By Lauren Berger
I'm constantly asked for my top tips for young people entering the workplace. I came up with a list, but these apply to workers of all ages. During this tough economy, everyone needs to take the initiative in the job hunt. Here are my top five tips:
Understand the economy, but don't lose focus.
One of the biggest problems I see is that job hunters, discouraged by the state of the economy, give up pursuing the career they really want. Yes, the unemployment rate is high. But job seekers must be conscientious about the job search. You should have a solid plan and spent time networking and applying to jobs several hours a week. Understand what challenges the economy poses, but don't let it stop you from going after what you want.
Don't take "no" for an answer.
Successful people don't give up. They learn how to deal with rejection. They keep going. There always is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Tell people what you want to do.
Sounds obvious, but many students complete their internships and then send me an email asking how they can land a job with the employer. My first question is, "Does the employer know you want to work there?" The students' response is usually "no." Tell people what you want to do! Tell everyone. Request a meeting with your internship coordinator and express what you want to do. Ask for advice on how to achieve your goal.
Be a reliable producer.
At your internship or job, there are several opportunities to slack off, go on Facebook, and check your Fantasy Football scores. Once an executive strolls by your desk and sees you off-task, you've made a poor impression. Impressions are difficult to change once they are made. You don't want to be known as the student or employee who spend their time ineffectively. Put your best foot forward on the first day of your internship and maintain that image throughout the course of your opportunity. The same goes for a job - act consistently. Prove you are a reliable job or internship candidate.
Constantly learn and look to the future.
Not only is important for you to be consistent in your work, but it's also important to look ahead. You want to focus on your career but keep your eyes open for opportunities. Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn the key players in your industry. Introduce yourself to everyone. Never let your everyday life and the routine of things turn you into someone who doesn't look ahead and continue to grow, learn, and build knowledge and relationships in your industry.
Lauren Berger is Chief Executive Officer and Founder of InternQueen.com, author of the National Campus Best-Seller, ALL WORK NO PAY: Finding An Internship, Building Your Resume, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience, and one of the nation's top motivational speakers. She has been internationally recognized for her work with young people and her entreprenuerial spirit has attracted millions of job and internship seekers. Recently, Berger has been featured on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, Daytime, The New York Times, Bloomberg, LA Weekly, and more.n