Prepare Your References At The Beginning of Your Job Search

Prepare Your References At The Beginning of Your Job Search

You are on a job search. You will most likely eventually be asked for references. The time to prepare for that is now, before your interviews start. Not in a knee jerk response for a request.


The basics

At minimum a potential employer will want to confirm you had the job you say you had. They’ll ask about your dates of employment and title. They might also ask what you were like as an employee. Were you punctual? Did you take initiative? What was your attitude like?


If you provide a reference that will only give the basics, then don’t expect any fireworks on the part of your prospective employer. You want your references to be able to speak highly and positively about skills and experiences, but you also want them to hold credibility. The singing praises of your cubical mate aren’t going to get you far. The same words from a supervisor are good. If your previous boss is willing to vouch for you that’s even better. If you are a recent grad a professor can attest to your abilities and drive. In general, you want to have two or three professional references you can count on as references.


Credibility factor

When thinking about people we could call on as references, it’s important to consider how much weight their words will carry. If your reference is an expert in something related to what you are applying for that’s amazing. Someone who has seen you do (and excel at) a variety of different things will be able to speak confidently about your abilities.


Prepare them well in advance

The time to let someone know you are including them as a reference is early on in your job search. Give them time to think about you and what you can bring to the table. When you know they might be called on, give them a call. Let them know the kind of job you are applying for and the sorts of things you would like them to focus on. Confirm when it would be convenient for someone to contact them so they have time to give the reference their full attention.


Now that you’ve prepared your references, go out and get yourself in a position to need them!

Maintaining Motivation During A Long Job Search

Maintaining Motivation During A Long Job Searchacebook

Some people luck out on their job search and land something in their field early on. For others the search can feel unending. When you’re met with difficulties and disappointments on a consistent basis it’s hard to stay motivated. But take heart, all job searches eventually come to an end. In the time between this time and that, here are a few tips to help keep your spirits up.


Get re-inspired

When our road is long sometimes we lose sight of why we set foot on it in the first place. A great way to get back in step with yourself is by talking with someone who has already accomplished the goal you’re after. Ask them if you can take them out for coffee. Pick their brain. Listen to their stories. Ask their advice.  Or if there’s no one you can talk with personally find a book about someone who has traversed a similar path and read about their journey.


Hearing someone else talk about how they accomplished their goals makes the whole prospect feel tangible. Remind yourself if they did it, you can too.


Accomplish other goals

Even if you haven’t been able to accomplish the get-a-job goal there are still plenty of other goals you CAN accomplish. Get to it. Make a list of things you want to get done and go about accomplishing them one by one. Accomplishment makes you feel good about yourself. Give yourself lots of reasons to feel good about yourself!


Give yourself a break

An unaccomplished goal staring you in the face every day it feels like a starving monster demanding all your attention. You can feed it all day long, but it will never get its fill. That’s why, no matter how much it roars, sometimes you just have walk away. Take breaks. Go for a coffee. Go for a walk. See your friends. Cook yourself a meal. Take time each day to do things you like. It may feel like you’re wasting time, but in realty you’re taking care of yourself mentally and physically. The monster will be waiting for you when you get back. When you’re in a better place you’ll be more inclined to feed it better, more nutritious food – which will ultimately get it out of your life sooner!


Create a routine

Following a routine every day helps to free up brain space for things you actually want to be thinking about. Put the things you do every day on autopilot and tackle the things that require full brain power with a full brain.

How Counseling Can Help Young Graduate Job Seekers

How Counseling Can Help Young Graduate Job Seekers

Guest post from Bethany Seton

At a certain point in our education, we all find ourselves at a crossroads when we’re expected to make life-changing decisions related to our future careers.  Many young people have only a very vague idea of what awaits them in the real world of business. Learning about what a job involves theoretically is different from the complex network of skills needed to become successful. Seekers need to know how to search for work. How to present themselves in the best light. Deal with people and stressful situations. Handle pressure and take initiative, to name a few. This is when the help of a counselor can be important. Proper guidance makes the transition into adulthood a lot easier.


Value of counseling sessions

If you’re not sure how to proceed with your career a guidance counselor is the right person to see. A confident approach to a future career means becoming aware of our strengths and weaknesses, aspirations and career goals. A good counselor will establish a valuable rapport which will enable them to better understand the student’s personality. People who specialize in working with the youth know how to listen and understand problems. How to build trust, and most importantly, assess future career goals.

Where is that ideal job?

Your first job is very rarely the dream job you were hoping for, but the point is to get as close to your ideal position as soon as possible. In order to do this, understanding the job market is essential. The counselor should closely follow the market and all the issues facing it in order to help you make the right decision. Downsizing, global competition, automation are all factors affecting job opportunities. There’s not much point in preparing for a career which is currently in decline. The modern employment environment dictates its own rules. Applicants need to be well skilled in the use of contemporary technology. They need to be open to diversity and aware of the importance of always being up to date in what’s relevant.

Once you decide on a career direction, it’s time to look for employment. Research recruitment agencies for junior jobs, or any organizations interested in hiring entry level candidates locally.


Application and job interview

Another thing you should pay close attention to is presentation. The first impression comes with your resume. It needs to be up to code. Don’t let the fact that you have no job experience put you off. A youth counselor can help you go through your CV to highlight your skills and qualifications, achievements and aspirations.

