• How to overcome recruiting challenges to fill airline jobs, aviation jobs, and airport jobs

    June 29, 2017 by

     

    The airline and aviation industry is massive. So it’s no surprise recent college grads get confused when trying to understand the different paths to landing aviation jobs, airline jobs, or airport jobs.

    When recent college grads think about airline jobs, they often first think about pilots and flight attendants. That’s not a surprise, as those are the people that travelers see on the front line when traveling by air.

    Airline jobs go beyond pilots and flight attendants

    Becoming a pilot or flight attendant shouldn’t be the only career path college students and recent college grads pursue. And that’s the challenge airline industry employers face as they look to recruit recent college grads to continue to fill the over 700,000 jobs within the U.S airlines industry (according to Airlines For America (AFA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines).

    Continue Reading

  • 10 inexpensive ways managers can better engage millennials

    June 27, 2017 by

    The reason many employers struggle to recruit, retain, and engage millennials is because they don’t focus on educating and training managers on how to better engage with millennials.

    In fact, a Gallup Poll titled Millennials: The job-hopping generation, found that 29% of millennials are engaged at work, 16% are actively disengaged, and 55% are not engaged.

    That should be troubling for employers. After all, according to Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau data, more than one-in-three American workers today are millennials (adults ages 18 to 34 in 2015). And in 2015 millennials surpassed Generation X (born between 1965 and 1984) to become the largest share of the American workforce.

    So employers listen up – now, more than ever, is the time to find a way to ensure managers engage millennials. According to the Forbes article, nine tips for managing millennials, millennials want a job that provides these key factors: Continue Reading

  • 10 ways employers can turn struggling new hires into rock star employees

    June 22, 2017 by

     

    It’s a rewarding feeling for employers, HR professionals, and recruiters to attract that rock star entry-level employee. But it’s also as equally deflating when that recent college grad or other new hire isn’t working out. Many questions arise. Why isn’t this entry-level employee working out? What went wrong? There could be many reasons – a poor onboarding program, communication gaps, unidentified skills gaps, or a culture clash could be among the many potential reasons new employees struggle.

    But before an employer considers terminating a struggling new hire – resulting in a costly hiring mistake – there are a number of steps that should take place, to help this entry-level employee improve, and eventually, make an impact.

    Performance improvement strategies

    Continue Reading

  • Employers, don’t let these 5 job search scams ruin your reputation

    June 20, 2017 by

     

    Employers beware: Job seekers aren’t the only targets of hackers, scammers, and thieves.

    Thieves are also conducting sophisticated job search scams targeting HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers. The goal of these malicious attacks is to steal identity, personal information, financial information, data, and to disrupt business. Below we list five kinds of scams that HR professionals should know about.

    “Job hunters aren’t the only ones who are vulnerable to recruitment scams,” says cybersecurity journalist Maria Korolov, of TheBestVPN.com. “Companies looking for new staff could also lose money, or suffer  reputational damage, if they’re not careful.” Continue Reading

  • How entry-level assistant jobs can lead to long-term career success

    June 15, 2017 by

     

    Recent college grads seeking the opportunity to develop a wide variety of job related skills can do so by pursuing entry-level assistant jobs.

    That’s what Amanda Ponzar did in her first job as an administrative assistant.

    “It taught me business skills, computer skills, organization, project management, and how to work with others,” said Ponzar, who is now the Chief Marketing Officer of Community Health Charities, an Alexandria, VA-based non-profit federation that raises awareness and funds through workplace campaigns and strategic partnerships.

    From that job, Ponzar moved to a marketing assistant role with the Franklin Mint, a worldwide provider of fine art and collectibles.

    “I learned about marketing and advertising, and demonstrated curiosity, competence, dependability, and initiative, so I was soon asked to edit management letters and collateral marketing materials, and then was recommended by my colleagues for a copywriter job at The Franklin Mint’s in-house ad agency,” said Ponzar.

    That is when Ponzar’s career took off. She moved into advertising copywriter and marketing management roles, went back to school to earn a Master’s Degree in advertising and marketing, and is now a CMO of a non-profit.

