April 27, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Almost every job interview boils down to three key questions in the mind of the interviewer, says Steve Koppi, Executive Director of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, Mass) Career Development Center.
- Can this candidate do the job
- Will this candidate do the job, and
- How will this candidate fit in or get along with others?
“These same principles apply to second round interviews,” says Koppi. “The good news is that you have cleared at least that first hurdle. The employer believes you, the candidate, can do the job, and you have the skills and knowledge they are seeking in a new hire.”
Thao Nelson, Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Career Services at the Indiana University Kelly School of Business, is also a former recruiter. She invited recent college grads to a second job interview when they convinced Nelson of these three things in the first interview:
- That they can do the job and provided strong, impactful, and relevant examples
- They really wanted to work for her company.
- That they were likable, and she or others on the team would enjoy working with them.
A job seeker who makes it to a second job interview has demonstrated they have the background, core aptitudes, and transferable skills to do the job, says Cheryl Goodman, Talent Development Manager with Alexander Mann Solution’s, a talent acquisition and management firm with clients in 80 countries. Goodman is based in Cleveland, Ohio and heads up Alexander Mann Solution’s new graduate recruitment program.
In the second interview recent college grads are “being assessed for long-term potential to thrive within the culture and contribute to the company,” says Goodman. “It’s about ROI, too, because the company will be investing in your career launch and professional development, so they are looking to be sure that’s a wise investment.”
What to expect in a second interview
A candidate who makes it to a second interview can expect to be presented with scenario-based questions, such as how they would respond to certain situations and why, says Goodman.
April 25, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Entry-level sales jobs present a great opportunity for recent college grads to learn professional skills that last a lifetime. And below, a variety of entry-level sales professionals, as well as business owners and sales executives with experience at companies like Google, IBM, AOL, and Dell Computers, talk about the unique and life-long skills developed through an entry-level sales job. Here is what every recent college grad needs to know to succeed in a career in sales:
1. Sales jobs are not restricted based on one’s degree
Recent college grads and entry-level sales professionals who are able to participate in a company-sponsored sales training program will learn skills that last a lifetime, says Maddy Osman, an SEO content strategist and digital marketing professional. Before she started her own business, Osman worked as an account representative for Groupon, where she went through over two months of cold-calling sales training, graduating among the top 5 of 25 trainees in her class. Osman says she still refers to the sales materials she learned in that training and applies it to her digital marketing role.
“Even if you never work in sales again, you’ll learn about psychology, and negotiation, which will help you when getting a new position, negotiating for a higher salary, or creating strategic partnerships,” said Osman.
In her role at Groupon, Osman worked alongside employees who majored in liberal arts, theater, marketing, and history, to name a few. The common denominator among those who were successful was that they were outgoing, and/or held student leadership roles at their college or University.
“There wasn’t one area of study more represented than another,” said Osman. “So it’s not necessarily about the degree – as long as you have one.”
That being said, one doesn’t have to go through a dedicated sales training program to succeed in entry-level sales jobs. Learn why below.
2. Everyone can succeed in sales – even those who don’t think they can sell
Mac Anderson graduated from Miami of Oho in 2015 with a degree in marketing. Anderson achieved a lot while in college, working a part-time job at a bar/restaurant, volunteering for two non-profits, and maintaining a full course load and active social life.
“I learned a lot about myself by trying new things and making a leap of faith,” said Anderson.
Anderson had a wide variety of other experiences too. He coached a traveling youth baseball team, and was a laborer on a construction crew. He also worked in sales, marketing, and logistics for a non-profit called Top Box Foods.
But it’s his current entry-level sales job at ParqEx that has Anderson buzzing about where his career is going. ParqEx is a marketplace (mobile app + website) that allows owners of underutilized parking spaces to rent out their parking, by the hour, day, week or month, to a driver in need of convenient, affordable parking. ParqEx specializes in hard-to-park neighborhood and has partnered with many local neighborhood organizations and chambers of commerce to solve the parking nightmare.
“I honestly never thought of myself as a salesman because I did not think I had the right characteristics,” said Anderson. Soon after Anderson started in his current role, he was presenting to a group of over 100 builders (and potential clients) – an experience that has played a key role in him developing a positive, can-do attitude, and desire to succeed in sales.
“I have learned that I can do literally anything I set my mind to,” said Anderson.
But many recent college grads are afraid to do what makes them uncomfortable, or not familiar to them in their job or career. Especially early in their career, and especially if it’s a 100 percent commission-based sales job. That’s why many recent college grads shy away from sales careers. But it’s been the exact opposite affect for Anderson, and has helped him thrive as a professional
“Getting out of your comfort zone is essential for personal and professional growth,” says Anderson.
Every sales person has a different style, says Anderson. That’s why he feels there’s no one-size-fits-all template to sales success. “Just try new tactics, do what feels right for you personally, and always be positive and confident,” says Anderson. “You will get comfortable and find your style.”
Kevin Cote, Director of Sales at Namely, a leading HR, Payroll, and Benefits platform for mid-sized companies, agrees.
“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” says Cote. “The only way to grow in sales and win business is to be confident in asking difficult questions, navigating awkward or tricky objections, and mastering the science of being comfortable in uncomfortable situations.”
3. Sales is perfect training for future CEO or business owner Continue Reading
April 20, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Many recent college grads are unprepared to negotiate salary during an entry-level job interview. And in the long run, they pay the price – financially, that is.
According to a recent Paysa study, younger workers, or those with only 0-2 years of experience, are 42 percent likely to be underpaid. The same Paysa data also found that women in markets across the U.S. are 45 percent likely to be under-compensated while their male counterparts are only 38 percent likely to be under-compensated. Paysa is a Palo Alto, California-based company that uses proprietary artificial intelligence technology and machine learning algorithms to analyze millions of data points, including compensation information, to help employees understand their market salary.
But the reasons for these gender salary discrepancies vary based on a number of factors, however, says Chris Bolte, CEO of Paysa. In many cases inexperienced job seekers – including female recent college grads:
- Do not know what their value is at that company
- Do not know how to have a conversation about salary with the hiring manager
- Are uncomfortable/afraid negotiating for more money due to any number of factors, including being new to the workplace, concerned the offer will be revoked, or because they are interviewing with an intimidating manager.
