Industry | Construction: What Kinds of Jobs are in the Construction Industry?

Welcome, this is the first post in the Industry Overview Series!

I’m excited to give you a bit of insight into an industry that you may be unfamiliar with. Hopefully this will help to open your mind to the different kinds of opportunities available to you that you may not have considered.


This first entry is about the Construction Industry.

The construction industry is often thought of as a sector that primarily involves hard labor and physically building structures. However, the industry is much more diverse and offers a wide range of roles that cater to different skills and interests. From project management to design and engineering, sales and business development to quality control and safety, there is a role for everyone in the construction industry.

The goal of the industry is to create functional and aesthetically pleasing structures that meet the needs of the community and clients. Whether you are just starting your career or looking for a change, the construction industry offers exciting opportunities for those looking to make an impact in the built environment.

There are various roles that one might find in the construction industry, and they can be broadly grouped into several categories:

 

  • Project management:

    These roles involve overseeing all aspects of a construction project, from planning and design to completion. They are responsible for the coordination of all aspects of the project, including scheduling, budgeting and resource allocation.

  • Design and Engineering:

    These roles involve the technical aspects of construction, such as designing, engineering and creating blueprints of the structure, while also ensuring that it meets all necessary codes and regulations.

  • Skilled labor:

    These roles involve physically building the structure, such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, masons and so on. These tradespeople use their skills and knowledge to construct the building according to the plans and specifications.

  • Sales and Business Development:

    These roles involve finding and securing new business, such as sales representatives, and business development professionals. They work to generate leads and close deals for the company. A sales related role in this industry that might appeal to creatives would be a marketing representative.

  • Quality Control and Safety:

    These roles involve ensuring that the structure is built according to code and safety regulations, as well as ensuring that quality standards are met throughout the construction process.

  • Customer service and client management:

    These roles involve maintaining the relationship with the client and ensuring that their needs are met, such as site managers and customer service representatives.

Each role in the construction industry plays an essential part in the success of a project.

Project management roles ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget, while design and engineering roles ensure that the structure is designed and built according to code and safety regulations. Skilled labor is responsible for physically building the structure, sales and business development roles bring in new business, and customer service and client management roles maintain the relationship with the client.

Together, these roles form the backbone of the construction industry, working together to create functional and aesthetically pleasing structures that meet the needs of the community and clients.

In conclusion, the construction industry is a vital sector that plays a crucial role in the development of our built environment. The industry offers a wide range of roles that cater to different skills and interests, from project management and design to skilled labor and customer service.

Whether you’re just starting your career or looking for a change, the construction industry offers exciting opportunities for those looking to make an impact in the built environment. With a variety of roles available, there is a place for everyone in the construction industry, and it is worth exploring the different options available to find the right fit for you.


If this article sparked your interest, check out our currently available jobs in the Construction industry!

If you liked this article, stay tuned for more in this series. I am conducting a similar series on Job Types as well, giving examples of what a particular job type’s role might be across different industries. As time goes on, we’ll move on from overviews and transition into more specific information of interest.

(Our first entry in the Job Types series was on Sales. Give it a read!)

 

Job Type | Sales: Is a Career in Sales Right for You?

Hi everyone, I’ve decided to make a little informative series on the various Job Types and Industries, for those that may be curious about what a different career or field could be like. We’ll start with overview type posts, and add more specific focused articles to the series gradually. First up in this series, one of the job types that has the highest demand. I’m here to share the general basics of Sales.


Sales Careers: An Overview for the Uninitiated


Sales is a vital function of virtually every business, as it involves the process of promoting and selling products or services to customers. Sales professionals are responsible for building relationships with potential and current customers, identifying their needs, and persuading them to make a purchase.

Sales jobs can be found in a wide range of industries, from retail and consumer goods, business-to-business (B2B) sales, custom engineering, and technology. The specific duties and responsibilities of a salesperson may vary depending on the type of product or service being sold and the target market.

