• An entry level job seeker’s guide to interview outfits

    April 11, 2017 by

     

    The saying you only get one chance to make a first impression really holds true in today’s job market, says Melissa Wagner, Career Services Advisor for Rasmussen College. Your interview outfit is a big part of the first impression you make at a potential employer.

    “An interview is the candidate’s opportunity to sell the employer that they’re the right fit for the position,” says Wagner. “So it’s important that candidates bring their best game to the playing field.” Continue Reading

  • Interview dress code: Common mistakes and tips for balancing professional with personal

    November 30, 2016 by

    dress code for workGuest writer Lisa Smith

    The cliché holds a lot of truth: the first impression really counts. This is why most people suggest that you dress up prim and proper for an interview. It should come as no surprise that your prospective employer starts gauging you from the time you step into the interview room.

    Many people botch up their interview just because they are unaware of the importance of interview dress code. There are a few common mistakes that you can avoid. Check out out some of the common interview dressing mistakes to ensure you don’t fall prey to these. Here is some advice to get ready for the big day:

    Fit is king:

    Before going for an interview, you spend a long time and effort in picking that perfect outfit. But what about the fit? The way your outfit fits can make a whole difference to your appearance. And this is what will gain you some precious points. If your clothes are too loose, you end up looking drab and careless. On the other hand, clothes that are too tight can make you look uncomfortable which can be misconstrued as nervousness or lack of self-confidence. So, first things first, make sure that the clothes you pick for your interview are fit you perfectly. If they don’t, take them to the tailor.

    Tone down the colors:

    Make sure you select the shades carefully. Bright colors like yellow or shocking pink are a total no-no as these tend to distract people’s gaze and are considered inappropriate. If you are thinking of going with prints and patterns, go for the subtle variety. Large prints and patterns give you a casual semblance which may not appeal to your interviewers.

    Rein in your hair:

    This can be tricky because hairstyle can be an important part of your culture. It is your choice how you want to balance professional conservatism with your personal expression. However, be aware that when it comes to an interview, your interviewer may consider some hairstyles to be a hint of non-seriousness, whether or not that is true.

    Shoes are important too:

    If you thought that you only need to pay attention to your clothes when getting ready for an interview, think again. Your shoes matter too. Though you may sit down across the table when interacting with your interviewer, he or she is bound to notice as you walk up to take your seat. Pick shoes that spell out a formal air. Men should go for leather oxfords or slip-ons. Women should stick to pumps or conservative platform heels.

    Take it easy with the perfume:

    There is no doubt that your choice of perfume speaks volumes about you. However, you don’t want to overwhelm your interviewer with its heady aroma. So, make sure that you spray only a couple of whiffs of your favorite perfume on your clothes, or skip it entirely. Heavy perfume wearers are usually frowned upon in the professional world.

     

    On the job: Balancing between personal and professional

    If you dress perfectly for your interview, you are bound to make a great first impression. This coupled with your smartness is sure to get you that much-coveted job. (Make sure to send a thank you email after an interview to the company, displaying your gratitude for the chance given to you.)

    However, once you get that job and join the company, you have to continue to strike that balance between your personal expression and professional dress code that you so carefully created for the interview. Not doing so may give out wrong messages and get you into the bad books of your employers.

    Understand the Dress Code:

    Each company has its own dress code. So, the smartest thing you can do is to understand the dress code that your organization follows. This could be quite different from the one that you are accustomed to. However, taking to this wholeheartedly is what will portray you as a smart and a quick learner. This will also be proof enough for your easy adaptability to changes.

    Creating your Own Style:

    While you need to follow the company dress code, you don’t have to be a clone of the other employees. Experiment with the dress code to create new looks which are perfect for the work environment. This is a great way to prove that you are brave enough to experiment and innovate without questioning the company policies.

    Keep your work style minimalistic yet smart. This is what will make your bosses and super bosses notice you. Your style speaks volumes about your thoughts and helps you to stand out in the crowd. So, take down this mantra and try to live up to it.

     

    lisa smithLisa is a designer by profession and writer by choice, she writes for almost all topics but design and Fashion are her favorites. Apart from these she also Volunteers at few Animal rescue centers. Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.