But there is one glaring difference between young men and women, according to Sylvia RJ Scott, Founder of Girls’ C.E.O. Connection™ (Girl’s Creating Enterprising Organizations), a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to engaging and equipping females as entrepreneurs. In February Scott spoke to a group of young women who were members of the Theta Beta chapter of the Delta Delta Delta sorority at Colorado University Boulder. She discussed the topic of salary negotiation with the group, all juniors and seniors, and will be sharing a salary negotiation reminder checklist before they graduate this spring. Scott says female college grads are often too timid or afraid to boast about their academic, athletic, internship, or related work experiences when negotiating salary during an entry-level job interview.
Their male counterparts? Not so much…
“Males are not afraid to promote their accomplishments,” says Scott. “Women need to do the same. Be confident without being arrogant.”
During an interview, females should focus on explaining how internship, club experiences, or extracurricular activities are relevant to the job, says Scott. Providing employers/interviewers with examples about what was accomplished in those experiences that can be transferred to the real world is key.
“Know what you bring to the table from other experiences in college,” says Scott. “Be prepared to express to the employer how this background fits the job description. Do not hold back on tooting your own horn.”
“Gaining a realistic expectation of entry-level salary amounts within similar industries, or the range for entry-level positions – through research and due-diligence – is a first step to determining what a reasonable salary might be and whether or not one has a strong case to negotiate further,” says LaMere.
As women embark on the entry-level job search, they should be prepared to advocate for themselves.
“Define your goals and ensure you have a solid understanding of your current capabilities in comparison to the role you are seeking,” says Linda Taylor, HR Manager at FedEx. “When negotiating or advocating for yourself, be confident that your voice is important. Whether it’s your gender, education, or skills, tap into your unique point of view and showcase how you can help the company succeed.”
When you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to express your ideas or have the confidence to ask for what you want, says Taylor. But women should search for employers who celebrate differences and encourage all team members to be themselves.
“Push yourself to be confident by practicing with little steps that can pave the way to big victories,” says Taylor. “Raise your hand in a big lecture class, ask a question at your first meeting, or conduct proactive research to see how your job offer compares to similar roles at other organizations. As you prepare for a first job, make a commitment to think and act like you would in the role you’re seeking, and stick to this mindset during the interview and negotiation stages.”
Data driven discussion should drive salary negotiations
So how do female college grads overcome obstacles to a fair entry-level salary? Start with research.
Figure out what others like you are making at that company. Paysa offers tools that help job seekers understand what they should be paid at a specific company. Job seekers can also use salary calculators like the one College Recruiter offers.
“Having a respectful, data-driven discussion with the recruiter or hiring manager that highlights your desire to take the job, but also starts the negotiating process, is important,” says Bolte.
Highlight positives of position
During the interview/negotiation, job seekers should cover key points and focus on positives by:
- Expressing that the job with the company is an awesome opportunity.
- Expressing how the company mission and values fit your goals.
- Expressing that you see great learning and growth opportunity and are ready to make an impact/difference.
Present your salary talking points – based on data
Then, when discussing salary, tell the recruiter/employer the following:
- That you want to be sure to get a competitive market compensation package.
- That you’ve been conducting research, talked to other recruiters, companies, and professionals in the same industry/type of position, and “it seems that your offer is not as competitive as it needs to be. Specifically, it appears to be approximately <20% – insert real number from research> under market.
- “What can you do to close that gap?”
- Wait and listen…..
“At this point, the recruiter or hiring manager may ask you what it will take to close the deal, so to speak,” says Bolte. “I would recommend going back to whatever the broad number is you learned from your research.”
The company will likely get back to you with:
- An adjusted compensation package the is somewhere between their original offer and your ask.
- Your full ask.
- A statement saying that their original offer is the best they can do.
Confidence is key
“These conversations with managers can seem intimidating/scary but they don’t’ have to be,” says Bolte. But it takes research, dedication and practice to succeed. “Go get it done,” adds Bolte.
When a recent college grad (regardless of gender) is starting out in their career, they may think – through lack of experience – that they should be making more than what’s being offered. But remember, that first job, or entry-level job, is a starting point, says LaMere. If there is room to negotiate on salary on an entry-level position, be reasonable and sensible. It is important not to price oneself out of the market.
During an interview, when a potential employer asks what would be an ideal salary, a good answer would be: “I would like to learn more about the position first,” putting the onus on the potential employer to be the first to name a number. Once a salary number is on the table, use Bolte’s advice above to approach the topic. Once a final offer is presented, don’t be afraid to take a day or two to think through the position and the opportunities that it offers, beyond just the pay, says LaMere.
“While salary negotiations may be daunting for some new grads, as long as they do their homework about the job and pay range, are reasonable in their expectations and prepare themselves for the process, they will ultimately achieve the success they are seeking – both from an entry-level learning experience to start their career, and their salary compensation, for their efforts,” says LaMere.
Additional salary negotiation and job interview preparation tips for female recent college grads
Like any aspect of the job search, being able to successfully talk about salary, or negotiate salary comes from preparation. Scott offers these salary negotiation tips for female college grads:
- Reach out to alumni from your school, sorority, or industry-related clubs who have previously held similar entry-level jobs and ask for advice or tips.
- Get advice from a college career center counselor, many who have resources or experience helping college students and recent college grads with salary negotiations. They also may have contacts within their network who can help.
- Get advice from female instructors and adjunct professors who know or still work in the industry.
- Understand cost of living factors: Location and cost of living may play a factor in the salary offered. An entry-level job in San Francisco or New York City may pay more than a job in Biloxi, Mississippi, for example. But make sure whatever salary is offered is relative to the cost of living pending on location.
Female college grads need to know their worth going into the interview/negotiation and show it. Do so by following these tips, from Scott:
- Walk in with confidence, dress professionally no matter what the position. This is true even if the company is known to dress casual.
- Practice in front of a mirror and watch the body language. Ask someone to role play as the person doing the negotiation. Try to find a female that has gone through the process, and get her feedback.
