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Posted February 23, 2016 by

4 ways to overcome lack of experience

Have you ever interviewed for a job and been rejected because of your lack of work experience?

When you’re applying for entry-level jobs or internships as a college student or recent grad, this is a pretty common experience. Even though the career services office on your campus may have barked at you incessantly about applying for internships and part-time job opportunities, and your parents breathed down your neck over break about doing seasonal work to make some extra money, you may find yourself with very little work experience to list on your resume at this point.

If that’s the case, today’s Tuesday Tip video and article are for you. College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, offers four quick tips in a 5-minute video.


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1. Lack experience? Get some.

Alanis Morissette should have added this to her lyrical list of ironies back in 1995. Recruiters don’t have much sympathy for job seekers without experience listed on their resumes, though. If you lack experience prior to the job search, the best remedy is to seek experience. The sooner you can gain experience, the better.

The worst thing you can do for yourself is to allow yourself the luxury of feeling bad about your lack of experience. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take action. A great first step is to register at CollegeRecruiter.com and search for job opportunities in your area.

2. List all experience.

If you can’t find a full-time job, settle for part-time employment. Combine a few part-time jobs if necessary. It’s best to find part-time employment in your preferred career field, of course, because this allows you to build a repertoire of skills you can use in that great entry-level full-time job you’ll land soon.

If you can’t find a paid part-time position, consider volunteering with a non-profit organization. You might be able to use the skills gained in your academic major to help the organization; this experience can be listed on your resume as well.

Don’t forget to list other experience on your resume as well, including paid and unpaid internships and your involvement in organizations both on-campus and off-campus.

3. Compensate with strong soft skills.

Soft skills are skills which you may have acquired as a college student (but not necessarily in the classroom); these skills are a combination of personality traits and habits which make you a quality employee and a pleasant person to interact with. Research shows that people with excellent soft skills tend to perform well at work; in fact, people with strong soft skills perform just as well (and sometimes better than) people with strong technical skills.

Some of the soft skills recruiters and talent acquisition professionals are looking for including communication skills, a strong work ethic, time management ability, problem-solving skills, and ability to work well under pressure.

When you’re in an interview, think about how you can sell yourself by demonstrating your soft skills. Think in advance how you would answer questions like, Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult problem. How did you solve it?

4. Seek additional training opportunities.

If you lack training which applies to the job opportunities you’re seeking, get some! There are multiple ways to seek training. You can take an extra college course in journalism, for example, if you want to write for your local newspaper but keep getting rejected when you apply for writing positions. You might also scour the internet and newspapers for local writers groups. These groups are free to join, and not only will you learn from other writers, but you might enjoy the fellowship and constructive criticism.

Ultimately, if you lack experience related to your career field, no one can gain it on your behalf.

It’s your responsibility to stake your claim in the world of work.

Taking steps in the direction of gaining work experience can be intimidating, but you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment each time you take one more step.

Why not take one more step forward today?

Work on the draft of your resume. Submit your final draft to the free resume editors at College Recruiter. Make an appointment with the career services department at your local university. Find out when the career fair will be hosted on your campus this spring. Register and search for jobs on College Recruiter’s website.

For more Tuesday Tips, subscribe to College Recruiter’s YouTube Channel, follow our blog, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

 

Posted January 19, 2016 by

Resume 101: 5 tips for writing your first resume

Writing your first resume may overwhelm you.

Don’t let it. College Recruiter is here to help with a brief video providing five basic resume writing tips for college students and recent college graduates.

 

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1. Keep a running list.

Prior to writing your first resume (beginning the minute you step foot on campus during your first year of college, ideally), it’s helpful to keep a running list of what you’re up to—on-campus involvement (sorority and fraternity involvement, clubs, etc.), work experience, scholarships and awards earned, and volunteer activities. Take note of titles of scholarships, companies, managers, and organizations. It’s easy to forget these details when you sit down to compose your first resume, but if you’ve been maintaining a running list, you’ll have it all on hand.

You can keep this running list in whatever format suits your style—Microsoft Word document, a journal, or audio files. Just be sure these notes are kept in a place where they can be easily retrieved when you are ready to write your first resume.

2. Avoid templates.

Resume templates—both those you pay for and those you download at no cost—often look appealing and impressive at first glance.

However, resume templates can create snags for you when you begin to edit your resume later. Templates also contain formatting which is troublesome for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS); almost all corporations utilize ATS’s when resumes are submitted online. In addition, you might think the template you select will set your resume apart from others, but if it’s available for purchase or for free online, chances are that lots of other job applicants have formatted their resumes using the same template in the past.

3. Ask for help.

If you haven’t already done so, schedule a resume writing appointment with your career services office on campus. The professionals in your career services department want to help you succeed in finding your first full-time job or internship, and creating a basic resume is an essential part of that process. When you show up for your appointment, take your running list (tip #1) with you as well as copies of job descriptions you’ve held in the past if you have those on hand (tip #4).

College Recruiter also offers college students and recent grads a free resume editing service. After drafting your resume, submit it to us for feedback as well.

4. Retain copies of job descriptions to help you write accomplishment statements.

Each time you obtain a job, even if it’s a part-time job or an unpaid volunteer position, retain a copy of the job description. The best time to ask for and obtain copies of job descriptions is during the hiring process, but if you forgot to ask for them, you can almost always find copies on company websites.

Andrey Bondarets/Shutterstock.com

Andrey Bondarets/Shutterstock.com

Job descriptions list job duties. Job duties morph into accomplishment statements on your resume. What are accomplishment statements? Accomplishment statements are bulleted statements listed on your resume beneath each job title that quantify and qualify your efforts and demonstrate to your future employers that you’re the right person to hire. Accomplishment statements answer the questions, “How much?” and “How many?”

Most students—and even professionals—need help when wording their accomplishment statements, so be sure to seek assistance from your career services professionals and from College Recruiter’s resume editors when working to tweak the accomplishment statements on your resume.

5. Tailor your basic resume when applying for jobs.

Once you’ve created a basic resume, you’re ready to move forward and begin applying for job openings. It’s always a good idea, though, to tailor your basic resume to better match the positions you’re applying for. Analyze the job description for the open position you’re applying for, looking for terms describing technical skills or job duties specific to that role—which  keywords stand out? Be sure to fit those keywords into your tailored resume if you possess those skills; your resume will stand out from others the more closely your qualifications match the employer’s specifications.

Crafting a concise basic resume is the first step to success on your job search journey.

Learn more about connecting the dots to career success by following College Recruiter’s blog. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, too.