• Growing Your STEM Career

    October 20, 2016 by

    Love your science careerThe STEM workforce is crucial to America’s global competitiveness. STEM graduates have more career opportunities now than any other time in U.S. history. This three-part series from BASF, a global chemical company, examines ways that recent college grads can establish a strong foundation to join the next generation of scientists and engineers. The first post in this series examined the different education paths to consider when preparing for a STEM and the second post examined the STEM career opportunities available. 

    STEM employment will increase rapidly: about 13 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to te U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that STEM jobs will outgrow non-STEM jobs by almost two to one.

    If you are planning a career in STEM, you should know which areas are expected to have the most job openings. For instance, the fastest-growing STEM undergraduate degrees in 2013 were statistics, computer information technology, administration and management, and environmental health engineering, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

    Once you’ve landed your STEM job, how do you advance your career?

    Forward-thinking companies recognize the importance of creating a strong internal talent pipeline in order to fill the skills gap, and seek to attract and retain employees with growth potential. Many businesses now provide unique opportunities for employees to design their career in a variety of ways and explore multiple job functions within a variety of disciplines, rather than limit professional development to a linear career ladder.

    A great way to learn about other jobs is to immerse yourself in the company as a whole, and look for opportunities to participate in projects or interests that are outside of your job description. Some companies offer employees the chance to work with different groups and take on new responsibilities, exposing them to other roles from both an upward and lateral perspective. For example, BASF offers leadership development programs to help employees master new skills and discover additional talents. We organize these programs as rotational assignments, which provide entry-level hires with diverse working experiences. This is a good way to build their skills and professional network through cross-business training programs in areas such as marketing, engineering and supply chain management.

    Get creative

    Previous generations typically followed a linear career plan. However, today’s workforce seeks career experiences that are diverse, engaging and innovative. BASF offers unique non-linear career journeys, described as “career roadmaps” rather than “career paths.” For example, a manufacturing engineer working in plastics can use his or her product knowledge to switch over to a marketing position. Mid- or senior-level employees in the same field may have had very different career journeys that landed them in similar positions.

    It’s important to take ownership of your career goals, rather than adhering to the conventional belief that you need to perform at a certain level to reach a certain role by a particular age. Businesses today are empowering employees to embrace the freedom to creatively pursue their career goals. Through formal mentoring programs along with advanced training and education opportunities, companies are helping employees shape their aspirations and continue to develop their skills both on and off the job.

    It’s important to have regular conversations with your supervisor to set career goals for yourself and track your performance. If you discover a passion in an area outside your particular realm, see how you can work together to integrate new responsibilities into your role or transition into a new position.

    The STEM industry offers great flexibility to explore new interests and opportunities on and off the job. If you are an entry-level employee, be sure to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. You may be surprised by where your career takes you.

    luciana-amaroLuciana Amaro is a Vice President in BASF Corporation’s Human Resources department, leading the Talent Development and Strategy unit.  In her current role, which she assumed on August 1, 2014, she is responsible for North American talent management, leadership development, staffing and university relations, workforce planning, learning and development, organizational development and change management.

  • Beyond the hammer and hard hat: Don’t overlook unique career opportunities in construction industry

    October 18, 2016 by
    jobs in the construction industry

    Photo courtesy of Stockunlimited.com

    Are you a recent college grad or entry-level job seeker seeking a job in accounting or finance, information technology, human resources, project management, engineering, customer service, or administration? Are you a woman or minority seeking an industry with career growth and upward mobility?

    Then look no further than a career in the construction industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the construction industry to see an employment growth of 13.6 percent, or almost 520,000 new jobs by the year 2024. Companies across the country are seeking recent college grads to fill open positions, but old school stereotypes about the type of jobs and skills needed to succeed in the construction industry still exist – and that causes many recent college grads and entry-level job seekers to overlook careers in the construction industry.

    Tim Mayer, Director of Talent Acquisition for Kraus-Anderson Construction Company (KA), understands those challenges and stereotypes, and he and other industry professionals are working diligently to change the perception and awareness about opportunities in construction.

    Breaking down construction industry stereotypes

    Kraus Anderson has about 500 employees, is based in Minnesota, and has a wide variety of divisions, but is primarily known for its commercial building division. When recruiting for open positions, Mayer and team face many of the same stereotypes as other construction companies across the country.

