• [Infographic] Ask Matt: 7 things college seniors should do now to land a job before graduation [video]

    December 22, 2016 by

     

    Dear Matt: I’m heading into the home stretch of my senior year of college, and have one semester left until graduation. A few classmates have already secured jobs that they will start soon after graduation. It made me realize that I too, should start the job search now. What tips do you have for college seniors who want to try and secure a job before graduation? What are those who get hired now doing to stand out and impress employers? Please share any tips and advice you can so I can start a job search and hopefully get hired before graduation! 

    Matt: The senior year can be challenging for college students. And, for many, simply graduating is a major accomplishment. But the excitement of earning a college degree can quickly fade when there is no internship or job lined up after graduating. The reality is, most college seniors graduate without a job lined up. At the same time, there are also many who do graduate with a job lined up. Continue Reading

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

    October 05, 2016 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A better and more concise statement could be this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 10 tips for college grads who complete an internship without a job offer

    September 06, 2016 by
    Person pointing at job search

    Person pointing at job search. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Many recent college graduates head into a summer internship hoping they secure full-time employment with that company once the internship is completed. But, for a variety of reasons, it doesn’t always work out that way.

    Now what? How do recent college graduates and entry-level job seekers move forward in the job search when they don’t secure a full-time job from an internship?

    With confidence, because they just gained the invaluable on-the-job training employers covet.

    Because, for recent college graduates, the number one goal of any internship should be to gain work experience in a professional business setting, says Bob LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff, a company that serves as a career matchmaker for recent college graduates, and companies that are looking to fill entry-level jobs.

    While larger companies tend use their internship programs as a way to evaluate interns for employment in a subsequent year, small and medium employers are more likely to hire interns to accomplish specific goals, like completing a well-defined project or to cover staff for the summer vacation season, says LaBombard. Not getting hired full-time is in no way indicative of an interns performance on the job.

    “Either way, internships are a great way for students to apply their skills in meaningful work, and learn how to receive feedback and apply coaching tips from supervisors,” says LaBombard. “Even if an internship does not result in a full-time job offer, the experience should help interns better define their value proposition to employers by gaining a more focused appreciation for the core skills they possess, and how they have been successfully applied in the workplace.”

    So what should job seekers who completed an internship without a full-time job do next? Start by registering as a job seeker with College Recruiter. We’ll send you new job leads tailored to your interests and preferences and save you the trouble of searching for them on a regular basis.

    Next, consider these tips from Bill Driscoll, district president for Accountemps, and Tel Ganesan, Board Chairman of Kyyba, Inc., a global IT, engineering and professional staff augmentation company, and Managing Partner of Kyyba Ventures. Both have experience working with recent college graduates who have completed internship programs. They help answer the question:

    My internship is over, now what:

    1. Be flexible: College graduates looking to land their first jobs need to be flexible, proactive and creative. Consider volunteer assignments or temporary work as a way to continue to gain additional experience and build your skill set, says Driscoll.

    2. Network: Online and off. Many companies don’t advertise open positions, so networking plays an important role in finding out about hidden job opportunities. “Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job, whether in-person at industry association events, or using professional networking websites,” says Driscoll. “You’d be surprised at who might be able to help.”

    3. Use college career center/alumni resources: College career centers usually welcome recent grads and can help in your job search. You also might be able to connect with other alumni who can provide advice. These resources are often underutilized by recent college grads who don’t go back to their college/alumni career center seeking assistance. They are ready to help you – even now that you graduated. Learn more about how to use your college career center in the job search.

    4. Don’t overlook your online image: Applicants need to actively monitor and maintain their professional reputations online. Keep a clean online profile. Future employers are watching.

    5. Initiate contact: Research companies you would like to work for and ask for an informational interview to learn more about the organization. “It also can help employers get to know you so you’re top of mind when that company has a vacant position,” says Driscoll.

    6. Meet with a recruiter: Staffing executives can be your eyes and ears in the job market. Recruiters also provide useful feedback on your resume and interview skills, and help you locate full-time and temporary jobs.

    7. Ask for references: Before your last day, ask your manager, and/or co-workers if they will be references. Professional references can sometimes hold more value than a supervisor from a work study program, or college professor (but those are both viable references if need be).

    8. Update your cover letter and resume: Did you track your achievements and successes at the internship? Be sure to update this information on your resume and put it at the top of your resume, right under education. “Highlight any unique activities you partook in that may set you apart from the competition,” says Ganesan. Include project work and results, being a part of a team, technical/computer skills learned/used, and any other success story.

