Career advice

May 31, 2009 5:40:30 AM PDT
Now, more than ever, that first impression on a job interview could make or break your career given that there are so many people looking to fill the few jobs available. Nicole Williams, career expert, author and CEO of WORKS by Nicole Williams, joined us with tips. WORKS by Nicole Williams is a lifestyle brand dedicated to supporting and empowering young professional women in their quest for a fulfilling career. WORKS delivers relevant content that transcends the nine-to-five. The lifestyle brand is redefining career content and making it glamorous, edgy and entertaining. Nicole Williams founded WORKS in 2006 with the vision of building the first media company focused on career development specifically for the dynamic and powerful market of young professional women.

Your first job is not about the money. It's about the experience you gain, the relationships you build and learning to navigate your way through office politics. But all of this still doesn't mean that you shouldn't negotiate for what you believe you're worth. Even if they can't offer you the salary you believe you're worth, consider other non-negotiable:
Blackberry: $960/year, Gym membership valued at $600- $1,000 year, Time off: Negotiate an extra week of paid time off and you're worth $685 more than you were yesterday, Laptop: Approximately $800-not a bad bonus.

Simply posting resumes on job search sites is not going to help. Students need to be more aggressive and follow up-be proactive.
Businesses may be struggling, but they're not giving up. In fact, they're working harder to not only stay alive, but to grow. Some of today's most successful companies were born out of recession because their leaders were thinking one step ahead, and building teams that could grow with the business as it evolved through difficult times

At The Career Fair:

Dress up. While a career fair is not as formal as a one-on-one interview, it is your only chance to make a first impression. So throw on a suit. Doing so will not only make you visible, but it also lets employers know that you are serious about representing their company in the most professional way. And don't experiment with your look-go with natural makeup and hair pulled out of your face.

Have specific positions in mind. Don't just walk in and wander around from table to table. Do your research on which companies will be represented at the job fair and aim to interview for five specific positions. For each one, present a well-crafted targeted cover letter and a resume. Cover letters tailored to individual positions demonstrate initiative to the interviewer.

Have your paperwork in order. Make sure you have your résumé in your hand and ready to go when you approach employers' booths. Keep it to one page (print on the backside if you must), and don't stick it in the bottom of your bag. Not only will it be a wrinkled mess, but you don't want to have to go fumbling around for it when an employer asks for a copy.

Prepare an introduction. If you haven't perfected your elevator speech, now is the time. Have a short introduction to use with interviewers during the job fair. Give your name, skills and a snapshot of relevant experience-explain why your qualifications matter more than anyone else's. Try to limit the intro to about 30 seconds and remember to thank the interviewers for their time.

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