How to Sell Your Summer Job in a Professional Interview

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How to Sell Your Summer Job in a Professional Interview

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

For job-seeking college graduates about to enter a competitive job market, every bit of experience can help pave the way to a future career. But while some of you may have entered the professional world upon graduation, others may be looking for work in the fall after seasonal employment ends.

You may not see much valuable work experience in typical summer jobs, such as child care, lifeguarding, serving/bartending, and other similar jobs, but these positions build valuable soft skills and emotional intelligence that transfer well to a professional environment. How you articulate what you’ve accomplished and learned on the job – in any job – can give hiring managers a good sense of your ability to learn and adapt on the job.

Here are some interview scenarios you can use to gauge how well you can promote your soft skills acquired as part of a summer job:

Child Care
Skills enhanced: Leadership, problem-solving, multi-tasking
Accomplishments to highlight:

  • Talk about a time when you made a difficult decision on the job
  • Discuss how you juggled priorities and made sure everything got accomplished
  • Share how you’ve handled and resolved criticism from an employer

Ideal professional roles: Project management, human resources, office management/administration

Lifeguard
Skills enhanced: Responsibility, decision-making, accountability
Accomplishments to highlight:

  • Talk about a time when you had to make split-second decisions while on the job
  • Discuss how you helped your colleagues ensure a safe environment for guests
  • Share an example of a mistake you made on the job. How did you resolve it?

Ideal professional roles: Administration, compliance, accounting

Restaurant Serving
Skills enhanced: Working in a fast-paced environment, customer service, conflict resolution
Accomplishments to highlight:

  • Discuss how you’ve diffused a tense situation on the job
  • Talk about how you’d respond to customer criticism directed at you personally
  •  Share an example of how you’ve pushed back on a customer and said “no.”

Ideal professional roles: Customer service, sales, marketing, communications

Retail
Skills enhanced: Customer service, sales, multitasking
Accomplishments to highlight:

  • Share how you helped your store exceed sales expectations
  • Talk about how you learned to excel at the most difficult aspect of your role
  • Describe how your work helped improve the customer experience at your store

Ideal professional roles: Sales, merchandising, marketing and communication

When it comes to entry-level positions, hiring managers are increasingly looking for skill versus experience. In such a competitive hiring market, it’s more essential than ever for employers to consider a diverse range of candidates. That’s why you should sell your own experiences as skill-building opportunities and demonstrate how those skills apply to the job being pursued. Whether you’ve honed your skills in an office, at the pool, or on the golf course, your ability to market these skills in lieu of professional experience will be a critical factor in your success on the path toward your future career.

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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Tips for Transitioning from College to the Workplace

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Tips for Transitioning from College to the Workplace

Niko Farrell

Niko Farrell

Manager of Business Operations

LinkedIn

The first year post graduation: Niko’s story
As fall begins, I’ve always looked forward to getting back on campus; the lectures, labs, professors, and all the excitement on campus from kicking off a new football season and school year. For the last 16 years, I associated the turning of leaves with a return to the classroom. That was until this year.

This fall will be the first time I’m not spending the upcoming months studying, preparing for tests, writing papers, and eating cold leftover takeout pizza. Instead, I’m a college graduate working full time, and …let’s be honest, still eating leftover takeout pizza, because that’s never going to change.

Life after graduation

After graduation, we’re all expected to go out there, get “real” jobs, contribute to society in meaningful ways, and adult in ways we never have before. But it’s not always that easy. I struggled to find full-time employment upon graduation. Even though I went on several interviews, I consistently found myself among the final candidates only to be rejected in the final stage.

Needing to work and not having the luxury of time, my first job out of college was at an industrial supplies warehouse. After four years of college, it was disappointing to be doing a job that required little to no use of my degree. Although I dreaded my days going in, I knew that continuing to work—even at a soul-crushing job that was slowly killing me from the inside out—was far better than not working at all.

On the career track

I decided to do something different. I did a little online research and found out about Avenica. After interviewing for what I thought would be a position with one of their clients, I was offered an internal position. Now-a-days you can find me at the corporate headquarters of Avenica in the North Loop of downtown Minneapolis helping to find college graduates who were once like me fulfilling positions that can kick-start their professional careers.