    9. Apply for more than a handful of ideal jobs: Set target companies or jobs, but be flexible in your search. “Consider numerous possibilities, especially when you’re just starting off,” says Ganesan.

    10. Use your social network: Use your social media network, as well as family and friends, to find a personal connection at particular companies. “That individual may be able to assist in securing an interview or simply provide advice and insight into the organization,” says Ganesan.

    Don’t view the completion of an internship without a job as the end. View it as a new start, and a new beginning to a job search that is now backed by real world internship experience – something every employer craves.

    For more tips on how to secure a job after your internship is completed, and other job search and career advice, visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedInTwitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

  • Sports analytics careers: Recent college grad discusses keys to success

    August 31, 2016 by
    Group of analysts reviewing data

    Group of analysts reviewing data. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    It’s no secret that analytics and data are driving, and changing, the world of sports, at all levels. From high school to college, and the pros, individuals, organizations, and teams are using analytics to drive decisions on and off the field. The rapid rise in the use of sports analytics led to the creation of the popular MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, called “a forum for industry professionals, students, and fans to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry.”

    The growth of sports analytics has also prompted Syracuse University to launch the first-ever sports analytics bachelor’s degree program in the United States. Launching in the Spring of 2017, the Syracuse University sports analytics bachelor’s degree program will focus on computer programming, statistics, math, and of course, sports.

    In May of 2016 Zack Sims graduated from the University of Georgia with a double major in Digital and Broadcast Journalism and Statistics. He also earned a certificate from UGA’s sports media program, preparing him for a career in sports, or sports analytics. While at UGA Sims wrote for a few sports web sites, covered live events, and practiced analyzing sports data on his own. He was also a Division I athlete, participating in track and cross country. An informational interview helped Sims earn a sports analytics internship at Competitive Sports Analysis (CSA), an Atlanta, Georgia-based sports analytics company.

    Below, Sims talks to College Recruiter about how he landed his sports analytics internship, what he does as a sports analytics intern, the type of technical and soft skills needed to succeed in sports analytics careers, what he knows now that he wish he knew while in college – and much more:

    Informational interview led to sports analytics internship

    Sims was required to complete an informational interview with a sports industry professional as part of a sports media class at UGA.

    “I told my professor that I wanted to work in sports analytics, and he told me he had recently met a woman named Diane Bloodworth, who owned her own sports analytics company in Atlanta,” said Sims. “I interviewed with Diane and got an understanding for how she got into the industry. She told me to stay in touch, so I called her shortly before graduating and asked if she had any openings. She offered me an internship, and I started working shortly after.”

    Sports industry background

    During the informational interview, Sims was able to discuss how his previous work in sports prepared him for a sports analytics internship. In the summer of 2015 he served as the Broadcast Intern for the Sunbelt Collegiate Baseball League, where he did play-by-play and commentary, and wrote game stories. He also wrote for three different websites covering college football. During his time at UGA, he covered a multitude of sports (swimming, softball, basketball, baseball and more) for the UGA sports media program. Two of his assignments from that program got published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Athens Banner-Herald.

    Day-to-day duties of a Sports analytics intern

    At CSA, Sims works as an analytics intern. CSA currently offers two products. scoutPRO is for fantasy football players. This product provide projections, access to a fantasy football expert, and insights into player data. CSA also offers scoutSMART, which is an analytics based recruiting software. It shows college football coaches how well a recruit will fit into their program. CSA currently only works in college and pro football. Its clients are fantasy football users (scoutPRO) and college football coaches (scoutSMART).

    Sims’ day-to-day duties go far beyond the job title, because CSA is a startup company. Sims said this internship has provided him with experience in a lot of different areas beyond sports and analytics. He uses math, business and communication skills on a daily basis. He helps with CSA marketing efforts, managing social media, and analyzing NFL data. He manages software databases and much more.

    When you work at a startup, you aren’t tied down to specific duties,” says Sims. “You really help in any way you can. I help manage our corporate website, run our Twitter accounts, head up our email marketing campaigns, manage the database for our scoutSMART, and create some visual analytics for our scoutPRO users. I’ve been able to work in so many areas during my internship.”

    Software skills crucial in sports analytics careers

    To succeed in a career in sports analytics, one must be able to have much more than a knowledge and interest in sports. They must be analytical, and be able to understand, learn, and use a variety of software programs, and have a variety of technical skills.

