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Professional experience

  • Are you a student nearing graduation, or someone looking to gain valuable experience? An internship can be an invaluable experience that helps you gain much-needed skill sets and grow professionally. The only problem is you may not be exactly sure of what you want to do for a career.

    So, how do you choose the right internship?

    Displaying relevant work experience should be your primary goal. Those with internships on their resume can sometimes land jobs quicker and earn higher salaries. This is because an internship can be a gateway to gaining skills, marketing those skills, and leveraging those skills to find the right career.

    Here are some things to consider when chasing the right internship…

    Don’t Base The Decision On Money

    Professional man/intern counts his money

    An unpaid internship can lead to a great return down the road, not to mention a lucrative job offer. Focus your internship selection on companies that are looking to grow and expand, and possibly bring you in after graduation to advance their company to the next level.

    Be A Self-Starter

    A self-starting intern looks at her watch at work

    Finding the right internship is very much like a traditional job search. It’s important to have an idea about some of the jobs you may want to pursue, then make a bucket list of companies that you are interested in interning at.

    Perhaps the company you want to intern for does not generally accept interns or advertise internship opportunities. Sending a cover letter that expresses your keen interest in interning for the company or offering to volunteer 10-20 hours a week can go a long way. Show initiative, passion, dedication, and pursuit of success to the prospective company.

    This is also a great networking strategy because even if you don’t get an immediate opportunity, you begin to start to a conversation with people at these companies, and they may keep you in mind whenever an opportunity comes up.

    Select An Internship That Will Allow You To Build Essential Skills

    A young professional/intern takes an online course to develop her skill sets

    There are certain essential skills that matter in the workforce when looking to grow your career. Leadership, collaboration, project management, and relationship building are among some of those intricate skills. When looking into internships, research the types of skills that you will obtain during that internship.

    Having a list of skills that you want to build upon will allow you to find out during the application and interview process whether those skills can be accentuated while serving as an intern. During the interview, ask about the mentoring program for interns, training and support, projects and assignments, and the performance criteria for feedback. Strong internship programs will provide all of these objectives.

    Attend Networking Events To Meet Executives And Business Leaders

    A group of professionals/interns take part in an online networking event

    Meeting local business leaders and executives at virtual and in-person networking events can allow you to leverage your impact and can also provide you with great insight into the companies they work for. Don’t forget to connect with these important persons on LinkedIn, and always follow up with a personalized email or phone call to reaffirm your gratitude for meeting them.

    Overall, choosing the right internship for you can bring forth a future working opportunity that leads to full-time commitment and advancement with introductory training and experience.

    Need more help finding the right internship for you?

    Join our community to learn how to find an internship and UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • One of the most common reasons candidates get rejected after a job interview is that they don’t provide enough relevant, tangible examples of what they’ve done in their current/previous job that would be relevant to the position they are seeking.

    When you’re looking for a new job, you need to provide specific concrete examples of the competencies listed on a job description—whether it is problem-solving, influencing, taking initiative, or managing change.

    A lot of job seekers will give generic examples or just talk about what they’ve done—but without mentioning specific accomplishments. You could be very good at your current job, but if you struggle to effectively demonstrate your expertise and value in a job interview, you may miss out on your next career opportunity.

    Here are a few tips to help you overcome any blocks you might have about talking about your achievements:

    Discussing Accomplishments Isn’t Bragging

    One of the reasons candidates shy away from talking about their accomplishments is because they don’t want to sound arrogant. However, the job interview isn’t the time to be too humble. Talking about your accomplishments and using facts and numbers isn’t bragging—it’s telling a story.

    You have to remember that a potential employer wants you to do well in an interview. They are literally looking for an excuse to give out the job! So, tell them what they need in a clear, factual manner.

    Demonstrate How You Overcome Challenges

    Man demonstrates how he's overcome challenges in a job interview

    A great way to answer questions while highlighting your skills and accomplishments is by using the “Experience + Learn = Grow” model and/or the STAR technique (situation, task, action, result).

    What was the situation/problem? How did you solve this problem/overcome this setback? What did you learn from this experience? How did you apply what you learned to your career?

