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Posted April 14, 2019 by

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

In a word, no.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of luck!!

Posted July 26, 2016 by

6 ways college seniors should take advantage of career services

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


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

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

1. Apply for grad school.

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

2. Apply for jobs.

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

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

3. Get your resume/cover letter in shape.

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

4. Attend career fairs and follow up afterward.

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

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

5. Sign up for on-campus interview opportunities.

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

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

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

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

Indulge yourself in career services and enjoy your senior year!

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

 

Posted July 19, 2016 by

5 ways juniors can take advantage of career services

It’s finally your junior year of college. You’re more than halfway finished with your undergraduate courses. Woohoo!

You can certainly breathe a sigh of relief and feel a sense of accomplishment, but you have some serious career-related tasks to accomplish this year. Most college students don’t simply land a great job after graduating. It’s a step-by-step process which requires you to do your part in collaboration with your career services office on campus. As Patricia Niemann, Career Development Consultant, puts it, “career development is the bridge that you will travel from your educational environment to future career opportunities.”

This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, lists six ways juniors in college can take advantage of career services to get ahead in the job search game.


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

1. Ensure that you’ve written a super solid resume and cover letter.

Now is the time to edit and update your resume with the help of your career services office on campus and to create a basic cover letter if you didn’t do so during your sophomore year. Career services will be glad to help you do this. Most career services offices even host special resume workshops and events, or you can set up a one-on-one resume appointment. No matter what approach you take, get it done. Don’t wait until the day before a job or internship interview. Creating or editing a resume takes time, even for a professional.

 

2. Gain work experience in your field of study.

It doesn’t matter if the experience is paid or unpaid. It doesn’t matter if you work five or 20 hours per week. It simply matters that you gain work experience in your field of study or as closely related to your field of study as possible. Are you majoring in criminal justice? Contact your local police department to ask about opportunities there. Is there a battered women’s shelter or sexual assault center in your area? Perhaps you could serve as a volunteer victim’s advocate. The possibilities are endless, but you have to take initiative. Working with career services is priceless. It’s the job of a career services professional to keep in touch with local employers and to serve as a liaison with organizations like these. Let your career services professionals work as advocates for you. Why do all the hard work yourself if you don’t have to? Don’t overlook sites like CollegeRecruiter.com, either. We can help. When you register, you tell us what you’re looking for, and we send you new job postings related only to your search criteria.

 

3. Up your networking game.

During your first and second years of college, it might have been enough to simply keep your social media sites clean of inappropriate content and to occasionally add new contacts. That’s not going to cut it your last two years of undergraduate study.

Start reaching out to alumni and chatting with employers via discussion boards online. Dedicate at least 30 minutes to these activities per week. Up your game online, and you’ll be surprised how many connections you’ll gain and what types of opportunities may surface as a result. Each time you attend an event with employers present, retain business cards and invite those employers (recruiters, hiring managers, and others) to connect with you on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other professional networking sites. If they don’t accept your invitations, don’t take it personally. If they do connect with you, send a personal message thanking them for adding you. Don’t harass employers online or send annoying messages, but don’t be afraid to like their posts or comment on content they share in a thoughtful and insightful manner.

 

4. Acquire better soft skills.

Ask career services professionals for opportunities to improve your soft skills. Seek feedback from your career services staff on where your strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of soft skills. Are you great at communicating in writing but poor at communicating face-to-face? You might need to practice interview questions with a career services member before conducting on-campus interviews with employers. Are you a strong leader but not so great at teamwork? Find ways to get involved in organizations requiring you to collaborate with others on campus.

 

5. Take grad school entrance practice exams.

If you plan on attending graduate school after you graduate from college, it’s a good idea to take practice exams for the GRE, MCAT, and other entrance exams for graduate schools during your junior year. Most of these are offered at no cost and can be found online. Career services offices often offer assistance in pointing students to these exams or to study guides on many campuses.

 

Lastly, and this is a bonus tip: don’t just attend the career fair your junior year of college.

The career fair is a great event—and a must—but challenge yourself to attend at least two other events sponsored by career services as well. Ask your career services office which events are most important on your campus. Is it the etiquette dinner, on-campus interviews, mock interviews, or other key events? Each campus has its own key events, so don’t assume you know which matter most without asking.

