• Apprenticeships: A new way for corporate employers to attract talent

    May 18, 2017 by

    An apprenticeship is three things:

    • It’s a job
    • It’s education
    • It’s a great opportunity

    That’s according to Apprentice Washington, a Division of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. While apprenticeships are common in the trades, apprenticeships are also valuable ways for college students and recent college grads to add and learn new skills in just about any profession, including jobs in the corporate world.

    Apprentice Washington says: “There are apprenticeships for nearly any job you can imagine: From high-tech manufacturing to health care.”

    And that’s why employers looking to attract, recruit and retain talented workers, should consider the benefits of implementing an apprenticeship program, or hiring apprentices.

    Apprenticeships are making a worldwide comeback

    Apprenticeships are suddenly popular in the United Kingdom because the government recently implemented a new tax on corporations which requires corporations to pay a “use it or lose it” tax that can be used to train apprentices, therefore incentivizing corporations to hire apprentices, or to turn current employees into apprentices through learning and development contracts.

    “I believe this is one of the largest changes to workforce planning in many years in the UK,” says Ilona Jurkiewicz, head of the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm. In her role with the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, Jurkiewicz leads internal and external strategy for how Thomson Reuters attracts, assesses, develops, engages, and retains early career talent, including those completing apprenticeships. “And, although this feels like a seismic shift, apprentice strategies are in place in a number of countries already and commonly used, for example, in Germany, France, and Australia.”

    In May, Government Canada announced plans to invest $85 million in apprenticeship programs. And now, United States business leaders are starting to take note. On May 16, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $4.2 Million in federal funding was secured to expand New York’s apprenticeship program. Forbes’ recently wrote that it’s time for America to expand the modern Apprenticeship, stating that “calls for the U.S. to expand apprenticeship programs seem to be gaining more traction daily.” This is backed by news that the Trump Administration has plans to adopt a nationwide target to hire five million apprenticeships in five years. Hertz, Sears, CVS Health, WalMart, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car are among five large U.S. employers who already have apprenticeship programs in place.

    John Ladd, Administrator at the USDOL/ETA Office of Apprenticeship, is fired up about the role apprenticeships can play in today’s workforce, saying “apprenticeship is big-tent business, and the tent continues to expand. It’s drawing in new champions from the business and philanthropic communities every day, linking their resources to those of state and local workforce agencies, education partners like community colleges and school districts, industry associations, unions and other apprenticeship sponsors.”

    The approach is aggressive. And that should be a welcomed approach for employers seeking alternative methods to finding skilled workers in both the trades, and corporate world.

    “We need more pathways for job seekers, and as the world realizes that diversity of background and approach is important, I believe apprenticeships will become a more viable and available opportunity for students,” says Jurkiewicz.

    How one employer benefits from an apprenticeship program

    Growing Leaders is a global nonprofit that encourages and equips young adults to take on real-life opportunities and challenges in the classroom, in their careers, and in the community. The company implemented an apprenticeship program for recent college grads, citing the opportunity to live out the company’s internal values to train up the next generation of leaders.

    “Some view this next generation as a problem, we view them as a solution,” says Tim Elmore, President of Growing Leaders, and author of Marching Off The Map, which provides understanding and how to practically apply the latest research on Generation Z.

    Apprentices gain a chance to invest further in a set of skills (project management, selling, customer service) or in a function (marketing, operations, sales), said Elmore.

    “Depending on the apprenticeship, it can also give the student quantifiable results that he or she contributed to,” added Elmore.

    It also gives the employer a chance to train the employee their way, and also, try before they buy – similar to an internship – where they can determine if an apprentice is the right fit for a full-time job.

    “An apprenticeship allows more time to train a new graduate before they enter a full time position, and allows a trial period to see if he or she would be a good fit on our team,” says Elmore.

    What exactly is an apprenticeship?

    In simple terms, an apprentice is someone learning a skill, says Jurkiewicz. An apprentice can be someone just starting their career, or learning a trade, or someone like a recent college grad at the beginning of their career and entering the world of work. An apprentice can even be an experienced professional working towards an advanced degree or certification.

    What employers need to know about apprenticeships

    • Apprenticeships are often paid
    • Apprenticeships vary in length, so it tends to be driven by type of apprenticeship you are implementing and then the way the person is learning.
    • Employers often implement one off apprenticeships (hiring an individual for a specific role), as well as more programmatic approaches (a full apprenticeship program, with set criteria, similar to an internship program).

