ARTICLES, BLOGS & VIDEOS

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

Posted October 07, 2019 by

Believe it or Not, Employers Don’t Want People Who are Willing to Do Anything

One of the most common questions that career coaches get asked by students and recent graduates is why they can’t get hired by an employer despite being willing to do any work asked by that employer. The response is almost always a variation of, “Well, that’s the reason.” Employers don’t want to hire people who are willing to do anything, because few have the time or patience to coach candidates. They want candidates to fill a specific role and be qualified to do so.

But, I Just Want to Get My Foot in the Door!

Hey, we get it. You’re willing to do any task just to get your foot in the door and then work your way into your dream job. You probably have skills that are transferable to a wide variety of roles, and that’s great. You may be happy to work for any organization, as long as it’s a dynamic and growing company. You might even be willing to start in the mailroom (assuming the company still has a mailroom) if that’s what it takes. The bottom line: you just want a chance to prove yourself.

Unfortunately, most employers aren’t impressed by all that “willingness” and flexibility. They want you to make their job easy. You see, corporate recruiters, those who work in-house for a specific employer, are typically evaluated on how many people they hire. If they take extra time to help you or work with you to figure out which of their job openings you’re best suited for, chances are they could have helped their employer hire multiple people in that same amount of time. Additionally, third-party recruiters (aka headhunters or executive recruiters) are under even more time pressure because they’re usually paid a straight commission only when a candidate they refer to an employer is hired by that employer. For them, time truly is money.

Make their Job Easy

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s much more effective to be very specific in your job search. Commit to the type of organization you want to work for and a shortlist of roles that you want to fill, and then pursue those diligently. It may also be helpful to narrow your search to a few metro areas, instead of “anywhere in the world.” To do this effectively, you must do your homework on the industry and the company before applying. (For tips on researching companies, read “Things You Should Know About a Company Before Applying.”

Then, when you apply, customize your cover letter and resume to highlight the skills and accomplishments that fit the job description. This includes using the exact job title the employer uses. For instance, if you’re applying for a sales position and the job title the employer uses in the description is “account manager,” then be sure your cover letter and resume also uses “account manager” when describing what work you’ve done and what work you want to do. Even if your school calls your major “information technology,” if the employer states that they are looking for a computer science major, then be sure your resume and cover letter refer to your major as “computer science.” This lets the employer know that you understand what they’re looking for and have both the interest and skills to fill the role.

It’s also important to keep in mind that applicant tracking software (ATS) looks for matches by searching for keywords in your resume. This is yet another reason to use exact words from the job description. While it may be more work to customize each resume you send out, it’s better than being rejected by a robot!

Say the Right Things

When you start to engage with the recruiter or land that interview, be sure that everything you talk about is geared toward the benefit of the employer. You may be proud of your involvement in several clubs at school, which shows a wide range of interests. However, unless you can turn this experience into an asset that the company is looking for, such as “effective time management” it’s better to focus on the skills the employer has clearly stated in the job description. You may be dreaming of relocating to the company’s European offices one day, but if the recruiter is trying to fill a position in Minneapolis, don’t tell her you’d love to work in Paris, unless she asks you if you’d be open to relocating at some point.

In other words, just as you customize your cover letter and resume, be sure to tailor your responses to the specific position for which you are interviewing. By doing some upfront research and being intentional in your job search, your chance of getting your foot in the door (and getting the job you really want) will increase dramatically.

Related posts:

  1. How do I Decide What Kind of Job to Look For?
  2. Preparation is Key to a Successful Job Search
Posted September 23, 2019 by

5 Transferable Skills You Need to Succeed

Did you know that most people will have at least three different careers during their working life? And, as you might expect, many of the skills used in one job will be transferable to another.

Transferable skills are skills and abilities that are relevant and helpful across different areas of life—academically, professionally and socially. These “portable” skills can make the difference between getting the job you want and being passed over. While technical skills are important, employers place a very high value on these softer skills because they are difficult, if not impossible, to teach on the job.

The good news is that you’ve acquired many transferable skills throughout your life—from home, school, jobs and even social interactions. So, while you may think that a lack of industry-specific experience will prevent you from getting a job, that is not always the case. This is especially true as you look for your first real job, when many employers are looking at potential versus experience.

The Top Five

There are certain transferable skills that employers recognize as being present in the most effective employees. In fact, many employers use some form of psychometric testing in the interview process, which assesses a candidate’s personality type and interpersonal skills. That’s because these skills are valuable in all industries.

While there are many transferable skills, industry experts have consistently named the following skills as the most important when considering a candidate’s overall potential:

