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Climbing career path; career advancement. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted December 29, 2016 by

Ready to climb the ladder in 2017? Here are 10 things recent college grads should do

 

No matter where one is at in their career, there are always things one can do to learn more, become more valuable, advance in their career, and become a go-to employer that people rely on.

While you may not be where you want to be in your career now, it doesn’t mean you can’t get there in the future. One thing recent college graduates quickly find out is that, even though they finally secured that first job, there is still much work to be done to continue to advance in one’s career and climb the career ladder.

So, what can you do in the next year to advance your career? Start by taking small steps that can lead to big improvements and changes. Do that by following these 10 things recent college grads should do to climb the career ladder in 2017:

  1. Find/consult with a mentor: Everyone could use a mentor – someone who can motivate, inspire and guide them in the early stages of their career. Find someone in your field, career path, or network who can be a mentor to you. Start by asking for an informational interview to learn more about their career. Then if you feel things are going in the right direction, explain your career goals and aspirations and ask if they would be interested in being a mentor. Many people would be flattered, and willing to help.
  2. Take a class: Even though you recently graduated from college, lifelong learning is essential to those who want to advance in their career. Take a class on Udemy or Coursera. Sign up for Lynda.com. Take an adult education class on a topic of interest, or register for a class – traditional or online – at a local college or university. Learning is lifelong, and getting in the habit of adding new skills throughout one’s career will pay off over time – in salary, and advancement opportunities.
  3. Do a social media audit: What does your online brand say about you? Google yourself – the next employer certainly will – what shows up? Review your social media profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, others) and check security settings and profiles and be sure they best represent you to an external audience. Seriously review comments, Tweets or photos and remove/edit anything that could hurt your professional reputation. For example, were you outspoken during the 2016 Presidential election, and perhaps commented, through Facebook, or on Twitter, about the Presidential race, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump? Those comments “live” in search engines, and others can find them. Don’t let social media comments, posts, pictures or shares damage your online brand.
  4. Consult with your campus career center: These people are here to help. Even after you graduate. Reach out to a campus career counselor for help with connecting to alumni, for job search assistance and resume writing guidance. Many people never take advantage of this opportunity. Why not reach out to a trained professional who can help?
  5. Complete a skills audit: Even if you aren’t looking for a job, search for jobs or job titles that may be of interest to you. What skills or requirements do these job applications ask for? Is there a skill (technology) or requirement lacking in your portfolio? In the year ahead, focus on how to develop or improve that skill, to become more attractive to an employer. Try and take on new projects at your current job, or find classes or training to help learn these important industry skills.
  6. Be a team player: You’re not going to be best friends with every co-worker. You’re not going to like every project or assignment. You may even sense conflict with other departments. But don’t mope, be difficult, or develop a bad attitude because of it. Why? Because someday that co-worker, manager, or person who seemed to be difficult on a project could work for a company where you want to work. What will they remember? Your negative attitude – if you let it. Be a team player at work, someone people go to for answers on projects, for assistance, and someone people can count on. Your co-workers will remember that, and will remember you if they are in a position to influence or assist you with your next job or step of your career.
  7. Update your resume: If that dream job opened up tomorrow would your resume be updated and ready for you to apply for the job? If that new networking contact asked for a resume to share with other industry contacts, would you be ready? Don’t delay. Updating your resume before you absolutely need it allows one to devote the time, attention and detail to perfect your resume. Even if you are completely happy in your career, updating one’s resume is a good way to help track new achievements and add any new skills to your resume. Better yet, updating a resume twice a year is ideal. At the end of each month write down your key successes and achievements, and at the six month mark, compile those accomplishments and update the resume. Then do it again at the end of year to make sure all is current and best represents the successes you have achieved at your job. If you don’t track it, you will forget it, and it won’t go on your resume, and your next employer will never know you did it.
  8. Attend an industry networking event: Attending networking events, or joining professional associations can open many doors. Make it a goal this year to attend at least one networking event or industry association event in your field in 2017. Why? Because networking always has been and always will be the key to climbing the career ladder.
  9. Create a backup plan: If you were fired or lost your job today, would you be ready tomorrow, both personally and professionally, for the challenge ahead? Figure out a way to save more money (perhaps through a part-time job?), be sure your resume is updated, and you would know what to do next, if suddenly without a job now.
  10. Be thankful: If you are employed, be thankful, even if you dislike the job, your manager, or career direction. Your current job, job title or situation doesn’t define you, or where you want to go. Keep adding new skills, taking on new projects, and learning. Because, the good news is, where you are now doesn’t mean it’s where you will be in six months, one year, three years and the rest of your career. Make 2017 a success by following the above tips and stay connected with College Recruiter to get job alerts, get career advice, and stay on top of trends and issues affecting both job seekers and employers.