    An apprenticeship is unique and different from an internship or internship program. During an apprenticeship, there is a formal or informal contract between the apprentice, an employer, and sometimes a certifying body (a university or education body) through which the apprenticeship is attaining skills, says Jurkiewicz. At Growing Leaders the apprentice commits to an eight to 12 month apprenticeship, versus say a summer internship, which may be three or four months.

    “At the end of an apprenticeship, a student will have a more in-depth understanding of a certain function of business and clearer picture of how an organization operates,” says Elmore.

    The long-term benefits of apprenticeships for employers

    The reality is, not every college graduate is equipped with the right skills needed to succeed in the real world. Whether it’s soft skills, technical skills, communication skills, or the ability work with a diverse workforce that spans across generations. When an employer hires an apprentice, they are dedicated to providing further on-the-job training, while being able to mold the employee to fit their needs. While that seems to benefit the job seeker, it also benefits the employer, because it helps them create a pipeline of talent that could eventually be hired into a full-time role. If hired, these college grads are already familiar with the company, business, products, services, clients, and colleagues. They can move right into a full-time role, saving time on training and reducing time spent recruiting.

    “Businesses gain by having an on-boarding pathway to find stellar graduates who can offer up their gifts and talents to help an organization succeed,” says Elmore. “Millennials are the largest generation in the workplace and those organizations who can succeed in leading them well will have the upper hand. Apprenticeships literally give an organization a chance to observe a new, young professional at little cost.”

    Want more information on apprenticeships? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • 7 steps for successful federal government recruiting [tool and video]

    March 17, 2017 by

     

    To be a successful in federal government recruiting, you need deep knowledge of staffing systems and federal hiring practices and laws. However, you must also be willing to use innovative technologies and alternatives to posting on USAJOBS. College Recruiter spoke with Kyle Hartwig, ­­­­­­Senior Human Resource Specialist with the National Institute of Health (NIH). Hartwig developed a tool for federal government recruiters who are engaged in targeted outreach. The tool has 7 steps which guide recruiters in finding and engaging talent for hard-to-fill positions. There is a link below to the full 7 steps. Here you can read a summary and watch our 5-minute interview with Kyle to hear major tips and takeaways.

    This tool attempts to address unique challenges in federal government recruiting.

    According to Hartwig, a lot of agencies are afraid of doing active outreach. The reason is that they are concerned about is ethics. There are very stringent laws associated with hiring. Thus, HR specialists in agencies across government often shy away from taking real steps to find talent for unique roles. More often than not, many federal agencies don’t feel they have the freedom to recruit and find their own talent. With strict or even confusing federal staffing regulations, recruiters often opt for simply posting the opening on USAJOBS, or a few other places. After that, they just wait to see who applies. Hartwig says he built this tool because “we owe the American public our best efforts to keep our agencies fully staffed and running at capacity to fulfill their missions.”

    In another vein, many federal HR specialists are unaware of the specific competencies necessary in each role they recruit for. Understanding those competencies would allow them to actively pursue ideal talent. Hartwig says that this is possible. “I’ve found proactive and specific talent sourcing and outreach to be a challenge in the Federal government but not impossible.” His tool allows HR specialists to use best practices while also following federal guidelines.

    Don’t buy into the myths.

    Congress certainly provides guidance for government recruiting and hiring practices, and we definitely need to follow all regulations. A critical one is Merit System Principles and Prohibited Personnel Practices: agencies cannot give a competitive advantage to individuals who they actively recruit.  According to Hartwig, “We must meet public notice requirements through an announcement on USAJobs (for most jobs).  This means we cannot give individuals information that would help their chances in getting the job that is not otherwise available via the announcement.  We can answer informal questions, but nothing too specific about what the applicant should address in their application.”

    There are myths out there, however, that perpetuate assumptions about recruitment and hiring practices. Hartwig says, “Don’t immediately think there’s a regulation against this, or there’s a law that prohibits this,” or there is a reason not to employ certain recruitment practices. Many times, Hartwig says, if you investigate further, you’ll find these are myths. Don’t be afraid to expand your outreach to beef up your candidate list. Hartwig says he is often confronted with the assumption that outreach is easy. Wrong. Outreach—the kind that results in high quality hires—takes a lot of work. “Working with an entire hiring team, and finding the exact target skills of the desired candidate is not easy.” The 7-step tool, however, breaks it down into a methodical process.