    “The biggest misconception is one of men in hard hats swinging hammers and providing other labor,” says Mayer. “This is obviously a big part of what is needed in the industry, but also neglects the need for highly-educated and trained people in the construction and support roles listed above. In actuality, the construction industry is really a service industry with a focus on building and maintaining relationships.”

    Tips for recent college grads seeking a career in the construction industry

    Mayer says current college students and recent college grads seeking opportunities in the construction industry should research a company where they are interested in working at to find out about internships, and current job openings. The Kraus Anderson college recruiting program focuses on project and field engineer internships, and has also hired interns in accounting and HR role, pending on need. The company has developed relationships with about 13 colleges and universities to help fill internship roles throughout the company.

    “I think there are some major misconceptions about careers in the construction industry that I have seen proven wrong time and time again in my over five years in the construction industry,” says Mayer. “I think most people would be surprised to learn that construction is also a very well paying industry, with an entrepreneurial spirit, where development and increased responsibility are readily available to those willing to learn and stretch their skills.”

    Mayer is the prime example. He works in the construction industry, but he fills an important human resources leadership role in that industry. He received a B.A. in History from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN., and an M.A.in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from University of Minnesota’s Industrial Relations Center at the Carlson School of Management. Prior to KA, Mayer worked at Mortenson Construction, where he served as senior talent acquisition specialist.  He was also a senior professional recruiter for Manpower Professional.

    “Even though I have never built a project, I take great pride in pointing out landmark projects that the company has built,” says Mayer. “There is a real pride with the tangible and long lasting nature of our end products. The value of our work to society can never be underestimated as it is always visible.”

    Women and minorities encouraged to apply

    As for those seeking opportunities to wear the hard hat and swing a hammer – those opportunities are also available, and KA and other construction companies are working hard to attract more women into construction opportunities. There are many local and national organizations that partner with construction firms to help promote opportunities for women in construction and the trades. The National Association of Women in Construction is a network for professional women in the field of construction.  The Washington Women in Trades Association was created for women working in the trades to gather and share information. Tradeswomen, Inc., is one of California’s first organizations for women in the trades and one of its goals is to recruit more women into construction and related non-traditional trades. Just about every state has an organization that supports careers for women and minorities in construction and the trades. Kraus Anderson is active in sponsoring and partnering with women’s campus organizations, as well as growing their partnership with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

    “We have a variety of initiatives to continue to build diversity into our workforce with recruiting efforts targeted toward women, minorities, veterans, and others underrepresented in our field,” says Mayer. “These efforts not only target recent grads and experienced hires, but build deeper foundations through community involvement and support of organizations that reach students in elementary school to continue to build the notion that construction is a great field.”

    Mayer continued: “I think old stereotypes persist, because there was some truth to them for such a long time. We realize that different educational backgrounds, skill sets, approaches, and life perspectives bring great value to our ability to deliver projects now and into the future.”

    Soft skills crucial to success in construction industry

    What do recruiters look for when hiring recent college grads in the construction industry? Soft skills stand out, says Mayer.

    “Relationships are the cornerstone of our business, and because of that we seek candidates that can effectively communicate and coordinate/lead/manage large groups to foster these lasting relationships focused on solving problems,” says Mayer. “It is a given that a candidate needs to have a core set of construction skills to work in this industry, but the soft skills are the true differentiators that we seek. In today’s market, the candidates that have these skills are typically well taken care of and happy where they’re at. To get these candidates in the mix we are focusing on leveraging employee referrals and building a strong employment brand.”

    Recent college grads, don’t overlook careers in the construction industry. It’s a great place to build a career. Get a jump start on learning about careers in the construction industry by signing up for personalized construction industry job alerts here. We’ll send you new job leads tailored to your interests and preferences and save you the trouble of searching for them on a regular basis.

    For more job seeker tips and advice visit our blog and follow us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

    Featuring Tim Mayer, Kraus Anderson, on careers in the construction industry. Jobs in the construction industry.

    Tim Mayer is Director of Talent Acquisition for Kraus-Anderson Construction Company.

    About Tim Mayer
    Tim Mayer is Director of Talent Acquisition for Kraus-Anderson Construction Company (KA) where he is responsible for creating and leading the company’s end-to-end hiring strategy. Mayer is strategically implementing a proactive strategy to attract top talent for KA’s immediate needs and build a pipeline for future needs, as the company grows. He applies a big-picture approach to provide an excellent candidate experience, while recruiting managers, grooming company leaders and providing a seamless transition as long-time employees retire.


