How to Land Your First Job
Posted by Becky Carroll on March 15, 2007
Drew McLellan at Drew’s Marketing Minute recently posted to ask his community to give advice to a college grad facing the job market today. We have all been there, so now it is time to give back.
I wanted to share my advice with all of you, as I firmly believe the same advice applies to how we work with our customers. Here is what I wrote as a comment to Drew’s post, along with my advice to anyone who deals with customers.
1. View every interaction with the business world as an opportunity, and put your best foot forward at all times.
Story: In high school, I was a straight-A student and applied for a National Science Foundation scholarship. Part of the application was being interviewed by a scientist at NASA/Ames Research Center. I still remember the interview vividly. We had a great conversation, and all went well. At the end of the conversation, something unexpected took place. I was informed that I did not win the scholarship, but I was offered a job to work at Ames! It was for the summer, and it turned out to be such a great summer job, they offered me a job when I graduated from college. I turned this one down, but it was a fabulous experience to work at NASA! Every interaction you have with the business world can have positive outcomes for your future career. Make the most of them.
(Application to customers: View every interaction with a customer as an opportunity. If all goes well, it will bring them back for more. A great example of that is this post from Mack Collier at The Viral Garden on a stellar customer experience at Long John Silver’s! Every interaction at this fast-food restaurant made an impact on him, and rightly so based on the story. Every person who interacts directly with customers can have an impact on their customer’s attitude, regardless of the role of that person. We just have to decide whether that will be a positive or a negative impact. My suggestion: make the most of each interaction!)
2. Be honest at all times.
Story: I was an engineering undergrad and interviewed for a job at HP. I was told the hardest part of the interview would be the technical interview session. With sweaty palms, I entered the conference room and was asked many questions to test my technical abilities and knowledge. There was one question that was especially challenging, and I didn’t know the answer to it. I could have faked something, but I decided to be honest and said, “I don’t know the answer.” The interviewer thanked me and moved on to the next question. “Wait, what was the answer to that question?”, I said. The interviewer answered, “I don’t know, either. I just wanted to see how you would answer.” I got the job (and then worked for HP for nearly 14 years!). Honesty and integrity will serve you well as you put your best foot forward into the job market (and beyond). Go get ’em!
(Application to customers: Be open, honest, and transparent with customers at all times. If you truly can’t answer their question, let them know — but then find someone who can. Customer trust is often shaken by even small mistakes. Admit them, apologize, and do what’s right for the customer. Building strong relationships will help your organization grow trust with your customers, but it takes time and planning. It is worthwhile!)
Now take a minute, go out to Drew’s blog here, and add in your own advice to a college grad looking to land their first job. You’ll be glad you did!
(Photo: uploaded by keeweeboy)