    The seven steps in the tool are not ground breaking. They are quite simple: Continue Reading

  • Limitless career opportunities: Indian Health Service

    June 30, 2016 by

    Opportunity. Adventure. Purpose.

    IHS_REC_Blog_730x150_GrtPlains_Horses_MAY_ColRecrThe Indian Health Service (IHS) Great Plains Area is one of the best-kept secrets in the world of health care employment opportunities today. With clinical opportunities in more than 15 health profession disciplines, the sky truly is the limit for clinicians hoping to practice in the Great Plains Area.

    Offering health professionals opportunities to provide comprehensive health care to more than 122,000 American Indians and Alaskan Natives in hospitals, clinics, and outreach programs throughout the Great Plains Area, Indian Health Service provides clinicians with three distinct career path options. Each option offers comprehensive salary and benefits. Indian health professionals are also eligible to apply for up to $20,000 per year in loan repayment of their qualified health profession education loans.

    That’s not all. An Indian health career within the Great Plains offers clinicians a unique work/life balance, including ample opportunity for recreational pursuits throughout North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. Known for its awe-inspiring natural attractions and landmarks, the Great Plains Area boasts world-class fishing, hunting, hiking, skiing, and more.

    In addition to opportunities for health professionals, Indian Health Service lays the foundation for the education of future Indian Health Service leaders through three levels of scholarship assistance for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Since its inception in 1977, the IHS Scholarship Program has provided thousands of scholarship recipients with financial support in their educational pursuits leading to careers in health care.

    IHS_REC_Blog_300x200_GrtPlains_Phys_MAY_ColRecrWhat’s more, the IHS Extern Program allows health profession students a chance to receive hands-on instruction while working alongside Indian health professionals. Externships are available for 30 to 120 days during non-academic periods. Externs become familiar with Native communities as well; this cultural experience is invaluable in today’s diverse workplace.

    Visit ihs.gov/careeropps for more information about the limitless Indian health opportunities available for recent graduates and health profession students within the Great Plains Area.

    Want to learn more about other great employers and career options? Keep reading our blog and register to search College Recruiter’s website for great internship and job opportunities, and find the right fit for you. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

     

  • 10 summer internship opportunities for 2016

    June 11, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Do you imagine yourself with your own business or want to improve your skills? The best way to become a shark in any industry or business is to gain experience through a summer internship with top world companies and organizations.

    Internships in Europe or USA’s top companies can help you to get skills you never had before. After the program, you will return to your home country with a backpack full of knowledge and skills. In this article, we’ve collected a list of 10 summer internship opportunities in the U.S. and abroad for 2016-2017 that may catch your interest.

    U.S. Embassy in London and Paris – Internship in International Relations

    Generally, U.S. Embassy’s Internship in IR is an unpaid program. Nevertheless, they offer a Pamela Harriman Foreign Service Fellowship for students majoring in international affairs. This fellowship provides a $5000 grant to one intern at each U.S. embassy abroad. Start with interning at the U.S. Department of State, and you will have a chance to land the Fellowship. But don’t be upset if you didn’t get the grant; interning at the Embassy could give you a perfect ability to start your international career and gain positive experience in your field. This is not just an ability to work at the embassy; it’s a chance to become a part of something really important.

    The World Bank – Internships in Economics, Finance, and other related fields

    This summer internship program provides learning and first-hand experience to students and junior career professionals. Interns generally admit significant improvement of their skills and gain positive experience while working in a diverse environment. To be eligible, you must have an undergraduate degree and major in one of the following fields: economics, finance, education, social studies, or agriculture. Professional experience and fluency in foreign languages will be advantageous for your application. The Bank pays salaries to all interns and provides an allowance to travel expenses (on the individual basis). Located in Washington, D.C., the World Bank offers a training of four weeks minimum in duration.

    KONE – internships in IT, Engineering, Business and Law

    KONE is the global leader in the elevator and escalator industry and well-known for its solutions for modernization and maintenance of urban buildings. KONE offers various traineeships and internships in its units around the globe and can be an excellent starting point for entry-level professionals. The company looks for cooperation with senior students and gives the opportunity to write thesis assignments together with KONE’s professional mentors. This cooperation will complement your theoretical education and provide you with valuable industry insights.

    Goldman Sachs – Internship in Financial Markets

    Goldman Sachs provides you with an internship as a summer internship analyst. You can participate and intern almost everywhere you like as their offices are located all across the Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Despite that the program has no specific or strict requirements, any academic achievements would be advantageous for you. Interning in Goldman Sachs, you have a chance to get a full-time job position after you finish your summer internship.

