Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Win the Hunger Games... I mean, the Job Hunt

Every once in a while, I ask the SMC Alumni via their LinkedIn group for their insight. They have all been there and done that. They are a valuable network that we all have access to as students at St. Mike's. To read more advice from them, you can check out: Tips from Alumni and  Tips From Alumni - Part 2

This time around I asked a question geared towards college seniors, not high school seniors.

What advice would you give to a senior who is job hunting?

 I did this for a number of reasons:
  1. I'm a senior and the information is useful to me.
  2. We all need to job hunt eventually.
  3. You might be surprised that prospective students aren't the only people that read my blog.
Here is what they had to say...

Kristin Zawatski
Class of 2000 - English
Business Systems Analyst II at John Hancock Life Insurance Company

Be flexible; and don't be afraid to apply for something you may not be qualified for. Your first job is also probably not going to be the one you have for life. It's okay not to know what or who you want to be the minute someone hands you a diploma.

Chris Whittaker
Class of 1992 - English
REO Listing Agent & Buyer Specialist at Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas

My advice for a senior who is job hunting is to start thinking about what sort of industries excite them and why. In this job market you do need to stand out among the crowd and start practicing with networking, it'll be useful later on. Be flexible with your location (you're still young, plenty of time to move back and be close to family after you've established your career and are ready to settle down). Get fired up because it's competitive and you need to get aggressive, and go after what you really want (in business and life). Lastly, stay positive. Don't listen to "statistics" or "the media." Don't get lulled into that state of being. Build a strong mindset and be clear about your vision of the future. Best of luck.

Philip Colby Ciula Jr.
Class of 1973 - English and Theater
Vice President at BI Worldwide

I agree with Chris and Kristin, BE FLEXIBLE. Don't always follow posted procedures. Show you a have fire and a passion. DO - research the company prior to your interview. KNOW what their mission, vision and values are. KNOW how stable they are. KNOW their business. Try and get to the hiring person. HR many of the times are road blocks. CUSTOMIZE your resume and cover letter for each job. ALWAYS write a handwritten thank you note. That alone will separate you from other candidates. Used Linked IN and build as many contacts that you can. It is the best business networking tool out there. Be yourself and set time everyday to do your search. NETWORK, NETWORK and NETWORK.

Martha Milla Johnson
Class of 1993 - Psychology
Founder - Client Partnership at MJ Technology Solutions, LLC

As a recruiter, the best advice I can provide along with the others is leaverage your network, meet people, don't ever think you are wasting your time by meeting someone. Be energetic and flexible with a can-do attitude. Review interview skills and questions so you are prepped and make sure your body language is open and positive.

The bottom line: Be flexible and network!

Big thank you to the Alumni who responded! They are amazing! If I hear from more, I'll do a part 2 post!
Questions? Ask here: OR email me at


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