• 10 career mistakes to avoid

    June 26, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    One of your top goals is to have a happy and successful life.

    Your career is the key to achieving this goal.

    You’ve got a nice degree, have a lovely smile and are ready to work, but there’s one more thing that could stop you from realizing your dreams:

    Mistakes.

    Some mistakes could harm or even end your career. You have to recognize and avoid them at all costs if you really want to have a successful life.

    There are 10 career defining mistakes.

    1. Dressing badly at work

    Research tells us that what we wear affects how we think. How we dress also affects how other people perceive us.

    Sure, you deserve to get the respect you think you deserve and get people to listen to you. People should respect you because you know what you’re talking about.

    So why should you wear expensive socks to get people to respect you?

    Let me tell you a story.

    One day I was on a bus headed to my friend’s house. It’s been a long time since I went to the neighborhood so I wasn’t so sure which stop to get off at. I was constantly looking out at the window, and the gentleman sitting beside me could not help but notice it.

    He nicely asked where I was going and if I needed help. I told him where I was going, and he said I should exit in two stops. I thanked him.

    A few minutes later, another man sitting behind me said “Actually, you should get off at the next stop.”

    I thanked him and exited where he told me, ignoring the advice of the first guy.

    Now, you may want to ask me why I chose the second guy’s advice.

    As I walk away from the bus stop, I realized I ignored my seatmate’s advice because he was wearing sweatpants, had a dark stain on his T-shirt, and looked like he skipped showering that day. I realized that I chose the second guy’s advice because he wore a collared jacket, well-polished shoes, and designer glasses.

    When you dress well at work, people will notice you. Your superiors will notice you, and they would admire you for that. That would open up more opportunities for you.

    2. Expressing a rude and negative attitude at work

    Even if you’re a highly-talented employee but always express a bad and negative attitude at work, you’ll have a high mountain to climb to advance your career. Many managers hate working with employees who have bad attitudes because they decrease the team morale.

    According to studies from Leadership IQ, 87% of employees say that working with somebody with a bad attitude has actually made them want to change jobs. And as much as 89% of new hires who fail within 18 months actually failed because of attitudinal issues, not skills. Bad attitudes also include laziness, tardiness, inappropriate jokes, unresponsive to emails, etc. List all the bad and negative attitudes you have and make a consistent effort to overcome them.

    3. Not building good relationships with your colleagues

    Bad relationships are bound to happen from time to time. How you deal with them is the most important thing.

    Your colleagues are the keys to your happiness at work. If you’re not happy with your coworkers, then you’ll certainly be looking for work soon. I’m a big believer of the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want your coworkers to be kind and respectful to you, then you have to be kind and respectful to them.

    Make sure you remember your coworkers’ names and address them by their names. It’s easy to say happy birthdays to your coworkers on Facebook when you rarely talk to them at work. Make sure you’re doing that important one-on-one conversation. Get on the phone and tell them “Happy Birthday.” Go an extra mile and surprise them with a gift. This little generosity will make you more likable at your workplace.

    4. Writing unprofessional emails to colleagues

    You know there are some unprofessional things you shouldn’t say to your colleagues in the workplace. The same is true for work emails.

    For example, it’s not appropriate to answer a colleague asking you how your job search is going inside your work email. Another example is when your colleague complains about other coworkers and says nasty things about them.

    These are discussions you shouldn’t allow inside your work email. I don’t think it’s good to allow it at all whether it’s your personal or work email. You should know that you don’t own your work email, your employer does. Your employer can monitor who you’re communicating with on your work email. You could be in trouble if you’re making inappropriate remarks about sensitive issues at your workplace.

    In addition to that, there are some email mistakes that can make you look really unprofessional.

    For example:

    • Using informal or curse words you’re not allowed to use at work
    • Rambling in your email instead of getting straight to the point
    • Forgetting to attach files when you say you’ve attached files
    • Spelling the person’s name wrong or using a different name to address the recipient

    These email mistakes may not look big to you, but they are serious mistakes that can prevent you from accelerating your career.

    5. Making career choices based on earnings

    The love of money could lead you down the wrong career path.

    I’m not saying “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

    You need money to do a lot of things. You probably need money to pay student loans, buy some nice outfits and keep the roof over your head. So you definitely need money. We all do.

    But when you choose a career or a job you don’t even enjoy based on your goal to make $90,000 per year, that’s when it becomes a problem. You need to ask yourself:

    Does your desire for money match your passion and skills? When you choose a job you’re less passionate about, you’ll be pushing yourself to get things done. And this would be visible in your performance. You should choose a job where you have the skills and abilities to get the job done.