    She credits her varied experiences as an assistant for her career growth and success.

    “I wouldn’t be where I am today without those first entry-level jobs as an assistant that helped me define my career path,” said Ponzar.

    College students, and recent college grads should consider assistant jobs as a way to get their foot in a door at a company they would like to work with, or to build important job skills. While most college grads don’t get a degree aspiring to be an assistant, think long-term. Assistant jobs help provide a paycheck to start paying off school loans or debt (and help achieve financial independence to not live at home), and/or provide real world experience and a chance to build important job skills. In addition, it’s a great opportunity for the recent college grad considering grad school to gain work experience before taking the next step of their career. Many assistants could also work with companies as they pursue advanced educational opportunities – and maybe the employer will also help pay for it through tuition reimbursement programs. Building a variety of marketable skills is important, and assistant jobs provide a great opportunity to do just that.

    Assistants have unique opportunities to be exposed to all facets of a business, says Brandi Britton, District President of OfficeTeam, a leader in the placement of highly skilled office and administrative professionals into administrative assistant and front office jobs. Assistant jobs are in demand at small and large companies, non-profits, startups, Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley firms. Companies like Google, Facebook, and other leading tech firms all succeed because of good assistants.

    “Entry-level assistant can learn valuable technology skills from constant exposure to Microsoft Office, enterprise resource planning, database management and customer relationship management software,” says Britton. “You may even build experience with social media tools since administrative staff are often tasked with monitoring and managing their company’s accounts.”

    Recent college grads seeking assistant jobs, whether it be an administrative assistant, marketing assistant, office assistant, personal assistant or executive assistant (which often do take more advanced skills), can also learn these important career skills, says Britton:

    • Time and project management: Assistants often have to keep on top of executives’ schedules as well as project timelines. Let’s not forget that assignments come their way from every direction. That’s why assistants are masters of time and project management, organization, multitasking and adaptability.
    • Continual learning opportunities: You become well-rounded because you’re able to work on a variety of tasks – everything from event coordination to presentation decks. Once you figure out the types of projects you like most, you can hone your skills and consider moving on to a more specialized role in the organization.
    • Budget and negotiation: When you frequently speak with vendors and make purchases on behalf of the company, you quickly become skilled at budgeting and negotiation.
    • Verbal and written communication skills: Assistants are in constant contact with any number of internal and external contacts. If you’re in the role long enough, you’ll develop strong verbal and written communication skills.
    • Specialized skills based on organization/industry: Being an assistant in a specific department or industry exposes you to the day-to-day operations and provides insight into that area’s lingo, processes and technology.
    • Inside company knowledge: You gain knowledge into colleagues’ work styles and the corporate culture, which gives you an advantage at the company if you hope to advance there.

    Alissa Carpenter founded Everything’s Not Ok and That’s OK Coaching after over a decade in higher education. She has advised Millennials and GenZ students at institutions such as The Wharton School and Penn State.

    “As a recent graduate, being a personal assistant can be beneficial to your long term career goals,” says Carpenter. “You have the unique opportunity to work on numerous tasks and learn transferrable skills. You are often on the front line and are able to build relationships and rapport that can provide valuable connections.”

    The three skills organizations believe millennials are lacking can be developed in a personal assistant role, says Carpenter, including:

    • Interpersonal skills: You will be working with people from various levels both in and outside of your organization. You will learn to ask appropriate questions to find the most effective way to complete your tasks at hand and build strategic working relationships.
    • Teamwork: In one of the key positions that is crucial to putting events and tasks together, you will learn how to delegate and how to work with people with varying personalities.
    • Communication skills: As a key point of contact you will quickly learn the most effective ways to communicate with individuals and how people like to receive communications.

    Utilizing a role as an assistant to get where you want to be later in one’s career can really be a asset to entry-level jobs seekers, says Lori Williams, Recruiting Coordinator for College Nannies, Sitters, and Tutors of Edmond, Oklahoma.

