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

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Posted January 07, 2020 by

What are the soft skills needed to excel in STEM fields?

Employers value soft skills across all occupational fields, including science, technology, engineering, and math. In conversations that we have with employers of all sizes, the soft skills they most often mention include the ability to:

  • Work in a team;
  • Communicate verbally;
  • Make decisions and solve problems — often referred to as critical thinking skills;
  • Obtain and process information; and
  • Plan, organize, and prioritize work.
Posted December 26, 2019 by

Ask the Experts: What is the one piece of career-related advice that you would provide to a student or recent graduate searching for a part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level job?

First Answer:

Put your strongest credentials near the top of your resume. Whether it is coursework, projects, volunteering, GPA or strong “soft skills” lead with what you are best at. Keep tweaking your resume until it generates some –callbacks (phone screens), so you can tell your story in more detail.

— Jeff Dunn, Campus Relations Manager, Intel Corporation

Second Answer:

My advice would be a bad paraphrase of JFK:

Ask not what the company can do for you but what you can do for the company. Too many graduates forget to fully tailor their application approach in a bespoke way for the company they are applying for, and also tend to major on how the job/internship will benefit them rather than what value they will add to the organization. Focus on what you’ll bring and why you particularly want to work for that exact company. 

— Martin Edmondson, CEO, Gradcore

Third Answer:

My one piece of advice is that ALL work experience counts. Don’t hold out for your dream internship or even your dream entry-level job. You will switch jobs, positions, and careers many times throughout your lifetime. Nike says, “just do it.” I say, “just start somewhere.” Each experience matters and each experience helps you build skills.

— Vicky Oliver, author, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005) and author Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks, 2008)

Fourth Answer:

In my role as a digital marketer, I would advise students or recent graduate to fully explore every career-related channel a company has to offer. To make an educated and career decision, it is important to understand how a company works and values its employers inside and outside the workplace.

— Lorenz V. Esposito, Digital Marketing Specialist, Potentialpark

Fifth Answer:

Make it count. By that I mean, get all you can out of the experience.

  • Where possible, seek out a job that taps into something you’re curious about. Interested in drones? Check out what jobs are involved in drone pilot training. Spend hours on YouTube? Look into jobs at a local video production company. Planning to be an entrepreneur? Look for small business owners locally who need some end of year or seasonal help so you can see up close what it’s like to run a business. 
  • Think about what you want to get out of the experience. Are there skills you want to learn? People you want to talk to? Types of work you want to try? Craft this ahead of time, and add to it while at your job so you’re learning about what fits you every step of the way. It’ll make bigger decisions down the line far easier.
  • Make the most of the jobs you hate. Ideally, these will be short-lived, but spending time getting clear on WHAT you hate about the work, the environment, the management style, the commute, the industry and so on helps you avoid more of this later on. I’ve learned far more from these jobs than I did from most of the others.

— Pam Baker, CEO, Journeous

Sixth Answer:

Skip the entry-level jobs. They waste your time because the pay is low, people don’t respect entry-level employees, and the jobs take a long time to get because there are so many people with no experience and it’s difficult for hiring managers to figure out who to hire when no one is particularly qualified. 

Look at the jobs that require 3 – 5 years of experience. Find a job that is in the location you are now that you’d like to have in a couple of years. Make a list of all the experience the job requires that you do not have. Hire a professional resume writer to see if they can spin your current — probably random and temporary — experience into the experience employers are looking for. 

Here’s are some examples from real people who have hired me to make their resume look like they are beyond entry-level:

I changed this: Collected emails from the staff and put them into the support email folder so everyone could access client information. 

To this: Reorganized customer service systems to streamline inter-departmental cooperation and decrease customer service wait time. 

Both bullets describe the boring and low-level task of data entry for client emails. But the rewritten bullet uses the language of someone who has worked in business and understands how to impact the bottom line. Additionally, the second bullet looks at the work from a high-level which implies that the person doing the work was at a higher level. 

A smart resume writer can do this with all your experience to make your resume read like you have much more experience than you do. 

After you have a new resume, you will see yourself differently. You’ll start to believe that you ARE actually qualified for higher-level positions. Then you’re ready for the next step. 

Make a list of the qualifications an employer lists for the job you want. Pull out any qualifications you don’t have. You can get that experience right now, this week, before you start applying for jobs. Make the most recent job on your resume freelancing. And make the dates the last few years. Because we are all freelancers. We all help other people talk through ideas for a wide range of things. That’s what friends do. 

As a freelancer, you can say you did anything. Because you can choose to do anything. You don’t have to get paid. A resume is about what you’ve done. Not about who paid and who didn’t. So, for example, if you want to get a job that requires have done a social media campaign, do one, for any company, and write a bullet about it. If you need experience giving presentations, give one to your friend and then write a bullet about it. 

When you’re in the interview, you can talk about whatever you did. You don’t need to say you did it for free. You don’t need to confess that no one cared at all about what you did. Because really, if everyone confessed how stupid their bullets were, and how fake their job duties were, then no one in the world would be able to write a resume. But that’s for another discussion! 

