• Wrapping up your summer internship: Reflect and connect the dots

    August 06, 2018 by

     

    The summer is winding down and coming to an end, this means many students will wrap up their internships and head back to the classroom. Whether your internship was an outstanding experience or a complete disaster, there is a lot of important reflection to be done. Pam Baker, the founder of Journeous, has dedicated her career to helping young adults choreograph meaningful careers and become focused leaders. Baker accomplishes this by working with individuals to help them find the intersection between their values, interests, and strengths. Jeff Dunn, Campus Relations Manager at Intel, is passionate about helping job seekers at all levels with resumes, interviewing, career planning, and networking. Below we will dive into the most important things to do nearing the end of a summer internship. Continue Reading

  • What can I do with an English degree?

    June 15, 2018 by

     

    Majoring in English and unsure of where to go after college? Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005) has great advice for English students and grads. Having studied English herself, she knows firsthand how the degree is worth it and where it can take you. Here we hope her tips help you learn how to use your degree and unique experiences to get you the job of your dreams.

    Continue Reading

  • Tips for job seekers from Thomson Reuters VP of Innovation: Grow your innovative side

    May 08, 2018 by

     

    Entry-level job seekers and employees can learn from Katherine Manuel, a seasoned expert in innovation, to become a more employable candidate or a more valuable employee. Manuel is Senior Vice President of Innovation at Thomson Reuters and she has passionate advice for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to break down hurdles and drive new business. If you are looking for innovative jobs or want to contribute more creatively to your organization, our interview with Manuel provides insight into the importance of being an intrapreneur.

    (Interview has been edited slightly for length and flow.)

    What are the qualities and competencies of an intrapreneur? 

    Katherine Manuel: One of the most important things that I look for are people that ask great questions. I do a lot of mentoring at the company for people that are just starting out in their careers. And it’s amazing that what differentiates people is not necessarily their wealth of experience, but it’s really the way that they ask the questions and what questions they ask. It’s showing that they understand what a business ecosystem looks like, where customers come in, where products meet their needs, and where services around those products can really increase the value of a product. Even just understanding how they best think about their career and what their long-term goals are, even if they don’t have it all mapped out, which I’d never recommend people do. It’s the thoughtfulness of the questions that they ask less than having a mastery of a topic. Continue Reading

  • Entry level business jobs: Your business major isn’t a shoo-in.

    September 27, 2017 by

     

    Business is the most popular major on college campuses today. Many students believe a business degree gives them the best shot at employment and a successful career, but according to the Washington Post, many employers disagree. Below we provide a list of entry level business jobs, but first, business majors should read what you are probably lacking and how to make yourself more employable. Continue Reading

  • How entry-level assistant jobs can lead to long-term career success

    June 15, 2017 by

     

    Recent college grads seeking the opportunity to develop a wide variety of job related skills can do so by pursuing entry-level assistant jobs.

    That’s what Amanda Ponzar did in her first job as an administrative assistant.

    “It taught me business skills, computer skills, organization, project management, and how to work with others,” said Ponzar, who is now the Chief Marketing Officer of Community Health Charities, an Alexandria, VA-based non-profit federation that raises awareness and funds through workplace campaigns and strategic partnerships.

    From that job, Ponzar moved to a marketing assistant role with the Franklin Mint, a worldwide provider of fine art and collectibles.

    “I learned about marketing and advertising, and demonstrated curiosity, competence, dependability, and initiative, so I was soon asked to edit management letters and collateral marketing materials, and then was recommended by my colleagues for a copywriter job at The Franklin Mint’s in-house ad agency,” said Ponzar.

    That is when Ponzar’s career took off. She moved into advertising copywriter and marketing management roles, went back to school to earn a Master’s Degree in advertising and marketing, and is now a CMO of a non-profit.

    She credits her varied experiences as an assistant for her career growth and success.

