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 30, 2019 by

How Internships Impact Employability and Salary

It’s finally Fall, and with it come thoughts of cider mills, football games and cozy sweaters. And, of course, applying for next summer’s internship! If you’ve been putting it off or debating whether internships really matter in the big scheme of things, let us assure you, they do!

In fact, one of the most basic factors separating students who find it relatively easy to land a well-paying job upon graduation from those who end up unemployed or underemployed is whether the students had internships or notand whether those were paid vs. unpaid internships. 

Consider the Stats

According to the results of the Class of 2019 Student Survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), “more than half of all graduating seniors who applied for a full-time job—53.2 percent—received at least one job offer. Within this group, 57.5 percent of students who had an internship and 43.7 percent of graduating seniors who did not have internship received a job offer.”

In addition, the students who completed at least one internship prior to graduation were significantly more likely to receive multiple job offers for positions after graduation. For those who completed at least one internship, the average student received 1.17 job offers. Meanwhile, those without an internship received 16 percent fewer job offers: an average of only 0.98 per student.

Paid vs. Unpaid Internships

The study also revealed a difference in employability and salary based on whether the internship was paid or unpaid. Although many legal experts believe that unpaid internships are illegal (unless the employer is a governmental or non-profit entity), that doesn’t mean that companies don’t still use them. Unfortunately, studies show that nearly half of all internships are unpaid. Companies defend the use of unpaid internships by meeting a set of criteria that includes providing training that is “similar to that which would be given in an educational environment.” In other words, the unpaid internship must benefit the intern more than the company hiring them.

However, according to the NACE study, being paid during an internship makes a difference in employability. The study showed that 66.4 percent of 2019 graduates who had a paid internship received a job offer. On the other hand, just 43.7 percent of unpaid interns were offered a job. That means that if you graduate with an unpaid internship and your friend graduates with a similar but paid internship, she is 34 percent more likely to receive at least one job offer upon graduation. Ouch.

Choose Wisely

Finding a paid internship versus an unpaid internship may be easier in some industries than others. For instance, you’re more likely to find a paid internship in the transportation, manufacturing and engineering fields, than industries such as fashion, journalism and entertainment. So, what’s a student to do? Getting an internship, whether paid or unpaid, should still be at the top of your “to-do” list. Obviously, everyone would like to get paid for the work they do, especially if you’re responsible for paying for education, rent and other living expenses on your own. However, if you are financially able and the internship provides a truly valuable opportunity (i.e., training, hands-on experience and networking vs. coffee runs and cleaning) than it may be worth accepting the offer. Before accepting an internship, be sure to ask what the specific job responsibilities will be and how the internship will benefit you.

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 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 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 May 10, 2018 by

Young women going into business: You need to hear this advice from EY’s Angela Ciborowski

 

For women who are interested in going into business, there are many fantastic opportunities out there and many challenges as well. We spoke with Angela Ciborowski to discuss how young women can empower themselves to succeed in starting a business career. Ciborowski is an Associate Director at Ernst & Young, where she leads MBA Strategic Programs and advises MBA recruiting.

She is so passionate about empowering women in business that she created the Empower You Graduate Women’s Leadership Conference. This event is designed to lead, inspire and motivate future women leaders. Ciborowski provided some deep and insightful comments that we think will inspire you to move forward in your early career! (more…)

Posted April 13, 2018 by

Build your leadership skills as an entry-level employee: Interview with Cy Wakeman

 

As an entry-level employee who wants to grow professionally, you hear constantly that you must build your leadership skills. What does that even mean, and how do you know you’re building the right leadership skills? I interviewed Cy Wakeman, an international speaker on leadership and management, and President and Founder of Cy Wakeman, Inc. She has a fantastic and authentic philosophy of leadership, and I’ve shared major takeaways from our interview below, including what not to learn from your manager, how to request and handle feedback, and tips for women.  (more…)

Posted April 06, 2018 by

What to do with my degree: Entry-level communications jobs and salaries

 

The biggest misconception about majoring in Communications is that it’s a fluff major, or it’s for students who don’t really want to study. In reality, though, the field of communications – which encompasses public relations, marketing, mass communication, journalism, and advertising – is a versatile major that opens the door to a wide variety of careers. It’s not a fluff choice; it can be a very smart choice. Here we dive into entry-level communications jobs and the salaries you can expect. (more…)

Posted March 13, 2018 by

Need a summer internship? Q&A with expert career counselors

 

For students and grads who are looking for a summer internship, we pulled together some great advice from our friends Vicky Oliver, Author of “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions,” and Joanne Meehl, “The Resume Queen”® and “The Job Search Queen”® at  Joanne Meehl Career Services. They answered some questions from internship seekers, including where to start, what to do if you live in a small town, whether to consider unpaid internships, how to handle time off and more.

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Posted March 08, 2018 by

Career guidance: Four keys to getting your career off to a great start

 

Congratulations, you landed a job out of college! You’ve launched your career, but to make sure you keep going in the direction you want, keep your eyes on the ball. You (not your employer) are the owner of your career. I learned a few lessons early in my career that I share that career guidance here. Things worked out alright for me, but looking back I believe the following four points can increase your chances of starting off in the right direction and excelling in your chosen career. (more…)