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Posted August 26, 2016 by

Biggest networking mistake you can make

Asking photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

For many college students and recent graduates, networking is likely to be part of their job searches. Their success or failure when interacting with recruiters and hiring managers will depend on their approach. While securing internships or entry-level jobs is a priority, college students and recent grads don’t want to come off as too aggressive when asking about career opportunities. Job seekers should not assume that just because they are eager to work that employers will automatically tell them about job opportunities, including those in the hidden job market.

When networking, students and graduates can inform professionals about who they are and what interests they have. At the same time, they can ask questions to learn more about potential employers and what they have to offer. Marc Prosser, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business, discusses a key mistake to avoid when networking and shares helpful tips for a better experience.

“The biggest networking mistake is asking people if they know of any open jobs. It’s good to be aggressive and show you’re looking for work. But why should anyone recommend you, especially if they don’t know you or your work ethic?

The best way to network is showing curiosity about what people do. Ask them and tell them you’d like to learn more about their profession; establish an interest in them. They may recommend you and say “This person is interested in…and may be good for the position.” Asking employers if they’re hiring won’t be as effective as “Hey, what do you do?” Avoid that mistake and you’ll be better at networking.”

Want to improve your networking skills? Visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Marc Prosser, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business

Marc Prosser, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business

Marc Prosser is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business, a site that provides reviews and articles for small business owners. Prior to starting Fit Small Business, Marc was the CMO of FXCM for 10 years. He joined as FXCM’s first employee and grew the company to more than 700 employees.

Posted August 22, 2016 by

Recruiters’ failure to follow-up hurts networking

Emotional stress, frustration, telephone photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Attending networking events on college campuses is a great way for recruiters and hiring managers to interact with and build relationships with college students. By engaging in conversations with college students, recruiters and hiring managers can find potential candidates for entry-level jobs, internships, or other career opportunities. It is also important to keep in mind that networking is a two-way street. While it is important for students to follow-up with recruiters, recruiters should do the same.

One mistake some recruiters make is not following up during the hiring process. This can not only create a less impressive candidate experience but can also a company or organization’s reputation. Kevin Fallon, Director of Career Services at Salisbury University (Maryland), discusses the negative effect left on college students when recruiters do not follow up during the hiring process.

“The single biggest mistake we often see recruiters and hiring managers make during the hiring process is a lack of follow-up or follow-through. College students will come to us and say ‘I never heard back from (recruiter) at (name of company) – Should I follow up with them?’ This lack of following through on communicating with students is damaging to an organization’s brand, and it leaves them with an unfavorable view of the organization. It especially does when you consider the contact management software available today.”

For more advice on networking, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Kevin Fallon, Director of Career Services at Salisbury University

Kevin Fallon, Director of Career Services at Salisbury University

Kevin Fallon serves as the Director of Career Services at Salisbury University (Maryland), where he leads the delivery of career and professional development services to more than 8,000 students enrolled in, as well as alumni from 42 undergraduate and 14 graduate programs in business, education, science and technology, and the liberal arts. Prior to joining Salisbury, Fallon’s 22-year career included talent acquisition and talent development leadership roles with global Fortune organizations such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Accenture, and Bank of America, as well as university career services leadership roles with the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland College Park and Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Posted August 16, 2016 by

Absence of genuine networking discourages job seekers

Business photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

As recruiters and hiring managers search for top talent, it is important they understand how to approach potential job candidates. Employers should think about treating candidates the way they would want to be treated when searching for internships or entry-level jobs. Recruiters and hiring managers can’t assume just because they arrive on college campuses that they will make connections. Taking time to speak with college students who attend networking events shows sincere interest in them and create a favorable impression of an employer. Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, explains the importance of connecting with candidates in a genuine manner.

“Networking is a way to build professional relationships on a personal level. But many recruiters fail to connect with potential candidates in a meaningful way. Communication is the most important tool in a recruiter’s toolkit. If you can’t explain expectations and describe opportunities in a clear, straightforward way, candidates will go elsewhere. Job seekers aren’t interested in vague, unclear information. They want to know if an opportunity is right for them so help them see if they can fit into the role.

It’s easy to spot common offenders when you’re at networking events. Keep an eye out for card spammers, people who throw their business cards around attempting to reach as many people as possible in a short amount of time. This is not just unprofessional; it’s also offensive.

