AgCareers.com staff has seen and heard some truly cringe-worthy moments at the many on-campus career fairs that we attend every year. Our employer clients also share some bizarre career fair stories with us. The results of these employer-student interactions were less than impressive, so here are a few mistakes career fair attendees should avoid:
Parents! A college student took along their dad for moral support and to listen-in to their kid’s conversations with employers at a career fair. Even if your mom or dad is a “helicopter parent,” insist they stay away for the day. They won’t be able to join you on the job anyway!
Poor dress choices. Think about the power of first impressions. We’ve seen students who look like they just rolled out of bed with wrinkled jeans, mismatched socks, and a bad hair day, chewing gum and intent on their mobile phone. Dress appropriately for the professional atmosphere, not like you’re ready for a night out. Ensure you can bend over without embarrassment! Shoes are a common problem, so make sure yours are clean and comfortable. Practice wearing your new dress shoes before the fair; stay clear of too-high heels or platforms that make you stumble.
“Be on your best behavior!” Those familiar words from parents when you were starting a new school year or staying at a friend’s house for the first time. Most of us have times where we’d rather sleep in or we stayed out a little too late, but your first month on the job is crucial in your long-term success with the organization. Putting your best foot forward during the initial thirty days sets the tone with your employer, supervisors, and coworkers.
Hopefully, your new employer will communicate with you between your hiring and first day. It’s helpful if you can fill out the paperwork prior to your first day at work. The employer may share a company employee handbook and onboarding plan for your first few days or weeks on the job. These should be reviewed before you begin. Aim to understand the expectations for the first day, like company dress code, arrival time, lunch plans and more. If your new employer doesn’t readily share these details with you, ask!
Rushing in late every day and scurrying to your workspace won’t create the impression you desire. Likewise, packing up 15 minutes before your work day is done and running out the door a couple of minutes early will likely show your manager and peers that your level of commitment is low. Be settled and ready to work five minutes in advance and limit the urge to rush out the door when the clock strikes 5 pm (or whenever your work day ends).
Nearly 47 percent of U.S. workers are female. Women own close to 10 million businesses. Almost 40 percent of all managers are women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2016. The majority of managers in human resources, social and community services, and education administration are female (bls.gov). Those are the statistics. Gender equality at work has been an important topic in workplaces, educational institutions, and the news. But what’s the perception of women in leadership roles? Do people prefer male or female managers? Let’s look at data that illustrates how this preference has changed over the years:
90% of Dr. Ella L. J. Edmondson Bell’s female Dartmouth MBA students said that they’d prefer a male manager.
GALLUP found that both genders still preferred a male boss in 2014; 26% of men and 39% of women said they’d prefer a male boss if they were taking a new job.
Ohhhhh, the nervousness, unpredictability, and awkwardness of blind dates…. or job interviews! It doesn’t take much effort to illustrate the similarities between the two, even in dictionary definitions:
• Blind Date: a social engagement or date with a person one has not previously met.
• Interview: a formal consultation usually to evaluate qualifications.
Fact #1: In job interviews, you’re typically socializing with someone who you haven’t met before.
Fact #2: In blind dates, you’re evaluating your date’s qualifications and “fit.”
Honesty is the best policy and obviously it’s imperative in a job interview. However, as in your personal life, there can be a risk of “interview oversharing.” This concept can also be expressed in the notorious acronym, “TMI” – too much information.
The rise of reality TV and social networks has encouraged us to update everyone on our status, even if it’s just a photo of what’s for dinner. For example, it’s the person you just met that shares their entire life story, including much more personal information than necessary. This type of oversharing is especially imperative to consider in an interview when you’re asked that common question, “Tell me a little about yourself.” The keyword here is LITTLE!
Generally, respond to interview questions with relative, succinct answers that do not ramble on and on. As a guide, here are ten things you shouldn’t share during an interview:
It’s a New Year and many people have set (or are at least talking about) resolutions. Most of us are notorious for making New Year resolutions and quickly forgetting them by mid-January! But, you can’t afford to call it quits so soon when it’s career goals we’re talking about.
Your career goals may range from obtaining more satisfaction from your current role to striving for a promotion or moving on to new opportunities. It’s time to work out how you will achieve these goals and plan on how to get there.
1. Negativity is contagious! To retain your motivation, stay away from those that bring you down with their pessimistic and complaining behaviors.
Digital organization is vital for today’s job search organization. Customizing your resume and cover letter for each job opening is essential to get your application noticed and make it through what can seem like a digital maze. However, that means it’s all too easy to attach the wrong file or an old version of your resume during the application process. Making that mistake can be an embarrassment and cost you the chance at an interview. This is where your digital organization skills become essential.
Here are three quick tips to simply organize your career search:
I suppose it’s time to take my own advice from this blog to update my resume and online profiles! NO, I’m not looking for a new job, but I’ve realized my descriptors are tired, overused, and dated. Updating your personal introduction, social media profiles, resume or CV should be completed on a regular basis, even if you are happily employed. If you’re actively job searching, it can make all the difference if you delete old phrases and resume cliches and add a few powerful, action words.
Even though it may still fit, my “dynamic and driven professional” descriptor has evolved into a group of resume cliches. You know, those buzzwords that have become abused in the workplace? Synergy. Team effort. Strategic. Innovative. The words we are guilty of overusing in everyday life and conversations: excellent, very, good, love, great…and the list could go on and on.
Most of us on the road to career and self-improvement love (there’s that overused word again) lists of what NOT to do. I guess it’s easy for us to identify what we should be avoiding and make quick changes. By no means is this list exhaustive, but if you are wasting valuable space on your resume with some of these weak words or jargon, then you should consider replacing them soon:
If you’re already in a job interview situation, chances are you aren’t crazy about your current job. You’re anxiously waiting for the interviewer to ask you that inevitable question, “Why do you want to leave your current position?”
How can you eloquently discuss your current job, boss, and why you are leaving?
You know the saying “Keep your mouth shut if you don’t have anything good to say!” While it’s true, silence is not an option in a job interview. There are a few very basic reasons that can be simply explained, such as an employer going out of business, a long commute or relocating with a family member. Beyond that, it’s important to stay clear of negativity regarding your current job. If you spew hatred for your current supervisor or employer, it only makes the interviewer think you will do the same with their organization someday.
In my last blog, I discussed the fine tunes of annoying your coworkers through their sense of hearing. In this blog, I turn from ears to nose. Offending a coworker with smells is another common workplace grievance.
Food, candles, cologne.
Whoa…what IS that smell? That reeks!
The stench of lunch seems to be a common complaint in the workplace. Realize that the fish tacos or garlic pasta may taste fantastic, but the lingering smell may drive your coworkers crazy. Likewise, that afternoon snack of microwave popcorn that got a bit burnt may be a bother to some. You should be able to eat what you want, but ensure you are disposing of waste properly (maybe even taking super stinky trash outside to the dumpster) and cleaning up any remaining dishes. Don’t forget to clear out leftovers from the refrigerator that have seen better days! It may be a cool science experiment, but no one enjoys watching leftover takeout food grow mold in the work fridge.