This is what I’ve learned

I’ve learned and experienced so much since starting at Avenica. The greatest lesson is one I’ve heard throughout life but has never been more applicable than when I started a new job; always ask questions. There are situations and tasks you’ve not experienced yet. And that’s okay. What you’ll learn will help you become a better, more well-rounded person and employee. Those around you will notice your interest and curiosity, and appreciate you reaching out to learn more.

Now that I know how much interaction you actually have with others in the office, I’d also strongly recommend taking the time to research a company before applying and interviewing. Talk to people who work there or have in the past to get a sense of the company culture and people. These are, after all, people you’ll see and work with every day, so you want to make sure that it’s the right fit. I got lucky working at Avenica; it’s amazing to be surrounded by other mission-driven individuals that truly care about what they’re doing and are a strong, cohesive, supportive team.

The last, and possibly one of the most important for office survival is to always label your food in the refrigerator, because if your future office is anything like mine, your staff accountant will swoop in and eat your leftover pizza, claiming he thought it was “community pizza.”

Some things never change

The transition from an academic world to that of a full-time job can be difficult. But if you think about it, it’s not all that different. You’ll still have assignment due dates, they’re just called deliverable deadlines now. You’ll still be learning new things, but instead of paying tuition, they actually pay you. Just like in college, learn and get as much out of your experience as you can. It all prepares you for the next thing; it’s all resume builder; and it all helps you grow as a person and as a professional. And, of course, pizza is forever.

Niko Farrell
Manager of Business Operations, Avenica
University of Minnesota, 2017

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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Tips for Writing a Resume that Actually Gets Read

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Tips for Writing a Resume that Actually Gets Read

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

You only get one chance to make a first impression. When applying for jobs, that first impression is your resume. You could have solid skills and experience but having a rusty resume will give your application a one-way ticket to the resume graveyard better known as the recycle bin. R.I.P.

Luckily, you can avoid a premature career death by following these simple but effective resume writing tips.

Highlight your accomplishments, not your responsibilities
When talking about your work experience, it’s better to list what you achieved in your position, not a list of your daily tasks. “Improved methods for data collection” is far more powerful than, “created spreadsheets and graphs.” Show what you’re capable of, not just that you can do the minimum required. If you can, take if a step further and include the results of your efforts. “Improved methods for data collection that decreased production time by 20%.” This will highlight your abilities and show that you are results oriented.

Include the right keywords
When applying to a position, find and use the same key words used in the job description in your resume. For example, if the job description calls for a candidate with strong organizational skills, you should make sure strong organizational skills is listed in the skills section of your resume. Copy and paste is your friend here. This is especially important as more and more companies are using various forms of technology to help them with their hiring. Before your resume even reaches the hiring manager, it could be stopped in its tracks because an automated system has filtered it out for lack of specific key words that match the job description.

Tailor it
Think of each resume like the outfits in your closet. You chose and own each one. Each one says something about the person you are and your style. Each one has an appropriate time and place for wearing. Just like your outfits, there is no one-size-fits-all for your resume. You should be tailoring and optimizing your resume for each of the positions you’re applying for. This will ensure that your resume includes the right keywords, highlights relevant accomplishments, and showcases the appropriate skills.

Contact info
Managers and recruiters are busy and often vetting several applicants while maintaining their usual workload. Provide all your contact options so they can reach out using the form of communication that’s most convenient for them. When providing your email, refrain from using your sparklekitty12@hotmail.com you made in 6th grade. Google just hands them out for free, so spring for a new, more professional sounding email address. Don’t forget to include your street address, as well. If you’re applying with a company that has several locations, like Avenica, it helps your recruiter know which area and opportunity to match you up with. If you’re tech savvy and have your own personal website or online portfolio/resume, make sure to highlight that and organize it under your other points of contact. For added ease, use hyperlinks where applicable, as they’re likely viewing on their computer or mobile device.

