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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted July 15, 2019 by

Can I Text You?

Can I Text You? (Is it okay to use text messages during a job search?)

Scrolling though job listings and even applying for jobs on your phone’s web browser is becoming more commonplace. But, is it okay to communicate via text with prospective employers?

According to Jackie Ducci, CEO and founder of Ducci & Associates, a talent acquisition agency in Washington, D.C., the answer is “no.” “It is rarely, if ever, a good idea for a candidate to text a potential employer during the job search process,” says Ducci.

Unless you’re specifically asked to send a text by an employer, you should skip texting for several reasons:

1. It’s too informal. Texting is convenient and used more than calling or emailing these days. However, while its perfectly fine for friends, partners and even co-workers in some cases, it’s still considered too informal by most employers. Remember, you’re trying to be professional and create a good impression.

According to some recruiting experts, an inappropriate thank-you note after a job interview is worse than sending no thank-you note! For instance, handwriting a note on casual stationery would be considered too informal, as would a text. This is especially true if it’s a conservative industry/business.

2. It’s a missed opportunity. Even though it’s more intimidating to call and talk to an employer, it gives you an opportunity to really communicate with that person and make a human connection. Talking conveys tone of voice and inflection, which are lost or often misconstrued in texts. It also allows you to answer questions and expand on subjects. In other words, talking is better for two-way communication, which helps build relationships.

If you’re writing a thank you letter (and most experts agree that you should), it gives you an opportunity to reinforce your qualifications, express your enthusiasm for the positions and the company, and demonstrate your communication skills.

3. You don’t know how the person feels about texting. According to a Gallup poll, sending and receiving text messages is the most common form of communication for many Americans under 50. However, while you and your friends may use texts as your primary means of communication, others might take offense to receiving a text. Text messages can seem “flippant” or dismissive, which may cause the employer to feel that you’re not taking the job seriously, even if that’s not the case.

Of course, the exception to this is if the person has already texted you first. For example, if the employer texts you first to ask for more information or schedule a follow-up interview, then it’s fine to text back. In general, however, save the texting for keeping in touch with friends or urgent messages with already-established business contacts.

Now, having said all that, don’t be surprised if texting becomes more accepted in the future. TopResume’s career expert Amanda Augustine says she wouldn’t be surprised, at least for newer professionals, if texting becomes a commonplace thing. After all, everyone is looking for ways to save time and be more efficient. So, don’t be shocked if the recruiter or hiring manager from your next interview follows up via text. If that happens, feel free to text back!

Sources:

“Can I text a thank you after a job interview?” by Rose Mathews, Chron.com, 2019.

“Forget the phone – your next employer wants to interview you over text messages, by Courtney Connley, CNBC, March 2018.

“This is one thing you should never do during a job search,” by Jennifer Parris, The Ladders, May 22, 2018

Posted July 11, 2019 by

5 Things to Consider Besides Salary

5 Things to Consider Besides Salary

Of course, it’s important to earn a living wage. And, while a great salary may top your “wish list” when job hunting, there are other important factors to consider. In fact, some aspects of a potential job can have a much greater impact on your overall satisfaction and long-term happiness than a paycheck. For instance, if you have children or crave work-life balance, flexible hours may be a significant benefit. If you love to travel, more vacation days can help you pursue your dreams.

Surveys show that employees rate the following factors as “extremely to very important” when deciding on a position.          

1. Interesting and/or challenging work, with room to grow.

In a 2018 poll by Korn Ferry of nearly 5,000 professionals, the top reason people were looking for a new job was boredom. That’s right they were bored! If you think about how many hours you spend at work, you can see how continually doing mundane tasks can take its toll over time. Most people want to be engaged in their job and challenged by new experiences. Based on interviews with employees at companies that have been designated as the Best Places to Work, “Doing things that I enjoy and am good at” ranked as the number one reason for loving their job. Having “learning or growth opportunities” was also rated highly. In addition, the Society for Human Resource Management found that 59% of employees think that opportunity for personal growth and advancement was a very important job aspect.

Furthermore, nearly 60% of Americans would take a job they love over a job they hate, even if the preferred position paid half the amount of salary they would earn at the job they dislike! (Lexington Law)

So, as you consider prospective positions, be sure the job responsibilities include tasks that truly interest you. Not every aspect of a job can be exciting, or even interesting, but overall, the position should entail something you enjoy doing and excel at. Also, be sure to ask about opportunities for continued training and growth, which will not only challenge you, but may result in a bigger paycheck down the road.

