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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

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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!!

Guidance counselor talking to a teenager. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted January 09, 2019 by

What colleges don’t want high school students and parents to consider during the application process

A friend of mine recently posted to Facebook that the guidance counselor at the high school her kids attend recently indicated that “most” colleges require at least three years of a second language in order to consider the student for possible admission. I called b.s. on that statement and then outlined some additional information that high school guidance counselors and college admissions representatives often either don’t know or, for whatever reason, often fail to communicate:

I know you and I are on the same page, but the guidance counselor is providing terrible guidance and needs to be more careful about accurately guiding her students. 

There are 8 Ivy League schools. There are 3,000, four-year colleges. There are another 4,300 one- and two-year colleges. 

Ivys represent 0.267 percent of four-year colleges. Hardly representative.

More important words of advice: Talk openly and honestly with your kids about the financial impact of college. 

Here is the reality: if a family is wealthy and can pay out of pocket — including savings — then the cost isn’t as important.  (more…)

Aircraft engine in hanger

Posted July 11, 2018 by

What Delta Air Lines is doing to address talent gaps 

When Delta Air Lines looks into the future, they see a shortage of talent in a particular area. That is, they know many pilots will be retiring and there aren’t enough new pilots in the pipeline to replace them. Filling mechanic roles is also an area where Delta predicts a talent shortage. We spoke with John Patrick, who is Senior Manager of Academic Strategy at Delta. He told us more about how they are responding to this talent gap with unique recruiting and branding strategies.

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Posted June 21, 2018 by

How to train your existing employees in applied technology skills

Any employer recruiting for tech talent will likely have their own take on what the tech skills gap looks like at their organization, but closing the gap is essential. Alexandra Levit, Chairwoman of Career Advisory Board, workforce consultant and author of several career-related books, says it’s important not just to identify tech skills, but to also take very concrete steps to train your existing employees in applied technology skills. That might be through internal coursework, bringing in a consultant or having employees do self-study. Alexander spoke at SHRM 2018, presenting “The tech skills gap is more complicated than you thought, but closing it is within your reach.” We interviewed her to dive deeper into what employers need to understand about the complexities of the tech skills gap and how they can close it at their own organizations. (more…)
Posted February 08, 2018 by

Strategies to address the tech skills gap and plan your future workforce

 

We wanted to know how employers are addressing the tech skills gap and learning to prepare their future workforce pipeline. We met with Parvathi Sivaraman and Maan Hamdan from Education Unbound, which was formed to build up STEAM in education. By supporting education, they also help reduce the expected tech skills gap and mitigate some of the negative impact automation will have on many traditional jobs. (more…)

Posted December 05, 2016 by

Value of vocational degrees: Preparing the workforce for all occupations

College or vocational degreeContributing writer Ted Bauer

Recently, we have heard a lot of arguments that the college degree is essentially the new high school degree. (Some even believe that, within 5-10 years, a graduate degree will be the new college degree.) As more people pursue four-year degrees, they’re accruing debt. As they do so, they enter a job market where wages aren’t rising that much.  

Student loans have become a crisis in some respects, and this is happening at a time when many wages are stagnant or falling. As such, there’s been an increased focus on the value of vocational and technical degrees. In fact, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner appeared at a ReCode event in late November and said the U.S. cares too much about four-year degrees. He adds:   (more…)

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 May 28, 2016 by

Core advantages of vocational and technical education programs

Engineering photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

There are many purposes served by vocational and technical colleges. These colleges create many opportunities for students to further their professional careers and to earn more money. They also offer many career programs in practical fields that don’t require academic training in traditional four-year programs.

This article will present some core advantages of vocational and technical courses offered by colleges to high school students.

Shortening freshman year

For high school students, the most prominent and motivating factor of enrolling into vocational programs is that they enable students to shorten their freshman year in college. Since the college years are in a traditional four-year degree program, quarters and semesters usually involve credits earned. Students can considerably shorten their freshman year and earn enough college credits during high school. This might add up enough to cut freshman year in half for some.

Winning college credits

It is a fact that high schools do not offer this option. However, there are many vocational and technical colleges that provide entry-level classes to students studying in high schools who have established a good capacity and ability for college education. Usually, this is ascertained through a counselor or mentor who guides students, even though there are some schools that allow high school students to enroll for classes.