- Be prepared to discuss what else can be negotiated to increase the compensation package if it does not meet expectations/research. Does the company have a tuition reimbursement package, flexible work schedules, more vacation time? It’s worth asking.
April 13, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Dear Matt: Do you have any interview tips? I always read about how important it is for recent college grads to ask the right interview questions during a job interview, but, I never know what job interview questions to ask. Can you provide a list of these interview questions and what employers want recent college grads and entry-level job seekers to ask?
Matt: I will say this, I wish I had a list of job interview questions to ask when I was interviewing for entry-level jobs. Because it certainly would have not only helped me ask the right interview questions, it would have also helped with interview preparation, and confidence.
Good news! There is a great, extended list of the best job interview questions to ask employers listed below, featuring outstanding advice from recruiters from corporate America, and career management leaders from two of the top business schools in the country.
The reality is, if you are confident, and prepared, going into an interview, you can relax, be yourself, and shine.
But many job seekers, especially recent college grads, are shy or timid when going into those first job interviews. I was one of them, and looking back at those early interviews, I never did ask the right questions, because I wasn’t prepared to ask the right questions. That makes a huge difference in how employers view you, and your potential to succeed in the job and fit in with the team.
“Not asking questions can signal lack of interest, and a missed opportunity to sell yourself,” says Susie Clarke, director of Undergraduate Career Services at Indiana’s Kelley School of Business. “It is important to remember that an interview is a two way street and they expect you will have questions, so show them you are prepared and interested in their position.”
Corinne M. Snell, Ed.D., the Assistant Dean of Student Professional Development at Fox School of Business at Temple University, agrees. Prior to her current role, Snell worked in corporate America, working in college relations roles for Campbell’s Soup Company, Siemens Health Services, and Lutron Electronics.
“A certain level of spontaneity is expected in any job interview, but candidates should have a list of questions prepared in advance,” said Snell. “The worst thing one can do is indicate he/she has no questions or say something like, “Um, I think we already covered everything.”
One of the biggest things a college student or recent graduate needs to remember is that just as much as the recruiter or hiring manager is interviewing them, they are also interviewing the potential employer, says Justin Bischoff, Talent Acquisition Advisor at Buffalo Wild Wings, a casual dining restaurant and sports bar franchise.
“Ask questions about the things that matter to you,” says Bischoff. “These should be things that you feel will make you stay with an employer long term.”
Try to keep it conversational, says Bischoff. For example, if you’re interested in sales, ask something such as “earlier in our interview you mentioned that one of the main focuses of this role is to drive sales in the restaurant, can you tell me a little more about that?”
Asking about the culture of the organization and development programs also impresses employers, says Bischoff.
“I am also impressed by a candidate who has done their research on the organization and the position prior to the interview,” says Bischoff. “By asking questions on matters that are truly important to you about what you have learned, you are able to showcase the time and effort you’re putting into joining the organization’s team.”
Snell puts it bluntly, saying “Job seekers need to prepare for that moment when the employer turns the table and asks ‘what questions do you have for me?'”
That’s what impresses today’s corporate recruiter, says Asma Anees, a Talent Advisor with Blue Cross, a Minnesota healthcare provider. She leads college relations at Blue Cross and is one of the first persons to interview/phone screen recent college grads and entry-level employees who interview with the company.
Anees suggest job seekers break down interview questions into four categories, focusing on asking about:
- The position/job
- About the company
Anees provides these job interview question and answer tips:
Job seekers who ask about the challenges of the position stand out, says Anees. Employers like candidates who want to be challenged, and who want to know about what it takes to succeed in that role. “It helps me understand their willingness to take on certain duties,” says Anees.
Anees likes it when job seekers ask job interview questions such as “What are the performance expectations or how will I be evaluated?”
“These students have received grades for everything they do for the last however many years,” says Anees. “These Millennials want to know where they stand, and I can appreciate that. It tells me they want to perform well and be rewarded for it.”
Good question to ask: Will there be any training or mentorship for this role? Anees says job seekers who want to pursue professional development opportunities stand out to her.
Job seekers who are curious about the business, strategic plan, how the company makes a difference, and if the company is growing, are “all great questions,” says Anees. “It tells me they care for the well-being of the organization and their future.”
Snell provides these sample job interview questions to ask employers:
1. Questions related to the position:
- What are the key qualities necessary for someone to excel in this role?
- What are your expectations for this role during the first 30, 60 and 90 days?
- What is the typical career path for someone in this position?
2. Questions related to the company?
- How would you describe the company culture (or values)?
- What do you like best about working for this company?
3. Questions related to the industry (these should vary from industry to industry):
- What recent changes has the company made to product packaging?
- How has industry consolidation affected the company?
- How does the economy affect company sales?
- What percentage of revenues does the company invest in R&D?
- How is the company challenged by government regulations?
4. Questions related to the hiring process:
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
- When do you expect to make a decision?
“The likelihood of having sufficient time to ask a multitude of questions is slim, so the candidate needs to be prepared and have several questions ready,” says Snell. “Interviewing is a two-way street and employers do expect job seekers to be prepared with thoughtful, insightful questions.”
Remember this though – thoughtful and insightful do not revolve around asking how much vacation time one gets, salary, or benefits. In time, that information will be discussed.
Some of the best job interview questions to ask employers, says Clarke, include:
1. Would you please tell me about yourself and your career path?
Yes – job seekers should ask the person conducting the interview this. This will allow you to learn more about the employer, what this person likes about the company, and could create a common interest to make the follow-up connection stronger. “It is all about building relationships and showing genuine interest is important,” says Clarke.
2. What are the reasons you stay with this company, or why did you recently join the company?
Their response will typically tell you a lot about the work environment/culture of the company. “For many college students and recent college grads, the company culture is an important criteria when making their decision,” says Clarke.
3. What skills or characteristics have led to your success here?
This is an opportunity for you then to highlight your strength that relates to one of these skills if you have not already.
4. I have learned a lot today and even more excited about this opportunity, so is there anything else I could provide or questions I can address about my ability to do this job?