2. Organizational culture.

It goes without saying that a company with a toxic or dysfunctional culture is not going to be a great place to work. Not surprisingly, research shows that a negative atmosphere can reduce productivity and increase turnover, while a positive culture can improve performance, attract and retain employees and make a company more competitive.

While there has been a great deal of momentum around changing the face of corporate cultures over the past 10 years, Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report reveals that only 33% of employees in the U.S. rated their workplace culture as positive or engaging. There is obviously room for improvement.

Start by looking for a company that has taken the time to develop a mission statement and a set of values and that actually puts them into practice. In short, a mission outlines what a company stands for and defines its purpose. According to Forbes, mission-driven employees are 54% more likely to stay for five or more years at a company and 30% are more likely to become high performers. In summary, a great work environment can boost morale, motivate you, and enhance your quality of life.

“Culture” shouldn’t just be a buzzword for the company. And, it doesn’t always mean that the company has ping-pong tables and meditation rooms! A positive company culture is one that encourages teamwork and collaboration; offers opportunities for growth; and places a high value on its employees. They may also serve the community and encourage employee participation in that outreach. In short, there is no single rubric for company culture. However, you can get a sense of whether that culture is a good fit for you by researching the company, asking questions in the interview process, looking for comments on social media and, if possible, talking to other employees.

3. Accessible leadership.

Although this often goes along with a positive culture, having access to leaders and developing good working relationships with them is key to employee satisfaction. According to the Harvard Business Review, 60% of employees surveyed said their relationships with their supervisor or manager positively impacts their focus and productivity at work and 44% said it impacts their stress levels, leading to higher productivity and satisfaction overall.

Accessible leadership makes employees feel valued. It involves listening to employees and making them feel heard, acknowledging their feedback and doing something about it, recognizing employees for a job well done and giving credit where credit is due.

It can be difficult to get a feel for the leadership of a company prior to working there, but you can ask questions about reviews and feedback opportunities during an interview. In these days of social media, you can also often find comments from employees. Other indicators: Has the company been named as one of the best companies to work for? Have the company’s leaders received recognition for their direction?

4. Open communication/transparency.

Transparency and open communication fosters trust, and employees who trust organizations are more likely to be engaged in their everyday work life (TalMetrix). This makes sense when you consider that we are all more likely to trust someone when we feel they will share necessary information with us. Again, open communication is a big component of a positive company culture, but it’s important enough to be considered separately.

Some aspects that contribute to open communication and transparency are annual performance reviews, keeping employees informed about company performance on a regular basis, clearly communicating the company’s mission and values, creating an atmosphere where employees can voice concerns or make suggestions without fear of repercussions, and holding team-building activities.

Again, you can get a feel for a company’s communication style by asking questions during an interview about how often reviews are done and whether there is a forum for employee feedback. Companies that value open communication will also typically communicate this well on their website.

5. Employee health and work-life balance.

The 2018 Global Talent Trends study by Mercer revealed that a large number of employees value flexible schedules more than salary. Flexibility was more important for parents, with 84% naming it the number one factor to consider in a job. Meanwhile 80% of surveyed employees said work-life balance was the most significant factor. Of course, the two are closely related.

In today’s digital world, it’s much easier for companies to allow flexible work schedules as many jobs can be accomplished anywhere via computer. Remote workers are, in fact, a growing population.

In addition to flex hours and respect for work-life balance, employees who are most satisfied with their job site “wellness initiatives” as important. Companies that promote and encourage healthy habits show that they care about employees as people. The Global Talent Trends study found that 50% of employees would like to see a greater focus on well-being at their company, including physical, psychological and financial wellness.

Companies that are committed to the health and wellbeing of their employees often offer a variety of wellness programs, such as on-site health screenings, lunch and learn sessions, on-site gyms, mental health days, standing desks, and more. Typically, these programs are featured on their websites or other recruiting materials.

What do you value? This is the question you need to ask before embarking on your job search. While there is no guarantee, finding a company that shares those values is more likely to lead to long-term job satisfaction. 