    6. Not investing in yourself

    If you strip Larry Page of his assets and dump him on the street, I can assure you that he would be back living a comfortable life within a week.

    Larry Page has a ton of human capital.

    According to Wikipedia“Human capital is the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.” In other words, human capital is a collection of resources—all the knowledge, talents, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence, training, judgment, and wisdom that are possessed by an individual. If you want to achieve a lot of success in your career, you need a lot of human capital. Focusing on building your human capital is a lot more productive than worrying about “job security.

    So how do you build your human capital?

    You build up your human capital by investing in yourself through:

    • Improving your skills
    • Acquiring complementary skills
    • Reading educational books
    • Starting healthy habits
    • Building your personal brand
    • Getting a mentor

    As you do these things, you’ll become irreplaceable in your organization. You’ll become the go-to person within your company. Many more people will start looking up to you. All these help you accelerate your career.

    But when you stop investing in yourself, you become stagnant. Your skills become obsolete.

    7. Not maintaining a healthy work-life balance

    A poor work-life balance is bad for both the employee (you) and the employer.

    People who have a poor work-life balance are more stressed and experience more family conflicts. They also tend to have both mental and physical problems. If your private life is suffering, it will negatively impact your professional life. Your private life comes first. When you experience more problems in your private life, your creativity, engagement and productivity at work will suffer.

    The only way to prevent this is to keep a work-life balance.

    This may not look like a career mistake to you, but it’s a mistake that can have adverse effects on your career. You should set work hours and stick to them. Don’t work during times when you should be with your family or have set aside times for tending to personal matters which are a priority to you.

    8. Not improving your communication skills

    “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”—Theodore Roosevelt

    The consequences of poor communication are great.

    For example, if your communication skills are poor, your message would be hard to understand, and this can lead to serious confusion among your colleagues.

    Too much information when it is not needed can also affect the concentration of the listener.

    Poor communication becomes more serious when you communicate with customers. If customers are not serviced in the right manner, it would reduce sales, thereby affecting business goals.

    Great communication skills help you do well at your job because you’ll be using these skills when requesting information, discussing problems, giving out instructions, and interacting with your colleagues. As a result of demonstrating good communication skills, you’ll enhance your professional image, build sound business relationships, and get more successful responses.

    You have to continue sharpening your communication skills if you want to get and stay at the top.

    How do you do that?

    You sharpen your communication skills by:

    • Striking up conversations with strangers
    • Reading good books
    • Listening to others
    • And engaging in more one-on-one conversations

    9. Not networking outside your company

    Your network is your net worth.

    Your network is your source of job opportunities, potential business partnerships and much more. Your network won’t only find your next job, but it will help you improve your current position.

    NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!”—Adam Small

    One of the biggest mistakes many people make is to network when they are only looking for a job. You can’t only rely on people you already know within your current workplace to help you land your dream job. You must always be networking outside of your company, and even your industry.

    For example, let’s say you’re a website designer; networking with other website designers alone would limit your opportunities. You should network outside your industry like in the Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Energy sectors. People in these sectors could be good references. They could become customers. They might know someone who needs your service.

    LinkedIn is a very good place to start networking with people outside your industries.

    But your conversation with those people shouldn’t be limited to the web. Take it offline. Do face-to-face meetings with them. That’s how you expand your network and increase your chance of career success.

    10. Not serving your network

    The truth is the people in your network needs you as much as you need them.

    You can’t just expect people in your network to connect you with other people they know. You can’t just expect them to link you up with job opportunities without you giving them some value. You’ll appear selfish if you always expect people to do things for you but offer nothing in return.

    The best way to keep people interested in you is to serve them. When you diligently do something good for people, they will want to return the favor, though, your major aim of helping people shouldn’t be to get something in return. The more people you serve, the more your network grows, and the more your network grows, the more opportunities will come your way.

    Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

    Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

    Need more tips for making the best career choices? Visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

    Michael Akinlaby is a freelance writer and SEO Consultant. He’s the founder of RankRain, an internet marketing agency that specializes in content marketing and Search Engine. 

  • Why employees should put extra effort into impressing the boss

    June 06, 2016 by
    Woman raising her hand to ask question photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    At the very beginning of your career, you may be faced with the fact that all the knowledge and the diplomas in the world will not be enough to save you if you are on your boss’s bad side. You will end up watching from your cubicle how other people are getting promoted, while you are sitting there and doing the same things you have done on your first day at work.

