Cards collect tips on job nabbing
September 28, 2009 —
A nationally known career consultant told SVSU students Thursday that even in tough times, opportunities on the job market are still available. The key is the right preparation.
Lindsey Pollak, best selling author and expert on Generation Y workplace issues, presented her “Seven Absolute Musts” at the Malcolm Field Performing Arts Theatre for students who want to become professionals.
Pollak bases her presentations on research culled from recruiters and professionals across the country. She is the author of “Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World,” and has presented at campuses all over, including Harvard, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.
The No. 1 mistake college students make, she said, is not preparing at all.
“Doing nothing is the recipe for disaster,” Pollak said.
She said that many students overlook the benefits of a wide network. The first thing young professionals should consider is the people they meet.
Pollak said many people new to networking feel as if they’re exploiting their relationships. But networking, she said, is an exchange. When students meet a potential mentor, they should in return make an offer.
“Ask what you can do for them,” Pollak said.
Pollak also recommends that students get an account with LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking site – a sort of Facebook for the professional world.
Some major companies, including Google, only hire through profiles on LinkedIn.
She said that students can begin using the site now and join the Saginaw Valley Alumni group. Many alumni love to help students get a job, she said, and members can log on there to find a whole group of them.
Pollak emphasized that students should stop thinking as students and concentrate on being a prepared professional. She compared the idea to the readiness of a nine-month-pregnant woman who keeps a packed suitcase by the door.
Students should carry business cards with them and have résumés and interview clothing ready at any time, she said.
It isn’t too early to think like job recruiters, she added. In today’s economy, companies are cutting funds once meant to train new hires. Applicants seeking success would do well to begin reading professional journals now and make themselves aware of the inner workings of the industry.
A crucial part to getting a job, according to Pollak, is the work before the interview. The key here is company research.
“Going the extra mile really makes a difference,” she said.
“Turn it into a peer-to-peer conversation.”
Students should highlight their abilities, demonstrate knowledge of the company and explain why they are most qualified.
Many students said they enjoyed the presentation and that they’ll benefit from having gone to it.
Matt Young, a finance senior, said he gained a lot from her discussions, especially on looking up to established professionals.
“I will do a lot of professional networking,” Young said, “and I will look at what the top people in my industry are doing and use that as guidance.”
Sponsors for the event included Select Student Support Services, the College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Student Services and Enrollment Management, Career Planning and Placement, Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity and the BEST Program.
More than 100 people attended the program, including students, faculty and parents. Raffle winners received free copies of Pollak’s book, as well as gift cards to local stores.
During her presentation, Pollak paused for questions after her first six tips and then closed it with the seventh.
Her most important piece of advice for today’s student?
“Don’t curb your enthusiasm.”