Posted July 01, 2019 by

8 Interview Questions Job Seekers Should Ask

You’ve landed the interview and spent hours researching the company and preparing your responses to the most common interview questions. You’ve got this, right? Not so fast.

An often-overlooked part of the interview process comes near the end when the interviewer turns the tables and asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” Believe it or not, most employers are expecting you to have insightful queries ready. You can impress employers by being prepared with a few insightful questions that show you’re an attentive listener and truly engaged in the process. The answers can also give you additional insight as to whether this position and company are a good fit.

Consider the following:

1. What particular areas of my background or experience interest you?

The company selected you from the pile of resumes or applications they received for a reason. You may have “checked all the boxes” when it comes to the job requirements, such as having the right degree, skill set or related experience, but typically there is something “extra” that caught their attention and set you apart. Were they impressed with your internships? Did they find your leadership skills in past roles important to this position? Or, was it the way you demonstrated your ability to work well on a team? Asking this question not only shows that you’re interested in the position and what it entails, but it will give you a clue as to what to emphasize in your follow-up letter.

2. What are the most challenging aspects of the job for which I’m being considered?

Again, this question demonstrates your interest in the position-both the exciting, interesting aspects and the difficult, challenging parts. You may find from the answer they provide that the challenges associated with this position are not something you’re willing to accept (e.g., long hours, tight deadlines, or a lack of teamwork between departments). In this case, you may not want to pursue the position. On the other hand, by addressing the fact that you’ve successfully navigated similar situations in the past, you’re demonstrating your ability to handle this position and that you’re not afraid of the challenges that may come your way.

3. What are the most important characteristics needed to succeed in this position?

There are job requirements and then there are the “other” skills that may not be listed that are necessary for success. Job postings often list generic proficiencies such as good communication skills or the ability to work in teams, but what are the real qualities they’re looking for? This question can sometimes tease out those underlying characteristics so you can respond to them either in the interview or in your follow-up communication. For example, if the interviewer says they need someone who is good with details or very organized, you can provide a specific example related to those characteristics.

4. Where do you see this position going in the next few years?

Asking about the future shows that you’re interested in the long term. These days, with so many employees hopping from one job to another, it can be reassuring to an employer that you want to stay with them and pursue a career versus just taking a job as a step toward something else. The answer may also help you decide whether this job is the right fit for you. If the answer you receive is vague, it may indicate that there is no room for growth, or the direction may not be where you want to go.

5. What does a typical day look like?

It’s one thing to describe a job and its responsibilities, but how that position plays out day to day is quite another. Learning about a “day in the life” of someone in this position can help you decide whether you’re really a good fit. Asking the question shows that you’re interested in more than the basic responsibilities-you want to know more about the culture, the interaction with other employees, etc. As a bonus, employees who love their jobs and the company they work for will be enthusiastic about describing a typical day around the office, so you’ll get a sense of the culture. If they aren’t enthusiastic, it may indicate internal dysfunction. If you’ve developed a good rapport with the interviewer, you may want to follow up with a more personal question, such as “What do you like most about working here?”

6. Is this a new position or are you replacing someone?

If the position is new, it may indicate that the company is growing. On the flip side, because it’s a new position, it may not be well defined, which presents its own challenges. If it’s an existing position, it’s fair to ask why the person who previously filled this role left. Does the company have an issue with turnover? Does the position report to a difficult manager? While it’s highly unlikely that the interviewer will provide this type of negative information, the answers you receive could raise a few red flags.

7. Does your company have a mission, vision and set of values? What are they?

If the company lists these things on their website, there is obviously no need to ask. You should already be aware of them from your research. In that case, you may want to mention that you were impressed by the company’s mission or values and feel that you are a good fit with those values because… (insert example here). If there is no mission, vision or values on the website, then it’s okay to ask the interviewer if the company has them and what they are. It may give you a sense as to what’s important to the company, as well as some insight into their culture.

8. Where are you in the hiring process and what’s the next step?

If this information hasn’t already been covered, it’s a good way to wrap up the interview. Again, this reinforces your interest in the position and indicates that you are ready to take the next step. Just as importantly, it lets you know what to expect and how to follow up.

Research shows that as many as 42% of job seekers do not come prepared with questions for the interviewer. Therefore, having some insightful questions at the ready can set you apart from other candidates. It also conveys your interest in the company and helps you decide if it’s where you want to work. Remember, interviews are a two-way street.

