Be polite. Be on time. Follow up on those telephone calls, and be kind to secretaries.
That’s the kind of advice you’d give to any job seeker. But what can you tell the twentysomethings?
Bradley G. Richardson has a few suggestions. How about reminding them to keep their body piercings covered up? Or, don’t wear high-top sneakers to the big interview. And do make sure that the message on your answering machine doesn’t say, “Dude, I can’t come to the phone right now ‘cause I’m out partying!”
Richardson - and it’s Bradley, please, not Brad - is a young man on a mission. His goal: to make sure that fellow X-ers don’t wind up in careers involving the question “Would you like fries with that?”
To that end, he’s written “Jobsmarts for Twentysomethings: A Street-Smart Script for Career Success,” and it’s definitely not your parents’ job-hunt guide. “Jobsmarts” is filled with cartoons, real-life examples and references to everything from Nike ads to “Reality Bites.”
Richardson came up with the idea after graduating from the University of Oklahoma and launching his own big job search. He did his homework, and was disappointed with the reference books he found.
“The how-to books just didn’t address the concerns of someone just graduating school. They’d be written by CEOs with doctorates and the corner office. How could someone like that relate to me? I had a used couch; I owed Uncle Sam my firstborn; I’m driving a Volvo with the bumper tied on, and a big night out for me was whatever cheap beer was on sale at the Best Buy and the eight-for-a-dollar ramen noodles.”
Eventually, Richardson found a job selling on-line information services for Datatimes, a high-tech firm in Oklahoma City. He worked there for several years, then was briefly the vice president of another high-tech firm, before putting his full effort into writing the book he said he wished had been there when he graduated.
“Jobsmarts” has advice for all phases of the job search. The first section, “Training for the Race” talks about getting ready to undertake a job search, and offers advice on choosing a field, setting goals, gaining skills and experience and making connections.
“Entering the Race” covers the job search itself. Here, Richardson talks about taking risks. That can mean making a phone call even if you’re answering an ad that specifically says, “No calls.”
The last part of “Jobsmarts” deals with what Richardson says is a long-neglected topic - what to do once you’ve actually got a job. That includes not sleeping with your co-workers, not wearing skirts that rival Amanda Woodward’s on “Melrose Place,” not getting a reputation as the office party boy or girl, and not always going for the job that pays the big bucks.
“I’ve gotten a great response so far,” Richardson said. “People are so happy to find something where they’re not getting preached at, not getting talked down to, where they’re just getting the tools to help them become marketable.”