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Posted April 30, 2019 by

How to Land That Interview: Advice From the Experts

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

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

RESUMES THAT RESONATE

Pam Baker, Founder and CEO, Journeous:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Dunn, Intel Campus Relations Manager:

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

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

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

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

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

COVER LETTERS THAT GET CONSIDERATION

Pam Baker:

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

Alexandra Levit:

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

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

Jeff Dunn:

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

Joanne Meehl:

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

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

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

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

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

MORE TIPS FOR GETTING THAT INTERVIEW

Pam Baker:

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

Alexandra Levit:

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

Jeff Dunn:

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

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

Joanne Meehl:

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

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

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted April 14, 2019 by

Is it too late to find a great internship or entry-level job?

In a word, no.

They say that with age comes wisdom. Well, I’m certainly a lot older than I used to be and, hopefully, a lot wiser. When I was in college and then graduate school and then when I graduated, my vision of how the job market worked was fundamentally flawed. And being a typical, young adult, no person who had gone through a similar circumstance before me was going to convince me otherwise. They couldn’t understand. They didn’t go through what I was going through. They just don’t get it. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The reality is that the vast majority of students and recent graduates of high schools, one-year technical and vocational schools, two-year community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and graduate schools are not employed before they graduate. Never have been and probably never will. It is absolutely true that there are a very, very small number of very, very elite schools where the vast majority of the graduating class is either employed before graduation or have accepted offers to continue their education, but those schools and therefore those graduates are outliers. If you’re in that group, fantastic. Stop reading as this article is not for you.

Still with me? Great. Let’s talk frankly about the road in front of you and, perhaps, alleviate some anxiety and wasted time. First, and to emphasize, your situation is the norm. The vast majority of employers hire reactively. They only start looking when they have an opening, and openings occur all of the time and often quite randomly. The employers you’ve seen who interview on campus are the one percent of the one percent in that they plan months and even years ahead of time how many they’re going to hire, from where, and what skill set they need. But the vast majority of employers operate more like, “Oh? Maggie in accounting just quit after being here for only three months? Damn. Well, post a few ads, let’s get some resumes over the next few weeks, and we’ll hire the first good person who we find.”

Let’s break that down a bit. The employer didn’t know they had a hiring need until Maggie created that need by quitting. The response? Look at the candidates who applied three months ago for Maggie’s job, were well-qualified, but weren’t hired because Maggie was better qualified? Nope. To most employers, those candidates cease to exist when they decide to hire someone else. Stupid? Absolutely.

Another component of the response was to post a few ads. Note that the response was not to contact the career service offices, schedule on-campus interviews, conduct those interviews, and then hire. Why not? Because you can’t do that reactively. You can’t just call up a school and show up in a couple of days. They plan months ahead of time. So unless you’re that one percent of one percent employer, career services aren’t an option.

Notice that the employer didn’t specify where to post the ads. As much as this founder of job search site College Recruiter would like to think otherwise, the reality is that most employers have very little loyalty to their media partners. If they have a hiring need and they’ve had good results from you in the past and you somehow come to mind, they’ll be likely to advertise with you again. But they’re also just as likely to advertise with a site whose sales rep happened to call them five minutes after Maggie quit. So where you find the job posting is also less than logical, but that’s not a big deal because the vast majority of job search sites share their postings to ensure that just about every candidate who visits their site has a lot of well-targeted jobs to choose from, which makes for a better candidate experience and also generates more revenue for the job boards.

Another item of note: the employer plans to hire the first, well-qualified candidate who applies. Well, actually not. They said “good”, as in meet the basic qualifications. Most employers fill most jobs with a “got to put butts in seats” philosophy. If you’re qualified and you applied before other qualified candidates, the job is yours. So applying as soon as a job is posted greatly increases your chances of success, as is making it easy for the employer to quickly understand that you’re qualified. If they have to read your resume and start making inferences and guesses as to your qualifications for and legitimate interest in their job then they’re likely to add your resume to the “maybe” pile and move on. And when they move on and then next candidate does a better job of marketing themselves, it will be that next candidate who gets hired instead of you.