    You see, when people graduate they are full of confidence and hope, and that is not a bad thing, but books and tests are just the basics that should be upgraded with experience and interpersonal relationships. One of the people who can affect your professional growth the most is your boss, and you should do your best to make that relationship productive and mutually beneficial.

    Learning from your boss

    One of the main reasons why you should have a good relationship your boss is the opportunity to learn from someone who is in a position you would love to be in the future. If you are constantly giving your maximum with work tasks and showing consistency and dedication, you will have the right to participate in some important conversations and find out many valuable things, not only about the company you are working in, but also about the road to success.

    Self-improving

    At first, your motivation may be just to impress your boss, but as time goes on, your dedication and efforts will grow to become habits and make your career success even more certain. Showing up to work early and taking initiative might seem like “sucking up” to your boss to other employees and to you yourself, but actually, when you think about it, there is nothing wrong with these actions. On the contrary, they showcase you as a well-educated and ambitious man/woman.

    You are the image of your boss

    … and vice versa. A good boss surrounds himself with competent people, and if you show to be anything other but that, you will not only make your boss look bad, but also create a negative image about yourself, which can impact your position in the firm, and even future employment opportunities. If you on the other hand, do your best to make your boss succeed, you will show that you are a great employee worthy of going up the corporate ladder.

    Improving your current job

    If you want to love the job you are doing, you have to make it a job you can love. The best, and possibly the only way to do so, is to make your boss fond of you. If you are consistently productive and assigning for the difficult tasks, you will have a more pleasant relationship with your boss, which will make your working hours less stressful. Beyond that, you will get better assignments and maybe become the right-hand-man/woman.

    Getting promoted

    The ultimate goal of every employee would never even be considered without a long process of impressing the boss. After all, your boss is the one handling the decisions about transfer of the employees to a better job. If you notice he is giving you some extra projects and work, accept it with enthusiasm, because this can be a part of grooming you for higher jobs, and eventually even his position. So, make sure you are on his radar by struggling to get new challenges and more recognition, instead of struggling to get your work done.

    Some people would love to spend their days at work unnoticed to avoid conflicts and critiques, but by doing so, they are also avoiding praises and opportunities. Do not be one of those people and fight your way up to the top, in a struggle where impressing your boss is your best chance to succeed.

    In search of more career advice? Come to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Nate Vickery, guest writer

    Nate Vickery, guest writer

    Nate Vickery is a marketing manager and a blogger. He is also the editor-in-chief at BizzMarkBlog.

  • How college graduates can address lack of work experience

    January 27, 2016 by

    Work experience cannot be underestimated when it comes to finding their first full-time jobs. College graduates who don’t have work experience might believe they can’t compete with graduates who do. However, a lack of work experience does not mean college graduates cannot land jobs. James Wright, Bridge Partner, offers advice on how college graduates can address having little to no work experience when entering the job market. Continue Reading

  • Recruiters’ quick tips for job seekers

    January 21, 2016 by
    Laura Schnaible, Recruiting Specialist, The New England Center for Children, Inc.

    Laura Schnaible, Recruiting Specialist, The New England Center for Children, Inc.

    When preparing to enter the workforce after college graduation, and when preparing for internship application season, many students appreciate pointers from true experts. Two members of the recruiting team from the New England Center for Children (NECC), Laura Schnaible, Recruiting Specialist, and Kaitlyn Maloney, Human Resources Coordinator, share some of their top tips for soon-to-be grads and internship candidates preparing for the job search process.

    What are your 3 top tips for new college graduates about how to prepare for the job search process in January if they plan to graduate in May? 

    1. Students should have an updated current resume targeting specific fields/industries, if they are able to research organizations ahead of time and have a specific one for that company.
    2. Dress appropriately for colleges fairs, interviews, etc.  Lean more on the conservative side.
    3. Make use of career services at your college/university. They can help direct you when it comes to resumes, career events, job opportunities, and the appropriate ways to follow up with potential employers.

    If students want to work for The New England Center for Children as a summer intern, when should they apply? Please describe the application process. 

    Our internship program is very competitive, and we strongly recommend applying in January or prior within the fall semester, since an on-site interview is required.  It is important to review the position information, and to reach out to the internship coordinator with your contact information and resume.

    Have you hired an intern who later became a star employee? Please share your internship success story with us. 

    Kaitlyn Maloney, Human Resources Coordinator-Recruiting, The New England Center for Children, Inc.

    Kaitlyn Maloney, Human Resources Coordinator-Recruiting, The New England Center for Children, Inc.

