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

    June 06, 2017 by

     

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

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

    1. Develop a focused job search

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

    That also builds confidence.

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

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

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

    2. Ask your career development center for advice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    4. Start building a professional network

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

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

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

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

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

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

    5. Ask for helpful parents, not helicopter parents

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

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

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

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

    But…

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

    6. Find a mentor to develop as a professional

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Onboarding new employees starts before first day on job

    May 02, 2017 by

     

    A new employee who is not onboarded the right way is going to have difficulty finding a sense of belonging inside an organization, says Scott Redfearn, executive vice president of global HR at Protiviti, a global business consulting and internal audit firm.

    “Employees who don’t have a meaningful career experience aren’t going to last, and they will not perform to their full potential,” says Redfearn. Continue Reading

  • Spotlight on success: How to succeed in a commission-based sales role

    April 06, 2017 by

     

    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
    • Goal-oriented
    • Strong work ethic
    • Persistence
    • 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 LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

     

    Eric Leger, Vice President - National Sales Training and Recruiting, Aflac

    Eric Leger, Vice President – National Sales Training and Recruiting, Aflac

    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.

  • 10 unique side jobs that can help pay off student loan debt

    February 16, 2017 by

     

    Robin Rectenwald has a full-time job working for WordWrite Communications a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania public relations firm, that she absolutely loves. But that hasn’t stopped her from finding unique side jobs to help pay off her student loan debt. Rectenwald graduated from Duquesne University in 2012 with 20 different student loans and $100,000 in loan debt. Now, in 2017, she only has five loans left, and is quickly whittling down the amount she owes.

    Before landing her first full-time job in 2012, Rectenwald worked part-time as a customer service representative at Gateway Clipper Fleet, a Pittsburgh sightseeing organization. She worked in the ticket and sales office, where she learned about marketing, sales and customer service – all valuable skills in her current role – and for any future opportunities. She worked for Gateway Clipper Fleet for four years, using that money to make extra payments towards her school loans. Rectenwald recently switched to a new part-time job as a customer care representative at ShowClix, a ticketing software company. For this job, she works from the comforts of her own home answering phones and responding to emails from customers looking to buy tickets to international events.

    “Even though I’ve grown as a professional in the PR field and have had a number of promotions that increased my salary since starting out as an entry-level professional, I continue to work a part-time job because I’m trying to save as much money as possible,” says Rectenwald. “With this part-time income, I’ve been able to pay off several student loans and I’m currently using this extra money to pay tuition out-of-pocket for grad school.”

    Rectenwald takes these part-time jobs seriously, and puts in maximum effort – something her managers have noticed. She was offered a full-time job in the marketing department at Gateway Clipper Fleet, and is writing a crisis communication plan for ShowClix as part of her grad school program.

    “These part-time jobs have not only expanded my network and presented additional career opportunities, it has also given me a unique perspective on marketing and communication strategies.”

    And it’s also helped her greatly reduce her student loan debt, and time it would take to pay the loans back.

    That’s what Eric Hian-Cheong is also trying to accomplish. He works full-time for a public relations firm in McLean, Virginia, but also has two, unique part-time jobs. He makes $11 an hour as a part-time rock climbing instructor at a local fitness center, and also works as a second shooter/assistant to a local wedding photographer.

    “Why limit yourself to just one other part-time job?” said Hian-Cheong.

    He works up to 8 hours a weekend, and nets up to $400 a month as a rock climbing instructor – which is right around what he pays each month for his student loans. That job also provides a free gym membership – saving him another $95 a month in gym membership fees.

    These jobs have helped Hian-Cheong improve his self-confidence, he says, and also provides an incredible social life outside of the 9-to-5 job.

    “I have several friends whose social lives revolve around their 9-to-5, which can get a little unhealthy at times,” says Hian-Cheong.

    It’s also helped him network and communicate with a wide variety, and diverse group of people, helping him develop communication, interpersonal, critical thinking, and speaking skills, as he must provide instructions, detail, and clarity, when instructing individuals and a class.

