Q: I received my MBA in April and I still can't get my first job. I'm overqualified for most entry-level jobs, but when I apply for the ones that match my education, I never make it past the first interview. Why don't they see what an asset I am?
A: While employers may be seeking the specific skills and abilities promised on your resume, they often hire for attitude. Gen Y employees bring significant skills but can show up in interviews with characteristics that are unwelcome at work.
Interviewers are most likely going to be of a different generation than you. They value initiative, critical-thinking skills and effective communication. They are looking for loyalty and a strong work ethic. Be sure you haven't embellished skills on your resume or you will be dead in the water in the interview when your level of integrity and honesty is exposed.
They want employees who respect authority, are willing to adapt to someone's idea - not reject it out of hand without weighing its merits and can accurately access likely consequences.
While you may feel the position is below your qualification level, show up prepared, enthusiastic and engaged in the company and the role. Keep the discussion professional. Ask pertinent questions demonstrating that you have done your research and are giving this serious consideration.
Leave personal conversations to social media. In the end, you may need to accept a job that pays less than you want to get your foot in the door of your ideal employer. During those first few years focus on learning, demonstrating your abilities, and willingness to invest the hours to get ahead.
This paves the way to being a top earner in subsequent years. As the boomers retire, there will be plenty of promotions up for grabs.
Joni Mar is a Master Certified Executive Coach and a Corporate Faculty member of The Coaches Training Institute. She can be reached through her website at www.JoniMar.com
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