    “Not only does it help build credibility and experience on your resume, but the people you often meet in that role can be sourced as references in the future,” says Williams. “You can develop many skills in this role, including project management, event planning, client relations, and administrative duties. All of these skills are transferable into future roles in just about any industry. Being able to develop these skills on the ground floor will help you add a good section to your resume entitled skills or career highlights and you can translate these into the job description for future career goals.”

    Said Ponzar: “Never underestimate an assistant job as a way to get your foot in the door and show what you can do, learn about the company, develop relationships, and new skills.”

    Look for assistant jobs right now on College Recruiter! Want more tips and advice on how to build career and job skills? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • 7 free marketing strategies that can lead to job search success

    June 06, 2017 by

     

    Are you a recent college grad trying to figure out how to best market your skills and fit your job search into an already busy life? Are you concerned that it’s summer and you’re still trying to find a paid internship? Are you wondering how parents can appropriately – or inappropriately help your job search? Are you a female college grad who aspires to become a leader in your field?

    If so, then read on. Because we have tips and advice for all those questions – and more.

    1. Develop a focused job search

    Many recent college grads simply read job ads and send in resumes, without a plan. Francis says coming up with a job search plan, which includes a list of requirements one would like in a particular job/field, can help created a more focused job search, and target specific jobs or employers. Making a chart that outlines previous experience – part-time jobs, college coursework, clubs or organizations, project work, or previous internships, and jotting down successes from those experiences can help a job seeker realize the successes they have, and then, when they understand those successes, they can start perfecting how they discuss them with employers.

    That also builds confidence.

    Don’t think that part-time college job in retail or the restaurant industry, or other field, matters? Think again.

    “Check back in with previous managers and colleagues to brainstorm all the things you’ve done and skills you’ve developed that may allow you to feel more confident in your abilities,” says Francis.

    Once you have a clearer sense of your own experiences, what you desire in a job, company and what job titles to look for, now you can start your search. If you start before then, you’ll be wasting time.

    2. Ask your career development center for advice

    Meet with a career counselor at your college or university. Even if you have graduated, these professionals are here to assist with job search tips, connecting graduates to a mentor, interview prep, and more.

    “Different schools have resources that are specific to their students and their majors,” says Christine Francis, Career Counselor at Hamline University’s Career Development Center. For example, if you graduated in data science, “the counselor may be able to connect you to alum who studied data science who may be able to help brainstorm next steps and get you connected to companies of interest or great internship programs.”

    Francis offers these tips for recent grads seeking to find an industry specific internship:

    • Post on social media that you’re seeking a paid internship in data science. “The more specific you are in your request, the better your networks will be able to help you,” says Francis. The key is to be as specific as possible, no matter the industry/career one is pursuing.
    • Check job boards to search for internships and job like College Recruiter, recently named #1 job search site for students and recent grads.
    • Use LinkedIn to connect with your school’s LinkedIn alumni group, and see where students or current alums are interning, or currently working. If there is a connection at a target company, reach out to that person and connect.
    • Once connected, start to develop a relationship. Don’t make it all about your needs, and be willing to return any favors to help the new connection. Eventually though, the goal should be to meet with these connections to conduct informational interviews.

    3. Practice, practice, practice, to develop career confidence

    It’s easy for recent college grads to be timid in the job search. That’s only natural. In addition to writing a great resume, practice interviewing, conducting mock interviews (many college career centers also offer these services), informational interviews, or getting involved in networking events and industry associations can help a recent college grad develop confidence in the job search. Many people are timid or fearful because of the newness of being in the job search for the first time. Getting involved and becoming active can help recent college grads develop confidence over time. In addition to working with career development professionals, recent college grads could also consider working with a career coach.

    “Figuring out where your low confidence is coming from is essential in determining how to overcome this,” says Francis.

    4. Start building a professional network

    The first steps to marketing your skill often starts by understanding what employers want. Unfortunately, in some instances or fields, women need to figure out how to get past male-sounding job descriptions. In addition, many female college grads may be timid if they are not finding other females, or leaders, within their chosen field, to learn from. This is where networking, or finding organizations/opportunities to volunteer or participate in industry-related events can help make connections and open doors, while also building career confidence. For example, a new grad seeking a data science career may not know where to find a female data science mentor or leader.

