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Posted August 01, 2016 by

4 winning resume tips for recent graduates

Businessman passing document to businesswoman photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

You don’t like getting spam, do you? Well, neither do hiring managers. It may be quick and efficient to upload your resume on popular job sites and send employers the same robo-resume, but hiring managers view these generic, mass mailings as spam. They can spot one-size-fits-all resumes in a nano-second and quickly discard them.

Here are four tips from hiring managers featured in the book, Graduate to a Great Career, on how to create a winning resume:

1. Add a short profile statement and your key selling points at the top “above the fold”

Realize your resume is an ad for branding yourself. Like a newspaper, an ad, or web page, the most important “real estate” is in the top half of your resume. Branding resumes begin with a profile or qualifications statement, a couple of crisp sentences that define your value. A strong profile statement is critical for recent graduates. You don’t have an impressive job title and career history yet, so you’ll need to specify your career focus and value proposition in your profile statement. In fact, many hiring managers told me a big problem with new graduate resumes is it can be hard to determine what entry-level job the new grad is looking for, especially if the grad doesn’t have a career-specific major like accounting or computer science. A profile headline like “Seeking an entry-level positioning” is too generic and doesn’t convey your career path. Remember, it’s your job to convey your career identity, not the hiring manager’s. For example, a recent grad named Erin who was a psychology major pursuing a career in marketing began her profile with the headline, “Aspiring marketing assistant: Psychology grad with pulse on the consumer mindset,” followed by a few bullets outlining her focus, strengths, and marketing credentials through two internships.

2. Expand your skill set to take advantage of new market opportunities

Be willing to take advantage of where the momentum is in the marketplace. During her job search for marketing jobs, Erin, our aspiring marketer mentioned above, noticed big retailers were advertising entry-level jobs and internships in merchandising, an area related to marketing that involves selecting products and evaluating sales performance. She decided to expand her job search and pursue both career paths: merchandising and marketing. Because there were a lot of merchandising internships online, she snagged a three-month, part-time internship at a large global retailer. But Erin needed a different elevator pitch and resume to apply for full-time merchandising jobs, and now with her internship, she had a story to tell. She had a hands-on role in compiling trend and competitive analysis reports, which gave her specific marketable skills. Here is Erin’s new profile statement for her merchandising resume, “Merchandising assistant with strong analytic, merchandising, and marketing skills.” She included new skills such as “completed Excel reports for accurate demand forecasting that resulted in a 10% improvement in accurate buying.” Before long, Erin was offered a merchandising job at a top global retailer.

3. Play to keywords and how the resume robots screen resumes.

The first “person” your resume has to impress is not likely to be a human being but a computer. Due to the volume of resumes that large and medium-sized companies receive, most companies use ATS (applicant tracking systems). Most ATS’s are not kind to new grads since they are programmed to check for a strong keyword match. Since most recent grads have limited experience, they don’t score high on an ATS (Only 25% of resumes make it past the resume robots). If you do have a strong skills match with a job posting, take the time to use the same exact words in your resume so the resume robots pick them out. Your resume can also be discarded if you format it incorrectly. Keep the layout simple with commonly used section titles like profile, work experience, education, etc.

4. Emphasize skills, experience, and results in the “Action + Numbers = Results” format.

Employers now give twice as much importance to specific skills and work experience as academic courses and grades. How do you make your abilities and skills stand out when you’re a new grad with limited work experience? It might take more effort than for an experienced job seeker, but you have more experience and accomplishments than you realize. Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished in internships, school projects, volunteer activities, part-time jobs, and the like. Then, follow this formula to create a powerful results bullet:

Action + Numbers = Results

Did [A] + as measured by [N] = with these results [R]

Here are a few examples of how college students and recent grads have created marketable results bullets out of internships and part-time jobs:

• Raised $55,000 in first month calling alumni for university capital
campaign; the top student performer all four weeks.

• As a brand ambassador interning at X Company, challenged to increase
website traffic, wrote ten blog posts that generated over 240 responses,
and helped boost sales.

• Prepared detailed Excel reports and pitches for business development
group at fast-growing technology company that
increased response rate by 15%.

The key to a successful resume and job search is to go for quality over quantity. You need to invest a little more time to create a resume that is right for each job, but it will pay off. Your efforts will be rewarded, and you’ll be on your way to an interview in no time.

Catherine Kaputa, guest writer

Catherine Kaputa, guest writer

Catherine Kaputa is a Personal Brand Strategist, Speaker, and Author of the newly-released book, Graduate to a Great Career: How Smart Students, New Graduates, and Young Professionals Can Launch Brand You. (April 2016. graduatetoagreatcareer.com). She is the author of two best-selling books, You Are a Brand and Breakthrough Branding for entrepreneurs. She is the Founder of SelfBrand (selfbrand.com). Speaking clients include Google, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Intel, Citi, Merck, Northwestern University, New York University, and University of Illinois.