    We have hired many full and part-time interns as employees. We pride ourselves on being a company that promotes within, and we have had numerous interns turn into staff who grow into supervisory positions, complete on-site Master’s programs, and truly become leaders at the organization.

    For more tips from recruiting experts, follow College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Stick with College Recruiter this month as we help you connect the dots on your path to career success.

    In 2007, like most employees at The New England Center for Children (NECC®), Kaitlyn and Laura began their careers as teachers in the residential program for students who have a moderate to severe diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Kaitlyn received her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology at Westfield State University, and Laura attended Valparaiso University, receiving her degree in Business Administration and Psychology.  During their years at NECC, both have taken advantage of the significant graduate school tuition reimbursement benefit; Kaitlyn received her Master’s of Education with a concentration in Mental Health Counseling from Cambridge College, and Laura received her Master’s of Science in Education with a concentration in Severe Special Needs from Simmons College (one of NECC’s on-site graduate programs).  After working in the residential program, and at NECC’s second school facility in Abu Dhabi, Kaitlyn joined the Human Resources Recruitment Department in 2014 as a Human Resources Coordinator, and has the main focus of creating relationships with numerous college and university programs within the Northeast.  Laura has been in the Recruiting Specialist role for seven years and focuses on building long-reaching partnerships with programs throughout the United States and Canada.  Both work daily meeting college students in person and guiding them toward the many internship and career opportunities at NECC.

    For those interested in learning more about internships, career opportunities, and the numerous benefits NECC offers, please visit www.necc.org.

     

  • Job application advice for interns and grads

    January 14, 2016 by

    With the spring semester in full swing this week, many college students have begun to ask themselves (or at least their parents have begun to ask them) that age old question: what am I going to do this summer? Or better yet, if they’re graduating in May, what am I going to do after graduation?

    Andy Ek, Manager of College Relations, Koch Industries, Inc.

          Andy Ek, Manager of College Relations, Koch Industries, Inc.

    Andy Ek, Manager of College Relations for Koch Industries, offers college students pertinent advice and direction related to searching for both full-time jobs and internships.

    What is the best advice you have to offer new college graduates about how to prepare for the job search process in January if they plan to graduate in May?
    Regardless of timing, I’d encourage all students to self-reflect on their best natural abilities and their specific career interests. What are they good at and what types of roles would they enjoy doing most?  I think it’s important for each student to research firms that offer careers (not just employment) in their areas of interest.  Students will benefit from networking as much as possible (with peers, faculty, employers, etc).  The knowledge gained from building these relationships will lead students straight toward the opportunities with the most potential.

    If students want to work for Koch as a summer intern, when should they apply? Please describe the application process.
    The application process for our summer internship program starts at the beginning of the previous year’s fall semester.  For example, most students interested in our summer 2016 intern opportunities applied in mid-September 2015 in order to be considered.  All applications are available on our recruitment website, www.kochcollegerecruiting.com, and will require completion of an online profile, a short questionnaire related to the role’s qualifications, and submission of a resume.  Students eventually hired for a position typically receive an on-campus or phone interview, before traveling to a site location for a second interview.

    Have you hired an intern who later became a star employee?
    Our goal in employing interns is to identify those individuals with the right mix of virtues and talents required to be successful within our firm.  We are thankful to have had numerous examples of star employees hired through our college recruiting process, including eight who are current or past presidents of various Koch companies.

    Want to learn more about how to connect the dots along the path to job search success? Follow our blog and connect with College Recruiter on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

     

    Andy Ek is the Manager of College Relations for Koch Industries, Inc. In this role, Andy is responsible for leading Koch’s college recruiting program, managing and developing Koch’s relationships with key universities, and partnering with Koch leadership to determine optimal entry-level talent strategies for their organizations. A native Kansan, Andy is a 2004 University of Kansas graduate with a degree in Business Administration and Accounting – he also earned a Master’s in Business Administration from KU in 2011.  Andy was recognized as one of the Wichita Business Journal’s 40 under 40 honorees in 2015.

    Based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch Industries, Inc. is one of the largest private companies in America.  With a presence in more than 60 countries, Koch companies employ more than 100,000 people worldwide, with about 60,000 of those in the United States.

  • 4 secrets to job search success

    January 13, 2016 by
    Erin Vickers

    Erin Vickers, Staffing Consultant, RightSourcing, Inc.

    It’s tough to begin searching for your first full-time job as a college student, having worked as an intern, volunteer, or in part-time positions in the past. Transitioning to full-time job status is huge, and the interim evolutionary phase feels odd at times and requires some changes on your part.