Since college level classes are taken by high school students, they are given the chance by vocational and technical programs to start their college education. Usually, students can attend classes at night, after the end of their regular high school duration. The credits won by these programs can be put toward first-year generals at a conventional education center.

Getting used to college years

The environment of a vocational and technical college program is one between high school and college. This approach makes an undeniably perfect learning environment for high school students to become familiar with a different learning experience.

Typically, students want the stress-free and informal learning environment, and they can experience it by enrolling into a vocational program. It is a common fact that high school is usually infamous for being filled with ‘cliques,’ but the college life is more relaxed, as it involves more social aspect and social interaction.

Creating a perfect college application

The college application process for admission is another one of the motivating factors for taking a vocational and technical program during high school. Students want admissions to highly desirable and top-ranking universities, but getting in a college or university is fierce competition. Thus, students will have to do everything to make their college applications the best.

Specialty career programs

The subject matter in specialty courses is one more reason to consider vocational programs during high school. If we talk about the United Kingdom, there are many high schools dropping numerous elective programs and the budget cuts are the main reason behind it. There are many cases in which the first subjects and programs to be dropped are physical activities like shop, band, and physical education.

For students with interests in any of these programs, their only option available is taking them at a vocational college. They can find an extensive array of these vocational programs at most vocational and technical colleges. Plus, the bonus is students will get in-depth and hands on vocational classes they can’t find in high school.

Considering educational opportunities for your future? Visit the College Recruiter blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

John Kelly is a professional and proactive article writer, as well as an education counselor. He also provides UK writing help to customers for enhancing their skills and knowledge. He also writes articles for the benefit of students.

Posted April 23, 2016 by

Financial aid secrets for college students

Financial aid web browser sign concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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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.

Posted April 02, 2016 by

How to avoid 5 common study slip-ups

Female college student studying in a library courtesy of Shutterstock.com

michaeljung/Shutterstock.com

Highly effective students know how to study. They pace themselves and don’t save all of their studying for the last minute. They also know how to take notes along the way to make their studying more efficient. Cramming and other last-minute study techniques can leave them exhausted, and incapable of performing well on test day. Use these ideas to improve your study system, and get a better grade this time around.

1. Avoid cramming

If you absolutely have to cram before a test, try to take breaks. Sleep is important for learning, so find a few hours to sleep after a long study session, and you’ll be better able to think clearly during the test. Research shows the first sleep cycle lasts about three hours. After that, we dip in and out every one and a half hours. Try to sleep from three to four and a half hours before your test.

2. Create a habit

Studying at the same time every day allows students to study better for their tests and make time for important assignments. Pick a time when you are unlikely to be disturbed and aim for the same time each day. You’ll get a better study session, and your brain will start to become used to your study routine.

3. Study locations

The place where students study is important. If they find they study best in the library, they should make a habit of getting out of their dorms or apartments, and getting to the library first thing. Make home a safe place from school work, and find places outside of it to work hard and for preparation. This way, home can become a place to relax, unwind, and have some fun.

4. Set specific goals

If you’re working toward a master’s in higher education, your goals should be specific and relate not only to your coursework, but your future career. Create lesson plans to start building the skills to become a teacher. Conduct mock lectures when teaching the material you’re learning in school to an imaginary classroom. This will not only show what you haven’t learned, but will prepare you to become a more effective educator. The same goes if you plan to intern as a scientist in the lab or research assistant. Come up with appropriate scenarios and hands-on study that prepare you for your future career and still help you learn the material.

5. Don’t procrastinate

Treat studying like a job. The most important thing to remember is students don’t have to be in the mood for studying. Studying is a process, and they may have some good days and some bad days. It’s okay to have a bad study session. Don’t let your mood affect whether you’re going to study. Push through and make your habits stick, and the rest is easy.

If you’re going for a long study session, start with the most difficult subjects first. Move on to the easier subjects when fatigue becomes a factor. Remember to take frequent breaks, and eat foods high in protein and carbs to sustain your energy levels and to prevent dips in energy.

If you’re looking for more study tips, go to the College Recruiter blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Photo of Brooke Chaplan

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, contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.