  1. The ability to work effectively in a group or team. Many positions will require you to work as part of a team to achieve goals. By demonstrating your ability to work well with others through examples on your resume or cover letter, you reassure employers that you will “fit in” and offer valuable contributions to the team. You can use examples from previous work experience, team projects in schools, sports teams or even social groups.
  2. The ability to lead others. Even if you’re not applying for a leadership position. you may be asked to take the lead in certain situations. Leadership skills are also key to moving up within an organization (remember, they are looking at your potential!). Of course, being a good leader involves many skills, such as knowing how to motivate others, take responsibility for actions, and delegate tasks, to name just a few. Offer some examples of situations where you took a leadership role and accomplished a goal.
  3. The ability to multitask (organization and time management skills). While the ability to multi-task is considered one of the most desirable skills in today’s digital world, numerous studies also show that multi-tasking is causing a great deal of frustration and stress in the workplace. The people who manage to do it effectively (without having a meltdown!) are those that understand how to manage their time and have strong organizational skills. In other words, successful multi-tasking requires establishing priorities, planning and organizing tasks, and then managing your time well. You can demonstrate these abilities by mentioning occasions when you’ve structured and arranged resources to achieve objectives, planned and executed an event or large project, or met a series of deadlines. For instance, how did you manage your coursework with extracurricular activities?
  4. The ability to communicate effectivelyboth verbally and in written form. Remember that communication involves both listening and conveying ideas clearly. Even if the position you’re applying for is highly technical, most jobs require some type of written and verbal communication. Your resume and cover letter provide one example of your writing skills (so make sure they are free of errors, as well as clear and concise), and an interview can demonstrate your listening and verbal skills. But what other evidence can you supply? Do you have experience producing reports or marketing materials? Have you contributed to articles or written an essay that you’re proud of? Have you given presentations or used your communication skills to inspire or motivate a group? Did you take a public speaking course?
  5. The ability to be creative. You don’t have to be an artist or take up crafts to be creative! The type of creativity that employers look for has more to do with your ability to see patterns within challenges and come up with solutions. Lots of people have ideas, but creative people know how to bring those ideas to life. It also involves critical thinking or problem-solving skills. If you think about it, you’ve been developing problem-solving skills your entire life! Try to highlight examples of being faced with a challenge, asked critical questions, brainstormed ideas, decided on a course of action and then made it happen.

These are just some of the transferable skills that will help you land the right job and succeed throughout your career. Remember that employers aren’t looking for just one or two of these skills, but a combination of them. When applying for a job, you should highlight the transferable skills that are most relevant to the position, but don’t be afraid to provide examples of others, especially if they represent your strengths.

Most importantly, keep developing your abilities. These transferable skills will apply in all professions and provide the foundation for whatever careers you pursue over the years.

Sources:

Knock ‘em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide,” by Martin John Yate, CPC, Simon and Shuster, 2017.

“The 7 Transferable Skills To Help You Change Careers, by Martin Yate, Forbes, 2018.

“What are Transferable Skills,” Skills You Need, Updated 2019.

Posted September 19, 2019 by

Employing People with Disabilities Shouldn’t Be a Challenge

(Note: Both interviewees, Paula Golladay and Gerry Crispin, will be panelists at the upcoming College Recruiting Bootcamp on D&I at EY on December 12th in New York City.)

While there has been an increased effort over recent years to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, the focus has been primarily on gender and ethnic diversity. That leaves out a large and important group—people with disabilities. Although the Americans With Disabilities Act became law in 1990, many would agree that employers have failed to live up to the promise of this act.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 29 percent of Americans ages 16 to 64 with a disability were employed as of June 2018, compared with nearly 75 percent of those without a disability. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities who are actively seeking work is 9.2 percent—more than twice as high as for those without a disability (4.2 percent).

Fortunately, a recent study (the first of its kind) has dispelled many of the misperceptions about employing people with disabilities. In fact, the results, as reported by Accenture and the American Association of People with Disabilities, show that companies that hire people with disabilities outperform other organizations, increasing both profitability and shareholder returns. More specifically, revenues were 28% higher, net income was 200% higher and profit margins were 30% higher.

As it turns out, employing people with disabilities is good business.

“Persons with disabilities present business and industry with unique opportunities in labor-force diversity and corporate culture, and they’re a large consumer market eager to know which businesses authentically support their goals and dreams,” said Ted Kennedy, Jr., Disabilities Rights Attorney, American Association of People with Disabilities. “Leading companies are accelerating disability inclusion as the next frontier of social responsibility and mission-driven investing.”

So, how do job seekers with disabilities find opportunities, address their disability with potential employers and advocate for inclusion? We talked to two experts on the subject to answer some common questions. While you’ll find more agreement between our experts than not, there are some differences in opinions, which provides some thought-provoking insights to consider.

1. Should job seekers with disabilities bring these to the attention of a prospective employer and, if so, when and how?

Paula Golladay: This can be a touchy area, and one that’s very personal. Overall, you are not required to disclose the fact that you have a disability, unless hired under the authority of Schedule A. Schedule A refers to a special hiring authority that gives Federal agencies an optional, and potentially quicker way to hire individuals with disabilities. The other exception is if your disability requires a special accommodation. For instance, if you have a mobility issue, you need to disclose this to ensure that you can gain access to and navigate the building. In general, I tell people to wait to disclose their disability until they must do so, because, unfortunately, people still have biases.

Gerry Crispin: Absolutely and fearlessly. It’s better to learn whether acceptance is an issue as quickly as possible. However, timing is essential. If the hiring process will require an accommodation for testing, interviews, etc. then you must make the disclosure upfront. If an accommodation to the job itself will be necessary, then I’d suggest discussing the disability at the end of the interview as a precursor to employment—assuming you’ll be offered the job. If your disability/different ability is not relevant to the job, than it should not be an issue. If you demonstrate that you have trust issues before there is evidence to be concerned, then you’re leading with a negative attitude. Let the employer’s representative, the hiring manager or the recruiter be the one to accept your disability, or not; selecting you based on your ability to do the job alone, and then manage the evidence they present regarding acceptance accordingly.