  • The hidden problem with big data

    October 17, 2016 by

    1547174HR has long measured recruitment success. Now, in the age of “big data”, we are generating so much more to measure. One benefit of analyzing big data is that with more information we’ll have better decision-making and reduce the stubborn subjectivity that comes with using human brains.


    We should be cautious to assume that human bias will disappear just because we have more analytical tools at hand. In fact, big data can expose our bias and force you to walk the walk. Once you track all those numbers, some unconscious bias and unintended discrimination may emerge and will now be in plain sight. Ultimately, this accountability is a great step forward in recruitment. You’ll just want to make sure your company is ready to respond. Here are three examples of where it’s wise to examine your data practices.

    Scraping personal data from online sources. It wouldn’t be too hard to discover a candidate’s race or sexual orientation, given how much personal trace we all leave on the Internet. We’d love to assume those factors make no difference, but too many studies have shown otherwise. Some minority job applicants have even resorted to “whitening” their resumes. A study published this year showed that minority applicants were more successful if they deleted information from their resume that hinted at their race, for example, if they attended a Historically Black College or were a member of Hispanic professional association.

    Key word searching. Keyword searching can be a great way to sort out quality candidates among the thousands of real or potential applicants. However, employers must “apply the same rigor that they would use when creating job advertisements. For example, avoid any terms that could be considered directly or indirectly discriminatory (e.g., ‘‘recent graduate,’’ ‘‘highly experienced.’).”

    Hiring tests. Many companies give candidates a test at the interview stage to help them make decisions based on qualitative data. It sounds great, and can be, if it’s administered fairly. If you use these tests, you must use them for all applicants. And you must—gasp!—actually pay attention to the data. For example, it wouldn’t be fair to only give the test to minority candidates (this happened), or ignore White candidates’ bad test results (this happened too).

    Using big data can be used to make good hires. Just don’t forget to be honest with yourself. If you analyze a big pool of data to select qualified candidates, and they all end up being of one race and one gender, this is a sign you may have accidentally inserted your own bias. Go back to the steps in your process. Ask yourself, “Are my words or actions appealing to only certain demographics?” (This recruiting tech company uses their own big data to help you look at wording in your job postings, for example.) As one of America’s most popular economists, Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics fame, puts it:

    We believe that if you get a pile of data representing a million decisions, that that’s better than asking three people what decisions they made. While I very much believe that to be true, and I very much applaud all the instincts for all of us to work with data in aggregate to distill the biggest truths, I also know that we’re humans and that …we’re biased in a lot of ways.


  • Engaging entry-level hires

    October 14, 2016 by

    Employees engaging others to advanceNo doubt you’re familiar with the job-hopping trend that Millennials are known for. How do you increase your retention of entry-level hires? Wendy Stoner, Director for the Office of Emerging Talent Development at GSA, knows how. She leads a Leadership Development program to engage entry-level hires. She calls the two-week on-boarding Career 101. “Millennials like to be part of a cohort,” she says. “They don’t like to be on their own,” so the new employees work together along two training tacks.

    They receive technical training to prepare them for the functions of their jobs. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, they learn soft skills like professional communication, presentation and negotiation skills, and how to have a critical conversation in the workplace. They watch videos and practice role play to prepare them for working with people whose backgrounds and working style differ from their own. Also, GSA delivers the Myers-Briggs personality indicator to explain why coworkers’ behaviors may differ, and how to work with them.

    Generational differences? You don’t say.

    The Careerstone Group designed GSA’s training in response to the inter-generational issues we all hear about. You know some of the complaints. Baby Boomers complain about Millennials’ informal communication (they write emails like text messages, Boomers say). And Millennials complain about Baby Boomers’ work ethic (keeping long hours doesn’t mean you’re more productive, Millennials say). During their Career 101, new GSA employees learn to articulate what these generational differences are, and understand the different values that cause differences in behavior.

    Don’t stop at on-boarding.

    Stoner says GSA invests in engagement beyond the first two weeks. They put their entry-level hires on a two-year rotational track that exposes them to different areas of their field. For example, a new hire in finance may rotate to learn about formulating budgets, executing them, strategic planning and more. Not only does this prepare them for a variety of possible jobs, but it clearly demonstrates that they care about employees’ development. GSA wants employees to discover what job appeals to them most. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was that age,” Stoner remarks, so it is only fair to facilitate employees’ learning for a couple years.