Follow these tips in 2017, and you could make great strides in your career development that will continue to have a positive effect not only next year, but in 2018, 2019 and throughout your career. Start now to succeed later.

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

Two women having a job interview. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted December 20, 2016 by

6 rules for women who want to become corporate leaders

Many recent college grads head into the job search just hoping to land that first job to start their career. Others graduate from college with a clear goal in mind: To become a corporate leader, company president, CEO, or major industry influencer.

If the latter fits your career aspirations, and you are a female seeking to climb the corporate ladder to career success, then follow the lead from Melissa Greenwell, author of Money On The Table: How to Increase Profits Through Gender-Balanced Leadership (Greenleaf Book Group, January 2017).  Greenwell is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of national retailer The Finish Line, Inc., and a certified executive coach who helps women and men understand how they can leverage natural strengths to identify and make behavioral changes that help them succeed as senior leaders.

Greenwell’s book, Money on the Table, includes several stories from women who didn’t follow a corporate path and leveraged their passion and leadership skills to build their own businesses.

“When you are someone that others follow or look to for help, you will stand out from the crowd,” says Greenwell. “You won’t need to push your way through.”

To get started on the path to career success, and to become an influential female leader, follow these tips and advice from Greenwell:

1. Be the best team player one can be: The first thing a recent grad should do, beyond mastering their subject matter, is to learn how to be the best team player they can be. Help others, volunteer for assignments, and make the extra effort to move projects or initiatives forward that will enable the organization to be successful. “When leaders see you working for the good of the organization, they will notice,” says Greenwell. “This is the behavior they want to see in their future leaders.” Pay close attention to the best leaders in the organization. Ask one to mentor you. Make it known that you want to earn a position in leadership. (more…)

Posted December 06, 2016 by

Reference checking: Secrets employers won’t tell recent college graduates revealed

Business woman unhappy with resumes of applicants and throwing them on the table courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Milles Studio/Shutterstock.com

References – job seekers submitting them – and employers checking them – seems like a simple process. Unfortunately for the recent college grad embarking on that first or second job, the reference checking process is anything but simple, and clear.

Why? Because just because a job seeker submits a list of references, it doesn’t mean those are the references employers will contact. In fact, the days of providing three references to employers and expecting those to be the only sources employers check with are long gone, says Chris Dardis, VP of HR Search and Consulting for Versique, a Minneapolis-based search firm. Many employers may not even check the references job seekers submit, and it’s perfectly legal, because a prospective employer does not require permission to check any references. Employers are also relying on new tools and tactics to research potential candidates’ backgrounds.

“Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the first place hiring managers tend to explore candidate information,” says Dardis. “Whether you think it’s right or wrong, potential candidates need to be aware of the brand they are displaying on the Internet.”

Jeff Shane, spokesperson for Allison & Taylor Inc., an employment verification and reference checking firm, agrees.

“Don’t assume that employers will only check with human resources or your former supervisor for reference purposes,” says Shane. “Employers are increasingly scrutinizing less-traditional references such as peers and co-workers.”

Employers also use tools like Checkster, to conduct the legwork on reference check gathering, says Dardis. Checkster is a tool that provides hiring managers with quantifiable data on the hire-ability of the potential candidate. Employers also use their own network and conduct what is known as “backdoor reference checks.” Hiring managers learn about the candidate’s previous employers, identify where they have connections and call around within their network to simply inquire about their reputation – all of this being done without the candidates knowledge.

“These days, it doesn’t necessarily matter what your official references are saying,” says Dardis. “What matters is the kind of reputation you are leaving in the marketplace.”

So how can recent college grads be sure they are providing references the right way, and that backdoor reference checks won’t hurt them? Follow these tips from Lynne Martin, Executive Director of San Francisco-based Students Rising Above, an award-winning nonprofit that helps low-income, first-generation students get into – and more importantly graduate – college The organization also offers their free, online College2Careers Hub which offers personalized assistance via online advisors that provide real-time answers and support on such themes as reference advice.

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Posted November 29, 2016 by

How employers are using gamification to recruit recent college grads

The movie the Internship used gamification to recruit new team members

The movie the Internship used gamification to recruit and hire new team members.