2. Is it easier for those with disabilities to find career-related employment with some employers than others and, if so, how should job seekers identify which employers are more likely to hire someone with a disability?

Paula: Yes. For instance, the federal government has a mandate to hire a certain percentage of people with disabilities each fiscal year—12% with non-targeted disabilities and 2% with targeted (more severe) disabilities. Of course, some federal agencies do better than others at fulfilling these requirements. And, certain jobs have medical or physical requirements to consider. In addition to the federal government, I would look for a business that owns one or more contracts with the federal government of at least $10,000 annually. These companies must meet similar hiring mandates. Do your research. Disability.gov lists information on user-friendly sites designed for those with disabilities. Also, every public college or university is required to provide career services for people with disabilities.

Gerry: There are many ways to find employers that are more likely to hire those with disabilities. Employers typically want to publicize their commitment to diversity and hiring candidates with disabilities. If you do some research and look at the career section on companies’ websites, you may find evidence such as photos of employees with disabilities, testimonials, videos of employees with disabilities doing their jobs, and employee affinity groups dedicated to mentoring and promoting opportunities and acceptance of people with disabilities. Companies may also display awards they’ve received from national disability organizations or feature case studies. In addition, you may note whether the company is involved with community activism and/or philanthropy that is consistent with the values of people with disabilities.

3. Some employers, particularly those which are small, have little experience managing employees with disabilities and so may be reluctant to extend an offer of employment to a disabled job seeker. What should a disabled job seeker do when they encounter such an employer?

Paula: Technically, that’s discrimination, but it’s usually very difficult to prove. Certain questions are illegal, in which case you are within your rights to say, “You can’t ask that.” For example, an employer can describe the job and ask if you are able to perform the functions, but cannot ask “Are you disabled?” or “Have you ever filed a worker’s compensation claim?” The best thing to do is to be your own advocate and demonstrate that your disability doesn’t affect your ability to do the job. It may not be fair, but it is a reality that disabled persons must often go the extra three miles to prove themselves. Come to interviews prepared to address potential issues. You must sell yourself and your ability to do the job. In truth, your attitude can be your biggest barrier or your greatest asset. Be knowledgeable and confident in your behavior.

Gerry: Ask them “Are you aware if any of your employees have friends or relatives with disabilities—here or, perhaps with a different employer? What have you learned from them about how people with disabilities want or need to be treated?” Their answers will tell you whether it’s useful to move forward.

4. Is there a difference between diversity and inclusion and, if so, what?

Paula: Oh, yes there is! As mentioned in the introduction, employers are making an effort to increase diversity, but when it comes to making people feel included, they often fall short. For example, if there’s a meeting or a company function that an employee with a disability is unable to attend due to accessibility or telecommunications issues, then the company is not being inclusive. It could be as simple as making restrooms accessible, or more complex, such as offering accommodations for those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, or those with cognitive issues to take part in presentations, meetings, etc. To advocate for inclusion and acceptance, you must own and accept your disability. If you can’t accept your disability, then how can you expect others to do so? Overall, it’s important to be positive and address issues professionally.

Gerry: I’m told there is, mainly by folks who believe that diversity is too aligned with more traditional issues around race and compliance. To me, inclusion tends to point to how we are all diverse…and the same. If there is a difference, then diversity tends to focus on what we can see—observable behavior, gender, skin color, etc., while inclusion offers a path to how we might all behave to ensure we understand, respect and learn from our differences.

Right now, the labor market in the U.S. is very tight, and yet, many people with disabilities remain unemployed. The Accenture analysis reveals a very inspiring statistic: Hiring only 1% of the 10.7 million people with disabilities has the potential to boost the GDP by an estimated $25 billion! Perhaps, once companies begin to realize the economic benefits, as well as the fact that diversity of all types provides fresh insights (especially into developing and marketing products and services that meet the needs of diverse consumers), they will embrace the idea of creating both diverse and inclusive workplaces.

_________________________________________________________________________

Paula B. Golladay

Paula Golladay’ s previous employment was within the profession of a Sign Language Interpreter for over 25 years. Currently, Paula serves as the Schedule A Program Manager for the Internal Revenue Service. She has helped the IRS develop leveraged partnerships nationwide to include, but not limited to, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations vocational rehabilitation centers that foster employment for Individuals with Disabilities (IWD). Paula has developed presentations that encompass all aspects of disability employment. In addition, she has presented on topics such as disability culture and diversity and inclusion. Paula has been recognized by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Labor (DOL) and other federal and private sector organizations as a subject matter expert regarding Schedule A hiring, promotion and retention. She has participated in local and national workshops both within the interpreting field and employment arena. Her expertise regarding how to prepare a federal resume is well recognized by established partnerships.

She has presented previously at Deaf/Hard of Hearing In Government, now Deaf in Government, Amputee Coalition of America, Freddie Mac, Internal Revenue Service national and local conferences. She has been an invited panel member for various college and university disability awareness events. She has presented at Veteran’s Day events, as well as several National Disability Employment Awareness events. Paula is one of the contributors of the development and evaluation of the anticipated OPM Special Placement Program Coordinator training curriculum.

Paula has received several awards in her career as the Schedule A Program Manager. In 2018, she was honored by receiving The Careers and the disABLED Employee of the Year award.