    Nothing counts without an open culture

    Formal training can transfer plenty of knowledge, but without an open company culture that embraces all employees, that training can fall flat. Stoner says, “Your culture needs to be open to listening to them and hearing their ideas.” She says GSA recognizes that good ideas can come from anyone, regardless of where they sit on the org chart. Their investment and openness pay off. GSA retains 93% of entry-level hires during their first two years–pretty impressive for the new job-hopping norm. Engaging Millennials doesn’t have to be hard. Stoner says, “We want them know they are coming into a company that does value their development. Millennials are eager, knowing that a company will make an investment in them.”

    wendy-stonerWendy Stoner will be a panelist at this December’s College Recruiting Bootcamp. She serves as GSA’s Director for the Office of Emerging Talent Development within the Office of Human Resources Management. She strives to create an environment of highly engaged employees dedicated to accomplishing GSA’s mission and has successfully recruited hundreds of highly talented recent graduates prepared to tackle GSA’s business challenges. Stoner’s work is helping GSA fuel the pipeline to meet the agency’s future leadership and succession planning needs.

  • Exploring STEM Career Opportunities

    October 13, 2016 by

    1392453Guest writer Luciana Amaro, Vice President Talent Development & Strategy, BASF

    The STEM workforce–science, technology, engineering and mathematics–is crucial to America’s global competitiveness. Today’s STEM graduates have more career opportunities now than at any other time in U.S. history. This three-part series from BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, examines ways that college students and new grads can establish a strong foundation that equips them to join the next generation of scientists and engineers. Read the previous post about different paths to consider when preparing for a career in STEM.

    Students entering the STEM industry today have more career opportunities than ever before. That’s because there will be an estimated shortfall of 2 million workers in manufacturing over the next decade, with six out of every 10 positions going unfilled due to a skills gap (Deloitte). Simply put: we don’t have enough STEM grads to meet the demand.

    This shortfall has created fierce competition among companies seeking the best scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians. For example, if you are a petroleum engineer, your field will grow 10 percent by 2024 due to increased oil production in the U.S.

    As a new STEM job candidate, where should you look?

    Making an impact

    Many truly game-changing positions that impact society require a degree in a STEM discipline. Feeding a hungry world, developing housing, improving transportation and creating innovative energy solutions all require a STEM education. Some of the exciting positions open today include:

    • Research and development scientists who are discovering alternative fuel options;
    • Software developers and industrial designers who are inventing the next smartphone or life-saving medical device; and
    • Structural and mechanical engineers who are improving infrastructure and building bridges.

    With a breadth of jobs available, it is important to select a company that offers broad opportunities for innovation and advancement.

    Landing the role

    To land your dream job, begin building a professional network. One great way to do this is by joining a professional association such as the AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) and NAM (National Association of Manufacturers). Associations offer a specialized network of professionals with similar values and goals, which can be incredibly helpful as you seek a mentor to help guide your career development. You can also join a group on LinkedIn such as STEM Educators & Researchers or MentorNet, where you can interact with other professionals to better understand their positions and solicit their advice.

    Reaping the benefits  

    Many careers in the STEM fields promote innovation and allow you to be at the forefront of emerging ideas. The myriad career options also allow you to explore different areas to uncover your passions. For instance, you may begin your career in plastics but later discover that agriculture is more interesting. Companies such as BASF provide young professionals the opportunity to discuss their career roadmap with their supervisor in order to determine their preference in becoming a generalist or a specialist in a particular area.

    A STEM career can pay well. The starting salary for a petroleum engineer is $88,700 and a nuclear engineer is $62,900. Jobs in the STEM industry on average pay about 1.7 times the national average, according to the BLS.

    While compensation is important, there are other considerations that you should take into account before selecting a role and employer. For example, at BASF we offer a rewards program that encourages work-life balance, professional development programs, and travel opportunities.

    Read next week’s post in our series, “Growing Your Career in STEM.”

    luciana-amaroLuciana Amaro is a Vice President in BASF Corporation’s Human Resources department, leading the Talent Development and Strategy unit.  In her current role, which she assumed on August 1, 2014, she is responsible for North American talent management, leadership development, staffing and university relations, workforce planning, learning and development, organizational development and change management.

  • Ask Matt: Recent college grads shouldn’t let helicopter parents hinder their job search

    October 12, 2016 by
    Helicopter parents in the job search; Tips for recent college grads

    Photo from StockUnlimited.com

    Dear Matt: I’m responsible for hiring entry-level employees for a large company, and I am amazed at how many recent college grads have their parents reaching out to us on behalf of their children – they even show up at interviews! I thought helicopter parents were only involved at the youth and high school level. But we’re now seeing it in the business world. Can you remind your readers and all recent college grads that parental involvement shouldn’t take place in the workplace?