At this point, you may be thinking that isn’t fair. That you don’t have the time to start customizing cover letters and resumes for every job you’re applying to. And I will call b.s. on that. When I hear that and scratch the surface, I almost always find that the candidate doesn’t have the time because they’re applying to five, 10, 20, or even more jobs A DAY. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

As a member of the Career Advisory Board, a think tank sponsored by DeVry University, I learned of research that showed that candidates who applied to a TOTAL of five jobs were far more likely to get hired far more quickly than those who applied to 10, 20, or even more jobs PERIOD. Not a day. Period. By applying to only five jobs, you’re able to spend the time you need to customize your cover letter and your resume so that both use the language used by the employer and draw to their attention that you either meet every requirement and preference they’ve stated in their job posting ad or you have other qualifications which should overcome your deficiencies.

As I write this article, the grass is struggling to poke its way through a few inches of snow left over from a spring snowstorm that us Minnesotans have to suffer through. High school grads are inching toward their last classes and then finals. Students in post-secondary schools are typically preparing for and writing their finals. And most will be unemployed. If you’re in that group, you’re in good company. But you need not be for long.

Grab a sheet of paper and draw three lines down it. At the top, write these headings: competencies, interests, values, compensation. Under competencies, write a word or phrase that describes every single thing that others would say you’re good at. Don’t worry if they’re not related to your career. Write ’em down. Under interests, write everything that motivates you or causes you to take interest in it. Under values, write down everything that matters to you. And under compensation, write down what you need to make in hard benefits like wages or salary, medical insurance, and retirement plans and soft benefits like flexible working hours and the ability to occasionally telecommute.

Look for common themes on the sheet of paper. Hopefully, you’ll discover that there are some things for which you’re competent, interested in, and value. Which of those will provide to you the compensation you need? Now you’ve got a list of jobs or career paths to guide your search. Go to our home page and enter two or three keywords to describe those and the location in which you want to work. Review the jobs that come up in the search results and modify your search as necessary until you’ve narrowed down the list to a manageable size. For some, that might be a few dozen jobs. For others, that might be ten jobs.

Zero in on three to five of the jobs and apply to them. Be sure to include a customized cover letter that helps the employer understand what you want to do in the future and how their job fits into that. What you want to do in the future will, of course, be partly guided by what you’ve done in the past so your cover letter will inevitably discuss some of your educational and work backgrounds. Your cover letter should provide to them enough information that they can see that you’re qualified for the work that they want you to do. No need to include jobs or other experiences that are irrelevant to the job advertised by the employer. Send the application. Follow-up with the employer in a few work days using the contact information that is in the ad, which rarely happens, or on the employer’s website, which is almost always there.

Best of luck!!

Posted November 07, 2018 by

How do I find a great, paid internship?

College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. And a great stepping stone to a great career is often a great internship. But students are often frustrated by how to find an internship and, when they do find one of interest, how to apply, get interviewed, and get hired.

If you try to do everything all at once, it can be overwhelming. I like to break the process down into manageable, bite-sized pieces.