Gerry Crispin

Gerry Crispin describes himself as a life-long student of how people are hired.

He founded CareerXroads in 1996 as a peer community of Recruiting leaders that today, in its third decade, includes 130 major employers who are devoted to learning from and helping one another improve their recruiting practices for every stakeholder…especially the candidate. 

In 2010, Gerry co-founded a non-profit, Talentboard, to better define and research the Candidate Experience, a subject he has been passionate about for more than 40 years. Today the ‘CandEs’ has firmly established itself around the world and establishes benchmarks for employers each year in North America, Europe, Asia and soon South America as a ‘bench’ that shares their Candidate Experience data and competitive practices.

In 2017, Gerry helped launch ATAP, the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals.

Additional Sources:

Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage 2018, a research report by Accenture and the American Association of People with Disabilities

“Hiring People with Disabilities is Good Business,” by Ted Kennedy, Jr., New York Times, 2018.

Join Paula and Gerry, along with your fellow university relations, talent acquisition, and other human resources leaders from corporate, non-profit, and government organizations at the:

College Recruiting Bootcamp on D&I at EY
Organized by College Recruiter and hosted by Ernst & Young
Thursday, December 12, 2019
9:30 AM – 2:30 PM (EST)
Ernst & Young World Headquarters
121 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
GET YOUR TICKETS: www.CollegeRecruiter.com/BootcampOnDIatEY

Posted September 16, 2019 by

Things You Should Know About a Company Before Applying

As a job seeker, statistics say you have all the power: today’s tight job market puts applicants in the driver’s seat as they shop around for the right position. You also possess another type of power­—the ability to access mountains of information about companies with a quick internet search. It’s wise to take advantage of that ability and research companies before you send out a slew of resumes.

Important Clues

Think of yourself as a “job detective” when you research companies that you’re interested in. Sure, salary and benefits are a huge consideration, along with job responsibilities, but what about the aspects that aren’t always advertised? Here are five things you should know about a company before considering a position:

1. The company’s reputation.

According to a recent survey, 95% of employees said insight into a company’s reputation is important. This should be considered basic background information that encompasses many areas. For instance, does the company have a reputation for burning out employees with unrealistic workloads and long hours? (Some companies see this as a badge of honor!). What is their turnover rate? Do employees complain about lack of training or poor management? Has the company been involved in lawsuits regarding discrimination? If a company has a bad rep, you’ll find evidence on the internet if you dig deep enough.

2. The company’s stability.

Before you commit to working for someone you should get a feel for how long they’re going to be around. Of course, nothing is certain, but a company’s stability is fairly easy to gauge. Are sales, and more importantly, revenues increasing or decreasing? What is the overall trend for the past five to ten years? If the company is a start-up­—which could offer the potential to grow along with it­—there may not be profits yet, but you can still look at growth trends. It’s also fair to ask about plans for growth in an interview.

3. The company’s policy on flexibility.

For many of today’s job seekers, the ability to work remotely, participate in job sharing or other flex options is a very important perk. Thanks to numerous studies that show that workplace flexibility can improve work-life balance, boost productivity and improve employees’ mental and physical health, more companies are offering some type of flexibility. If this is high on your wish list, be sure to check out the company’s policies.

4. The company’s opportunities for growth and development.

Unless you want to stay in the role for which you’re applying forever, it’s a good idea to find out if the company offers training, leadership programs or educational assistance. Also, do they outline career paths and tend to promote from within? Many companies will provide information on career development on their websites, particularly if they support growth and development.

5. The company’s values and culture.

“Fit” is a two-way street: companies want to find the best candidate for the position and their company culture, and you want to find the best company for your personal strengths and values. Lots of companies will say they’re a “great place to work,” but what exactly does that mean? Do they provide insights into the day-to-day work environment? Do they support the community or other charitable causes that are important to you? Do they proudly display photos from company team-building events? Does the mission statement or company values sound like they mesh with your own values? Do they have a formal or informal atmosphere? Decide what means the most to you and then look for a company that offers the best fit.

While you can glean a lot from a company’s website, don’t stop your search there. As you research companies, look for online reviews, as well as how the company responds to negative reviews (there are websites dedicated to company reviews). You can also check out the company’s LinkedIn page, do some research on the leadership, talk to people in your network, and look for general news about the company.

You may not find the perfect fit, but with some research, you can get closer to the mark!

Posted September 09, 2019 by

Why are so many college grads out of work?

If you’re a recent graduate and have been frustrated by a lengthy job search with poor results, you’re not alone. Despite low unemployment, many college grads are finding it difficult to land a job. Recent stats from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) show that the average college graduate needs 7.4 months to find a job.

The problem, according to surveys, is that employers are not impressed by today’s college graduates. More specifically, research shows that business leaders are not happy with the level of “career readiness” colleges are providing students. What’s more, students seem to agree. Research shows an increasing number of graduates feel that the colleges they attended haven’t done a very good job of preparing them for a professional career.

If this news isn’t bad enough, research also shows that today’s graduates face higher levels of unemployment than previous generations, in stark contrast to the current near record-low unemployment rate of 3.8%. The advice site AfterCollege reports 83% of college grads leave school before lining up their first job.

So, how do you beat these odds? Adjust your expectations and make sure you have the right skills.