    H&M – internships in Business, Engineering

    For those who love fashion, you may like this internship program. H&M offers an internship at their headquarters in Sweden. Participation can be a bit competitive, and you have to submit your application a year before you plan to intern. But imagine six weeks living abroad and working at one of the most successful companies in the modern world. That’s worth the effort, right?

    Projects Abroad– Internship in Journalism

    If you are looking for non-paid, but ultra useful, challenging yet really rewarding experience, you should try to participate at a Projects Abroad. This company offers two types of an internships: a Print journalism and a Broadcast placement. A Print journalism provides you with a job at a certain newspaper or magazine of a local community while a Broadcast placement will provide you with a job on the TV or a radio station. Together with hands-on industry experience, you get the opportunity to intern and travel the world – Projects Abroad has its offices in many countries, including Argentina, China, India, Jamaica, and Romania.

    KPMG – Internship in Finance

    This company looks for interns interested in finance and economics. The KPMG provides work with audit, advisory, and taxes in diverse spheres of business. The biggest advantage of this summer internship is that the corporation will cover all expenses of an intern, including flights and medical insurance. KPMG can become a perfect starting point for financial enthusiasts.

    IAESTE – internships in technical fields

    IAESTE is a worldwide company with many internship programs in engineering, computer sciences, architecture, and other technical fields. These internships are hosted in more than 80 countries around the world. There are no special requirements for candidates. However, if you know the local language, it will be much easier to adjust in a new environment. IAESTE internship gives its participants an opportunity to obtain new skills, get practical experience, and establish a vast network of potential partners.

    Deloitte – Internship in Business

    With Deloitte, you can intern in Brazil, China, Spain, Sweden, or Turkey. The internship opportunities are open to both freshman and senior students. Together with Deloitte professionals, all interns will explore peculiarities of the modern workplace and global markets and foster business relationships with leading experts in the industry. Note that prior to going abroad, the company will ask you attend a special two-weeks training session in your home country.

    Gap Medics Ltd – internship in Medicine and Dental fields

    It’s not a paid summer internship, but it is a unique opportunity to gain perfect experience. This is a big international company that provides students of medicine and dental majors with an opportunity to improve their critical and soft skills while travelling in one of the most beautiful parts of our world. You can become an intern in Croatia, Poland, and Thailand or in the Caribbean. The Gap Medics Ltd offers programs in Spanish and English that enables more students to have practice in their field. Also, during the internship, you will be able to address all your issues or questions to company’s support team that operates 24/7.

    Hope this information will help you find a perfect internship for the summer. The business world has many opportunities for you to improve your skills and intern abroad during the summer; just believe in yourself.

    Emma Rundle, guest writer

    Emma Rundle, guest writer

    Searching for a summer internship right now? Check out the internships posted on College Recruiter.com and register to have new job postings sent directly to you. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube as well.

    Emma Rundle is a student, blogger and freelance writer for Eduzaurus. In Emma’s opinion, one of the primary goals in life is helping people, especially students.

  • How new overtime laws will affect interns and recent grads

    May 27, 2016 by
    How the new overtime laws will affect recent college graduates

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    How will the new overtime laws affect interns and recent grads? A variety of experts weigh in on this hot topic.

    Changes to overtime laws

    The Department of Labor expects the new overtime laws to affect 4.2 million workers – many of whom are likely new college grads out on their first “real” job.  As of December 1, 2016, the days of working 50+ hours a week and earning $35,000 should be gone, says Kate Bischoff, a human resources professional and employment/labor law attorney with the Minneapolis office of Zelle LLP, an international litigation and dispute resolution law firm. Bischoff is co-leading a June 2, 2016, webinar titled Preparing for Changes to FLSA Overtime Regulations, discussing this topic and more.

    Salary versus hourly

    There’s one thing college graduates should keep in mind, says Bischoff, and that is that salary has nothing to do with status.

    “Being paid a salary doesn’t mean that an employee is more valuable to his or her employer than an hourly employee,” says Bischoff. “It is simply a different way of paying people for their work.”

    Those who are nonexempt – those eligible for overtime – may earn time and a half when they work long hours and may even earn more than their salaried brethren, points out Bischoff. Those who are exempt and earn more than $913 a week will not be compensated for their long hours in the office in the form of hourly payments. In fact, when some employees shift from salaried to hourly, many times, they earn more as an hourly employee.