    Expert staffing consulting Erin Vickers offers 4 helpful tips to ease the transition and aid the job search process.

    Establish your brand and keep it professional.

    Make sure you are reflecting your professional self. Search for your name online and see what comes back in the results. After all, you are selling yourself to potential employers, and you should present your best self. Keep your social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) free from questionable posts and images.

    Create a professional email address if you do not already have one. Email addresses are free and easy to establish so there’s no excuse for not having one for professional interaction. Employers don’t want to message “foxymama@thisemail.com” or “hotdaddy@thatemail.com.”

    Remove questionable greetings, ringtones, ringback tones, etc., from your phone. Choose a standard voicemail greeting stating your full name, requesting callers to leave a message.

    Do not be a no call, no show to an interview whether it’s over the phone or in person. Period.

    Employers understand that other opportunities present themselves and are not offended (though maybe disappointed) when they hear “no” for whatever reason. Politely call or email your contact to let the company know you will not be attending the previously scheduled interview. You do not need to go into great detail about why you are canceling your appointment, but you do need to let your interviewer know you will not be there and thank them for their time and consideration.

    Remember the STAR or PAR acronym while giving answers in an interview.

    STAR stands for Situation/Task, Action, Result, while PAR stands for Problem, Action, Result. Many interviewers will ask you to “tell them about a time when….”  By integrating the STAR/PAR acronyms, you will be able to respond with a complete answer: you should describe a situation, task, or problem you faced, detail the action you took when resolving it, and then tell what resulted from your actions.

    Use and grow your network

    Andresr/Shutterstock.com

    Andresr/Shutterstock.com

    You want to do X.  You know or know of someone who does X.  Make the connection and see what transpires. Perhaps the connection will lead to a job, but it could also potentially become a mentor/mentee relationship that will assist with career guidance in your quest for a job or better job.  Also, having a LinkedIn profile connects you to a world of people with roles similar to the one you are probably seeking. Send a terse yet somewhat personal message to those with whom you want to connect: e.g. Hi ___, Looks like we have this person, group, skill, etc. in common.  I’d like to connect with you.

    Want more secrets to connecting the dots on your path to career success? Follow College Recruiter on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter or start searching for jobs on our website today.

    Erin Vickers, Staffing Consultant at RightSourcing, Inc., has spent more than 16 years in various recruiting roles in a variety of industries. Her experience includes full-lifecycle recruiting for nationally-known telecommunications carriers and a third-party administrator. Additionally, she has supported several staffing initiatives for an international chemical company and a widely-renowned insurance company. She has placed candidates in accounting, engineering, executive, financial, marketing, and other professional positions as well as various customer service and technician-type roles. As a Staffing Consultant, she has piloted an on-site recruiting program in support of an exclusive client’s needs.  Her passion is to strategically assist her client in operating an efficient organization by providing top talent.  Erin graduated from Lyon College (Batesville, AR) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to live music, traveling, and spending time with her two spoiled rescue dogs.

     

  • 3 steps to a flawless telephone interview [video]

    January 12, 2016 by

     

    With travel costs skyrocketing and recruitment budgets shrinking, telephone interviews and online interviews are becoming more common. If you’re a recent college graduate, and this news scares the pants off you, keep calm and read on.

    Relying solely on your words to carry you through an interview can feel a bit intimidating. Even traditional face-to-face interviews feel intimidating when you’re a newbie. With a little practice and lots of preparation, you’ll become a pro.

    Watch our 5-minute overview of a simple 3-step process to a flawless telephone interview:

    If the video is not playing or displaying properly, click here to watch on YouTube.

    1. Schedule the interview and set reminders

    It’s helpful to schedule telephone interviews because you won’t be sawing logs in your sleep when the phone rings and catches you off guard. You’ll be alert, prepared, and much more likely to perform well during phone interviews if you schedule them.

    Another important part of scheduling telephone interviews is knowing who’s calling whom. If you’re calling your interviewer, set a reminder in your phone, and keep your phone charged and with you so you’ll hear the reminder/alarm. And don’t forget one other important thing—contact information for your interviewer. It’s best to have two ways to contact your interviewer in case one phone number doesn’t work that day or technology fails you. Obtain both your interviewer’s phone number and email address if possible.

    Related: Phone interview questions and answers

    2. Prepare

    Tursk Aleksandra/Shutterstock.com

    There are several ways to prepare well for telephone interviews. Let’s hit the high points.

    Above all, prepare for a phone interview the same way you’d prepare for any other interview—reviewing basic interview questions, researching the company, getting a good night’s sleep the night before, etc.