    “There are plenty of women in leadership types of groups or roles for STEM occupations,” says Francis. “These groups are set up to give women support and to feel more confident in their roles.”

    Remember, good old fashioned networking is still very effective.  Inviting professionals in your network for coffee or a quick lunch is good for building relationships and getting others interested in working on your behalf to help you find your next position says

    “You can start small, with just a few people and ask them to consider introducing you to others you may connect with and send your resume or portfolio to,” said Melissa Greenwell, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of national retailer The Finish Line, Inc., and a certified executive coach who helps women understand how they can leverage natural strengths to become business leaders, discussed how female college grads can become future leaders. “You will be surprised at how quickly your professional network will grow,” said Greenwell. “It will also take time. People are busy, so be patient. And don’t let your new networks go stale after you’ve landed the job. You may very well be able to repay a favor and you never know when you may need to reach back out to them in the future.”

    In a previous College Recruiter article, 6 rules for women who want to become corporate leaders, Greenwell said some job seekers, especially those just starting their career, focus on job titles versus opportunity. Don’t sacrifice doing what one loves for the sake of a title. Instead focus on the work itself.

    “People who succeed in whatever they’re doing are people who have aspirations and goals, are willing to work hard and put forth extra effort, communicate clearly, consistently and often, and most importantly, work for the good of the enterprise and bring others along,” says Greenwell, also the author of Money On The Table: How to Increase Profits Through Gender-Balanced Leadership. “Women specifically are driven to work for a purpose and can capitalize on that special drive.”

    5. Ask for helpful parents, not helicopter parents

    Many college grads have parents who are ready to help their child with the job search. That’s great, if done correctly. The main thing to remember is, this is the real world now, and employers expect recent college grads to take initiative, and own their career/job search. Read this article to learn how helicopter parents hinder college grads in detail.

    “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.”

    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.”

    But…

    “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.

    6. Find a mentor to develop as a professional

    Anyone can learn from a mentor. However, there are students who can especially benefit by having a mentor help tap them into a network that might normally be just beyond reach. For example, some studies show that entry level women with a mentor show faster career growth than women without mentors. How can one find a mentor?

    “Think about past professors, staff at your school who have supported you, or maybe a new contact – someone you admire in your field,” says Francis. “Set up a meeting to ask for help and tips on how to market yourself.” And when you land that first job, ask if the organization’s has mentorship program.

    7. Try something different: Find a way to stand out in the job search

    Don’t be afraid to try something different in the job search. Employers like creativity, and those who take risks. And while this seems old fashioned, it’s inexpensive, and different. In addition to applying online for a job, mail your resume to the employer too. (Don’t skip the online part–following the directions of every job ad is important.)

    “I’m often asked if sending paper resumes is a thing of the past,” says Greenwell. “In general, it is. However, you never know when one will make it to someone’s desk and cause them to take notice. It’s a relatively low effort and low cost marketing strategy to implement, so my advice is to send them.”

    Once the resume is mailed in, take it even further.

    “The follow up is important, which I would recommend come in the form of a follow-up email,” says Greenwell. “That email shouldn’t necessarily ask for action to be taken, but rather an invitation to reach out to you if they would like to learn more about your qualifications. Personally, I believe phone calls are relatively ineffective, though leaving a voice mail message to thank someone for reading your resume can’t hurt. Again, the goal is to stay visible.”

    Another option to consider? Build your own web site. It’s a built in marketing tool.

    “Building your own website is another interesting marketing strategy,” says Greenwell. “There are many tools available to build your own in a cost-effective and simple manner. This is a good way to display your experiences and interests, and to bring your resume to life. Highlighting educational accomplishments, learning adventures and volunteer experiences is critical. Aside from email, phone and a link to your LinkedIn profile, other personal information should be omitted.

    It’s normal for recent college grads to fear the unexpected, or not know how to approach the job search soon after college. Follow these tips, and over time you will become confident, connected, and in time, hired!

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

  • Why employers should focus on improving the candidate experience

    June 01, 2017 by

    Candidate experience, according to Jibe, is defined as “how job seekers perceive and react to employers’ sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes.”