Career coaches and other experts say that many grads have unrealistic expectations when it comes to their first professional job. More grads are unwilling to start “on the ground floor,” but that’s exactly where most recent grads begin their careers. Of course, starting positions, salary and career track vary by industry.

It’s okay to start in an entry-level position if the employer has discussed opportunities moving forward and outlined what the typical career path is within the company. Experts suggest interviewing for positions that may seem “below” your target but asking questions regarding opportunities and clearly stating your goals. Many large companies start everyone (regardless of grades and experience) at the same level as a way of training new employees and determining their skills. Ultimately, it might be better to start in the mailroom of the company you want to work for than to take a higher-level position in a business you’re not really interested in.

Next, make sure you have a well-rounded skill set. Today’s employers place a high value on “soft skills,” such as critical thinking, attention to detail and communication. (For more, read “Wanted: Soft Skills that Set You Apart and Make You a Valuable Employee” www.collegerecruiter.com/blog/2019/08/12/wanted-soft-skills-that-set-you-apart-and-make-you-a-valuable-employee/  If you feel like you could use some improvement on skills such as communication, ask for help from other professionals. Also, be sure to demonstrate these skills on your resume by providing examples. Most employers respond to experience more than coursework and grades.

While it may be discouraging to put all that time and money into getting a degree and then not get the job you want right out of the gate, persistence and patience do pay off.

Sources:

“Despite low unemployment, many college grads are out of work,” by Mark Huffman, Consumer Affairs, 2019. National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

Posted August 26, 2019 by

How Important are Internships and Co-Ops?

Employers ranked identifying talent early through internships and co-ops as the most important recruiting factor.

It can be a bit confusing trying to determine what employers want from you as a student or recent grad. While teachers often focus on education and technical skills, surveys show that employers are looking for soft skills, such as being a good communicator and having the ability to work well in teams. The truth is that candidates need to be well-rounded, with a balance of necessary skill sets. However, among all the factors that employers consider, it appears that gaining experience and demonstrating your talents through internships and co-ops ranks at the top of the list.

Specifically, a recent survey of employer members of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicated that those mostly large employers are most concerned with “identifying talent early through internships and co-ops,” with 94.9% indicating it as “very” or “extremely” important.

This makes sense when you consider the value of experience from both the students’ and the employers’ standpoints. As a student or recent grad, working in an industry, company or job function, allows you to determine whether you’re really interested in pursuing this career. A job description is one thing, but actually doing the work is another. From the employer’s view, your experience means you have successfully demonstrated your skills and may require less training to get up to speed. In other words, you start with an advantage.

While grades are important, the ability to apply your skills in a real-world situation is critical. Internships and co-ops give you a chance to put what you learned in the classroom to use. Again, not only do you learn what tasks you excel at and what areas you may need to improve upon, employers find it “less risky” to hire someone who has proven themselves.

Finally, internships and co-ops help you build a reputation and form relationships. While you may or may not receive a job offer from your internship company, your supervisor can be a great reference or write a recommendation that helps you land your dream job. Or, a co-worker could introduce you to someone who is hiring at another company. Networking can be powerful!

If you’re still trying to decide if you should apply for an internship or co-op, or just spend next summer chillin’ on the beach, here are a few stats to consider:

  • Your competition has experience: In 2018, over 84% of U.S. college grads had at least one internship or co-op on their resume.
  • Potential job offers: Approximately 50% of students who intern/co-op accept positions with their intern/co-op employer after graduation. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), participation in multiple internships in college helps students to secure employment or enter grade school within six months of graduation.
  • Higher starting salary: Studies by NACE show that graduates with internships and/or co-op experience reported a 9-12% higher salary, on average, than those without similar experience.

Not only do internships and co-ops help you grow personally and professionally, they give you a significant advantage during your job search.

Sources:

2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report, National Association of Colleges and Employers

“Just how important are internships and co-ops?” by Katy Arenschield, June 2017.

“Study Shows Impact of Internships on Career Outcomes,” by NACE Staff, October 11, 2017.

Posted August 19, 2019 by

After the Interview: What Not to Do

As Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” (If you don’t know who Tom Petty is, stop reading now and go listen to some of his music!) While a job interview can be very stressful, waiting to hear back can be even harder. If you prepared for the job interview and answered the questions to the best of your ability, you’ve done everything you can, and now it’s out of your control. Or is it?

Even if you aced the interview, you could jeopardize your chances of getting the job by:

Apologizing or “correcting” your responses.

It’s human nature to replay the job interview in your mind. But, obsessing over what you might have said differently or wishing you could take back a comment is a waste of time and energy. A more productive idea is to write down things that you’d like to do differently in the next job interview or examples you want to include. However, never include an apology or correction in your thank you letter or follow-up communication. Chances are, the interviewer didn’t even notice the “error” you made or the remark you wish you hadn’t, so why point it out? Second guessing yourself shows a lack of confidence.

Harassing the hiring manager.

It’s standard practice to send a thank you letter within 24-48 hours of the job interview. Once you’ve done that, don’t communicate until the date the hiring manager told you they’d be in touch. Unless you have a very urgent question or something major comes up, there’s no reason for you to contact the hiring manager.

Should you email or call to let him or her know that you’re still very interested in the job? No. What about a quick note to ask about the status? Again, no. Hiring managers are inundated with messages already. Don’t reach out again until a few days after the date he or she told you that you’d be hearing from them.

