As the end of the year approaches for colleges and high schools, new graduates and would-be interns scurry to find jobs that will propel them to their fortune. Consider passing these tips along to those young people in your life.
Have an English teacher proofread your resume and any cover letter you plan to re-use. Employers look for reasons to discard resumes. Inconsistent verb tense is an easy “no.”
Assume the reader is going to read one line of your resume; put the most important thing there. If you want a computer programming job and you won something called the Google Ethical Hacking Challenge, put that first. Your competitors’ resumes will all begin with anticipated graduation date.
Unless you have an actual career plan, omit “Objective” from your resume. People know your objective is to get a job. You can also leave off “References available upon request.”
Don’t worry if your resume has more white space than words. You’re a kid; you haven’t done much other than go to school.
Sending unsolicited resumes to an unknown person is not a job search. Try to correspond with an actual human.
Scrub, don’t hide, your social media. Potential employers are going to check out your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you don’t exist online, employers will think you’re hiding something. Leave your accounts active but limit non-friends to only your most basic and benign posts. Or better, delete your wet t-shirt and arrest photos. Also delete any substandard or offensive language.
Immediately follow any interaction with a potential employer with a brief email, followed by a handwritten note. Get the note in the mail the day of your interview. Show that you are both prompt and professional.
Don’t fret if you don’t know where you want to be at age 35. Most 35-year-olds don’t know where they want to be when they are 35. But if you do have a somewhat specific goal, mentally start at that point and work backwards to present day. If you had your dream job at age 35, what would you have been doing when you were 30? At 25? What would you be doing now to put yourself in a position to have those jobs?
Being rich isn’t a great goal, but it’s better than none. If this is your goal, focus on what you can provide, not receive. What can you do that would be of great value to others?
As an intern or in a first out-of-college job, your immediate supervisor is much more important than your salary. Choose a boss you admire.
Read Stacey Gordon’s “The Successful Interview: 99 Questions to Ask and Answer (and Some You Shouldn’t).” You’ll be glad you did.
David Moon is president of Moon Capital Management. A version of this piece originally appeared in the USA TODAY NETWORK.