    Why candidate experience matters

    Improving the candidate experience should be at the top of every Talent Acquisition Director’s recruitment and retention strategy. It’s that important. Want more proof? Check out these statistics from Lever, which provides software that streamlines the hiring process and simplifies the Applicant Tracking System:

    1. 83% of talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked, while 87% of talent say a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.
    2. 60% of job seekers have quit an application in the middle due to its length or complexity.
    3. 72% of hiring managers say they provide clear job descriptions, while only 36% of candidates say the same.
    4. 80% of job seekers say they would be discouraged to consider other relevant job openings at a company that failed to notify them of their application status. Yet, they would be 3.5 times more likely to re-apply to a company if they were notified.
    5. Talent is 4 times more likely to consider your company for a future opportunity when you offer them constructive feedback.

    Employers looking to reduce attrition, hire high volume in cost-effective ways, and develop low-cost tactics to recruit diverse talent, need to pay close attention to improving the candidate experience.

    “Candidate experience is everything,” says Sanjoe Jose, CEO at Talview, a digital interviewing, talent engagement, and hiring analytics software company. “The most important aspect of improving the candidate experience is recognizing that you’re not just dealing with candidates, you’re dealing with people. They want respect. Respect their time and efforts. Don’t make them take a day’s leave and travel for a first round interview, use tools. They want clarity on timelines and the process. Respond to their queries in near real-time, by using technology like chatbots.”

    Candidate experience touch points

    These scenarios all influence the candidate experience:

    • The experience a candidate has reading a job description and instructions given on the job description.
    • The simplicity – or difficulty – of using an applicant tracking system to apply for that job.
    • The introductory email or auto respond email that is generated after the application is submitted.
    • Follow-up communication, such as being called for a phone interview, or in-person interview. Or, a follow-up email notifying the candidate they weren’t selected to advance in the process.
    • The interview – how the candidate is greeted and treated in the interview.
    • Post-interview follow-up – is the candidate kept informed of timeline/when a decision will be made?
    • Presentation of an offer.

    The candidate experience helps build an employer brand,” says Jose. “Even if people don’t want to work for you, a good candidate experience can lead to them becoming ‘brand ambassadors’ passing on the good news about your company to others that might be interested.”

    And people are certainly going to share their candidate experiences online via social channels.

    “Social media means that people talk more now than ever before,” says Jose. “It means that word of mouth is now global, rather than local.”

    Improving the candidate experience

    There are three main components to a candidate experience, says Jose, and understanding the role each component plays can help employers and talent acquisition specialists present a strong candidate experience:

    1. People: Including recruiters, hiring managers, and even the receptionist who is the first person the candidate meets if he/she comes into your office.
    2. Systems: All the tools candidates use during the process impact the candidate experience, including: The applicant tracking system used to apply for the job, tools used for video interviews, assessments and/or onboarding tools, are all a part of the many systems employers use that relate to the candidate experience.
    3. Process: The efficiency of the process, turnaround times, automated messaging, followup are all part of the candidate process.

    Improving all of those is essential to improving the candidate experience.

    Jose recently heard from the CEO of a large technology company who said one frustrated candidate wrote to the CEO expressing disappointment in the lack of follow-up after an interview. This is a prime example of a poor candidate experience. If it happens to one person, it’s likely happening to others.

    That has both long and short-term effects.

    “In the short-term, candidates will drop from the funnel,” says Jose. “In the long-term, a poor candidate experience leads to a poor ability to attract good candidates.”

    And then the cycle continues, recruiting costs go up, attrition rises, positions go unfilled, and the company suffers.

    “Every single candidate touch point—the online application experience, each interaction with the scheduler, the preparedness of the interviewers, the turnaround time in communicating with candidates, the way an offer is delivered—reflects on the employer,” said Elaine Orler, CEO and founder of talent acquisition consultancy Talent Function, in an SHRM article. “If you’re missing the mark, the world soon knows about it…and highly skilled people juggling competing offers will certainly factor their experience as a candidate into their final decision, so it impacts offer acceptance rates.”