Lily Rose-Wilson

Posted June 04, 2019 by

Employers shouldn’t — but still do — stalk candidates on Facebook

One of my favorite podcasts that sits at the intersection of human resources and technology a/k/a HRtech is The Chad and Cheese Podcast. The hosts are friends Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman, each of whom have been in the industry for two decades and regularly compete with each other to see who can out-snark the other. Shows are usually about 40-minutes long, easy to listen to, and informative.

Toward the end of the May 31st episode, Chad and Joel got into a discussion about an employer in Australia or New Zealand — they couldn’t remember where — who left a voice message for a candidate that was a little more revealing than the employer planned. Apparently, the employer didn’t realize they were still being recorded and started to discuss the candidate’s fake tan, tattoos, and other items which weren’t at all relevant to the candidate’s ability to do the work. Big thumbs down to the employer.

I did a little Googling and found the story on news.com.au. So, it was an Australian employer. Perth to be exact. The employer was Michelle Lines from STS Health and the candidate was Lily Rose-Wilson. In the recording, Lines can be heard discussing Rose-Wilson’s Facebook photos with a male colleague.

According to news.com.au, the conversation went as follows: “Not answering the phone now,” Ms Lines says. Her colleague suggests she’s “probably getting another tattoo”, to which Ms Lines responds, “She’s probably doing her fake tan.” The male asks, “Did you really like, Facebook stalk?”, and Ms Lines says, “That’s what you got to do, babe”. “Yeah, well it’s very thorough, good on you,” he replies.

Ugh. I’ve been speaking about how employers wrongfully use Facebook and other social media sites since Facebook was only accessible to students, staff, and faculty at dozens of colleges and universities. I really, really thought that employers had grown up and realized that sites like Facebook are great sourcing tools if they’re used to help the employer be more inclusive when hiring and should never be used to exclude candidates from the hiring pool. Yet, here we are again. Ugh.

To the candidates reading this blog, beware. Understand that every organization is made up of individuals and individuals all make mistakes. And some make more mistakes than others. But even if an individual within an organization to which you’ve applied makes a mistake and looks at your Facebook profile to see if they can find a reason to eliminate you from the candidate pool does not mean that you should cross that employer off of your list. Chances are, the person will be in HR and unless you’re applying to work in HR you’ll likely never interact with that person after you’re hired.

Don’t leave yourself open to the irrational, mistaken whims of some idiot who decides that looking at your tan or tattoos is a good idea when deciding whether you’re qualified for a job. If that matters to you as it does to many candidates, then lock down your privacy so that the prospective employer cannot see those photos. And if they’re the kind of photos that you’d be embarrassed to show your favorite grandmother, get them off of your profile altogether.

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Posted May 27, 2019 by

Paid vs unpaid internships are key to landing a well-paying job upon graduation

One of the most basic factors separating students who find it relatively easy to find a well-paying job upon graduation from those who end up unemployed or underemployed is whether the students had internships or not and whether those internships were paid or unpaid.

According to results of the Class of 2019 Student Survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, “more than half of all graduating seniors who applied for a full-time job—53.2 percent—received at least one job offer. Within this group, 57.5 percent of students who had an internship and 43.7 percent of graduating seniors who did not have an internship received a job offer.”

In addition, the students who completed at least one internship prior to graduation were significantly more likely to receive multiple job offers for positions upon graduation. For those who completed at least one internship, the average student received 1.17 job offers. Those without an internship received 16 percent fewer job offers: an average of only 0.98 per student.

Another key factor was whether the internship was paid or unpaid. Many legal experts believe that unpaid internships are illegal unless the employer is a governmental or non-profit entity. But just because something may be illegal doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Just think about the last time you drove a car. Almost everyone breaks at least one law every time they drive, whether that’s failing to come to a complete stop at a controlled intersection or driving even one mile per hour over the speed limit.

The impact of internship pay status was evident as well as 66.4 percent of According to NACE, 66.4 percent of class of 2019 graduates who had a paid internship received a job offer. On the other hand, just 43.7 percent of unpaid interns were offered a job. In other words, if you only graduate with an unpaid internship and your friend graduates with a similar but paid internship, she is 34 percent more likely to receive at least one job offer upon graduation. Ouch.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Posted May 20, 2019 by

2019 job market best for college grads since 2017

Want more evidence that the job market facing this year’s college grads is the best in years? Actually, the best in 12 years, if you want to get technical.