Google. Microsoft. Deloitte. PwC. Cisco. Domino’s Pizza. Marriott International.

Those are just some of the employers using gamification in recruiting. What is gamification?

According to recruiterbox.com, Gamification is the concept which uses game theory, mechanics and game designs to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. According to this Society of Human Resources Management article, “Recruiting experts say gamification can stir people’s interest in job openings, project an innovative image of an employer, and deliver accurate previews of applicants’ future job performance.”

John Findlay, co-founder of Launchfire, a digital engagement shop that turns boring content and mandatory training materials into a fun, easy-to-digest, game-based learning experience, agrees. Recent college grads are a tech-focused generation and the use of mobile, video, virtual reality and gamification go a long way in recruiting and assessing recent college grads and entry-level job seekers, he says.

“Today’s employers face the challenge of recruiting and hiring recent college grads and Millennials, the largest generational demographic in the American workforce,” said Findlay. “Many companies are finding that using game-based learning and gamification, which integrate points, badges, competition and role-playing, can be used to effectively attract and assess candidates.”

Gamification in recruiting came on fast and furious, said David Kirk Chief Revenue Officer of CloudApps, a behavioral motivation and predictive data analysis consultancy and solutions provider.

“It was all the rage, especially in the IT industry, where technical skills change fast and traditional resumes don’t always tell the depth of job seekers skills,” says Kirk.

Gamification is commonly used in IT. Want to recruit a top coder? Run a competition to find them, says Kirk.  But it’s also being used in many other industries, like hospitality. Marriott International created a recruiting game to attract Millennials called My Marriott Hotel. This game was delivered through Facebook, and according to the SHRM, allows candidates to experience what it’s like to manage a hotel restaurant kitchen before moving on to other areas of hotel operations. Players create their own virtual restaurant, where they buy equipment and ingredients on a budget, hire and train employees, and serve guests. Participants earn points for happy customers and lose points for poor service. They also are rewarded when their operation turns a profit.  (more…)

Posted November 22, 2016 by

How coding bootcamps benefit both recent college grads and employers

College students using laptop computers in class

College students using laptop computers in class. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

With technology careers in high demand, coding bootcamps have become a popular method for recent college grads to gain the additional skills needed to jump start, advance, and succeed in a career in technology. Coding bootcamps are short – but intense – training opportunities focusing on teaching students the latest, in-demand technical skills.

Revature is a technology talent development company providing a turn-key talent acquisition solution for corporate and government partners and no-cost coding bootcamps for university graduates. Revature recently announced several strategic partnerships to provide free on-campus coding bootcamps with the City University of New York (CUNY)Arizona State University, Davidson College and the University of Missouri – with more partnership announcements planned into 2017. A college degree is required at the time of attendance for the on-site bootcamps. Students are typically graduates or even graduating seniors who are ready to deepen their skills and have a job when they graduate. The coding bootcamp is typically 12 weeks, full-time.

“Revature is training the next generation of software engineers, a profession that continuously needs people current – and even ahead – of the technology curve,” says Joe Vacca, CMO at Revature.We started these university partnerships to create a pathway to high-paying coding careers for graduates across the country.”

According to a recent report, 73% of coding bootcamp graduates surveyed report being employed in a full-time job requiring the skills learned at bootcamp, with an average salary increase of 64%. Roughly half of the jobs in the top income quartile — defined as those paying $57,000 or more per year — are in occupations that commonly require applicants to have at least some computer coding knowledge or skill. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development careers are projected to grow 17% through 2024.

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Posted November 15, 2016 by

[video] Why employers value recent college grads with foreign language skills

 

Fluency or competency in a foreign language is a coveted skill that employers value. That’s no surprise in today’s global economy. However, the reasons employers value recent college grads who have foreign language skills may be a surprise. Yes, it’s a must for certain positions where employers work directly with others who speak foreign languages to conduct business. But that’s not the only reason.

Learning a language demonstrates initiative and passion for self-improvement

“I have hired people who were not as well-qualified as other candidates because they knew another language, even if that language was not specifically needed in my organization,” says B. Max Dubroff, an HR Consultant at Einfluss, LLC, an HR advisory firm, in Albuquerque, NM.

Why? Because learning a foreign language demonstrates initiative and passion for self-improvement. And if one can learn a foreign language, they can surely learn an organization’s language, which for many workplaces, is full of slang, acronyms, and alternate definitions, says Dubroff.