    Prior to this internship, Sims used Kaggle, a social media site for data analysts, to practice analyzing sports data. He primarily looked at Major League Baseball data on Kaggle. Now, at CSA, R, Tableau and Excel are the three main programs Sims uses for conducting data analysis.

    “They are great for breaking down large data sets and producing something meaningful,” says Sims. “I also use Constant Contact for managing our email marketing campaigns.”

    Coding/programming skills important in sports analytics careers

    “The one thing I wish I would have known was how important coding/programming is,” says Sims. “If you want to get into analytics, you really need to be proficient in a few programs. I was exposed to R and SAS while at UGA, but I didn’t really start learning them in-depth until I started teaching myself the last few months.”

    Sims expanded on the technical skills needed to succeed in a sports analytics career, saying “I think you need to know R (or SAS), Tableau, and SQL to land some bigger jobs in analytics. Each of these plays a very big role in any analytics job. The good thing is there are plenty of places on the internet where you can learn these tools (W3Schools, R for Everyone, Tableau Website, Kaggle).”

    Soft skills are crucial to sports analytics career success

    You can love sports, and be an analytics genius, but soft skills are still crucial to succeed in sports analytics careers.

    “I definitely think you need to be effective at communicating to work in analytics,” says Sims. “There are a lot of people who can break down data, but there aren’t many people who can do that and clearly explain what the data is telling them.”

    From college classroom to the real world

    Sims says the sports media and journalism classes he took at UGA helped prepare him for his internship.

    “These classes made it easy to tell a story from the data I work with,” says Sims. “I think my statistics classes taught me what to look for when analyzing data.”

    The future of sports analytics careers

    Since starting his internship and searching for jobs in sports analytics, Sims has noticed just how fast the field of sports analytics is growing: “I’ve learned the sports analytics market is growing like crazy,” he said. “There are so many opportunities emerging, and this should continue for the next couple of years. This excites me, because I know I can work my up in the industry.”

    Passion for sports important

    Most college students or recent college grads who pursue a career in sports analytics are likely going to have a passion for sports. And that is another valuable trait to showcase with employers, when interviewing for jobs in sports analytics.

    “I definitely think you need a passion for sports to be successful in this field,” says Sims. “When I’m trying to analyze data for our fantasy football users, it helps that I know what kind of metrics are important to them. I love football and I also play fantasy football, so it helps me know what our customers will want to see.”

    Being a well-rounded college graduate is valuable

    “I’m a believer that the more versatile your background is, the better,” says Sims. “Being passionate about sports is great, but if you can also break down data and draw important meaning from it, you can definitely find a job in sports analytics.”

    The importance of a sports analytics internship

    An internship is crucial to success.

    “It’s really hard to just land a sports analytics job when you come out of college, unless you’ve done a lot of work/projects on your own,” says Sims. “Internships are a stepping stone for you to get a job with a sports team, sports technology company, or other sports organization or business.”

    The future

    Sims would welcome the chance to stay at CSA once his internship is complete. He also still dreams of working in an analytics role for a professional sports team/organization, or sports media company. For now, he knows he’s getting some of the best on-the-job training he can to pursue his passion and dream of working in the fast-growing field of sports analytics. Sims calls working at CSA “a great experience,” adding that he “gets the freedom to explore projects that I might not get a large company.”

    Sports analytics careers are not the future, they are the present. Zack Sims is prepared to take the next step in his career. Current college students, recent college grads and entry-level job seekers can prepare for the next step in their career by staying connected to College Recruiter to learn about careers in sports analytics. To do so, visit our blog, and connect with us on LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

    Zack Sims

    Zack Sims

    About Zack Sims
    Zack Sims graduated from the University of Georgia in the srping of 2016 with a double major in Digital and Broadcast Journalism and Statistics. He also earned a certificate from UGA’s sports media program and was a member of the UGA track and cross country teams.

  • Why building great relationships with career services benefits employers

    August 18, 2016 by
    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Employers and career services offices/college campuses each play important roles in the lives of college students and recent graduates. Employers can provide entry-level jobs and internship opportunities to students and graduates; the former can be their first real jobs and the latter offer them valuable work experience preparing them for those first real jobs. Career services offices and campuses guide college students not just academically but professionally also. Career services professionals can help with various parts of the job search such as writing resumes and cover letters, interview preparation, and networking. While recruiters are partners for employers in finding young, top talent to fill job openings, they are often not the only ones.

