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Posted June 28, 2016 by

Dispelling 4 networking myths

Have you ever read an article and wondered, halfway through, whether the tips and suggestions were genuine or intended to be funny and snarky? You don’t want this to happen when you’re trying to learn about networking, whether you’re trying to build your connections in the workplace, learning about professional networking events and how to feel more at ease while eating/drinking with coworkers, or understanding the ins and outs of networking in order to aid your job search.

Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, dispels four networking myths (jokes, really) laid out in a networking tips article by The Onion in this short video and offers entry-level candidates genuine networking tips instead.


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1. First impressions kind of do last forever… but you don’t need to use hand sanitizer after shaking someone’s hand.

Ignore The Onion’s advice on this one!

No better way to convince someone you’re going to be picky or odd to work with than to break out the hand sanitizer immediately after meeting them. If you have concerns about germs or cleanliness, try to hold your concerns in until you can get to a restroom, and then scrub your hands to your heart’s desire.

First impressions do matter, and they do last. This is true because of both the primacy effect and negativity bias. What you see, hear, and recognize first when you meet someone is what sticks with you. If those things you see, hear, and recognize are negative, that’s what sticks, unfortunately. Do your part to ensure that what people see, hear, and notice about you is positive. Dress professionally and look your best when attending networking events, job interviews, and other places when you might encounter employers or potential employers. Smile! Keep the topic of conversation light and polite. Be prepared to introduce yourself (prepare an elevator pitch).

Professional networking should occur during working hours/daytime; you should NOT confront employers at home at night as The Onion jokingly suggests. This is a surefire way to get yourself arrested.

2. Be respectful of employers’ personal lives and private space.

Even when texting or sending private messages/inboxing recruiters, try to limit one-on-one interaction to working hours or at least daytime hours. Keep in mind that when employers, recruiters, and hiring managers aren’t at work, they probably don’t want to interact with candidates. I know, it’s a blow to your ego to hear that. But it’s true.

3. You should ALWAYS ask people to tell their career stories.

The article by The Onion gests that people will share with you unhelpful, outdated ways to get jobs when you ask this question. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Instead, you’ll hear really interesting stories when you ask this question full of excellent job seeking and networking tips. If you’re listening carefully to someone who’s working in the career field you’re interested in, you might gain insights into how to start a business in your field, how to avoid common pitfalls in your industry, key names of important people you’ll need to connect with, and more.

Did you catch that?—if you’re LISTENING CAREFULLY you’ll gain lots of insight. If you zone out and think about whether you can make it to the cheese tray before the mozzarella cubes are gone (cheese does matter, but not more than finding a great job), you’ll miss all of it, and you will have wasted your night, aside from eating some snacks.

4. There’s no such thing as “selfish networking.” Period.

The article by The Onion states, “No matter how insincere you are, try the best you can to hide the fact that you’re only talking to someone because you want to use them.” Although the article is sarcastic, this is actually true.

People don’t want to be used because of their connections or titles or impressive possessions. People want to be appreciated for who they are.

Networking is about building and maintaining relationships. It is about give and take. Networking, for the job seeker, is about utilizing those relationships you’ve ALREADY built and maintained to help aid you in your job search.

The time to begin networking is not when you begin searching for jobs. It’s when you begin college or while you’re in high school. You build relationships with people throughout life. If you never stop building and maintaining relationships, networking is a natural part of life. When you need assistance with something—like searching for a job—you have nothing to worry about. You simply ask, and because you’ve been sharing and helping and giving to your connections for years, they’re more than happy to give back to you.

For more networking tips, continue reading our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted June 21, 2016 by

8 networking tips for college students

It’s easy to believe networking is something you can wait to worry about when you begin your job search. This is a classic mistake college students make, though, and one you can’t really afford. For one thing, you’re really building relationships and making impressions people already, whether you intend to or not. You might as well mindfully build positive relationships, make good impressions, and consciously network with people right now. You never know—the connections you make as a sophomore in college could be the connections you need to land an amazing internship your junior year or an even better entry-level management position after college.