  1. Don’t procrastinate. To use another cliche, early bird gets the worm. While I trust that you’d rather land a great internship than a great worm, the cliche is too well known and understood for me to pass up. Some internships, particularly those with non-profits and governmental agencies, have strict and sometimes very early deadlines. Looking for next summer? You might need to apply in November. As of the writing of this blog article on November 5, 2018, College Recruiter already had 1,795 internships advertised on its site and it is still a couple of months from January when employers start to get aggressive with advertising their internship opportunities.
  2. Complete your CIV analysis. What’s a CIV, you ask? Competencies, interests, and values. Grab a piece of paper and draw two lines down it to divide the paper into three columns. Write competencies at the top of the first column, interests at the top of the second, and values at the top of the third. Now, under competencies, write down everything that other people would say you’re good at. In the second column, write down everything that you find to be interesting, In the third column, write down everything that you care about. Now look for themes. What are you good at that also interests you and which you care about? Those themes are where you should focus your career search.
  3. Network. Many and probably most people think that networking is all about asking other for help. Wrong. It is about asking them how you can help them. That will build good karma and inevitably you’ll find that some — not all — will reciprocate by asking how they can help you. Take them up on the offer. Tell them about your CIV, where you want your career to start, and ask them for the names of two people you should talk with. Keep repeating that. After a few rounds of people referring you to people who refer you to people, you’ll likely run across someone who will decline to give you the two names, not because they’re a jerk but because they want to hire you. Bingo.
  4. Job search sites. Almost every college career service office has a career website, but the vast majority of jobs which are of interest to students and recent graduates are never posted to those sites. Why? Most employers don’t know about them and they can be hard and time consuming to use. So, use those sites but don’t stop there. Also use job search sites like College Recruiter, which typically has about a million part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs advertised on its site. Did I tell you that College Recruiter already has 1,795 internships advertised on its site? Oh, yeah, I did. Did you search them yet?
  5. Attend career fairs. Quite frankly, I’m not a huge fan because the expectations of the employers are often poorly aligned with those of the students. Employer representatives typically attend career fairs because they’re coerced by their bosses, their career service office partners, or both. Their disinterest shows, and they make it worse by refusing to accept paper resumes and telling you to go to their career sites if you want to apply. You could have done that from home, right? But they’re great places to network (see #3) and learn what it is really like to work for a company if you happen to run across a representative who likes to talk and maybe isn’t as discrete as they should be.
  6. Search and apply to jobs. Seems kind of obvious, right? But you’d be amazed at how many candidates don’t apply to enough jobs, apply to the wrong ones, or do a terrible job of applying the ones they are qualified for. If you’re an elite student at an elite school or otherwise have some exceptional qualities, aim high by applying to the most sought-after internships, such as 20 top internships listed below. For everyone else, and that’s almost everyone, the hard truth is that you’re just going to have to try harder. But, if it helps, remember the joke about what you call a doctor who graduates at the bottom of their class from a third-rate medical school. The answer is doctor. Most employers for most jobs feel the same way about interns and new grads. They care far more that you went to college than your major. They care far more about your major than your school. And they care far more about your school than your grades or whether you had a sexy internship or just successfully completed an internship, preferably for them.
  7. Create a job. Whether it’s a gig employment opportunity driving folks around or doing their grocery shopping for them or starting a small business in college like I did, don’t discount this option. But if you find yourself uttering, “I just need a good idea”, move on. The good idea is the least of your problems. Executing that good idea is FAR harder and FAR less exciting.
  8. Get experience. The entire point of an internship program for the employer is to convert those interns into permanent hires upon graduation. If they don’t, their internship program is a failure. Similarly, the entire point of interning is to get an offer to become a permanent employee upon graduation and then to accept that offer. If you don’t, your internship was a failure. Well, maybe not a complete failure, but not as much of a success as it should have been.

So, back to the top internship programs. What are they? I thought you’d never ask:

1. Google
2. Apple
3. Microsoft
4. Tesla
5. Facebook
6. Goldman Sachs
7. Amazon
8. J.P. Morgan
9. SpaceX
10. The Walt Disney Company
11. Nike
12. Morgan Stanley
13. IBM
14. Deloitte
15. Berkshire Hathaway
16. Intel
17. ESPN
18. Mercedes-Benz
19. The Boston Consulting Group
20. Spotify

— Source: Vault

 

 

Posted November 15, 2016 by

[video] Why employers value recent college grads with foreign language skills

 

Fluency or competency in a foreign language is a coveted skill that employers value. That’s no surprise in today’s global economy. However, the reasons employers value recent college grads who have foreign language skills may be a surprise. Yes, it’s a must for certain positions where employers work directly with others who speak foreign languages to conduct business. But that’s not the only reason.

Learning a language demonstrates initiative and passion for self-improvement

“I have hired people who were not as well-qualified as other candidates because they knew another language, even if that language was not specifically needed in my organization,” says B. Max Dubroff, an HR Consultant at Einfluss, LLC, an HR advisory firm, in Albuquerque, NM.

Why? Because learning a foreign language demonstrates initiative and passion for self-improvement. And if one can learn a foreign language, they can surely learn an organization’s language, which for many workplaces, is full of slang, acronyms, and alternate definitions, says Dubroff.