Related: How traveling abroad after college can help land your first job

“Throughout my career, language has helped me make and strengthen relationships,” says Dubroff, who is conversant in German and learning Spanish. Dubroff retired from the U.S. Air Force, having specialized in security, law enforcement, and anti-terrorism. He is the former Chairman of a non-profit board and a former Commissioner. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master’s in Human Resources and he has earned senior-level certifications in Human Resources from HRCI and SHRM.

“I have never had a job where language was required, but I have always had everyday events that benefited from this understanding,” says Dubroff. “I was twice selected for awesome opportunities in the Air Force and my understanding of German was a factor in me being chosen over other very well-qualified people.”

Mastery of a foreign language can also be an indicator of leadership capability and style, adds Dubroff. “In many ways, language is the study of interactions; if you value language, you are also more likely to value other people,” says Dubroff.

You stand out among peers if you have other language skills

foreign language skills helps you stand out and get hiredRecent college grads with foreign language skills often stand out among peers with similar skill sets, experiences, and degrees. While it may not be listed in a job ad, the value of fluency in foreign languages can be a “signal” factor for a candidate as they are compared to others with similar experience and college preparation, says Bettyjo Bouchey, an Associate Professor and Program Director of Undergraduate Business Programs at National Louis University in Chicago, IL.

“If there is a direct need for a company, foreign language skills could be the deciding factor in a screening process,” says Bouchey. “Without a direct need, however, it is a signal to a future employer that this candidate has an interest and sensitivity to multicultural issues and is interested in developing themselves outside of their primary vocational aspiration. It is a signal of a well-rounded prospective employee; someone that is interesting.”

Bouchey, who is also a career coach, advises students and recent college grads to highlight these types of signals in their cover letters and on a resume understanding this foreign language skill, or signal, can set them apart from those that do not possess them.

“As someone who has recruited and hired hundreds of employees over the years and also one who researches employer selection processes, signals vary by recruiter, but this is one that catches someone’s eye and sometimes that is all you need to get your foot in the door,” says Bouchey.

Need more proof? See a host of reasons why employers are attracted to language skills

Auburn University’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literature lists Twenty-five Reasons to Study Foreign Languages. Among them is this fact: Four out of five new jobs in the US are created as a result of foreign trade. This list includes these additional traits that are attractive to employers:

  • Foreign Language study creates more positive attitudes and less prejudice toward people who are different.
  • Analytical skills improve when students study a foreign language.
  • Business skills plus foreign language skills make an employee more valuable in the marketplace.
  • Your marketable skills in the global economy are improved if you master another language.
  • Foreign language study enhances one’s opportunities in government, business, medicine, law, technology, military, industry, marketing, etc.

According to the OfficeTeam 2017 Salary Guide, professionals can earn up to 12 percent more for U.S. administrative jobs if they have expert multilingual abilities. Spanish is typically the most requested language, but fluency in others can be requested depending on location.

“Bilingual or multilingual skills are a plus in many industries, especially for public- and customer-facing positions,” says Brandi Britton, district president of OfficeTeam.

As organizations become more global, language ability is crucial to recent college grads seeking to advance in their career. Since organizations can’t foresee every project or program, they usually track employees’ language ability so they have people to choose from, if needed.  This opportunity could open doors for an unforeseen opportunity.  For example, company X is considering a potential partnership with a firm in France, so they consider employees who know French to add to the core team of experts, says Dubroff. Another recognized benefit in the global economy is the heightened awareness and understanding of culture that accompanies language ability.  This can be a key differentiator for a company to stand out among its competition (marketing, sales, and service).

Related: 5 reasons why recent college grads should consider work and travel jobs

“The reason I respect my favorite IT Director so much is not just because of his understanding of technology; rather, it is more because of his deep understanding of people and culture, which comes from mastery of three languages,” says Dubroff.

When interviewing, be ready to prove your skills

Prove language skills in an interview

Dutch text on laptop: “Spending time with family”

But if you have fluency or basic knowledge of a language, be prepared to prove it. That person conducting an interview may speak the same language and test job seekers during an interview.

“If you say you know a language, I will test you,” says Dubroff. “If I don’t know the language, I will find another employee for you to talk with. If you say you are studying a language, I will seek details.  I will ask how you are studying it and what you are doing to master it.”

Dubroff has interviewed several people who claimed to be fluent in German, so he suddenly changed from speaking English to German. “This not only helps me understand the level of their language ability, it also helps me learn how the person responds to unexpected change in a moderately stressful situation,” says Dubroff.