Posting anything about the interview on social media.

If you had a great job interview, it can be tempting to share your excitement about the opportunity or experience on social media. You might even think it’s cool to tag the company. However, you don’t know what the company’s social media policy is, so by posting you might be violating their standards unknowingly. Play it safe and keep your thoughts private, and brag to your friends and family offline.

Ghosting the hiring manager.

If you accept another job offer or you’ve decided you don’t want this job for any reason, send an email to the hiring manager to let him or her know. Thank the hiring manager for his or her time and the job interview, then explain that you’ve chosen to pursue another opportunity. The hiring manager will appreciate that you took the time to keep him or her informed and will remember your good manners. The business world is smaller than you think, so it’s very possible that you’ll cross paths again at some point, so don’t risk burning bridges.

Finally, don’t stop your job search or quit your job, no matter how well the job interview went. Nothing is official until you receive a formal job offer and sign a contract. Even if the hiring manager hints that the job is yours, another candidate may come along who is a better fit, or the manager’s manager may decide that you’re not right for the job. Any number of scenarios could occur.

It can be hard to be patient, especially if the job you interviewed for is an opportunity you’re really excited about. But, remember, patience is a virtue and proper etiquette is important.

(This article is based on “What Not to do After a Job Interview,” by Ashira Prossack, Forbes, July 2019)

Posted August 12, 2019 by

Wanted: Soft Skills that Set You Apart and Make You a Valuable Employee

Congratulations! After years of hard work, you’ve graduated and now feel confident that your education has given you the technical skills you’ll need to get the job you want. That’s great. But, lots of other graduates possess the same degree and meet the technical job requirements, so what will set you apart? What are the skills employers want?

According to a 2019 Cengage survey of hiring managers and human resources professionals, employers want college graduates who have “soft skills” as well as technical expertise. What’s more, they’re having difficulty finding candidates who possess these soft skills. Specifically, the skills employers want include:

1.The ability to listen. The most in-demand skill was the ability to listen; 74% of employers said this was a talent they valued. It doesn’t sound hard to do, but research shows that a whopping 90% of people are not good listeners! We spend far too much time practicing the art of talking and not enough time learning to really listen. Good listeners can discern the hidden meaning vs. the literal meaning. For instance, a lot of communication lies in the tone, emotional cues and body language of the speaker. To be an effective listener, you must, as they say, “read between the lines.” Listen for the tone of voice and pick up on non-verbal cues, which involves your full attention. Effective listeners also gain understanding vs. simply getting an answer to a question. Many people stop listening after they think they’ve gotten the answer they want but fail to truly understand the full meaning. Again, this requires attentiveness and, in some cases, asking for clarification or more information. Other attributes of a good listener are letting the speaker finish without interrupting, waiting for the speaker to finish before formulating a reply in your mind and listening with an open mind. There is a key difference between hearing and actually listening.

2. Good communication skills. This goes hand in hand with listening. Most problems in the workplace stem from poor communication, which is why employers place such a high value on this skill. In today’s digital age, this means solid writing and speaking skills, both in person and over the web with video conferencing and email. Clarity, grammar, spelling, enunciation and organization all play important roles in effective communication. You can begin demonstrating these skills with your cover letter and resume—and of course, during your interview.

3. Attention to detail. This is defined as “the ability to achieve thoroughness and accuracy when accomplishing a task.” Again, on the surface, this doesn’t sound that hard to achieve. However, being thorough and accurate involves planning, organization, and the ability to break down a big project into manageable steps. To demonstrate this skill, come to interviews prepared with examples of assignments or work that involved thoroughness and accuracy. (A word to the wise: If you have spelling or grammatical errors in your cover letter and/or resume, it shows that you are not paying attention to detail!).

4. Time management. No matter the industry, being efficient and meeting deadlines are important to a company’s overall performance. An employee who can manage multiple projects at a time, keep track of deadlines and use time resourcefully is a valuable asset and it allows managers to focus on more important tasks than micromanaging every employee! Start demonstrating this skill by showing up on time for interviews and then discuss projects that involved successful time management.

5. Critical thinking and problem solving. Every job comes with its own set of challenges and unexpected setbacks. How will you handle them? Companies want employees who can objectively examine information to determine the best way to solve problems. A valuable employee is one who can find creative solutions to problems and act, instead of being stymied by obstacles. Come to interviews prepared to provide examples of how you’ve successfully handled problems or implemented solutions.

While these five soft skills made the “most wanted” list, other important talents that employers are looking for include initiative, teamwork, emotional intelligence and digital literacy.

“There is a need for more soft skills training, both in college and on the job, and today’s learners and graduates must continue to hone their skills to stay ahead,” said Michael Hansen, chief executive of Cengage.

Companies can train employees in technical skills, but soft skills are much harder to teach. Therefore, by demonstrating that you possess these sought-after skills from the first touchpoint in your job search to the final interview, you can grab an employer’s attention and set yourself apart.