Soak in these eight networking tips in this quick video by Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, and you’ll be networking like a pro when you return to campus this fall.


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1.Look around you.

It’s easy as a college student to stay in your own zone and to focus on studying, dating, and obsessing about your own life. Get out of that zone and smile, greet those around you, and make an effort to meet at least two or three new people on campus per week. On college campuses, you have access to hundreds or thousands of helpful people who you could network with—faculty members, staff members, career services employees, advisors, classmates, and many more. Even if you choose to live off campus, you can make the most of your time on campus before and after class—and even during class when working on team projects—by building great relationships with people.

2. Get off campus regularly and out of the campus bubble.

If you want to secure a part-time job or internship while you’re in college, this is key. Visit the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, and other local professional organizations. You’ll not only learn about the community by joining or attending community functions and meetings, but you’ll have the chance to network with local professionals and leaders, too.

3. Get involved on campus.

Select at least two campus organizations to join as a college student. Try to join organizations with a mission or purpose which matches your lifelong goals or career pursuits. While hanging out with your friends is beneficial to your social life, it’s even better to hang out with friends who share a common career goal while you accomplish something together.

4. Take advantage of your parents’ friends and your friends’ parents.

Old people can be pretty helpful in connecting you to people who know lots of other people, own companies, manage teams, etc. Never show up at your friend’s house and breeze by his parents on the way to the pool. Always be polite and conversational. If your friend’s parents ask you what you’re doing in school, what you’re majoring in, and what your goals are, stop and have that conversation. It might be the most important conversation you have all summer.

5. Take advantage of career services on campus.

Never in your life will you have access to the myriad of free career services and events as you do as a college student. After graduation, you’ll most likely have to pay for these services via career coaches. Career services offices host helpful events year-round like career fairs, etiquette dinners, and mock interviews. Career services professionals typically have great connections to employers and can help you find internships and entry-level job opportunities. You should also take advantage of free online services like the chance to register to search for jobs at CollegeRecruiter.com.

6. Use social media strategically.

The time to begin building your reputation online through online branding is as a college student. 94% of employers admit to searching for candidates online before inviting them for face-to-face interviews. Unless you never plan on searching for jobs in your life, it’s too risky to post ridiculous, inappropriate content on social media throughout your college years and then suddenly hope that recruiters won’t find it or won’t care. They will.

7. Connect with alumni.

Alumni make great connections because they already have great jobs and typically care about helping students from their alma mater. Your institutional advancement office on campus can help you connect with alumni. Most colleges host events for alumni and often encourage students to attend, too. These events are great networking opportunities for college students. You can also reach out to alumni on social media.

8. Do good work.

Finally, the best way to ensure that your contacts will say good things about you and think of you when they hear of great job leads is to consistently do good work. Make great grades, earn awards, and excel in as many areas as you can. Treat people with courtesy, kindness, and consistency, and people will think of you when asked, “Do you know anyone who’s looking?”

Keep coming back for more networking tips, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted June 14, 2016 by

7 ways to make a good impression during business dinners

Attending business dinners and professional networking events often brings on anxiety for many people, particularly college students and recent grads. It should! It’s not something most people do on a regular basis, and it requires a special skill-set. How do you remember which fork is which? Should you place your napkin next to your plate or in your chair when you stand up to shake someone’s hand? And what if you take a bite of something disgusting and need to spit it out—oh geez!?!

The possibilities for embarrassing moments at business dinners are seemingly endless.

If that weren’t enough, you’re most likely attending business dinners for specific purposes. You’re either attending to network with coworkers, supervisors, or potential employers, or you’re attending as part of the interview process. Either way, you’re under pressure to demonstrate your best table manners.

This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, suggests seven quick ways to make a good impression during business dinners.


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1.Skip the alcohol.

If offered alcohol, consider passing for multiple reasons. Drinking in the company of coworkers, supervisors, and potential employers can be dangerous. If you’re underage, it’s a clear no-no. If you’re of legal drinking age, it’s still questionable because you may inadvertently consume more alcohol than intended and wind up singing karaoke in the bar next door to the restaurant with your future boss watching. Need I say more?