Want more help finding ways to guarantee career success? Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

Posted July 13, 2016 by

Career assessments: Valuable at all stages of one’s career

Job candidate reading assignment in assessment center

Completing a career assessment can help job seekers at all stages of their career.

A career assessment is a great way for college students to learn more about the type of career they could pursue, based on their personality, interests, goals, and aspirations. But career assessments can also be beneficial for college students completing an internship, new college grads, and entry-level employees looking to make that next step in their career.

The reason is simple: “Learning about oneself is an ongoing, lifelong search,” says Stephanie P. Kennedy, co-founder of My College Planning Team (MCPT), a Downers Grove, Illinois-based company that provides college students and families with a variety of financial and academic/career planning resources.

There are a variety of popular career assessments that have value at all stages of one’s college and professional career. The staff at My College Planning Team uses a combination of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and the Holland Code Test. They also use and favor the YouScience assessment, an assessment that helps students reveal their paths to education and career success.

Taking a career assessment can be of value, but taking a career assessment and working with a college career counselor, career coach, or other career services professional to expand on those results can add real value.

“Self-assessment based largely on what the computer program identifies you as can be misleading, frustrating, and downright false,” says Kennedy. “Career counselors and educational consultants are trained to interpret these assessments and are skilled in presenting them in a customized manner.”

The team at MCPT excels in working with students who may want to learn more about how to get the most out of an assessment.

“While the assessment tools are efficient and highly respected in our field, the value of those assessments comes from our customized processing of the results with each person,” says Kennedy.

It’s never too late to take a career assessment. And it’s even more beneficial to complete a career assessment and get further analysis and guidance by partnering with a career professional who can help you plan your career based on the results of these assessments. Like Kennedy said, learning is lifelong. A thorough career assessment with a qualified counselor can be very helpful.

“For most people, the task of career exploration will not end with high school graduation, or with college graduation,” says Kennedy. “The tools of career assessment can aid you in your career exploration and decisions throughout your lifetime.”

For more tips on career assessments and other job search advice, stay connected by following College Recruiter on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Stephanie Kennedy, co-founder of My College Planning Team

Stephanie Kennedy, co-founder of My College Planning Team

Stephanie Kennedy is co-founder of My College Planning Team. She holds a M.S. in Counseling and College Student Development. A former admissions counselor, her team now helps students identify their passions and find the colleges that are the best fit academically, socially, and with career focus. Kennedy has worked at the University of Miami, Northeastern University, Texas A&M University, Stonehill College, and others. She has read hundreds of college applications and assisted thousands of students in their college adjustment and educational path. With her hands-on perspective, she guides students and families in a successful college search that goes far beyond the acceptance letter.

 

Posted June 15, 2016 by

4 ways joining associations provides networking opportunities

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.

Posted May 31, 2016 by

How new overtime laws will affect employers

How the new overtime laws will affect employers

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

The new overtime laws that go in place on December 1, 2016 will impact 4.2 million workers who will either gain new overtime protections or get a raise to the new salary threshold.

This is cause for concern for both employees trying to understand the new overtime laws as well as employers who are doing everything they can to understand how these changes affect their business, hiring plans, and compensation packages.

It could result in big changes for those who aren’t prepared, says Stephania Bruha, Operations Manager at Kavaliro, a national staffing agency that employs IT professionals, management, and administrative staff.

 

“We at Kavaliro expect to see many more of our clients limiting employees to 40 hours per week, or requiring executive approval to work overtime hours,” says Bruha. “Recent graduates and new employees may have an advantage here, as they are starting fresh and don’t have to overcome habits from the past.”

Bruha recommends employers get in front of this change. “We will be reassessing our employees more than a month before the new overtime laws go into effect to ensure that if status changes take place, they are well adjusted prior to the go-live date,” says Bruha.

Communication will be key, as in all HR and hiring matters, to ensure your employees understand how they could be affected.

“The worst thing that could happen is for your employees to misinterpret policies and think you are saying they are not allowed to report more than 40 hours a week,” says Bruha. “This is especially important for people who are new to the workforce, like new college grads, who may not know their rights, or have a little experience with labor laws. Employees need to know that you must report all hours worked, but they also need to understand if their company has set requirements for time entry.  Your employer may have severe penalties for violating the policy related to timekeeping because it is so strictly regulated by the Department of Labor.”