    Telephone interviews are a different animal, though, than face-to-face interviews, so let’s focus on how to prepare specifically for phone interviews versus face-to-face interviews.

    Related: How to respond to the 5 most basic interview questions

    Ensure you have all documentation and sources you might want to refer to during the phone interview on hand and available. This should include a copy of your resume, cover letter, digital portfolio, and company website. Be sure to send copies of said documents in advance as well (resume, cover letter, and portfolio link).

    Related: Latest rules for resume writing from expert career counselor

    Prepare a distraction-free zone. Schedule your call at a time and in a location free from as many sounds as possible, including children, friends, romantic partners, other students, coworkers, cars, etc. Even if you are great at zoning out and focusing on conversations, your interviewer might not be, and there’s no faster way to turn off a potential future employer than to schedule your phone interview and force your interviewer to try to compete for your attention or discern your voice from five others in the background. It’s also best to eliminate visual distractions from your sight. Give yourself the gift of focus during your telephone interview.

    Keep a bottle or glass of water handy, but don’t consume too much. You can’t pause the interview for a restroom break, and you don’t want to cause yourself any discomfort which would distract you either. And by all means, don’t crunch and munch on snacks during your interview, chew gum, or eat candy. Noises like this are amplified over the phone, and you don’t want to come across like a chipmunk on the other end.


    TIP: Make sure to supplement your online job search with networking. Once you get guidance from your network, target your online search to the right job titles and companies. After you apply, follow up with someone who works there. College Recruiter lists thousands of entry-level job opportunities. Would it make sense to start searching?


    3. Communicate as if face-to-face, but remember you’re not

    When you smile, stand up, nod your head, and sit up straight, you sound more positive, energetic, and focused. This is probably the way you would carry yourself physically if you were interviewing face-to-face, so sit/stand this way while interviewing by phone, too. If you’re physically able, standing up while conducting a phone interview, at least periodically, is usually a good idea. It helps you maintain a higher energy level, and believe it or not, it’s conveyed in your voice tone.

    Related: How recent grads can ace the second interview

    Conduct yourself as if you’re face-to-face, smiling and doing all these little things (honing your non-verbal skills) while on the telephone interview, but remember you’re not face-to-face—your interview can only hear your words and the tone of your voice. Be sure to enunciate clearly and use words you’re familiar with to avoid mispronounced words.

    If you follow these 3 simple steps—scheduling and setting reminders, preparing, and communicating as if face-to-face—your telephone interview is bound to succeed.

  • 5 things keeping job seekers from their dream jobs

    January 11, 2016 by
    sandra lambert

    Sandra Lambert, guest writer

    Many factors can contribute to our overall happiness, and dream jobs we love are a top one. Working in a pleasant and rewarding environment goes a long way in helping us feel happier and more content, but sadly, many people aren’t working in their ideal occupations. In many cases, our own actions prevent us from landing dream jobs, and several factors might be holding job seekers back.

    1. Procrastination

    Do you have big dreams, but put off the work to achieve them? Do you live by the motto “why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” The people who are most successful in life rarely procrastinate because they understand procrastinators will always work from behind and try to play catch up. Successful people develop the discipline and skills to stay a step ahead, allowing them to accomplish more and reduce the stress on their lives.

    Procrastination is a major culprit when considering what keeps job seekers from finding their dream jobs. While postponing tedious tasks is tempting, it won’t help job seekers reach their goals. Instead, break large projects down into smaller, more manageable parts, and work on strengthening discipline and determination in order to achieve career goals.

    2. Lack of people skills

    To find their dream jobs, job seekers must connect with people. They don’t need to become best friends with everyone, but having good social skills is a necessity. While submitting a resume to an interesting job is easy, make a good impression by reaching out to recruiting managers or other professionals to further connect. Even if job seekers aren’t ready to start their new job searches, they should practice their people skills by having conversations with colleagues, bringing in cookies for the next team meeting, or doing something nice for a stranger.

    3. Fear of failure

    fear of failure words in red 3d letters and a man jumping over it to overcome a challenge such as anxiety or uncertainty

    Fear of failure words in red 3d letters and a man jumping over it to overcome a challenge such as anxiety or uncertainty. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Mental health professionals have determined losing a job can be as emotionally detrimental as losing a close family member. For that reason, it is pretty easy to see why the fear of failure is completely paralyzing to some people, and can leave someone complacent. Unfortunately, if people aren’t willing to take risks, they aren’t liable to get where they want to go. While job seekers shouldn’t make any rash or irresponsible decisions, sometimes they simply must take a leap of faith and see if they end up in their dream jobs. Additionally, getting the advice of motivational speakers can be a great resource in providing motivation to chase dreams despite a fear of failure.

