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    HomeLifestyleHow to start the dreaded job search | Lifestyle

    How to start the dreaded job search | Lifestyle

    Q: I took a gap year last year when I graduated from college and I hear the job market is still hot. I had some data analyst internships and that’s what I’m looking for, but I’m overwhelmed to start the dreaded search. Where do I begin?

    A: Kudos for taking a gap year and smelling the roses before hitting the ground running on your first job in the real world. It may feel overwhelming, and that’s totally normal. But hopefully, once we break it down, you’ll see how step by step you can move closer toward your goal. Since you’re pursuing a hot market, honestly, enjoy some downtime now, because I have a hunch you’ll land a new job and start very quickly!

    Reach out to former internship advisers if you liked the environment. Look at the employers’ sites to see if they have any openings. But if they don’t, please don’t let that deter you. Companies are vying for top talent, and they may make a position just for you, they may have openings in a few weeks, you never know what’s going on behind the scenes, so never count yourself out. Aim to meet up with your supervisor for a cup of coffee or at the very least, give them a call. Indicate you’re excited about your search and available for full-time work; also, ask if your supervisor can be a reference and if they know anyone at specific companies you’ll do research on ahead of time. Networking will get you in motion for sure.

    Next, set up job alerts online so opportunities land in your inbox and apply the same day. When I worked in corporate recruiting, I often perused great resumes a week or two after the job posted, but the reality is, only a day or two after it posted, I already scoured the internal applicant tracking system, so several candidates were already in motion for a phone screen and potential first interview with the hiring team. Don’t delay! If you see the alert on your phone and you’re in the midst of something, no worries. Just be intentional about applying before you go to sleep that night.

    Also, start learning your worth. Talk to people while you’re networking and also reach out to former colleagues/friends from your internship. Ask them what they’re seeing as the going rate so you have an idea of what your salary should be. For your first full-time gig, you’ll be paid an annual salary plus benefits. You can couch it like, “I’m not asking you what you’re earning, but I want to know my worth when I interview, would you mind sharing what you’ve seen as you interviewed as a ballpark range?” If your friends feel comfortable disclosing their pay, more power to them, but I wouldn’t expect them to. Based on the above activities, continue forging ahead as you make progress. Ever upward!

    Q: I’m interviewing for jobs, but not ready to start a new job until late September. I have a lot of PTO and want to use it up in my current job before starting. How can I talk about this during job interviews without coming across as aloof?

    A: Your answer, my friend, is in your question: “I have a lot of PTO.” You can state something like, “My availability to start is Monday, Oct. 3” or whatever the date is in your head. When I worked in corporate recruiting and hiring managers feel head over heels for an awesome, strong candidate, if the start date was two weeks from now versus six weeks, they understood and it did not negatively impact their prospects at a job offer. In fact, if I were the hiring manager, I would want you to be well rested and happy before starting. It’s no uncommon to take time off and we know, thanks to major burnout, the negative mental and physical health ailments that follow.

    You don’t have to go into details about what you plan on doing during your time off, so it’s how you say it. I’d say something about having prior personal commitments. It would be similar if you were invited to a wedding in Australia and bought plane tickets months ago. That would have put you out of commission for about two weeks or so, I’m assuming, as blackout dates. Treat your personal time sans trip to Oz the same way.

    Vicki Salemi is a career expert, former corporate recruiter, author, consultant, speaker and career coach. Send your questions to hello@vickisalemi.com. For more information and to subscribe to Vicki’s newsletter, visit www.vickisalemi.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram vickisalemi.

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