Proofread
Do you know the pain of spending hours crafting and polishing a resume that is perfectly fit for your dream job just to submit it and notice a spelling error immediately afterwards? This is “Rose floating around in the ocean on a door holding the freezing hand of Jack” heartbreaking. Proofread your resume multiple times and enlist the help of a friend/parent/colleague/teacher so this doesn’t happen. Any errors—minor or significant—can be an instant no from many hiring managers. Just remember, spellcheck is your friend, and there was absolutely plenty of room on that door for two people, Rose.

A good resume doesn’t guarantee you the job, but a bad resume could prevent you from even getting in the door.

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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Why Recruiters Pass on Qualified Candidates After an Interview

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Why Recruiters Pass on Qualified Candidates After an Interview

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

Can you guess one of the top reasons why we pass on qualified candidates after an interview? It’s not because the candidate wasn’t able to articulate their strengths or weaknesses, and it’s not because they didn’t provide a well-thought out response to our critical thinking question. It, surprisingly, is due to lack of professionalism.

In fact, a recent study shows that 38.2 percent of employers responding reported that fewer than half of their new employees exhibited professionalism. So, what exactly does professionalism mean? It can mean many things, but the ones that stand out the most to hiring managers and recruiters fall into the following three buckets.

Appearance
While this may seem obvious, we see candidates fail this first and extremely important “test” quite often. The way you present yourself tells your interviewer(s) a lot about you.

  • Judgement: There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what appropriate attire is for an interview; different positions require different standards of dress. But dressing appropriately for the job for which you’re interviewing lets your interviewer know that you can accurately assess situations, understand expectations, and apply proper judgment when making decisions.
  • Respect: Dressing appropriately also shows that you have respect for yourself and want to present yourself in a positive manner. It also shows respect for your interviewer. You want to fit the role, impress them, and make good use of their time. Showing that you’re mindful of how you present yourself and how you project onto others is crucial to getting past that first interview.
  • Intention: Showing up to an interview prepared and looking the part sends a clear message; you want the job. It indicates drive, eagerness, and initiative, which are all great qualities in candidates.
  • A Sense of Entitlement
    Entitlement is a stereotype that sits with many individuals graduating within the last decade. In reference to the study mentioned earlier, entitlement weighs heavily with employers. In fact, 31% of employers consider it a “deal breaker.”
  • Compensation Expectations: Candidates who focus on salary scream entitlement. Know what to expect going in. In entry-level positions, there’s little wiggle room in salary. Before an interview, research the organization and the position—or similar positions—across different organizations and industries to get accurate salary expectations. Learn how salaries differ across government, non-profit, and corporate organizations and be comfortable with the findings before going into an interview.
  • Professional Development: Consider your first “real” job paid training. Instead of focusing on how much money you make, focus on what learnings you can gain that can help you advance to the next level and develop into a better professional.

Poor Communication Skills
Hiring managers and recruiters are constantly analyzing communication skills during an interview and are wise to do so. Poor verbal and written communication skills are flashing red lights for numerous big problems in the workplace.

  • Poor collaborator: Being able to work well with others and contribute in meaningful ways in a team environment is crucial to productivity and the overall success of a company. One person’s inability to communicate and work within a team can lead to delays in work, lower team morale, and lower overall company effectiveness.
  • Miscommunication: In another recent survey, it was revealed that miscommunications lead to, higher stress levels, delays in work or altogether failure to complete work, low morale, missed performance goals, and lost sales. All in all, miscommunications are costly, and employers look to avoid people who cause them at all costs.
  • Difficult direct report: Poor communication skills can also indicate a difficult reporting relationship. Hiring managers look for people who they can have an open professional relationship with and someone who can take direction, give appropriate feedback, request help when needed, provide accurate updates, and can contribute to their team effectively.

Professionalism can be represented in many ways in an interview. And many are ways you can directly and positively affect. Dress appropriately, be prepared, show a willingness to work hard, and work on your communication skills. This is especially true, if you are finding little success in your job search despite having a good resume and solid experience.