You can’t build relationships by skimming the surface and trying to get your information in as many pockets as possible. Why would I want to build a trusting relationship with you when you can’t seem to take the time to fully engage with me?

Instead, start a conversation and express a genuine interest in connecting. Being inauthentic and focusing only on the result is off-putting. Don’t force anything; sometimes, there just isn’t a fit. Express what you can offer and how you can help potential candidates.

Follow-up if you sense some interest, but don’t be pushy. There is a human side to business, and talented candidates appreciate when they are treated as a person, not a commodity.”

Want more networking tips? Make your way to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

Michael Moradian is the Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, an honor society that recognizes academic achievement and provides valuable resources and tools to its members. Connect with Michael and HonorSociety.org on Twitter at @HonorSocietyorg.

Posted August 09, 2016 by

Common networking mistakes to avoid

Dishonesty, moral dilemma, liar photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

As college students and recent graduates enter the workforce, they will likely meet people who can assist them with their job searches. When these opportunities arise, job seekers be prepared to take advantage of them. While some job seekers may not be the most outgoing in terms of personality, they can still be effective when networking. However, if students and grads don’t understand how to network, they can hurt their chances of building important relationships that can advance their careers. So as job seekers attend networking events, they must be mindful of what not to do. Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University, highlights common networking mistakes to avoid.

“Blindly reaching out without knowing basic information about a person, the kind of details usually found through a quick Google or LinkedIn search, is a red flag signaling a bad start to the networking experience. A wishful connection will be less likely to engage if college students or prospective hires don’t bring any background knowledge to the table.

Expecting a networking connection will “tell me what to do.” Before reaching out, know the information you want. It’s helpful to have an informal script handy. “My name is Sue Smith; I’m a business major and art history minor interested in an entry-level job working in the cosmetic industry in New York. I’m hoping to secure a summer internship. Could you share with me how you got into the industry and any suggestions or recommendations you might have?”

Thinking the number of connections matters. Networking is about relationships, not numbers. Targeted outreach to people who share common interests makes networking effective. Two people may connect in an unlimited number of ways, such as graduating from the same school, being from the same hometown, choosing a similar academic path, or by an interest in a particular career. Whatever it is, a real connection matters.

The first outreach is inappropriate or unprofessional. Treat networking opportunities as professional conversations. It’s easier to move from formal to casual than vice-versa. Having good manners and dressing appropriately (which is very different if you’re interested in a career in journalism versus a career on Wall Street) is critical in creating the first impression that builds your reputation.”

Want to learn more about networking mistakes? Head to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University

Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University

With more than 25 years of experience in the private sector, nearly half assisting organizations with recruiting, interviewing, and hiring top talent, Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has an insider’s understanding of what employers are seeking and helping students and recent grads showcase their academic skills and personal experiences. Wake Forest’s one, university-wide employer relations team means Summers has experience with and supports the employment search for students in all academic areas, teaching and empowering them to articulate the value of their education for today’s employers.

Posted August 01, 2016 by

4 winning resume tips for recent graduates

Businessman passing document to businesswoman photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

You don’t like getting spam, do you? Well, neither do hiring managers. It may be quick and efficient to upload your resume on popular job sites and send employers the same robo-resume, but hiring managers view these generic, mass mailings as spam. They can spot one-size-fits-all resumes in a nano-second and quickly discard them.

Here are four tips from hiring managers featured in the book, Graduate to a Great Career, on how to create a winning resume:

1. Add a short profile statement and your key selling points at the top “above the fold”

Realize your resume is an ad for branding yourself. Like a newspaper, an ad, or web page, the most important “real estate” is in the top half of your resume. Branding resumes begin with a profile or qualifications statement, a couple of crisp sentences that define your value. A strong profile statement is critical for recent graduates. You don’t have an impressive job title and career history yet, so you’ll need to specify your career focus and value proposition in your profile statement. In fact, many hiring managers told me a big problem with new graduate resumes is it can be hard to determine what entry-level job the new grad is looking for, especially if the grad doesn’t have a career-specific major like accounting or computer science. A profile headline like “Seeking an entry-level positioning” is too generic and doesn’t convey your career path. Remember, it’s your job to convey your career identity, not the hiring manager’s. For example, a recent grad named Erin who was a psychology major pursuing a career in marketing began her profile with the headline, “Aspiring marketing assistant: Psychology grad with pulse on the consumer mindset,” followed by a few bullets outlining her focus, strengths, and marketing credentials through two internships.