Posted July 18, 2016 by

3 tips for getting the most out of part-time jobs

Retail, portrait, clipboard photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

As a college student, it can often feel like your part time job is purely for bringing in the cash you need to splash on your expenses and social activities. This, however, is not necessarily the case. The experience gained from working a part time job can be invaluable towards assisting with your selection of a future career, as well as contributing to landing your first full-time entry-level job later down the track.

1. On-the-job experience

As far as choosing a career goes, you may have already decided. Obviously you’ve enrolled in a college degree, and now it’s just a matter of time before you land your dream job and get started, right? Well, actually, using your choice of part time work to gain particular experience that will assist with your career selection is a good start. Sometimes when you gain on-the-job work experience in a particular field, you may actually change your mind about thinking it’s the perfect career for you.

Part time jobs can be tricky to land, but if you are presented with choice, why not select one that’s closest to the type of job you’ll work once you’ve completed your degree? For example, work as a veterinary assistant while studying to become a vet. Use this opportunity to test the waters and see if you feel comfortable working in a similar environment in which you’ll soon be qualified.

2. Future benefits

As well as using your part time job as an opportunity to test if you enjoy a particular type of work, you can also leverage it to land yourself your first ‘real’ job sooner. The work experience you gain during college will be included on the resume you submit for prospective full-time jobs once qualified. An empty resume won’t impress a prospective employer, nor will having one that fails to contain any outstanding information.

Separate yourself from future competition by using time worked in your part-time job to earn credit for future job applications. Accomplishments such as taking on higher duties, greater responsibility, winning awards, and being promoted will all look fantastic on your resume. Ask your manager if you can take on new work so you have the opportunity to learn different job skills and gain broader exposure to the work environment. You could also assist with designing a strategy to save the business money or increasing the level of customer satisfaction, for example.

3. Expand your network

Holding down a part-time job will also help you to expand your professional network. You’ll create connections and relationships with people that may be able to assist you with finding work at a later date. Your manager may be willing to provide a reference for you, or your colleague may recommend you to their employer at such time as they gain full-time work.

Working hard now will pay off in the future, as you present a resume and work experience that demonstrates your commitment to work and your enthusiasm to achieve beyond minimum expectations.

Searching for a part-time job? Visit College Recruiter and follow our blog. Also, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Joe Flanagan, Senior Resume Consultant at Velvet Jobs

Joe Flanagan, Senior Outplacement Consultant at Velvet Jobs

Joe Flanagan is the Senior Outplacement Consultant at Velvet Jobs, offering outplacement services and a search facility for job seekers of all ages and industries. His expertise include resume writing, job search tips and hiring issues. When he’s not trying to improve the unemployment rate you can find him traveling the world and learning new languages.
Posted April 29, 2016 by

20 ways to rock your resume

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Another week without attention paid to your resume. You are applying for jobs that match your education and skills; you have a nicely formatted document; and you have outlined your work experience very well with bolded headings and bullet points like you were told to do. You’re qualified but just can’t manage to get that call for an interview. Could there be that many people more qualified than you? Maybe not. There may be some flaws in your resume you have not realized.

Here are 20 tips that can improve your resume.

Make sure you are emphasizing results, not responsibilities

It’s a common error; job seekers are trying very hard to list all of their responsibilities for each position. Their thinking, of course, is the more responsibilities, the more qualified they will be. What is more important to employers is the results, what job seekers have actually accomplished.

Take a look at the responsibilities you have listed for each position. Can you list any quantifiable results? Did your re-organization save the department $50,000 a year? Sometimes, you may think results will be hard to provide. For example, perhaps you took over a department that had no baseline data to work with to show improvement. And maybe the improvement was qualitative rather than quantitative. Take employee morale, for instance. You know you improved it when you took over that department. But how was the improvement measured? Maybe there was much lower turnover or maybe the rate of absenteeism dropped significantly. These are important figures to have. Never leave a position without gathering figures that support your results.

A lot of space was spent on this item. Why? Because it is the one thing employers say is usually missing from a resume.

Target skills/background for each position

This is the primary reason why you need to tweak each resume for every job opening. If you have background in training, administration, HR, and sales/sales management, and are applying for jobs that focus on one of those, then focus your resume in that direction. Spend far more space on that focus area than on others. Generic resumes don’t really work anymore.

Re-visit keywords for each position

Change out your keywords based upon two things: the job description and the company’s website. Sometimes, reading through the company’s home page and the “about us” page will give you more keywords to include. And keywords that relate to the position should be placed as close to the top of the resume as possible and included in your cover letter.

Include a summary section

A statement of your career goals at the beginning of your resume is not advisable. Companies don’t care about your goals; they care about what you “bring to the table.” Switch that out for a short summary of your skills and experience that relate to the position, with four to five sentences only.