Sources:

  • “Survey: Employers Want ‘Soft Skills’ from Graduates,” by Jennifer Bauer-Wolf, Insidehighered.com, January 2019.
  • “7 Skills Employers Look for Regardless of the Job,” by Ashley Brooks, Rasmussen.edu, October 2018.
  • “90% of People are Poor Listeners. Are you the Remaining 10%?” by Rima Pundir, Lifehack, 2019.
Posted August 02, 2019 by

How to Use Your Disability as a Strength When Applying for a Job

Lois Barth is a Human Development Expert, Speaker, Life and Business Coach, and Author of the book, “Courage to SPARKLE; The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating A Life that Lights You Up.” Lois will be a panelist at the College Recruiting Bootcamp on D&I at EY on December 12th in New York City.

Did you know that bones that were broken and healed properly are stronger than bones that have never been broken at all? It’s a fact, as well as a great metaphor for those with disabilities. As a life and business coach, I often tell my clients to use that fact in an interview, not harping on the disability, but being strategic in sending the message that adapting to, and in some cases, overcoming a disability, makes them a far stronger candidate than someone who has never gone through adversity.

There are, in fact, many ways to turn a disability into a desired ability when applying for a job. Of course, it all depends on the type of disability, the position and the company culture.

Start with Some Research

There are many factors to consider about a company before applying for a job. I guide my career-coaching clients who are getting ready for an interview to think of themselves as an investigator out to solve a mystery. Begin the process by looking at the company on a broad-stroke level. What does the website tell you about the organization? You can learn a lot about the culture from the messaging, the use of buzz words (such as diversity, inclusion, team engagement), company values, charitable contributions, community involvement and recent initiatives. Additionally, pay attention to the images: Do they include photos of employees who are diverse? Do the images reflect a company that is more conservative, or one that is more progressive?

You can also Google them to discover any current or past newsworthy trends in both their industry and their organization that may impact hiring. For instance, if they just received a “Best Places to Work” award, it’s likely that their culture is positive and inclusive. On the other hand, if you find a backlash for recent marginalizing of a group, you may want to steer clear. Review sites like Glass Door can be tricky because it’s usually the employees who have extreme experiences (they either love it or hate it) that take the time to write, which means you’re not getting the full picture. You may, however, notice themes among the reviews.

Once you get a company overview, take a deeper dive into the job description. What are the primary functions? Whom are you serving? What core competencies are they looking for and is your disability an asset (it often is) or a deficit? How do you spin it to either show how your disability will make you a better candidate or at the very least, won’t hinder your performance?

Use Story-Selling to Make Your Pitch

Recently I worked with a client whose disability was fairly obvious from the get-go, but given his non-profit focus, it was an asset, because he had overcome so much to get where he is and the job that he was interviewing for was serving an underserved and neglected population. I strongly suggested that he lead with his “story-selling pitch” which was a wonderfully touching story about learning to deal with his disability, and how, in the process, he learned so much about empathy, persistence, critical thinking, and determination, all of which were desired qualities for this position. Within the story, we weaved in his hard skills that embodied a whole slew of accomplishments that were germane to the position. The interviewer became intrigued and after several interviews with board members, he was offered the job.

If your disability is blatantly obvious and may be perceived as a deficit, but nobody’s talking about it, using a well-crafted story that highlights the key qualities the employer is looking for can be very impactful. Many job descriptions list qualities such as critical thinking, determination, adaptability, and self-starter, to name just a few, that people who have successfully navigated their disability have had to develop.

However, if your disability may bring to question functionality and the ability to perform a job, then that needs to be addressed head-on. It’s best to do this in a fluid, conversational tone, using examples from the past to dispel any concerns a potential employer may have.

As a rule, I suggest candidates do more listening than talking. Ask thoughtful questions and focus on being interested versus interesting, which works for people with or without disabilities! Don’t play the disability card, but don’t try to avoid it either. Rapt attention, genuine interest, enthusiasm and energy are rare these days, which means demonstrating these qualities will take you far. Of course, you also need the hard skills to back up your competency.

Finally, don’t be afraid to bring humor to the situation. When appropriately stated, humor can go a long way to dispel any tension that may be present. It shows that you are not overly sensitive, that you have a sense of humor and humility, but you’re not ashamed of your disability. In general, people hire people they like; people whom they can relate to and trust, regardless of a disability.  

Know Your Strengths 

One of my colleagues had very intense dyslexia and ADHD. She couldn’t sit still for more than 20-30 minutes, and paperwork that should have taken 10-20 minutes took hours and was tortuous. On the positive side, she was amazing with people, could pivot on a dime, had tons of energy and loved making people feel special. She was also hilarious, passionate about health and loved helping people.

Fortunately, the health club where she was working saw her strengths and was smart enough to move her from a stifling mid-level administrative position to a sales job where she could meet and greet clients. Her people skills, creativity and natural curiosity about others, made her very good at this position and, in turn, the position made her very happy. Within the first month, she became head of sales.

Before you begin applying for positions, take a realistic assessment of your strengths: What do you bring to the potential employer? Do your abilities mesh with the job description and the qualities they value? Again, be sure to do your research on the industries, companies and jobs that provide a good fit with your unique assets.

For instance, if someone has ADD, a job that demands constant switching of tasks or mostly short-term projects takes advantage of this person’s proclivities. Meanwhile, someone with OCD may excel at a job that requires being very precise and detail oriented. For people who don’t pick up social cues and operate at their best by themselves, a strong analytic research job that requires long hours of solitary focused work may be a perfect fit. In other words, depending on the job, “alleged disabilities” may be a huge benefit.

Do Your Research. Lead with Enthusiasm. Make it About What You Can Provide.