It is important you go through the dos and don’ts of presenting yourself in the best light during your interview. At your counseling sessions, you will be able to simulate a job interview.

You will learn the importance of body language, tone, overall conduct and how to deal with unexpected questions.


How to deal with stressful work situations

A career counselor cannot prepare you for every single stressful situation at work, but they can teach you how to develop healthy responses. How to establish boundaries, recharge and relax, be assertive and find support.

Graduation is a major accomplishment, but not everyone is prepared to take on the unfamiliar world of employment or deal with all the challenges the job market has to offer. Guidance can help ease you into corporate waters. If you’re honest in your sessions, if you accept your weaknesses and improve, celebrate your strengths and are eager and ready to learn – success will never be far away.

When It’s Time To Stop The Job Search

When It's Time To Stop The Job Search

When a job search goes on for too long it’s easy to get discouraged and stressed out. One of the most important things you can do during this time is to stop hunting.


We’re not actually saying to stop altogether. Rather spend some dedicated time every day doing things that have absolutely nothing to do with your job search. A full mental and physical break from it.


Mentally elsewhere

One of the best places to go when you want to get mentally elsewhere is – nowhere. Ten or fifteen minutes of meditation a day will do wonders to recharge your energy and motivation. Among other things, Research shows that meditation may reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, reduce anxiety, increase attention span, and enhance self-awareness.


A lot of benefits to be gained through doing essentially nothing! If doing nothing all on  your own isn’t exactly in your wheelhouse there are all kinds of amazing apps available to help guide you through the mental recharge like Calm and Headspace.


Give yourself reasons to be happy

Being out of work is not likely adding anything to the happiness factor in your life. It’s okay to feel down about your employment situation, but you need to ensure frustration and unhappiness aren’t the only emotions of your days. That’s why you need to carve out happy times every day. That might mean going for a walk outside past some beautiful tress or plants. Or reading a book by your favorite author. Maybe baking cookies is your thing.


You can’t just expect to bump into a happy time, you need to actually make space for it every day. Make a list of things that bring you joy and choose to do at least one a day. When you are engaged in that happy activity, be there fully. Don’t think about your job hunt at all. Enjoy the smell of cookies wafting through your home.


Remember the positives

Facts: You don’t have a job and you are having trouble finding one. When there’s a negative situation in our lives it’s easy to latch onto that and dwell. If you let it, your negative mood will overshadow the positives in your life That’s why it’s so important to remember the positives every day. What do you have? Do you have a loving partner? Your health? Did a neighbor shovel your drive after the last snowstorm? Choose a time every day to write down three things you are grateful for. Look at your list, breathe into it and fully embrace it. There are things to be thankful for every single day. Acknowledge them.


Your job search will eventually end whether you have a negative mindset during the process or a positive one. You get to choose.

The Job Seeker’s Indispensable To-Do List

The Job Seeker’s Indispensable To-Do List

School’s out and it’s time to get yourself out of the books and into the job market. Whether you’re applying for your first job or you are preparing to make a career change there is a certain to-to list every job seeker must complete to prepare a.


Keep your resume up-to-date

When the right job shows up the last thing you want to do is waste time updating your resume or seeker forbid – start one from scratch! If there is anything outdated or irrelevant on there, remove it. If you’ve recently completed any courses or have some motivating statistic about yourself to brag about, add it. You will most likely tailor your resume in some way for each job you apply for, but make sure you’ve got the best possible version as a starting point.


Everything we just said about the resume also applies to your cover letter. Except that it must be even more tailored for each specific job. Take the time now before the scramble to review your information so you can figure out exactly how best to highlight your accomplishments and possible contributions to a potential employer.


Review your social media presence

Even if you think you’ve done a pretty good job on your LinkedIn profile it’s a good idea to see what other people in a similar field are doing. How does yours compare? Do you have endorsements from colleagues or professors? Do you post relevant information there? Is it inviting and informative?


Next on your to-do list, have a look at the rest of your social media presence. If you have a stellar LinkedIn profile but your Facebook page is a mess of party pictures and descriptions of drunken escapades you are probably not sending out the message you want for potential employers. You need to ensure that everything anyone sees or reads about your online adds to the image you want to create.


Prepare for upcoming interviews

Once you have a real interview you will spend a lot of time learning everything you can about the company by checking out their online presence. But even if you don’t have an interview coming up, you can still prepare for the inevitable questions, like Tell me about yourself, or What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?



Some people love networking. Others would rather swim with sharks (partly because that’s how networking feels to them). Even if you are not the schmoosing type, it’s possible to go to a networking event with the intent to speak to just one person. Get through that and next time you could try for two. If you absolutely can’t bring yourself to do that, try a conference. You will most likely learn something pertinent to your search and who knows someone might strike up a conversation with you!


Big finish

If you meet someone at a networking event or a conference, follow up with a quick, nice to meet you message. If you’ve had an interview, follow that up with a thank you letter. Always. Someone took the time to meet with you, that time and effort needs to be acknowledged. Remember the person who came in to the interview after you sent a thank you letter. All things being equal, who do you think is going to make the stronger impression?