A salesperson is responsible for promoting and selling products or services to customers. This can include identifying potential customers, creating sales pitches and presentations, negotiating prices, and closing sales. The specific job functions and responsibilities of a salesperson may vary depending on the type of products or services they are selling and the industry in which they are working. However, some common tasks that a salesperson may be responsible for include:

  • Identifying potential customers through market research and outreach efforts
  • Creating and delivering sales pitches and presentations to potential customers
  • Responding to customer inquiries and providing information about products or services
  • Negotiating prices and terms of sales with customers
  • Closing sales and ensuring customer satisfaction
  • Keeping track of sales and customer interactions using sales software or CRM tools
  • Providing feedback to management on market trends and potential new products or services
  • Attending industry events and conferences to stay up-to-date on industry developments and build professional relationships.

There are two main types of sales roles: inside sales and outside sales. Inside sales professionals typically work in an office or call center environment, making sales over the phone or through other forms of electronic communication. Outside sales professionals, on the other hand, are responsible for meeting with clients and prospects in person, either at their place of business or in the field. Depending on the specifics of the company and product, there may also be possibilities for remote roles as a salesperson.

How much do salespeople make?

The pay of a salesperson can vary greatly; depending on experience, products sold, the industry, and on how much of the product or service is sold by the salesperson. There is a very real potential for big earnings for those willing to put in the effort.

Salespeople often receive a commission as part of their compensation. A commission is a percentage of the sales that a salesperson makes. For example, if a salesperson has a 10% commission rate and they make a sale worth $100, they will earn $10 in commission. Commissions are often used as an incentive for salespeople to sell more, as the more they sell, the more they will earn in commission.

Some companies pay their salespeople a salary in addition to a commission, while others rely solely on commissions to compensate their salespeople. Commission rates can vary widely depending on the industry, the type of product or service being sold, and the experience and skill level of the salesperson.

What qualities lead to success in sales?

To be successful in sales, it is important to possess a number of key skills and personal qualities. These include excellent communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to build and maintain relationships, problem-solving and negotiation skills, and a strong work ethic. Sales professionals should also be confident and self-motivated, with the ability to handle rejection and setbacks.

For those who are interested in a career in sales but may not possess all of these skills naturally, there are ways to develop and improve upon them. One way is to seek out sales-related training and education opportunities, such as courses or certifications.

These days, there is also a wealth of information online from professionals willing to share their experience and tips on websites like YouTube that you can use to supplement the gaps in your knowledge. It can also be helpful to seek out mentors or role models in the sales industry, and to practice and refine your skills through role-playing and other exercises.

How can I find a job in sales?

There’s always demand for salespeople. A quick search on Indeed for “sales representative” yielded 268,578 results in the United States, and over 4,000 results within 100 miles. There may be different options elsewhere though, so be sure to check out resources like LinkedIn, Facebook, ZipRecruiter and more. (while you’re here, why not take a look at our current Sales jobs?)

To get a sales job, it is important to have a strong resume that highlights your relevant skills and experience. Identify your strengths and accomplishments that suggest an ability to perform well in sales, and be sure this information is intentionally focused on in your resume. Networking and building relationships with professionals in the industry can also be helpful in finding job opportunities as well as to get some company specific insights.

Many sales positions require a bachelor’s degree, although some may only require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers are willing to forego an education requirement if you already have applicable experience.

Overall, sales is a diverse and dynamic field that offers a range of career opportunities across a variety of industries. To succeed in sales, it is important to possess a range of skills and personal qualities, and to be willing to continually develop and improve upon them. With hard work and dedication, anyone can build a rewarding career in sales.


If you liked this article, stay tuned for information on other industries and job types!

In the future, I’ll dive into more specifics on what a sales job may look like within different industries and specialties.

If a career in Sales interests you, take a moment to check out the Sales jobs we have currently available.

Why Should You Use LinkedIn?

If you’re looking to network or are interested in keeping up to date on your professional industry, there’s no better place than LinkedIn.
Here you can find a vast network of professionals like you across any and all industries. Think of it almost as social media for business, with the benefit of affording you new opportunities.
So why should you use it?

Information

First off, if you’re looking to grow in your career, LinkedIn is a great resource.
Stay on top of market trends and new technologies to get ahead of the curve and improve your skills. Build your network of people from your company, industry, or Job Title to get unique insights that may help inspire or educate you.