     

     

    Want more information on how to prepare for an interview, and other job searching advice? Follow us on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Common networking mistakes to avoid

    August 09, 2016 by
    Dishonesty, moral dilemma, liar photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    As college students and recent graduates enter the workforce, they will likely meet people who can assist them with their job searches. When these opportunities arise, job seekers be prepared to take advantage of them. While some job seekers may not be the most outgoing in terms of personality, they can still be effective when networking. However, if students and grads don’t understand how to network, they can hurt their chances of building important relationships that can advance their careers. So as job seekers attend networking events, they must be mindful of what not to do. Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University, highlights common networking mistakes to avoid.

    “Blindly reaching out without knowing basic information about a person, the kind of details usually found through a quick Google or LinkedIn search, is a red flag signaling a bad start to the networking experience. A wishful connection will be less likely to engage if college students or prospective hires don’t bring any background knowledge to the table.

    Expecting a networking connection will “tell me what to do.” Before reaching out, know the information you want. It’s helpful to have an informal script handy. “My name is Sue Smith; I’m a business major and art history minor interested in an entry-level job working in the cosmetic industry in New York. I’m hoping to secure a summer internship. Could you share with me how you got into the industry and any suggestions or recommendations you might have?”

    Thinking the number of connections matters. Networking is about relationships, not numbers. Targeted outreach to people who share common interests makes networking effective. Two people may connect in an unlimited number of ways, such as graduating from the same school, being from the same hometown, choosing a similar academic path, or by an interest in a particular career. Whatever it is, a real connection matters.

    The first outreach is inappropriate or unprofessional. Treat networking opportunities as professional conversations. It’s easier to move from formal to casual than vice-versa. Having good manners and dressing appropriately (which is very different if you’re interested in a career in journalism versus a career on Wall Street) is critical in creating the first impression that builds your reputation.”

    Want to learn more about networking mistakes? Head to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University

    Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University

    With more than 25 years of experience in the private sector, nearly half assisting organizations with recruiting, interviewing, and hiring top talent, Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has an insider’s understanding of what employers are seeking and helping students and recent grads showcase their academic skills and personal experiences. Wake Forest’s one, university-wide employer relations team means Summers has experience with and supports the employment search for students in all academic areas, teaching and empowering them to articulate the value of their education for today’s employers.

  • 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.

  • What makes job seekers highly effective: Part 2

    July 06, 2016 by

    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.

  • 10 career mistakes to avoid

    June 26, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    One of your top goals is to have a happy and successful life.

    Your career is the key to achieving this goal.

    You’ve got a nice degree, have a lovely smile and are ready to work, but there’s one more thing that could stop you from realizing your dreams:

    Mistakes.

    Some mistakes could harm or even end your career. You have to recognize and avoid them at all costs if you really want to have a successful life.

    There are 10 career defining mistakes.

    1. Dressing badly at work

    Research tells us that what we wear affects how we think. How we dress also affects how other people perceive us.

    Sure, you deserve to get the respect you think you deserve and get people to listen to you. People should respect you because you know what you’re talking about.

    So why should you wear expensive socks to get people to respect you?

    Let me tell you a story.

    One day I was on a bus headed to my friend’s house. It’s been a long time since I went to the neighborhood so I wasn’t so sure which stop to get off at. I was constantly looking out at the window, and the gentleman sitting beside me could not help but notice it.

    He nicely asked where I was going and if I needed help. I told him where I was going, and he said I should exit in two stops. I thanked him.

    A few minutes later, another man sitting behind me said “Actually, you should get off at the next stop.”

    I thanked him and exited where he told me, ignoring the advice of the first guy.

    Now, you may want to ask me why I chose the second guy’s advice.

    As I walk away from the bus stop, I realized I ignored my seatmate’s advice because he was wearing sweatpants, had a dark stain on his T-shirt, and looked like he skipped showering that day. I realized that I chose the second guy’s advice because he wore a collared jacket, well-polished shoes, and designer glasses.

    When you dress well at work, people will notice you. Your superiors will notice you, and they would admire you for that. That would open up more opportunities for you.

    2. Expressing a rude and negative attitude at work

    Even if you’re a highly-talented employee but always express a bad and negative attitude at work, you’ll have a high mountain to climb to advance your career. Many managers hate working with employees who have bad attitudes because they decrease the team morale.