    Matt: By one definition, a helicopter parent is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are also prevalent at the youth and high school level, often hovering over their children and every decision involving those children at youth or high school activities, in school, or with friends.

    And now, helicopter parents are invading the workplace. Yikes! It’s true.

    “Believe it or not, recruiters and hiring managers are seeing a surprising influx of parental involvement in the job search, recruiting, and interviewing process,” says Brandi Britton, district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. “As a staffing firm, we’ve heard our share of helicopter parent stories and experienced some unique situations with moms and dads ourselves.”

    Today’s working parent can be a great resource for that recent college grad seeking job search advice, or with connecting them to members of their professional network. But they shouldn’t accompany their child to job interviews, contact employers on behalf of their child, or listen in on speaker phone or Skype/Facetime during the interview. Those are all things that are happening today and all things recent college grads should be sure to avoid to land that first job, or move forward in their career.

    According to a survey of 608 senior managers by Office Team, 35 percent of senior managers interviewed said they find it annoying when helicopter parents are involved in their kids’ search for work. Another one-third (34 percent) of respondents prefer mom and dad stay out of the job hunt, but would let it slide. Only 29 percent said this parental guidance is not a problem.

    The reasons for mom and dad getting involved are simple, says Britton: Recent college grads may not have as much job search experience and therefore turn to their parents for guidance.

    “The job search process can be extremely challenging and daunting,” says Britton. “Parental support and advice throughout the process can help you stay positive and on track.”


    “Although most parents mean well with their efforts, they need to know where to draw the line to avoid hurting their son or daughter’s chances of securing a job,” says Britton

    Managers were also asked to recount the most unusual or surprising behavior they’ve heard of or seen from helicopter parents of job seekers. Here are some of their responses:

    • “The candidate opened his laptop and had his mother Skype in for the interview.”
    • “A woman brought a cake to try to convince us to hire her daughter.”
    • “One parent asked if she could do the interview for her child because he had somewhere else to be.”
    • “A father asked us to pay his son a higher salary.”
    • “One mom knocked on the office door during an interview and asked if she could sit in.”
    • “Parents have arrived with their child’s resume and tried to convince us to hire him or her.”
    • “A job seeker was texting his parent the questions I was asking during the interview and waiting for a response.”
    • “Once a father called us pretending he was from the candidate’s previous company and offered praise for his son.”
    • “Parents have followed up to ask how their child’s interview went.”
    • “A father started filling out a job application on behalf of his kid.”
    • “I had one mother call and set up an interview for her son.”
    • “Moms and dads have called to ask why their child didn’t get hired.”

    When it comes to parental involvement in the job search, Britton provided the five biggest mistakes college grads make when involving parents in the job search:

    1. Parents should avoid direct contact with potential employers. They should not participate in interviews or call, email or visit companies on behalf of their children.
    2. Job seekers should be the ones filling out the applications and submitting resumes, not their parents.
    3. Helicopter parents should steer clear of involvement in following up after their child has applied or interviewed for a position.
    4. Having your mom or dad try to bribe a potential employer is a definite no-no. In our survey, one woman brought a cake to a company to try to convince them to hire her daughter.
    5. Parents shouldn’t be involved in job offer discussions, such as negotiating salary or benefits.

    “Parents should absolutely not be included in their children’s job interviews,” says Britton. “The meeting is meant to be a discussion involving only the interviewer(s) and job candidate. “Parents participating in interviews can distract from the goal of making sure it’s a fit for the applicant and employer. The employer is evaluating whether to hire the applicant — not his or her parent.”

    Employers usually appreciate candidates who are assertive, but when a parent is clearly handholding or answering questions for their child, it sends the message that the individual lacks initiative and independence, adds Britton.

    Does this automatically eliminate a candidate?

    “Not all employers will automatically take a candidate out of contention if his or her parents become too involved in the job search, but chances are that most hiring managers would be put off by this type of behavior,” says Britton. “Parents who become overly involved in their children’s job searches can cause more harm than good because employers may question the applicant’s abilities and maturity.”