2. Expand your skill set to take advantage of new market opportunities

Be willing to take advantage of where the momentum is in the marketplace. During her job search for marketing jobs, Erin, our aspiring marketer mentioned above, noticed big retailers were advertising entry-level jobs and internships in merchandising, an area related to marketing that involves selecting products and evaluating sales performance. She decided to expand her job search and pursue both career paths: merchandising and marketing. Because there were a lot of merchandising internships online, she snagged a three-month, part-time internship at a large global retailer. But Erin needed a different elevator pitch and resume to apply for full-time merchandising jobs, and now with her internship, she had a story to tell. She had a hands-on role in compiling trend and competitive analysis reports, which gave her specific marketable skills. Here is Erin’s new profile statement for her merchandising resume, “Merchandising assistant with strong analytic, merchandising, and marketing skills.” She included new skills such as “completed Excel reports for accurate demand forecasting that resulted in a 10% improvement in accurate buying.” Before long, Erin was offered a merchandising job at a top global retailer.

3. Play to keywords and how the resume robots screen resumes.

The first “person” your resume has to impress is not likely to be a human being but a computer. Due to the volume of resumes that large and medium-sized companies receive, most companies use ATS (applicant tracking systems). Most ATS’s are not kind to new grads since they are programmed to check for a strong keyword match. Since most recent grads have limited experience, they don’t score high on an ATS (Only 25% of resumes make it past the resume robots). If you do have a strong skills match with a job posting, take the time to use the same exact words in your resume so the resume robots pick them out. Your resume can also be discarded if you format it incorrectly. Keep the layout simple with commonly used section titles like profile, work experience, education, etc.

4. Emphasize skills, experience, and results in the “Action + Numbers = Results” format.

Employers now give twice as much importance to specific skills and work experience as academic courses and grades. How do you make your abilities and skills stand out when you’re a new grad with limited work experience? It might take more effort than for an experienced job seeker, but you have more experience and accomplishments than you realize. Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished in internships, school projects, volunteer activities, part-time jobs, and the like. Then, follow this formula to create a powerful results bullet:

Action + Numbers = Results

Did [A] + as measured by [N] = with these results [R]

Here are a few examples of how college students and recent grads have created marketable results bullets out of internships and part-time jobs:

• Raised $55,000 in first month calling alumni for university capital
campaign; the top student performer all four weeks.

• As a brand ambassador interning at X Company, challenged to increase
website traffic, wrote ten blog posts that generated over 240 responses,
and helped boost sales.

• Prepared detailed Excel reports and pitches for business development
group at fast-growing technology company that
increased response rate by 15%.

The key to a successful resume and job search is to go for quality over quantity. You need to invest a little more time to create a resume that is right for each job, but it will pay off. Your efforts will be rewarded, and you’ll be on your way to an interview in no time.

Catherine Kaputa, guest writer

Catherine Kaputa, guest writer

Catherine Kaputa is a Personal Brand Strategist, Speaker, and Author of the newly-released book, Graduate to a Great Career: How Smart Students, New Graduates, and Young Professionals Can Launch Brand You. (April 2016. graduatetoagreatcareer.com). She is the author of two best-selling books, You Are a Brand and Breakthrough Branding for entrepreneurs. She is the Founder of SelfBrand (selfbrand.com). Speaking clients include Google, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Intel, Citi, Merck, Northwestern University, New York University, and University of Illinois.

Posted July 21, 2016 by

Social media helps students and graduates build relationships

Social, connection, laptop photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Today, social media provides us with the chance to communicate personally and professionally. For college students and recent graduates who are more interested in the latter, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are all popular platforms to market themselves. They are places to build valuable relationships with professionals, employers, and fellow job seekers. Andrea St. James, Director of the Career Development Center at Western New England University, discusses how students can establish relationships on social media sites, and Michaeline Shuman, Director of Career Development at Susquehanna University, shares how social media sites can connect students and recent grads to college alumni.

“Social media works best as an initial contact or follow-up to solidify a new relationship. When connecting first (through social media), though, students should explain who they are. When you first pursue a connection, share how you are connected with the person (i.e. went to the same school, or common connections). Then share information about yourself that starts to put a face to a name, i.e. major, experience, direction, goals, and finally what you are looking to gather from that person.”

“(Social media) is great for connecting students with their university’s alumni and asking them for advice. By asking for advice, alumni are put in a position to say yes rather than no. All professionals have stories about how they got into their current roles, strategies for students on the job market, etc. Once a rapport is developed, students can ask their new networking connections about job opportunities or additional resources.”