    According to studies from Leadership IQ, 87% of employees say that working with somebody with a bad attitude has actually made them want to change jobs. And as much as 89% of new hires who fail within 18 months actually failed because of attitudinal issues, not skills. Bad attitudes also include laziness, tardiness, inappropriate jokes, unresponsive to emails, etc. List all the bad and negative attitudes you have and make a consistent effort to overcome them.

    3. Not building good relationships with your colleagues

    Bad relationships are bound to happen from time to time. How you deal with them is the most important thing.

    Your colleagues are the keys to your happiness at work. If you’re not happy with your coworkers, then you’ll certainly be looking for work soon. I’m a big believer of the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want your coworkers to be kind and respectful to you, then you have to be kind and respectful to them.

    Make sure you remember your coworkers’ names and address them by their names. It’s easy to say happy birthdays to your coworkers on Facebook when you rarely talk to them at work. Make sure you’re doing that important one-on-one conversation. Get on the phone and tell them “Happy Birthday.” Go an extra mile and surprise them with a gift. This little generosity will make you more likable at your workplace.

    4. Writing unprofessional emails to colleagues

    You know there are some unprofessional things you shouldn’t say to your colleagues in the workplace. The same is true for work emails.

    For example, it’s not appropriate to answer a colleague asking you how your job search is going inside your work email. Another example is when your colleague complains about other coworkers and says nasty things about them.

    These are discussions you shouldn’t allow inside your work email. I don’t think it’s good to allow it at all whether it’s your personal or work email. You should know that you don’t own your work email, your employer does. Your employer can monitor who you’re communicating with on your work email. You could be in trouble if you’re making inappropriate remarks about sensitive issues at your workplace.

    In addition to that, there are some email mistakes that can make you look really unprofessional.

    For example:

    • Using informal or curse words you’re not allowed to use at work
    • Rambling in your email instead of getting straight to the point
    • Forgetting to attach files when you say you’ve attached files
    • Spelling the person’s name wrong or using a different name to address the recipient

    These email mistakes may not look big to you, but they are serious mistakes that can prevent you from accelerating your career.

    5. Making career choices based on earnings

    The love of money could lead you down the wrong career path.

    I’m not saying “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

    You need money to do a lot of things. You probably need money to pay student loans, buy some nice outfits and keep the roof over your head. So you definitely need money. We all do.

    But when you choose a career or a job you don’t even enjoy based on your goal to make $90,000 per year, that’s when it becomes a problem. You need to ask yourself:

    Does your desire for money match your passion and skills? When you choose a job you’re less passionate about, you’ll be pushing yourself to get things done. And this would be visible in your performance. You should choose a job where you have the skills and abilities to get the job done.

    6. Not investing in yourself

    If you strip Larry Page of his assets and dump him on the street, I can assure you that he would be back living a comfortable life within a week.

    Larry Page has a ton of human capital.

    According to Wikipedia“Human capital is the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.” In other words, human capital is a collection of resources—all the knowledge, talents, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence, training, judgment, and wisdom that are possessed by an individual. If you want to achieve a lot of success in your career, you need a lot of human capital. Focusing on building your human capital is a lot more productive than worrying about “job security.

    So how do you build your human capital?

    You build up your human capital by investing in yourself through:

    • Improving your skills
    • Acquiring complementary skills
    • Reading educational books
    • Starting healthy habits
    • Building your personal brand
    • Getting a mentor

    As you do these things, you’ll become irreplaceable in your organization. You’ll become the go-to person within your company. Many more people will start looking up to you. All these help you accelerate your career.

    But when you stop investing in yourself, you become stagnant. Your skills become obsolete.

    7. Not maintaining a healthy work-life balance

    A poor work-life balance is bad for both the employee (you) and the employer.

    People who have a poor work-life balance are more stressed and experience more family conflicts. They also tend to have both mental and physical problems. If your private life is suffering, it will negatively impact your professional life. Your private life comes first. When you experience more problems in your private life, your creativity, engagement and productivity at work will suffer.

    The only way to prevent this is to keep a work-life balance.

    This may not look like a career mistake to you, but it’s a mistake that can have adverse effects on your career. You should set work hours and stick to them. Don’t work during times when you should be with your family or have set aside times for tending to personal matters which are a priority to you.

