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I’m sure many of us have been guilty of just taking a job because it was available, or because the pay was better than another job that may have been more suitable to our goals. What should you think about when it’s time to look for a job?

Especially if it’s a part-time job or internship?

These were some questions writer Emily Driscoll asked me for a post she was writing for Fox Business. Here is the information I shared with her about what to consider when you decide what job opportunity to pursue:

Some things to consider:

Employers always seek candidates who have actual experience doing the work necessary for their jobs. While you can gain valuable work experience in any type of job, it’s ideal to be able to describe specific projects you handled or accomplishments you can show from your part-time or internship experience that relate to the target post-graduation job. It’s a good idea to do a little research about the types of jobs you may seek in the future. Identify what skills they require. When possible, seek out work experiences that will fill in the gaps you may have on your resume and online profiles so you will be ready to apply for the jobs you want.

Soft skills are a factor. Another important qualification for job seekers to consider: their soft skills, or emotional intelligence. When it comes right down to it, soft skills are characteristics that make us more likable. Likability is an important factor in the hiring process. Employers realize that they can teach hard skills, such as how to use a software program, but it’s virtually impossible to retrofit employees with soft skills. A recent study from Millennial Branding showed soft skills topped the list of “must have” skills that employers want, with 98 percent of employers saying communication skills are essential and 92 percent naming coordination skills.
Examples of soft skills include: listening, communication, adaptability, teamwork, judgement, work ethic.When you look for a job, consider what soft skills you may use or improve, and make a point to actively work on skills that aren’t your best strengths.
Mentoring and opportunities to learn are both great features of the best jobs, especially for studetns.When interviewing, try to ascertain if your supervisor will be available to answer questions and teach you. If that doesn’t seem to be in the cards, the onus is more on the student to make sure to gain as much valuable experience as possible.
Temp work can be great, and may even help job seekers add to or eliminate the type of work they may want to do down the road. You also gain experience in being flexible, learning quickly and getting along with all types of people.

Freelance is a factor. The economy is shifting, and more and more positions are going to become the realm of freelancers and contract workers. In other words, the job you want may not even exist as a traditional job when it’s time to get hired. Instead, it may only be available as a freelance position. That’s why creating a strong online professional profile (via LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook) and by having your own professional website or social resume is important. When you showcase what you know about your field of interest online by sharing content and engaging with other professionals in your field, you begin to build a reputation that will help you get  hired.

You can see Emily’s post, including my advice, at FoxBusiness.com.

photo by Scarygami

 

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