TIP: Get more expert and free career advice by staying connected with College Recruiter. Check out all kinds of videos and articles in our LinkedIn group, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

How should recent college grads list and reference language skills on a resume, cover letter, job application and/or during an interview? Don’t just list a language, list a way understanding this foreign language has helped develop a skill set or solve a business problem. Think: What did I gain from that language experience that in general is going to make me a better worker? Show that in your application material. On a resume, language skills fit well in the list of key skills. It is best to describe the level of capability without overstating it. A person who says they are “fluent” but has never used it outside the classroom loses credibility, says Dubroff.

Good descriptors include “native” and “bilingual” at the high end, “professional working proficiency” or “conversant” in the middle, and “elementary” or “novice” for beginners.

Employers value foreign language skills. Recent college grads should be sure to use that to their advantage when applying for internships and jobs.

Seeking a career where foreign language skills can make an impact? Register with College Recruiter to get the latest jobs emailed to you! And don’t forget to follow us on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and YouTube.

 

Posted November 08, 2016 by

Coding bootcamps provide students with chance for a career reboot

Group of young business students working together on computers in office. Coding bootcamps provide a unique learning opportunity.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Job seekers who are looking for change should consider this unique opportunity that provides steady career growth–in a sector where there is a shortage of workers. The opportunity? Coding bootcamps.

Coding bootcamps are short – but intense – training opportunities focusing on teaching students in-demand technical skills. They are offered across the country.

According to a recent report, 73% of coding bootcamp graduates surveyed were employed in a full-time job requiring the skills learned at bootcamp, with an average salary increase of 64%. Roughly half of the jobs in the top income quartile — defined as those paying $57,000 or more per year — are in occupations that commonly require applicants to have at least some coding knowledge or skill.

Grand Circus, a technology learning institute in the heart of downtown Detroit, offers a variety of 10-week coding bootcamps that teach skills that prepare students for today’s information technology job market. Coding bootcamps have risen in popularity and are available for students throughout the United States, Canada, and other part of the world, all with different requirements, costs and training. To learn more about coding bootcamps, review this list of the best coding bootcamps in the world, or this comprehensive guide and complete coding bootcamp school list.

Coding bootcamps fill skills gap

“Coding bootcamps have become incredibly effective in filling some of the skills gap America is facing,” says Jennifer Cline, Senior Marketing Manager, Grand Circus. “As new technologies emerge, colleges unfortunately can’t keep up with the ever-changing demands of the industry.”

The Grand Circus program teaches students the practical knowledge needed to launch a career in technology by focusing on both the technical and soft skills that employers are looking for. Students learn how to build functional applications and websites while developing the skills and resources to effectively find a career and work well on a team.

Employers are noticing – 92 percent of Grand Circus grads get hired within 90 days of graduation with an average starting salary of $48,000. Each Grand Circus bootcamp costs $7,500. In Detroit alone, employers like Quicken Loans, Fathead, TitleSource and Domino’s Pizza are hungry for .NET (C#) programmers for enterprise development. Grand Circus is also one of 10 Google for Entrepreneurs tech hubs in North America, serving as a platform for start-ups and established organizations to connect. Grand Circus has also partnered with Microsoft Ventures and Amazon Web Services to provide entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they’ll need to be successful and build world-class companies.

“One of the cool things about our coding bootcamp programs is that we’re nimble enough to change our curriculum based on the needs of today’s job market,” says Cline. “We work with more than 80 companies that hire our students. These close partnerships with tech companies allow us to constantly evaluate our curriculum while also introducing our students to some of the industry’s best opportunities.”

In-turn, students also get support from these hiring partners. These employers host students at their offices and let them see the inner workings of an IT department, contribute to career or informational panel discussions, and provide mentoring and feedback to students.

Coding bootcamps teach more than tech skills

But coding bootcamps do more than just teach code and tech skills. Coding bootcamps teach students how to work in small groups – something that’s a must in the technology sector, as much of the work is project or group based and collaboration between team members is crucial. Coding bootcamps teach students problem solving, analytical, and communication/interpersonal skills – which are all important when relaying results of that project work to management. A previous background in coding, or experience in IT is not necessary. Many students are also seeking a career change, and attend coding bootcamps to shift careers.

Learning code makes you a needed asset in today’s industry, says David Gilcher, lead resource manager at Kavaliro, a woman-owned and minority-owned firm employing more than 300 IT professionals, management, and administrative staff around the country.

“We are finding more roles seeking out prospective candidates with development skills even if the role doesn’t require them daily,” says Gilcher.