Build a Personal Brand & Network 

Join in on the conversation! Share knowledge of your own to help others, and build a strong reputation for yourself in the process. You may even get noticed as a result, possibly offering you unique opportunities. All in all, it can be an enriching resource for passive and active career growth.

Seeking work

On the topic of opportunities, your network of connections may expose you to interesting jobs that you would have otherwise not seen.
LinkedIn in particular has a reputation as being one of the best places to find quality professionals when employers are looking to hire. If LinkedIn is where many employers look first, it’s wise to have your profile in the mix.
If you’re actively looking for work, make sure to take the time to fill out your profile with your experience and skills so that you can be discovered passively by companies seeking your expertise. Browse their Job Board, sporting over 6 million jobs, to get your resume out to the positions you want.
You can also activate a setting that shows you are Open to Work, which will display a graphic over your profile image to increase your visibility. This will make it even easier for employers to find you.

Overall, using LinkedIn can change your professional career for the better, in a multitude of ways. Whether you plan to actively engage with the platform, or just make a profile with your information, it can serve to benefit you nonetheless.

How to Prepare for a Job Search

Feeling unfulfilled, bored, or like you’re not progressing in your career as you desire? If you’re ready to make a change in your job, it’s time to prepare yourself. Here’s some steps to take on how to prepare for a job search.

Planning

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Where do you want to go from here?

Take some time to really think about you. What are your goals? If you haven’t planned ahead, now would be a good time to take some personal inventory to make your planning easier. Are you looking for stability, or a more advanced role? Think about your strengths and what you enjoy. Explore what opportunities are a good match for someone with your strengths.

Whatever your aim is, do some research on the qualifications and skills that you need to move yourself in the direction you want to go. If there’s gaps in the experience you need for your goals, map out the steps you need to take to get the experience you need. Whether it’s education, or moving up through different roles, get an idea of what is necessary to achieve your goals. Having this intentional direction to your job search will help in identifying opportunities that fulfill your needs.

Consider internal opportunities

If you don’t mind your employer or the industry you are in, consider possible opportunities within your company.

Look at the roles that exist in your current company for any that you may be interested in. Talk to your supervisor and express an interest in growth or a particular role, and inquire as to what steps you need to take to get on track for acquiring those skills.

If your employer isn’t interested in training on a different role within the company, make sure that you are truly unsatisfied with your work, and if so, time to prepare to look at your other options.

Optimize your resume for your goals

Make sure to highlight your strengths that are geared towards the kinds of jobs you want. You’d be surprised at the employers that find your skillset desirable.

Check out our article on resume writing tips!

Put your resume up on Job Boards

Countless employers are scouring job boards for resumes just like yours at any given moment. Make sure you’re putting your resume on all of them you can find to increase your potential for opportunities.

Here’s some popular job boards:

  • Indeed
  • Monster
  • CareerBuilder
  • ZipRecruiter

And consider creating a profile on Linkedin if you haven’t already, it’s a great networking tool and a good way to be seen in a way that isn’t limited to just your resume.

Conduct your intentional Job Search

Shoot your shot! Now that you have an idea of the direction you want to move in, it’s time to explore your opportunities.

Since you’ve done some research on the types of roles you’re looking for, it should take some stress out of the process. Be dedicated in your search, and your efforts will pay off.

Keep an open mind. There may be positions you may have never thought you could be considered for but are interested in, check it out! Some employers are more than willing to train the right person, even if they may not have directly related experience. Having the right characteristics and aptitude or enthusiasm can influence more than you think.

Be proactive!

While you’re in the process of getting a new job, consider setting aside some time to develop skills independently. Whether it’s your communication skills or a software, continuing to grow will only serve to help you.

Let us help you in your job search! Send us your resume and our team of recruiters may be able to help you find your ideal job.

Want to succeed in your career?

Become aware of your strengths and weaknesses

If you want to be successful, you need to know a lot about yourself and your performance. The better you know your skills and knowledge, but also your weaknesses and gaps, the more targeted you can work on yourself. Do so – and at regular intervals again and again – a strength and weakness analysis of your professional and personal skills. You should also ask other people for their opinion – good friends, family members and acquaintances. Listen carefully and do not feel hurt by criticism – you can only learn.