“This shows that you want the job and want to eliminate any concern that they might still have,” says Clarke.
When the interview is near completion, and if the employer has not covered this already, Clarke says you should always ask: What are the next steps in the interview process?
“This is important, so you know what to expect and when to follow-up if you have not heard back from them,” says Clarke.
Asking the right questions during your interview can impact your chances of landing the job, says Bischoff.
“When a candidate asks thought-provoking questions, it shows that they have solid communication skills, are genuinely interested in the opportunity, and are looking to make a long-term investment,” says Bischoff. Ultimately, asking the right questions makes that interview and the candidate memorable when it comes time for a hiring decision.”
How does the company onboard new employees? Can you talk about what that process looks like?
Why this question: By asking this question, the job candidate is demonstrating their interest in the company culture and its commitment to employees and their career path and setting them up for success from the outset. “The first several months in a new job are a key period in building the relationship between employee and employer, and the candidate wants to know that the company is a place they can grow and mature,” says Warn. “In our work with employer partners, we’ve helped design mentor programs, where new employees develop and strengthen workplace and interpersonal skills.”
Another good question, says Warn, is asking “How does your company encourage its employees to collaborate/work as a team, and demonstrate integrity and initiative?”
Why this question: This question coming from a candidate demonstrates that he/she already possesses some “soft skills” that are typically learned and honed once in the workforce. This student may have graduated from an institution that offers soft skills (or “power skills”) training in the form of a standalone program and is already ahead of the curve when it comes to developing these critical work/life skills.
Good questions will show that you have researched the position, company, and even highlight some of your strengths. “This signals to the employer that you are very interested and enthusiastic about the opportunity,” says Clarke.
Show enthusiasm and interest when wrapping up the interview.
“I appreciate when candidates take the last couple of minutes to reiterate their interest and why their skills and abilities would make an impact to the team,” says Anees. “Don’t forget to smile and a firm handshake.”
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.
April 07, 2017 by By Josh Danson, Director of Content Marketing, Achievers
In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, businesses have identified the “secret sauce” for better overall performance. Highly engaged employees. The candidate who lands the job is the one who shows that they will be highly engaged at work.
Highly engaged employees always give 110%. They volunteer for new and challenging assignments. They’re always looking for ways to improve on past performance and they consider their success and the company’s success to be one in the same.
“A highly engaged workforce means the difference between a company that outperforms its competitors and one that fails to grow.” – Gallup, The Engaged Workplace 2017
Employers love highly engaged employees because they have a positive impact on a number of important business metrics. Because they go the extra mile for their customers, they drive up customer satisfaction and NPS scores, known to be accurate leading indicators of strong financial performance. They tend to stay with an organization longer, lowering attrition and recruiting costs and adding value with every day they stay with an organization. Highly engaged employees also communicate and collaborate well, helping to break down silos and increase cooperation between departments. They also project success and confidence into the marketplace, bolstering your employer brand and helping to advertise the quality of your company’s workforce.
Knowing all this, you can see why employers would seek to hire someone they knew was going to be highly engaged every time, if given the choice.
So how should you present yourself in an interview to demonstrate that you will be your prospective employers’ next highly engaged employee?
1. Be Prepared!
Engaged employees go the extra mile and make sure to show up to meetings and assignments prepared, having done their homework and knowing what the situation requires. You can show your potential to perform like this by demonstrating it as an interviewee.
Research the company’s needs. What are their biggest challenges and opportunities? Who are their top competitors? Visit Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Hoovers, and the company’s website. Read some of the content they have posted in their resources section and on their blog. You should be able to ascertain what their key messages are and then be able to speak their language in the interview.
Make sure you prepare a few examples of how you have addressed a particular challenge in the past, the solution you came up with, and the results you achieved. Bonus points if you can relate these stories back to the specific challenges you might face in the job you are interviewing for and which your prospective employer is facing.
2. Be Well
Health and wellness is one of the most important but often overlooked aspects of employee engagement. To consistently perform at the highest level, both body and mind need to be running like a well-oiled machine. This isn’t rocket science, but you would be surprised how many people, especially those many would consider high-performing are actually doing themselves a disservice by not getting enough sleep, or not making the time for exercise. We all lead busy lives, but it has been proven that getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night and at least 30 minutes of exercise a day makes a huge difference in both daily performance and overall health.
With that mind, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before your interview and, if possible, try to fit in a good workout as close to the interview as possible. If you can’t do that at least take a brisk walk or do some light calisthenics. It will get your heart pumping, help remove any pre-interview stress and put you in the right frame of mind to be limber in both body and mind. And lastly, don’t forget to eat. Not anything too filling that will end up lowering your energy as you try to digest a huge meal, but make sure have a nutritious breakfast that will help contribute to your mental acuity.
3. Ask Questions
Engaged employees are not afraid to ask questions and have the confidence to do so, knowing that a questioning mind is a sign of curiosity, which drives innovation. Critical thinking and an analytical mindset are two extremely important qualities of high performing employees. Today’s employers don’t just want unquestioning automatons, they want employees who will add to their company’s knowledge base and help bolster a culture of innovation.
As you are preparing for your interview by reviewing the company website, looking into their competition and reviewing recent their media coverage, be sure to write down questions that occur to you. Be prepared when you walk into the interview with 5-10 questions about company strategy, competitive landscape, product or market positioning, etc. Also, don’t forget to ask about the corporate culture and values. If you don’t share that company’s values, even if you do end up getting hired, chances are you are not going to be engaged at work and the marriage isn’t going to last long.
4. Be Confident and Know Your Strengths
Highly engaged employees know their areas of strength and how to apply those strengths to helping their company succeed. More and more companies today are moving towards strengths-based development and performance management to ensure that their employees are put in the best position to succeed on a personal level and to help the company succeed.
With this in mind, go into your interview feeling confident of your strengths and prepared to highlight them through specific examples of how you have used your strengths in the past to contribute to the success of a team or organization that you were a part. We can’t all be good at everything, but we all have unique talents and skills that can add an important element to the mix. If you’re not sure what your strengths are, reflect on past experiences. When did you receive praise and why? When did you feel proud of your work and why?