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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Skype Etiquette 101

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Skype Etiquette 101

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

Well, it’s official! The hype and excitement of graduation has ended, the pools have closed, and your friends are starting to ditch the weekly ‘Thirsty Thursday’ hangout as they have to be up early for work. Where does this leave you? Job searching – in full-on Desperation Mode. Within a job search, there are several types of interviews: phone interviews, in-person interviews, panel interviews, and the increasingly used– Skype or other video-based interviews. It’s true, there is an art to interviewing, but no worries, I am here to clarify a few important details on how to prepare and be confident in this process!

  • Follow Instructions- I cannot express enough the importance of (what should be) the easiest part of the interview! The first thing you should do is reply to the email confirming your attendance for the interview. If you are truly excited about the interview, it’s important to confidently accept with a documented response. This would be a good time to thank them for the opportunity. If you are unsure or unable to interview at that time, do NOT accept the invitation promising attendance or email saying you will attend. If you have questions or concerns, it is best practice to reach out and get more information or explain your situation. Most hiring managers are willing to be flexible if there are legitimate concerns. It is also not okay to confirm that you will be attending the interview 5 minutes beforehand. Don’t do it, trust me!
  • Test your Skype- If you can spend 3 hours FaceTiming your significant other who lives out of town, you sure as heck can find someone to take 2 minutes to test your Skype….Even better, Skype has a test function built in! Genius, I know! Test it. Please spare yourself the uncomfortable and awkward silence while you stumble to fix the sound or video. I can tell you from experience, if you are not prepared or ready at the time of your Skype, it does not look good to the hiring manager. It can also make you more nervous and uneasy when you do start the interview. We look for confidence, nice clear sound, and clear video with good lighting.
  • Staging your Skype Interview- Okay, this is by far my favorite topic to discuss. Why, you ask? Every time I go into a Skype interview, I’m never too sure who or what I may see on the other side. It is very important to make sure you are in quiet place with good lighting, no distractions, and a good backdrop. Please (for your benefit) make sure your Bob Marley poster is not visible, the bottle collection you acquired during college is hidden, and your cat does not walk across the screen mid-interview. A blank wall background is a good choice or the spare room that has a desk is professional. It’s also very important not to sit on your bed, pow-wow style, constantly moving your laptop. Place your computer/tablet on a solid surface, preferably a table, and sit up straight in a non-swivel chair. Staging your setup is something that should be done the night before, not 2 minutes before the interviewer calls you!
  • Attire- This should go without saying, WEAR A SUIT! Yes, it’s true that we may only be able to see you from the waist up, but a sport coat with a collared shirt and tie or a conservative blouse/dress with a blazer is important. This is your first impression and it’s an interview – your background and skill set are not the only things being observed. Men, make sure you shave, and ladies, keep your hands out of your hair and your hair out of your face. Men, I know full suits can be uncomfortable sometimes, please do not wear your basketball shorts or even just boxers because you don’t feel the need to wear a full suit. What are you going to do if I ask you to go turn another light on because the video lighting is poor? Think about it. I recommend having two solid interview outfits or power suits picked out that make you feel confident and ready to go if you are called for any type of interview.
  • Communication- It may be the last topic mentioned here, but it’s definitely the most important! To anyone who rolls their eyes when adults say “communication is key”, you best listen. During an interview this is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest skill set your interviewer is assessing. Make sure you speak clearly, avoid using headphones at all costs, test your microphone the day before, and do not, I repeat, do not have a snack waiting during the switch of a twofold interview. Speak with confidence and know your resume inside out. Your resume should be an outline of your experiences, but during an interview, it is your job to tell your full story. There should be no need to look down or read off of your resume – you know the contents better than anyone else. Smile during your interview – it is okay to laugh and have fun while speaking to your interviewer, just remain professional as it is still an interview! Ask questions, but don’t sound like a broken record by quickly google-ing “top interview questions”. Again, not going to help in the long run! If you do your homework about the company, you should be able to prepare questions relevant to the position and company. Watch your ‘eye contact’ (I say that in ‘ ‘ as you are in a virtual setting). I know you look good, but stop staring at yourself in that little box down in the corner or only looking at the screen – you need to make eye contact with that tiny camera at the top of your computer – that is your eye contact during a Skype. I’ll say it one last time, communication is key!