Related: How traveling abroad after college can help land your first job

“Throughout my career, language has helped me make and strengthen relationships,” says Dubroff, who is conversant in German and learning Spanish. Dubroff retired from the U.S. Air Force, having specialized in security, law enforcement, and anti-terrorism. He is the former Chairman of a non-profit board and a former Commissioner. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master’s in Human Resources and he has earned senior-level certifications in Human Resources from HRCI and SHRM.

“I have never had a job where language was required, but I have always had everyday events that benefited from this understanding,” says Dubroff. “I was twice selected for awesome opportunities in the Air Force and my understanding of German was a factor in me being chosen over other very well-qualified people.”

Mastery of a foreign language can also be an indicator of leadership capability and style, adds Dubroff. “In many ways, language is the study of interactions; if you value language, you are also more likely to value other people,” says Dubroff.

You stand out among peers if you have other language skills

foreign language skills helps you stand out and get hiredRecent college grads with foreign language skills often stand out among peers with similar skill sets, experiences, and degrees. While it may not be listed in a job ad, the value of fluency in foreign languages can be a “signal” factor for a candidate as they are compared to others with similar experience and college preparation, says Bettyjo Bouchey, an Associate Professor and Program Director of Undergraduate Business Programs at National Louis University in Chicago, IL.

“If there is a direct need for a company, foreign language skills could be the deciding factor in a screening process,” says Bouchey. “Without a direct need, however, it is a signal to a future employer that this candidate has an interest and sensitivity to multicultural issues and is interested in developing themselves outside of their primary vocational aspiration. It is a signal of a well-rounded prospective employee; someone that is interesting.”

Bouchey, who is also a career coach, advises students and recent college grads to highlight these types of signals in their cover letters and on a resume understanding this foreign language skill, or signal, can set them apart from those that do not possess them.

“As someone who has recruited and hired hundreds of employees over the years and also one who researches employer selection processes, signals vary by recruiter, but this is one that catches someone’s eye and sometimes that is all you need to get your foot in the door,” says Bouchey.

Need more proof? See a host of reasons why employers are attracted to language skills

Auburn University’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literature lists Twenty-five Reasons to Study Foreign Languages. Among them is this fact: Four out of five new jobs in the US are created as a result of foreign trade. This list includes these additional traits that are attractive to employers:

  • Foreign Language study creates more positive attitudes and less prejudice toward people who are different.
  • Analytical skills improve when students study a foreign language.
  • Business skills plus foreign language skills make an employee more valuable in the marketplace.
  • Your marketable skills in the global economy are improved if you master another language.
  • Foreign language study enhances one’s opportunities in government, business, medicine, law, technology, military, industry, marketing, etc.

According to the OfficeTeam 2017 Salary Guide, professionals can earn up to 12 percent more for U.S. administrative jobs if they have expert multilingual abilities. Spanish is typically the most requested language, but fluency in others can be requested depending on location.

“Bilingual or multilingual skills are a plus in many industries, especially for public- and customer-facing positions,” says Brandi Britton, district president of OfficeTeam.

As organizations become more global, language ability is crucial to recent college grads seeking to advance in their career. Since organizations can’t foresee every project or program, they usually track employees’ language ability so they have people to choose from, if needed.  This opportunity could open doors for an unforeseen opportunity.  For example, company X is considering a potential partnership with a firm in France, so they consider employees who know French to add to the core team of experts, says Dubroff. Another recognized benefit in the global economy is the heightened awareness and understanding of culture that accompanies language ability.  This can be a key differentiator for a company to stand out among its competition (marketing, sales, and service).

Related: 5 reasons why recent college grads should consider work and travel jobs

“The reason I respect my favorite IT Director so much is not just because of his understanding of technology; rather, it is more because of his deep understanding of people and culture, which comes from mastery of three languages,” says Dubroff.

When interviewing, be ready to prove your skills

Prove language skills in an interview

Dutch text on laptop: “Spending time with family”

But if you have fluency or basic knowledge of a language, be prepared to prove it. That person conducting an interview may speak the same language and test job seekers during an interview.

“If you say you know a language, I will test you,” says Dubroff. “If I don’t know the language, I will find another employee for you to talk with. If you say you are studying a language, I will seek details.  I will ask how you are studying it and what you are doing to master it.”