A good general rule to apply to business dinners is “all things in moderation.” Don’t eat too quickly. Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu, but don’t order the cheapest item either. Don’t fill up six plates on the buffet. Don’t hog the conversation; listen as much as you talk.

2. Don’t comment on food.

When possible, stick to pleasant, neutral topics of conversation like family, weather, weekend plans, and hobbies. Avoid commenting on what you’re currently eating; it’s considered rude. You should also avoid discussing religion and politics, but of course, take the lead of your host and/or supervisor to an extent. If your boss engages you in political banter, you might follow her lead, but remember to tread lightly. What you say can and may be used against you at work!

3. Try to avoid being picky or whiny.

Unless you have a legitimate food allergy and receive items which may trigger an allergic reaction, don’t make demands or send your plate back. If you behave in a picky, demanding manner, this behavior says something about you and not about the restaurant or wait staff.

4. Attend career services’ etiquette dinners.

When you have the opportunity as a college student, attend etiquette dinners hosted by career services offices. These events might seem boring while you’re in college, but after you attend your first business dinner, you’ll wish you’d attend them. You’ll learn the ins and outs of formal business dinners. Sure, you can look these tricks of the trade up online and Google infographics on how to set a formal dining table, but there’s no teacher like experience. If in doubt, work your way from the outside in with flatware and take the lead of your fellow diners who seem experienced and comfortable, particularly your supervisors and potential employers. Perhaps the greatest mistake you can make is to appear really flustered and to allow your nerves to keep you from making conversation with those around you.

5. Treat servers well.

Be kind to the restaurant staff. There’s nothing which speaks more loudly than snobbish behavior toward servers and wait staff. Remember, what you say and don’t say—your non-verbal skills—speak loudly to your employers and future employers. Soft skills truly matter, so be kind and courteous to everyone around you.

6. Don’t chew with your mouth open!

This one is common sense. Don’t chew and speak simultaneously. It’s just plain gross.

Whatever you need to say can wait until you’ve swallowed your food—promise.

On that note, the best way to obtain great table manners is to practice them on a daily basis, so consider chewing with your mouth closed every day, even when you’re eating alone. If you don’t, you might find yourself smacking your pizza with your mouth wide open while sitting across from your potential boss. And you know that won’t impress her.

7. Say thank you.

As always, an attitude of gratitude always makes a great impression on others. Say thank you to your hosts, servers, to people who open the door for you, and to others who extend kindness to you during the meal. Again, it reflects well on you and your soft skills when you treat others well.

Need more networking tips to help you obtain a great internship or entry-level job? Keep reading our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted June 07, 2016 by

7 tips for networking in the workplace

Did you know that 80% of workplace conflicts and problems arise from communication glitches? It’s true. You can do your part to prevent workplace conflicts—originating from miscommunication—by developing your soft skills, namely communication skills and networking skills. If you improve your relationships with your colleagues, clients, and supervisors via networking in the workplace, you’ll be much less likely to face problems at work.

As a new employee, particularly as a recent grad or intern, it’s also important to network with others at work in order to build rapport with the people you rely upon for help and information to perform your job duties well. If you want to succeed, you’ll quickly learn that it pays to maintain positive relationships with everyone around you.

Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, offers seven tips for networking in the workplace in this short video.


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1. Know yourself well.

If you can detect when you’re having an off day, take steps to prevent taking it out on everyone around you. Stay in your cubicle or office on those days if necessary or take more frequent breaks. Before you begin working, get an extra-large coffee and take some deep breaths or read some positive literature.  Look at some funny photos for five minutes. Find a solution that works for you. If you find yourself in a negative place due to personal circumstances, and you’re allowing your personal life to affect your work life, talk to your human resources officer confidentially to see if your company offers wellness benefits, including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

In addition, taking a DISC inventory or other personality inventory—ask your career services office about taking these inventories at no cost on your college campus—can help you to learn more about your work style. It might take one hour to take the inventory, but you’ll then be armed with information about how you work best, how you prefer to interact with others, and what to avoid when interacting with others. The sooner you learn this information about yourself, the better.