Every Skype interview should be treated as seriously as an in-person interview. Several companies conduct Skype interviews for your convenience so in return it is important to remember to value their time. I have conducted countless Skype interviews and time and time again candidates do not take advantage of these simple tips that can determine the outcome of an interview. I encourage you to take these basic steps to help you be successful the next time you are called to connect via video!

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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How to Talk About Weaknesses in a Job Interview

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How to Talk About Weaknesses in a Job Interview

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

Whether you’re interviewing for your first out-of-college, entry-level position or a more experienced leadership role, you’ll find one topic of questioning remains the same and can be a challenge to answer no matter your experience level. And that topic is about your weaknesses. Successfully answering this question can distinguish you from your competitors and help you land the job. But be careful, interviewers can trick you and pose this question in several ways.

From keeping it positive and honest to having the ability to identify weaknesses and share how you’re addressing them and self-correcting when possible, Avenica’s own Jacqueline Wolfson, vice president, Eastern region, provides some great advice for tackling this question for an article in which she was recently interviewed about this topic. Read the article currently posted on Tribune Content Agency

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.

Related Articles

Use This Resume Template to Get the Job

Insights

Use This Resume Template to Get the Job

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

Okay, we admit it, creating a resume isn’t anyone’s idea of a fun time. Actually, it’s the worst. Trying to summarize your entire professional life story–all you’re good at, all your career goals and aspirations, and all your achievements and accomplishments–all on one page sounds difficult, and that’s because it is. Crafting the perfect resume is all about telling the right story so a hiring decision maker can quickly determine if you’ll be a good fit for the job. As cliche as it sounds, first impressions are extremely important. And when it comes to resumes, it can make or break your chances of even being considered for an interview. No pressure, right?

We go through hundreds of resumes every day and can spot the good, the bad, and the ugly from a mile away, so we’re going to make it easy on you. Use this resume template, enter in our own info, personalize as needed. You’re welcome.

Here’s why it works:

It’s simple.
Keeping your resume formatted in a simple format is extremely important. Many companies use automated resume filtering systems that don’t always properly render design elements, certain fonts, and formatting. While the design might look great on your computer, it might look completely different on their side. It’s best to use a Word .docx file and have a backup in PDF format. Also, keeping it to one page is advised–especially in the entry-level space; any more pages and you can guarantee it won’t get read all the way through.

It’s clear.
No beating around the bush here. Everything you need in a perfect resume is clearly stated. There’s a clear hierarchy of information that isn’t confusing or difficult to read and gives the hiring manager everything they need to know. Also, it’s important that your bullets be phrased in a way that describes your achievements, rather than just a list of your tasks. We’ve included a couple action verbs to start you off, but here’s a solid list you can use as well. It might seem kind of hard if you have little experience and are entry-level, but here’s an example of how you can make a regular task look more polished.

Before: Assisted customers by answering questions
After: Built strong customer relationships by providing excellent customer service to up to 50 customers a day.

It’s professional.
This template is just simply that; it’s what’s going to make you look like a superstar candidate. Hiring managers are looking for a clean and intentional design with consistent formatting that says, “I know what I’m doing.” It’s not too often you get to say that when you’re just graduating college, so relish in this moment. You got this!

Now, all you have to do is use this to apply.

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.

Related Articles

Don’t Ghost Employers, Do This Instead

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Don’t Ghost Employers, Do This Instead

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

Ghosting.

Everyone’s been doing this for…forever, but now that there’s a new, funny, trendy name attached to it, it’s become a “thing” now. Disappearing suddenly, without contact, without warning, as if you up and died…and are now a ghost. In the professional world, this usually happens after an employer reaches out to connect with a candidate after receiving a job application. While this could be seen as acceptable in the dating world, where there might not be any real consequences and a new date populates within a swipe of a finger, this could really backfire for you in your professional life.