    Rectenwald and Hian-Cheong are among the many recent college grads supplementing their income, and paying off student debt with the help of a unique side job. What are some other unique part-time job opportunities one can pursue to help make extra cash to pay off student loans? Consider some of these options:

    Continue Reading

  • 5 hidden skills new managers develop that benefit career growth

    January 24, 2017 by

    Becoming a manager provides great on-the-job training opportunities for the recent college grad or entry-level employee. It not only provides opportunities to grow as a leader, but also as a professional. In fact, many managers – years down the road – realize that the hidden skills they developed as an entry-level manager helped them grow professionally, more than they ever realized.

    How so? Becoming a manager – a good manager that is, forces individuals to learn how to see things differently, act differently, and grow as a professional, differently than they may have if they weren’t in a leadership position early in their career.

    Here are five of those hidden skill sets good entry-level managers develop that prove beneficial as they advance in their career, from Deb LaMere, Vice President of Employee Experience at Ceridian, a human capital management firm:

    1. Active Listening: Active listening is a beneficial skill that should be developed early on in ones’ career. It means taking a step back and really focusing in on what your employees have to say. By doing so, you will hear and learn about situations or issues at work or beyond that may be affecting your employees. This is information that you may otherwise miss if you didn’t take the time to actively listen.
    2. Ability to recognize non-verbal cues: Developing the ability to read non-verbal cues such as facial expressions or posture is an important skill when it comes to managing people and solving issues. Why? Because sometimes what people say is not entirely what they mean. Alongside listening, non-verbal cues provide insight into potential issues that may need further discussion and solving. Also, as a manager, you need to become more self-aware of any non-verbal cues that you may be expressing. This type of self-awareness will help you gain more control over your message delivery when giving feedback.
    3. The ability to adapt and change: Another valuable skill to hone in on is being able to change your leadership style to meet the needs of the situation. Even as a manager, you yourself will report to someone. Your style of leadership around those who you report to may need to be different from the style you display around your direct reports. In some cases, you need to be supportive of the individual employee as their leader and in others, you need to put the company’s mandate first. You’ll quickly learn, as a manager, how to work with different personalities, leaderships styles (including your own and your boss’ leadership styles), and the many quirks, challenges, and perspective each individual brings to the workplace.
    4. The art of recognition: The art of recognition is a skill that every leader should have when it comes to motivating employees. Remembering to say thank you goes a long way. If you take the time to recognize the work that employees are doing, it makes them feel valued. They will respect you further and you will be seen as that leader who is supportive – someone who people will want to work with, for a long time.
    5. You are a role model: Lastly – and this is not so much a skill, but an important value that both new and seasoned managers should uphold – remember, that you are a role model. That means regularly doing the right thing even when you think no one is watching or paying attention. Leadership is nothing, without integrity.

    Being a manager is hard work – not everyone can do it. But you are in that role, and have a great opportunity to develop hidden skill sets as a young professional. So take advantage of both on-the-job, and formal training programs to become the best manager one can be.

    “You will want to be sure that you have up-to-date skills in the areas of leadership, change management and the technical aspects of your role,” says Shirley Weis, former Chief Administrative Officer for Mayo Clinic, where her work involved overseeing 60,000 employees and $9 billion in revenues. Weis recently published the book Playing to Win in Business, an Amazon bestseller. “Formal training will help you feel more comfortable in your new position and give you the confidence to become an expert in your field.”

    To continue to develop these skills now, and throughout one’s career, focus on cross-training opportunities and finding a mentor, says Nancy Saperstone, Senior HR Business Partner with Insight Performance, recognized as a national industry leader in human resources, providing proven and cost-effective HR solutions.

    “Learn other sides of the business,” says Saperstone. “Don’t just stay in your silo’d responsibilities. The more you can understand the business, where your group fits in and how it impacts the rest of the company, the more you can contribute.”

    As a new manager, you will want to get to know other managers in your organization.  They are now your peers, so set up a time to meet each one individually and get to know about the challenges they are facing as well as ask for advice about how you can learn the new rules of the management game, says Weis.

    Finally, find someone in the business that can be a mentor, says Saperstone. At the same time, be a mentor to someone more junior than you.

    “Not only will you help them grow, but it’s always good to get a different perspective from someone else,” says Saperstone.

