Now that tax season is over, Reddit’s Personal Finance sub is moving on to try and help its readers improve their employment prospects. That’s why April’s challenge is: update your resume, get an internship, keep your wardrobe updated, or ask for a raise.
Where you are in your employment journey will determine which challenge you take on.
I work from home, so I don’t really need to keep an updated wardrobe, I’m beyond my internship years, and I recently got a raise, so I settled for updating my resume—which is the first challenge I’ll discuss.
1. Keep your resume up to date and constantly seek feedback
It’s a lot easier to keep your resume up to date when you’re working. Trying to remember all your responsibilities after you’ve left a job can be difficult, and you might miss something important.
I hadn’t updated my resume since right before graduating college, so I took the steps to do so. Luckily, I already has a template in place, so I didn’t have to start from scratch.
For those of you who are starting from the very beginning, or are updating after years at the same job, Reddit offers some tips from the Rochester Institute of Technology. At Money Under 30. we also have nine tips that will make your resume unique!
Now that we’re in the age of social media, you should consider linking your professional pages (LinkedIn, for example). You may also want to clean up your Facebook, considering many employees now take a look at your page to get to know you better.
Since my resume was easy to update, I also took sine tune to do a little research on the best interview tactics, and you should too—especially if you’re considering applying for a new job soon. We have an article that helps you not suck at applying for your next job.
2. If you’re a student who is free this summer and haven’t done so already: get yourself an internship!
Onto the next challenge! If you’ve never had an internship, you should know that they’re one of the best ways to gain experience while still in college. And, as Reddit points out, they’re also, by far one of the most effective career boosters out there.
Unfortunately, many internships are unpaid—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider one if you can afford it! Not only do internships offer job experience, but they can help you meet important contacts in your field of choice. Some of those contacts may even consider hiring your after graduation since they already know you’re a hard worker.
3. Remember to dress for success
If you’re looking for an internship or job, one of the most important things you can do is offer a good first impression. That means you have to dress the part. Personally, I can’t stand a suit and tie, but I still wore one for all my job interviews (well, except my fast food job in high school). Thankfully, I now work from home, so my everyday outfit typically consists of sweatpants.
But if you work in an office environment, you’ll need to keep an updated wardrobe. Doing so will pay off. In fact, according to CNN, “41 percent of employers said that people who dress better or more professionally tend to be promoted.”
We understand that keeping a closet full of professional clothes can get expensive, so we have a few tips for building a wardrobe on a budget.
4. Consider the best time to ask for a raise or promotion
If you’re already happy with your place of employment, but you’re hoping to ask for a raise soon, it can be extremely intimidating, even if you know you deserve more money.
If your annual performance review is coming up, that’s a perfect time to ask for a raise or promotion, since you’ll be talking about all you’ve offered to the company in the last year. Make sure you’re prepared! Gather all your materials including:
- A list of all completed projects
- Questions you may have
- Salary rates for your profession in your area
If you’re nervous (which is understandable), we have some helpful advice. First, know exactly what you want. What position do you think you deserve and why? The same goes for a raise.
Be prepared to negotiate. Whatever offer you give, chances are your employer will negotiate lower. Don’t immediately take their deal, talk it out. After all, simply asking for what you want is half the battle. After you do that, chances are you’ll be a little braver.
Finally, do your research beforehand. Here are seven of the best salary information sites to help you in your negotiation.
Getting your dream job or internship can be difficult, but if you’re prepared, you shouldn’t have a problem asking for exactly what you want. First, start with the perfect resume and wardrobe. This will show that you’re truly prepared—and honestly, many people don’t put enough effort into these simple steps.
Next, have all your notes in front of you. Know what it is you really want and don’t be afraid to ask for it!