    Building great relationships with career service offices and campuses is a smart move for employers, recruiters, and hiring managers. If companies know the type of job candidates they need, and colleges have them, then it’s a win-win for both sides. Employers gain access to communicate directly with qualified candidates, and career services offices and campuses connect college students and recent graduates with internship and job opportunities. Deborah Pratt, Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development at Whittier College, highlights her school’s relationship with Peace Corps.

    “There are several employers who come to mind that have built great working relationships with Whittier College’s Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD), but the stand-out employer for the CCPD team is the Peace Corps.

    Peace Corps has a terrific talent acquisition approach which appeals to students and emerging professionals. Nick Leichliter and Tiffany Tai, the Peace Corps recruiters assigned to Whittier College, partnered with us to design customized on-campus recruiting sessions. The Peace Corps recruiting sessions included two employer meet-and-greet roundtables, coffee talks, one hiking session (with a Peace Corps dog), and two classroom presentations. Nick and Tiffany also provided one-on-one coaching to Whittier College students offering our students tips to succeed with the intensive Peace Corps application process. Peace Corps extra efforts paid off, and the organization received a record amount of resumes and attention at the annual Career and Internship Fair.

    Our partnership with Peace Corps continues to deepen. The CCPD’s goal for this year is to establish the Peace Corps Prep certificate under the auspices of the Whittier College Early Talent Identification Program.”

    Deborah Pratt, Assistant Dean of Whittier College's Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development

    Deborah Pratt, Assistant Dean of Whittier College’s Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development

    Employers, want more advice on recruiting? Reach out to College Recruiter for help and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Assistant Dean Deborah Pratt leads a dynamic team of career development professionals at Whittier College’s Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development. In this role, she drives the strategic vision and blueprint for the college to transition from a traditional career services business operation to a four-year career development college-wide approach and program.

  • 3 events employers won’t want to miss on college campuses

    August 11, 2016 by
    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Recruiters and hiring managers are constantly searching for top talent to fill job openings for employers. A lot of the talent employers need and want can potentially be found on college campuses. Recruiting on campus means taking time from their busy schedules unless employers reach out to companies like College Recruiter for help with creative advertising solutions. If companies decide to visit institutions of higher education face-to-face, what are the most important events for them to attend? For employers pondering this issue, Jennifer Donovan, Director of News and Media Relations at Michigan Technological University, shares three events recruiters and talent acquisition professionals should attend on her campus.

    • Fall and Spring Career Fairs, where thousands of students can meet employers, learn about their companies and career opportunities, and schedule one-on-one interviews with recruiters on the spot.  More than 500 employers attend Michigan Tech’s Career Fairs each year. This is pretty impressive, considering that we are about as remote as you can get, 500 miles north of Detroit and near no other big cities. Our dynamic Career Fairs probably account for Michigan Tech’s astounding 94 percent job placement rate within 6 months of graduation.
    • CareerFest/Industry Days, a series of industry-specific events in a tent in the middle of campus, including hands-on activities, demos, barbecues, lab tours. A very popular and well-attended one is Automotive Days. Others include Steel Days, Rail Days and Mining Days. CareerFest and Industry Days give employers a chance to zero in on the students who are particularly interested in their industry, to inform them and perhaps attract new interest in the field.
    • Design Expo, where student teams display and explain their year-long research projects, ranging from a micro-scale processor that can fix pacemakers in place to a dryer for small-scale hops growers. The projects are industry-sponsored and give the students a chance to work across disciplinary lines to solve real-world employer problems. Employers attending Design Expo could see what innovative problem-solvers Michigan Tech students are trained to be.”
    Jennifer Donovan, Director of News & Media Relations at Michigan Technological University

    Jennifer Donovan, Director of News & Media Relations at Michigan Technological University

    Looking for more advice on recruiting top talent? Visit the College Recruiter blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Jennifer Donovan is Director of News and Media Relations at Michigan Technological University, a STEM-focused state university on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She assigns, writes, and edits stories for the university’s news website and daily e-newsletter, Tech Today, and works with news media locally, nationally, and internationally to help them find expert sources and story ideas. In a previous life, she was a newspaper reporter and magazine writer. She lives in Houghton, Michigan, with her two cats.

     

  • Graduating in 2017? 3 job search tips you can use right now.

