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Career planning and job search guide 1994: excelling at the on-site interview and accepting job offers.

There are four key areas to consider as you position yourself for effective career planning and job searching. These include researching and ultimately being able to answer personally the following questions: 1) How do I conduct a personal self-assessment and construct a job-winning resume? 2) How do I prepare for and excel at on-campus interviews? 3) How do I excel at on-site interviews and choose the best job offer? and 4) How do I make a successful transition from college to the workplace?

Each part of this guide will help you focus on determining the answers. Planning charts are also provided to assist you. The Annual Planning Chart will help keep you on track as you move through its various stages (and as you uncover job opportunities): Self-Assessment and Career Planning, Career Exploration and Investigation, Gaining Career/Work Experiences and Job Search/Transition to Workplace Activities. The Action Steps provide you with strategies to approach each of the four key questions presented above.

In Part II we provided strategies for helping you to approach your on-campus interviews. We stressed the importance of recognizing that the job market continues to be tight with intense competition for available jobs. In Part III we will discuss five action steps to help you land on your feet at on-site interviews, as well as determine what to take into account when deciding whether to accept or reject a job offer.

Preparing For On-Site Interviews--What You Need To Know

Your on-campus interview was a screening interview. As you recall, this interview was probably quite brief. It was designed that way so that a number of candidates could be met and be quickly categorized as either "of interest" or "of no further interest." Once you sail past the on-campus interview hurdle, you'll need to keep the following in mind about the company interviewing process:

* Your on-site interview will be broader in focus and cover many more in-depth questions.

* There will be more time allotted for the interview and you probably will meet a number of people involved in the hiring decision: human resources representative, department manager, and other members of the department team.

* Preparation is the key! Begin your preparation by reviewing your skills inventory and career goals, how they match the opening, and determining how this information matches the opening for which you are being interviewed.

* Review your self-assessment log and worksheets. Determine how this company and position fits with your short-term plans.

Ask yourself some of the following questions (add others that fit your particular circumstances):

What kinds of skills do I have that fit the company's objectives?

Do I work best in a team environment or alone?

Am I available for travel--regularly or infrequently?

What is the ideal salary level I'm seeking?

What are my most valuable educational experiences, work experiences (if any), successful projects and accomplishments, strengths, and capabilities?

Does my resume reflect that I am a top candidate for the position?

* Research the company. Secure copies of the Annual Report and any other information you can find about the company's profile, earnings, and current market position.

* You will need to position yourself strategically and communicate how you can help the company meet its objectives. companies hire people who can do a job for them. They are looking for people who can help them meet customer demands and ensure company profitability. Therefore, it is important for you to be able to communicate just how you see yourself helping them accomplish these objectives. Anticipating On-Site Interview Questions

On-site interview questions generally fall into two major areas: Questions You Should be Prepared to Answer and Questions You Might Ask. Try to spend at least 30 minutes each day (during the weeks before your on-site interview) role-playing questions and answers.

Ten Standard Questions You Should be Prepared to Answer

* Tell us something about yourself.

* Why should we hire you?

* What are your strengths?

* Where would you like to be in two to five years?

* Why do you want to work in this industry?

* Why do you want to work for us?

* Why do you want this particular job?

* Are you willing to travel?

* What led to your interest in your chosen career area?

Five Questions You Might Ask

* How do employees get advanced/promoted?

* How is performance reviewed?

* Where can I expect to be six months from now? A year from now? Two years?

* What training and develop programs are available to new hires?

* To whom would I report?

Positioning Yourself For Success

See yourself as a winner in your on-site interviews. This means that the way you present yourself--image, grooming, dress, and communication skills--will all play an important part in how you are evaluated.

* Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Put the final touches on your preparation by checking whether you appear to be ill at ease or confident of your success.

* Remember that the key to success in your interviews will be determined by how calm and poised you remain as you wind through the interview process.

* Bring extra copies of your resume.

* Be firm about your interest in the job and career advancement opportunities.

* Be prepared to ask as well as respond to questions presented during the interview.

* Concentrate on the question being posed and respond appropriately.

* Appear sincere and honest; if you have questions be sure to ask them at the appropriate time.

* Maintain a comfortable conversational style with the interviewer and build rapport.

Assessing Your Performance After On-site Interviews

At the end of your on-site interview, take stock of your performance by conducting a self-assessment. Ask yourself the following questions:

* Did I answer the questions to the satisfaction of the interviewer?

* In group interviews (if appropriate) was I frazzled and unnerved by all the questions asked?

* Did I concentrate on the question being asked and remain calm?

* Did I present myself as a winner?

* Did I remember to ask the questions I prepared in advance?

* Is there additional information that I need to determine whether I'm interested in the position?

* Did I project poise and confidence?

Also remember to send, within 48 hours of your interview, a "thank you" letter to the interviewer highlighting your interest in the position and thanking the individual for considering you. If there is something that you failed to mention regarding your background, here is the opportunity for you to add this information. Make sure you state that you are very interested in the position and wish to be considered for it. Depending on the amount of time spent with others, you may want to write additional thank-you letters.

What To Consider In Deciding Whether To Accept Or Reject A Job Offer

Your first job will position you for future career success. Therefore, you will want to take into consideration all the factors that are essential to determining whether this is the best fit for you.

Regarding the Position:

* Is this position a match with my career goals?

* Does the position offer the challenge I am seeking?

* Will the position make good use of my existing skill set, career goals, and educational preparation?

* Do I have a clear description of the job responsibilities?

* How will my performance be evaluated? By whom and at what intervals?

* Do I have a clear understanding of the reporting line/relationship?

* Do I know what my manager's style and work expectations are?

* What does the rest of my department team look like? Will I fit in?

* What are my promotional opportunities in this position?