2. Treat others well.

Treat your colleagues and clients well regardless of their level of expertise, pay grade, or how much money they are spending with your company. When networking, your contacts will appreciate being treated with courtesy, kindness, respect, appreciation, and fairness. You’ll build a reputation of treating people well, and a great reputation goes a long way in the workplace. If you decide to stay with your present company, you may want to apply for an internal job promotion. If you’ve been networking with others at work and treating everyone well, your behavior will likely speak just as loudly as your resume, cover letter, and job application. If you decide to leave your company to pursue other job opportunities, you’ll be glad you treated others well when potential employers call to check your references and hear about how kind, thoughtful, and positive you were at work every day.

3. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and share.

Collaborating and sharing ideas and information in the workplace today is a great way to network with your colleagues and to show them that you want to help, not hinder the growth of the organization or team. Sharing your ideas with others also encourages others to share their ideas, and the workplace becomes a more creative place.

4. Don’t do halfalogues.

What’s a halfalogue? A halfalogue is when you only participate in half the conversation or dialogue because you’re holding your phone, scrolling through a text message or email, and aren’t able to fully participate and interact with your colleagues as a result. At work, you have to put down your phone if you want to make good impressions and build positive relationships with your supervisors, colleagues, and clients. It’s not just rude to play on your phone during meetings; it’s also important to pay attention when stopping by someone’s office casually to say hello.

5. Address people by name.

This is like networking 101. Referring to people by name during conversations or even in emails makes them feel more special, and that’s always a good thing. How long does it take to type out, “Bethany?” Maybe one or two seconds. It’s worth it to improve your communication skills and reduce the potential for future workplace conflicts.

6. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

Be a positive influence at work. When networking, whether at workplace events or during daily interactions in the workplace, keep conversations “light and polite” and focused on positive topics and on solutions, not problems. It’s inevitable at work that you’re going to be asked to discuss problems and conflicts during meetings. What’s important is that you find a way to discuss problems in a positive light and to focus on taking constructive action.

For example, if you’re discussing a challenge you’re facing as a new employee tasked with visiting with patients at a clinic, and you have discovered you simply cannot keep up with the volume of paperwork and still provide quality service to the patients face-to-face, you can be honest about the problem yet discuss potential solutions.

“I am really glad we have so many patients coming to the office. I like talking to them and helping them get set up to see the doctor. I’m just feeling overwhelmed by the documents to scan and know I’m getting behind. I think I need more time to scan documents, but I don’t want to offer patients a lower level of service either. Do you think I could work on documents for 30 minutes in the morning before I start seeing patients every day? Maybe this would help me to keep it managed.”

Presenting a potential solution—even if it’s not the solution your employer prefers or selects to implement—suggests that you’re not just belly-aching about problems. It also showcases your soft skills, including your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These are not just great networking skills but are great workplace skills any employer values.

7. Interact face-to-face whenever possible.

It’s not always an option, but interact face-to-face if you can. Face-to-face communication helps you avoid most communication errors and opportunities for miscommunication because it is channel rich. When you’re speaking with someone face-to-face, you’re provided with multiple cues that help you interpret meaning: voice tone, spoken word, facial expression, hand gestures, and many more. When you communicate with someone via email or text message, communication is channel lean, meaning you’re relying on just one thing–words. Have you ever received a text message from a significant other, and the intended meaning is not the meaning you interpreted? This likely caused some hurt feelings or even a huge fight. The same thing happens in the workplace.

For this reason, it’s best to hold meetings face-to-face. If you work remotely, consider hosting meetings virtually via Zoom or Skype. If that’s not an option, you can conference in by phone. At least you can hear voices rather than simply read words. Simply hammering out emails back and forth gives you the illusion that you’re saving time, when in fact, you often waste time because you create confusion which you have to clarify by writing three more emails. Save yourself the hassle—and build better relationships—by talking to people face-to-face when possible. You’ll probably find that your networking skills and communication skills will grow, and you’ll build great relationships, too.