Continue your education, even across disciplines and in person

After finding out what strengths and weaknesses you have, you can do something specifically to build skills and improve vulnerabilities. Invest in your knowledge and skills. Read books, listen to cassette programs, attend classes and workshops. Educate yourself professionally and personally. Always be curious about other subjects and acquire useful specialized knowledge. To increase your value as an employee.

Organize your work as effectively as possible

To make a successful career, you should be able to organize yourself and your work as effectively and well as possible. This includes systematic time management, well-planned task organization and effective self-management. Define specific work objectives and check whether you achieve them through your measures and work steps. Also, try to simplify as many levels as possible. Avoid unnecessary handling. Delegate messages to others to get more time for the basics. Seek help if you are stuck with something alone. And look for successful people who manage their work.

Linkedin and the Job Recruiter

Although under-used by average LinkedIn members, LinkedIn Groups can be critical to a successful job search because they enable you to communicate directly with recruiters. And vice versa. You can leverage Groups for both visibility and credibility, demonstrating your knowledge and communications skills — when you use Groups with care.

LinkedIn members can join up to fifty Groups, although LinkedIn members belong to an average of only seven. My strong recommendation is that anyone in a job search join all fifty, at least while in job search mode.

It is easy to join most LinkedIn Groups — just click on the “Join” button. For some Groups, you may need to wait for approval (e.g. a Group for veterans will check to be sure you have military service in your Profile).

And, it’s very easy to leave a Group that is not useful for you. When you belong to a Group, run your mouse over the “Member” button at the top of the Group pages, and it will change to “Leave.” Click it, and you’re out.

Engage Using LinkedIn Groups

Over 2,000,000 Groups exist for jobs and job search (like our own Job-Hunt Help Group, of course!), industries, professions, businesses and types of businesses, locations, employers (and employer alumni), technologies, hobbies, publications, and more. You won’t have trouble finding fifty groups to join.

Communicating

One of the major benefits of Group membership is the ability to communicate directly and privately with other Group members, regardless of your connection status, in addition to communicating publicly in the Discussions.

Group members (like recruiters!) can send “private messages” in Group Discussions and also messages via LinkedIn’s InMail with the Group serving as the approved connection. So, you can contact recruiters — and they can contact you — because you belong to the same Group.

NOTE: Closing in on 2,000,000 members, the largest LinkedIn Group is for job search: Job Openings, Job Leads and Job Connections. Belonging to this Group will make you visible to thousands of recruiters, and it will also make them visible to you (using the Member search function, described next).

Meeting

Groups are a great way to “meet” people virtually. Comment appropriately on other members’ comments and discussions. Your Profile photo will make you recognizable, like a personal logo across all discussions (and social networks), and you will soon begin to look for the contributions of other LinkedIn “friends” by scanning for their Profile photos, too.

Use a Group’s Members Search function (the “Members” tab at the top of each Group page) to find people to reach out to – like recruiters at your target employers, employees of your target employers, people with specific job titles, people in specific locations, etc. This search is very simple (currently), but it can be extremely useful.

Once you have identified someone, you can click on the “send message” link from the Group’s members search results pages to contact them directly. You can also click on “Reply Privately” to contact someone from a discussion or comment they have posted in the Group.

Sharing

Demonstrate what you know by sharing good information you have written or found online. Comment carefully, respectfully, and knowledgeably because what you share in a LinkedIn Group is a live demonstration of who you are, how (and how well) you communicate, and how you work with others.

Researching

You’ll find amazing information available in LinkedIn Groups, from job postings to scientific discoveries and everything in between. In particular, LinkedIn Groups are excellent sources of information about many employers, directly from current and former employees.

Learning

Whatever your field, people are sharing the latest information about that field with other members of relevant Groups. Life-long learning is a fact of life (and career survival) for most of us, and Groups will help you stay up-to-date.