    Professionals need to take ownership of their careers – they’re responsible for applying to and ultimately landing positions. So how can parents assist recent college grads in the job search? Britton offered these additional tips on how parents can assist recent college grads in the job search:

    1. Uncovering hidden job opportunities: Family members and others in your network can be great sources for advice and help you uncover hidden job opportunities.
    2. Job search and interview preparation: It’s perfectly fine to tap your parents for behind-the-scenes assistance, such as reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews or offering networking contacts.
    3. Access to professional contacts: Parents or those in their network can provide access to contacts at companies or alert you to opportunities.
    4. Resume and cover letter review: Have your mom or dad review your resume and cover letter to ensure they’re error-free and clearly showcase the most important information.
    5. Mock interview assistance: Prepare for interviews by practicing responses to common (and tricky) questions with your parents. They can also provide constructive criticism regarding your answers and delivery.
    6. Decision-making: Juggling a few offers? Children may want to get their parents’ opinions when weighing potential opportunities. But ultimately, it’s the job seekers decision, not the parents.

    “Parents want the best for their kids, but being overly involved in a child’s job search can cause more harm than good,” says Britton. “It’s a positive for mom and dad to help behind the scenes by reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews and offering networking contacts. However, ultimately, companies seek employees who display self-sufficiency and maturity.”

    Want more tips and advice on how to successfully navigate the job search? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

    Matt Krumrie

    Matt Krumrie

    About Ask Matt on CollegeRecruiter.com
    Ask Matt is a new monthly career advice column that offers tips and advice to recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. Have a question? Need job search or career advice? Email your question to Matt Krumrie for use in a future column.

  • Interviewing student veterans

    October 11, 2016 by

    1700620Are you interviewing a student veteran for a job at your company? Congrats! Veterans bring a set of skills that can stand above the other students you are interviewing.

    If you are like many hiring managers, you have limited experience interviewing vets, and are not extremely familiar with what military experience looks like. It’s important to make sure you don’t ask anything inappropriate. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your interview while remaining sensitive and legal.

    What NOT to ask

    • Unless you are hiring for a Federal agency or work with Veteran Preference Points, don’t ask about their discharge status.
    • You cannot ask if they will be deployed in the future, even if their resume says they are in the Reserves.
    • Do not ask about potential disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that an employer may only ask disability-related questions after the applicant has been offered a job.
    • “Do you have PTSD?” (First, check your biases about vets and PTSD, and second, any question that relates to their mental health is legally off limits.)
    • “Did you get hurt in combat?” or “Do you expect your injury to heal normally?”
    • “Have you ever participated in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program?”

    Instead, you can ask…

    • Behavior-based questions that help you truly understand their previous experience
    • Questions about their goals (be smart and avoid the cliche “Where do you see yourself in the future?”)
    • “How did you deal with pressure or stress?”
    • According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy, you may ask “”How did you break your leg?”
    • “Have you ever been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol?”

    Veterans Day is November 11. Reach out to student veteran groups as part of your college recruitment this fall, and you may be impressed with what you find.

  • Preparing for a career in the STEM Industries

    October 06, 2016 by

    Guest writer Luciana Amaro, Vice President Talent Development & Strategy, BASF

    1272644The workforce in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, is crucial to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness. Today’s STEM graduates have more career opportunities available now than at any other time in U.S. history. This three-part series from BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, will examine ways that college students and new graduates can establish a strong foundation that equips them to join the next generation of scientists and engineers.

    STEM disciplines have increasingly experienced talent shortages over the years. Recent data show that for every 1.9 available STEM jobs, there is only one qualified STEM professional available for hire. The resulting impact on the global economy is striking, given how many industries are part of the STEM supply chain. In fact, according to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), by 2018, there could be 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs.

    If you are considering a career in any of the STEM disciplines, do you know which education path will best prepare you? There are many programs at four-year universities, two-year colleges, community colleges, junior colleges and vocational-technical colleges. With so many choices, it might be overwhelming to determine what’s right for you, but the good news is that you can establish a strong foundation for success through many different ways.

    Build a strong foundation

    While we always appreciate an advanced degree, at BASF we also seek candidates who have non-traditional backgrounds that offer a transferable, yet distinct, set of skills and abilities, such as active or former military personnel. We believe hiring diverse employees results in an engaged, high-performing workforce that drives long-term success. If you are pursuing a technical career, junior colleges and certificate programs can provide you with the trade skills many companies require.

    Expand your network

    There are many collaborative educational partnerships that exist between businesses and schools today. See if your school offers education tracks or career fairs to set you up with connections following graduation. Most STEM related companies interview and hire students before they graduate, working closely with colleges to get a jump on the competition.