— Penelope Trunk, CEO, Quistic

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Posted December 17, 2019 by

What skills are becoming increasingly important to employers of accounting and other math-related majors?

At College Recruiter, we’ve seen a huge shift over the past couple of years by large accounting and consulting firms, Fortune 1,000 companies, and federal government agencies to hiring students and recent graduates based more upon their soft than hard skills.

Critical thinking skills, for example, have become far more important and the perceived strength of the school’s brand has become far less important. Why? Because more and more employers are looking not at where they’ve traditionally hired the most people from or even their cost-per-hire but instead to where they sourced their most productive employees.

What employers of accounting and other math-related majors are finding is that they can teach someone how to read a balance sheet but they can’t feasibly teach them how to think critically.

Posted December 03, 2019 by

2 ways to stand out after a job interview

There are many ways for an applicant to stand out after being interviewed for a job. Here are just two.

First, bring with you to the interview some pre-stamped envelopes with thank you note cards. Immediately after you’re interviewed and have left the building, handwrite a quick thank you note to each person who interviewed you with a reference in each note to something that they said so they’ll know that your note was customized. Get those into the local mail that same day. The interviewers will likely receive the note the next business day, which will really impress them.

Second, once every week or two, email the interviews a note to confirm your continuing interest and provide them with a link or attach a scan of an article etc. that you’ve seen that may be of interest to them, such as something interesting that the press wrote about their company or one of their vendors or customers. You’d be surprised how many recruiters and hiring managers will assume that silence from a candidate indicates lack of interest.

Posted November 26, 2019 by

What’s the best career advice College Recruiter’s founder wishes he had received early in his career?

Probably the best career advice that I ever received came from Marvin Granath, senior vice president for the Human Resources – Legal office of Honeywell Inc.

Marv was my boss for the last year that I was at Honeywell and he reported to the CEO. What Marv taught me — both verbally and by allowing me to watch him in action — was the importance of building a strong network and using corporate politics not just for his benefit but the company’s. 

Marv planted seeds every hour of every day. He continually looked for ways of creating win-win situations by helping others accomplish their personal and corporate goals. He did so not on a quid pro quo basis but instead knowing that some of his assistance would go unrewarded but some would greatly help him reach his personal and corporate goals. When he needed help, people throughout the company would be eager to do whatever they could, not just because it was their job but because they truly wanted to help him as a tangible way of showing him their appreciation for the help he had provided to them days, weeks, months, or even years earlier and without precondition. 

Marv passed away a decade ago, but he continues to inspire me.

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Posted October 29, 2019 by

Why should you consider switching jobs even if you don’t necessarily want to?

Changing jobs, even when you don’t want to, is one of the best ways to get a pay raise and improve the hard and soft benefits you receive.

Unfortunately, many employers give raises to existing employees only when forced to, but they’re typically willing to pay new employees the going wage for the same work. So it isn’t unusual for an employee to advance into a more senior role but still be paid like they’re doing their old job. But if they move to a new employer, that new employer is more apt to pay them for the work they’re now doing.

Also, it is easier to win better hard and soft benefits when you move jobs. Hard benefits are those which aren’t negotiable such as 401k and medical plans, but they differ significantly employer-to-employer. If your current employer’s medical plan is terrible, you’re not going to be able to get them to provide a better one to you but you can apply to work for employers with good medical plans. 

Similarly, soft benefits are often easier to obtain from a new employer. These are typically negotiable, such as flexible working hours. If you’ve worked for the same employer for five years from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, it will likely be difficult to convince them to allow you to work from 8am to 6pm, Monday through Thursday and then 8am to noon on Friday. But it should be easier to convince a new employer to allow that.

Posted October 24, 2019 by

Chipotle now covering 100% of tuition costs, even for part-time employees

It isn’t hard to admit: I’ve been a fan of Chipotle’s food since it opened a restaurant near my home about a decade ago.

If you’ve never been, think Subway but for burritos, tacos, and tortilla-less meals served in a bowl. Think concrete floors and lots of stainless steel. Think freshly cooked, savory meats. Think fresh, yummy guacamole. But I digress into a hunger causing diatribe.

Working in a restaurant — any restaurant — is not for the faint of heart. The work is usually fast-paced, customers can be jerks, and the hours often very early or very late. But it is good, honest, hard work. Every minute of every day your work is appreciated by customers who want a little treat, either in the sense of rewarding themselves or rewarding their taste buds. Or both.

Keeping workers happy and retaining them is an incredible challenge for almost all restaurants, especially those whose pay is at the lower end of the scale, which includes almost all fast-food restaurants. Let’s face it, you’re not going to get rich working in a fast-food restaurant, but you’ll earn your pay, you won’t get bored, and you’ll almost certainly make some great friends amongst your co-workers.

But now there’s another benefit to working at a fast-food restaurant. To be clear, not just any fast-food restaurant. Just Chipotle. At least for now. Chipotle, consistent with its mission to Cultivate a Better World, just announced an incredible tuition reimbursement program. Together with Guild Education, Chipotle will cover 100 percent of college tuition costs for all eligible employees, including hourly (crew) members. When I read that, I skeptically thought, “Yeah, but who will be eligible?” I’m often wrong, and this was one of the many times when I was very happy to be wrong.

