32 Quick & Dirty Career Facts & Tips

Sometimes lengthy articles are a pain in the butt to get through when all you want is some quick advice. There’s a lot that goes into finding a job and ultimately creating a successful career: writing your resume and cover letter, finding opportunities, applying, interviewing and landing the job. So, we’ve decided to compile a list of 32 quick and dirty career facts and tips to help you find your way using three sentences or less:

RESUME & COVER LETTER

  1. Memorize your resume. Your interviewers will have it on-hand and will reference it. P.S., you should also have a copy with you.
  2. Customize your resume to the job you are applying for using keywords from the job-description where applicable.
  3. Less is more; don’t push the margin and text size limits. Be selective in what you choose to include and how you phrase it.
  4. Don’t include your hobbies, because they are just that: hobbies. Only share career- and experience-specific information that will show you are qualified for the job.
  5. Don’t point out how you may be underqualified for the job as you will only be helping them decide not to hire you.
  6. If you are lacking in the work experience department, include extra-curricular activities such as community service, clubs and sports that you have participated in.
  7. Don’t restate your resume line items in your cover letter, thus rendering it pointless. Explain how you are qualified and why you are interested in the position.
  8. The more jobs you hold, the more you can remove irrelevant jobs (like waitress and paper boy) from your resume.

FINDING A JOB

  1. Use your network to inquire about job opportunities. This includes your family members and their peers, friends, professors, career counselors and anyone you have worked with or for in the past.
  2. Big job search boards aren’t as useful as they used to be. Use your contacts, LinkedIn and career counselor.
  3. Don’t bank on just one application. Apply to multiple jobs, even if you are convinced you’ve got one in the bag. There are hundreds of other competing for the same positions.
  4. Take every interview you are offered, even if you don’t want the job that badly. All interviewing experience is good experience, and will help you down the line.
  5. Don’t neglect to apply for a job just because there are a few “requirements” that you don’t qualify for, or you’ll never get a job that challenges you to learn more.
  6. Understand and accept the fact that you will likely not hear back from at least half of the companies you apply to.

INTERVIEWING

  1. First impression means everything; unfortunately, hiring managers will judge a book by its cover. Present your best self.
  2. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Wear a professional outfit – even if the company is notoriously casual. They’ll tell you if it’s OK to dress down.
  3. Being likable is a surefire way to get brownie points. Companies want to hire people that they can envision themselves working alongside, not people that are rude, disrespectful, less than personable, or simply dull.
  4. Take notes; it looks good and it will help you keep track of important talking points and company objectives.
  5. Ask questions to demonstrate your interest and research in the company and the position. It helps make it more of a conversation than an interview, and thus, less scary.
  6. Make eye contact to reinforce your desire for the job and your respect for the person interviewing you. Avoiding eye contact may get you rejected.
  7. Ask your interviewee about themselves and how they got to where they are within the company. People like to talk about themselves, plain and simple. It makes a nice impression.

AT WORK

  1. Keep the bubbler gossip to a minimum. You will make friends, but word travels fast and you don’t want to be the subject or source of rumors.
  2. Network like you’ve never networked before. You never know who will be the person that helps you land your next big opportunity.
  3. You need both the hard and soft skills to succeed in any industry. Learn to communicate and be personable, whether or not you work on a team.
  4. Don’t keep your social media profiles open in another tab. Save personal stuff for your lunch break or, even better, for when you get home.
  5. Stick up for yourself If you feel that your tasks have fallen outside the scope of your position. Your boss may be your superior but you are allowed to raise questions.
  6. If you have a lot on your plate, consider going to work earlier or staying later. Not only will it ease the burden but it will prove that you are dedicated to your work and not stuck on the “9 to 5” mindset.
  7. Always ask how you can help, if you have the time. Managers often forget that they can pass off work during a learnership, and will appreciate if you can take a load off their shoulders.
  8. Do what you can to make your boss look good. It won’t go unappreciated when it’s time to talk about more money or a promotion.
  9. If you are confused, don’t shy away from asking for clarification. Your superiors would rather explain something to you again than get poor (or wrong) work.
  10. Stay close to those working in administrative roles (receptionists, assistants, interns, etc.), because they often have insight that no one else does! They also may be amazing contacts in the future.
  11. Think outside of the box, rather than playing it safe all the time. You will move ahead in your career if you can take a step away from your job description and offer new, exciting and effective ideas.