Infrastructure and data are two fields where scripting skills are necessary because it includes handling automation, integration, reporting, and analytics. Gilcher has clients seeking accountants with some scripting skills with Excel, utilizing development languages including VBA, Python, and JavaScript.

“A grasp of these development skills, regardless of career field, will set job seekers apart from the competition,” says Gilcher.

Gilcher says most employers they work with are seeking recent college graduates or boot camp graduates with skills in ASP.NET, PHP, Java, JavaScript, C#, C++, Swift, and Ruby on Rails. But in IT, the skill sets are always changing. Those who continue to learn new skills will progress the furthest in IT careers.

“As more clients seek mobile, big data and automation solutions, new development languages will evolve or be replaced with others,” says Gilcher.

Students who attend coding bootcamps often have a diverse and varied background. Grand Circus bootcamps – and many others across the country – are open to students of all backgrounds and experiences, not just college students, and not just for those with a college degree.

“We’ve trained teachers, nurses, finance managers, baristas and so many other professionals to become effective developers, and then we help them land the job of their dreams,” says Cline. “Most grads go on to be junior-level developers, and take the skills we’ve provided to grow their careers long term.”

Employers are able to attend a Student Demo Day at Grand Circus, to get a first-hand look at projects/work completed by Grand Circus students using the coding skills learned at bootcamp. Employers know coding bootcamp graduates are getting specific training in the in-demand programming languages, says Gilcher.

“Coding bootcamps can be a great source of finding new talent,” says Gilcher.

Networking opportunities created at coding boot camp

Students attending coding bootcamps should focus on relationship building with instructors and classmates. These are all valuable networking contacts. Those classmates may have future openings at their companies and contact colleagues met at coding bootcamp. They may progress to manager or executive level roles, and seek to hire professionals they developed relationships with at coding bootcamp. Or, they may someday launch a startup, and seek that hard-working, talented IT professional met at coding bootcamp.

“For those that are attending coding bootcamps, I recommend they maintain solid relationships with those they meet there because those are going to be the people that know hiring managers or will become hiring managers,” says Gilcher.

Coding bootcamps can provide a new career path for students, and certified, trained, ready-to-work job seekers for employers.

“It’s really a win-win for both parties,” says Cline. “We’re helping students find fulfilling careers while also providing talent that allows local companies to grow.”

Seeking careers in information technology? Register with College Recruiter to get the latest jobs emailed to you! And don’t forget to follow us on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and YouTube.

Posted November 01, 2016 by

Why recent college grads shouldn’t overlook manufacturing industry careers

Photo courtesy of stockunlimited.com

Photo courtesy of stockunlimited.com

Seeking a career in manufacturing? Recent college grads should be sure to know this:

Manufacturing today is not your grandparent’s manufacturing. Take a job at a door and window company. Saying one works at a door and window company may not sound cool. But saying one works at an industry leader that has more than 75 active patents, is constantly developing new products, and creating new composite materials while using Smart Home sensors to revolutionize the door and window company – now that sounds cool. The company doing just that is Andersen Corporation, an international window and door manufacturing enterprise employing more than 10,000 people at more than 20 locations, with headquarters near St. Paul, MN.

“The misconception that we hear most often is that there is nothing cool and innovative about doors and windows,” says Jennifer Swenson, Talent Acquisition Lead at Andersen Corporation.

At the core, recent college grads may view manufacturing careers as factory jobs – partially thanks to old stereotypes bestowed by parents and grandparents. But look closer and dig deeper – and recent college grads will find opportunities with innovative companies using cutting edge technology, engineering, and research and development to manufacture the next big thing.

The manufacturing industry allows recent college graduates to pursue “innovative, creative, and hands-on careers developing, testing, and reinventing products using the latest technologies and environmental and sustainability best practices,” says Swenson.

Jobs to be filled

There are roughly 600,000 unfilled manufacturing job openings in the United States and employers are demanding highly skilled workers in order to meet their needs, according to Manpower’s Future of the Manufacturing Workforce report.

“We are at a turning point in the manufacturing workforce environment in North America,” says Tom Davenport, author of the report. “There are major changes underway in the demand and supply for manufacturing workers – many driven by new technologies that will require new strategies and tactics for both companies and employees.”