5. Be Yourself, Be Passionate
Highly engaged employees are passionate about what they do. They have connected to their work on a level that allows them to put their whole selves into it and make it more than “just a job”. This goes back to values. If you connect with a company’s values – whether those values emphasize a culture of innovation, of corporate social responsibility, or competitiveness – if you can see yourself in that company’s values, you are going to be happier and more engaged as an employee. So don’t be afraid to be yourself and to show your enthusiasm and passion for whatever it is that reflects those shared values.
If you follow these five tips, you should have no problem demonstrating you have the potential to be a highly engaged employee, and will nail your next interview. Soon you will be contributing your particular strengths to some lucky organization.
About Josh Danson: Josh is Director of Content Marketing at Achievers. An accomplished marketing and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in the fields of marketing and PR, Josh graduated from Kenyon College and lives in San Francisco with his wife and 9 year-old daughter. In addition to work and family, he is passionate about music, politics and fly fishing (not necessarily in that order). Twitter: @dansonshoes
April 06, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Name: Eric Leger
City/state: Austin, Texas
Current profession: Vice President – National Sales Training and Recruiting, Aflac
Years with current company: 15
College/University attended: Lubbock Christian University
Recent college grads seeking opportunities to set their own schedule, earn unlimited income, and develop professional skills that last a lifetime, can do so by pursuing commission-based sales jobs.
But it’s not easy for recent college grads to see the potential of a commission-based sales opportunity, especially when there are bills to pay, they have limited sales experience, and are afraid to take risks. Because in effect, a commission-based sales career is a risk. However, it’s a risk that comes with rewards that are not potentially offered through a traditional salaried, full-time job.
“Commission-based sales opportunities are attractive for outgoing, motivated, competitive people who want a high degree of autonomy,” said Steven Rothberg, Founder of College Recruiter. “With risk comes greater reward, so if you perform well then you should make more money than a salaried employee doing similar work.”
That’s what Eric Leger of Austin, Texas learned. Leger, like many new to sales, was once apprehensive about giving up the security of a bi-weekly paycheck provided through his career as a teacher and a coach. But he was also frustrated by the limited ability to earn more money to help support a family of five, as well as a lack of work-life balance, and reward for success.
But that was 15 years ago, and now, Leger knows that his decision to switch to a commission-based sales opportunity was the best career move he ever made. Leger, who started out in field sales, moved up the company ladder and is now the Vice President of National Sales Training and Recruiting for Aflac, an insurance company that provides supplemental insurance for individuals and groups to help pay benefits that major medical insurance doesn’t cover.
“First of all, I quickly learned that working in sales is an honorable profession,” said Leger. “I admit, going to work in a 100 percent commission role was a little bit intimidating, and as someone who was the breadwinner for a family of five, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into.”
But Leger, like all Aflac field sales reps do when they start out, went through a dedicated 13-week training session, and through support and mentorship from local and regional sales directors, continuing education and training, found success as an independent contractor working in a 100-percent commission-based sales position.
“For the first time in my life, I truly felt I was getting paid what I was worth,” said Leger. “I also enjoyed the opportunity to get out in the field, meet other business owners, and present our product to them, because I truly believed it added value to the businesses and clients we serve.”
Finding the right product can make or break a commission-based sales career.
“If you’re good at sales and selling a product that is desired by the marketplace, you can make really good money,” said Rothberg.
Leger agrees, noting that he was motivated by Aflac’s strong reputation, and for the opportunity to work with business owners to sell a product that provided security to the many diverse business owners and clients.
“Recent college graduates need to know choosing what product or service one sells plays a major role in job satisfaction and success,” he says. “The bottom line is, you have to be passionate about the product, and aligned with the right brand, and a brand that is in-demand,” says Leger.
Recent college grads don’t need a previous sales background to succeed in commission sales jobs. So that means someone with a liberal arts degree, communications degree, business degree, marketing degree, or even a degree in education like Leger, can succeed with the right training and soft skills.
These are the key soft skills sales professionals need to have or develop for success, says Leger:
- Grit and resiliency
- Strong work ethic
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Drive to work for themselves
A typical day in a commission-based sales job involves prospecting, presenting and following up with clients through email, phone and face-to-face meetings. Depending on the company or role, there could be face-to-face team or individual sales meetings, or weekly sales conference calls. A good commission-based sales opportunity will provide support, coaching, ongoing training, and teach the art of selling. And handling rejection.
“You have to realize that rejection or saying no is not personal, it’s just part of business,” says Leger.
Many entry-level sales jobs require employees to work on-site. Other commission-based sales job, like Aflac, hire independent contractors who can work from wherever they want, including their own home, or through a local or regional office if it fits. The flexibility, upward mobility, income potential, and ability to operate like a small business owner through a career in sales can be an attractive career opportunity for the right person.
“A career in sales is extremely exciting,” says Leger. “It’s one of the only true opportunities to truly earn what one is worth, and many recent college grads are attracted to the opportunities because of the mobility and flexibility. Learning the art of selling teaches skills that transfer to any industry, so it’s a great way to launch a career.”
Want more information on how to succeed in a career in sales? Stay connected to College Recruiter for more advice and tips like this. Start by registering with College Recruiter to have job alerts emailed to you. Then visit our blog, and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Eric Leger is Vice President, National Sales Training and Recruiting for Aflac, an insurance company that provides supplemental insurance for individuals and groups to help pay benefits that major medical insurance doesn’t cover. Leger was a former teacher and coach who, 15 years ago, switched careers and started in a commission-based field sales rep role for Aflac. Leger is currently responsible for recruiting, training and leadership development of Aflac’s U.S. sales force.
April 05, 2017 by Anna Peters
College Recruiter’s Panel of Experts brings together expert voices from around the country with insight around entry level talent acquisition—both from the employer’s perspective and the job seeker’s. Members of the panel have decades of experience in advising human resources or job seekers, and are recognized experts in their fields. They specialize in workforce solutions, best practices in diversity, university relations, internships, interviewing, resume writing, career development and more.