    Becoming a manager provides all sorts of new career growth opportunities. Developing skill sets such as these not only will help young professionals now, but as they advance in their career. Take advantage of these opportunities now to reap the rewards later.

    Want more management tips and career advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Realistic expectations: Master these 7 traits to become ready for a move to management

    January 17, 2017 by

     

    Some employees, ready or not, are promoted into management roles as a reward for succeeding in their previous job. Others, through education and professional training, get hired into management roles. No matter one’s road to a management job, there is no one-size-fits-all guide that determines when one is really ready to be a manager.

    “Unfortunately you can’t teach management in 10 minutes,” says Jayne Heggen, President of Heggen Group, a management consulting firm.

    But whether one is a first-time manager, new manager, or seeking a career in management, there are certain skills, traits, and attributes that all good managers have. Mastering these traits can help all managers succeed in a leadership role. Here are seven traits managers must master to successfully prove they are ready to move into a management role:

    1. Be willing to change: Many new managers get promoted because they are good at doing a job, says Heggen. Realize that what worked as an individual contributor won’t necessarily work now. “New managers need to understand their own tendencies and learn when they need to change their management style based on the person and the situation,” says Heggen. Adjust and adapt based on individual and team characteristics.

    2. Understand mistakes will happen: Mistakes will happen and that’s okay, says Karen Young, the award-winning founder and President of HR Resolutions, a full-service human resources management company. “What’s important is how the mistake is handled,” says Young. “Are you prepared to accept ownership of your mistake? Are you prepared to go to your boss and say this happened, caused by you or your staff member, and this is how we are addressing it? It’s important to create a safe environment for your employees – one in which they feel comfortable coming to you with mistakes.”

    3. Conflict identification and resolution: The ability to identify and head off conflict is an important trait new managers need to develop, says Liz Sophia, Senior VP of Marketing for Hodges-Mace, an employee benefits technology and communications company. “New managers tend to shy away from conflict and are more passive aggressive in dealing with employee issues,” says Sophia. A good manager will identify issues upfront and work quickly to resolve them. Conflict resolution is best done in person when available. If not, via phone. Don’t use email or text to solve issues/problems.

    4. Hold employees accountable: A manager must hold employees accountable, says Young. That means team members must understand expectations, and follow through on those expectations. As a manager, you’ll have to correct mistakes along the way. When doing so, remember to praise publicly, and constructively criticize privately. “Fixing another’s mistakes is often easier and quicker if you do it, but you, as the manager, have accomplished nothing by doing that,” says Young. Learn how to manage without cramping the style of team members.

    5. Learn how to manage up: Managing up is a manner in which a manager works with their boss to effectively get the training, support and resources needed for the position and department. For example, if you want to add a full-time employee into the department, do not go and say “we’re sooooo busy, everyone’s stressed, no one can get their job done.” That’s what the whiny manager does, says Young. Instead, back up requests with proof. Saying something like: “if we added an additional employee, we would save $X.XX in overtime, employee A would be able to begin to make outbound calls to generate more business; employee B would be available then to assist me with Project C.” Always make a business case.

    6. Lead by example: You have to be willing to lead by example, says Sophia. If there is no policy around working from home, yet you tend to work from home yourself, it sets the wrong tone for your employees. If you overreact and treat other team members poorly, others may follow that lead. You also have to be mature enough to handle confidential information and not leak it or use it to strengthen your position. Managers set the tone and positive attitude/image of the team/department. Don’t portray negativity or hostility.

    7. Strong communication skills: This seems like a no-brainer, but just because one is a manager doesn’t mean they are a skilled communicator. “Knowing how to communicate with different audiences is key,” says Sophia. Communication also includes, tone, body language and non-verbal communication cues. Understand how these affect people’s view of how you are communicating with them. A smile can ease tension, and make one feel more relaxed. A frown, or scowl, can intimidate. These non-verbal cues can change the message greatly.

    Mastering these additional skills are also key to proving one is ready to become a manager, says Sophia:

    • Be humble and accept input from others.
    • Be willing to admit your mistakes, but learn from them and don’t repeat.
    • Give your team and peers proper credit for their ideas/contributions. A simple hand-written thank you note goes a long way.
    • Know that you don’t have to be perfect in all areas, but make sure that you have folks on your team who compliment your weaknesses.
    • Acknowledge your areas for opportunity/growth and nurture them – invest in yourself professionally.