Dubroff has interviewed several people who claimed to be fluent in German, so he suddenly changed from speaking English to German. “This not only helps me understand the level of their language ability, it also helps me learn how the person responds to unexpected change in a moderately stressful situation,” says Dubroff.

TIP: Get more expert and free career advice by staying connected with College Recruiter. Check out all kinds of videos and articles in our LinkedIn group, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

How should recent college grads list and reference language skills on a resume, cover letter, job application and/or during an interview? Don’t just list a language, list a way understanding this foreign language has helped develop a skill set or solve a business problem. Think: What did I gain from that language experience that in general is going to make me a better worker? Show that in your application material. On a resume, language skills fit well in the list of key skills. It is best to describe the level of capability without overstating it. A person who says they are “fluent” but has never used it outside the classroom loses credibility, says Dubroff.

Good descriptors include “native” and “bilingual” at the high end, “professional working proficiency” or “conversant” in the middle, and “elementary” or “novice” for beginners.

Employers value foreign language skills. Recent college grads should be sure to use that to their advantage when applying for internships and jobs.

Seeking a career where foreign language skills can make an impact? Register with College Recruiter to get the latest jobs emailed to you! And don’t forget to follow us on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and YouTube.

 

Posted October 05, 2016 by

How to market military experience on a resume and cover letter

Recent 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. (more…)

Posted August 29, 2016 by

How self-underestimation leads to job interview failure

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

People are notorious for underestimating their skills and abilities, and it happens for a variety of reasons. It’s a part of human nature to hesitate, to compare, and to have a fear of imperfection. Everyone faces these challenges on a daily basis. And when it comes to the job interview, every candidate knows there’s a crowd of other applicants who might be much better, which can cause panic. This feeling is a destructive force that can lead to a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. But there are also lots of things you can do to stay confident.

The greatest weapon against self-underestimation is good preparation. When you know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to behave in a job interview, self-underestimation will be greatly reduced.

 

 

Here’s what you need to do:

Be active

One of the most important things your potential employer wants to see is your record of engagement and activities. Besides studying, listing part-time jobs or freelance work is a plus. A huge plus is also going to be any other kind of engagement – running a blog, working as a tutor, starting a book club, volunteering, and so on. Focus especially on the activities that relate directly to the job for which you’re applying. Thanks to this information, you’ll prove to be an active and enthusiastic person, which is very desirable for any job position.

Answer typical questions in advance

Every employer asks a set of fairly typical questions. These often include the following: Why should we hire you? What are your greatest professional achievements? Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your strengths and weaknesses? They are rather simple and repetitive, and yet candidates tend to stumble when answering these questions. You have a chance to practice at home, so make the most of it. Ask your parent or friend to help. For half an hour, your parent or friend plays the part of “employer” and asks you those typical questions, and you answer them. Act as if you were in a real job interview and try to memorize what you would say to answer an employer’s questions.

Learn more about the position

Don’t forget to read the job description carefully and learn more information about the company to which you’re applying. Your employer will likely ask you what you know about the company. Your aim is to not get caught off-balance. Some people, especially when nervous, find it difficult to collect their thoughts, and as a result they get stuck. In order to avoid an awkward moment, research the company – there’s obviously a company website with all the information you’ll need to sound intelligent and articulate.

Work on your cover letter and resume

Make your cover letter and resume stunning so they stand out from others. In fact, these two items constitute a potential employer’s first impression of you, and it makes sense to do your best. Take care to avoid the following common mistakes:

  • There are lots of templates for cover letters and resumes available online, but using them without making changes is a bad idea. Recruiters receive dozens of cover letters and resumes that seem nearly identical. How can they choose the best one if all of them are equally ordinary? And what if employers check for plagiarism? I doubt they will want to hire someone who cuts corners and doesn’t bother to write a decent original resume and cover letter.
  • Don’t write the same information in both your resume and cover letters. These two papers should complement the image you introduce to the potential employer. Respect your employer’s time and don’t repeat yourself. Including irrelevant information is also no good.
  • Don’t make your cover letter too long or too short. Just find a happy medium. If you’re a recent graduate without much employment history, neither document should be longer than one page.
  • Check your cover letter and resume for mistakes and typos. Sometimes it happens that you don’t find errors within your text. For this reason, ask your friend to proofread your writing. In addition, you should also run your cover letter and resume through an automated spell checker.