    The other thing about being paid on an hourly basis is that employers need to know how much you work, says Bischoff. With apps on smartphones and smart watches, employees can now track their time easier than ever before. “If you track your steps, you can track your hours,” says Bischoff. “The fact that you have to punch in or clock out only means you need to capture your time to get paid the value of your work. That’s all.”

    Ask questions to clarify status

    So what should college grads do and consider before accepting a job, or if they have questions about their current and future employment status at their existing job? Ask questions such as these, says Bischoff:

    • What will their overtime status be?
    • Will this position be eligible for overtime?
    • Will I be paid a salary?

    “For many college grads, work-life balance is important, so ask if you will be able to make it to your volunteer activity every Thursday evening,” says Bischoff. “While asking if you will ‘have to’ work overtime may be a signal to an employer that you might not be a dedicated employee, you can ask about particular events or activities important to you. You may glean from the answer the amount of hours you will put in.”

    What do the new overtime laws mean for interns?

    Currently, the vast majority of interns earn less than the $23,660 DOL threshold and therefore are classified as non-exempt and qualify for overtime. When the new rules take effect on December 1, 2016, the threshold will almost double to $50,440. The number of interns who earn between $23,660 and $50,440 is miniscule and, therefore, the law will directly impact virtually no interns, says Steven Rothberg, founder of College Recruiter. That said, there could be a substantial impact on new grad hiring as virtually all new grads earn more than $23,660, the average is about $46,000, and a substantial minority earn more than the $50,440.

    “At College Recruiter, we believe that the law will have a substantial impact on the number of hours worked by management trainees and other such workers who have traditionally been paid as exempt, salaried employees with no ability to earn overtime pay yet who routinely work far more than the standard 40-hour work week,” says Rothberg. “Employers will likely instruct these employees not to work more than 40-hours per week, which will effectively increase the compensation paid to and reduce the return on investment generated from these employees. Yet with a tightening labor market, more Baby Boomers retiring, and fewer Millennials graduating, it is unlikely that there will be any noticeable change in the number of recent grads finding employment within their chosen career paths.”

    Manufacturing director: New OT laws could hurt interns and recent grads

    John Johnston is Director of Manufacturing at States Manufacturing, a Minneapolis-based custom electrical and precision fabricated metal company with 49 employees.

    He fears the new overtime laws will hurt interns and new hires, namely those graduating from college or technical schools.

    “I would expect the starting wage to decrease to compensate for the change in overtime rules,” says Johnston. “Also, I would tend to expect the opportunities to reduce as well as the patience of employers. If we are going to pay more, we are going to raise our expectations and be less patient with someone because of the wage they are earning. When we have had lower wage earners at the start of their career, we are able to be more patient in part because the issues are not as magnified with a lesser wage. Once that increases, we have no choice but to be tougher that much quicker.”

    Johnston said his company may avoid hiring interns in the future due to the increased costs and instead balance it with multiple part-time employees. The company currently does not have any interns, partly because they were sorting out the details of the new labor and overtime laws.

    “I see this as a trend to save on escalating costs since benefits would not be required with part-time employees,” says Johnston.

    A ripple effect for college grads

    Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Rockville, Maryland and a Human Capital Consultant with Lasson Talent Solutions. Lasson regularly presents to students on behalf of college career centers.

    According to Lasson, the new overtime regulations will have ripple affects all around.

    “Students who are in college or right out of college want to gain meaningful experience,” he said. “They are not paying all that money to be flipping burgers or driving for Uber after graduation. The conventional wisdom is that internships are valuable. And they objectively are. However, many employers misappropriate that label to justify in order to get free labor from students who feel desperate for that experience. In many cases, internships play out in a way where the students are gaining only minimal exposure to the workplace and field, while at the same time are not getting paid.”

    The Department of Labor previously identified six conditions that must be met in order to permit unpaid internship scenarios. “Many employers play fast and loose with these under the pretense that the work environment itself is more important than it objectively is,” says Lasson. And now, this extends to graduate school as well. The grad students are still “students” and therefore unlike their undergraduate peers who are not in graduate school can still “qualify” to be unpaid interns while in graduate school.  So, there is additional abuse of the system here as well, says Lasson.

    “With the popularity of unpaid internships, many employers are inundated with requests and may just take advantage of students without having a handle on the DOL guidelines,” says Lasson.