    4. You’re stuck in your comfort zone

    Do we find ourselves sticking to activities familiar to us? When is the last time we ventured out of our comfort zones and tried something completely new? Unfortunately, if we’re stuck in our comfort zones, we are really limiting our opportunities in life, including the potential to land our dream jobs.

    Luckily, there are ways to expand upon our comfort zones to find new opportunities. Take a proactive approach to improving flaws and try new things. Find a volunteer opportunity to connect with new people or learn a new skill. This builds stronger, more outgoing personalities in people and helps them learn new things from other different and interesting people. Expanding to try out brand new situations helps us gradually move out of our comfort zones and gives us the confidence to pursue our dream jobs.

    5. Organization isn’t your strong suit

    If we are extremely disorganized, we’re setting ourselves up for failure when it comes to getting the jobs we want. Fortunately, there are various ways we can increase our productivity and improve our organization skills, including helpful apps to assist us in creating to-do lists to keep on track with our workloads, projects, and activities. By better organizing our lives and the steps we take to get our dream jobs, we’ll identify our occupational priorities so we can move in the right direction.

    It is never too late to pursue our dreams, but we need to stop putting them off today. By identifying what exactly might be holding us back from our dream jobs, we can take the steps to eliminate obstacles and get where we want to be in life.

    Sandra Lambert is a CISCO certified computer networking specialist. She has a keen interest in writing about her knowledge and experiences. She writes about technology as well as about business. She has also developed interest in public speaking. You can follow her on Google+ and Twitter.

    During January 2016, College Recruiter is publishing content focused on assisting college students searching for entry-level jobs upon graduation or summer internships. Learn more about our focus in “Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan.

  • Finding your first full-time job after college

    January 07, 2016 by

    Ever felt torn about making plans? I have. Especially as a college student, I felt frozen when making decisions. Small decisions were simple. When selecting pizza toppings (my college boyfriend worked as a Domino’s delivery driver so we often pigged out on the stuff) or choosing whether to hang out in Memphis or St. Louis for the weekend, I could manage. But ask me to plot out the next five years of my life? No thanks.

    Maybe you can relate. Let’s pretend it’s May 1, college graduation is the following weekend, and all your friends are making down payments on apartments. They’re gabbing about how they plan to spend their first “real” paychecks at their first “real” jobs, bragging about how they found their first full-time jobs, and your head is buried under a beanbag like an ostrich in the sand.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Duplass/Shutterstock.com

    It’s easy to temporarily pretend the world of adulting doesn’t exist.

    But it does, of course.

    If you’re a senior in college, it’s not really your future career we’re talking about—it’s the now. I know, I know—go ahead and grab the nearest pillow and cover your head for a moment to muffle the ear-piercing panicky scream. Then breathe.

    Your future career isn’t really your future career, and you’re already technically an adult. Career planning is an ongoing process, and you’ve already begun working on it whether you realize it or not.

    You began the career planning process your first year of college or even earlier in life. During your first few years of college, probably before completing 60 credit hours, you selected a major field of study. You might have met with an academic advisor or career counselor regarding your choice of major/minor and discussed the job outlook (including expected salary range) for your field of study (if not, it’s never too late to do this or to research this information on your own).

    If you were super proactive, you might have visited the career services or career development office and sought career counseling advice and services related to resume writing, interview skills, and other valuable information. Or you might have blown this off entirely and thought you’d get to it later. That’s okay—you have one semester left on campus—make the most of it!

    Like many students, you probably obtained some form of work experience while in college, either during the academic year or during summer/winter breaks. Whether you worked part-time or full-time, volunteered, or worked as an intern (paid or unpaid), you learned real transferable job skills to list on your resume and discuss in upcoming interviews. Did you know you were investing in your future career while standing over a vat of grease, waiting to pull French fries for 50 hungry customers at lunch? You were. You obtained customer service skills, time management skills, multitasking skills, and team working skills, to name a few. Those 15 hours per week each semester weren’t wasted.

    The key at this point in your career journey is to refuse to remain satisfied with where you’re at. You’ve worked your tail off in college. Now’s the time to apply what you’ve learned, both in the classroom and outside the classroom, and begin searching for your first full-time job, one related to your college major, rather than remaining underemployed or unemployed after graduation.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Kotin/Shutterstock.com

    I can see you breathing a little more evenly now. See—you’ve already connected several crucial dots on the path to career success.

