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Get the advice you need to successfully start your career.

This blog presents guidance on topics such as making the most of 1stGig, writing appropriate cover letters and resumes, developing solid interview strategies, negotiating a starting salary, deciding about graduate school, and much, much more. It is interactive as well as informative: If you have questions or comments about what you read here, or if you have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered, just let us know.

Keyword: job research

How do I stand out in a job interview?

Know what you want, why you want it, and how you can contribute productively to whatever position you're interviewing for. (Read more)

Should I accept an offer for a job I don’t like?

When you’re out of work and searching for a job, it may seem that you have to accept a job offer, even if it turns out that the job isn’t really what you expected it to be or what you’re interested in. While it’s important to accept financial responsibility and pay your own way, it’s also important that you carefully consider every job offer and make sure it’s a good fit for you. (Read more)

What are some of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make?

If you ask ten Human Resources professionals what they think is the biggest mistake that job seekers make, you’re likely to get ten different answers. But if you ask them to list the top five, you’re going to see some mistakes show up over and over. Avoiding the seven mistakes listed below can put you ahead of many other applicants and will demonstrate that you should be viewed as a serious candidate. (Read more)

How can I make the most of my internship (or co-op) experience?

Several years ago, I asked a group of students who had just completed internships to tell me what advice they would give to a someone who was about to begin an internship. While there was a lot of variation in their answers, there were several consistent themes that can help you make the most of your workplace experience. (Read more)

What can I do to improve my chances of making relevant connections through 1st Gig?

While you have no way of knowing which employers have posted jobs on that would interest you, you should have some idea of the type of job that you’re hoping to find. The more you know about that type of job, and the more you are able to provide evidence showing that you meet requirements for those jobs, the more likely it is that you will get matched with one or more employers looking to hire someone with your attributes. (Read more)

What would make me happy at work?

Several years ago, Gallup conducted a nationwide survey of workers to assess job satisfaction, and an astonishing 70% of the people who were polled said that they didn’t really like their jobs! Given that you will spend about a quarter of your adult life at work, you don’t want to be in that 70%. So what can you do to avoid it? You can start thinking now about the factors that would make you like—or hate—your job. I’m going to pose some questions to help you think about those factors, which may be able to help you conduct a more narrow—and more fruitful—job search. (Read more)

Why Summer Jobs Matter

A few months ago, President Obama published an article on LinkedIn about why his first job mattered. In the article, he describes his experience scooping ice cream when he was a teenager. He says, “My first summer job wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it taught me some valuable lessons. Responsibility. Hard work. Balancing a job with friends, family, and school.” I completely agree with that position, and I think you can learn those same lessons with any job you hold, whether it’s a summer job or a part-time job during the school year. But I think that if you are thoughtful about both the jobs you choose and the way you work at those jobs, you can gain a lot more. (Read more)

How do I determine a reasonable salary?

My students often tell me that their greatest fear going into an interview is that they’ll be asked about their salary requirements. That’s a reasonable fear: You don’t want to suggest a salary that’s higher than what the employer will be willing (or allowed) to pay, but you also don’t want to sell yourself short by suggesting a figure that’s lower than what they have budgeted. (Read more)

How much do I know about entry-level jobs relevant to my desired career?

In my experience, students usually fall into one of two categories: those who know exactly what type of career they want (for example, industrial engineer, graphic designer, journalist, doctor, lawyer) and those who don’t!  Both groups need to do research to help attain desired careers, but that research is likely to start out differently. (Read more)
Susan M. Katz
Student Career Placement Consultant

Susan M. Katz, PhD, is 1stGig’s Student Career Placement Consultant and the author of Start Your Career: 5 Steps to Finding the Right Job after College.  She is also Associate Professor of English and Internship Coordinator at North Carolina State University, where she developed internship courses for both undergraduate and graduate students. Her courses help students prepare for the job search process, identify their strengths, and consider a variety of potential career paths. Her first book, The Dynamics of Writing Review: Opportunities for Growth and Change in the Workplace, describes some of the processes that newcomers must go through as they enter the workplace and adapt to organizational conventions.