For more networking tips, visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

Posted May 31, 2016 by

5 tips for enjoying new employee training

New employee training is a basic part of the onboarding process in most companies. If you’re starting your first full-time, entry-level job, chances are, you’ll be required to participate in multiple training seminars and workshops with coworkers and other new employees. If you’re rolling your eyes and downloading new apps to distract you during the workshops, take five minutes to watch this video and read this article before making the decision that new employee training is going to be the worst part of the hiring process.

This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, might change your mind about what new employee training and professional development is all about.


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1. Be prepared.

The night before new employee training, get some sleep. The worst thing you can do prior to a full day of training and workshops is stay up all night and arrive with just a few hours of sleep under your belt. While the coffee is usually free-flowing at most new employee training events, there’s no amount of coffee in the world that can compensate for lack of sleep when you’re sitting in a chair and listening to speakers back to back all day long, no matter how engaging the subject matter. Don’t set yourself up for failure (or for a huge embarrassment, like snoring or drooling on your first day of training). Get at least six hours of sleep, eat a real breakfast, and do some research online about the subject matter on the training agenda if it’s provided in advance. You’ll look like a rock star if you have a few great questions prepared on the training topics, and what better way to impress your new boss?

2. Get involved.

Be a mindful listener and active participant. Sit near the front and middle of the room; this helps you to stay engaged in conversation and pay attention to the speaker, whether you want to or not. If you have questions, work up the courage to ask. This helps you to get involved, but it also keeps training sessions interactive for everyone else, and that’s a good thing.

3. Be open-minded.

When reviewing new employee training agenda, try not to zone out immediately. It’s easy to assume none of the information will be helpful or apply to your particular position. If you make snap judgments about the material being covered or assume the speaker has little to share that’s interesting before he opens his mouth, you might miss out on great learning opportunities which could enrich your career. There’s nothing more attractive to an employer than a new employee who’s willing to grow and learn.

4. Don’t worry about what others think.

Are you afraid to sit at the front of the room because you don’t want people to look at you? Are you afraid to ask questions because you might sound stupid? Are you afraid to introduce yourself to the speaker or presenter after the workshop because you don’t know what to say? Those are normal fears, but if you allow your fears to dictate your actions in training situations, you’ll miss out on great opportunities for growth.

Remember that new employee training is for you. If you can remember this, you might be able to care less about what others think and base your decisions on what’s going to benefit you, help you perform your job well, and help you reach your career goals.

5. Think about networking.

Set a goal to network with at least two participants and one presenter when attending new employee training. If you find that the training topics aren’t that interesting, this gives you a side goal to focus on that’s still productive. At lunch or during breaks, introduce yourself to other new employees or to the recruiters and human resources managers hosting the training sessions. Introduce yourself to the presenter whose session you find most interesting, and ask at least one question about the subject matter. Follow up with these new contacts after the training session on social media via LinkedIn, Twitter, or another popular site, and maintain the connections you made.

Professional networking can help you form amazing connections, and these connections can lead to great career opportunities.

For more onboarding and networking tips, visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

Posted May 24, 2016 by

How to have a great first day at work, Part 2

Starting your first full-time, entry-level job can be intimidating. Don’t let your nerves overcome you on your first day at work. If you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 of this series.

This video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, offers five more tips to help you shake off the first day jitters and prepare for your first day of work with confidence.


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1. Observe.

On your first day at work—or even within the first few weeks or months of a new position—spend more of your time observing and listening than you do talking, saying yes, and volunteering for every opportunity that comes your way. You will learn a lot about company culture, your coworkers, your supervisors, and your new position by observing. You can figure out which circle of work friends you want to align yourself with and which group of friends to join for happy hour. You’ll figure out how to fit in and how to avoid major communication pitfalls. And you’ll avoid getting in over your head by overfilling your plate with unnecessary commitments, too.

2. Say yes to lunch.

On your first day and within the first week of work, you may be invited to lunch by coworkers who are trying to make you feel welcome. In general, it’s a good idea to say yes. Going to lunch isn’t a huge commitment. It gives you an opportunity to network and to learn about the workplace in a less threatening and less formal environment. If you go to lunch with someone and determine you don’t necessarily click as friends outside of work, you haven’t lost anything or made a commitment to joining that person for lunch every day of the week. No harm, no foul.