Use standard software

Microsoft Word or a PDF version of your resume should be the only programs used to submit resumes. Scanning will probably not recognize any other programs, and you will never know your resume was unreadable.

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

Milles Studio/Shutterstock.com

Aim for one page

Edit, edit, edit. Take out anything superfluous, reduce sentences to phrases, and remove some of your contact information. Employers don’t need your address and don’t include references unless specifically asked to do so. If you are able to edit the resume to one page, that is ideal. But NEVER go beyond two pages unless you are preparing a CV.

Do not lie

Not about anything. Of course, you want to try to avoid resume mistakes, and of course you want to present yourself in the best light. Exaggerating or giving yourself a job title you did not actually have are big risks. These things can be discovered when references and/or social media are reviewed. Focus on your skills and qualifications completely but honestly.

Use action verbs

They are so much stronger. If you don’t know the difference, here is an example:

1. Responsible for implementing budget reduction by 10% without loss of productivity

2. Reduced budget by 10% without loss of productivity

The second phrase is strong and active. (P.S.: Never use “I”)

Visual appeal is a must

You’ve seen enough resume templates to understand what visual appeal is. The best font now is probably Arial, 12-14 point. The reason for this is there’s good, natural spacing between lines that are not complete and enough white space between bulleted points. Your final resume should have sub-headings in bold (e.g., each position), and a larger font to separate sections of the document. The goal is to make it scannable, not just by a computer program (applicant tracking systems), but by humans, too. No one wants to search for your information.

Be clear about job titles

So long as you are not exaggerating, use a job title that will make clear what you did at a previous organization. Sometimes, organizations have internal titles that mean nothing on the outside. So, if you were a “Level II Tech Support,” change that out to “Systems Analyst,” if that was what your position really entailed.

Be really brief

Do not use full sentences unless you are crafting a CV (These are prose documents). Brief phrases only, please. Remember – scannable.

Perfect grammar and spelling

Don’t rely only on grammar and spell-check programs. They will not recognize incorrect numbers or words that are wrong but are still words. And, in some instances misspellings will not be caught either. If you are really good in this area, read your resume backwards, and you will catch misspellings; read it forward line-by-line. If you are not highly skilled, get someone who is.

Avoid gimmicks

Having your resume hand-delivered by FedEx or courier is not appreciated, and, in fact, is a bit of a turnoff. Just don’t do it. Submit your resume according to the instructions on the job posting.

Graphics should fit the company culture

It is more acceptable today to use some color and graphics than in the past, but these resumes are best suited for younger, more progressive organizations. Tailor color and graphics based upon the culture of the company. If you are not sure, check the website. As a general rule, banks, financial, and educational/scientific institutions are conservative; tech and marketing companies are more progressive. For creative positions, graphics are certainly suitable.

Never state salary

Never include past salaries in your work experience. And absolutely never include your salary or benefit requirements for a new position. Epic fail if you do.

Don’t address negatives

If you were fired or laid off, never state this in your resume. That is the stuff for discussion during an interview. And don’t lie about it either; be as honest as possible, and never “trash” a former boss or company.

Add links

Long before submitting resumes, it will be important to have a professional online presence. Include the link to your LinkedIn profile and, if warranted, a website with a portfolio of your work and/or accomplishments. If you have been a guest blogger on relevant sites, provide links to those posts too.

Update consistently

It is often advised when you start a new position, you begin updating your resume. This is because you want to be sure to remember all of your accomplishments if and when you decide to make another career move, or if, for any reason, your employment is terminated (companies do close). Keep your resume updated all the time.

No tag lines

Lines such as “References available upon request,” are not necessary and just take up space. Leave them out. If you are asked for references or links to things during an interview, you can provide them at that time.

Do not abbreviate

The only abbreviation you can use is “U.S.” Otherwise, spell everything out. Even abbreviations for schools attended may not be known by employers. The rule for acronyms is the same; spell them out.

This article provides a good checklist for job seekers, whether they are crafting their first resumes ever or if they are veterans with several previous resumes under their belts. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a difference.

Need assistance with your resume for your job search? Get a free resume critique on College Recruiter. Also, come to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

Kerry Creaswood is a young and ambitious writer from Savannah, Georgia. She is fond of various forms of art and thinks everything we can imagine is real. To find more about Kerry, check her Twitter.

Posted April 25, 2016 by

10 best websites for resume building

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The resume writing process is perhaps the most important part of your job search. Regardless of experience level, current position, or amazing random talents, you won’t be considered for jobs unless you first create attention grabbing resumes. The following websites are fantastic places to build killer resumes that will get you noticed!

1. CV Maker

CV Maker lets job seekers create custom resumes online for free. The website features a wide variety of templates to choose from, as well as a super, simple interface for collecting information on experience and skills. The site is approved by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and Mashable.