The news here isn’t that Chipotle has a tuition reimbursement program. Yawn. Lots of employers, including College Recruiter, do. And the news isn’t even that the program covers 100 percent of the tuition costs. That’s a higher bar than most but, at best, evolutionary and not revolutionary. The news here is that to be eligible you need only have worked at Chipotle for four months (120-days, to be exact) AND work at least 15 hours a week. That’s right. Those working only 15-hours a week will get 100 percent of their college education paid for by Chipotle. That’s revolutionary. Kind of like their one-pound, barbacoa, burritos. But I digress again.

There are some limitations, but they’re VERY reasonable. Only certain degrees qualify, but there are 75 of them and range from high school diplomas to bachelor’s degrees in business or technology. The courses are online, but include VERY well respected schools like Denver University. Not satisfied with their schools? No problem. Chipotle will continue to offer its tuition reimbursement program, which allows eligible employees to be reimbursed for tuition up to $5,250 a year at the school of their choice. That’s not going to come close to covering the full cost of a typical, elite, four-year university, but it could easily cover a third or even a half at many state colleges and perhaps all of the costs of a community college. Or, slap that baby together with a nice scholarship or two and now you’re back into the free zone. Where you can enjoy a pork carnitas taco. With green chili. Mmmm.

College Recruiter, we believe that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. That guiding principle leads us to push some employers to treat their employees better, sometimes by paying them better, sometimes by creating better working conditions, and sometimes by helping those employees achieve their life goals. With this new program, Chipotle is setting a new bar for other employers and, I hope, many others will follow their lead. Kudos, Chipotle.

Posted October 08, 2019 by

Lists you need to make when you start your job search

Many job seekers, especially those who are more toward the beginning than end of their careers, struggle to decide what kind of a job they want to do. For those, we recommend pulling out a legal pad and dividing it into four columns:

  1. Competencies
  2. Interests
  3. Values
  4. Compensation

Under competencies, list in a few words everything you’re good at, whether it is career-related or not.

Under interests, list everything that catches your attention, whether it is career-related or not. 

Under values, list everything that matters to you, whether it is career-related or not. 

Under compensation, list all of the things that you want and need to do which cost money and estimate how much each costs per month or year.

Now, look for commonalities in the first three columns. Are there items which are in the competencies, interests, and values columns? Circle those. Now look at the items which are circled and consider those along with your compensation needs. Can you do any of the circled items for work — even part-time — and meet your compensation needs? If so, you’ve just found at least one career path.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted October 04, 2019 by

How to convince your boss to let you work from home

All of College Recruiter’s employees work remotely from home-based offices, but that hasn’t always been the case. Before we moved to a fully work-from-home, distributed team model, only some of our employees worked from home. How did we decide who would work from home? Not only did the employee need to want to work from home, but we also needed to see that they had demonstrated an ability to work from home successfully. 

Some of our home-based employees had done so successfully for other employers. Others had not yet had that experience. For those who had not yet tried working from home, we started off by allowing them to work from home occasionally, such as a half a day or a day a week. If that went well, then they might work from home four days a week and be in the office a day a week. If that went well, then they’d start working from home all of the time and only coming into the office when in-person meetings were imperative, such as all-team meetings.

There were employees who wanted to work from home, whose home office seemed well suited to success (not just a desk in their bedroom), and who seemed to have the discipline and self-starter skill set that we found were necessary. Yet they floundered. Sometimes, pilots that everyone expects to succeed instead fail, including employees trying to work from home. 

Why did the work-from-home pilots fail? A variety of reasons, but the primary reason was the lack of a suitable workspace. One employee who had worked from home with great success bought a dog who barked non-stop unless sitting on the lap of our employee, which prevented her from being productive in her customer service job as she needed to be on the phone a lot. Another employee didn’t make childcare arrangements for his three young kids and so they interrupted him multiple times an hour with a variety of requests such as for snacks. 

Home-based employment can be a wonderful thing for both employee and employer, but those who have never worked from home may be surprised at how hard it is to do successfully.

Courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted September 03, 2019 by

How do I decide what kind of a job to look for?

Many job seekers, especially those who are more toward the beginning than end of their careers, struggle to decide what kind of a job they want to do. For those, we recommend pulling out a legal pad and dividing it into four columns:

  1. Competencies
  2. Interests
  3. Values
  4. Compensation

Under competencies, list in a few words everything you’re good at, whether it is career-related or not.

Under interests, list everything that catches your attention, whether it is career-related or not. 

Under values, list everything that matters to you, whether it is career-related or not. 

Under compensation, list all of the things that you want and need to do which cost money and estimate how much each costs per month or year.

Now, look for commonalities in the first three columns. Are there items which are in the competencies, interests, and values columns? Circle those.

Now look at the items which are circled and consider those along with your compensation needs. Can you do any of the circled items for work — even part-time — and meet your compensation needs? If so, you’ve just found at least one career path.