    8. Not improving your communication skills

    “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”—Theodore Roosevelt

    The consequences of poor communication are great.

    For example, if your communication skills are poor, your message would be hard to understand, and this can lead to serious confusion among your colleagues.

    Too much information when it is not needed can also affect the concentration of the listener.

    Poor communication becomes more serious when you communicate with customers. If customers are not serviced in the right manner, it would reduce sales, thereby affecting business goals.

    Great communication skills help you do well at your job because you’ll be using these skills when requesting information, discussing problems, giving out instructions, and interacting with your colleagues. As a result of demonstrating good communication skills, you’ll enhance your professional image, build sound business relationships, and get more successful responses.

    You have to continue sharpening your communication skills if you want to get and stay at the top.

    How do you do that?

    You sharpen your communication skills by:

    • Striking up conversations with strangers
    • Reading good books
    • Listening to others
    • And engaging in more one-on-one conversations

    9. Not networking outside your company

    Your network is your net worth.

    Your network is your source of job opportunities, potential business partnerships and much more. Your network won’t only find your next job, but it will help you improve your current position.

    NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!”—Adam Small

    One of the biggest mistakes many people make is to network when they are only looking for a job. You can’t only rely on people you already know within your current workplace to help you land your dream job. You must always be networking outside of your company, and even your industry.

    For example, let’s say you’re a website designer; networking with other website designers alone would limit your opportunities. You should network outside your industry like in the Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Energy sectors. People in these sectors could be good references. They could become customers. They might know someone who needs your service.

    LinkedIn is a very good place to start networking with people outside your industries.

    But your conversation with those people shouldn’t be limited to the web. Take it offline. Do face-to-face meetings with them. That’s how you expand your network and increase your chance of career success.

    10. Not serving your network

    The truth is the people in your network needs you as much as you need them.

    You can’t just expect people in your network to connect you with other people they know. You can’t just expect them to link you up with job opportunities without you giving them some value. You’ll appear selfish if you always expect people to do things for you but offer nothing in return.

    The best way to keep people interested in you is to serve them. When you diligently do something good for people, they will want to return the favor, though, your major aim of helping people shouldn’t be to get something in return. The more people you serve, the more your network grows, and the more your network grows, the more opportunities will come your way.

    Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

    Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

    Need more tips for making the best career choices? Visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

    Michael Akinlaby is a freelance writer and SEO Consultant. He’s the founder of RankRain, an internet marketing agency that specializes in content marketing and Search Engine. 

  • 4 ways joining associations provides networking opportunities

    June 15, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Joining professional associations is a great way for college students, interns, and recent grads to expand their professional network, stay on top of industry trends, and advance their careers. It’s often the first step in the networking process.

    “Whether you are in school or on the job, being part of a professional association challenges you to think outside of your day-to-day pressures, to network, and to learn and grow with others to make you a stronger, more connected professional,” says Jeffrey C. Thomson, President and CEO of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA®), a nearly century-old membership association and community focused on certifying and advancing the competencies of accountants and financial professionals in business.

    Below we look at 4 ways joining industry associations provides networking opportunities for college students, interns, and recent grads:

    1. Expands professional and industry contacts
    Networking is available at the local and global levels through IMA. At the local level, IMA sustains a network of more than 300 student and professional chapters for networking, educational programs, benchmarking, and best practices. This includes technical finance and accounting topics as well as leadership and ethics. At the global level, IMA provides services to network and learn, including the IMA Leadership Academy which consists of leadership courses and a mentoring program. IMA also offers a variety of conferences, events and webinars and offers a certification in management accounting, the CMA™ (Certified Management Accountant), and has over 80,000 members globally, with offices in the U.S., Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Zurich, Dubai and Cairo.

    The opportunities vary for each association, but this proves that joining industry associations can provide a wide variety of opportunities to grow and learn at local, national, and global levels.

    2. Can lead to new or hidden job opportunities
    Expanding one’s professional network allows college students, interns, and recent grads to connect with others who work in the industry where you want to build your career. By establishing and building industry relationships, you find other colleagues with whom you may be able to reach out to for career-related questions, to learn about a company, or perhaps find out about a job opening. For example, if you make a contact at a networking event through an industry association and continue to nurture that relationship, they could eventually simply email you about a job opening at their company when one opens up. You may have never known about that opening if you didn’t connect with that person or people through your industry networking contacts. In addition, you can reach out to these contacts if you are in job search mode. And, you may want to work at a company where a contact of yours currently or previously worked and you can tap them as a resource for your questions or to make a connection with someone doing the hiring.

