Joey Trebif started CareerAlley in 2008 at the start of the Great Recession as a way to help people find jobs. Recently, we reached out to Joey to pick his brain about how new college graduates can better position themselves to find and secure that all-important first job.
Tell us a little about yourself. How has the job search process changed since you started your blog?
When I started CareerAlley, recruiters and job search boards were the primary tools used to find jobs. Mobile job search via iOS and Android apps have become much more popular, and I believe this trend will continue. Younger job searchers are more comfortable with online chats and video chats. I think that the potential for video interviews via Skype may trend to replace today's preliminary telephone interviews. Additionally, the ease of submitting resumes for numerous jobs has significantly increased the volume of resumes that must be reviewed. Hiring managers and recruiters will need to resort to keyword scans of resumes and focus only on those candidates whose experience matches employers' needs.
When perusing online employment postings, what types of information should job seekers pay more attention to?
Online employment postings become "stale" very quickly. By that, I mean that the volume of applications submitted causes many hiring managers to stop reviewing new applications after just a few days. For this reason, I think that job seekers should focus only on job postings that are less than a week old. Additionally, they should only apply to jobs that closely match their profile, and to try to avoid the urge to apply to anything that somewhat matches their experience. Otherwise, it's a waste of their time and the hiring manager's time.
Online employment postings become "stale" very quickly. By that, I mean that the volume of applications submitted causes many hiring managers to stop reviewing new applications after just a few days.
What kinds of elements should not be included on a person's resume?
- Resumes should not include hobbies, since they hold no relevance to your job.
- Never submit your photograph along with your resume.
- Avoid mentioning physical characteristics such as weight, height, hair color, etc. This is regardless of whether you are attractive or overweight.
- Do not include your marital status or religious beliefs.
- Do not badmouth your current or previous employers and never lie about education, past positions or titles.
Finish this sentence, "Looking back now, when I was interviewing for my first job, I wish I had been better at…"
… researching the company and the hiring manager. Potential employers want to know why you want to work for their company. The right research will show that you are serious about the opportunity.
In your role as a hiring manager, what questions that you ask job applicants do you feel tells you a lot about the candidates based on how they answered them?
As a hiring manager, I always ask candidates to tell me about what they accomplished at their last job that made them proud and why. This gives me an opportunity to understand their strengths. I usually follow up by asking them to tell me about a time when they made an error and what they did to fix it.
Should someone prepare differently for a phone interview or a Skype interview as opposed to an in-person interview?
Preparation for telephone/Skype interviews is everything. Whatever you would take to an in-person interview is exactly what you should have on hand when the phone rings. The real advantage of telephone interviews is that you can have whatever you want in front of you as a reference. This includes background on the company, a copy of the job description, a copy of your resume, and a pen and paper as well. It does not hurt to reread your resume and highlight areas of your experience that align with the job description. Whether you are doing your interview at home or in a remote location, try to cut down all outside noise and distractions. Make sure that your phone reception is up to par. Use a landline rather than your cellphone if possible. If you can’t use a landline, have a trial run a few days before to ensure you have a good signal where you will be taking the call.
At what point should an employee begin to become concerned about interoffice rumors that his or her company may soon go bankrupt or be acquired by another entity? What steps should he or she take as a result?
Working for a company that goes bankrupt or is acquired can be very challenging (it's happened to me more than once). More often than not, there are warning signs long before a bankruptcy or merger (but not always). My advice: don't depend on office rumors; do your own research to see what you can learn. Most importantly, always have your resume up to date and test the job market occasionally (even if you are happy) in case the unexpected happens to you.
In the future, what types of job opportunities do you expect to see for newly-graduated job seekers?
I think that the job market and job opportunities will continue to migrate to technology-driven opportunities with flexible work arrangements (i.e., working remotely or working as a contractor). College students should research the job market and create a job search plan no later than their senior year. Lists of growing market segments, hiring trends, recruiters, companies, job search boards, and your network will all play a part in their job search. Finally, they should be open-minded regarding how you leverage your college experience.
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