    Becoming a good manager takes time, practice, and the ability to continually learn and adapt. Mastering these seven traits is a good start for the aspiring, or newly hired manager wondering if they are ready to manage.

    Are you a new manager looking for more management tips and advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Ask Matt: 5 tips for new managers who are now managing friends

    January 12, 2017 by

    Dear Matt: I really like my current job and company. But what I like most is the team I work with. We are all close and get along well. We are also good friends outside of work, and do a lot socially. However, I recently received a promotion, and am now the manager of these co-workers who are also my friends. I went from being part of the team, to leading the team. And now, I have to conduct weekly meetings with them, performance reviews, approve their days off, and face the fact I also suddenly know their salaries. It’s created an awkward situation for me in and outside of work.  Do you have any tips for a new manager who is now also managing friends?

    Matt: It’s exciting to be promoted, but when you’re now supervising former peers that are also friends, there’s an added complexity to the situation. Here’s how to handle both the professional and personal relationships when you suddenly find yourself managing your friends:

    1. Schedule group and individual meetings
    To address these changes and challenges, schedule a group meeting, and one-on-one individual meetings with your team, says Arlene Vernon, an HR consultant who provides management training for first-time managers, small business owners, and corporate clients.

    Set guidelines and expectations from the start.

    “Be prepared for these discussions – do not wing the meetings, as it will look like you’re not taking your new job as supervisor seriously,” says Vernon. “Use the group meeting to set the tone for future meetings and general ground rules for attendance and participation.”

    Analyze what was and wasn’t working under the previous supervisor, and decide what to keep and what to tweak. “Don’t bash the previous supervisor, just introduce the enhancements as part of your style,” says Vernon.

    Then schedule a one-on-one meeting with direct reports. This is the most important step in this new relationship.

    “This helps establish your new supervisory relationship with each individual,” says Vernon. “Some of your former peers may be thrilled that you got this new position – others may not.”

    So approach each discussion, taking into consideration each person’s feelings.

    Sample one-on-one discussion items may include:

    • How you plan to supervise – pointing out where you can be hands off and where you may need to be more hands on.
    • How often you want to meet.
    • The best ways to communicate with you (in person, email, text).
    • The strengths you recognize in the individual and how you want to best utilize those strengths.

    “The first discussion is not the time to point out the individuals’ weaknesses and how you want to see them improve,” says Vernon. “This meeting is to set the stage for a successful partnering with each person considering your new role.”

    2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
    Chances are, your friends are truly happy for you and will be supportive and understanding that you have this new role. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes for fear of disappointing friends, says B. Max Dubroff, an HR Consultant at Einfluss, LLC, an HR advisory firm, in Albuquerque, NM. Dubroff has led teams from 2 to 570 people in a wide variety of industries throughout his career, leading those businesses to many best of workplace lists.

    “The promotion is a sign of confidence that you can learn to manage and lead well,” says Dubroff. “All manager-leaders make mistakes and are imperfect; the ones who hide their errors or feign perfection are less effective as leaders because they miss out on the lessons of leadership. Manager-leaders who show integrity and embrace their errors will earn credibility, their network of friends will provide feedback and perspective, and their progress will be even greater. Capitalize on the open communication, because in the long run that is what is going to be more important.”

    The promotion is also a sign that any awkwardness is your challenge to solve. Tap into the experience of your boss and fellow managers, but in the end, solve it yourself. Also, if you find yourself saying or doing things that you would not respect about your own boss, don’t say/do them; they undermine your integrity.

    3. Transitioning from friend to boss
    The elephant in the room, of course, is how you handle transitioning from friend to boss. Some people can handle this dual role effectively and others cannot. That goes both ways – from the boss and the employee perspective. So it’s important to discuss this reality with each employee up front and early on.

    “Discuss the importance of maintaining a solid relationship with the person along with the recognition that you cannot show favoritism for your friends – that you will be treating everyone as equally as possible,” says Vernon.