2. Kick Resume

Endorsed by Forbes, Business Insider, and Yahoo!, Kick Resume allows job seekers to create beautiful resumes and cover letters. All of the templates are created by designers, and the styles are colorful and attractive. The site is free with unlimited downloads.

3. Online CV Generator

Online CV Generator lets job seekers design their own custom resumes with an easy, step-by-step, fill in the blank questionnaire. The website claims they can create resumes in less than five minutes, but in reality it will likely take closer to 10-15 minutes, unless job seekers are recent grads with no experience to add into the algorithm.

4. Papers Gear

With Papers Gear, job seekers can either order custom resumes written by professional writers, or they can hire them to edit or proofread their resumes before submitting them to potential employers. The writers can also help job seekers format their resumes.

5. Visual CV

Visual CV is a resume creation website that lets job seekers sign in via LinkedIn. The site can import all of their data from LinkedIn, so they don’t have to go through the sometimes tedious process of adding all of their job histories. The site has a wide collection of templates to choose from. Unlike other sites, the templates are divided by profession. So, engineers will have different template recommendations than consultants.

6. Ask Petersen Resume Writing Service

When applying for jobs, job seekers might learn they need multiple versions of their resumes. Instead of spending valuable time rewriting resumes over and over, they could hire an essay writing service to do that for them. Ask Petersen offers up reviews of the top custom writing sites so job seekers can find the best option for their resumes.

7. Visualize.me

Visualize.me is very different from other resume creation websites because it allows job seekers to create infographic resumes. Instead of a boring list of accomplishments, they can create a mind map for their past.

8. Essays Capital

Essays Capital is a custom writing service for students and professionals. In addition to resumes, they also write essays and cover letters. Hire them to create a resume for you or to edit and format your existing resume.

9. Represent

Represent offers many of the same options as other resume creation websites, but it also automatically formats your resume for mobile devices as necessary. So, no matter where potential employers decide to open the file, they’ll be able to view it easily.

10. Resume Bucket

What makes Resume Bucket stand out from the other websites is once job seekers create their resumes, they can apply for jobs directly from the website.

The days of fending for yourself when creating a resume are over. Today, job seekers have a plethora of resources at their fingertips. These 10 websites are wonderful places to start when they write their resumes. Be sure to choose the one that is best for your particular skill set and career path. Good luck!

Do you need some resume help for your job search? Get a free resume critique at College Recruiter. Also, visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Anna Olinger, guest writer

Anna Olinger, guest writer

Anna Olinger is a freelance content manager from Washington, DC. For more tips on content marketing, writing, and social media, follow Anna on Twitter and Linkedin.

Posted April 21, 2016 by

Reviewing job candidates’ social media profiles

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Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com

As college recruiters review job candidates’ social media profiles, they will find things they like and others not so much. These profiles tell recruiters not only whether or not candidates are qualified for specific jobs, but also if they are the right fit for their companies. Brandi Britton, District President of OfficeTeam, shares tips on what recruiters should look for when reviewing candidates’ social media profiles.

– “Many recruiters and HR professionals perform online searches of job candidates’ social media profiles to learn more about them, including their industry involvement.

– It may be a red flag to some recruiters if they can’t find candidates’ LinkedIn profiles or anything else about them online.

– A good gauge of candidates’ online activity is how often they update their profiles and if they post useful advice or comments on articles on LinkedIn and industry forums.

– In certain fields or positions, a greater emphasis is placed on digital activity. For example, many companies today rely on creative professionals to help build their firms’ online image, so they want to see that prospective hires have done the same for themselves.

– Negative comments, especially about former employers or colleagues, can cause recruiters to question a job seeker’s professionalism. There may also be concerns that this job seeker’s improper language/behavior will continue in the workplace.

– Employers may form conclusions about people’s personalities or whether they will fit in with the company’s culture based on online remarks.

– Pictures showing candidates in an unflattering light may also deter recruiters from pursuing candidates.

– Recruiters should look to get a sense of candidates’ capabilities through their online profiles. For example, check for information about candidates’ work history and key accomplishments.

– It may be helpful to check if candidates incorporated key industry terms that describe skills and specialties recruiters are looking for.

– Employers may also look for red flags like inconsistencies made on applicants’ resumes that would deter them from considering candidates.

– Keep in mind that looking up candidates online definitely has some risks. Information on the Internet isn’t always accurate; it’s hard to be sure what recruiters find relates to particular candidates and not others with the same name.”

At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. We are committed to creating a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and graduates to excellent entry-level jobs and internships. Why not let College Recruiter assist you in the recruiting process? Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook for more information about the best practices in college recruiting.

Brandi Britton, District President for OfficeTeam

Brandi Britton, District President for OfficeTeam

Brandi Britton is a District President for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and places tens of thousands of highly skilled candidates each year into positions ranging from executive and administrative assistant to receptionist and customer service representative.