    These methods are particularly beneficial when you’re answering behavioral interview questions that hiring managers ask to see if a candidate has enough self-awareness to know what they’re good at, and what skill sets need improvement.

    Use Numbers To Your Advantage

    A job seeker discusses some of her quantifiable accomplishments in a job interview

    Numbers are great for demonstrating your skills and expertise. Did you increase revenue, or save time/money? Did you improve a procedure and, if so, how much time did you save? How many clients did you win in your last job? Don’t just tell the employer what the result was. Tell them how you got the result and what your decision-making process was.

    Prepare several examples of quantifiable results for your next job interview and you’ll significantly increase your chances of getting that job offer!

    Need more help preparing for your next job interview?

    We’d love it if you joined our FREE community. It’s a private, online platform where workers, just like you, are coming together to learn and grow into powerful Workplace Renegades. More importantly, we have tons of resources inside our community that can help you prepare for your next job interview.

    It’s time to find work that makes you feel happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. Join our FREE community today to finally become an empowered business-of-one!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • Even when you have the education and professional background to qualify for the job, don’t count on it as a sure win that you will be asked to come in for an interview. In fact, your qualifications may hinder your chances.

    It’s very common in today’s market for employers to dismiss a job applicant’s resume because they are “overqualified.”

    Sometimes there’s an abundant supply of highly qualified candidates but not enough jobs to go around for everyone. In those cases, job seekers may resort to applying for positions where the level of expertise required on the job is below their previous position’s requirements. In addition, those making a career change often need to seek out entry-level positions, where there may be more job opportunities.

    The challenge for job seekers is not simply competing with so many other applicants but finding a fine balance of information to place on their resume without coming off as overqualified. Employers are mostly concerned that, if you take a lesser position, you will leave once you find a position that is more commensurate with your skills.

    Here are a few tips to help guide you in preparing your resume for the next job opportunity and avoid coming off as overqualified and ruining your chances of landing the job offer:

    1. Only Include Relevant Work Experience

    A business owner works on his computer while leading a sales meeting

    Focus on what the employer is looking for and show them you can do it. If some of your management experience is not a part of their job description, then don’t mention it. This tip is especially critical for applicants moving from one career to another.

    For instance, if you had your own mortgage or construction firm and are now just looking for a sales job, just speak to your experience driving sales. You can also change your title from “Owner” to “Sales Manager.” As you list your professional experience, be sure to quantify your sales results.

    2. Only Highlight Necessary Degrees

    Professional woman smiles

    Many of today’s positions require candidates to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. If you continued to pursue education to obtain other degrees, earning you the title of Ph.D., M.D., or others, don’t be so quick to include that information on your resume.

    You have to ask if it is at all relevant to the job you are applying for. It’s great if you moved on to obtain your Ph.D. in neuroscience, but if the employer’s business and the job is focused on finance and accounting for toy manufacturing/distribution, your additional education will be of little relevance and may sway an employer to reconsider whether you are right for the position.

    3. Explain Why You’re The Right Candidate

    Write a disruptive cover letter that tells a story about why you’re passionate about the position, how you feel a connection to the company, and how your experience, skills, and talent make you the right fit. If there’s a chance your resume comes off as overqualified, even after following the tips above, make sure to provide sufficient explanation in your cover letter.

    Give the employer confidence that you are challenged by the opportunity and will be there a year from now. The employer needs to know that you are not simply taking the job because you can’t find anything better. They also need to be assured you aren’t going to be quick to run off to another job as soon as the market improves or another opportunity opens up that is more in line with your level of experience from your previous positions.

    Your resume is a marketing tool to help get your foot in the door for an interview. Placing too much information or irrelevant information will only give the employer more reason to dismiss you. Carefully review the job posting and do your research to really understand what skills and experience are desired for the position so that you present your resume and qualifications in the best light. Not everything you’ve accomplished, regardless of how significant it is, is appropriate to include on your resume.

    Need more help optimizing your resume? We’re here for you!

    We’d love it if you joined our FREE community. It’s a private, online platform where workers, just like you, are coming together to learn and grow into powerful Workplace Renegades. More importantly, we have tons of resources inside our community that can help you write your resume—the right way.

    It’s time to find work that makes you feel happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. Join our FREE community today to finally become an empowered business-of-one!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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