    Set ground rules for not discussing co-workers or work after hours, during work. Vernon also recommends discussing confidentiality.

    “It’s likely you have confidential and/or personal information about your friends that shouldn’t be considered from a boss-employee perspective and the same applies to what private information they have about you,” says Vernon. “These can be difficult discussions, but it’s vital to set communication standards, personal/professional boundaries, and to recognize that while at work, you’re committed to taking your leadership responsibilities seriously.”

    4. How to address the relationship in social situations
    But even though becoming a supervisor of colleagues who were formally peers does present a somewhat awkward social scenario, it doesn’t mean friendships and social relationships have to end, says Elliot D. Lasson, Professor of the Practice and I/O Psychology Graduate Program Director at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County at Shady Grove. In fact, aside from the one-on-one conversations to be open about the changing relationship, Lasson suggests maintaining the same type of social relationship off of the job.

    “If socialized together off the clock before the promotion, there is no reason why that should not continue,” says Lasson.

    His reason is simple.

    “Life and transitions happen,” he says. “The same way that you would include someone who has retired or left for another company beforehand, you should continue to maintain those same social circles. Part of professional maturity is to adapt to new roles and reporting relationships. If there is any anticipated anxiety about the modified role, that should probably be preemptively broached during the one-one-one meeting by the supervisor.”

    There could be another added benefit: Your friends may work harder for you because they respect you outside of work. Now you just have to earn their respect as a manager. They also be more willing to bring up issues, concerns, or ideas – positive and negative – because they feel a closer connection to you.

    5. Understand things will change
    Keep in mind though, that despite attempts to salvage personal and professional relationships, managers must ultimately realize that some personal relationships fall apart when one person is now the supervisor.  Whether or not that occurs is unique to each relationship.

    Through it all, make sure that you’re consistent in how you interact, oversee, communicate with, and lead all your employees.

    “As a manager-leader, you have a responsibility to manage any perceptions of favoritism to the best of your ability,” says Dubroff. “The tough part about this is others may attribute favoritism, even if you know facts that demonstrate otherwise. Since your facts are not going to change their perceptions, the only control you have is through your actions.”

    Vernon agrees.

    “Everyone is watching to see how you begin your supervisory position and whether they can trust you in that role – to do your job well, be their voice for upper management and treat employees fairly and equitably,” says Vernon.

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

    Matt Krumrie CollegeRecruiter.com

    Matt Krumrie is a contributing writer for CollegeRecruiter.com

    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.

  • Managing from the middle: How new managers gain company wide trust and respect

    January 10, 2017 by

     

    For many first-time managers, it can be hard to gain professional respect from a more experienced management team and other senior leaders. It can be discouraging to attend leadership meetings, training, or be involved in the decision-making process and feel like you don’t have a voice. Managing from the middle well, however, can indeed build trust with top leaders.

    Gaining trust as a manager can take time, but it doesn’t mean new managers need to wait, or feel like they have to gain approval from more experienced leaders to start building trust, and credibility within an organization. While the first goal should be to lead your new team and be the best manager you can be, it’s never too early to focus on how to become a manager who can influence others within the organization.

    Be accountable

    To gain that trust, respect, and a strong reputation, start by being accountable, says Greg Bustin, author of Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture. Bustin has dedicated his career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of companies on this crucial topic of accountability. During the last six years, he has interviewed and surveyed more than 5,000 executives around the world – from companies that include, but are not limited to, Marriott, Container Store, Ernst & Young, Sony, Herman Miller, Nucor, and Southwest Airlines – to understand how high-performing corporations successfully create and sustain a culture of purpose, trust, and fulfillment.

    “Lack of accountability is the single greatest obstacle facing even the most experienced leaders,” says Bustin. “It saps morale, drains profits, and disenfranchises employees—and can shift your team into crisis mode on a daily basis.”

    Bustin also created the highly popular best and worst in workplace accountability survey, and offers these five tips for new managers looking to make an organization-wide impact while managing from the middle:

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  • Women managers: discrepancies begin at first chance of promotion

    January 04, 2017 by

     

    “Women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager—so far fewer end up on the path to leadership—and are less likely to be hired into more senior positions.”