    “I wouldn’t be where I am today without those first entry-level jobs as an assistant that helped me define my career path,” said Ponzar.

    College students, and recent college grads should consider assistant jobs as a way to get their foot in a door at a company they would like to work with, or to build important job skills. While most college grads don’t get a degree aspiring to be an assistant, think long-term. Assistant jobs help provide a paycheck to start paying off school loans or debt (and help achieve financial independence to not live at home), and/or provide real world experience and a chance to build important job skills. In addition, it’s a great opportunity for the recent college grad considering grad school to gain work experience before taking the next step of their career. Many assistants could also work with companies as they pursue advanced educational opportunities – and maybe the employer will also help pay for it through tuition reimbursement programs. Building a variety of marketable skills is important, and assistant jobs provide a great opportunity to do just that.

    Assistants have unique opportunities to be exposed to all facets of a business, says Brandi Britton, District President of OfficeTeam, a leader in the placement of highly skilled office and administrative professionals into administrative assistant and front office jobs. Assistant jobs are in demand at small and large companies, non-profits, startups, Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley firms. Companies like Google, Facebook, and other leading tech firms all succeed because of good assistants.

    “Entry-level assistant can learn valuable technology skills from constant exposure to Microsoft Office, enterprise resource planning, database management and customer relationship management software,” says Britton. “You may even build experience with social media tools since administrative staff are often tasked with monitoring and managing their company’s accounts.”

    Recent college grads seeking assistant jobs, whether it be an administrative assistant, marketing assistant, office assistant, personal assistant or executive assistant (which often do take more advanced skills), can also learn these important career skills, says Britton:

    • Time and project management: Assistants often have to keep on top of executives’ schedules as well as project timelines. Let’s not forget that assignments come their way from every direction. That’s why assistants are masters of time and project management, organization, multitasking and adaptability.
    • Continual learning opportunities: You become well-rounded because you’re able to work on a variety of tasks – everything from event coordination to presentation decks. Once you figure out the types of projects you like most, you can hone your skills and consider moving on to a more specialized role in the organization.
    • Budget and negotiation: When you frequently speak with vendors and make purchases on behalf of the company, you quickly become skilled at budgeting and negotiation.
    • Verbal and written communication skills: Assistants are in constant contact with any number of internal and external contacts. If you’re in the role long enough, you’ll develop strong verbal and written communication skills.
    • Specialized skills based on organization/industry: Being an assistant in a specific department or industry exposes you to the day-to-day operations and provides insight into that area’s lingo, processes and technology.
    • Inside company knowledge: You gain knowledge into colleagues’ work styles and the corporate culture, which gives you an advantage at the company if you hope to advance there.

    Alissa Carpenter founded Everything’s Not Ok and That’s OK Coaching after over a decade in higher education. She has advised Millennials and GenZ students at institutions such as The Wharton School and Penn State.

    “As a recent graduate, being a personal assistant can be beneficial to your long term career goals,” says Carpenter. “You have the unique opportunity to work on numerous tasks and learn transferrable skills. You are often on the front line and are able to build relationships and rapport that can provide valuable connections.”

    The three skills organizations believe millennials are lacking can be developed in a personal assistant role, says Carpenter, including:

    • Interpersonal skills: You will be working with people from various levels both in and outside of your organization. You will learn to ask appropriate questions to find the most effective way to complete your tasks at hand and build strategic working relationships.
    • Teamwork: In one of the key positions that is crucial to putting events and tasks together, you will learn how to delegate and how to work with people with varying personalities.
    • Communication skills: As a key point of contact you will quickly learn the most effective ways to communicate with individuals and how people like to receive communications.

    Utilizing a role as an assistant to get where you want to be later in one’s career can really be a asset to entry-level jobs seekers, says Lori Williams, Recruiting Coordinator for College Nannies, Sitters, and Tutors of Edmond, Oklahoma.