Beware the Hazards of LinkedIn Groups

Groups are excellent, but hazards do exist, and most of the hazards I’ve observed are self-inflicted wounds:

Comments and posts you make in Groups are usually visible in your LinkedIn Update stream. So, a “private” announcement in a small LinkedIn Group can easily become visible to way too many people. You can manage this in the Group settings.
I have seen several people act in Groups as though they were having a private conversation with someone they didn’t like. Not smart (or professional or polite), and very unlikely to impress a potential employer or recruiter. Or anyone else…
I have also seen people post comments full of misspellings and bad grammar. Since these postings are the only examples of your work that most LinkedIn members will see, better to take the time to carefully craft your contributions.
Linkedin allows you to manage the visibility of various Groups on your LinkedIn Profile through each Group’s settings. A Group is visible when the Group’s logo appears on your Profile.

You can also edit your Profile to select the Group logos to make them easily visible (or not) when someone — like your boss or a recruiter — is scanning your Profile.

If you are currently employed, don’t make your membership in any Groups for job search visible on your Profile.

Being SWAM’ed

In addition, most LinkedIn Groups have rules about what behavior is acceptable within the Group and what behavior is not acceptable. You can do what you want, of course, but ignoring a Group’s rules can seriously impact your visibility inside of LinkedIn.

A Group’s owner or manager can block your posts to their Group if you ignore the Group’s rules. The result can be putting you into “moderation” for all of your Groups. This is called “SWAM” (site-wide automated moderation), and it’s best to avoid it when possible because it can limit your LinkedIn visibility for a while.

Each Group’s rules are available by clicking on the “i” at the top of each Group page, and clicking on the “Rules” link, if one is there.

Bottom Line

You know the basics, of course: your Profile must be 100 percent complete, including a nice head shot photo (just you — no babies, pets, family, or friends). Groups will help you expand your LinkedIn Connections which is necessary for visibility inside LinkedIn. You will only be visible in the search results of people who are connected to you, so the more connections, the better.

Source: Susan P. Joyce

5 pieces of advice to ignore while searching for jobs in Seattle

Ask for a promotion. 
It’s common to hear that you won’t get a raise or a promotion if you don’t ask for one. But you shouldn’t ask; “not even at your annual review.” Instead, use your actions to show you’re a better leader.
Learn the business inside and out, generate team results that your boss can’t ignore and create the most positive, supportive, entrepreneurial spirit in the company.  Then, when there is a need for a new leader, you will be asked. If you want to be promoted into a leadership role this is the best route.
Keep your resume brief. 

You’ve probably been told to keep your resume to one page.  Your resume reflects why you are best qualified for and deserving of the proposed position. If you’ve had extensive work experience, don’t sacrifice highlighting your skills, talents, and expertise just to cram everything onto one sheet of paper. Your resume should be tailored for the specific job you are applying for, and each job description should emphasize the talents that you have developed and will bring to the proposed role.

A great resume will get you hired. 

It’s vital to focus on using your resume to get an interview. “Your resume doesn’t need to be in chronological order or even include every job you’ve had. Your resume is a marketing tool, use it — along with your phone — to get an interview. A great attitude and interview gets you the job, not the resume. Recognizing the different stages of the hiring process is critical to creating a tool that works well for its intended purpose.”

Send a post-interview thank-you note. 

Instead, send a strategic follow-up letter indicating why you are an excellent candidate,  it should be a response to the asked or un-asked question: why should we hire you?

Follow your passion.

This tip is the most erroneous, many people have multiple passions or might not discover their true passions until later in life, and sometimes these passions are just not viable as a source of income.  The right question would be ‘What kind of life do I want to set up for myself?’”

Ultimate Guide to picking good job references in Redmond

You know you’re nearing the final stretch of an interview process (and that it’s looking good for you) when a potential employer asks these three questions:

  1. When would you be available to start? (Or, how much notice do you need to give your current employer?)
  2. Can we get you set up for your physical and drug screen?
  3. Will you please provide us with a list of professional references we may contact?

Question number three can rattle even the strongest of candidates if you’re not prepared to respond swiftly with names, titles, the nature of the relationship, and current contact information for however many people with whom they’d like to speak.

Don’t get caught in scramble mode at this stage of the game. Your prompt response and the quality of your references can take you the distance if you play this right.

Let’s begin.

Who Should I List (or Not List) as a Reference?