According to the Class of 2019 Student Survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, graduating college seniors who had applied for full-time jobs received an average of 1.10 job offers, the highest rate of average job offers in 12 years.

That students who are merely applying for jobs are, on average, receiving more than one job offer is consistent with NACE’s Job Outlook 2019 Spring Update, which reported that U.S. employers plan to hire 10.7 percent more graduates from the class of 2019 than they did from the class of 2018.

Posted May 13, 2019 by

I’m willing to do anything. Why can’t I get hired?

I founded the company out of which College Recruiter. We’ve been helping students and recent graduates find great careers for 28 years, which is about six years more than the typical college grad has been alive.

One of the most common questions that we get asked by students and recent graduates is why they can’t get hired by an employer despite being willing to do any work asked by that employer. The response is almost always a variation of, “Well, that’s the reason. Employers don’t want to hire people who are willing to do anything. Few have the time and fewer still have the patience to coach candidates.

Corporate recruiters — those who work in-house for a specific employer — are typically evaluated based upon how many people they hire. If they take extra time to help you or work with you to figure out which of their openings you’re best suited for, chances are that they could have helped their employer hire multiple people in that same amount of time. Third-party recruiters (also known as headhunters or executive recruiters) are under even more time pressure as they’re typically paid a straight commission only when a candidate they refer to an employer is hired by that employer. For them, time truly is money.

Your skills are transferable to a wide variety of roles. I get it. You’re willing to just get your foot in the door and then work your way up. I get it. You’re happy to work for just about any sized organization, provided that it is a dynamic, growing company. I get it. You’d be happy living where you currently do but are also more than willing to relocate at your own expense. I get it. You just want a chance to prove yourself. I get that too and so do the employers that you’re contacting, but the sad truth is that most don’t really care.

Make their job easy. Commit to the type of organization for which you wish to work, maybe a few metro areas that you already have ties to, and a handful of roles and then pursue those with a vengeance. When you apply, be sure that they know that you’re really applying to the specific job by customizing your cover letter and resume to perfectly fit the job. You’re applying for a sales position and the job title the employer uses is “account manager”? Then be sure that your cover letter and resume use “account manager” to describe the work you’ve done and the work you want to do. Their job title states that they want a candidate with a major in computer science but your school calls that information technology? Then be sure that your resume states that your major was, “Computer Science (Information Technology)” or something along those lines.

Oh, and when you do start to engage with the recruiter, be sure that everything you talk about is for the benefit of the employer. They’re a multinational with offices in Chicago, Kansas City, Fort Lauderdale, and Barcelona? Great, but if the recruiter you’re talking with is filling a role for the Chicago office then don’t tell her that you’d love to work in Barcelona someday unless she asks you if you’d be open to starting with the firm in Chicago and a year or two from now working out of the Barcelona office. She’s trying to fill a seat in Chicago, not Barcelona.

Posted May 07, 2019 by

Massive unemployment still exists amongst high school and college graduates

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released some fascinating — and depressing — statistics on the state of the job market for students, drop-outs, and recent graduates of the nation’s high schools, colleges, and universities. The findings may surprise you.

Historically, most high school graduates did not go to college. The trend over the past few decades, however, has been that more and more are going to college. By October 2017,

66.7 percent of 2018 high school graduates age 16 to 24 were enrolled in colleges or universities. That increased 3.6 percent to 69.1 percent by October 2018. To those of us who value education, that’s a great thing. But to those of us who also value converting that education into a great career, the report contained some bleak news: only 72.3 percent of 20- to 29-year-olds who received a bachelor’s degree were employed, meaning that the unemployment rate for that cohort is about 7.7 times the April 2019, national unemployment rate of 3.6 percent.

Want some more highlights?