Posted April 09, 2016 by

5 resume writing tips for recent graduates

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Irrespective of the profession, when it comes to finding a suitable job, candidates need well written resumes to present themselves as the most suitable candidates in front of prospective employers. The document provides brief information about education, skills, and prior work experience candidates may possess. It is equally important for job seekers without making any discrimination on the basis of education, skills, experiences, and the nature of the job. It is necessary for individuals searching for senior positions or entry-level vacancies.

People have several misconceptions about resume writing, about including and excluding things, and formatting. Such misconceptions can be easily rectified after observing templates available on the web. But the real battle starts when new college graduates or individuals lacking the relevant job experience are writing resumes to brand themselves to employers. Nearly all new graduates start complaining that their resumes fail to create the right impression and are unable to help them to get a job interview call. 90% of the applicants think they are not being selected due to possessing zero or limited experience.

Although education and level of expertise matters to get good jobs with high status and to some extent, it is also a requirement for entry-level jobs. Obviously, no one will hire job seekers with inadequate and irrelevant education. Recent graduates might be experiencing the same situation. Despite possessing the relevant education and internship experiences, if grads are experiencing the same situation, they will actually need to recheck their resumes to know what they are missing.

Here are a few simple resume writing tips recent graduates have to keep in mind while creating their resumes to get internships or entry-level jobs in their relevant career fields.

1. Start with your personal information

Carefully, start by adding personal information like your full name, contact number, address, and an email address you check on a regular basis. Avoid misspelling these credentials, as they can be mistyped more frequently.

2. Write an effective objective statement

The career objective section is crucially important, and it should be added just after the contact credentials. In addition to placing it correctly, the objective must be very concise, covering the key components like the position you are applying for, the profession, and the most relevant skills. It enables your resume to stand out among the hundreds and thousands of resumes an employer might be sifting through.

3. Sensibly add educational information

Being recent graduates, the education section on their resumes is extremely important. Some candidates might not possess internship experience, and all they have are their degrees and certifications. Recruiters usually short-list candidates for entry-level and internship positions on the basis of their educational qualifications. Therefore, candidates must be very careful while adding and organizing educational information on their resumes. Start by adding the most recent degree and also mention the net GPA if it is three or more; don’t add the GPA if it is less than three. It’s better to mention the GPA of particular major if it is high enough. Don’t add unnecessary information about high school; instead, concentrate on current activities, work experiences, and accomplishments during college.

4. Consider adding the link of your professional profile

Although recent graduates are not classifying themselves into professional groups, they shouldn’t hesitate to create professional profiles on any of the suitable websites like LinkedIn. Grads are in the process of starting careers as professionals and should not underestimate themselves. Adding their professional profile links or portfolio links, in case they have made them during or after college, will portray a positive image of graduates’ personalities. It reveals they are eager to become professionals, and possess an innate love for specific career fields.

5. Use action verbs over pronouns

Don’t use first person or second person to describe yourself in a resume. Refrain using “I” or “me”. Also avoid using your name to talk about yourself in third person like “Anna is a fresh graduate” or “she is willing to join.” The best way to illustrate skills and accomplishments is using a few action verbs like created, developed, or managed under the heading of the department where someone might have worked. They give a natural tone to job seekers’ documents. Recruiters are well aware that candidates applying for entry-level jobs either don’t have work experience or that they lack the experience required to a vital job.

After considering these simple tips and tricks, recent graduates will be able to write effective resumes to obtain desirable entry-level jobs according to their educational qualifications.

For more resume writing tips to benefit your job search, check out College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Photo of Jenessa Baxter

Jenessa Baxter, guest writer

Author Bio: Jenessa Baxter is a Digital Marketer for Ultimate Recruitment Agency in Dubai. She writes about HR recruitment tips, leadership, HR management, and career consulting. Follow her on twitter @iamjenessabax

Posted March 26, 2016 by

Online portfolios: Using blogs to demonstrate college success

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For some college students, graduation day is coming soon. Okay, there may be a few more months, but after Spring Break, graduation is just around the corner. Time flies when students are having fun with those studies, doesn’t it?

The post-graduation period is a time for job searching, especially if college students have loans knocking at their doors. Today, we are going to discuss a tool (blog software) and method (blogging your portfolio) that should help students in the following ways:

• Remind them of just how wonderful they are.

• Remind them of what they have accomplished.

• Remind college students of what they are capable of accomplishing.

• Provide an online resource for future recruiters and hiring authorities to see the details of what students have done → their online portfolios. Provide them with an opportunity to start (or continue) networking. This may be students’ way “in” to the companies of their choices simply because someone who faithfully reads their blogs works at a company where they want to work.

• Give students practice in many contemporary skills, like blogging, marketing, social media marketing, time management, team management, and many more. These skills may also be added to resumes, especially if they have been consistent with their portfolio blogs, over time, and built up a following (i.e. subscriber base).