    August 02, 2016 by
    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Despite the soaring temperatures, the fall semester is just around the corner. If you plan to graduate in the upcoming academic year, anticipation (or apprehension) for planning your job search is probably sinking in. Commencement is a date in the distant future, and it feels reasonable to hold your job search until you can actually work full-time, right?

    In truth, now is the best time to begin planning your strategy for locating a great employer and opportunity. Following are just a few strategies to gain a jump on your job-search competitors.

    1. Begin by finishing strong.

      Chances are you are currently wrapping up a summer job, volunteer experience, or internship. Now is the ideal time to close this experience by delivering quality work. Connect with your supervisor to schedule a feedback discussion and ask if there will be full-time openings available post-graduation. Also ask if he or she will offer a strong recommendation if contacted. Networking, interning, and building strong references will significantly impact your first job search and beyond.
    2. Employers are identifying talent earlier; help them find you.Recruiting cycles have changed over the past five years. As the economy has picked up, highly skilled applicants (top talent) can be in short supply. Employers are looking for the best possible talent for the job, which is impossible if a competitor has already hired away the best candidates. For many majors, fall is the ideal time to devote the most energy to your job search. Visit your career center immediately when you return to campus for the fall. Carve out time to visit career fairs and employer information sessions to connect with as many recruiters as possible. If employers in your field are not recruiting in the fall, use this time to talk with faculty, parents, and anyone else who may be willing to make a networking introduction. Finally, attend community events, or tackle a fall volunteer project. The connections and skills gained will be valuable for your job search.
    1. Give yourself time to practice and prepare.If you participate in sports, theater, music, or writing, you have probably put in a significant amount of practice time. Similarly, consider putting some significant preparation time into your job search. Start drafting resumes, scheduling mock interviews, and researching employers as soon as possible. Your second or third interview will probably be a lot more relaxed than your first. In addition, pretty much everyone will have suggestions for your first resume draft. Start building your job search skills now.
    Mike Caldwell, Director of Business Careers and Employer Development, William & Mary

    Mike Caldwell, Director of Business Careers and Employer Development, William & Mary

    Want more great job search suggestions before you really dig in and begin searching for jobs? Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube for a steady stream of tips and job postings.

    About Mike Caldwell, the author: 

    Mike Caldwell serves as the Director of Business Careers and Employer Development at the Cohen Career Center for the College of William & Mary.  He has held leadership roles in local, regional, and national college recruiting organizations including the American Association for Employment in Education and the Utah Association of Career Educators. 

  • 10 tips for college graduates seeking job search success

    July 27, 2016 by
    Businessman working from home on laptop courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

    College seniors and recent college graduates often enter the job market eager and excited about the possibilities of landing that first job. But many quickly find out job search success isn’t immediate and requires a lot of hard work.

    But successful job seekers also quickly realize there are resources that can help: mentors, college career services departments, and professional contacts are willing to assist recent college graduates in their quest for job search success.

    Below, we organized feedback from a variety of career services professionals and recruiting experts, all who offer job search and career advice for college seniors, recent college grads, and entry-level job seekers striving to achieve job search success. We’d like to offer our own secret: register as a job seeker with College Recruiter. We’ll send you new job leads tailored to your interests and preferences and save you the trouble of searching for them on a regular basis.

    1. Write down the best qualities of one job you would do for free

    “Think about the one job you would do even if you weren’t being paid for doing it – the job you would do right now simply for the joy it brings you. Write it down. Then write down the qualities of this job. As you interview, be sure to ask questions that address the presence of these qualities. At the offer stage, be sure to assess the offers in terms of the presence or absence of these qualities.”

    Steve Levy, Advisor at Day 100

    2. Find a mentor

    “The best tip that I could give college seniors is to be willing to ask questions. It can be intimidating to have peers with jobs already lined up and seemingly everything figured out. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know about the job search. Ask for help with the process. Find a mentor or several mentors, and use their time wisely. Instead of asking for a simple resume review, bring your resume and 5 job descriptions and ask, “how could I strengthen my application for each of these roles?” or “If you were interviewing for these positions, how would you evaluate candidates?” Once you start asking deep-dive questions about resumes, jobs, and interviews, you will become an active, engaged candidate.”

    Mike Caldwell, Director, Business Careers & Employer Development and College of William & Mary

    3. Connect with your cover letter

    “When writing your cover letter, make sure you’re talking about how well you fit with both the job description AND the company. There will likely be several candidates who have a strong background for the position. Once that has been established, the company will look at who will fit best into the company and its established culture. This is your opportunity to establish that connection early.”

