We can all agree that embarking on a job hunt is no easy task, especially when the job seeker is trying to secure their very first job. It’s an odd paradox that job experience is often needed to get job experience.
Job seekers might find their job search to be a very long and lengthy process which leaves them feeling hopeless and discouraged after months of not getting any results. Think back to the time when you were job hunting yourself. Wouldn’t it have been nice if you had received some support, words of encouragement or practical tips to assist you with your job search? Now it’s your chance to help!
Below is a compilation of job search tips from several Foresters Financial employees which might be relevant for you to help your kids increase their chances of landing their first job. Whether you have kids that are starting to look for their first part-time seasonal job, or you have kids looking for their first full-time job after graduation, these tips can still apply. If you don’t have children of your own, you may know of some younger nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbors or friends who are struggling to land their first job.
Have you done everything in your power to help them prepare for their first job search?
Q: What tips would you give your kids to help them land their first job?
Anthony: Show confidence and be polite to your future employer. Do your research on the company you want to work for and be fully prepared for your interview. Ask relevant questions about the company and culture to show your interest in them.
Greg: 1) Dress up. Showing up in torn jeans and a t-shirt won’t make a great impression. Basically, dress professionally. 2) Be persistent. If you’re looking to get a job at your favorite retail store, go every week and talk to the manager. If you do it enough, they’ll think of you when they need to hire someone. It also shows that you are hungry for the job.
Lin: Make sure to always submit applications before the deadline and arrive early for any interviews or meetings
Lisa: 1) Be willing to go the extra mile. Keep an open mind and explore different possibilities. Remember that you don’t know everything and – if you’re smart – you never will. Keep learning! 2) Be respectful of all levels; know the Janitor’s name and the President’s name.
Stella: Practice answering interview questions with a family member or friend and role-play the interview to help build confidence. Include real-life examples when you are answering interview questions. End the interview with a short recap of why you think you are the right candidate for the job.
Thomas: Start your job search early. The positions you are most interested in might be the same ones everyone else is interested in. As the saying goes, “the early bird gets the worm.”
Q: What would you tell your younger self who was looking for a (first) job?
Anthony: Listen and learn from your friends and family on their experiences on how they landed their first-ever job.
Lin: Listen to any negative feedback. Accepting constructive criticism is the quickest way to learn.
Lisa: 1) Consider volunteering before you land your job and during your work years. 2) “Network.” Yes, [it may sound] cliché but it is important to be friendly and social. 3) Start out the way you mean to continue – know your standards and morals.
Stella: Be on time for the interview. Look at the interviewer directly when speaking.
Thomas: Don’t look at jobs [yet]. First think of what you’re interested in and what resources and experiences you have or want to build, then focus your job search to that area. This will ensure that you are not overwhelmed looking through hundreds of job postings. When you’ve decided on a type of job, industry and/or company, it’ll be time to do your research. Get to know everything you can about the industry and company. What is the company philosophy? What makes them different from their competitors and how can you and your experiences support the company?
Q: What words of encouragement would you give your children?
Anthony: Never give up trying to get the job you want. You are smart and strong. You got this! I believe in you! Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up (Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins”).
Greg: Don’t get discouraged. Finding that first job is very difficult. Getting experience isn’t easy when you’re young.
Lin: You will meet many wonderful people in the workplace. Love your coworkers, as you’ll [probably] spend 1/3 of your life with them.
Lisa: Put your best self forward, be yourself, smile, be friendly and be courteous.
Stella: Be attentive, polite and courteous. Just relax and be yourself.
Q: What are some practical things you did/would do to help your children in their (first) job search?
Anthony: Who do you know that can help you get that first interview? If no one, make some new friends who are connected.
Greg: [I would] help them practice being interviewed for a job. For an entry-level job, the questions shouldn’t be difficult. But giving them some insight into how to sell themselves will help a lot.
Lin: [I would help] make sure their resume is well prepared.
Lisa: [I would encourage them to] take notes, keep a journal, and record the good experiences as well as the bad ones, as they can learn from both. [Also, I would suggest] talking to someone who has been in the workforce for a while, someone they look up to and has valuable advice to share.
Stella: [I would help them] create an easy to read resume, but make it unique so that it can stand out from all the others. [I would also help them] look clean and tidy.
Thomas: [I would encourage them to] have a number of people from different backgrounds review their resume and provide feedback. A great resource is family, such as parents, uncles and aunts. What I’ve done in the past is ask a family member to review a job posting and my son’s resume and then asked: “If you were the hiring manager, what would you think of this candidate?” It’s amazing how much valuable information you’ll get.
Q: What was the most valuable thing you learned during your own (first) job search?
Anthony: Learn from your past to be better.
Greg: Take advantage of any opening you get. For my first job, I helped out with the inventory at a retail store. It was only for a couple of nights, but my work impressed the manager who hired me.
Lin: Job searching is a full-time job. It’s important to dedicate enough time to do thorough research about the positions and companies you’re applying for. Always be positive because, sooner or later, a job offer will come.
Lisa: 1) The purpose of interviews is so “they” can learn about you and you can learn about “them.” 2) Realize you have to start somewhere and accept the fact you have much to learn. 3) Be willing to get your foot in the door and then move up, while learning all you can at each step (be it through programs, techniques or life lessons). 4) Work a full day, earn your pay. 5) When you land that first job, –start saving (even if the amount seems insignificant). This teaches you to save and be disciplined. Nickels add up, so get in the habit if you aren’t already.
Stella: Work experience matters but extracurricular activities and volunteer work matter as well. It gives the impression that you are a well-rounded individual and makes you an even more valuable candidate.
Thomas: The most valuable thing I’ve learned when looking for a career is: Don’t get discouraged, as you might not get the first couple of jobs you apply for. Looking for a job is a job in and of itself. It takes a lot of work, but the more work you put into it, the greater reward.
A big thank you to the following employees from Foresters Financial for providing their valuable tips:
- Anthony de Leon (Team Leader, Digital Membership Marketing)
- Greg Hubert (Corporate Marketing Specialist)
- Lin Zhang (Senior Compensation Administrator)
- Lisa Favarger (Member Governance Specialist)
- Stella Triumbari (Manager, Customer Service)
- Thomas Phin (Team Leader, Claims)
Hopefully the above tips will come in handy when your kids are ready to enter the job search process! Good luck!
The information above is provided for informational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Foresters Financial.
416236 CAN/US/UK (04/18)