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Posted July 13, 2016 by

Career assessments: Valuable at all stages of one’s career

Job candidate reading assignment in assessment center

Completing a career assessment can help job seekers at all stages of their career.

A career assessment is a great way for college students to learn more about the type of career they could pursue, based on their personality, interests, goals, and aspirations. But career assessments can also be beneficial for college students completing an internship, new college grads, and entry-level employees looking to make that next step in their career.

The reason is simple: “Learning about oneself is an ongoing, lifelong search,” says Stephanie P. Kennedy, co-founder of My College Planning Team (MCPT), a Downers Grove, Illinois-based company that provides college students and families with a variety of financial and academic/career planning resources.

There are a variety of popular career assessments that have value at all stages of one’s college and professional career. The staff at My College Planning Team uses a combination of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and the Holland Code Test. They also use and favor the YouScience assessment, an assessment that helps students reveal their paths to education and career success.

Taking a career assessment can be of value, but taking a career assessment and working with a college career counselor, career coach, or other career services professional to expand on those results can add real value.

“Self-assessment based largely on what the computer program identifies you as can be misleading, frustrating, and downright false,” says Kennedy. “Career counselors and educational consultants are trained to interpret these assessments and are skilled in presenting them in a customized manner.”

The team at MCPT excels in working with students who may want to learn more about how to get the most out of an assessment.

“While the assessment tools are efficient and highly respected in our field, the value of those assessments comes from our customized processing of the results with each person,” says Kennedy.

It’s never too late to take a career assessment. And it’s even more beneficial to complete a career assessment and get further analysis and guidance by partnering with a career professional who can help you plan your career based on the results of these assessments. Like Kennedy said, learning is lifelong. A thorough career assessment with a qualified counselor can be very helpful.

“For most people, the task of career exploration will not end with high school graduation, or with college graduation,” says Kennedy. “The tools of career assessment can aid you in your career exploration and decisions throughout your lifetime.”

For more tips on career assessments and other job search advice, stay connected by following College Recruiter on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Stephanie Kennedy, co-founder of My College Planning Team

Stephanie Kennedy, co-founder of My College Planning Team

Stephanie Kennedy is co-founder of My College Planning Team. She holds a M.S. in Counseling and College Student Development. A former admissions counselor, her team now helps students identify their passions and find the colleges that are the best fit academically, socially, and with career focus. Kennedy has worked at the University of Miami, Northeastern University, Texas A&M University, Stonehill College, and others. She has read hundreds of college applications and assisted thousands of students in their college adjustment and educational path. With her hands-on perspective, she guides students and families in a successful college search that goes far beyond the acceptance letter.

 

Posted May 04, 2016 by

Stay-at-home mom to CEO: Transferring skills to the workplace

During one of our one-on-one meetings, Faith Rothberg, CEO of College Recruiter, laughed as I described some of my potty training woes with my toddler.

“Just continue to lower your parenting expectations, and you’ll be fine.”

This sage advice has saved me from numerous mommy meltdowns. Faith Rothberg is not only a wonderful workplace mentor, but she’s also a mentor for young moms as well. Faith was recently featured in an article about returning to the workplace by OptIn as well.

Faith, a mother of three children, two of whom no longer reside at home, is a true parenting expert. She chose to stay home to care for her children after establishing her own career in the field of information technology after earning her MBA at the University of Michigan. Before earning her stay-at-home mom (SAHM) status, she worked for Ford Motor Company as a programmer, a manufacturing information technology consultant for KPMG, and for Wells Fargo as a project manager. Faith’s family photos adorn the walls of her house—even her home office—and she doesn’t hide the fact that her family comes first.

Yet as CEO of College Recruiter, an online recruitment media company named one of the world’s top career sites by Forbes, WEDDLE’s, and Business.com, how does Faith strike a balance between work and family? How did she transition back into the workplace after staying home with her children for 13 years? How did her SAHM experience provide her with transferable skills which now benefit her as CEO?

I recently interviewed my boss, Faith Rothberg, to ask her these very questions and more.


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Faith made the decision to stay home with her children after her second son was born. She admits she didn’t feel she was doing well as a mom or as a professional at this time in her life. The biggest surprise she had at this time was how hard it felt to be home every day and how many decisions she was faced with making all day long while caring for her children. She realized right away that she was building better multitasking skills, decision-making, and problem-solving skills as a parent. These are transferable skills that certainly aid her now in the workplace.

Many stay-at-home moms struggle when deciding whether to re-enter the workplace. “I don’t know if you ever know exactly that it’s the right time. When I made the decision to come back and start in our business . . . it was really good timing for the business, and it was almost good timing for me,” Faith candidly shares.

She admits she was worried she would not be able to be as available for her children. There was certainly an emotional component which was difficult during the transition back to work.

Faith suggests that parents who stay home with their children should remain active in their communities and at their children’s schools. Parents can volunteer in the classroom, on committees, and in non-profit organizations in order to round out their resumes to avoid major gaps with absolutely no experience.

Faith offers three tips for stay-at-home moms considering a return to the workplace.

  1. Evaluate what you want to do.

Often what you were doing before you had children isn’t what you want to do now (when returning to the workplace). You may have had a great paying job before having children, but now you may have different goals or objectives. Take some time and either work with a career coach or take career assessments online to reevaluate your goals. Get a career mentor and seek advice and guidance.

  1. Once you know what you want to do, update your resume.

You’ll have a gap on your resume during the time you stayed home with your children, and you may not have professional work experience to list on your resume during this gap. Use the volunteer experience and community involvement to fill in the gaps on your resume.