It is helpful to keep in mind many times the reason companies hire “entry-level” candidates is two-fold:

• College students fill entry-level jobs, and the cost of employment (including salary) is lower than more experienced candidates; and

• The company can train students into what they want them to be as their employees. Many times, more experienced candidates are less trainable and more “set in their ways.” Or, at least that may be the view of the human resources department and may thwart the hiring of more experienced employees. This is an advantage for students, as recent college graduates.

Even though we are using the term “entry-level” and it may not sound glamorous, students are actually in an enviable position. There are many of us who are disqualified because we are “over-qualified,” even if we are willing to be trainable and moldable. So students are in an excellent position for their job search!

What we are suggesting here is college students add a bit of an edge to their credentials. That is, building a blog that displays what they have accomplished in a contemporary manner. It is like a “living resume,” played out by way of bite-size blog posts pleasing to read and ingest.

It may not be likely the CEO of the company where students want to work will look at the blog, but the idea is they are getting their names, credentials, and authority out there. They have a place to send people when they really want to get a feel for what students are about and more importantly, what they have accomplished.

Starting the blogging process

The thought of starting a blog can be both tempting and daunting. However, it is very doable, and after all the hard work college students have put into acquiring their degrees, it should appear very easy. Why? Students are accomplished, and the process is much easier when students know what they need to do.

There is a helpful article on “onblastblog.com” that walks students through a day-by-day process, with the goal of helping them understand what to know before starting a blog. It is a helpful process, even if it isn’t college-centric. The article should help to take the “scary” part of starting a blog out of the equation. Also, since this article is more about the college portfolio portion, that resource may help students with the blogging basics, if they are not already familiar with the blogging process. I highly recommend they “study up” on that process so what I am sharing here makes more sense in the context of their online portfolios.

Reminder: There are some basics to setting up a blog like choosing a domain, choosing the software (I recommend WordPress), going through the settings, etc. That is where the link above is helpful for going through those basics. There are also some wonderful articles on the Internet. Students can find them through a simple “Google Search.” We are going to move forward with the assumption they have the basics set up and are ready to move on with the content (blog posts).

The graphics for a blog portfolio

We wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk a little bit about the graphics for college students’ online blog portfolios. Of course, one of the key aspects is to include a nice headshot of themselves. Possibly, students want to include some action shots (i.e. graduation; working with something that fires up their passion; etc.). Be creative! Find high quality photos representing who they are and where they are going in life.

In addition to the images of students, there is also a need for a graphic appeal to their sites. One possibility, especially if students want to develop the branding component of their portfolios (the brand of “you”), is to hire a professional. It can be expensive but is something they should consider if they want to ensure they are using the most effective graphics for their online portfolios.

There is a new way of soliciting graphic design examples from the professionals. It is call crowd-sourcing, and it is done by groups like Designhill.com. The idea is to take the heavy lifting and hard work out of students’ efforts to come up with a description of what they are looking for in a design and sort of present it as a design contest to a bunch of professional designers.

By doing it that way, the heavy lifting is done by the graphic designers, as they vie to get students’ attention with their wonderful design skills. They peruse all of the designs, and choose the one that appeals to students. That way, students are not spending all their time (and money) going through multiple iterations with one designer, only to possibly be disappointed with the final outcome.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to interview the co-founder of just such a company, and he explains it much better than me, in this interview. Watch as Rahul Aggarwal, co-founder of Designhill, explains the concept of crowd-sourcing the graphic design process:

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

Turning a blog into a college portfolio blog

Now it is time to discuss blogging in the context of being a recent graduate. Ideally, if college students are reading this, and they haven’t yet graduated, it is a great time to start the blogging process. Of course, they wouldn’t want the blogging to interfere with the time they need for their college studies (or social and relaxation time). The reason it is a great time is it 1) gives students time to network prior to graduation; and 2) gives them time to write articles about their experiences with their projects, while it is fresh in their minds.

Fresh in your mind also creates that sense of “real person,” transparency, and engagement → all very popular in our culture.

For college students who graduated some time ago, this doesn’t leave them out of the game. I have been blogging for years, and I am just now starting to re-purpose my essays into blog posts on my site at Tech-Audit.com. Many of the articles on that site were inspired by experiences in corporate America, but also, many of them were inspired by knowledge gained during my college studies. Now, the next step is to re-purpose my essays.

Process overview

Like I mentioned, I am getting ready to add some of my essays and papers to my blog. Students can set up their blogs to indicate (i.e. in the tag line) this is a portfolio. That way, readers will expect that is what they are reading, records of students’ projects and accomplishments from college. This gives an audience a chance to feel like they are being included in something special.

In my case, I set up a professional blog on the topic of finance and technology and where they intersect. I am about to embark on including my essays into the blog. It is possible, since my current degree is I/O Psychology the blog will morph into a bit of a different topic. That is okay. Today, there are so many options to make modifications on our blogs; the sky is the limit.