Employers such as Andersen are seeking recent college grads and entry-level employees with these backgrounds:

  • Engineering: Chemical, mechanical, manufacturing, industrial, material science, plastics, electrical, environmental
  • Supply chain: Logistics, operations, sourcing, finance and accounting, IT, marketing, sales, human resources
  • Talent acquisition: staffing, generalist, learning and development, HRIT, communications, safety, sustainability, disabilities management, facilities, customer service, administrative support

According to Manpower’s Future of the Manufacturing Workforce report, employers also need skilled workers in roles that require extensive training such as machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors, and technicians. The industry also faces a generational skills gap as existing employees are nearing retirement age, creating an even greater demand for workers, especially those with engineering and IT backgrounds, says Swenson.

To fill those gaps, employers like Andersen are working hard to connect with job seekers at colleges and universities across the country. Campus recruiting is crucial in the manufacturing and current college students should pay close attention to campus recruiting fairs to find out when they can connect with manufacturers.

When searching for internships in the manufacturing industry, be sure to research the company before applying, or meeting at a campus recruiting event. Prepare in advance to secure an internship with a manufacturing company.

“Our interns are a true pipeline of talent for full-time positions as interns have the first opportunity to interview for any open opportunities before they leave at the end of the summer,” says Swenson. “We have converted a number of interns into full-time roles over the last few years.  In addition to meeting students at campus events, we begin our interview process on campus, and then invite our top candidates for additional interviews on site, as well as to tour our facilities.”

Soft skills important

Recent college grads must also have the soft skills employers seek. Those include communication, collaboration, leadership, curiosity, drive, determination, problem solving, and the ability to build relationships, says Swenson.

Women in Manufacturing

Careers in manufacturing provide wonderful opportunities for women, and employers and organizations are working hard to promote these opportunities. Women in Manufacturing is a more than 500-member-strong non-profit national association dedicated to supporting, promoting and inspiring women pursuing or working in a career in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing Day is a nationally recognized event that is designed to expand knowledge and improve the general public perception of manufacturing careers, including those for women.

“There are a wide variety of rewarding roles both directly in the manufacturing environment and supporting manufacturing that can be attractive to women,” says Swenson. “Being a part of a team that creates a tangible product that enhances the beauty and energy efficiency of people’s homes is very rewarding for the window and door industry in particular. IT, engineering, sales, marketing, and many other opportunities exist at manufacturing companies just like they do at service and retail organizations. I would encourage women to think outside the traditional stereotype of manufacturing and realize that there are many ways to contribute to a manufacturing company’s success.”

Andersen also partners with organizations like the Society of Women Engineers to share the story of the company, as well as the stories of the number of women leaders in all areas at Andersen.

“It is important for us to continue the conversation about women in manufacturing, as well as celebrate and share the success of women in this industry so students see beyond the stereotype,” says Swenson.

When searching for opportunities in manufacturing, recent college grads should look for employers who provide training and growth opportunities. Andersen provides a number of career development programs for recent college grads that focus on research, development and innovation, operations, logistics, sales leadership, sales development, product manufacturing, lean/six sigma, and much more. Anderson also offer new college grads an opportunity to connect with other young Andersen professionals as they onboard into the company through the Andersen Young Professionals Network’s (AYPN), which helps support and help young employees grow by providing additional opportunities to engage cross functionally, learn developmental skills, and build relationships.

Top manufacturing employers understand the need to stay on top of recruiting trends to attract top talent.

“In order to continue to be the leader in our industry for over 110 years, we are constantly being innovative and staying competitive in our market place,” says Swenson.

Recent college grads can find many exciting and innovative opportunities in the manufacturing industry. Check them out. Your grandparents and parents will be surprised – and proud you did. And so will you.

Want to learn more about manufacturing careers? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connecting with us on LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Jennifer Swenson, Talent Acquisition/Campus Relations at Andersen Corporation

Jennifer Swenson, Talent Acquisition/Campus Relations at Andersen Corporation.

Jennifer Swenson is a Talent Acquisition Lead and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at Andersen Corporation, where she manages the company’s college relations and summer internship experience. Swenson is working to continue to build the Andersen brand on campuses across the country, as well as drive strategies to increase diversity and talent pipelines, as well as consistently create an excellent candidate experience. Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn.

Posted October 27, 2016 by

Health care hiring experts reveal keys to success: What you need in an analytics and data career

Female hospital administrator working at a modern medical center

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Analytics, big data, data mining, and data science. Those are not just buzz words, but job titles for some of the hottest jobs of the future. And actually, the present. Especially in health care careers, where professionals throughout the world are using a variety of analytics and data to help cure diseases and solve business problems.

How so?