  • More women are in college than men. About 66.9 percent and 71.3 percent of men and women, ages 16 to 24, who graduated from high school are enrolled in college.
  • High school drop-outs are far less likely to work or even be looking for work than those who graduated. Among 16- to 24-year-olds, 47.2 percent of recent high school dropouts were working or looking for work, as compared to the labor force participation rate of 74.0 percent for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college.
  • A majority of young adults are in school. Only 42.8 percent – 16.3 million people – between the ages of 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school.
  • More graduates of two-year colleges are employed than graduates of four-year colleges. Among 20- to 29-year-olds, 75.0 percent of recent associate degree recipients, 72.3 percent of recent bachelor’s degree recipients, and 80.7 percent of recent advanced degree recipients were employed. Maybe that’s why 20 percent of recent bachelor’s degree recipients age 20 to 29 were enrolled in school.
  • Of those graduating from high school, those of Asian descent are 15.4 percent more likely to enroll in college than those who are black. The college enrollment rate of recent graduates was 73.4 percent for Asians, 69.6 percent for whites, 65.5 percent for Hispanics, and 63.6 percent for blacks.
  • About one-third of college students are also employed or looking for work. The labor force participation rates for male and female graduates enrolled in college were 37.3 percent and 35.5 percent, respectively.
  • Very few high school grads who enroll in college attend part-time. Some 90 percent were full-time students. Not surprisingly, only 32.5 percent of full-time students were in the labor force but twice as many – 74.3 percent – of part-time students were.
  • Four-year colleges are still the draw. Some two-thirds of high school grads enrolled in college attended a four-year colleges. Of these, 31.4 were also working as compared to 44.9 percent of those in two-year colleges.
  • Of the 37.9 million between the ages of 16- and 24-years of age, 21.7 million (57.2 percent) were enrolled in high school (9.4 million) or in college (12.3 million).
  • More than a million college students a year graduate with a bachelor’s degree.
  • Between January and October 2018, 1.1 million 20- to 29-year-olds earned a bachelor’s
  • degree; of these, 810,000 (72.3 percent) were employed in October 2018, making the
  • unemployment rate of 12.9 percent about 3.6 times the national, unemployment rate of 3.6 percent in April 2019.
  • The likelihood of graduating from college and being unemployed was virtually the same between men and women: 71.6 percent of men and 72.8 percent of women who recently earned a bachelor’s degree were employed in October 2018. The jobless rates for recent male and female bachelor’s degree recipients were 13.6 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.
  • The job market for those with master’s and higher degrees was definitely better than those with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. Between January and October 2018, 352,000 persons age 20 to 29 earned an advanced degree. Some 80.7 percent of recent grads with advanced degrees were working, as compared with 72.3 percent of those with bachelor’s degrees. In October 2018, the unemployment rate for recent advanced degree recipients was 10.4 percent.
  • Of the 374,000 20- to 29-year-olds who completed an associate degree between January and
  • October 2018, 75.0 percent were employed in October 2018. The unemployment rate for recent associate degree recipients was 9.6 percent.
Posted April 30, 2019 by

How to Land That Interview: Advice From the Experts

Whether you’re responding to the perfect job posting or sending queries out to companies on your “dream list,” we want you to get the consideration you deserve. So, we asked our panel of experts for their advice on how job seekers can make their cover letter and resume stand out from the crowd and land an interview.

(Please note, while there are some varying perspectives on certain aspects of the resume and cover letter, there are also some clear consistencies from our experts – just as there will be for different hiring managers.)

RESUMES THAT RESONATE

Pam Baker, Founder and CEO, Journeous:

An important thing to remember is that your resume can and should be tailored to the opportunity, while your LinkedIn profile will be a more generalized view of who you are and your experience. You want it to be easy for a recruiter to spend the 5-7 seconds they’re likely to use on scanning your resume to say “yes, this person is worth talking to.”

Adapt your objective/summary to reflect the focus of the job you’re interested in. Review the order of the bullets listed under your experience to list those that are most relevant to this job at the top. If you have specific training that allows you to stand out for this role, make sure it’s highlighted and easy to see. Lastly, make sure to start your bullets with what you accomplished, followed by how you accomplished it and not the reverse. Far too many bullets on resumes start with the “how” and list the results at the end. At this stage, you need to grab the recruiter/interviewer’s attention FAST. 

