5 career tips you’ll actually use, from people who can actually hire you

Climbing the corporate ladder is an ongoing process, whether you’re a first-time job seeker trying to start a career or a seasoned professional. It’s important to understand how to navigate job interviews, interactions with bosses and day-to-day office life.

Starbucks and 31 corporate partners teamed up for the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, committed to providing career skills and jobs to “opportunity youth,” 16- to 24-year-olds from mostly low-income backgrounds who face barriers to careers and education.

We talked to two Starbucks recruiters, Jonathan Lara and Carrie Julius, who have made a career out of finding new talent. They shared their top tips for young professionals.

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Our hiring experts agree: doing your research ahead of your interview is critical. But everyone will be going to the job board and checking out the company website. Try taking the route less traveled — mine social media, check the Instagram page, see what the brand has been posting on Facebook. It may give you interesting insight into what the company values.

“Always be prepared to answer, ‘Why are you interested in this opportunity?'” Lara advised. “Showing that you’re passionate about the company can really set a candidate apart.”

If you’re applying to Starbucks, go to a cafe, chat with a barista, figure out which coffee you like best. No matter where you’re applying, the recruiter can tell when you’re not prepared.

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Sounds weird, but bear with us: body language experts say that pretending to wear a cape helps you stand up straight and project confidence. And our experts agree — confidence is huge.

“Really be mindful of non-verbal cues when you’re in an interview or interacting with coworkers,” Lara said. “Make eye contact, smile and nod to show that you’re actively listening. Prove that you’re confident about your accomplishments.”

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It’s easy to forget that an interview is actually just a conversation. Instead of letting the interviewer ask all the questions, be ready to ask some questions yourself. Prepare some questions ahead of time, based on the job description and your own specific interests.

“Remember that an interview is more than just answering questions,” Julius said. “It’s a time for you as a candidate to make sure it’s a mutual fit. Interviewers want to understand what you’re passionate about.”

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It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed for an interview. Even if your jeans are expensive and your t-shirt is designer, opt instead for a more polished look.

“Whether you’re in an interview or on the job, always strive to be poised, professional and prepared,” Julius said. “Business professional attire is the way to go.”

Business professional attire includes a suit and tie for men and a pants suit or dress for women. Use judgment here, but err on the side of formality. Plus, when you’re looking the part, it’ll be easier to project confidence.

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Sure, your boss might be intimidating. But they’re the person who will help you move up the professional ladder. Make sure to build a good relationship and keep an open dialogue.

“Identify what’s important to you in your career, and communicate that with your manager from day one” Lara said. “What tasks and activities can you do to advance into a leadership role? Create a personal development plan and share it with your manager to show initiative.”

Chances are, your supervisor is there to help you get ahead. After all, it will make them look better.

Get involved

Ready to apply for a job and ace that interview? The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is coming to Phoenix on Friday, October 30th with 25+ companies expected to make hundreds of on-the-spot job offers to participating youth. Register for free here.

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