    “Not only does it help build credibility and experience on your resume, but the people you often meet in that role can be sourced as references in the future,” says Williams. “You can develop many skills in this role, including project management, event planning, client relations, and administrative duties. All of these skills are transferable into future roles in just about any industry. Being able to develop these skills on the ground floor will help you add a good section to your resume entitled skills or career highlights and you can translate these into the job description for future career goals.”

    Said Ponzar: “Never underestimate an assistant job as a way to get your foot in the door and show what you can do, learn about the company, develop relationships, and new skills.”

    Look for assistant jobs right now on College Recruiter! Want more tips and advice on how to build career and job skills? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • 5 ways STEM/technical grads can develop soft skills employers covet

    May 25, 2017 by

     

    Good news for STEM grads: Those with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math can expect to earn the highest starting salaries among 2017 grads. That’s according to the Winter 2017 Salary Survey report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). According to the NACE report, the top three starting salaries for recent college grads with bachelor’s degrees are in these STEM fields:

    • Engineering – $66,097
    • Computer science – $65,540
    • Math and Science – $55,087

    While STEM grads are currently hitting the job market at full force, another group of job seekers are also starting their career: The graduate from the two-year technical college. Like STEM jobs, hot jobs for those with two-year technical backgrounds include air traffic controller, nuclear technician, computer programmer, and electronic engineering technician.

    Translation: Skilled workers with both two and four year degrees are in demand.

    But skilled workers with the education, and the right soft skills, are the one’s getting hired. With thousands of STEM or technical school grads now in the workforce, employers hiring recent college grads or entry-level employees are looking for more than just the right educational background.

    “A degree isn’t what’s going to set you apart from other candidates,” says Jena Brown, Talent Acquisition Marketing and Brand Leader at Kerry, a leader in the food, beverage, and pharma industries, with 23,000 staff and 100+ innovation and manufacturing centers across six continents. “It’s usually required for technical positions, so you can’t stand on that alone.”

    In fact, those who get hired often stand out because of the soft skills they are able to articulate in an interview. This may be why chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed by staffing firm Robert Half Technology named communication skills (28 percent) and problem-solving abilities (21 percent) as the top areas where skilled and technical professionals could improve.

    To stand out, according to Robert Half, skilled workers need to show employers:

    • You are an effective communicator
    • You have a strong understanding of business (even better if you have specific knowledge of the potential employer’s company or industry)
    • You have a history of coming up with creative solutions to problems

    Brown agrees. Recruiters are looking for the job seeker who has something extra to bring to the team, whether it’s a personality that fits corporate culture, or the ability to make an impact beyond a basic job description: Someone who is a team player, willing to help out even if it isn’t part of the daily routine, or someone who shines bright and empowers those around them.

    “We want to hear what you did to hone your business skills during the time you were earning your degree,” says Brown. “We want to see that you are looking ahead, seeing the larger picture and preparing yourself to maximize the career opportunities that await you.”

    What are the top soft skills Brown and her team look for when recruiting recent college grads with technical backgrounds? Brown referred to these key skills:

    1. Communication Skills: Regardless of the type of organization one works for, effective communication across all levels is a critical soft skill for technical new grads. This is especially important in larger organizations, like Kerry for example, which have a complex matrix organizational structure. What is a matrix organization? According to study.com: A matrix organizational structure is a company structure in which the reporting relationships are set up as a grid, or matrix, rather than in the traditional hierarchy. In other words, employees have dual reporting relationships – generally to both a functional manager and a product manager.

    Can you do your work – and communicate technical information in a non-technical manner to others on the team, or across the organization? That’s important.

    2. Teamwork: The ability to work in diverse, cross functional teams is important. “This goes hand in hand with flexibility,” says Brown. “Be malleable and teachable while contributing your valuable knowledge within teams.”

    Large organizations have teams, reporting structures, and chains of command to follow. Being a part of that team, and working with others outside your team, and understanding how to fit in goes a long way towards success.