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

  • Financial aid secrets for college students

    April 23, 2016 by
    Financial aid web browser sign concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    alexmillos/Shutterstock.com

    With graduation season looming, high school seniors throughout the country are receiving their college acceptance letters and celebrating their impending sense of freedom. At the same time, parents are studying financial aid options and scratching their heads trying to figure out how to pay for the upcoming four (or more) years.

    As the costs of attending college rise, it’s important to consider scholarships, grants, and student loans to assist with the hefty fees. There are also some innovative tricks that can help reduce this cost. Here are some insights gleaned from real university financial aid employees, parents, and former college students all high school seniors and their families should know.

    Use your FAFSA

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an important financial aid document college students shouldn’t skip. Even if they don’t think they’ll qualify for any money, it’s important to fill this form out annually. This is how the federal government and schools determine what type of aid to give students. There are many subtle things that can impact the grants offered, many of which are unknown to the average person, and may change the amount a family qualifies for.

    Attend class

    Many universities have strict attendance and truancy policies to prevent abuse of the grants offered. If a student withdraws from a class due to non-attendance in the first few classes or consistent unexplained absences, their course load may drop below the mandatory credits needed to qualify for certain grants. If you have a scholarship or grant already, make sure you know the terms and what’s expected from your end.

    Become a Resident Advisor (RA)

    Aside from tuition, room and board are the most expensive costs incurred during college. With the average college student paying $8,535 a year just for a place to stay, it makes sense to try to skimp on this fee. Students who work as a Resident Advisor often wind up with free or significantly reduced room and board in exchange for their services, making this one of the most lucrative student jobs available.

    Learn to cook

    While Top Ramen may be students best friend those first few months, anything prepared at home is bound to be more affordable than college meal plans and eating out at restaurants. Even if a student’s cooking skills need some brushing up, this is one of the easiest ways to save money. Don’t be afraid of the kitchen.

    Find freebies

    So much of an average college student’s budget is spent on personal expenses, which often includes entertainment. Seek free options available through the university instead. Campuses are loaded with free amenities, from swimming pools and libraries to dorm dinners, guest lecture speakers, and student clubs.

    Join a credit union

    Since credit unions are run as cooperatives, they can afford giving customers extra perks that wind up saving them a lot of money. They typically feature lower credit card interest rates, higher interest rates paid out on savings accounts, and reduced-fee ATMs and online banking services.

    While the term “starving student” has origins in truth, it doesn’t need to be a reality for all. Instead, research financial aid opportunities and spend wisely to save money and stick to a good budget throughout your academic career.

    If you’re interested in more information on financial aid, please visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Brooke Chaplan, guest writer

    Brooke Chaplan, guest writer

    Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information on first time budgeting, see what a Bountiful Utah Credit Union might recommend. Brooke is available via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

  • Finding your first full-time job after college

    January 07, 2016 by

    Ever felt torn about making plans? I have. Especially as a college student, I felt frozen when making decisions. Small decisions were simple. When selecting pizza toppings (my college boyfriend worked as a Domino’s delivery driver so we often pigged out on the stuff) or choosing whether to hang out in Memphis or St. Louis for the weekend, I could manage. But ask me to plot out the next five years of my life? No thanks.

    Maybe you can relate. Let’s pretend it’s May 1, college graduation is the following weekend, and all your friends are making down payments on apartments. They’re gabbing about how they plan to spend their first “real” paychecks at their first “real” jobs, bragging about how they found their first full-time jobs, and your head is buried under a beanbag like an ostrich in the sand.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Duplass/Shutterstock.com

    It’s easy to temporarily pretend the world of adulting doesn’t exist.

    But it does, of course.

    If you’re a senior in college, it’s not really your future career we’re talking about—it’s the now. I know, I know—go ahead and grab the nearest pillow and cover your head for a moment to muffle the ear-piercing panicky scream. Then breathe.

    Your future career isn’t really your future career, and you’re already technically an adult. Career planning is an ongoing process, and you’ve already begun working on it whether you realize it or not.

    You began the career planning process your first year of college or even earlier in life. During your first few years of college, probably before completing 60 credit hours, you selected a major field of study. You might have met with an academic advisor or career counselor regarding your choice of major/minor and discussed the job outlook (including expected salary range) for your field of study (if not, it’s never too late to do this or to research this information on your own).