    Some companies, including BASF, recruit high-potential candidates through internship programs. Internships are a great way to build first-hand experience, gain practical insights into a particular company and larger industry, and help you apply the skills you learned in school. While possessing strong science and math skills might seem obvious, young professionals in the STEM fields also need well-developed interpersonal skills, as well as presentation, public speaking, organizational skills and great attention to detail.

    After college, what’s next? For advice on the myriad career opportunities in STEM available to new graduates today, check back next Thursday to read “Exploring STEM Career Opportunities for Young Professionals.”

    luciana-amaroLuciana Amaro is a Vice President in BASF Corporation’s Human Resources department, leading the Talent Development and Strategy unit.  In her current role, which she assumed on August 1, 2014, she is responsible for North American talent management, leadership development, staffing and university relations, workforce planning, learning and development, organizational development and change management.

  • How to market military experience on a resume and cover letter

    October 05, 2016 by

    Female military veteranRecent college grads and entry-level job seekers with military experience can set themselves apart from other job seekers because they have experience beyond the classroom that employers covet.

    But the only way to do that is to create a resume and cover letter that highlights how military experience translates to the professional world.

    It’s easier said than done, and takes practice, patience, and persistence. Recent college grads should reach out to their college career services department for resume and cover letter writing assistance, as they are skilled at helping veteran students and grads market their resume and cover letter.

    At Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, veterans are about 10% of the MBA student population.

    “Most of them have amazing backgrounds, but some of their best characteristics can get lost in translation,” says Eric Johnson, Executive Director of Graduate Career Services at IU’s Kelley School of Business. Johnson is a Kelley grad, an executive coach and the leader of the team responsible for career management and professional development of Kelley graduate students. Kelley students are required to meet with career services on a regular basis, where career experts advise them on all aspects of professional development and career management, including resume and cover letter writing tips.

    Here are some of Johnson’s resume and cover letter writing tips for veterans:

    Lose the jargon: Military terms like “dustoff” or acronyms like BCT, TIF, or MOS mean something to military audiences, but are a foreign language to most civilian recruiters.  “Use layman’s terms in resumes and cover letters so recruiters can easily understand what you’re talking about,” says Johnson.

    Focus on your transferable skills: Veterans rarely bring traditional marketing or finance experience to a job interview, and sometimes lack confidence as a result. They shouldn’t – hiring managers are often more enthusiastic about the transferable skills of veterans than they are about the marketing backgrounds of their classmates. “Companies can teach marketing – they can’t coach initiative,” says Johnson. So veterans need to highlight their leadership, teamwork, learning agility, language skills, global immersion, problem solving, ability to deal with ambiguity, and ability to cope with change (among other things) when building their resumes, cover letters and networking profiles. These areas will make their resumes stand out.

    Don’t be too humble: “My experience with veterans is that many view their experiences as having ‘just done my job,'” says Johnson. “Initially, many are reluctant to talk about awards they won, commendations they received, or honors that were bestowed on them because they didn’t do tasks for glory – they did them out of a sense of duty or patriotism.” As noble as that is, civilian recruiters are trying to answer the questions, “how good were you at your past job?” and “how do you stack up against others from your past profession?” “It’s not bragging to cite these awards if they are presented as facts and in the context of the job that was done,” says Johnson. “It’s honors like these that can differentiate one candidacy from another.”

    Dennis Davis is the Chief Translation Officer for MetaFrazo, a company whose mission is to maximize veteran employment opportunities in the private sector and provide best in class tools and expertise allowing corporations to identify, attract, hire, develop, promote, and retain veterans.

    When it comes to writing resumes and cover letters, “defining what you have done and the values you used to achieve success are the best way to set yourself apart,” says Davis, author of Not Your Average Joe: Profiles of Military Core Values and Why They Matter in the Private Sector. “You have tremendous value that you can bring any employer.”

    Do that by writing a resume and cover letter that focuses on achievements and responsibility and how it translates into the professional or corporate world. Employers crave job seekers with experience outside the classroom – those who have worked in the military have that. They have learned a wide variety of skills – leadership, communication, operations, logistics, troubleshooting, analytical, and interpersonal skills, teamwork, and much more. Highlight those areas on a resume. Create bullet points backed with proof of accomplishment that translates your military experience to the civilian world, like this example:

    • Leadership: Oversaw a team of 20 that operated in multiple remote, overseas locations throughout the world.
    • Developed communication, interpersonal and troubleshooting skills by working closely with leaders from other countries and military units.