    3. Professionalism: The ability to navigate a corporate environment, meet deadlines, conduct meetings, and contribute helps give recent college grads credibility in any role. Show up on time, do your job, ask appropriate questions, don’t make excuses. That’s a good start.

    4. Leadership: Those who are able to lead and influence without the authority that comes with a title go the furthest, says Brown. Many entry-level employees don’t focus on developing leadership skills early in their career. But finding a mentor can assist with the leadership development process.

    5. Consultative and presentation skills: These skills “can take you far regardless of level (or career path),” says Brown. Consultative skills focus on behaviors that deliver consultative value to internal customers and external clients.

    Brown looks for recent college grad with those types of unique skills when recruiting and hiring those with technical backgrounds. She was once one of those consultative employees with a technical background, needing to succeed with non-technical co-workers and teams. She recruited employees for a company that provided customized technical services and platforms to huge companies around the globe.

    “This was challenging because we were subject matter experts in designing and building customized MS solutions, which took very specific technical skills, but much of what we did was onsite at the customer site which required soft skills like a sales person might have,” says Brown.

    How can recent college grads develop consultative or presentation skills? Joining industry associations or networking groups, and becoming an active member is one way. Volunteering at industry events is another way.

    “If you can communicate in a consultative manner and present effectively it will get you more opportunities as you advance in your career,” says Brown. “While daunting at first, if given the opportunity to present and get visibility, do it.”

    For many college students, there is nothing more daunting than earning a STEM degree, or completing a technical degree. Now that you are graduated, you need to take it to the next level. Start by mastering these soft skills to stand out, get noticed, and get hired.

    When you do, a great salary, and great career opportunity awaits.

    Want more tips and advice on the important skills recruiters covet? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Career and job competencies of liberal arts graduates

    March 20, 2017 by

     

    There is a public perception that liberal arts graduates are now somehow less valuable than their peers studying business or technology. Dr. Ascan Koerner with the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota will tell you why the opposite is true. College Recruiter connected Dr. Koerner with Todd Raphael of ERE Media to learn what his team is doing to make sure employers understand the relevancy of liberal arts students and graduates. A video of Todd Raphael’s and Dr. Koerner’s discussion is below.  Continue Reading

  • 10 Time Management Skills Every New Manager Needs to Master

    January 31, 2017 by

     

    Becoming a first-time manager can be tough. New managers are often pulled in many directions, and it can seem like the to-do list never ends. But if you ask any successful manager how they manage it all, it’s likely they will say the key is this:

    Successful time-management.

    Poor time management skills can result in missed deadlines, dissatisfied clients, and even increased overtime costs.  Not only do today’s managers today need to focus on ensuring they are managing their time well, but they should also help their employees do the same.

    To help improve performance, Chris Rush, Division Vice President of Strategy, ADP® Small Business Services offer these top 10 time-management techniques new managers can share with employees:

    1. Plan and set goals: Work with employees to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals. For each goal, agree to a timeline for completion and break the goal down into small, manageable assignments. Consider providing employees with task management tools, such as online calendars, project management programs, or a simple to-do list.
    2. Prioritize: Help employees prioritize their responsibilities based on customer benefit and urgency and encourage them to complete tasks starting with those with the highest priority This process requires effective communication to ensure that priorities are properly aligned with company goals.
    3. Organize: Every minute lost because of a misplaced tool, or document is a minute that could have been spent completing a task. Emphasize the importance of an organized work space to help maximize efficiency.
    4. Streamline: Evaluate processes and procedures regularly to ensure efficiency. Managers should have regular discussions with employees to get their insight on more efficient methods for completing their job responsibilities.
    5. Delegate: Proper delegation can ensure the right tasks are assigned to the right people. But, there is more to delegating than simply assigning a task. Explain job duties thoroughly, work with employees to develop a plan for completing the task, monitor progress, and provide the resources and support necessary to reach assigned goals. Most important, share your own knowledge if you, yourself, have done the job before. They will appreciate that personal “shared learning.”
    6. Dedicate time for less pleasant work: It’s human nature to sometimes procrastinate, especially when a difficult or undesirable assignment presents itself. To help employees stay focused, break large projects into smaller parts and schedule specific time (such as the beginning of the workday) for the larger or more unpleasant projects.
    7. Manage communications: For employees on a tight deadline, answering phone calls and emails can be distracting. Consider establishing guidelines for responding to these types of communications. For example, when employees are on a tight deadline, ask them to check voicemail and email at set intervals and respond to urgent communications first. All other communications can be put on hold until after important projects have been completed.
    8. Avoid interruptions: Whenever possible, schedule important job duties for a part of the day when there are fewer disruptions. For example, if an employee is the first one in the office in the morning, this may be a good time to work on assignments that require more concentration. Also, remind employees that interruptions are inevitable, and for planning purposes, they should allow a little extra time for unexpected interruptions.
    9. Schedule tasks for peak performance: If possible, physically or mentally demanding work should be scheduled for when workers are at peak performance. This may vary depending on each employee. Encourage employees to consider when they have the most energy and suggest that, if possible, they to focus on bigger or more important projects during those times.
    10. Help ensure proper balance: No matter how well employees manage their time at work, they are unlikely to perform at their best if they return to work each day stressed or lacking energy. Provide employees with regular rest breaks throughout the day and be aware of applicable state meal and rest break requirements. Consider a wellness program that encourages healthy habits and encourage employees to use their vacation time.

    “Effective time management is important for any business and can be especially important for new managers working with employees that often have multiple responsibilities,” says Rush. “As a manager, it is your responsibility to provide your employees with the training and tools they need to optimize their performance.”

    Use these ten tips to do just that.

    Want more time management tips and other career advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • How to describe the value of your liberal arts degree

    January 27, 2017 by

     

    With increasing vacancies for STEM related jobs, liberal arts students might be feeling left behind. If you are in college and would rather study Psychology than Biology, or you prefer World History over Engineering, don’t despair. Employers do value liberal arts skills because you have unique skills to offer. However, if you don’t work on marketing these skills, employers may pass you over. We spoke with Michele Mavi, a job search expert at Atrium Staffing. Michele told us how students can market their liberal arts degree.

    College Recruiter: What are liberal arts anyway?

    Michele: A liberal arts education is interdisciplinary and while students have a concentration in one subject they have a broad range of requirements that leave a student with a well-rounded view of the world and an understanding of how different disciplines contribute to broader global issues.

    How can a liberal arts student make the case that they are employable?  

    A recent study sited that communication skills are the top skill employers look for in new grads. This is where liberal arts majors excel. Almost all courses of study build communication skills, from the obvious writing and literature classes to modern European history. Liberal arts majors are exposed to coursework in many different disciplines. They are forced to analyze things, conduct research and form opinions. They need to make a case for their point of view and use logic and critical thinking to formulate a compelling viewpoint and then be able to communicate that viewpoint in a way that makes sense, even to someone who might not hold the same opinion. It’s a skill that will take people far in the business world!

    Employers value critical thinking skills. Why are liberal arts students better prepared as critical thinkers?  Continue Reading

  • Disciplining and terminating employees: A guide for first-time managers

    January 26, 2017 by

     

    For many managers, especially first-time managers, giving candid, constructive feedback is the toughest part of their jobs.

    And that’s why disciplining and/or terminating employees is so difficult for recent college grads and entry-level managers, says Don Maruska, founder and CEO of three Silicon Valley companies author of How Great Decisions Get Made and Take Charge of Your Talent.

    “Many supervisors shy away from giving effective feedback because they fear how employees will react,” says Maruska, who earned his BA magna cum laude from Harvard and his MBA and JD from Stanford, and also previously led projects for McKinsey & Company, a trusted advisor and counselor to many of the world’s most influential businesses and institutions. “When they finally give the feedback, they often have built up such frustration that the feedback becomes an unproductive battle rather than a positive step forward.”