3. Silence your cell phone.

You have to be responsible enough to remember to do this yourself; chances are, no one’s going to remind you, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than your phone buzzing or ringing during a team meeting, onboarding training session, or worse yet, an all-company meeting. Take it a step further and implement a personal policy of avoiding carrying your phone around with you during work. Sure, everyone needs to send an occasional personal text message or personal email. But for the most part, work while you’re at work, and tend to personal business when you’re not at work. This helps you to stay focused on doing a great job and learning the ropes of your new position, and it demonstrates respect for your coworkers when you’re communicating with them (rather than gazing at the screen on your phone).

4. Use names.

Referring to people by their names is a great idea throughout life for several reasons, but it’s particularly helpful when you start a new job. When you refer to coworkers by name, you make them feel more important. This is a basic networking tip. In addition, referring to people by name often softens the blow when you’re making requests, giving orders, sharing information, and sending emails which otherwise seem cold and impersonal. And lastly, referring to people by name helps you to remember who you’re talking to.

5. Say thank you.

When coworkers, supervisors, and others at your new company treat you with kindness and courtesy during the onboarding process, respond with gratitude. Say thank you if someone opens the door for you, gathers office supplies for you, sets up your computer, or invites you to lunch. You might even consider writing thank you cards or at least emails to individuals who go above and beyond to make you feel welcome during your first few weeks of work. Remember, you’re establishing long-term working relationships with people within your company, and what better way to do that than to demonstrate gratitude for their help and kindness.

For more onboarding tips, check out our onboarding YouTube playlist and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 

Posted May 17, 2016 by

How to have a great first day at work: Part 1

Congratulations on landing your first full-time entry-level job after graduating from college! Woohoo! This is a huge milestone in your career journey.

Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking. Remember the feeling you had when you started high school? You might feel a little like that on your first day at work, minus the horrific acne and monstrous crush on your neighbor.

This video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, is one of two videos offering help to recent grads starting their first entry-level jobs. Here are five ways you can ensure success on your first day at work.


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1. Dress well, sleep well, and feel well.

Get a great night’s sleep the night before your first day at work. Certainly celebrate your new job with your friends and family, but celebrate at least two days prior to your first day. Wake up in plenty of time to get ready for work. We all have those days when we don’t like the outfit we selected for work, and chances are, it will be your first day of work. Give yourself at least 20 or 30 extra minutes to get ready on your first day at work.

When you look good, you feel good. Dress up (at least a little bit) on your first day at work. Wear an outfit that fits into the company’s dress code, but spend a little extra time fixing your hair or makeup. It doesn’t hurt to feel great when you’re going to spend all day long in training sessions, meeting new people, and looking people in the eye.

2. Arrive early.

Arrive at least 15 or 30 minutes early on your first day at work. This helps you to avoid showing up late due to traffic problems or getting turned around. It’s common to feel disoriented when you are in a new town or don’t know which parking lot to use. How far will you have to walk from the parking lot to the building? Are there designated parking spots? Don’t park in those! Knowing this information in advance is helpful. Arriving early gives you the opportunity to network with coworkers and eases nerves.

3. Prepare an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is a 30-second spiel explaining who you are, where you’ve been, what you do, and where you’re going in life or at work. Preparing a brief elevator pitch related to your new position will come in handy when you’re being introduced to multiple teammates, supervisors, and colleagues repeatedly throughout the day. Chances are, you’ll be asked the question, “So who are you? What is it you’ll be doing for us?” Be prepared with a smooth response.

4. Smile often.

When shaking hands and delivering that elevator pitch, smile. Smiling improves your mood and the moods of those around you as well. Start off on the right foot on your first day at work by spreading cheer and goodwill to people around you.

4. Be positive no matter what.

Whether you have to sit through eight hours of training, which you find incredibly boring, or whether you arrive and find that your desk is not set up at all, be positive. Not many people enjoy working with negative people. Avoid making negative comments, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. If you need to ask for help, do so politely and quietly. Avoid making a scene in a fussy or dramatic manner right off the bat. Very few things leave a bad taste in employers’ mouths as a new employee who begins complaining before she’s even begun working.

