Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest, Lindsey Pollak, author of Getting From College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World.
Lindsey is a noted expert on Generation Y career issues, Lindsey's advice has appeared in such media outlets as The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, New York Newsday, NewYorkTimes.com, Monster.com, Martha Stewart Living Radio and ABC News America This Morning.
Good day Lindsey and thanks for participating in our interview.
Thank you for the opportunity, Norm. It’s my pleasure!
Why have you been drawn to the topic of Generation Y career issues?
My senior year of college I was a freshman counselor (resident advisor), living with and advising a group of freshman students. To this day it was my favorite job I’ve ever had (until I started my own business!). As a counselor, I learned that helping students build confidence and a sense of themselves is just as important as teaching them specific skills. I think of my workshop attendees and my book’s readers as extensions of the freshmen I advised in college. My goal is to be a big sister to Generation Y—young enough to relate to their time of life and old enough to have some wisdom and perspective to share.
Could you briefly tell our readers something about Getting From College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World and what motivated you to write the book?
My goal was to write the book I wish I’d had when I was in college.This book is a collection of all of the tips, ideas, advice, secrets, strategies, and warnings that I didn’t even know I didn’t know.I tried to find answers to all of the questions I had: How do I decide what to do when I’m interested in so many things?What do I say when I call someone at a company where I’d like to work?How do I stand out from the thousands of other college grads just like me?Where can I get help?
What distinguishes your book from others dealing with the same topic?
Most career books for college students and recent grads teach you how to write a résumé and tell you what to say on a job interview.That’s great, but what they miss is all of the work you need to do before that point so you have impressive things to put on that résumé, experiences to talk about on those job interviews, and, perhaps most importantly, the confidence and preparedness to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.That’s what this book is about.It’s comforting, confidence-building, and also extremely comprehensive in the information, ideas, and resources it provides.
Whom do you believe will benefit from your book and why?
The book is written for college students and recent college graduates. I have also received positive feedback from other audiences who have benefited from the book, including graduate students, parents of college students and recent graduates, college career services staff and independent career coaches.
Where did you get your information and ideas for your book?
To make sure the book would be 100% relevant and 100% realistic, I interviewed three specific sets of people:
1. Current college students and recent grads to find out what they most want to know and feel they can’t find elsewhere.
2. Recruiters who hire students right out of college.I asked them what they wanted students to know after reading this book.And I asked them the questions that students told me they wanted to know.
3. I surveyed about 100 working professionals of all ages in a wide variety of industries to ask what they wish they had known when they graduated college, what they’ve learned that they would share with current college students, and their overall wisdom about the working world.This gave a broader perspective to the book.
And finally, I included many of my own stories in the book, to show that I’ve made lots of mistakes and also done some things well.I wanted the book to have a human voice and to show compassion and understanding.
What are your hopes for this book?
The book has been selling well so far and I have received many wonderful emails from students telling me that the book has helped them to land a job and feel more career-confident. I intend for Getting from College to Career to sell well for years so that it can help as many students as possible. In the next year or so I would like to write an updated edition to make sure the content is always cutting-edge.
How creative do aspiring job applicants have to be particularly when they are applying for their first job? As a follow up, do you feel that most recently graduating students don’t use enough of their imagination when it comes to looking for a job?
Too many young job seekers conduct their job searches almost entirely online. This is a big mistake and could be explained as a lack of creativity. Seventy to 80 percent of jobs are found through networking, so 70 to 80 percent of a job search effort should be spent networking as widely and creatively as possible.
Students should make sure that they are setting up informational interviews, attending events, joining professional associations, talking to everyone they know and keeping in touch with old contacts (Facebook and LinkedIn are great for maintaining connections). As tempting as it is to surf the web all day for jobs, it’s not as effective as getting out there and meeting people.