Small and mid-sized employers are going to take a hit

Employers – particularly small and mid-sized employers – are going to take a hit with the new regulations, 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. They will need to raise salaries over the $913 per week threshold or pay overtime.

“This may mean employers hire more people so the need for overtime is less or they raise the costs of their products and services to cover the additional labor costs,” says Bischoff.

New grads or interns looking for work typically don’t wonder whether their first post-grad job will be paid on an exempt (salaried) or a non-exempt (hourly) basis, points out Arlene Vernon, an HR consultant who works with small business owners and corporate clients providing HR strategy and management training. And it’s probably not a consideration regarding whether or not they take a particular job opportunity. However, since a new grad may find himself choosing between two job opportunities, employers need to realize that competitors may change how they present salary and compensation packages based on the new overtime laws, which in turn cold affect the decision an employee makes when deciding between two companies or job offers.

Exempt versus non-exempt employment offers

Let’s say Company A offers the grad $48,000 per year as an exempt position, and Company B offers the grad $46,000 as a non-exempt position. There is the potential that the resulting annual pay under Company B could be higher than Company A if the employee works overtime.  If the person is choosing a job based solely on compensation, this would be a consideration.  However, the real decision is whether the job is the right fit for the person, not whether the employee is eligible for overtime.

“From an employer perspective, all companies, including those hiring new grads, need to re-evaluate all their positions paying less than $47,476 to determine how to handle any job reclassifications to non-exempt status,” says Vernon. “This could impact all or some incumbents in jobs paying around this new limit.”

In making someone hourly, companies are not required to merely take employees’ salaries and divide them by 2080 to get an equivalent hourly rate.  Many companies will assess what overtime the person might be working and recalculate the hourly rate so that when the employee works overtime the employee’s final pay equals the full salaried amount, says Vernon, admitting that this can get confusing.  But in this scenario, the employee may be making less per hour, but the same or even more on an annual basis when you factor in overtime, depending on the employer’s approach.

Some companies will be giving certain employees raises to bring them to $47,476 and keep them as salaried. “This may ultimately cost the employer less money than paying overtime at the lower wage,” says Vernon.

Employers must educate employees

Employers should educate employees who are moving from exempt to non-exempt on what work can and cannot be performed outside of regular work hours, adds Vernon. Exempt employees are accustomed to answering texts and emails at night and during weekends.  They may work whatever hours are needed to get the job done.  As a non-exempt employee, they must track and get paid for any non-scheduled hours worked which will increase their pay, but may be against company policy. Typically hourly employees don’t get to randomly create their own work schedules, while salaried employees do.

“This practice needs to be unlearned by managers and employees,” says Vernon.

For example, are managers who email the now-hourly employees at night and over the weekend now authorizing the employee to respond to the email and inadvertently approving overtime?  Or do managers need to learn to save employee communication for the work week to control payroll costs?

These are among the many changes, challenges and questions employers are sorting out.

“December 1 will be here before we know it,” says Vernon. “This change will have considerable impact on all employers no matter their size and whether or not they hire one or more grads below, at or above the new FLSA range.”

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.

Ready to begin your job search? Start at College Recruiter today!

Posted May 27, 2016 by

How new overtime laws will affect interns and recent grads

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.

Posted May 21, 2016 by

What kind of degrees can be pursued online?

Learn photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

The availability of online colleges has increased drastically even just over the last 10 years, and with that change, the degree offerings have also become more widespread. Today, students can find almost any degree level or major offered through an online institution. With a little effort and commitment, they can find a career path that works for them and take them where they want to go. So, consider all of the possibilities offered today when it comes to online degrees.

Certification levels

Previously, the certification levels provided through online colleges were limited, but today, students can find degrees at any level to meet their needs. Here’s an overview of certifications and degrees available at most colleges and universities.

•Certification: Many professional fields require ongoing certification to keep a license up-to-date. Fortunately, there are many certification program options, including those in medicine, education, counseling, and even business.

•Associate Degree: Two-year associate degree programs are a good choice for many career options, and online institutions typically offer a wide variety of programs at this level.