Students and recent college graduates seeking opportunities to help build their professional network can connect with employers, career specialists and other motivated professionals through the many different social media channels College Recruiter uses to engage with both job seekers and employers. Check out our College Recruiter LinkedIn group, our College Recruiter LinkedIn page, and follow College Recruiter on Twitter. Also, don’t forget to leverage resources like the College Recruiter YouTube page, which offers additional career insight. When you find content you like, share that with your social media channels to help create discussion and engagement, which can help build your professional network and create those coveted relationships that can help students and recent college graduates advance in their career.

While students can use social media to begin the networking process, they shouldn’t end there. Don’t be afraid to invite connections to connect face-to-face for coffee or lunch. Ask connections for an informational interview to learn more about your desired future careers. Take relationships to the next level.

Using social media to network? Get more advice on our blog and don’t forget to follow us on our various social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

Andrea St. James, Director of the Career Development Center at Western New England University

Andrea St. James, Director of the Career Development Center at Western New England University

Andrea St. James is Director of the Career Development Center at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she assists students and alumni with career planning, occupational exploration, job search strategies, and graduate school applications. She has a BSBA in Marketing and an MBA, both from Western New England University.

 

 

 

 

 

Michaeline Shuman, Director of Career Development at Susquehanna University

Michaeline Shuman, Director of Career Development at Susquehanna University

Michaeline Shuman is Assistant Provost for Postgraduate Outcomes and Director of the Career Development Center at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, where she helps students identify internship and job opportunities through networking and preparation programs, on-campus recruiting programs, and career and graduate school advising. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work at Albright College and a Master of Science Degree in Education from Alfred University.

Posted July 18, 2016 by

3 tips for getting the most out of part-time jobs

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Photo by StockUnlimited.com

As a college student, it can often feel like your part time job is purely for bringing in the cash you need to splash on your expenses and social activities. This, however, is not necessarily the case. The experience gained from working a part time job can be invaluable towards assisting with your selection of a future career, as well as contributing to landing your first full-time entry-level job later down the track.

1. On-the-job experience

As far as choosing a career goes, you may have already decided. Obviously you’ve enrolled in a college degree, and now it’s just a matter of time before you land your dream job and get started, right? Well, actually, using your choice of part time work to gain particular experience that will assist with your career selection is a good start. Sometimes when you gain on-the-job work experience in a particular field, you may actually change your mind about thinking it’s the perfect career for you.

Part time jobs can be tricky to land, but if you are presented with choice, why not select one that’s closest to the type of job you’ll work once you’ve completed your degree? For example, work as a veterinary assistant while studying to become a vet. Use this opportunity to test the waters and see if you feel comfortable working in a similar environment in which you’ll soon be qualified.

2. Future benefits

As well as using your part time job as an opportunity to test if you enjoy a particular type of work, you can also leverage it to land yourself your first ‘real’ job sooner. The work experience you gain during college will be included on the resume you submit for prospective full-time jobs once qualified. An empty resume won’t impress a prospective employer, nor will having one that fails to contain any outstanding information.

Separate yourself from future competition by using time worked in your part-time job to earn credit for future job applications. Accomplishments such as taking on higher duties, greater responsibility, winning awards, and being promoted will all look fantastic on your resume. Ask your manager if you can take on new work so you have the opportunity to learn different job skills and gain broader exposure to the work environment. You could also assist with designing a strategy to save the business money or increasing the level of customer satisfaction, for example.

3. Expand your network

Holding down a part-time job will also help you to expand your professional network. You’ll create connections and relationships with people that may be able to assist you with finding work at a later date. Your manager may be willing to provide a reference for you, or your colleague may recommend you to their employer at such time as they gain full-time work.

Working hard now will pay off in the future, as you present a resume and work experience that demonstrates your commitment to work and your enthusiasm to achieve beyond minimum expectations.

Searching for a part-time job? Visit College Recruiter and follow our blog. Also, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Joe Flanagan, Senior Resume Consultant at Velvet Jobs

Joe Flanagan, Senior Outplacement Consultant at Velvet Jobs

Joe Flanagan is the Senior Outplacement Consultant at Velvet Jobs, offering outplacement services and a search facility for job seekers of all ages and industries. His expertise include resume writing, job search tips and hiring issues. When he’s not trying to improve the unemployment rate you can find him traveling the world and learning new languages.
Posted July 15, 2016 by

Using career services’ budget to connect college students

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Photo by StockUnlimited.com

College career services offices are designed to help prepare college students create career paths. Whether helping college students continue their education or finding internships and entry-level jobs, these offices have the resources and tools students need for succeeding in the job search. The career services professionals on college campuses can even share their personal experiences to give students a better idea of what to expect in the real world.