Those are the three main takeaways when applying for any job. Remember, you may have a disability, but you are much more than your disability. You’re a whole person, with skill sets and talents that are valuable to the right employers. With every disability, there is another ability that has gotten strengthened to compensate. That’s why, even though it’s become quite PC, I do like the phrase “learning differences.” We all have challenges and we all have assets. Nobody’s exempt from the human being club that’s full of complexity and diversity. The more you embrace it as just one of the many facets of your humanity, the more you can celebrate (and sell) the one-of-a-kind gem that you are.

Lois Barth is a Human Development Expert, Speaker, Life and Business Coach, and Author of the book, “Courage to SPARKLE; The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating A Life that Lights You Up.” Lois supports her clients to overcome their negative self-talk, manage stress and advocate for themselves and dynamically create the next chapter of their life. She has worked with over 800 clients and on a professional level has helped them in every area from career transition, interview skills training, communication and building their business. The creator of Smart Sexy TV, she has been the makeover life coach for SELF Magazine; Fitness Magazine and Fit Blog (Sears) as well as the “Stress Less–Thrive More” Lady for C.T. Style TV (ABC Affiliate). A sought after expert, Lois has been quoted and published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, College Recruiter, SELF Magazine, to name a few.  Her speaking clients include L’Oreal, Women in Banking, Capital One, Mid-Atlantic Women in Energy, Society of Women Engineers, and the American Heart Association to name a few. 

Join Lois Barth, along with your fellow university relations, talent acquisition and other human resource leaders from corporate, non-profit and government agencies at the:

College Recruiting Bootcamp on D&I at EY

Organized by College Recruiter and hosted by Ernst & Young

Thursday, December 12, 2019

9:30 AM – 2:30 PM (EST)

Ernst & Young World Headquarters

121 River Street

Hoboken, NJ 07030

For more information and tickets, go to: http://www2.CollegeRecruiter.com/BootcampOnDIatEY

Posted August 01, 2019 by

Job Search Tips to Help You Find the Right Opportunity

While there may be more job openings than qualified applicants, that doesn’t mean finding the right opportunity is easy. In fact, searching for a job is hard work! And, like any task, it requires some “best practices” to get good results. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your job search.

Broaden your scope.

Instead of simply looking at specific job titles, take the time to look at the skills the company is seeking in a candidate. Job titles can differ among industries and organizations, so why limit yourself to a title. Matching your skill set to those required for a position can ensure a better fit and provide more options including some that you may not have considered.

Decide what is non-negotiable.

More is not always better. You could send out as many applications as possible and hope for the best, or you could narrow your search to positions and companies that offer a good fit. Finding a good fit includes knowing what you’re unwilling to accept. Make a list of things that are deal breakers. For instance, you may not be able to relocate due to family obligations. How far are you willing to commute each day? Are flexible hours a nicety or a necessity? Is a positive corporate culture high on your priority list? In other words, do some research before sending out applications and start with those companies that fit the bill.

Keep good records.

Being organized can help you in several ways. First, even if you receive a rejection, there could be another opportunity at this company in the future. Or, there may be something about the job description that really resonates with you and could lead you in a new direction. Second, if you do get an interview, you will want to refer back to the job listing to prepare. Finally, if you receive specific feedback from a company, it may help you change tactics, revise your resume or improve your cover letter.

Customize your cover letter and resume.

Jobs are not one size fits all. Just as you’re looking for a job that fits you, every company is looking for the “right” candidate with specific experience, skills and personality. With that in mind, be sure to tailor your cover letter and resume for each position you apply to, highlighting the experience and skills that the employer is seeking. Also, if you’re working off a form letter or template, be sure to double check that all the names are correct before sending it!

Prepare for the interview.

Don’t just show up. Remember, you’re trying to set yourself apart from other candidates, so come prepared with information about the industry, the company, the position, and if possible, the person you are interviewing with. Doing your homework will not only make you feel more confident, it will also demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and your willingness to go the extra mile.

Have questions ready.

Most people will wrap up an interview by asking the candidate if he/she has questions about the company or position. A surprising number of interviewees don’t come prepared with questions and fumble needlessly to think of something to ask (especially when you may already be nervous). Stand out from the pack by preparing a few thoughtful questions in advance. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about the company, it’s culture and the position. For some great questions to consider, read “8 Questions Job Seekers Should Ask.” https://www.collegerecruiter.com/blog/2019/07/01/8-interview-questions-job-seekers-should-ask/

Don’t forget to respond.

Manners matter! Always send a thank you note within a day or two of your interview. Make sure it reflects your enthusiasm about the position by sharing why you’re excited about the company and the job. To keep the conversation going, you can ask another pertinent question. Also, it’s a good idea to let some of your personality shine through instead of sending a standard, formal thank you note. After all, you want them to remember you!

(This article was adapted from “10 Job Search Tips to Help You Find Your Best Opportunity Every Time, by Nina Zipkin, Entrepreneur, 2010.)

College Recruiter is the leading job search site used by students and recent graduates of all 7,400+ one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities who are searching for internships, part-time jobs, seasonal work, and entry-level career opportunities. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1,000 companies, federal government agencies, and other employers who want to hire dozens, hundreds, or thousands of students and recent graduates per year. Our mission is to connect great organizations with students and recent graduates.