    That’s why improving the candidate experience should be the goal of every employer, and every talent acquisition specialist.

    Want more advice and tips on how to improve the candidate experience? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • 8 resume writing tips for that second job search out of college

    May 30, 2017 by

    If you’re in an entry-level job and want resume writing tips for your next job, read on.

    The resume format that you used for that first job out of college is going to vary greatly for your second job. It’s not about what you did in college anymore, it’s about what you did in that first job. More specifically – it’s about results, achievements, development, and growth. And directed specifically for each job.

    We asked several experts who weighed in with their resume writing tips: Continue Reading

  • 5 ways STEM/technical grads can develop soft skills employers covet

    May 25, 2017 by

     

    Good news for STEM grads: Those with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math can expect to earn the highest starting salaries among 2017 grads. That’s according to the Winter 2017 Salary Survey report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). According to the NACE report, the top three starting salaries for recent college grads with bachelor’s degrees are in these STEM fields:

    • Engineering – $66,097
    • Computer science – $65,540
    • Math and Science – $55,087

    While STEM grads are currently hitting the job market at full force, another group of job seekers are also starting their career: The graduate from the two-year technical college. Like STEM jobs, hot jobs for those with two-year technical backgrounds include air traffic controller, nuclear technician, computer programmer, and electronic engineering technician.

    Translation: Skilled workers with both two and four year degrees are in demand.

    But skilled workers with the education, and the right soft skills, are the one’s getting hired. With thousands of STEM or technical school grads now in the workforce, employers hiring recent college grads or entry-level employees are looking for more than just the right educational background.

    “A degree isn’t what’s going to set you apart from other candidates,” says Jena Brown, Talent Acquisition Marketing and Brand Leader at Kerry, a leader in the food, beverage, and pharma industries, with 23,000 staff and 100+ innovation and manufacturing centers across six continents. “It’s usually required for technical positions, so you can’t stand on that alone.”

    In fact, those who get hired often stand out because of the soft skills they are able to articulate in an interview. This may be why chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed by staffing firm Robert Half Technology named communication skills (28 percent) and problem-solving abilities (21 percent) as the top areas where skilled and technical professionals could improve.

    To stand out, according to Robert Half, skilled workers need to show employers:

    • You are an effective communicator
    • You have a strong understanding of business (even better if you have specific knowledge of the potential employer’s company or industry)
    • You have a history of coming up with creative solutions to problems

    Brown agrees. Recruiters are looking for the job seeker who has something extra to bring to the team, whether it’s a personality that fits corporate culture, or the ability to make an impact beyond a basic job description: Someone who is a team player, willing to help out even if it isn’t part of the daily routine, or someone who shines bright and empowers those around them.

    “We want to hear what you did to hone your business skills during the time you were earning your degree,” says Brown. “We want to see that you are looking ahead, seeing the larger picture and preparing yourself to maximize the career opportunities that await you.”

    What are the top soft skills Brown and her team look for when recruiting recent college grads with technical backgrounds? Brown referred to these key skills:

    1. Communication Skills: Regardless of the type of organization one works for, effective communication across all levels is a critical soft skill for technical new grads. This is especially important in larger organizations, like Kerry for example, which have a complex matrix organizational structure. What is a matrix organization? According to study.com: A matrix organizational structure is a company structure in which the reporting relationships are set up as a grid, or matrix, rather than in the traditional hierarchy. In other words, employees have dual reporting relationships – generally to both a functional manager and a product manager.

    Can you do your work – and communicate technical information in a non-technical manner to others on the team, or across the organization? That’s important.

    2. Teamwork: The ability to work in diverse, cross functional teams is important. “This goes hand in hand with flexibility,” says Brown. “Be malleable and teachable while contributing your valuable knowledge within teams.”

    Large organizations have teams, reporting structures, and chains of command to follow. Being a part of that team, and working with others outside your team, and understanding how to fit in goes a long way towards success.

    3. Professionalism: The ability to navigate a corporate environment, meet deadlines, conduct meetings, and contribute helps give recent college grads credibility in any role. Show up on time, do your job, ask appropriate questions, don’t make excuses. That’s a good start.