For more suggestions on starting out strong in your new entry-level job, visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

Posted May 10, 2016 by

How to select a career mentor

When you graduate from college, you lose daily, immediate access to some of your greatest mentors and teachers—faculty members, advisors, and career services professionals who have guided you through some of the best and most formative years of your life. When starting your first entry-level, full-time job, it’s important to begin seeking out a career mentor.

This five-minute video, created by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, will help you select a quality career mentor.


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There are at least two types of mentors you need to find, ideally, when you begin your first full-time, entry-level job. The first type of mentor you need to find is a workplace mentor. This mentor works for the same company or organization but has at least a few years of experience under her belt. She probably works for the same team or within the same division and can provide you with guidance related to company policies and procedures, the ins and outs about how to make coffee in the breakroom, and other important tips about surviving on a daily basis within your organization.

This video and article will help you select the other—and more important—type of mentor: a career mentor. A career mentor is a lifelong mentor; your career mentor has years of experience, preferably decades of experience, and works in your “dream career field.” A career mentor will provide career guidance and mentorship over the course of your career journey. When selecting a career mentor, be picky. You should spend at least a few months observing professionals and contemplating “fit” before asking someone to serve as your career mentor.

Here are a few tips to aid you in selecting your career mentor.

1. Look for elevator people.

Elevator people are defined as people who bring you up, while basement people bring you down. This trait is especially important in mentors. When you’re asking someone for advice and guidance, you don’t want to leave every conversation feeling controlled, manipulated, deflated, or picked apart. Not only does that type of relationship sound very unhealthy, but it’s also completely unproductive. Seek out a career mentor who lifts others up. Is the mentor you’re considering territorial with her ideas? Does she appear jealous when you discuss something you’re working on that’s exciting to you? Move on and consider option B.

2. Go for the “gel.”

Can you completely relax when talking to your career mentor? This doesn’t mean you need to think of your career mentor as a peer; she’s not. You should have a great amount of respect for your career mentor.  Competent communication is defined as communication that is both effective and appropriate. Of course you want to interact with your mentor with an appropriate level of respect; you won’t talk to your mentor about the party you hosted Saturday night or your conflict with your boyfriend. You discuss those matters with your personal friends.

But it is crucial to select a career mentor you “gel” with. Can you be honest about your career goals, or do you feel intimidated to discuss the future? Are you afraid your career mentor will laugh at your dreams? When you make mistakes at work (and don’t worry—every new entry-level employee makes mistakes), do you feel comfortable confessing those mistakes to your career mentor and seeking advice about how to overcome them? If not, you probably need to consider seeking out a new career mentor.

3. Find a great listener.

Motivational speakers may seem inspiring when you meet them, but remember when seeking a career mentor, you must find someone who can listen as much as she talks. You’re going to come up against obstacles over the course of your career journey, and it’s important that your career mentor listen well (without placing judgment). Only excellent listeners can offer excellent feedback and suggestions. Great career mentoring relationships tend to look alike—be sure yours matches up.

4. Reflect on your feelings.

Always reflect on your feelings after spending time with potential career mentors. Weigh pros and cons, make lists, and attempt to make a clear-headed decision before selecting a career mentor, certainly. But at the end of the day, relationships like this must be based at least partly on gut instinct. After going to lunch with your career mentor, do you feel better or worse? When you have a phone conversation, do you feel more positive or disheartened? Do you feel more motivated to go back to work and to try to reach your goals, or do you feel like taking the day off after talking to your mentor?

5. Don’t discount your feelings before you make the final decision about asking someone to serve as your mentor.

Lastly, when you decide to ask someone to serve as your career mentor, be gracious and grateful. Your career mentor is doing you a huge favor and will likely invest hours—if not days—of her life in yours. Mine has.

