It's that time of year when your kids, your neighbors' kids, or your customers' kids will be graduating from school, or college, and looking for a job.

Naturally, since you are a banker, their parents will suggest that they turn to you for advice.

Perhaps some of the suggestions I give my students before they leave Rutgers can be useful to you:

First of all, I tell them not to be discouraged by the stories of the lack of jobs in finance or anywhere else. I find that the bright, aggressive students always land on their feet. Jobs do open up. And while you have to be in the right place at the right time, you also have to recognize when you are in the right place and work like mad to justify remaining there.

Even before entering the rat race, it is important to determine what you want to do. For unless you land a job that fits your personality, it can be miserable, no matter how important the job is. Conversely, if the job is your cup of tea, there won't be single day in your life that it will feel like work. The goal is to have such fun in work that you constantly ask yourself, "Are they really paying me to do this?"

Job applicants must ask themselves: Am I a Type-A personality, anxious to work like mad, day and night to get ahead, or am I a Type-B personality who will give my job eight or so good hours a day, but the rest of the time is mine?

This is a question that needs answering. For while it may seem that employers want all Type-A personalities, if an individual is not an "A" and takes a position where "A" level motivation is required, both he and the employer will be disappointed. And not all jobs need and can use "A" people; conversely an "A" person in a "B" job can make everyone miserable.

Answering "I am in the middle" won't work. For if you are an A-minus or a B-plus in an environment of A-plus people, you are bound to look bad by comparison.

Similarly, are you an outside person who likes to go different places every day and do different things, or are you an inside person, who likes a steady routine. There are fine jobs available for each. The problems arise when an individual goes into the wrong slot.

Once you know about yourself, then you must know as much as you can about the potential employer before each interview. Nothing impresses a hiring person more than an applicant who has done his homework. Similarly the applicant should concentrate his application and interview on what he can do for the company, not what benefits are available for him.

Some other suggestions I offer first-time job seekers:

*If you have some skeleton in the closet, reveal it at the beginning of the employment process. For it will come out eventually. And if you can talk about it and do find it will not hurt your chances of getting the job, then you will be far more relaxed and interview better.

*Know enough about what people of your age and background are being paid so that you can determine if any offer is too high or too low.

Too low an offer means the company is considering you for a position requiring less qualifications than you have. Too high a salary could mean they plan to use you in some routine operation where they will get their money's worth from you right away and will not have to absorb the cost of training that most good jobs involve.

*Remember: "Anyone who thinks traveling for a living is fun doesn't do it." Make sure to find out exactly what the job entails.

*Be realistic. Your first job in investment banking won't be handling the merger of Ford and General Motors. More likely you will be analyzing the credit of a local auto dealer or doing spreadsheets for a loan officer.

*But most important: Don't get discouraged no matter how many rejections you get. It only takes one job offer to win, no matter how many losses you have in the application and interview process.

I hope these encouraging words will help your child - or your neighbors' or customers' - focus his or her job search.

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