    4. Leadership: Those who are able to lead and influence without the authority that comes with a title go the furthest, says Brown. Many entry-level employees don’t focus on developing leadership skills early in their career. But finding a mentor can assist with the leadership development process.

    5. Consultative and presentation skills: These skills “can take you far regardless of level (or career path),” says Brown. Consultative skills focus on behaviors that deliver consultative value to internal customers and external clients.

    Brown looks for recent college grad with those types of unique skills when recruiting and hiring those with technical backgrounds. She was once one of those consultative employees with a technical background, needing to succeed with non-technical co-workers and teams. She recruited employees for a company that provided customized technical services and platforms to huge companies around the globe.

    “This was challenging because we were subject matter experts in designing and building customized MS solutions, which took very specific technical skills, but much of what we did was onsite at the customer site which required soft skills like a sales person might have,” says Brown.

    How can recent college grads develop consultative or presentation skills? Joining industry associations or networking groups, and becoming an active member is one way. Volunteering at industry events is another way.

    “If you can communicate in a consultative manner and present effectively it will get you more opportunities as you advance in your career,” says Brown. “While daunting at first, if given the opportunity to present and get visibility, do it.”

    For many college students, there is nothing more daunting than earning a STEM degree, or completing a technical degree. Now that you are graduated, you need to take it to the next level. Start by mastering these soft skills to stand out, get noticed, and get hired.

    When you do, a great salary, and great career opportunity awaits.

    Want more tips and advice on the important skills recruiters covet? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Spotlight on success: How AmeriCorps helps develop career skills

    May 24, 2017 by

    College students and recent college grads seeking service-oriented opportunities that also help build unique career skills can do so through AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.

    Career development opportunities through AmeriCorps

    That’s the type of career development Melissa Doodan is pursuing. Doodan wants to pursue a career in forestry and is working towards that goal as a Crew Leader through the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), a non-profit youth, leadership, service, conservation, and education organization that is a partner under the AmeriCorps umbrella of organizations.

    “Before I joined VYCC, I craved to learn practical skills and to obtain hands-on experience in the field,” said Doodan. “I knew that I wanted to work outdoors, but felt that I simply did not have the skills to do so.”

    Doodan credits her experience at VYCC with developing and advancing those skills, and with helping her learn “about the outdoors and how to work constructively with others,” she said, calling it an “incredible experience.”

    The skills someone gains through AmeriCorps depends entirely upon the organization with which they work, says Naomi Galimidi, Development Director, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.

    There is more to gain than just experience, however. Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps, strategic initiatives of ServeMinnesota, place AmeriCorps tutors in school settings to help children become proficient in reading by the end of third grade, and in math by the end of eighth grade. Lisa Winkler, Vice President of External Relations at ServeMinnesota, says one of the benefits of joining AmeriCorps is an education award. In addition to receiving a stipend throughout the year, “after completing your term of service, you receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to repay qualified student loans or pay tuition. New grads who serve can invest in their future by putting their award toward higher education, increasing potential earnings and lowering their risk for unemployment. The education award makes it possible for AmeriCorps alums to pursue their passion or repay student loans faster.”

    Real world work environment

    AmeriCorps members benefit from gaining real experience in the professional world.  Winkler of Reading Corps and Math Corps says that in the case of their tutors, the real-world experience of being in a school and working directly with students can be very beneficial to someone going into a career in teaching or education.

    VYCC, headquartered on historic Vermont farmland, gives its service members a taste for a 9-5 workday. During the day, corps members are immersed in learning by doing projects that range from pulling invasive species along floodplains to the custom design and construction of composting toilets in state parks. This ensures opportunities that can accommodate a range of skill levels, says Galimidi.

    Serving with an AmeriCorps program “is far more than a service experience,” says Galimidi. Corps Members receive training and practice in a real world skill, for example with VYCC, “technical project skills such as carpentry or forestry, and interpersonal skills such as leadership and communication.”

