Did they care enough to put in the extra time and effort? Or are they doing the bare minimum required?

These matters of etiquette may seem a bit outdated as work environments continue to get more casual, but it’s important to keep in mind that these are the standards most hiring managers were held to early in their careers, and many will expect the same from today’s job seekers. Remember, simple—but thoughtful and respectful—things like punctuality, professional behavior and attire, and proper interview etiquette can mean the difference between a job offer and a “thanks, but no thanks” response.

About Avenica

Avenica is an innovative education-to-work platform focused on bridging the skills gap to connect more people to better career opportunities. Through high-impact training and a comprehensive career discovery process, Avenica has helped thousands of people kickstart meaningful careers.

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