At College Recruiter we believe that every student and recent grad deserves a great career. We are excited to offer their deep insight to our readers and followers, who we believe will learn how to apply best practices to their own hiring approaches or job searches. Every month we will share a discussion with members of the Panel of Experts. Watch the videos, read the blog posts, and find all archived discussions on LinkedIn for recruiters, LinkedIn for job seekers, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Members of the panel:
Martin Edmondson, Chief Executive at Gradcore. At Gradcore, Martin specializes in graduate recruitment, employment and employability, with the aim of maximizing graduate potential for organisations, universities and places. Martin has a wide range of experience and skills, gained from working across the public, private and third sectors.
Marky Stein, Fortune 100 Career Consultant. Marky is the author of “Fearless Interviewing”, named the #1 interviewing book of the “100 Best Career Books of All Time” by onlinecollege.com. Her book “From Freshman to Fortune 500: 7 Secrets to Success for Grads, Undergrads and Career Changers” is due May 2017.
Alexandra Levit, Consultant for all things workplace. Alexandra Levit’s goal is to prepare organizations and their employees for meaningful careers in the future workplace. A former nationally syndicated columnist for the Wall Street Journal and writer for the New York Times, Fast Company, and Forbes, Alexandra has authored several books, including the international bestseller “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College.”
Joanne Meehl, MS, IJCDC, CPPA, Career Strategy Coach and President and primary Job Coach at Joanne Meehl Career Services. Joanne helps leaders market themselves for their next roles. She talks with hiring managers, internal and external recruiters, and HR directors about what they want. She translates this knowledge into guidance for her clients. She positions herself to her clients as a partner who gets her clients to decide and focus, see their own value, and communicate who they are in order to land the job they choose.
Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer at Talent Think Innovations. She is an entrepreneur, mentor, coach, speaker, blogger and brand influencer. She provides innovative, on-demand services, trainings, media and products that arm businesses with the timely knowledge and tools they need to succeed. She inspires individuals from the c-suite to stay-at-home moms to recognize and utilize their full potential by nudging them beyond their comfort zones and providing a practical way to achieve success.
Vicky Oliver, Author of award-winning career development books. Her career advice has been featured in over 901 media outlets, including the New York Times Job Market section, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and Esquire magazine. She has been interviewed on over 601 radio programs. Her first book, “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions” (Sourcebooks, 2005), is a national bestseller in its third U.S. printing.
Toni Newborn, J.D., Diversity and Consulting Services Manager at City of St. Paul. She is currently serving as the Diversity and Consulting Services Manager for the City. In this role, she manages the consulting services division as well as create strategic plans to diversify the city’s work force from a racial equity lens.
Bruce Soltys, Director of University Relations at Travelers. He Leads a team accountable for the design and delivery of the enterprise strategy for sourcing, attracting and recruiting a pool of diverse candidates through relationships with targeted colleges, universities, and student organizations across the country.
March 31, 2017 by Anna Peters
College Recruiter spoke with Joanne Meehl, President and primary Job Coach & Career Consultant at Joanne Meehl Career Services. Joanne is part of College Recruiter’s Panel of Experts, which is made up of professionals around the country with top notch advice for recruiters and HR professionals, or for entry level job seekers. Here, Joanne shares her insight into resume rules that help college students and grads avoid mistakes and stand out to the applicant tracking systems.
You can scroll down to watch the video of our discussion. This is Part 2 of 2 of Joanne’s resume tips. Last week she shared some solid rules for writing a resume that stands out, and explains why it’s important to tailor your resume for each job.
What are common mistakes that college students and grads make when writing their resume?
- Don’t use your mom’s or dad’s resume format. It has to be technically friendly because a machine—an applicant tracking system that is—has to read it. Don’t assume a pdf is okay. Don’t assume any graphics are okay. “The last thing you want to do,” Joanne says, “is apply, apply, apply everywhere and get no response because you’re sending out the wrong format. Do whatever the ad says to do.”
- Scrap the objective. Joanne says she’s shunned objectives for 10 years. It’s not required. Period.
- Don’t waste space saying you’ll provide resumes upon request. Of course you will, so there is no need to write it.
- Perhaps most importantly, don’t think you’re done after submitting your resume. Joanne coaches her clients that submitting their resume is just the beginning “Oh no no no! This is where you’ve just started,” she says. You need to “lobby” your way into the company. Find someone on the inside you can talk with. Look up employees on LinkedIn. Let them know you’ve applied and invite them to have a cup of coffee. That way, your name and face becomes known.
How are candidates supposed to stand out to an applicant tracking system (ATS)?
- Use a text format or .doc format. According to Joanne, about 80% of companies use an ATS called Taleo. Taleo is very strict and “unsympathetic.” Like other ATSs, Taleo looks for key words on resumes that recruiters program into the system. You might think of a machine as unnecessarily unfriendly, but to recruiters, they are necessary. Recruiters use these tools because they receive far more resumes than they can possible keep up with. To identify good key words that will stand out to the ATS, Joanne suggests going to the company website to “see what words and terminology they use.” Also, she adds, “look up people on LinkedIn who work there, and see they say about the company.” Don’t just copy what they say if it doesn’t reflect your skills. You still need to be honest. Instead, Joanne says you should ask whether each word is true to you and use those words. For example, if you’re an analytical person, and they’re asking for someone who is analytical, use every version of the word. Use “analytics”, “analyze”, “analytics”, etc. because you don’t know how the recruiters have programmed their ATS.
- Make sure it’s easy to read, and avoid using any tricks. “Every once in a while,” adds Joanne, “you hear about tricks that people do to hide words” in their resume documents. Systems are now trained to spot the tricks and reject your resume. You can’t game the system, and if you try to, recruiters see that as dishonest. And dishonesty is not a trait they want in their company.
About Joanne Meehl, MS, IJCDC, CPPA: Joanne talks directly with hiring managers, internal and external recruiters, and HR directors about what they want. She listens, and makes it her business to get the latest, right from the source. She then translates this knowledge into guidance for my clients, including entry-level job seekers. Learn more about Joanne’s career consulting services at www.joannemeehlcareerservices.com
March 28, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN) is a great accomplishment, and there are many good paying, traditional nursing career paths that both LPN’s and RN’s can pursue upon completion of their degree.