Confidence comes with practice, and your confidence in the job interview can only be gained if you prepare yourself and go to a few of them. Remember that recruiters are not your enemies, and you don’t need to resist them – you’re just going to have a nice talk to find out if you’re the right person for the position. You’ll see there’s no need to overly dramatize the process!

Rose Scott, guest writer

Rose Scott, guest writer

Need more job search and job interview assistance? Check out our great salary calculator and free resume editing tool. Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Rose Scott is a literature teacher who aims at improving education. A lifelong dreamer, she finds her inspiration in pep-talks with meaningful people whose enthusiasm is contagious. Outside of her teaching pursuits, she cannot imagine her life without writing. It is something more than just a hobby. Writing is her passion. Rose will be glad to meet you on her Twitter:@roserose_sc

Posted August 26, 2016 by

Back-to-school free resume critique

Resume writing tips written on notebook courtesy of Shutterstock.com

kenary820/Shutterstock.com

College and university students who are starting their fall semesters know that right after Labor Day the frenzy of on-campus recruiting begins. There’s a little bit of a breather from mid-November until the beginning of January and then the frenzy continues through March.

When was the last time someone with training reviewed your resume and made specific recommendations to you for how it could be better? Are you missing keywords that employers will find when they’re searching a database? Is your language active instead of passive? Do you have specific accomplishments listed? Are your career goals spelled out clearly? (more…)

Posted July 06, 2016 by

What makes job seekers highly effective: Part 2

When job seekers find immediate success, what are they doing right? How are they standing out from the rest of the applicants who earn interviews?

Those job seeker secrets to success were discussed in detail as part of the Successful Job Seekers Research portion of the 2016 Job Preparedness Indicator Study. The survey was conducted in March 2015 by the Career Advisory Board (CAB) established by DeVry University. As part of the research, over 500 job seekers were surveyed and the key findings and data from the research are highlighted in the accompanying video featuring Steven Rothberg, founder of College Recruiter, moderating a discussion with Alexandra Levit, a consultant, speaker, and workplace expert who has written six career advice books, and was formerly a nationally syndicated career columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and Madeleine Slutsky of DeVry University. The interview and discussion takes place from Google’s Chicago offices during the NACE 2016 Conference in June.

Read the first article in this series: What makes a job seeker highly effective, Part 1 and learn more in the video below:


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

What criteria qualifies one as a successful job seeker? According to the 2016 Job Preparedness Indicator Study, this includes:

A. Active job seekers who secured a job offer within six months of their first interview.
B. Passive candidates who already had a job, were recruited, and accepted an offer within 6 months of being recruited.

“That’s pretty successful,” says Levit. “If you’re able to get a new job within six months, you’re doing something right.”

According to the study, the first thing successful job seekers do is target their job search to a specific company.

“The conventional wisdom is that if you just send your resume out to as many people as possible, it’s a number game; eventually something will hit,” says Levit. “In fact, this is the opposite of what we found to be true.”

According to the survey data, 51 percent of active job seekers applied to five or fewer positions, and 66 percent applied to 10 or fewer jobs.

“The majority of our successful job seekers are really going after specific companies they want to work at,” says Levit.

They also know that they are qualified for those jobs, before submitting applications, says Levit. The research showed that 90 percent of job seekers wanted to be at least 75 percent qualified before applying to a targeted company and job, meaning they fit at least seven out of the 10 requirements of the job description before applying. In addition, 41 percent wanted to be at least 90 percent qualified before applying – meaning they fit nine out of the 10 requirements of the job description before applying.

Successful job seekers also customize their resume and job search, and do significant research before putting together their cover letter, resume, and online profile for their target company. The survey results showed that 67 percent of successful job seekers reached out to the company contact person, and 32 percent reached out to their network to get inside info on the target company before applying. In addition, 84 percent tailored their resume to the exact specifics of the job they were targeting, updating it for each job. Translation: A targeted resume is much more effective than a one-size-fits-all resume.