    Because many managers lack the proper training, preparation, or confidence disciplining or terminating an employee, they may ignore the situation. That’s the wrong approach.

    “Don’t let the sun set without giving feedback on any performance that isn’t on target,” says Maruska. “That may sound like a tough standard, but every day that goes by only makes the situation more difficult.”

    Tips for disciplining an employee

    Lois Barth, a human development expert, career/life coach, motivational speaker and author of the new book, Courage to Sparkle, says managers should look to educate and create consensus versus simply just disciplining an employee, or scolding them for poor performance or breaking company rules or policies that don’t quite warrant termination. When there is a situation when you have to discipline someone, focus on their behavior versus them as a person, says Barth.

    “As a manager, when you can call out their behavior versus their value as a human being, people will feel less defensive,” says Barth. “Instead of punishing the employee, use your authority as a leader to educate them on why that policy is in place. When people can wrap their mind around the why they are usually pretty good with the what.”

    Maruska provides this highly effective formula for providing feedback when disciplining employees that yields constructive results:

    Intention: State your intention clearly in terms that show what’s in it for the employee and the firm. For example, “Sam, I want you to be a productive and successful contributor to our team’s growth.”

    Observation: Describe what you observe in objective terms. Think through your feedback so that you can deliver it in ways that identify behavior rather than challenge the person’s worth. For example, “When the sales reports arrive after noon on Friday, our team can’t get the results out in time for the sales people to plan next week’s priorities.”

    Request: Make it simple, short, and direct. For example, “Sam, will you give me a plan for how you can reliably deliver the sales reports by noon each Friday?”

    Confirmation: Be clear about your agreement. For example, “I’ll look forward to your plan by the close of the day tomorrow. OK?”

    Tips for terminating an employee

    Terminating an employee can be stressful and nerve-wracking for first-time managers. Managers who have access to HR departments, or legal resources within their company should utilize those resources before terminating an employee. It may even be beneficial to have HR lead the meeting, and/or be present in the room during the meeting. HR can also provide the terminated employee with information on paperwork, issue the final paycheck if applicable, and provide any other legal, contractual information, or papers to sign. If it’s a small company, don’t hesitate to ask the company owner or other leadership to be in the room when terminating an employee. Eric Meyer, a partner in Philadelphia-based Dilworth Paxson LLP’s labor and employment group, recommends at least two people be present during any termination meeting. The reason, says Meyer, is so one person can take notes of what is said. If there is litigation, this will avoid a dispute about what was actually said.

    In some cases, a termination is obvious, and warrants nothing more than a straight-forward statement, simply saying “thank you for your work, but we have decided to terminate your employment.” Be prepared for the employee to be frustrated, especially if they don’t feel it’s warranted.

    If the conversation goes deeper, do not attack the individual.

    “Terminations get messy when the terminated employee feels that his or her self-worth is on the line,” says Maruska. “You need to separate performance from the person.”

    If feedback is given during a termination meeting, especially if an employee is let go through a layoff, or because the company is downsizing, highlight the strengths of the employee, and tell the employee you’d like to support them in their next step or opportunity. “This is not only more humane but also quicker and cheaper than making the termination a contest of wills,” says Maruska.

    And finally, practice before you go live with either a discipline or termination meeting. Being straightforward and clear can be a tough transition for recent college grads, especially new managers who are now managing friends, so find opportunities to practice giving feedback with another manager, colleague, or friend. Focus on your tone, body language, and non-verbal cues to come off polished and professional. Most of all, be confident in your delivery.

    Having difficult conversations is difficult. But it’s part of what it takes for millennials to be a good manager. Follow these tips and prepare now to succeed later when terminating or disciplining and employee.

    Want more management tips and career advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.