Generally speaking, your future employer wants to talk with the following people, in order of importance (depending on your role):

  1. Your current manager or supervisor
  2. Your prior managers or supervisors
  3. Your current peers or clients (if you’re interviewing for a client-facing role)
  4. Your prior peers or clients
  5. Your personal references or friends who will vouch for you

Number five, by the way, is a remote fifth place. Reserve this one for only those times you have few other options, and make sure to ask if it’s OK to include personal references before you do so. Also, if you’re a graduating college student (or recent grad), you can absolutely include professors who may be able to speak to your performance and work ethic.

Never (ever) include relatives, unless you happen to work directly for or with one. Oh, and absolutely don’t ever give a fake name and then commission your buddy to “pretend” to be your employer or peer. Recruiters are not stupid. Treat them so at your own peril.

Keep in mind that the primary reason why potential employers want to check your references is because they want a third party to vouch for your on-the-job performance and character. You can tout your greatness all day long in the interview, but it truly gels for decision makers when others tout it for you.

Should They Be on My Resume?

Nooooooo. Heavens, no. Not only do you not need to list out your references, you shouldn’t. It takes up unnecessary resume space, and there’s a remote chance that a recruiter may be more interested in, say, your manager (who you’ve listed) than he or she is in you. No need to hand over all of this information before you captivate him or her.

Likewise, no need to write out “References available upon request.” This is a given. When the hiring manager want them, he or she will ask for them. 100% of the time.

What If I’m a Covert Job Seeker?

This can be a tricky one. If you’re currently employed—and job searching on the sly—who can you trust in these final, important legs of a job transition? I can’t answer this one definitively because every situation is different, and the stakes can be quite high. Trust your gut.

Chances are, you aren’t going to be able to use your current manager as a reference. Certainly, consider enlisting former managers. But you should also think about asking one to two colleagues with whom you have a close personal bond (and established level of trust). If and when you ask them for this support, spell it out very clearly how important it is for you to keep your search under wraps—and the potential consequences for you if they blab.

Also, if you’re providing your potential employer with a relatively weak list of references, be sure and alert them that you’re aware of that, and explain why.

How Should I Ask?

I always encourage clients to approach potential references with specificity, instead of the old, “Hey, would you be willing to be my reference?” Do that, and you’re going to have to let the chips fall where they may in terms of what this person offers up. And along those lines, do this over the phone if possible. You’ll get a much better idea of how excited (or unexcited) this person is to help you.

Make sure to frame your request in a way that spells out the details of the role you’re pursuing, what you anticipate the caller is likely going to want to talk about, and how he or she can be the most helpful.

Example: “Because they’re going through so much change and restructuring right now, I’m guessing they’re going to want to make sure I have strong leadership skills and the ability to turn around struggling teams and programs. If you’re willing, I’d love for you to share some detail on the program we revitalized in 2014.”

Be specific, and also ask this direct question at the end of the call, “May I count on you to give me a favorable reference should the company contact you?”

Don’t assume your past co-worker or boss is going to sing your praises. You never know—she may be jealous of your opportunity here or feel like you dropped the ball on something last year. If you ask this question, you’ll either get a “Yes, of course you can count on me” or an awkward pause or waffle. Don’t list anyone who responds with the awkward pause or waffle. Lukewarm references can sink you in the home stretch.

Is There Anything I Should Provide My References With?

Ideally, provide them with a copy of the job description or an overview of the role and main responsibilities. If you can, also give them some background on the person you anticipate will be calling them, so that they can feel up-to-date and prepared for the conversation.

Also, if it’s someone you’ve used as a reference before (and you suspect would be fine being listed again), provide him or her with a heads-up. Don’t list people without giving them any indication that you’ve used them as a reference for this next opportunity. That’s rude, and it may annoy them to the point of not giving you a glowing review.

What Do I Do After They Are Contacted?

Honestly, you don’t always know when a reference has been contacted, but often times your people will follow up to let you know the conversation just took place.

What do you do? This one is easy—thank him or her, and offer to return the favor if it’s ever needed. And, when you land that job? Most definitely let each of your references know, and consider a small thank you gift, like a coffee gift card or lunch.

Get it right, take it the distance, and enjoy that amazing new gig in 2016.

Job Loss Happens…

Be More Than Prepared

Always have an up-to-date resume ready to send. You never know when an opportunity that is too good to pass up might come along. If you’re not on LinkedIn yet, create a LinkedIn Profile and start making connections who can help your job search.