“This is something the Career Advisory Board has been saying for years,” says Levit. “Yes, unfortunately, every resume has to be customized if you want to be taken seriously. That’s what successful job seekers are doing.”

Hiring managers pick up a resume and are going to know, within 20 seconds, if the applicant is a good fit for the job, says Levit. That’s why it’s important to tailor/customize each resume for a specific job.

The study also uncovered some surprising news for job seekers: Successful job seekers don’t necessarily consider job-seeking a full-time role.

Levit said this: “I have to admit, this is counter to the advice I have always given, which has been ‘if you are in the job market and not currently employed, you should be treating your job search like a full-time job,’ meaning you are spending seven or eight hours a day on (the job search). That’s not what successful job seekers are doing.”

The study showed that 47 percent of successful job seekers conducted job search activities a total of one to three hours a day and 45 percent spent less than an hour per day on the job search. This includes writing resumes, networking, searching for jobs, and researching companies, among other job search duties.

“Whatever they are doing is effective and efficient,” says Levitt. “It’s not quantity, it’s quality.”

The bottom line? Successful job seekers put together job searches that target a specific company and job, and write resumes and cover letters tailored to that specific job. They work to connect with people inside the organization for which they are applying, and doing all of this is helping them land jobs faster than those who are not conducting a specific, targeted job search.

Watch the video to learn more about what makes a job seeker highly effective.

For more advice for job seekers, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Posted June 25, 2016 by

The #1 student job search mistake

As an Associate Career Services Director for the University of Michigan and the CEO of Break into Tech, I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of students during the job search while trying to launch their careers. And it’s an area I’m particularly proud to support, having leveraged my own student experience to land roles at Apple, LinkedIn, and startups.

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

But the one thing that shocks me time and again is that 95% of students make the same mistake when it comes to landing a job. And no, it’s not a bad resume, or a poorly written cover letter or even weak interview skills. Instead, it’s that most basic trait:

Humility.

Yes, humility.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Huh? How hard could it be to act humble?”

But here’s the real deal. That same confidence is a handicap. Because it blinds students to just how hard it is to stay humble in a world where everyone always has to be on, to constantly present their best self.

As evidence, allow me to submit my experience as a Michigan alum working at LinkedIn:

  • Every single day during application season, I’d received at least one email from a current student who wanted to work in Silicon Valley
  • Usually, those emails started out: “Dear Jeremy, I’m XXX and I’d really like to work at LinkedIn…”
  • Eventually I’d get on the phone with these students, and they’d spend the first 15 minutes of the call telling me about themselves, and the last 15 minutes asking me if I could help them get a job.
  • Then, I’d never hear from them again.

On the other hand, about 2-3 times a year, the sequence would go very differently:

  • I’d get an email from a student well before application season that said: “Dear Jeremy, As a a Michigan student, I was so excited to come across your profile today. I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to find someone who’s walked your path. I know you must be really busy, but would you ever have a few minutes to share your story with me?”
  • When I got on the phone with them, we’d spend 15 minutes talking about my experience, followed by 15 minutes of them asking me for my advice about really tricky career questions.
  • Then they’d follow-up the next month to wish me a happy holiday or update me on campus. And they’d continue to do that each month with cool articles they found or little tidbits of school news.
  • Then, only when application season finally rolled around, would they ever ask for support during the application process.

And sure enough, about 2-3 times a year, I’d write an internal recommendation for a student, basically guaranteeing them an interview.

Now, any guesses which students I went to bat for?

Hopefully that illuminates two things about the job search:

BUT

  • You’ve got to network in the right way – the humble way.

Which means no:

  • Waiting until application season to reach out – you need to build relationships in advance; not at the last second.
  • Focusing all the attention on yourself – you need to build a real relationship; not just a transaction.
  • One shot networking – you need to build a relationship over time, not in a single phone call. This aids your job search.

So consider yourself warned. Yes, humility is critical to your job search success. But don’t assume it’s going to be easy. Instead, make it a priority and work hard at it. And then you can avoid the biggest mistake that’s trapped so many others!

Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

Need more help networking and figuring out how to build great relationships on your way to finding a great entry-level job? College Recruiter can help. Keep reading our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Jeremy Schifeling is the Founder + Chief Nerd at Break into Tech, a site for anyone who wants to land an awesome tech job, no matter their background. Get a free guide to the seven ultimate secrets that took Jeremy from school to Silicon Valley!

Posted June 20, 2016 by

How to get a dream job even without experience

Dream, job, way photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

It’s intensely frustrating. You spend years getting further education, you work your butt off, you rack up extra debt, and afterwards no doors will open because ‘you lack experience’ or because university ‘didn’t teach you the skills you need.’ But how can you get experience if nobody will give you a job?

Well fear not; there are actually ways to get that dream job after all, and that’s without first working 10 years at some entry-level position trying to make your mark. It just means working hard right now and showing everybody that you’ve got the mojo to pull it off.
So are you ready to get noticed? Here’s what you’ve got to do.

Do the time

Despite what many young people think, the world doesn’t owe them anything. That means your dream job is not going to get thrown into your lap. If you want it, you’ve got to look for it, hunt for it, and when you found it, battle to get it. So make sure you don’t sit back and wait for something to happen.

Instead, pursue every channel to get the job you want, be it social media, friends of the family, career counseling at university or the classifieds in the local newspaper (some people actually still use those). And apply to everything that sounds close to what you want. Even if you don’t end up wanting it, the experience from going to the interview can be just what you need to wow your future employers when you do land the right interview.

Develop your soft skills

One of the biggest problems employers have with fresh graduates is that they don’t have the soft skills necessary to actually get anywhere in the workplace. By soft skills I mean teamwork, communication, writing and problem-solving skills. An even bigger problem? Graduates think they’re actually very good at those things and therefore don’t take the time to become better at them. Don’t be like everybody else; accept that you’ve still got a lot to learn, then go out of your way to learn soft skills!

Be confident but not arrogant

There is another good reason besides soft skills that many people don’t like hiring recent graduates – and that’s because recent graduates often have a much higher estimation of what they’re capable of than what they’re actually capable of. They come swaggering into the workplace believing that they’ll show these business people a thing or two about how it’s done.

The thing is, often they don’t know how it’s done. They’ve got too little work experience and often too much idealism. They’ve got a lot to learn but think too highly of themselves to realize this is so.

Don’t be that person. Be respectful, accept that you’re still at the beginning of your life and that experience is valuable, but make it clear to your future employer that you’re smart enough to know what you know and driven enough to learn what you don’t. That will impress them.

Prepare for the interview

There are some tricky questions interviewers can’t ask you, and if you haven’t prepared then they may stump you. So take time to prepare. Not only that, but make sure you know the names of the people you’re going to interview with, as well as whatever basic facts you can find online. People will be impressed if you are well-informed. It shows that you care, that you’re a good researcher, that you’re proactive and that you’re willing to invest effort to get what you want.

Show off your expertise

If you want the dream job, you’ve got to show that your skill set is much greater than your limited CV gives you credit for. So you’ve got to show off your expertise. This can be done in multiple ways–by getting an endorsement from somebody who matters in the industry or one of your professors, for instance, but probably the best way is to actually start working in the field. So either start freelancing while you’re still in college, or otherwise start blogging and build up a reputation as somebody who knows what they’re talking about.

Be passionate

Read books and articles in your field, understand theory as best you can, know who the players are, and when you get around to writing your cover letter, show them how much you care. Now don’t be a gushing ninny. You’ve got to be professional, but you still have to demonstrate to them that even though you don’t have as much experience as everybody else in the field, you’ve got more than enough passion to make up for it.

Be a protagonist

You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions or your lack thereof. It won’t be easy to jump the cue. It will, in fact, take a lot of hard work, so you’ve got to prepare for that. That said, it is possible so long as you take the time to be do what you’ve got to do and show that you’re a cut above the rest.

And if it goes wrong, own it, learn what you can from it and get back up again. Then push on. That’s the only way it’s going to work. You’ve got to be the hero of your own story, because otherwise you’re the victim. And who hires the victim?

Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

Jonathan Emmen is a student and an inspired blogger from Copenhagen. His passion is writing, and he finds inspiration in traveling, books, and movies. You can follow him on @JonnyEmmen or you can also follow him on Kinja.