For example, instead of saying: “Managed project to generate corporate donations for track team, doubling prior year’s total from $3,500 to $7,000,” say: “Doubled corporate donations to $7,000 for track team sponsorship by (how you did what you did)…” 

Alexandra Levit, Chairperson of DeVry University Career Board Business/Workplace Author, Speaker, Consultant, and Futurist Managing Partner, PeopleResults:

Look closely at the job description and determine what specific skills the company is looking for and what achievements they want to see from a candidate, and then tailor your resume to fit that criteria. When you describe your previous experience, make sure it relates to the job you are applying for. Employers want to minimize risk, so you need to assure them that you’ve already succeeded in these areas.

These days, objectives are not necessary. If you do include an objective, again, make sure you customize it for each position that you are applying for.

Finally, be concise. A resume should tell a cohesive story about your experiences/job history in 30 seconds. If you’ve had a long career, be selective about what you include on your resume. You don’t have to list every experience.      

Jeff Dunn, Intel Campus Relations Manager:

It’s all about targeting. For instance, a Computer Engineer has both hardware and software coursework and skills. For a software position, she needs to modify her objective – her “relevant” coursework and the class projects she lists – to be targeted for those skill sets.

In addition, make sure to include quantitative results/numbers in the resume whenever possible. Most resumes simply list tasks that do not demonstrate quality of work.

Joanne Meehl, MS, IJCDC, Joanne Meehl Career Services:

Job seekers should have a 3-4-line “Summary” at the top of page one of their resume that in short, snappy phrases mentions various points about them that match the job description – not only matches the posting itself, but shows an understanding of what the role AND career path require. It should also say something about who you are. College seniors can get this “inside information” about the career by talking with people who DO the job they want. This section should be real for the applicant, not made up for this one job. Here’s an example for an entry level Analyst position, by a client of mine who was a college senior when he wrote it, slightly edited for anonymity. (It worked):

New Analyst with big-picture business mindset. Relishes synthesizing data and doing research. Trusted by peers and managers during three pressured yet very productive Big Data internships. Self-driven, non-entitled, competitive, responsive, with a problem-solving attitude. Deeply interested in analytics, budgeting, operations. Speaks near-fluent Spanish and French. Willing to travel.                                    

COVER LETTERS THAT GET CONSIDERATION

Pam Baker:

While in truth I find that cover letters aren’t consistently read, when they are read, they offer an opportunity to go beyond the resume, which addresses the “what” and speaks to the “why” in your cover letter. WHY are you the best candidate for the job? WHY do you want this role? A resume is written in the third person; your cover letter is written in first person and gives you a chance to connect with the reader by making yourself memorable for who you are, beyond just what you’ve done. 

Alexandra Levit:

Again, you should customize your cover letter to the position, highlighting the areas of expertise that the employer is looking for. It’s also important to be concise in your cover letter. Tell your story succinctly and provide quantitative results whenever possible.

If possible, find a direct contact at the company and send your information to that person. Communicating directly with the hiring manager versus someone in HR can ensure that you won’t get lost in the system. With everything being automated these days, it’s more difficult to stand out and get attention from the right person within an organization.

Jeff Dunn:

A brief cover letter has more impact than a full page that I don’t have the time to read. For example, “I have spoken to several of your company employees, and I believe that the Digital Design Engineer is a good match with my Electrical Engineering coursework and successful team projects. The best times to reach me are the afternoons. I look forward to speaking with you.”

Joanne Meehl:

Again, any examples you can provide would be appreciated. Cover letters are read by some on the hiring side, despite what some people in companies say about never reading them, so do one. Do a “match up” of “what you need” (the employer’s needs) and “how I meet that need,” with examples of your successes from internships, activities, jobs, volunteer work.

The salutation should not sound like a lawyer wrote it, so don’t use “To Whom it May Concern.” A better choice would be “Good Day.” Use the first paragraph to tell them what position they have that you fit and that your resume is attached. Include the job number if one is given.

The next paragraph should tell them why you want the job and why you want to work for them. Here’s where you say you’re interested “because of (the company’s name) cutting-edge leadership” or other statement that’s personal to you. This kind of statement reveals the research you’ve done to choose the company. Most job seekers don’t bother with research, so your cover letter/email and resume will rise above the rest on this aspect alone.

Now, the killer paragraph! Show them you understand their pain; this is so much more powerful than saying one more time, “I have X-years of experience in this field…” This introduces the section where you clearly show how you match the job. I recommend that you show the company how you match the advertised job, point for point. Choose your 4-5 strongest attributes that match their requirements.