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. used data mining to model patient populations and define chronic disease groups, which ended up improving their ability to help diabetic patients manage and reduce complications of their disease. Health care providers are using predictive analytics to find factors associated with high-cost patients. They can detect insurance fraud and even forecast medical outcomes. Analytics and data continually make more impact in health care. And so do the job opportunities. But for recent college grads, understanding the job titles and career paths of analytics and big data careers can be confusing.

“The good news is that opportunity is abundant,” says Kevin Purcell, Ph.D., a Professor in the analytics program at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Harrisburg, PA. “As with any new field, sometimes deciphering job titles is the first hurdle.”

Purcell breaks down these potential job titles and what the job entails:

  • Data analysts: Responsible for gleaning information from data using various software packages and their knowledge of SQL on databases. This is often combined with intermediate level statistics.
  • Data scientists: Responsible for gleaning information from data, but at a larger scale and also often tasked with more open questions. The skill also demands more advanced statistical knowledge such as machine learning as well as programming skills to better manipulate data to his or her own will.
  • Data engineers: Typically software engineers that focus on building robust data pipelines that clean, transform and aggregate messy and unorganized data into usable data sources.
  • Big data architects: Develop plans for integrating, structuring, and maintaining a company’s data sources often employing big data technology such as Hadoop

Chris Lee is the Manager of Performance Measurement at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) in Orange, California. He sees two key skills that are crucial to success working in analytics and data in the health care industry. Those skills are analytical and technical skills – combined with interpersonal skills. Sure, it’s important to have advanced Excel skills, knowledge of databases, strong data mining and presentation skills. However, the most technical people need interpersonal skills to work with others, including non-technical co-workers.

“The main thing I’ve learned in the field that students can’t learn in the classroom is the interpersonal aspect of working with people who request data,” says Lee. “The people you will work with in the real world have all sorts of personalities and traits. Great interpersonal skills will help one foster relationships and make the data analysis portion of the job much easier when you can clearly define and understand the data elements that the requester is asking for. Most successful analysts have that right balance that enables him or her to interact with the data requester to generate/create the correct data analysis.”

Purcell agrees: “It is imperative for both data analysts and data scientists to be competent communicators,” he says. “Data storytelling is an indispensable skill needed to communicate technical findings to non-technical audiences with a focus how the findings can impact the business or organization.”

Purcell says employers look for other core skills such as intellectual curiosity, analytical thinking, and knowledge of software tools such as R, Python, a high-level programming language (Java or C++), and GUI-based visualization.

Kevin Huggins, Ph.D., also a Professor in the analytics program at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, says getting hands-on, real-life experience is crucial to launching one’s entry-level analytics and data career.

“Nothing can replace practical experience,” says Huggins. “Internships are excellent options, but sometimes not available to everyone. Since most platforms are open, contributing to open competitions or open-source collaborations can provide experience where professional opportunities are scarce.”

Carolyn Thompson, Managing Principal, Merito Group, LLC, a talent acquisition and consulting firm, says the single most requested skill set in healthcare analytics that employers seek is revenue cycle experience. “Because of the complex nature of payment and provider relationships, this is an area where the demand is literally never fully met,” says Thompson. “These people have strong Excel skills, good business judgment and can do modeling and forecasting around all the various aspects of healthcare revenue.”

Andrew S. Miller, President & CEO of BrainWorks, a leader in big data recruitment, says employers want recent college graduates who are trained in statistics, math, quantitative analysis, using programs, and algorithms. But ultimately, recent college grads also have to be able to communicate and present the data.

“The ability to take your finding and present to key business stakeholders is critical,” says Miller. “Employers want a person who can not only massage and manipulate data, but interpret the data into insights and meaningful conclusions. If they can’t convey the information in a way that makes sense or sells management or what action to take, their value to the employer becomes limited.”

Analytics and big data jobs are hot and in demand. Especially in the health care industry. Use these tips to advance your career and land that first job or internship.

Want to learn more about the latest in analytics and data careers? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connecting with us on LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Posted October 05, 2016 by

How to market military experience on a resume and cover letter

Recent college grads and entry-level job seekers with military experience can set themselves apart from other job seekers because they have experience beyond the classroom that employers covet.

But the only way to do that is to create a resume and cover letter that highlights how military experience translates to the professional world.

It’s easier said than done, and takes practice, patience, and persistence. Recent college grads should reach out to their college career services department for resume and cover letter writing assistance, as they are skilled at helping veteran students and grads market their resume and cover letter. (more…)