* Are the work hours acceptable? Is overtime required?

* Do I have to travel?

* Will the position require relocation in the future?

* What is the salary for this position? What benefits package is offered?

* Is this really a match for me at this point in my career?

Regarding the Company and Environment:

* Do I feel I can advance in this company? Is it a leader in its field/industry?

* Will I fit into the corporate environment?

* What is the company's future? Is it growing, merging or downsizing employees?

* Does the community/locale provide the things I value in terms of my personal life: churches, schools, recreational facilities, etc.

* Can I find desirable housing at a reasonable cost?

* Will I be accepted within the community?

* Is this a company interested in my professional growth and development?

* Do I think that I can become a member of the team quickly and produce immediate results?

Excelling at the on-site interview and choosing among job offers are the objectives. The key is to be prepared and remember that you are the sole judge of whether the position offered is the best one for you at this time in your life. In the final part of the career planning and job search guide, we will cover how to make the transition from college to the work world. In the meantime, continue to network, follow-up on all job leads, register with THE JOB FINDER and review a copy of THE BLACK COLLEGIAN's Job Opportunities '94. Good luck!

Planning Chart Action Steps

Excelling at the On-Site Interview and Accepting Job Offers

* Consult with your career planning and placement office to determine on-campus interview schedules.

* Schedule as many interviews as possible.

* Critique your resume. Develop job search cover letters and update your career progress logs.

* Research companies in your locale and in other parts of the country.

* Prepare for on-site interviews: develop a strategy checklist, identify the types of questions to be asked regarding your background and academic preparation.

* Determine the kinds of questions you want to ask about the job as well as the types of questions the interviewer will probably ask you.

* Prepare a checklist sheet with areas you wish to consider in determining whether to accept or reject a job offer.

* Assess and evaluate your performance after each on-site interview.

* Write "thank you/follow up" letter samples so that you have the draft content ready for finalizing after interviews.

THE BLACK COLLEGIAN's

Career Planning & Job Search Guide 1993-1994

Annual Planning Chart

Year 1 - Freshman Year

Self-Assessment and Career Planning Activities

* Collect, analyze, and evaluate information about yourself to aid you in obtaining a career position consistent with your personality, abilities, aptitudes, values, interests, academic training, past work, and life experiences.

* Enlist the aid of faculty, advisors, counselors, administrators, and friends. Review various career and business publications. Consider and use exercises, projects, psychological tests, and other ways to determine your career interests.

* Create your personal career action plan, development, and job search log. Insert your career planning exercises, notes on short-term and long-term career goals, and other notes regarding your progress into your log regularly.

* Include in your plan the answers to the following key questions:

What do I want to do? What can I do? What do I need to do to develop myself further?

How can I get the job I want after graduation?

Summer Vacation After Freshman Year

* Get a summer job/earn expenses.

* Acquire work experience and develop a strong business and work ethic.

* Develop maturity (ability) to function in a work environment and get along with people.

Year 2 - Sophomore Year

Career Exploration and Investigation Activities

* Develop a file of information about specific career alternatives and narrow your potential career options. Develop an array of information about specific careers. Collect information about types of opportunities in managerial, technical, and professional career areas.

* Accumulate and analyze information about the world of work, office politics, corporate culture, and workforce diversity.

* Develop your resume, make contact lists, prepare cover letter formats, and investigate various job search strategies.

* Write the answers to the following key questions and place them in your career action plan file:

What do I have to offer an employer? Who needs what I have to offer? How do I make them want me?

Summer Vacation After Sophomore Year

* Get a summer job; continue to earn expenses and build a good work reputation and work references.

* Develop job-related and computer skills.

* Develop maturity and knowledge about the workplace and what it takes to succeed.

Year 3 - Junior Year

Gaining Career Experiences

* Test your qualifications for work in your chosen career field.

* Consult with faculty, counselors, and administrators; join organizations in your chosen field. Check with career planning and placement for on-campus interview schedules and employer listings.

* Network! Network! Network!

* Review and update your resume and job search correspondence. Practice your interview skills. Plan your job search campaign. Enroll in career-planning courses. Attend workshops on resumes, cover letters, and the interview process. Review alternative career plans.

* Begin internship experiences, field or clinical experience, if possible.

Summer Vacation After Junior Year

* Get a summer job in your chosen field; continue to earn expenses and enhance your marketability for jobs after graduation.

* Develop job-related and computer skills, if possible.

* Develop maturity and knowledge of the workplace.

* Compile inventory of interests and qualifications as they relate to your career objective.

Year 4 - Senior Year

Job Search/Transition To Work Activities

* Kick your job search campaign into high gear; commit yourself to a thorough search. Schedule interviews on campus and on-site with as many employers as possible. Network! Network! And network some more!

* Discuss career opportunities with faculty and counselors, friends, acquaintances, network contacts, etc.

* Use THE BLACK COLLEGIAN's Job Index to identify those companies and organizations actively recruiting job candidates. Read the recruitment ads and the job index listings in the JASS section to identify those employers recruiting in your major. Register with THE JOB FINDER. Get a copy of THE BLACK COLLEGIAN's Supplement Job Opportunities '94.

* Keep your career-planning log updated with interview results, assessments of how you performed during job interviews, and contacts made.

* Consider and choose from among the various job offers you receive.

* Accept the job that best fits your career and professional needs.

* Develop a checklist of areas to address in making your transition from college to the workplace.

* Find a mentor or join a support group of African Americans who can help you adjust to your new work environment and learn the corporate culture and office politics.

* Perform efficiently, be an effective team member, support your manager, and move upward in the organization!
COPYRIGHT 1994 IMDiversity, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Career Development; part 3
Author:Bardwell, Chris
Publication:The Black Collegian
Date:Jan 1, 1994
Words:2342
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