Finally, the last paragraph should be a call for action, such as “I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you regarding this position.” If you say you will contact them by a certain date, be sure to follow-up when you say you will! Use your email signature – meaning all your contact information. Make it easy for them to contact you.

MORE TIPS FOR GETTING THAT INTERVIEW

Pam Baker:

Make use of your network! Who do you know who works in the industry/company/type of job you’re interested in? Family friends, alumni, past coworkers, people you were in volunteer roles with? People typically want to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Let them know why you’re doing so and ask for 15 minutes of their time. Then plan out 3-4 questions you want input on, so you can show interviewers you’ve done your homework and know what makes a great candidate. For example, you might want to know what some of the qualities are that this company looks for. Or you might want to find out what skills set someone apart in this type of role. Or maybe it’s useful to get a sense of the type of work someone with your degree could do in this industry or company. You might ask if they know anything about the recruiting or hiring team – and if they know you well enough (e.g., they’ve worked with you before on a project, volunteer role, in a work capacity) you could ask them to put in a good word for you. People who are recommended by someone in their network are at least 3-4 times more likely to get hired! So, doing some up-front research on who might be able to help is well worth your time. 

Alexandra Levit:

I agree with Pam. It’s important to make a personal connection if possible. Try to target someone who is directly involved in the area you are applying for. Also, be sure to follow up after you’ve submitted your resume. A good rule-of-thumb is three touchpoints within a six-week period. I suggest starting with an email, then a second email, and finally a phone call. If you don’t get a response after that, let it go. When you’re communicating with the company/contact, show enthusiasm for the company and the position – Why do you want this job? What makes you excited about working with this company? What aspects of the position are appealing?

Jeff Dunn:

If possible, follow up with an employee who can get your resume to the hiring manager, in case they don’t find your resume in the database.

Finally, show some evidence of “people skills” in addition to your functional skills (leadership, communication skills, adaptability, ownership, initiative, etc.). While these are subjective, including some will personalize your resume. You can give examples when you land the interview.

Joanne Meehl:

Show some excitement for the company, the role/position, and your career choice. Don’t make this a sterile exercise about “skills,” but expand from skills to show how you enjoy the nature of the work and that you’re planning to be doing it for many years because it’s so fascinating to you. Even if you’re a future (very sedate) accountant, show some FIRE for the work! This will demonstrate that you are serious about the career AND will distinguish you from other grads.

To learn more about the College Recruiter panel of experts, click HERE.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia and author, Barnellbe.

Posted April 26, 2019 by

What are the consequences to students who renege on job offers?

I’ve been participating in an interesting discussion in a listserv managed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Most of the readers are talent acquisition leaders from Fortune 1,000 and other large employers and college career service office professionals. A small percentage of readers are like me in that they work for organizations which, in one way or another, help college and university students and recent graduates find great careers.

The discussion that prompted me to write this blog article is about whether employers should report to a career service office that a student who accepted a job offer later reneged on that offer. One employer volunteered that they do send lists of those reneges to the career service offices. I wonder if that employer and others like them are providing any context provided to the reasons for the student reneging on the offer or any opportunity provided to them to provide the context.

Let’s be honest, sometimes the student reneges on their employment-at-will relationship because they change their mind and we can point a finger at them as the party to blame, if there is a need to assign blame. But what if an objective, third-party would actually point to the employer? Reasons are numerous, such as when employers oversell the opportunity, materially change the compensation or position, the hiring manager is terminated or reassigned, a family emergency prevents the student from starting, the employer pivots or even eliminates the business unit that recruited the student, the economy very suddenly and very dramatically changes as it did in 2008, etc. 

Realistically, if an employer is going to report student reneges to the career service office, what do we expect the career service office to do with that information? Wouldn’t it make sense that there would be negative repercussions to the student, and are we trying to help that student or are we trying to punish them and dissuade future students from reneging, much like imprisoning criminals punish the perpetrator and, perhaps, dissuade others from committing the same crime. Do we want to model our college and university recruitment programs on the criminal justice system?

For the career service offices who are accepting the renege information from the employers and maybe even soliciting it, are you doing the same from the candidates? What about employers who renege on their offers? If you’re punishing the student in some way such as banning them from further use of your services, are you levying the same punishments against the employers?