    “Networking can lead to a new or better job if you are displaced or if you proactively seek change because of the relationships you develop through a connected network,” says Thomson.

    3. Sets you up for future professional growth
    Networking isn’t just about making contacts to find out about jobs. It’s much more than that. Networking, simply put, is about building, nurturing, and growing relationships. You have to give first, ask second.

    “It is also about seeking advice to grow businesses and do great things for customers, members, and shareholders.”

    Becoming active in an industry association can also help you build your reputation as an expert within your career field. It can strengthen your relationships with industry colleagues and help you become a trusted colleague and professional people can count on. These contacts could someday also become clients, customers, co-partners on projects, and/or even co-workers or your future boss or employee.

    4. Provides ongoing networking events
    Networking can be difficult, especially for the recent college grad who does not have many industry contacts. And attending networking events is difficult, especially for the introvert. When attending an industry event, go into the event with an open-mind.

    “Networking is a mindset,” says Thomson. “Attend an event with the attitude that you want to achieve certain goals.”

    For example, for each networking event you attend set a goal to meet at least five new people and take away five new ideas. In return, set a goal of sharing five ideas of your own with those you meet. At every event you attend, strive to “mix it up” and meet new people rather than sit at the same table with people you already know, adds Thomson.

    Think of a networking event as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to learn something new or to impart learning and wisdom to others, says Thomson. Most of all, learn to build relationships.

    “Everyone has something to contribute at an event, in their own style, tone and pace,” says Thomson. “Learning content is relatively easy these days with online courses, but learning how to build lasting relationships to achieve great outcomes still requires human engagement.”

    For more networking tips, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA®, CAE, is president and CEO of IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants).

    Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA®, CAE, is president and CEO of IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants).

    About Jeff Thomson
    Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA®, CAE, is president and CEO of IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants). Since assuming this position in 2008, Mr. Thomson led the development of a strategy resulting in IMA becoming one of the fastest growing accounting associations in the world, with nearly 30% growth in its CMA (Certified Management Accountant) program and more than 300 student and professional chapters. The IMA headquarters are in Montvale, N.J.

  • How to have a great first day at work: Part 1

    May 17, 2016 by

    Congratulations on landing your first full-time entry-level job after graduating from college! Woohoo! This is a huge milestone in your career journey.

    Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking. Remember the feeling you had when you started high school? You might feel a little like that on your first day at work, minus the horrific acne and monstrous crush on your neighbor.

    This video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, is one of two videos offering help to recent grads starting their first entry-level jobs. Here are five ways you can ensure success on your first day at work.


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

    1. Dress well, sleep well, and feel well.

    Get a great night’s sleep the night before your first day at work. Certainly celebrate your new job with your friends and family, but celebrate at least two days prior to your first day. Wake up in plenty of time to get ready for work. We all have those days when we don’t like the outfit we selected for work, and chances are, it will be your first day of work. Give yourself at least 20 or 30 extra minutes to get ready on your first day at work.

    When you look good, you feel good. Dress up (at least a little bit) on your first day at work. Wear an outfit that fits into the company’s dress code, but spend a little extra time fixing your hair or makeup. It doesn’t hurt to feel great when you’re going to spend all day long in training sessions, meeting new people, and looking people in the eye.

    2. Arrive early.

    Arrive at least 15 or 30 minutes early on your first day at work. This helps you to avoid showing up late due to traffic problems or getting turned around. It’s common to feel disoriented when you are in a new town or don’t know which parking lot to use. How far will you have to walk from the parking lot to the building? Are there designated parking spots? Don’t park in those! Knowing this information in advance is helpful. Arriving early gives you the opportunity to network with coworkers and eases nerves.

    3. Prepare an elevator pitch.

    An elevator pitch is a 30-second spiel explaining who you are, where you’ve been, what you do, and where you’re going in life or at work. Preparing a brief elevator pitch related to your new position will come in handy when you’re being introduced to multiple teammates, supervisors, and colleagues repeatedly throughout the day. Chances are, you’ll be asked the question, “So who are you? What is it you’ll be doing for us?” Be prepared with a smooth response.