It may not be ideal to change the name or tagline, as it would be recommended we stick with the original intent of the blog (and that is what students are likely to read in the “how to blog” type articles), but in this case, we are sort of defining our path as we go. Also, loyal readers will become interested in what YOU have to say because this blog is more personal about students own paths and accomplishments, so an audience is less likely to care if they change the tagline later. When viewers get attached to a blog about a certain topic or company, it is a little different. In those cases, the audience may not be as attached to the person and may become be more bothered by a tag line change. Fortunately, this is a blog about and by students, so they have more leeway.

So, here is my process, as an example for you…
I’m looking through the essays I wrote in one of my favorite classes, “Social Psychology.” I found one titled “Group Cohesion.” Ok, that sounds interesting.

Let’s take a look at this essay that earned a grade of 100%, and then you tell me:

Group cohesion

For research to have scientific merit, one of the components needs to be the analysis of future implications. In other words, what is the outcome of this research? As a part of that analysis, questions like, “How does this research affect the scientific community, or a specific group, or the subject of the research?” may be asked.

Ok, I am yawning, even though I wrote it. It was great for the class, but will people read it on the blog? Honestly, I’m not sure I would read it! So, let’s revise it a bit:

Why group cohesion is so important

Research often plays an important part in understanding how we relate to one another, even how we relate to each other in social media. While we may not want to spend all of our time studying research expertly performed by scientists, it is helpful to consult what has been studied.

One reason quality research is so important is it analyzes future implications. In other words, if done correctly, it helps to identify what the outcome of the research is. After all, how important is the research if it doesn’t help us to apply it to what we are doing and help us to improve our skills?

Ok, it might still bore us a little, but college students can start to see how they can take their academic work and play with it, mold it, and make it into something interesting. It is possible, if students truly enjoy writing, they may end up with a completely different blog post when they are done.

Remember those APA formatted references at the end? I suggest students find a link to the resource (journal), even if it is a link that requires payment and use that inside their articles (instead of the “References” section). Why do I suggest that? Many times readers are confused and steer away from their posts because they don’t know what to do with the “References” section. It is easier for readers to understand a link in the middle of the article and helps them feel more comfortable. Students can still write a final paragraph thanking the researchers of the journal articles they consulted, but they want to ensure it is written in a personable enough manner that readers are not scared off and away from their blogs.

Don’t forget how to format those articles with proper APA formatting. College students never know when they will have the opportunity to be published in the peer-reviewed journal. That is worth retaining those skills they have learned in college!

Note to the non-writers:
If students detest blogging, there is still a place for them. What I described above was how to blog their essays. They are certainly welcome to just paste the essay “as is,” and let people know they are reading students’ essays (see note at the end of this article regarding the university and any policy concerns). That is ok. It is about managing expectations, and letting your readers know what they will find on the site/blog/portfolio.

University student receiving award courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Volt Collection/Shutterstock.com

Those accomplishments

We didn’t forget about the accomplishments! Sometimes, those are the easiest because college students can insert an image of themselves receiving an award, or a snap of the award itself, or whatever the accomplishment is. Maybe they have a video. It can be uploaded to YouTube and inserted into a blog post with a description of the accomplishment. Again, don’t forget to consult the “how to blog” expert articles for more details and tips on how to do this.

After blogging everything possible about the portfolio

Yay! Congrats to you!

Keep in mind college students may feel like they have blogged everything they can think of as far as accomplishments and school papers, essays, etc., but… They are accomplishing things every day! The path of accomplishment is not over yet. So, there is no reason why students cannot continue to write about their current accomplishments and insights as they come to them. In fact, I dare say they have become experts in other areas, even beyond what they learned in college by the time they’ve reached this point.

Granted, students may not feel like they are writers, and they have had it with writing. I can’t assume just because I love writing that means students love writing, now can I? That is ok, too. In that case, they want to package up their blogs as if they are literally that online portfolio of what they have accomplished in their degrees.

Promoting a portfolio

College students will want to include the link on their LinkedIn profiles. There are options to insert external links, and that is a great place to insert the link to their blogs/portfolios. If students have opted to keep it as just a portfolio, then list it as a portfolio. If they have opted for it to be a continuing blog, then list it as a professional blog.

Now it’s time to get started

Do students have ideas coming to mind? Initially, they can almost copy/paste their work from college. Please do keep in mind any plagiarism rules that may exist in college. If they are currently attending college that may be a concern; ensure writing on students’ blogs doesn’t flag a “TurnItIn” alert that affects their current studies. Students will definitely want to check with their universities if they are current students and have these concerns.

I hope college students have seen this is not the impossible task. If they start something like the blog set-up, and are not entirely sure they “did it right” or they want their portfolios to always look that way, they do have the option to change it easily without impacting the content they have entered. This allows students to get started today and tweak it as they go.

