Practical advice for graduates

June 03, 2008

For the Class of 2008, the first job after graduation is one of the most important in anyone's work history. If the graduate does it correctly, the result will be experience and possibly a letter of recommendation for the next step up the career ladder.

Here are a few tips for young job hunters:

· If you're not confident of your writing ability, work with a professional to develop a rsum and a cover letter to send to employers. If they contain misspellings and grammatical errors, the employer might wonder what else you don't know.

· Do some research on the firms to which you're applying. When the employer asks you why you want to work there, it's helpful to be able to say that you admire the firm's services or product line.

· Dress up for your interview. Even if the company you're applying to is a casual place, dressing up is a sign of respect that says you want the job badly enough to go to some extra trouble to impress the people there.


· If you're hired, show up every day and be on time, unless you're seriously ill. If your employer knows you can be counted on to be there and perform, you'll be valued more than the brilliant eccentric who can't seem to get out of bed on time.

· Listen. You've learned a great deal in the classroom, but in the working world, things sometimes are done differently than the textbooks would suggest. If you're not sure how to do something, ask, then thank the person who helped you.

· Avoid workplace gossip sessions. You're being paid to do a job, not spread tales about your co-workers. And treat every e-mail you write as if a copy were being forwarded to your boss.

· Be nice. Ask co-workers to help even if you're in a position to order them around. A job done willingly is likely to be done better than one done by workers who are gritting their teeth.

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