    “Separate yourself from all other recent college grads,” says Davis. “You have had far more responsibility than many recent college grads, prove it on your resume.”

    When recruiters read resumes, they scan them first, so put key achievements or successes in bold to stand out. Note: Bolding doesn’t often apply when submitting a resume via an applicant tracking system, but it can be effective when emailing a resume to a specific contact or uploading a word document of a resume into an online system.

    Justin K. Thomas is a Media Placement Specialist for the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He’s also retired from the United States Navy, and has had success writing resumes that connect his military background to the needs of civilian/corporate/professional jobs.

    Many recent college grads with military backgrounds may tend to write how they speak in their branch of service, says Thomas. For example, military language may call for this type of comment:

    “Was a leader of 8 soldiers who created journalistic products for Army leadership.”

    A better and more concise statement could be this:

    • Served as a news editor to 8 public relations specialists that created over 300 feature news articles, video and graphic design products for civilian media outlets on behalf of the U.S. Army.

    The second sentence gives the hiring manager an idea of the cause and effect of your abilities. “It helps them understand what you did in the military,” says Thomas. He provides these additional tips:

    Always write a cover letter: Resumes can be rigid, and it’s sometimes hard to explain in detail all of one’s experiences, especially in the military, says Thomas. A hiring manager can’t always fully understand a key accomplishment or skill set. Cover letters allow one to expand on these details.

    “Cover letters allow you to convey your skills and experiences in greater detail and prove you have the ability to work for their organization,” says Thomas.

    Always proof your resume and cover letter: Check your work for common mistakes such as punctuation marks and sentence structure. Read it from bottom to top to gain a different perspective. Print the resume and cover letter and proof them. Let it sit for a day before submitting, if possible. Reviewing it with fresh eyes can help find or correct mistakes.

    “You will not believe what I caught after I hit submit on the job application,” says Thomas.

    Customize each resume and cover letter to the specific job: The best military resumes are like those of any other job seeker – they are customized and tailored to the specific job for which you are applying. Read each job description and highlight your related skills to the company needs, using the job description as your guide. Tweak it, update it and change as needed for each job. A one-size-fits-all resume doesn’t work.

    Many employers covet hiring veterans – but they have to understand what you did in the military to know the true value and expertise you can bring to their company. “If an employer is looking for someone with both a degree and experience, the military veteran will always win that battle when properly defined – beginning with your resume,” says Davis.

    Want more tips and advice on how to market your military resume and cover letter? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Student veterans: Do you think you know them?

    October 04, 2016 by
    Multi-ethnic US Navy officers saluting each other over light blue background

    What skills can veterans bring to your company? Are you sure you know?

    Most organizations say they are interested in recruiting student veterans, and many large companies have whole teams dedicated to veteran recruitment. Yet we often see a disconnect between these teams and the college recruitment teams.  Some college relations teams don’t know what to do with student veterans so they refer them to the military recruitment team. The military recruitment team often doesn’t know what to do with students and so they refer them over to the college relations team.

    Why should your company care about getting this right? First, you are likely to encounter more student veterans in the future as more service members return home from deployment. These students have characteristics that are attractive to employers, but civilian hiring managers may not have much more than stereotypes of military experience when they consider recruiting a student veteran.

     “The U.S. military today is gradually becoming a separate warrior class… that is becoming increasingly distinct from the public it is charged with protecting.” (LA Times special report)

    While the student veteran must learn to articulate his or her qualifications, recruiters should become more familiar with what military experience can mean. As a group, service members offer an incredibly diverse set of skills. A quick visit to goarmy.com shows ten categories of jobs available in the Army alone, from engineering and legal careers, to admin support and the arts. To educate yourself further, ask any veterans already working at your company about their experience. Absolutely ask your candidates about the specific jobs they held, training they received and leadership skills they developed (translating military to civilian). 

    The majority of veterans on college campuses are “non-traditional” students. They are not entering straight from high school and are generally not dependent on their parents, so they are more independent and experienced than other students you’re recruiting (Veterans and College). Because of military culture, veterans may espouse a set of characteristics that are appealing to managers. For example, service members are already used to regularly being evaluated on their performance. How many Millennials can say that?

    Leading up to Veterans Day on November 11, consider including student veterans in your college outreach. Your bottom line will thank you.

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