For those of you actively on the job hunt, it might sound crazy to throw away an opportunity, but in a strong job economy or with positions that a candidate might find less desirable, this happens a lot. And for the same reasons it happens in the dating world; it’s easier and less uncomfortable…for one side. The problem? Well for recruiters like us who are working with clients to fill positions every day, it’s quite frustrating. But for candidates like you, it could hurt your professional reputation.

Perhaps you’re one of the lucky college graduates who applied for several positions and received back more than one response from interested employers. That’s great! But before you go ghosting on any of them because you like one opportunity the best, consider the possible outcomes and our suggestions for how to handle:

Outcome 1:

You don’t get the job you wanted. Maybe you don’t make it passed the first interview, or you make it all the way through to the last round and you lose the opportunity to another candidate. No matter where in the process you are, you’re going to wish you had a backup plan.

Outcome 2:

You got the job you wanted but realized after being on the job for a while that it’s not the right fit for you. Either you don’t like the work, or you don’t feel like a fit with the company or team. You’re going to wish you had a backup plan

Recommended Solution:

Like a lot of people do in dating, you can play the field—especially in the interviewing stage. You don’t have to give up all your other options just because Ms./Mr. Right asks you on for an interview. And besides, how are you going to know they are “the one” so early on? Sure, you might not get any of the jobs, but at least you have a higher chance at landing something if you pursue multiple opportunities. In either scenario, it’s always best to have a fallback plan should your top choice not work out.

And hey, you’re never going to know if it could be a match if you don’t try to get to know them, right? You could be surprised and get a really great offer from the backup, or maybe you’ll end up liking the company culture, professional development opportunities, or career track more. It’s much easier to have a respectful, honest breakup than it is to grovel and ask for forgiveness and a second chance. This is especially true if you get the job but it doesn’t meet expectations and you find yourself back out there looking for another opportunity to swipe right on…or is it left? I always forget.

Try sending this email instead:

Dear (Hiring Manger’s Name):

Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview with you and learn more about the role and company. After some careful consideration, I don’t think this role at this time, is the right fit for me. I hope to keep in contact and would like the opportunity to work with you in the future.

Again, thank you for the consideration.

Of course you can personalize this email to tailor your specific situation and engagements with the interviewer, but this is a great starting template. The hiring manager/recruiter will know not to continue trying to reach out to you and will be glad you’ve saved them the time and effort. It’s just always better to know, ya know? Plus, if for any reason, you find yourself looking for a different opportunity—maybe it’s pretty immediate after it not working out with your first option, but maybe it’s after a year or two and you’re looking for a higher-level position—you’re going to be glad you didn’t go “full Casper” and burn that bridge.

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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Hitting the Road: Should You Relocate for an Entry-Level Position?

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Hitting the Road: Should You Relocate for an Entry-Level Position?

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

As an entry-level job seeker, you may be experiencing a case of wanderlust either in search of adventure or to get started on your career path. Quality entry-level career opportunities can be found nearly everywhere in this economy. And, yes, some regions of the country may be better than others for specific careers, but relocating—especially when it’s for a job—is a big commitment that should considered with thorough and thoughtful planning. So, in such a robust entry-level job market, should you relocate to kick-start your future career?

Companies invest a great deal of resources into hiring the right person, and it can be a time-intensive process to on-board and train new hires. That means employers want to know you’re in it for the long haul. If you’re planning to apply to positions in areas you’re unfamiliar with and have never lived in before, employers may see you as a flight risk and might not want to invest in someone who could decide living in that area is not what they wanted after all.

Still interested in hitting the road? Here are a few tips to consider before packing up and moving to a new city in pursuit of a job:

Choose a city where you want to live, regardless of whether you get the job you want
Maybe you’ve visited Chicago and love the arts, theatre, and frenetic feel of the city. Or perhaps you love the city life mixed with the southern charm of Dallas or Atlanta. It’s always good to know you’ll like the culture and vibe of a city before making it your home. It’s also great to have connections, like friends and/or family in the area who can show you around and introduce you to other people your age. Employers will be interested in your long-term goals. Ease their minds by showing that you have connections to the area—either through people or past visits—and that you have a thoroughly mapped out relocation plan. This may work to your advantage when your résumé is reviewed alongside those from local candidates.