    Kelsey Lavigne, Career Services Specialist, University of Arkansas College of Engineering

    4. Resume tip: Show don’t tell

    “Show me; don’t tell me. I often say that evidence is worth more than a thousand words. When hiring, I am looking for someone who truly ‘walks the talk’—and a great way for candidates to demonstrate or prove their ability, passion, skills, and knowledge is by using a portfolio—which goes well beyond a static resume.”

    Heather Hiles, is the CEO and founder of Pathbrite

    5. Focus on people first

    “When you get into your job — no matter what you’re doing or how much you like it — focus on people first. Get to know your coworkers and get to care about your coworkers. You have no idea what turn your career will take, and in five years this job may be a small blip on your resume. But what makes the job worth the time are the people you meet and the relationships you form.”

    Sarah Greesonbach, Principal at B2B Content Studio, @AwYeahSarah

    6. Be specific in your first job search

    “Be open to other career path opportunities which may come your way, but in your initial search be specific. A narrow focus will keep you from wasting your time (and that of employers, recruiters, and hiring managers) by applying and interviewing for positions which really aren’t a good fit or what you want to be doing. Also, it’s okay to start at the beginning, though the pay and responsibility may be less than what you were hoping. Go in with the understanding and determination that as long as you do more than what you are paid to do, you will eventually end up being paid more for what you do, if not by your present employer, then its competitor.”

    David Flake, Human Resources Director at State of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

    7. Stay organized

    “Start early and stay organized. Keep a log of applications you’ve completed, date, which copy of your resume you sent, and any contact information you have. Use that to follow up on jobs!”

    Rebecca Warren, Career & Disability Services Coordinator, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville

    8. Utilize your college career services department

    “Make use of the career services office at your college or university. The staff can direct you when it comes to resumes, career fairs, job opportunities, and the appropriate ways to follow up with potential employers.”

    Kaitlyn Maloney, Human Resources Coordinator, New England Center for Children

    9. Maintain a positive online image

    “Make sure you are reflecting your professional self. Search for your name online. See what comes back in the results. Remember you’re selling yourself to potential employers, and you should present your best self. Keep social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) free from questionable posts and images.”

    Erin Vickers, Staffing Consultant, RightSourcing, Inc.

    10. Always learn to grow as a professional

    “Be gentle with yourself as you navigate the job market. You probably won’t land your dream job the first time around. However, if you understand that this process is a continuation of your learning and growth as both a professional and person you will be just fine.”

    Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer, Talent Think Innovations, LLC.

    The job search is tough. Seek out help and assistance. Utilize these resources and tips to help succeed in your job search now and throughout your career.

    For more job search success stories and tips, visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

  • 6 ways college seniors should take advantage of career services

    July 26, 2016 by

    You have arrived—it’s your senior year of college. Woo hoo! You have one year to complete of your collegiate journey. You should definitely celebrate. After you celebrate, prepare yourself for a year of job search and career preparation. While your senior year will definitely be fun, it’s also hard work. You’re in the home stretch before beginning your first full-time, entry-level job. And that means you need to take full advantage of the help provided to you by career services employees on campus. This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, lists six ways to take advantage of career services to make the most of your senior year so you can land a great job upon graduation.


    If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

    In no particular order, don’t neglect any of these important to-do’s your senior year, and seek the assistance of career services staff along the way.

    1. Apply for grad school.

    If you’re remotely interested in attending graduate school within the next five years, take grad school entrance exams and be sure to check out deadlines for applications for financial aid, assistantships, and other forms of financial aid at the grad schools of your choice. There’s nothing worse than missing a deadline and having to wait a semester or entire year to reapply. Be diligent and keep deadlines marked on a calendar you actually monitor regularly.

    2. Apply for jobs.

    Begin applying for entry-level jobs unless you’re definitely applying for graduate school and don’t plan on working at all. When should you apply? It depends on the career field and employer, but a good rule of thumb is to begin applying about six months prior to graduation. As long as your resume clearly states your expected date of graduation, employers will understand that you won’t be available to start working until after graduation.

    The hiring process takes time. The interview process takes time. It takes employers longer than you’d like to review resumes! Don’t wait until three weeks before graduation to start searching for jobs and then feel disappointed when you have only landed one job interview by July.

