Anyone who has gone through the process of finding and landing a job knows the reality of how difficult it is. As a result of this understanding, there are thousands of career tips available to those who are seeking employment as well as those who are currently employed. It seems like everyone wants to offer their advice on how to go about having a successful career.
As a soon-to-be college graduate who is trying to find a job and avoid being broke after graduation, I have heard far more than my fair share of these tips. While helpful, listening to all this advice has been nothing short of overwhelming. After hearing hundreds (if not thousands) of tips, there are 5 main bits of advice that I have found to be extremely useful.
Here are the 5 best career tips people have shared with me.
Tip 1: Have More Than One Source Of Income
This is a tip that I haven’t heard too often but absolutely LOVE. Prior to hearing this advice, I always thought that once I had a career, I would have one sole source of income that would allow me to keep a roof over my head and food in my stomach. While this probably will be the case, having multiple sources of income is a fantastic idea for two reasons.
First, if you lose the job that is your main source of income (which we all know is a legitimate possibility clearly demonstrated by the recession), you have other sources of income to fall back on. True, they may not provide you with as much money as your main source of income, but at least you will still have some means of making money.
Second, it is always nice to have some extra money. Having another source of income can enable you to have extra spending money or help you save money for major future financial goals (i.e. buying a house or paying for your kids to go to college).
Tip 2: Be Prepared When Interviewing
After taking a course on interviewing, the importance of being prepared during an interview was extremely evident. What do I mean by being prepared? There are two parts to this.
You MUST do your research on the company. Know the facts on who will be interviewing you. Know how your skills will benefit the company. Be up to date on major company news. Know as much about the company as you possibly can prior to going into the interview.
You must also be prepared with questions to ask the interviewer. This demonstrates an interest in the company. One great question to ask is “What does it take to be successful at this company?”
Another thing to remember when interviewing is that your interview starts as soon as you are within view of the building the company is in and doesn’t end until you are out of site. Don’t speed in and out of the parking lot and don’t be obnoxious on your cell phone in the elevator. Anyone from the company could see you do those things and what company would ever want to hire a reckless, obnoxious employee?
Tip 3: Join LinkedIn
Networking is vital to finding employment opportunities. The saying is true, it’s not what you know but who you know. While using social networking sites may seem like a risky way to go about networking to find a job, LinkedIn provides a highly professional site in which to network and search for a job.
LinkedIn enables you to create a profile based on your employment and educational experiences. You can then search for people you went to school or worked with and add them to your network. You can also look at people in your friend/coworker’s networks and see if there is anyone you would like to connect with and ask your friend/coworker for an introduction. Here are some tips for using LinkedIn.
There is no risk of being tagged in inappropriate pictures or having friends post less than flattering comments on your profile. That being said, if you do own a Facebook or Myspace, learn to use your privacy settings to make sure potential employers can’t see unprofessional comments or pictures on your profile. Or, better yet, get rid of anything inappropriate on your profile.
Tip 4: Don’t Let Your Career Consume Your Life
Never let your career run your life. You want a career that fits into your life, not that runs your life. Many people lose sight of this. The importance of having a job and being able to provide for yourself (and a family) seems to cause many people to throw themselves into their work ESPECIALLY due to the fact that the unemployment rate is the highest it’s ever been. Loyal employees have been getting laid off and it has caused most people to really step up their game at work to try to prevent this from happening to them.
The problem with this is that taking on this career preservation tactic causes your life to revolve around your career instead of having your career just be a part of your life. Determine what you want in a career. Make sure that your career fits into how you picture your life being. If you want to be able to spend time with your family, make sure your career enables you to do that. If your current career doesn’t, it’s time to start looking for employment opportunities that will enable you to have the lifestyle you want.
Tip 5: Do What You Love
This is probably the oldest, most used piece of advice out there. While some people may disagree with it due to the fact that they feel that if they do something that they love everyday eventually they will get sick of it, this is probably the best piece of advice ever.
If you aren’t in a career that you love, getting out of bed each morning to go to work is going to make you miserable. And who wants to be miserable everyday? Definitely not me.
By doing something you love not only will you enjoy getting out of bed each morning to go to work but you will (most likely) be more successful at your job. People tend to put more effort and energy into the things they love to do. The more effort you put into something, the more successful you will be at whatever you are doing.
Regardless of whether you are employed or actively seeking employment, be sure to keep these tips in mind. Additionally, be sure to listen to the advice and insight of others. There is no such thing as too much advice and every little tip helps especially when you are navigating the difficult world of job hunting and being successful in your career.
About the Author: Ashley Jacobs is an editor and contributor for GreenSherpa’s blog, Cash Flow Sherpas. She is a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara and will be graduating in June with a degree in communication and a minor in education and applied psychology.