But there are even more opportunities for career advancement – along with increased salary, for registered nurses who pursue advanced nursing degrees. In fact – be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this article to see a comprehensive list detailing advanced nursing career paths – as well as a cool infographic detailing nursing careers by degree and pay.
The article 15 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs said: “To really thrive however, many RNs earn additional certifications, go for an advanced degree, and specialize in one particular area of nursing. This increases their earning potential by helping them qualify for positions at more prestigious hospitals. Some advanced practice RNs can even open their own clinics.”
Obtaining advanced nursing degrees is a challenge, but worth it for the nurse who aspires to continue to advance in their professional career.
“Advancing your nursing career from one level to the next can be an intimidating and time consuming endeavor, but in the end it’s worth it,” says Diann DeWitt, PhD, RN, CNE, chair of the Nursing program at Argosy University, Phoenix. “Highly educated and highly skilled nurses are able to exercise a higher level of autonomy, offer a greater degree of care to patients, and enjoy higher nursing salaries and a greater demand and satisfaction for their work.”
Once a nurse becomes an RN they can then focus on advanced degrees or specializing in an area of patient care, such as labor and delivery, pediatrics, or trauma (ER), points out Kerri Hines, MSN/Ed., RN, Department Chair for nursing at San Jacinto North Campus. San Jacinto College offers various nursing programs, including a Vocational Nursing (VN) Program, Registered Nursing (RN), and LVN – RN Transition Program. These programs provide an opportunity for students to have multiple pathways into a nursing career. The Vocational Nursing Program is a one-year program that prepares a graduate to work as a Vocational Nurse. Licensed Vocational Nurses work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, home health, schools, and other health care facilities to provide basic care to patients.
“These specialty areas usually require a RN degree and keen assessment and clinical reasoning skills,” says Hines.
Registered nurses also work in clinic settings, where they must have the ability to multitask and oversee medical assistance, as well assist the nurse practitioner or physician. “The nurse must take on a leadership role,” adds Hines. “All of the above career opportunities require excellent communication skills and teamwork. Some settings require the nurse to work more independently than others. However, all nurses are part of a team.”
Nurses can also pursue nursing certifications, which allow nurses to demonstrate one’s knowledge and experience in a particular area, says DeWitt. Nursing certifications are available for registered nurses and advanced practice nurses depending on the program. In addition, current LPNs may be able to waive a portion of the RN program depending on their previous experience and the College or University admission requirements. Generally, transitioning from LPN to RN will involve taking general education courses, admission to and completing an accredited RN program and then registering for, and passing the NCLEX-RN examination.
No matter what area of study a registered nurse purses, compassion, professionalism and a caring attitude are trademark skills of nurses who find success and satisfaction in their work. “These skills also help inspire the motivation to pursue life-long learning, which is becoming increasingly important to the nursing profession,” says Dr. Michele Dickens, the online nursing program director for RN and RN to BSN degrees at Campbellsville University in Kentucky. “Learning new technologies and the ability to adapt to change is essential for long-term career success in the healthcare field.”
It’s a great time for nurses passionate about education, patient care and career advancement. Those who have some real world experience may be able to better understand the path they want to choose, and once they find that niche, the possibilities and opportunities are endless.
“Nursing, in my opinion, is the greatest profession to go into,” says Dr. Janet Mahoney, PhD., RN, APN-C, NEA-BC, Dean of the Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies at Monmouth University. “Once a nurse has a firm foundation in nursing experiences and feels confident in his/her role as a nurse, the sky is the limit as far as career options go.”
For example, Forensic nurses are critical resources for anti-violence efforts. Forensic nurses collect evidence and give testimony that can be used in a court of law to apprehend or prosecute perpetrators who commit violent and abusive acts. If a nurse is interested in clinical practice, the Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees will give them the skills to be experts in the field. Monmouth offers Forensic Nursing, Nurse Practitioner and DNP programs, but not all colleges and universities do; so any nurse looking to specialize, needs to thoroughly research their educational options. Advanced degrees prepare nurses to apply evidence-based findings to their clinical practice. DNP nurses practice at the highest educational level and have an equal place at the table with other doctoral level professionals.
Below, we highlight a variety of nursing career paths one can pursue with advanced nursing degrees:
Health Informatics Technology: With the ever-growing integration of information technology in hospitals and other patient care facilities (including the advent of the Affordable Care Act requirement for electronic health records), this field continues to expand, says Dr. Kim Hudson-Gallogly, head of the University of North Georgia’s Department of Nursing. UNG has developed courses and degree options that can augment the traditional nursing degree and provide skills to meet the demands of the technology boom. Besides the nursing education needed for this pathway, it is essential that the nurse have extensive information technology course work to help the nurse manage data and processes associated with health informatics. To that end, nurses or students interested in this career path would do well to gain a good deal of experience in computer science. To market yourself effectively, hospitals and other care facilities will want to know how your skills can help them manage and process patient data. “Employers will be especially interested if you can showcase innovative software or programming talents that will make their other departments and employees more efficient at their own work,” says Hudson-Gallogly.
Clinical Trials Research: This field has become even more important as the push for research has increased across all patient care facilities, says Hudson-Gallogly. In this position, nurses study medical strategies, treatments and devices, and ascertain whether they are safe and effective for humans. A successful clinical trial typically reveals that the strategy or device in question either improves patient outcomes, offers no benefit, or causes harm. Registered professional nurses meet part of the requirements for this role with their extensive patient care experience, decision-making skills, and organizational skills, which are all essential abilities for the research nurse. However, nurses in this field will study more extensively in the hard sciences than their practice-based counterparts, as they will need to be exceedingly proficient in the scientific processes behind testing new treatments and devices. UNG is currently in the process of developing a clinical trials research degree for health care professionals that will launch in 2018.