Don’t Wait

If you are laid-off, file for unemployment benefits right away. You will most likely be able to file online or by phone. Waiting could delay your benefits check.

Get Help

Utilize free or inexpensive services that provide career counseling and job search assistance such as college career offices, state Department of Labor offices or your local public library. Many libraries provide workshops, programs, classes, computers and printers you can use, and other resources to help you with your job search.

 Work with CareerPathsNW

We are the Pacific Northwest’s leading recruiting agency, its a no cost service to the candidates and if you are in the market for a job, we can help connect you with the right jobs with companies that are looking for individuals like you. Come see us for a free consultation.

New Grads, Follow 7 Steps to Score Glowing Job References

Spring is nearly in the air and millions of college students are looking ahead to graduation day. If they are getting prepared for life after they walk off campus for the final time, this group of millennials is also engaged in serious thinking about what they want to do next.

Here’s something else that students and early-career professionals should start thinking about: Building a portfolio of job references and taking the time to cultivate them.

For most employers, hiring an entry-level employee is a leap of faith. Without much of a workplace track record to judge by, employers are forced to depend on what fits on a piece of paper (a resume) and whatever can be gleaned from brief first impressions (interviews).

Is it any wonder that many entry-level job applicants from comparable schools and backgrounds are indistinguishable?

A few glowing job references can set a candidate apart from the crowd. Knowing that, how should a job seeker build out a killer roster of references? Here are seven key tips for putting together a top-notch reference list. These apply to first-time job seekers, but also to anyone who’s getting ready for the next move in their career.

1. Look for ways to cultivate your references. Check in regularly. Keep them up-to-date on your career successes. Talk to them about where you want to take your career. Not only will you build a base of supporters you can rely on for guidance, you will also have a group of people to turn to with confidence when you’re gunning for the job you want.

2. Get a sense of what your references are likely to say about you, especially your areas for improvement. This can be slightly tricky, but it’s doable. Ideally, your references are people you’ve gotten feedback from in the past, so you should have a feel for what they’ll say. To get clarity, it’s important to test your assumptions. It comes down to having a candid conversation with the people you’re planning to use as job references. Try to talk in a more casual, informal setting – at lunch or over a cup of coffee. Explain to them why you’d appreciate their help, and ask them to share their honest perspective on how they would talk about you during a reference check. Most times, references will be flattered by your request.

3. Don’t be afraid to serve as your own strongest advocate. It’s important to make sure that your professors, managers and other potential references know about your capabilities so that they can speak clearly with potential employers about you and your work. While this step is important, don’t be too aggressive when doing it.

4. Don’t hesitate to show off your strengths in the classroom and the workplace. Job references need to see what you can do, so they can tell prospective employers about it. Look for opportunities to demonstrate progress and smart work, so others can observe it. This doesn’t mean you should be a shameless self-promoter. It’s important to share how confident you are but do so while acting with a sense of humility. Still, if no one knows what you can accomplish, no one can tell your future managers why they should hire you.

5. Let your references know that they might be called upon and have their current contact information. If your references are readily available when an employer asks for them, it indicates that you’ve informed and prepared them to take a call or an online request – all good signs that you’re someone who is focused, thorough and motivated.

6. In addition to professors, try to have some former managers as references, even if they’re from internships. Input from people who have seen you perform in the workplace counts for a lot. Professors are great – and you should use them – but employers are thinking about how you’re going to perform once you’re walking through their doors. Feedback from managers at internships, summer jobs, work-study or any other kind of employment is key.

7. Be grateful – and show it. Your references are doing you a favor. They’re going out of their way to help you build your future. And they’re putting their own reputation and credibility on the line when they vouch for you. Be sure to thank them. A hand-written note or a warmly worded email can mean a lot. At the same time, these are folks whom you may want to ask for help again. Use the opportunity of thanking them, to keep cultivating the relationship and to ask what you can do to help them in the future.

So, whether you’re a college senior or someone getting ready to look for that next job, don’t lose track of your references. Good references don’t just happen. Your reference roster has to be cared for, nurtured and maintained. High-quality job references can make the difference between getting that job or wondering why your phone isn’t ringing.