    Career skills developed through AmeriCorps

    Service with AmeriCorps helps new grads build skills transferrable to any future workplace. Winkler points to skills like “adaptability, time management, and an ability to incorporate feedback to improve.” AmeriCorps members also have many opportunities to connect to their community and build their professional network, which is essential for any entry level professional. “They learn to communicate,” says Winkler, “and build relationships with people of diverse backgrounds.”

    In addition, Galimidi said that past AmeriCorps members have reported the development of these important career skills:

    • How to build something from the ground up
    • How to manage stress
    • How to find joy in work
    • How to put in extra effort
    • How to take initiative
    • How to understand others’ needs, experiences, and feelings
    • How to appreciate different viewpoints
    • How to see themselves as leaders and teachers
    • How to be less impulsive
    • How to maintain a positive attitude
    • How to listen
    • How to work closely with others
    • How to help others resolve conflict
    • How to understand that effective leaders inspire and create an environment where others can grow.
    • How to build confidence in sharing ideas, solving problems, adapting to new situations.
    • How to demonstrate confidence through eye contact, a strong handshake, and initiating conversations.

    Report: Employers covet problem solving skills

    These are all important, and crucial skills valuable in today’s workplace – no matter what type of job or career one pursues. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2017 report, a college grads ability to work as part of a team is the top skill employers covet (78 percent of survey respondents indicated as the No. 1 skill). Other top skills were problem solving, communication (both written and verbal), and a strong work ethic. These are all gained through the various AmeriCorps experiences available to pursue.

    “Supportive relationships create conditions for all members to try new things, rely on one another, share power, and expose one another to new ideas and experiences,” says Galimidi.

    STEM opportunities through AmeriCorps

    One of the misconceptions of AmeriCorps is that opportunities are only available for those seeking outdoors-related careers. However in 2016 the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, announced major expansions of STEM AmeriCorps that will support STEM mentoring opportunities for young people. STEM jobs – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, are in-demand, and job seekers with those skills will be sought-after by employers seeking skilled/trained workers.

    Minnesota Math Corps tutors, for example, work toward filling that skills gap. Math tutors work with students grades four through eight who are falling behind in math.

    In addition, some non-profit organizations in Silicon Valley have partnered with AmeriCorps for technology-driven service opportunities. In the article How AmeriCorps Works to Get You the JobBen Duda, Co-Executive Director at AmeriCorps Alums, a community of engaged citizens and civic leaders who either work or previously worked with AmeriCorps, said working with AmeriCorps helped develop career skills such as project management, facilitation, and community engagement. Most important, working with AmeriCorps develops transferable skills for any career path.

    “There are hundreds of jobs out there, and it’s incredibly exciting to see how AmeriCorps alums are utilizing their service experiences to succeed in a diverse array of careers,” said Duda.

    Serving with AmeriCorps helps people work in challenging and structured, informal experiential learning opportunities, be that outdoor physical work, a school or other setting. Clear expectations are set, and participants gain a sense of accomplishment, while having a safe place to try new things and learn from mistakes.

    After AmeriCorps: Professional opportunities await

    “AmeriCorps is an investment of your time and passion, but it’s also an investment in yourself,” says Winkler. Discovering your true calling and being pointed in the right direction can be the greatest benefit.

    An AmeriCorps service position can provide a foot in the right door. For example, members of VYCC work closely with representatives from state and federal agencies including the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and Vermont Agency of Transportation.

    Ken Brown worked for VYCC in 2007 as a park manager at North Hero State Park. Today, Ken applies his passion for recreational management as Regional Trails Coordinator for Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.

    Tutors with Reading Corps and Math Corps have said that their service helped them land a job in the same school district after their service, according to Winkler. For tutors who don’t pursue a teaching career, the skills they gain can benefit them no matter what career they choose. “Tutors who use service as a gap year between undergraduate and grad school have furthered their education in medicine, science, education, social work and counseling, among other fields.” Winkler says they find Reading Corps and Math Corps tutors in a wide variety of professions after their service.

    Doodan hopes to launch her forestry career, using VYCC as a first step. She – and thousands of other young, aspiring professionals – are on the right path, thanks to skills learned through the many diverse AmeriCorps programs.

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