  1. Network.

Network with other children’s parents and with the spouses of those other stay-at-home parents. Network back with your former coworkers. Use LinkedIn and other social media sites. Send your resume to your contacts and friends and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

For more tips related to transferable skills, transitioning back into the workforce, and searching for jobs, visit our blog and follow us on social media at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

 

Posted March 29, 2016 by

How to brand yourself on social media

There’s a whole lot of buzz right now about how important it is to brand yourself on social media. Should you create a separate personal and professional brand? Should you invite employers to connect with you on social media, or keep all social media accounts strictly private, adding only friends and family to connect with you? Should you boycott social media altogether?

Whoa there, Tiger. Before you go rogue on us and refuse to interact with the world from this day forward, let’s take a step back and consider a balanced approach to branding.

Today’s Tuesday Tip offers tips on how to brand yourself on social media.


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1) Be consistent.

Consistency is king in relationship building. Why? Most people—healthy people—enjoy knowing what to expect from others; that makes them feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. If people can typically expect you to behave in the same manner, with few exceptions, and your behavior is polite, courteous, and kind, people will enjoy being around you. They will most likely want to be around you in the future and accept your requests for appointments, phone calls, and other interactions. It’s important to brand yourself as someone who is consistent.

On the other hand, if you behave in an inconsistent manner—even on social media—and your comments run the gamut from thoughtful and kind to harsh and critical, your contacts/friends online may begin to shy away from interacting with you. Even if you have much to offer by way of expertise, you might find that your acquaintances are less likely to respond to your comments and invitations if you don’t behave in a consistent manner.

Remember the analogy used in the video embedded in this article of Madonna and Britney Spears. Madonna maintained a consistent marketing message or brand out of the gate. Her fans (and haters) knew what to expect from her from day one. This was never true of Britney Spears (or Miley Cyrus, for that matter). Deep down, most people really like knowing what to expect of others, particularly those we have relationships with.

2)  Be kind.

Golden rule, people. Simply treat others as you want to be treated, or as my career mentor Samantha Hartley says, and as I mentioned in a recent Tuesday Tip video, “as offline, so online.” Treat others well face-to-face (with kindness, courtesy, politeness, encouragement, positivity, humor, etc.). Interactions on social media should be no different, right? When you brand yourself on social media, ensure that you leave people with a positive feeling after they interact with you.

3) Be strategic.

Be strategic when you brand yourself. Put some thought into choosing what you post because it matters; it can affect your employment opportunities.

Who are you on your best day? Are you reliable, caring, outgoing, considerate, and on time? This is the best you to portray on social media. This is how to brand yourself on social media.

If you have difficulty figuring out who you are in terms of your career path and how to brand yourself, you’re not alone. Branding yourself is a lifelong process; you simply get started while you’re in college, and you continue working on it throughout your career. If you need help determining how to word your headline on LinkedIn, sections of your resume, or even where you’re heading in terms of your career path, visit with your career services specialists on campus. Take free career assessments on campus. It’s never too late!

For more tips on using social media in your job search, follow our blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Posted March 12, 2016 by

Preparing introverts and extroverts for the job search

Extrovert or introvert as a choice of different belief courtesy of Shutterstock.com

kentoh/Shutterstock.com

Introverts and extroverts handle things in very different ways. School counselors’ job is to help all of their students, and one of the best ways to do this is to know how introverts and extroverts prefer to do things. When preparing them to leave college and enter the job market, there are several things a counselor can do that will help tailor students’ paths with their personalities.

Discover which they are

Before school counselors begin counseling students based on their personalities, they have to determine if students are introverts or extroverts. Unless counselors have a longstanding and personal connection with students, it is probably a good idea to give them some tests to help determine their personality style. Tests — such as this one from Psychology Today — will help determine whether students are introverts or extroverts. Often students themselves are not aware of their own styles, and doing the test will be beneficial to both students and counselors.

Inform students how their personalities can impact their jobs

Many people do not know the difference between introverts and extroverts, and they often don’t know which category they fall into. Once school counselors have determined which one students are through some tests, they can begin telling students about what it means. Explain to students how extroverts and introverts may tackle different scenarios, and how they prefer to do things.

Choose the right application method

Now that both counselors and students understand the latter’s personality type, they can begin tailoring the application process for when they are looking for jobs. For example, counselors can tell extroverts that face-to-face interviews are better for them, since they are more outgoing, while introverts may be better at cover letters and resumes.

However, some application types cannot be avoided; in this case, counselors should help students improve on things that are not necessarily their strengths. For example, here are some ways that introverts can prepare for interviews.

In addition, school counselors can steer them towards jobs more suited to their personalities. As an example, an introvert may not be best suited for a sales position job, or one requiring a lot of group work. On the other hand, an extrovert is probably not suited for a job requiring them to work long hours alone.

College sports male volleyball finals in Milan courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Paolo Bona/Shutterstock.com

Suggest outside activities

Since a lot of college students do not have work experience they can add to their resumes, outside activities can help bolster them. Give students some options for things they can get involved with that will be suited for their personality types, along with their interests. The more activities they can get involved with, the better their resumes will look.

Encourage them to explore outside their style

While it is a good idea for students to play to their strengths, that does not mean they should avoid anything that makes them uncomfortable. School counselors should encourage students to keep an open mind, and to try some things not necessarily suited to their personality types. At some point along their career paths, students are probably going to do something outside their normal comfort zones, and by expanding their horizons now, they will be better equipped to handle it in the future.

Hopefully this short list will help school counselors tailor the counseling of their students. Helping students realize what their strengths are and how they can utilize them is a great tool for after they graduate and will help guide them for years to come.

Need more tips for your job search? Learn more at College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Photo of Tony Newton

Tony Newton, guest writer

Tony Newton is a contributing author for @DailyKos and @NationOfChange His favorite subjects are social awareness campaigns and public policy in pedagogy.