May 1, 2023

May 1, 2023

Many of the younger set in my reading audience are now fast approaching crunch time regarding employment. In effect, it’s job time.

Over the years, my students have often asked for advice on employment and careers. My response to them centers on four questions:

  1. What are you looking for?
  2. What is the company looking for?
  3. What about the interview?
  4. What is needed to succeed?

Each of these questions are briefly addressed below, with more extensive information provided for (3).

Regarding (1), only you can answer this question. The applicant / student should know something about what he/she wants for the job. Quite frankly, I find it difficult for anyone to really expect a youngster to know what they really want regarding a job or career.

Here are a few tips on what might help you land the job (2&3)… perhaps of your dreams.

  1. It is important to prepare an impressive and up-to-date resume that truly reflects you. Put your best foot forward, and don’t lie. Exaggerate? Be careful. Shield the truth? Perhaps, but definitely don’t lie.
  2. Prepare for the interview by researching the company. Check them out on their website or review an annual report. This will enable you to ask informed questions during the interview.
  3. Attire is important, so dress appropriately.
  4. The interview does not begin when you meet the interviewer; it begins earlier at the front door.
  5. Turn your cellphone off and avoid texting and phone conversations earlier while in a waiting room.
  6. If you are shown into a room to meet the interviewer, wait for the interviewer to tell you where to sit. Remain standing until the interviewer sits. Don’t plop your feet on the interviewer’s desk and start picking your nose or ear(s).
  7. Stand up to greet anyone you subsequently meet and shake hands confidently.
  8. During the interview, sit on the edge of the chair and lean forward slightly to let the interviewer know you are attentive.
  9. Thank the interviewer for his/her time and shake hands before leaving.
  10. During the interview meal, generally follow the interviewer’s lead. Place your napkin in your lap and begin eating when the interviewer does.
  11. Start with the utensils on the outside and work your way in toward the plate.
  12. Order something familiar that is neat as opposed to messy.
  13. Taste the food before seasoning.
  14. Keep on the same eating pace with your interviewer.
  15. Do not mix food on your plate into a pile of hash.
  16. Do not order alcohol if your interviewer does not.
  17. Be extra courteous to the waiter and busboy.

As the old saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” so make the most of it. Prepare and rehearse for the interview. I also believe it is appropriate to either send the recruiter a thank you letter or follow with a call or e-mail the following day.

Well, what about (4). Over the years, I had the privilege of maintaining close social and professional ties with many of my successful graduates in our profession. In thinking about what character traits likely contributed to their success, I found the following to be the most common.

  1. Communication abilities.
  2. Appearance.
  3. Self-awareness.
  4. Self-regulation.
  5. Self-motivation.
  6. Empathy.
  7. Social Skills.
  8. Creative leaders have an ability to innovate and “think outside the box.”
  9. Self-depreciation.
  10. Action-oriented is most important; leaders are doers and have an ability to make things happen, even when the odds are stacked against them.

Interestingly, I have found that technical ability (or the equivalent) and GPA (Grade Point Average) correlate weakly with successful leaders.

I close with a tale that appeared in a number of my earlier publications, one authored by a former student, Anthony J. Buonicore. The moral of the tale may register with a few of the readers concerned with their future.

One stormy night many years ago, an el­derly man and his wife entered the lobby of a small hotel in Philadelphia. Trying to get out of the rain, the couple approached the front desk hoping to get shelter for the night.

“Could you possibly give us a room here?” the man asked. The clerk, a friendly man with a winning smile, explained that there were three conventions in town.

“All of our rooms are taken,” the clerk said. “But I can’t send a nice couple like you into the rain at one o’clock in the morning. Would you perhaps be willing to sleep in my room? It’s not exactly a suite, but it will be good enough to make you folks comfortable for the night.”

When the couple declined, the young man pressed on. “Don’t worry about me; I’ll make out just fine,” the clerk told them. So, the couple agreed.

As he paid the bill the next morning, the elderly man said to the clerk; “You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the country.” The clerk looked at them and smiled. As they drove away, the elderly couple agreed that the helpful clerk was indeed exceptional.

Two years passed. The clerk had almost for­gotten the incident when he received a letter from the old man. It recalled the stormy night and enclosed a round-trip ticket to New York, asking the young man to pay them a visit.

The old man met him at a corner in New York City. He then pointed to a great new building, a palace of reddish stone, with tur­rets, and watchtowers thrusting up to the sky. “That,” said the old man, “is the hotel I have just built for you to manage.” “You must be joking,” the clerk said. “I can assure you I am not,” said the old man.

The old man’s name was William Waldorf-Astoria, and the magnificent structure he built was the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. The young clerk who became its first manager was George C. Boldt. The clerk never foresaw the turn of events that would lead him to become the man­ager of one of the world’s most glamorous ho­tels.

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