    4. Smile often.

    When shaking hands and delivering that elevator pitch, smile. Smiling improves your mood and the moods of those around you as well. Start off on the right foot on your first day at work by spreading cheer and goodwill to people around you.

    4. Be positive no matter what.

    Whether you have to sit through eight hours of training, which you find incredibly boring, or whether you arrive and find that your desk is not set up at all, be positive. Not many people enjoy working with negative people. Avoid making negative comments, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. If you need to ask for help, do so politely and quietly. Avoid making a scene in a fussy or dramatic manner right off the bat. Very few things leave a bad taste in employers’ mouths as a new employee who begins complaining before she’s even begun working.

    For more suggestions on starting out strong in your new entry-level job, visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

     

  • 6 things to do before starting a new job

    May 02, 2016 by
    Welcome on board - businesswoman holding white sign with text in the office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    docstockmedia/Shutterstock.com

    It’s the time of year when many college seniors begin thinking about what they will do after graduation. Most students focus on the interview process but may not have thought about what to do when they are offered full-time jobs. It can be both exciting and scary but starting a first professional job is now part of the imminent future. Although many students have worked part-time and participated in internships, starting a full-time job is a different venture. Student life is unique in many ways, so it’s important for soon-to-be graduates to make a few changes before they begin new entry-level jobs.

    1) Look the part

    College doesn’t have a dress code, but most jobs do. To be taken seriously, it’s a good idea for students to know what most of their colleagues will be wearing. Some offices will require a suit and tie, but most are now business casual. One of the most common mistakes new employees make is showing up to the office in attire that’s too informal.

    2) Practice the importance of being prompt

    Probably the most undervalued asset new employees can possess is promptness in communication. In addition to being to work on time or early, new employees should learn how important it is to stay in communication with the team. It’s fairly common for college students to forget about emailing professors or their peers because they’re mostly relying on social media to be in touch. However, new employees who don’t respond to a colleague’s or supervisor’s email or phone call will be viewed as unreliable. If something is going to take 24 hours to complete, be sure to send a quick note that communicates this information.

    3) Get into a daily routine

    College classes can be held at 7:30 in the morning or 10:30 at night, and most students will have significant breaks to work on self-study throughout the day. Most office jobs, however, are from eight to five (although flexible work schedules are becoming more common). It’s important to get into a routine of getting up early and dealing with the morning commute and also having enough down time later in the day to be prepared to do it all again tomorrow.

    4) Gather paperwork

    Once students graduate and start new jobs, they’ll be very busy adjusting to their new responsibilities. Gather any academic paperwork needed prior to the first day on the job. This can include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, references, networking contacts, or anything else that might be needed in a particular field. Many employers will ask for this paperwork, so it’s better to have it on hand and readily available.

    5) Chat with your mentor

    It’s a great idea to sit down with a mentor before starting a new job. A mentor will have specific and valuable insight into a particular field and perhaps even a specific company or manager. Take any advice available in order to be successful the first few months of a new career. Mentors can also help ease anxiety and build confidence that can make those first few weeks run smoothly.

    6) Get organized

    Graduating from college is a huge transition and can leave students feeling their lives are in disarray. Each person’s situation will be different, but it’s important to begin a new job feeling organized. Whether this means settling into a new home, moving across the country, or just getting paperwork in order, an organized lifestyle will help a person be more professional and help them focus on making a great impression in the workplace.

    Want more advice for recent graduates going into the workforce? Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Robyn Scott, guest writer

    Robyn Scott, guest writer

    Robyn Scott, a guest writer for College Recruiter, is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.

  • [video] 5 tips for following up after job interviews

    April 26, 2016 by

     

    Just because your interview went well doesn’t mean you can rest. Following up after a job interview is absolutely important and affects your chances.

    Imagine this scenario: You finish the interview. You stand up, straightening your new suit jacket. The recruiter smiles broadly and extends her hand.

    “Thank you so much for your time today. You should definitely hear from us within the next two weeks about our hiring decision.”

    It’s in the bag, you think to yourself while you shake hands with her, smiling and thanking her for the opportunity to interview with her company and colleagues. Continue Reading