    If you were super proactive, you might have visited the career services or career development office and sought career counseling advice and services related to resume writing, interview skills, and other valuable information. Or you might have blown this off entirely and thought you’d get to it later. That’s okay—you have one semester left on campus—make the most of it!

    Like many students, you probably obtained some form of work experience while in college, either during the academic year or during summer/winter breaks. Whether you worked part-time or full-time, volunteered, or worked as an intern (paid or unpaid), you learned real transferable job skills to list on your resume and discuss in upcoming interviews. Did you know you were investing in your future career while standing over a vat of grease, waiting to pull French fries for 50 hungry customers at lunch? You were. You obtained customer service skills, time management skills, multitasking skills, and team working skills, to name a few. Those 15 hours per week each semester weren’t wasted.

    The key at this point in your career journey is to refuse to remain satisfied with where you’re at. You’ve worked your tail off in college. Now’s the time to apply what you’ve learned, both in the classroom and outside the classroom, and begin searching for your first full-time job, one related to your college major, rather than remaining underemployed or unemployed after graduation.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Kotin/Shutterstock.com

    I can see you breathing a little more evenly now. See—you’ve already connected several crucial dots on the path to career success.

    Follow our blog and let us help you maintain motivation this semester as you begin searching for your first full-time job.

     

  • Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan

    January 01, 2016 by

    Most college students make a list and check it twice before leaving campus during finals week. Catch up on countless hours of missed sleep during fall semester? Check. Hang out with hometown friends and reminisce about old times? Check. Curl up in Dad’s crusty old recliner and watch every episode of “The Big Bang Theory” aired since 2007? Check.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    There may be other items that make the list but rank lower in priority because, let’s face it, they’re simply not as fun to complete—obtain seasonal employment, complete the FAFSA online for the upcoming academic year, fill out grad school applications, stop by the local architect’s office to ask about a summer internship opportunity, etc. The list could literally go on FOR-EV-ER, as The Sandlot’s Squints puts it.

    Realistically, many students head back to campus in January without having completed the lower-ranking, future-focused tasks. This doesn’t seem like a big deal in January; the entire spring semester lies before you like a blank notebook. Sounds simple, right?

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    But a blank piece of paper gets you nowhere in terms of a future career or internship (and certainly generates little cash flow). And most people, not just college students, tend to put off today what can be done tomorrow. Unfortunately, employers and recruiters don’t feel your procrastination pain. They only care if you’re the smartest and best if you’ve actually applied on time and filled their needs for openings.

    While you still have time and aren’t stressed by the pressure of spring courses, pour a cup of coffee, prepare to brainstorm, and draft a simple 4-step blueprint for action.

    1. Accept your limitations and lower your expectations. This might sound like odd advice, but it will keep you from dropping the career-planning ball altogether. Most of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought; this causes us to set ridiculously high expectations and goals (AKA perfectionism). It’s been said that it’s unrealistic to plan more than 90 days out, so don’t do it. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you’ve begun. Eat that elephant one bite at a time.

    2.Identify a few (3 to 5) key career-related goals that matter to you. These goals need to be directly related to obtaining an entry-level job after graduation or an internship during the summer of 2016. Perhaps you’re not interested in an internship but are interested in obtaining part-time employment during the summer that relates to your academic major or minor. Regardless, you might need help with this step. Who can help?

    a) 
    College Recruiter’s blog. Keep reading this month and follow our blog (via email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn). During January, you’ll read about nothing but information related to helping college students plan for and obtain entry-level jobs after graduation and internships during the summer.   b) Your career services office on campus.

    Let’s pretend your goal is to work for Target Corporation in entry-level management near Houston, Texas, and  you plan to graduate in May 2016. This is a pretty specific goal (which is good—the more narrow your focus, the easier it is to set goals and action steps).

    Some career-related goals might be:

    • Develop a more polished resume (your current resume was drafted when applying for college three years ago and hasn’t been updated since) and learn how to write a great cover letter.
    • Improve phone/online interview skills since you live three states away from Texas and will most likely interview over the phone or online.
    • Learn how to convey your “campus life” experiences as transferable skills during interviews since you’ve only held one part-time job and feel insecure about your lack of real-world experience.

    (Spoiler alert: Stay tuned to our blog this month to learn about all this and more.)

    3. Define action steps necessary to help you attain your 3-5 goals. This step’s crucial; goals are simply idealistic dreams unless you take steps to realize them.

