Job Search Curveballs

Yilmaz.JobSearchFinds-2You’ve already heard the same thing from the Career Services office: have your resume and cover letter drafts ready so you can zip through job applications. But every once in a while, a curveballs that you didn’t expect to find during the job search hits you.

Curveballs can be anything from a pop test to a recorded video interview. All of them are just as scary and nausea-inducing. Jeff Garris, the director of Career Services, says the number one thing applicants may find surprising is how important patience is in the job search.

“Students are surprised by how slow the application process can be,” Garris says. “It can be a while before they hear anything. But the important thing is to follow up if you haven’t heard anything back in two weeks.”

Garris says keeping your name in circulation at companies without pestering anyone (don’t be that person) is important. That’s not a surprise. But having to name a price right from the start can make you do a double take.

“Hold off on negotiating salary and benefits for as long as possible,” Garris says. “Preferably wait until they have already offered you a position so you have some leverage. Negotiating from the start can be risky.”

If you’re caught off guard at having to name salary requirements, Garris suggests saying “negotiable based on current market rate.” If you have to name a price, he says going on an accredited site such as the National Association for Colleges and Employers to get a good salary estimate is a good place to start.

“It breaks it down by major, profession, state, anything you could want,” Garris says. “It’ll help you see what you should be asking for. But all Penn State students should know the value of their Penn State degree considering what that means.”

What it means is that we come from an awesome school and have many available resources, like the main Career Services Center or specialized ones by college. Talking to someone who went through the job search recently or is prepared to help you through the job search can help relieve anxiety. Now keep calm and search on.

Photo by Orhan Yilmaz

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