•Bachelor’s Degree: These four-year degrees are among the most popular online degree programs. Most online schools offer the widest variety of bachelor’s degree programs.

•Master’s Degree: These options used to be much less common, but students can now find online programs to obtain an MBA, MS, M.Ed., or MA.

•Doctoral Degree: This level of degree is still the rarest to be found on the internet; however, even doctorate degrees are increasingly offered online today. There are a variety of options ranging from business to education and even theology.

Majors

Many students believe they’ll be limited in their major choice if they choose to opt for an online program, but that simply isn’t the case. Online colleges offer a wide range of major options, including those in humanities, fine arts, business, finance, technology, science, health, medicine, education, and even law and criminal justice.

Specialized degrees

Today’s online colleges are even equipped to offer a wide range of specialized degree programs, such as a board certified behavior analyst program that can teach students to see the big picture. These degrees require specific preparation and advanced techniques that make them perfect candidates for an individualized online program. To pursue endorsement through a program like the behavior analyst certification, students are often required to complete specific prerequisites prior to applying for the program to ensure their success.

There are more online degree options available today than ever before. Online colleges offer programs at all different certification levels, as well as degree programs in various subjects. The possibilities are unlimited.

Are you thinking about going back to school? Find college majors with top entry-level jobs and go to our blog. Also, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Rachelle Wilber, guest writer

Rachelle Wilber, guest writer

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009221637700

Posted January 01, 2016 by

Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan

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.

 

Posted October 22, 2015 by

Everything you need to create a winning LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is no longer optional. It’s an indispensable component of the modern job search. Unfortunately, the effective use of LinkedIn is not intuitive. In this webinar, you will learn everything you need to know to create a winning LinkedIn Profile to gain attention from employers. The webinar is conducted as a step by step demonstration to illustrate site functionality and empower you to utilize the enhancements you need to create your own LinkedIn Profile.

The webinar Everything you need to know to create a winning LinkedIn Profile features social media consultant Chaim Shapiro (https://www.linkedin.com/in/chaimshapiro), moderated by College Recruiter’s former National Account Manager Andrea McEwen-Henderson (https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreamcewen).

Key takeaways:

  1. Create a LinkedIn Profile featuring a consistent and winning brand.
  2. Learn how to promote yourself via LinkedIn.
  3. Discover what to include and what not to include in your Profile.
  4. Master the tips and tricks to really make your Profile stand out.

 

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  1. What are some of your best tips for students and others who are creating LinkedIn Profiles?
  • Promote your brand visually by selecting key photos.
  • Carefully select industry, headline keywords, etc., featured at the top of your LinkedIn Profile and in searches.
  • Provide links to your other social media pages or profiles so your contacts on LinkedIn can connect with you elsewhere.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to showcase academic or professional publications. Future employers and recruiters and your peers may find your publications interesting and impressive.
  • When selecting which skills to feature on your Profile, be picky, and list them in order of importance. Use the “above the fold” rule. The higher up it is on your Profile, the more likely it is to be noticed by recruiters, employers, and contacts.
  • Only feature contact on your Profile that presents you in the best possible light.
  1. When should students start reaching out to people on LinkedIn?
  • Students should create a solid LinkedIn Profile before networking on LinkedIn (before adding contacts).
  1. What is the deal with endorsements?
  • Endorsements were originally a great idea on LinkedIn, but they are often misused. Many people endorse everyone and do not use discretion. It’s best not to endorse people unless you truly have knowledge of their skill base, however, so that your endorsement really means something, and you can stand behind it.
  1. How do I choose which skills to feature on my Profile?
  • Identify people who are leaders in your field (using various search options on LinkedIn). After determining which skills those leaders feature on their own LinkedIn Profiles, mimic their selections.

Bio: Chaim Shapiro, President of Zorach Consulting, is a freelance writer, public speaker and social media consultant specializing in LinkedIn. He has presented his popular LinkedIn workshop at National Conferences, universities, public libraries and for communal organizations across the country.

Chaim is the Assistant Director of Career Services at Touro College in New York. He earned a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel from Loyola University, Chicago, and also studied in the Institutional Leadership and Policy Studies Ph.D. program at the University Of California Riverside Graduate School Of Education. Chaim has more than 15 years of experience working in organizational administration.