Operating Room Nurses (or perioperative nurses): These nurses require a specialized skill set that includes being extremely organized, possessing a strong problem-solving ability, and being technologically savvy. While this pathway requires licensing as a registered professional nurse, it is so highly specialized that it is difficult to recruit and retain qualified applicants. As a result, there is a shortage of these nurses, says Hudson-Gallogly. Operating room nurses have the serious responsibility of planning for and supporting successful operations and surgeries, which includes a great deal — accurate and thorough patient assessment, detailed diagnoses, operating room suite planning, timely intervention when a an issue is identified, and vigilant evaluation once the patient has undergone a procedure are all critical functions of this nursing role. UNG has developed an introductory course to generate interest in this field in an effort to meet the needs and demands of the hospitals and ambulatory surgical sites. In 2018, UNG will launch a certificate that will prepare the nurse to be better prepared and more successful in this field, said Hudson-Gallogly.
Home Care Nursing: A home care nurse can provide intermittent care to home bound patients (visiting nurse) or provide around the clock care to patients requiring skilled nursing care. “Registered nurses need the skills to assess not just the patient, but the home care environment to ensure that the patient is receiving adequate care,” says Dr. Patricia Burke of Touro College School of Health Sciences Department of Nursing. The home care nurse needs to work independently and make clinical decisions coordinating care with other health care professionals (social worker, occupational and physical therapy) and providing comprehensive reports to the physician and insurance companies. One of the benefits of home care nursing is the flexibility and the ability to arrange visits to meet the nurses’ preferences. For instance, the nurse can arrange to conduct visits while their children are in school. Weekends and holidays are usually covered by per diem or on-call nurse, another added bonus.
A baccalaureate nursing degree is preferred but not required to become a home care nurse, however, at least one years’ experience as a nurse is required. For a specialty home care nurse, such as pediatrics, two years’ experience may be required. With home care nursing experience and a baccalaureate degree nurses can progress to coordinators of care, supervising home care nurses and ensuring that documentation of care meets regulatory standards.
Occupational Health Nurse: The occupational health nurse (OHN) needs basic assessment and education skills. The focus of the OHN is on the identification of workplace hazards, education regarding prevention and safety of employees, and preventive care. OHN’s also conducting employee risk assessment with management, compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and training for industry specific safety issues. “A benefit of being an OHN is that the hours are regular with no weekend or holiday requirement,” says Burke.
Research Nurse: A research nurse can function at all levels of research from obtaining consent, collecting the data through analysis and dissemination. “Attention to detail is one of the most important skills needed for a research nurse,” says Burke. Research nurses can work in pharmaceutical, medical, or nursing intervention trials. This job requires excellent written and verbal communication skills, a knowledge of the research process and clinical expertise in the area studied. Most research nurses will work Monday through Friday, 9-5, with weekends and holidays off. If the research nurse is working for a pharmaceutical company their position may involve travel and evening seminars to disseminate findings. The minimum requirement for a research nurse is a baccalaureate degree, however a Masters is preferred.
As nurses further their education and gain experience, more formal leadership opportunities arise.
“New graduates must understand that healthcare and nursing is a dynamic area that is constantly changing,” says Hines. “The key to success is to be open-minded to new heath care trends and adopt a lifelong learning mindset. Additionally, the nurse must understand flexibility, as things are always constantly moving and changing to best meet the health care needs of the patients, their families, and the community.”
For a greater break down of nursing careers by degree and pay, check out this cool INFOGRAPHIC from Ashworth College:
To learn more about nursing careers and other health care opportunities, stay connected to College Recruiter. Start by registering with College Recruiter to have job alerts emailed to you. Then visit our blog, and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
March 24, 2017 by Anna Peters
Joanne Meehl knows the rules resume writing and has excellent advice. She is president and primary Job Coach & Career Consultant at Joanne Meehl Career Services. Today Joanne shared her insight with College Recruiter, and you can scroll down to watch a video of our discussion. This is Part 1 of 2 of Joanne’s resume writing tips. A week from now Joanne will join us again to share more about applicant tracking systems and common mistakes that college students make when writing a resume.
Joanne is part of College Recruiter’s Panel of Experts, which is made up of professionals around the country with top notch advice for recruiters and HR professionals, or for entry level job seekers.
When writing your resume, you should know a few solid rules
- Think of your resume as a database, not a regular document. It’s not a term paper with a beginning, middle and end. It’s like a database that holds your all projects and experience. From your database, you pull out the skills and experience that fit every job you to apply to. In other words, have a template or master copy, and customize it for every employer you send it to.
- You should repeat key words that you find in the job posting, whether a human or a machine ends up reading it. (Joanne will talk more about the machines that read your resumes in Part 2.)
- Talk about what you can DO, not what you have learned. This means you should unpaid work too. Volunteering at your church or community definitely counts as good experience. Wherever your experience, you are likely to pick up skills that you can apply to another job. (Volunteering is also an answer to job seekers who are frustrated by being turned down for not having experience!)
- Joanne suggests that entry-level job seekers could be more assertive. “Step up and be aggressive about it.” Ask an employer not just once, but twice. If they liked you but end up hiring someone else, go back and learn more. Ask to meet someone who works there to network and become familiar with their culture and possible future openings.
- Review it! When you’re done with each draft, can you look at it and say, “I can tell what this person can DO for me”? If you can’t tell, you need to figure out how to answer that question throughout your whole resume.
Why is it so important to tailor my resume for each job or internship I apply to?
Doing so greatly increases the chances a recruiter (or an applicant tracking system) will pick out your resume from the huge database of applicants. And when you’re picked out, that increases the chance you’ll be called for an interview.
You must tailor your resume every time. Recruiters are extremely busy, so your resume has to speak to only them, and only that job position. Keep in mind that every employer believes that their job is the most important in the world. If you are not a perceived match for their opening, they will screen you out. Joanne says, “Don’t think that they’re sitting leisurely with a cup of coffee, looking over every resume. They’re not.”
About Joanne Meehl, MS, IJCDC, CPPA: Joanne talks directly with hiring managers, internal and external recruiters, and HR directors about what they want. She listens, and makes it her business to get the latest, right from the source. She then translates this knowledge into guidance for my clients, including entry-level job seekers. Learn more about Joanne’s career consulting services at www.joannemeehlcareerservices.com