I also advise student and young professionals to remember to network with their peers. Friends, recent alumni (maybe a year or two older) and colleagues from internships are all great people to ask for help, ideas, support and referrals to opportunities. You don’t need to network with CEOs!
In general, you have to cast a wide net in your job search and be as proactive and persistent as possible.
What do you believe are the five most important elements to consider when looking for employment?
Lindsey: Here are some of my top tips:
·Avoid the biggest mistake in career prep and job hunting. The biggest job search mistake by far is doing nothing. Whenever you are stuck, frustrated, clueless, or overwhelmed, the answer is always action. Challenge yourself to take one action every day on behalf of your career.
·Become an industry expert. Set up free keyword news alerts [http://www.google.com/alerts] for companies, industries, products or events related to the industries that interest you. This means you’ll be the very first to know about new products, new management and new job opportunities, and you’ll be able to talk intelligently with people in the industry you want to join.
·Interview eyewitnesses. The best way to learn about a job is to talk to people who are already doing that job—informational interviewing is the best job search and career change tactic I know. To get the most out of any meeting, ask your interviewee to recommend actions you can take to help your career prospects. Then you have a built-in reason to follow up: to report back that you’ve taken the suggested action.
·Mock interview. Mock interviews are usually free at college career services offices (even for alums!) or you can do this with a trusted friend or parent. Wear your interview suit and treat the mock interview like a real opportunity. Then, ask the mock interviewer to provide you with honest feedback. Are you articulate enough about your skills, experience and goals? Do you appear to be too shy, too confident, too negative or too bubbly? Honest feedback about your interview performance can help you address any problems and ace your next face-to-face opportunity.
·Don’t curb your enthusiasm. All my research into career success yielded many tips and tactics, but one truth stood out above all: passion matters. An employer will often choose to work with the person who is most excited about his or her work and loves coming in every day. Be that person and let your enthusiasm shine through!
What do you think of Internet as a tool for looking for a job and how can one obtain the maximum benefits in looking for a job through the Internet?
Technology has changed the college and job search experience. Most job searches today start on the Internet and most first impressions are now made by email instead of in person or by phone. There are advantages—today’s students are very good researchers and have a ton of information at their fingertips—but there are also drawbacks. Most jobs are found through networking, so you can’t hide behind a computer all day long. You have to get out and meet people face to face!
Also, college students and grads need to be aware that employers and grad school admissions officers absolutely check your Facebook and MySpace page, so be careful what you post (and what your friends post about you). The golden rule is never to write, do, say or wear anything online that you wouldn’t write, do or say in person.
Do you set yourself daily, weekly, yearly goals? If so, what are some of your goals?
Yes, absolutely. Since I have my own business, I work with a business coach to set regular goals and make sure I stay on track. Every January I set annual goals by using a wonderful book called Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzler. I display my annual goals in front of my desk and carry them with me in my notebook. This helps me stick to my priorities. What I find amazing is that the more specific your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. I highly recommend goal-setting to anyone and everyone for goals both professional and personal.
Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We would love to hear all about them!)
Right now I am working on a sequel to Getting from College to Career, which will be a book of answers to all of the confusing career questions that face young professionals today. I am also growing my speaking business, providing career advice workshops on college campuses and to young professionals in corporations around the country. Finally, I am having a great time writing my career advice blog: www.lindseypollak.com/blog. I invite everyone to subscribe to the blog and contribute to the active comments section!
How can readers find out more about you and your endeavors?
Thank you. Readers can visit my website at www.lindseypollak.com, where they will also find my blog. I am also active on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?
Thank you again for having me. I look forward to keeping in touch.
Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.
Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World
Click Here To Purchase Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World Author: Lindsey Pollak: ISBN-10: 006114259XISBN-13: 978-0061142598 As a graduate of Yale University, a writer, editor and speaker, Lindsey Pollak summarized her many years of experience and expertise in career advice in “Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World.”This book is divided into 10 chapters: Get Started, Stop Being a Student and Start Being
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