Consider quality-of-life and cost-of-living when choosing a new ZIP code
You may have high hopes for a well-paying job right out of college, but moving can change the balance of a budget in a hurry. A sizable salary in a less-expensive job market will undoubtedly ease the transition compared to the same salary in high-rent cities like New York or San Francisco. Prepare a realistic budget based on the city’s cost of living, and, if the numbers don’t add up, you may want to reconsider your plans, at least temporarily. The good news is the entry-level job market is solid throughout the country; you should have no problem starting a career in a city that fits your budget, your geographic preference and your professional ambitions.

Don’t expect relocation assistance
While some large companies still offer limited relocation assistance for out-of-town hires, it usually only occurs for experienced and higher-level positions. One way to put prospective employers at ease is to clearly state in your cover letter that you will handle your own relocation costs if offered the job. This will put you on the same level as local candidates and make it easier for employers to continue considering you for the position without the worry of added expenses.

While relocation for the right career opportunity is always an option, a great future career might be closer than you think. If you really want to move and start your career in a new place, then consider all your options—including your hopes for building a personal life in a new city—when making your decision. No matter where you go, you’ll find opportunities to take your professional life in new, exciting directions.

About Avenica

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Hopes and Dreams: Answering “Big Picture” Interview Questions

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Hopes and Dreams: Answering “Big Picture” Interview Questions

Katie Drews

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer

LinkedIn

“What do you want to do with your life?”

As if this question wasn’t tiresome enough when you were a child, it can induce some serious anxiety as an adult. So why do prospective employers seem so keen on asking it again and again during job interviews?

The short answer: they’re not necessarily asking it because they want to know your response. They’re asking it because they want to see how you respond.

Because there are no “wrong” answers, you may think these are a cinch – but failure to take these questions seriously can mean the difference between landing the job and missing out.

Here are a few pointers for preparing thoughtful responses to open-ended interview questions:

Make it a sprint, not a marathon

You want to be thorough in your response, but the interviewer does not want to hear your life story. Make sure your response is concise and always bridge back to the details that show you’re a good fit for the position. A response of 30 to 60 seconds should answer the question, plus leave time for follow-ups.

Keep it professional and interesting

No matter how conversational the interview might seem, remember that this is a professional environment. This isn’t the place for off-the-cuff remarks that might raise red flags with the interviewer. Unless it directly relates to your potential position, avoid topics you wouldn’t address in polite company (religion, politics, etc.). It’s also important to be creative in your response; don’t rely on tired, old phrases (e.g., “I want to make a difference in the world.”) that the interviewer has heard dozens of times. Talk about your aspirations in unique terms, while staying realistic and always keeping the position top-of-mind.

Think big, but bring it back to earth

It’s OK to be ambitious when stating your future goals, but it’s also important to be realistic and remain relevant to the conversation you’re having. While a prospective employer might be impressed that you want to “change the world,” the interviewer will want to know how the position offered will help you attain that goal.

Keep in mind the importance of “soft skills”

While you may not know your ultimate professional goal right now, it’s useful to give your interviewer a taste of what you enjoy and excel at doing. Interviewers – particularly those hiring entry-level talent – are interested in learning about candidates’ transferable skills like leadership, communications, teamwork and resilience. Share a story about how you led your high school lacrosse team to victory, or how you overcame initial setbacks and landed that great internship last summer. Use those moments as opportunities to show your interviewer that you have “life skills” that will pay dividends beyond the initial job for which you’d be hired.

Answer the question: “How does this position help further my ambitions?”

This is perhaps the most important part of your response to open-ended interview questions: tying everything together with the position you’re seeking. As you anticipate and prepare for this question, consider why you want this particular position and how it fits with your career goals. Then, create your response accordingly.

Candidates might think these are softball questions, but they’re incredibly useful for employers because they can reveal parts of a candidate’s personality, work ethic and values that may not otherwise be visible. Many candidates rise or fall based on their responses to open-ended questions like these, so it’s best to do some “dreaming” about your ambitions before you take a seat across the table. Good luck!

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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