    Let’s stick with our hypothetical you who hopes to work in entry-level management for Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, after graduating in May 2016. Here are some suggested action steps:

    • Update existing resume with part-time job, volunteer experience, campus involvement, and coursework relevant to future employment.
    • Submit resume to College Recruiter’s free resume review service (yep, FREE) and to campus career services office.
    • Follow College Recruiter’s blog this month for posts related to interview skills. Search College Recruiter’s blog for past articles and webinars related to interview skills.
    • Attend mock interviews and career fairs on campus—these are free and afford you valuable practice.
    • Work on revising your resume to reflect transferable skills and to reframe the way you think about your own skills, too.
    • Search for job openings with Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, on College Recruiter’s website after registering. Registering first is important because College Recruiter sends you new postings (saving you time and effort).

    4. Get busy. Blueprints look impressive hanging on the wall, but they’re much more impressive when framed inside the buildings built by the very architects who drafted them in the first place.

    Developing an action plan is tough brain work—but the real work kicks in when you crawl out of the comfy recliner (even though you have three more days of winter break) and begin implementing your plan.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    The payoff may not be immediate, but pretty soon you’ll see results—the empty page will fill with a pretty cool image you created by simply connecting the dots by taking action all semester.

     

  • Three tips for military service members enrolling in higher education

    November 11, 2015 by

    Three tips for military service members enrolling in higher education

    Tracey Thomas, making a difference in military service members' lives  at UACCB since 2003

    Tracey Thomas, making a difference in military service members’ lives at UACCB since 2003

    Understanding VA Educational Benefits

    Military service members are often on “information overload” after exiting the military, so they may bypass or misunderstand information given to them. The best thing veterans can do after discharge is talk to a School Certifying Official about the process of accessing VA (Veterans Affairs) Education Benefits. Understanding how to access their benefits, the rules and regulations required for maintaining their benefits and how their benefits payout will help eliminate any misunderstandings and stress. This also allows service members to make informed decisions when presented with options and when deciding how best to juggle school, family, employment, and finances. Active, Reserve, and National Guard members face these same challenges plus a few more because they may qualify for tuition assistance and/or a state funded benefit, so learning the regulations and processes of multiple VA Education Benefits can be especially overwhelming. Navigating this process is not something students should attempt alone.

    Don’t rush the process

    Trying to jump into school a few weeks after discharge may cause unnecessary stress. It takes time for the Department of Veteran Affairs to process a new application, as well as other types of financial aid, so this will cause a delay in receiving financial assistance. Sometimes it’s better to delay enrollment for one semester, allowing service members adequate time to submit all required documents for college admissions offices; this also ensures all available financial aid is in place when enrolling. This prevents undue stress and frustrations, so service members and veterans can fully concentrate on successfully completing their classes.

    Overload of courses

    Since VA Education Benefits are limited (36-48 months), some service members try to take an overload of courses to complete their programs quickly. About a month into the semester, service members realize they took on too much when trying to juggle employment, family, and school. If classes are dropped, this may lead to overpayments of financial aid and/or their VA Education Benefits. Service members need to remember it is better to take an extra semester to successfully complete all courses stress-free than to fail or drop courses due to overload and possibly end up in overpayment as well.

    Above all, service members should keep in touch with their local School Certifying Official(s) to receive prompt answers to questions, to avoid miscommunication regarding benefits, and to receive support and encouragement while on campus. We’re here to help.

     

    Tracey Thomas, Assistant Registrar/School Certifying Official at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB) since 2003, provides daily assistance to service members and their families in accessing their VA Education Benefits, informing them of VA requirements, certifying enrollment to the VA, providing academic advising, tracking attendance and progress, and offering a listening ear when they become frustrated or want to share their stories of success and accomplishment. Tracey also serves as a mentor for the School Certifying Officials in Arkansas. She says the best part of her job is helping service members and their families. “I feel we owe them for their sacrifices, so it’s important for me to give a little back.”

     

  • Grueling FAFSA application process leaves money on the table, hurts students

    October 17, 2015 by
    directly above photograph of a grant application

    Directly above photograph of a grant application. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    As the cost of college tuitions skyrocket, the world of academia is constantly growing more competitive, which is causing a large number of students to second guess their options for college. Today, a college education can be financially intimidating, especially when your main form of payment is through some sort of government aid, student loan, or the hope for a potential scholarship. With college costing an average student more than $30,000 per year, students are actively seeking any monetary help possible to ensure they are not haunted by a mountain of debt after graduation. Continue Reading