How much do you know about getting a job?
As a member of the Class of 1998, I have been spending this Winter Study browsing the literature at the OCC, slouching in a chair and half-heartedly jotting addresses from various pink Job Notebooks onto some notepad with “Putnam Investments” written at the bottom. I try to concentrate on my task, but I find myself watching people I know walk confidently through the library space, wearing suits and holding leather notebooks. They look mature. They look sharp. They look like they have direction. What’s going on?
I wasn’t sure, but I was determined to figure it out. As an Art History major, I am not always confident that my degree is practical in the real world. I decided to evaluate my knowledge and motivation, which is an important part of finding a career, or so I have heard. I fashioned a little true-or-false quiz, based on OCC books (“Jobsmarts for TwentySomething” by Bradley Richardson and “The Job Hunter’s Final Exam” by Thomas Camden), and I encourage to use it if you don’t want to end up like I am. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I have to start somewhere.
1. Take the Quiz
2. Score Yourself. Scoff at Result.
3. Read the Answers.
4. Take the Quiz Again. Feel Better.
1. Most people are able to find a job in a week or two. If it takes longer than a month, something is terribly wrong.
2. It’s better to be unemployed than underemployed.
3. Companies don’t hire people. People hire people.
4. If you are particularly attractive, it is a good idea to include a picture with the resume.
5. Is it a good idea to include height and weight in the personal statement section of the resume, particularly if you are tall?
6. “Networking” means talking to important people who have jobs.
7. Companies seldom hire “C” students.
8. Sending 100 resumes to 100 different companies is certain to generate at least 10 interviews.
9. “Headhunter” refers to the person who is interviewing you.
10. When an interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself,” he or she really wants to know if you have any bad habits.
11. You have to have direction in order to find a job.
Scoring: Give yourself one point for every correct answer.
1. FALSE. Even though everyone else has bought a suit, and it appears that he and she have suddenly turned into adults, it really isn’t so terrible. Something is only slightly wrong. If at all possible, spend some quality time at the OCC to make yourself feel better. Assuage guilt.
2. FALSE. Come now, don’t let those youthful ideals get in the way of your real desire: money. Sure, there are people out there who have managed to figure out how get paid to do what they love-painting, writing novels, owning vineyards, living in large villas in Tuscany and eating gnocchi-but that’s impossible for you. Take what you can get.
3. TRUE. The decision to hire is made by a warm-blooded, intelligent person who wants to do the right thing for the company. That’s why you were rejected.
4. FALSE. Only actors and models need include them. Clearly there is a reason that you aren’t looking for those jobs, and inevitably they’re going to see your real face.
5. TRUE and FALSE. The question itself intimates a bias against short people. If you want your height and weight on the resume, particularly if you’re applying to be a jockey, go ahead and include it. You’ll feel better. If you think that the information is irrelevant, or perhaps even detrimental, leave it out. You’ll feel better.
6. TRUE. They have what you want. Go on. Be shameless. It could make up for your shortcomings. Studies have indicated that 80% of all positions are obtained through networking and connections. Everyone is important, so kiss up. The guy sleeping next to you in class could be the leader of the free world someday.
7. FALSE. See #6. Companies like to see “ability to communicate,” “potential for growth,” “strong analytical skills,” or “previous employment with the company.” Grades are incidental.
8. FALSE. But it’s a shame that it isn’t true.
9. I DON’T KNOW. Sometimes they’re called “pirates” or “flesh peddlers.” What kind of bitter jargon is this? I’m sensing some negative vibes. One might even get the impression that the job market is competitive. My personal solution is to avoid any companies that use phrases such as “Executive Search Consultant,” “Associate Account Manager,” or “Caveat Emptor.”
10. TRUE. No interviewer will admit it, though. They want to know how you’re obsessed with “Baywatch,” drink heavily at least four nights a week, clip your fingernails in class, read trashy magazines and take meaningless quizzes to evaluate how bedable you are, sleep until noon and stuff yourself with Subway when you get the munchies. Instead, you must tell them that you “engage in family activities,” “collect stamps, coins, and art,” “garden” and “write short stories.”
11. FALSE. Yale University conducted a study of a graduating class and found that less than 5% had any type of written or stated goals. Just pretend that you know what you’re doing, and you’ll be fine. Refer back to #6.
The meaning of your score:
1-4: Whipped Cream. Woof, woof! Does this dude come with a leash? His puppy-dog eyes and gaga behavior scoring brownie points with you, but he’s losing major self-respect by bowing to your every need. He’s drooling over you 24/7, and-
Hang on. Wrong quiz.
1-4: Indolent Imbecile. When it comes to job smarts, you have a mental age of seven or eight years and a negligible motivation quotient. You have a disposition to avoid all exertion and you lack the foresight to jump to the side when you’re about to be hit by a semi. My advice is to find out what “OCC” stands for, and camp there.
5-8: Sort-of Searcher. You feel slight pangs of envy when your friends show you their new 24-lb business stationary. You feel slight attacks of panic when you think of the post-graduation void. You feel slight urges to find out what consultants really do. My advice is to act as I have: Put together some semblance of a resume and apply for any and all jobs that are missing the word “Associates” or “Group” and do not consist of more than two names, i.e. Nutter, O’Shaughnessey, Pinochle and Trout.
9-11: Ambitious Alien. I don’t understand you, but I wish I knew what you knew. You have attended multiple sessions of “Inside the Interview” and you have long- and short-range goals and objectives. Why are you taking this quiz? You probably already have a job. I don’t want to hear you complaining.