    3. Get your resume/cover letter in shape.

    Ensure that your resume and cover letter are in great shape. These documents will open doors for interviews for you. Clearly list on your resume your expected date of graduation. Ensure that you’ve listed all work experience (internships, job shadowing, part-time work experience, and volunteer experience). Ask your career services professionals to review your resume at least once. Utilize the free resume editing tool on our website. Take these steps and then start applying for jobs.

    4. Attend career fairs and follow up afterward.

    Definitely attend all career fairs—not just the one on your campus but others as well. Career services staff know about these opportunities. Ask them!

    Continue great networking practices. Send invitations to LinkedIn and Twitter after career fairs and thank you cards after interviews. If someone in your network shares a job lead with you, thank them personally and return the favor in the future if you’re able. Following up with employers/recruiters is a huge step you can’t afford to skip in the hiring process.

    5. Sign up for on-campus interview opportunities.

    These events are key because they provide you with opportunities to network directly with employers without ever leaving campus. It doesn’t get much easier than that. But by all means, do NOT miss your interview or show up late. Arrive about 10 minutes early wearing a suit or other appropriate interview attire. Check with career services to see if they’re hosting an upcoming interview preparation workshop. For that matter, sign up for as many career services events as you can. You’re in the final hours, people. You can’t afford to reject assistance!

    6. Career services are free in college–take advantage of this while you can.

    Remember that once you graduate, unless your career services office extends services to alumni as well, you will no longer have access to free career services. You’ll have to hire a career coach or consultant, and that comes at a price—a rather high price in some cases.

    “As a college student, you have access to so many free career-related resources and events. You will never have this type of access to [free] career services and support at any other time in your career. Take this opportunity and use it,” encourages Grace Whiting, Career Advisor at Roosevelt University.

    Indulge yourself in career services and enjoy your senior year!

    For more career success and job search tips, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

     

  • 8 tips for beginners in career services

    July 22, 2016 by
    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Beginning a new career is a challenge, no matter the field.  It is logical, then, to view starting a new job in career services as borderline daunting.  Landing a career where you help others develop their own careers?  Yikes!  But don’t sweat it.  If you’re a newbie to career services, take a deep breath and check out these helpful tips from someone who has recently stood in your shoes.

     

    That’s right.  I’m right there with you.  I have logged less than a year in career services – 10 months, actually – and I can tell you that it’s taken each day in those ten months for me to develop a clear picture of how I’d like the services this office provides to look in three years.  I’ve also come to realize that to remain effective and relevant, this office can’t stay the same forever but must change with the times and the students who walk through its doors.  I’ve learned so much in the last 10 months, and I’m content knowing that I have much more to learn and more opportunities to pursue within this office.  That being said, here are eight necessities I’ve embraced in taking on my new role in career services.  Good luck to you, and pay close attention to number one.
    1) Get excited! I mean it! Get. Excited. This is an amazing, dynamic field where each day you’ll have clients leaving your office happier than when they arrived and where your colleagues are always looking forward. Hope abounds. Potential is realized. You’re part of one of the most important services a college campus can provide, in my opinion, because you help the future drivers of our economy and leaders of our workforce develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in life beyond college. What an awesome space to occupy!

    2) Know your history. If you’re coming into a position previously occupied by another individual, be sure to network with that individual to determine the direction of the career center up to the point of your arrival – including the career center’s current strengths, challenges, and opportunities. Read last year’s annual report as well as those from two-three years prior. Knowing where you’re coming from helps you develop a map for where you’re trying to go.

    3) Know your target audience. This is perhaps the key to effective operation of a career center. Whether you serve Millennials, non-traditional students, students of a particular academic background, or any other group, knowledge of your target audience is an integral factor in developing student programming, opportunities, marketing efforts, and career coaching practices. A resource I’ve enjoyed for learning more about Millennials (my primary target audience) is Lindsey Pollak’s book, Becoming the Boss, though I’ve also learned from her presentations at the Kennan Summit 2015 and the NACE Conference keynote address.

    It’s important to note that there are more factors in identifying your target audience than generational attributes alone. For example, what percent of your students are first-generation? How many receive financial aid? How many are international students? How many are business majors? How many are from the state in which your institution operates? How have these things influenced your students’ career development thus far? All of these factors and more will help you create a clear picture of the human beings you’re going to help and how best to help them.