Isn’t that really the way life works? We have to get off our duff to get going and get it done, but we can fine-tune our process as we experience more life lessons along the way. It doesn’t stop at college graduation. We have the opportunity to continue the learning process and impart that to others, as we go through life. Now, let’s share it, shall we?

Looking for additional job search tips for college students and recent graduates? Go to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Photo of Deborah Anderson

Deborah Anderson, guest writer

By Deborah Anderson

http://www.Tech-Audit.com

@techauditcom and @socialwebcafe

Deborah Anderson is on her way to finishing her doctorate in I/O Psychology. Along the way, she has served as Chief Technology Officer in the financial industry (in Beverly Hills), Director of Marketing in the health industry, Host of an iHeart Radio marketing talk show, and even a #1 Jazz Singer (Deborah E). From this background, she shares insights to help others overcome their challenges and succeed in their personal and professional lives.

Posted March 21, 2016 by

Social media showcases job seekers’ skills

Social media symbol courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Arcady/Shutterstock.com

While many college students embrace social media for personal use, it also serves a professional purpose. Using social media websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others help job seekers create a brand for themselves based on who they are and what they can offer employers. With recruiters and hiring managers using social media to find job candidates, showcasing relevant skills is important for all job seekers, including college students and recent graduates.

• Create a personal brand – Your personal brand represents who you are and what you have to offer. It is what separates you from everyone else. Recruiters need to know if potential candidates have a brand that fits their company culture.

Lean on LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a networking website for professionals. College students can highlight their skills and areas of expertise, as well as connect on LinkedIn groups based on their career fields. Through connections on the site, you can express their interests in career fields, and learn more about career fields and job opportunities. Another way to show passion for an industry is to write about it. Providing original and unique content demonstrates to recruiters and hiring managers how knowledgeable you are in specific areas.

Use Facebook and Twitter – For job seekers who like keeping up with the latest news in their industries, Facebook and Twitter might interest them. On Facebook, you can participate in groups relevant to your career field and learn more about potential employers who are searching for the best job candidates. On Twitter, while there aren’t groups, you can use hashtags with keywords industry insiders will notice, and stay up-to-date with companies. You can also participate in discussions hosted by companies on Twitter, retweet content posted by companies’ Twitter handles, and reply to Tweets by companies with thoughtful comments to gain positive attention by those employers.

Build an online portfolio – Social media profiles give job seekers an opportunity to build online portfolios. Similar to a resume, job seekers should highlight skills and accomplishments relevant their career fields. Consider including articles, photos, and videos for the portfolio.

More than anything else, hiring managers want to know candidates can do the job. Your school, major, GPA, and class projects help hiring managers determine that, so showcasing your accomplishments with related work experience will give you a big leg up on the competition. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook to demonstrate qualifications, as many recruiters will Google candidates’ names if they’re interested in hiring you. Be sure that when recruiters search for you online, they find nothing but positive results.

Need more tips on social media related to your job search? Follow our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube for career tips and motivation.

At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent grad deserves a great career. We work to create a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and grads to great careers.

Posted February 11, 2016 by

Multitasking doesn’t matter to recruiters

In college recruiting, employers don’t value multitasking as one of the skills at the top of their list. While multitasking may demonstrate effort, it does not necessarily produce the best results. Many students list multitasking on their resumes because multitasking is a popular soft skill candidates have been taught to list on their resumes. The bottom line is recruiters want to hire candidates who produce results.

Anne Grinols, Assistant Dean for Faculty Development and College Initiatives at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, asserts that employers care more about hiring candidates who have outlined their accomplishments in detail on their resumes over candidates who have simply listed lots of popular soft skills at the top of their resumes.

Photo of Anne Grinols

Anne Grinols, Assistant Dean for Faculty Development and College Initiatives at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business

“Job candidates who say they can multitask think they are saying they can accomplish more than others because they can focus on more than one thing at once. However, multitasking can also be seen as a negative. I think this is because efforts to multitask have had unfortunate results: poor outcomes and burnout of those trying to do it for extended periods of time.

In the real world, most of the time, results count more than the process to achieve them. A good process is more likely to result in consistent, good results; so process matters. But it matters precisely because of the results, not on its own account.

Employers are more interested in outcomes than efforts. Multitasking refers to the latter. I would not use the term ‘multitasking’ on my resume. Instead, I would indicate expertise in multiple areas, timely production and excellence in outcomes.”

Looking for more resume tips? Visit College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Anne Grinols serves as Assistant Dean for Faculty Development and College Initiatives in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. She teaches in Baylor’s full-time and online MBA programs. Her research areas include interpersonal communication, ethics, and online education. As assistant dean, she supports faculty development in teaching and research, and has a leadership role in the ethics initiatives in the business school. Before coming to Baylor in January 2004, Grinols was director of management communication for the University of Illinois Business School, where she taught management communication and critical thinking for business from 1996-2003 and oversaw the MBA Communication Center.

Posted January 28, 2016 by