    Follow our blog and let us help you maintain motivation this semester as you begin searching for your first full-time job.

     

  • Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan

    January 01, 2016 by

    Most college students make a list and check it twice before leaving campus during finals week. Catch up on countless hours of missed sleep during fall semester? Check. Hang out with hometown friends and reminisce about old times? Check. Curl up in Dad’s crusty old recliner and watch every episode of “The Big Bang Theory” aired since 2007? Check.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    There may be other items that make the list but rank lower in priority because, let’s face it, they’re simply not as fun to complete—obtain seasonal employment, complete the FAFSA online for the upcoming academic year, fill out grad school applications, stop by the local architect’s office to ask about a summer internship opportunity, etc. The list could literally go on FOR-EV-ER, as The Sandlot’s Squints puts it.

    Realistically, many students head back to campus in January without having completed the lower-ranking, future-focused tasks. This doesn’t seem like a big deal in January; the entire spring semester lies before you like a blank notebook. Sounds simple, right?

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    But a blank piece of paper gets you nowhere in terms of a future career or internship (and certainly generates little cash flow). And most people, not just college students, tend to put off today what can be done tomorrow. Unfortunately, employers and recruiters don’t feel your procrastination pain. They only care if you’re the smartest and best if you’ve actually applied on time and filled their needs for openings.

    While you still have time and aren’t stressed by the pressure of spring courses, pour a cup of coffee, prepare to brainstorm, and draft a simple 4-step blueprint for action.

    1. Accept your limitations and lower your expectations. This might sound like odd advice, but it will keep you from dropping the career-planning ball altogether. Most of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought; this causes us to set ridiculously high expectations and goals (AKA perfectionism). It’s been said that it’s unrealistic to plan more than 90 days out, so don’t do it. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you’ve begun. Eat that elephant one bite at a time.

    2.Identify a few (3 to 5) key career-related goals that matter to you. These goals need to be directly related to obtaining an entry-level job after graduation or an internship during the summer of 2016. Perhaps you’re not interested in an internship but are interested in obtaining part-time employment during the summer that relates to your academic major or minor. Regardless, you might need help with this step. Who can help?

    a) 
    College Recruiter’s blog. Keep reading this month and follow our blog (via email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn). During January, you’ll read about nothing but information related to helping college students plan for and obtain entry-level jobs after graduation and internships during the summer.   b) Your career services office on campus.

    Let’s pretend your goal is to work for Target Corporation in entry-level management near Houston, Texas, and  you plan to graduate in May 2016. This is a pretty specific goal (which is good—the more narrow your focus, the easier it is to set goals and action steps).

    Some career-related goals might be:

    • Develop a more polished resume (your current resume was drafted when applying for college three years ago and hasn’t been updated since) and learn how to write a great cover letter.
    • Improve phone/online interview skills since you live three states away from Texas and will most likely interview over the phone or online.
    • Learn how to convey your “campus life” experiences as transferable skills during interviews since you’ve only held one part-time job and feel insecure about your lack of real-world experience.

    (Spoiler alert: Stay tuned to our blog this month to learn about all this and more.)

    3. Define action steps necessary to help you attain your 3-5 goals. This step’s crucial; goals are simply idealistic dreams unless you take steps to realize them.

    Let’s stick with our hypothetical you who hopes to work in entry-level management for Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, after graduating in May 2016. Here are some suggested action steps:

    • Update existing resume with part-time job, volunteer experience, campus involvement, and coursework relevant to future employment.
    • Submit resume to College Recruiter’s free resume review service (yep, FREE) and to campus career services office.
    • Follow College Recruiter’s blog this month for posts related to interview skills. Search College Recruiter’s blog for past articles and webinars related to interview skills.
    • Attend mock interviews and career fairs on campus—these are free and afford you valuable practice.
    • Work on revising your resume to reflect transferable skills and to reframe the way you think about your own skills, too.
    • Search for job openings with Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, on College Recruiter’s website after registering. Registering first is important because College Recruiter sends you new postings (saving you time and effort).

    4. Get busy. Blueprints look impressive hanging on the wall, but they’re much more impressive when framed inside the buildings built by the very architects who drafted them in the first place.

    Developing an action plan is tough brain work—but the real work kicks in when you crawl out of the comfy recliner (even though you have three more days of winter break) and begin implementing your plan.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    The payoff may not be immediate, but pretty soon you’ll see results—the empty page will fill with a pretty cool image you created by simply connecting the dots by taking action all semester.