For more advice about starting your first full-time job off right, read our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted May 03, 2016 by

5 onboarding tips for recent grads

So you just landed your first entry-level job and are graduating from college soon. Congratulations! You’re completing two major milestones simultaneously. After you celebrate, settle in, watch this short video hosted by Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, and read this brief article before showing up for your first day of work.

What is “onboarding?” Why should you care about it? And how should you prepare for it?

According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), onboarding is “the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.” Thankfully, most companies no longer have a sink-or-swim mentality regarding new employees. They have recognized the costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees, and they want to retain top candidates. In order to do so, they attempt to help new hires transition into the workplace as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

That’s the good news for you as a new employee.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have a part to play in the onboarding process, though. Here are five quick tips to ease the transition from recent grad to entry-level employee.


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

1. Onboarding is a two-way street.

When you’re a new entry-level employee, you’ll have a reasonable amount of jitters on your first day of work (and beyond). You’ll feel concerned about what to wear, who to talk to, and how to behave during meetings. This is totally normal.

But if it eases your mind, just remember that onboarding—the process of acclimation—is a two-way street. Your employer is just as concerned about making a great first impression on YOU as you are about making a great first impression on her. Does your new employer treat you well on your first day? Did your new coworkers greet you or ignore you? Did your supervisor have materials and office supplies waiting for you, or did you have to wait for three days for a computer to be set up? These might seem like minor details, but they’re really not. Pay attention to the way you’re treated.

There are many common onboarding mistakes employers make that reflect negatively on the employer and affect their ability to retain great employees (like you!). The way your employer (not just your supervisor, but everyone in the company) treats you speaks volumes about the corporate culture and work environment. This helps you make your decision about whether this company is a good long-term fit for you as an employee.

2. Don’t glaze over during orientation.

Even though orientation at many companies can seem a little dry (okay, ahem, boring), the information covered can actually be important. While the information covered may not be presented in the most entertaining manner, it’s probably information you need to either perform your job well or to function well in the workplace. Either way, attempt to pay attention rather than zone out by playing with apps on your phone. Not only will you appear to be a more engaged employee to your new employer, but you’ll also retain more of the content covered (which might come in handy later when you’re expected to remember it).

3. Stick around during breaks/lunch.

It’s easy to give into the temptation to skip out during breaks or during lunch and dinner invitations, which are totally optional, but that’s when you have the opportunity to truly network with your coworkers and supervisors. Not only will you build genuine working relationships with others, but you’ll also learn more about company culture by attending these “off the record” events. You’ll see people’s true colors and be more likely to enjoy the next day’s “on the record” events if you connect well with your coworkers over dinner the night before.

4. Ask questions.

If you’re sitting through a training session or orientation workshop and feel confused or have a question, speak up! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Many new hires often feel too intimidated to ask questions and wind up struggling in the workplace for weeks, or even months, as a result.

If you’re too intimidated to speak up during a large meeting, take notes and ask your supervisor questions later.

5. Get a mentor (or two).

Many companies now provide new employees, particularly recent college graduates, with official mentors. However, you may want to consider seeking out your own mentors. It’s never a bad idea to find one mentor in your company (someone with at least a few years of experience) and another mentor in your “dream” career field. This person might wind up being your career mentor for life, so select someone you truly admire and whose career path you may want to emulate. A career mentor can provide guidance from time to time and advice when times are tough in your career journey. It helps to hear an objective voice and encouraging word from someone you admire.

You’ve already done the tough part of landing a great entry-level job; just continue preparing yourself for those first few months of work as you transition into a brand new employee. You’re going to do a fabulous job.

For more onboarding tips, read our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Posted April 26, 2016 by

[video] 5 tips for following up after job interviews

 

Just because your interview went well doesn’t mean you can rest. Following up after a job interview is absolutely important and affects your chances.

Imagine this scenario: You finish the interview. You stand up, straightening your new suit jacket. The recruiter smiles broadly and extends her hand.

“Thank you so much for your time today. You should definitely hear from us within the next two weeks about our hiring decision.”

It’s in the bag, you think to yourself while you shake hands with her, smiling and thanking her for the opportunity to interview with her company and colleagues. (more…)