    That ton of bricks comes from the Women in the Workplace report, released last fall by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company. What is getting in women’s ways? Does bias against women managers tell the whole tale? Or is something else going on?

    That women fall behind so early in their careers should be a wake-up call to female college students. Seniors, who will be entering the workplace soon, should especially take notice. For years, young women have made up more than half of the college student population (and as high as 60% at private schools). The Pew Research Center reports that 71% of recent female high school grads turn their ambition to college. Compare that to 61% of recent male high school grads. Once they’re in college, women continue to outperform men. They earn better grades and graduate with more honors than men. It would be easy for today’s driven, hard-working young women to believe that inequality is something only their mothers had to deal with. Unfortunately, the real world is different than college.

    “There are multiple factors that contribute to entry-level women being behind men at first chance of promotion,” says Simma Lieberman at The Inclusionist.

    Many women need a boost in confidence

    “Many women have internalized messages from media and have bought into other people’s bias about women’s abilities and careers,” says Lieberman. “They have not learned to negotiate or ask for what they want. I’m still surprised by how many women still believe that by working “hard” they will be discovered, that it’s not okay to promote yourself to managers, and they have to “wait their turn” to get promoted.”

    You can’t take rejection personally

    If an employer hires someone else, women need to stop seeing this rejection as personal and permanent. Liebrman continues, “Women need to learn how to separate getting turned down for a promotion or not being chosen for a project, from other parts of their life. There is a tendency to give up after one try which holds them back, rather than find out why they didn’t get a promotion and to let that cloud their ambitions and settle.”

    Bias still exists

    Women in the Workplace finds real biases out there. Women may need to work on their negotiation skills, but that doesn’t explain the whole pay gap. The report finds that “Women who negotiate for a promotion or compensation increase are 30% more likely than men who negotiate to receive feedback that they are ‘bossy,’ ‘too aggressive,’ or ‘intimidating.'” Our implicit biases persuade us to believe that men are more suited for leadership. That first promotion to manager is just the beginning. The STEM fields are especially male-dominated, which can make it particularly challenging for women to be taken seriously.

    It’s hard to blame young women who ask why they should be the ones to change. Lieberman advises women to be “flexible and develop tools to show their talent and be recognized. Lack of confidence is not a trait that should be continued.” Women who want to become managers should be aware of how the cards are stacked, seek advice from senior women, and keep working hard.

  • Key managerial skills recent college grads should master to be successful

    January 03, 2017 by

     

    To become a manager, one must show an employer they possess a wide variety of skills. Leadership skills are crucial. So is the ability to communicate, handle adversity, and deal with diverse personalities and skill sets.

    A first-time manager must also develop strong critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills to be successful, says Sylvia R.J. Scott, Founder of Girls’ C.E.O. Connection™ (Girl’s Creating Enterprising Organizations), a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to engaging and equipping high school girls as entrepreneurs. They also must show the company can trust them, which is why they were hired as a manager.

    “A manager is the one with the ability to plan, direct and coordinate the operations of a business, division, department or operations,” says Scott. “To be a first-time manager as a recent graduate shows the company trusts the person and believes in his or hers capabilities and ability to help grow the company.”

    In February Scott is speaking to a group of college women, primarily seniors, at the University of Colorado, about what it takes for first-time managers to succeed. She will focus on these eight skills, traits and attributes of a successful first-time manager:

    1. Know and understand your company culture.
    2. Know the parameters of your particular position. That includes how much leeway you have on decision making.
    3. Ask questions and get clarity even if you think you understand. As a manager you don’t have time for you and/or your staff to make mistakes.
    4. Expect the best-not perfection from your staff. Praise them when it is appropriate. If there are issues face them immediately.
    5. Learn each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Play on their strengths, not their weaknesses.
    6. Control your emotions, tongue, and actions. Avoid gossip, even after hours or with colleagues. Take a break if someone is pushing your buttons. Watch the tone of your emails when responding to challenges, and watch the tone of your voice.
    7. Always use proper English, grammar and spelling when writing any type of communication, even an email. They need to be as clearly written as any other business communication.
    8. Find a mentor within the company and then one outside your company that knows the ropes of being a manager and what is needed to excel.

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