    4) Inventory your resources. Any good carpenter can tell you what tools he/she has, what they’re used for, and how to access them. The same can be said of any good career services professional. Upon entering your new role, you’ll want to ascertain what tools you already have at your disposal – a website? Social media accounts? Job boards? Support staff? Professional memberships? Established student programming events? How about colleagues in other departments with whom you can potentially collaborate on future planning or programming?

    This is something your predecessor can really help you with, but keep in mind that he/she is not your only resource. Support staff is always an EXCELLENT resource, particularly if they’ve been around a while. I am very lucky, for instance, to have come into a position where just 20 feet away sits the kindest, most professional administrative coordinator who has worked for the college for many years. Her knowledge of program and general institutional history comes in handy daily, and she is a wonderful sounding board.

    Make yourself a list of resources such as those listed above. Go through existing files on the network drives to which you have access. Once you determine what you have, you’re able to decide what you need.

    5) Prepare to partner. Career services professionals absolutely must partner with other departments on campus. Neglecting to do so will prohibit optimization of career center programming. In other words, you’ll be missing out, big time, and as a result, the students you’re hired to serve will as well. Collaboration spreads the workload and allows for use of resources your little office will not have on its own.

    Partnering is an expectation and, in my opinion, a gift. Embrace it. And keep in mind that partnering isn’t limited to institutional departments. While it’s great to partner with faculty, for example, to market a career fair to students, it’s also excellent to partner with student organizations to boost participation in career center programming. For example, before that very same career fair, you could partner with Greek Life to host an interactive workshop where students prepare for the fair. You’re effectively providing programming for a large, “captive audience,” while at the same time bolstering attendance for your upcoming fair. Plus, your visible connection with this group will encourage other student organizations to partner with your office, thereby boosting your reach. I could go on and on about partnering. Don’t limit your work to the confines of your office! Get out there, and I can promise you, you’ll be happy and effective!

    6) Attend a professional conference. The best ideas are often those you learn from colleagues, but your prospects are limited on campus. Professional conferences, such as the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conference, allow for a meeting of the minds, where career services staff and professionals from the working world can share best practices, trends, and ideas. I attended the NACE conference in June and came home with ideas for events, new partnerships, assessment and reporting techniques, and several new contacts – including employers and other career services professionals with invaluable knowledge and expertise. State and regional-level professional conferences are wonderful resources as well. Look online to find appropriate events for you.

    7) Build your network(s). For a career services office to function successfully, the staff must have connections with employers, volunteer services organizations, graduate and professional school reps, other career services professionals – the list goes on. You want to develop a list of contacts you can access and refer to easily throughout your day. If this doesn’t exist upon your arrival, its development will be one of your top three priorities. You’ll refer to this document when you send invitations and save-the-dates for major events, such as career fairs, grad school expos, and student/alumni networking events.

    The key to harnessing the power of these connections is getting started. Create a LinkedIn account, if you don’t have one, and begin connecting with company recruiters, career services professionals, and your institution’s alumni group. If you’re like me and are the sole career services professional for your office, consider forming a board of advisors with ten or so alums and professionals whose networks and influence can help you locate campus speakers, boost alumni support of career development efforts, and discover new career opportunities for current students. Remember that your network isn’t limited to you. You have access to your colleagues’ connections as well as the ones you forge yourself. Many times asking for help or advice is the best way to establish a connection, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

    8) Keep records and get creative in reporting them. Most career services offices already keep track of how their programming is operating – how many students they reach, what the students are saying about their services, what types of services are used by which students, etc.; but this isn’t enough. Prospective students and their families want to see how your institution’s students are faring in the “real world” before making the financial commitment to attend. Along the same line, prospective donors and business partners like to see the impact of their donations of time and treasure. For these reasons, it’s imperative that career services professionals track current students’ and graduates’ experiential learning achievements and post-grad destinations (their first job or where they go to graduate or professional school) and share that information with other departments on campus. If your office isn’t currently pursuing this data, this is an effort you’ll want to initiate.

    Annette Castleberry, Co-Director of Career Services at Lyon College

    Annette Castleberry, Co-Director of Career Services at Lyon College

    For more great tips for building your career services program, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

     

    About the author, guest writer Annette Castleberry:

    Currently Co-Director of Career Services, Annette Castleberry is excited to be promoted to Director of Career Development at Lyon College beginning August 1, 2016.  You can connect with Annette and with the Lyon College Career Center on Facebook or www.lyon.edu.