However, while having resources, tools, and professional advice is nice, how can career services offices improve to attract more college students? Nichole Lefelhoc, Director of the Career Center at Mansfield University, discusses how these offices can center their budgets around collaboration and creativity to connect students with career services offices and other events.

“Collaboration and creativity are the name of the game when it comes to ensuring our budget can be utilized in such a way that we are reaching the greatest number of college students. In a time of shrinking operating budgets, we focus our efforts on developing strong relationships with departments across campus and pool resources to have the greatest impact on students. We have also found a great amount of success in collaborating with student organizations to co-sponsor events. The student group will conduct much of the marketing of an event, as well as fund refreshments, and the career center will organize the content and/or guest speakers.

Another area of potential collaboration is with employers. Many employers are seeking ways to brand their organizations on college campuses, and career centers are seeking ways to connect their students with internship and employment opportunities. One such example was a “Fall Fest” sponsored by an employer. We organized pumpkin decorating, s’mores, hot chocolate, and a fire pit. Turnout at the event was tremendous and offered an opportunity to not only brand the employer, but also market the services of our career center. The event came at no expense to our office.”

For college career services offices looking for more advice, check out College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Nichole Lefelhoc, Director of the Career Center at Mansfield University

Nichole Lefelhoc, Director of the Career Center at Mansfield University

Nichole Lefelhoc is the Director of the Career Center at Mansfield University. Nichole helps prepare college students for success after graduation and in their chosen careers. She has a responsibility to make sure the career center offers the appropriate services and resources for this to happen. This could mean anything from career exploration, professional image, and resumes/cover letters to internships, job searching, interviewing, and graduate school.

Posted July 11, 2016 by

Networking benefits entry-level candidates

Handshake between a man and a woman photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

In their search for entry-level jobs, college students and recent graduates should not assume all employment opportunities are made public. Sometimes, there are opportunities available they can’t find in the newspaper or even online. Students and graduates should talk to people (including their families and friends) about the type of jobs they are looking for. This is part of professional networking. Networking is an opportunity for job seekers to engage in meaningful conversation advancing their careers.

While much of this conversation today happens online, meeting recruiters, hiring managers, or other professionals in person should not be forgotten. Speaking with recruiters, talent acquisition leaders, and hiring managers face-to-face can benefit college students and recent graduates when searching for entry-level jobs. By introducing themselves in person, students and grads can learn more about potential employers, which can help them stand out from the competition. Karen A. Young, President and Founder of HR Resolutions, LLC, shares advice on networking concerning entry-level candidates.

· “If students want to set themselves apart, I want to meet them in person! I can, probably, already find them online.

· This generation already has a bad reputation for being too “connected.” Get out and see and talk to people.

· The workplace is about face-to-face connections (even in a virtual workspace), so demonstrate you can present yourself in that environment.”

Need more networking advice? Click on our blog, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Karen Young, President and Founder of HR Resolutions, LLC

Karen Young, President and Founder of HR Resolutions, LLC

Karen Young is the award-winning Founder and President of HR Resolutions, a full-service human resources management company. She has over 25 years of experience in personnel and human resources, as well as being recognized by the HR Certification Institute as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and the Society for Human Resource Management as an SHRM-SCP. Karen has worked with numerous organizations to improve workplace environments, lower HR costs, and increase the bottom line.

Posted July 10, 2016 by

Networking events on campus give students workplace preview

Hr. photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Recruiters typically head to college campuses every fall. They will be looking for the best and brightest students with the potential to fill internships and entry-level jobs. However, other recruiters will not travel to schools or may limit travel because of the costs; they would prefer job seekers come to them, find candidates online, or may recruit through other means, such as through target email campaigns and banner ads.

Recruiters who opt out of campus recruiting entirely might miss out on the face-to-face interaction with college students interested in learning more about specific employers. Attending at least some of the networking events on college campuses not only allows recruiters to make their presence known but also helps students gain a better understanding of the workplace. John Link, Assistant Director for Career Development at Webster University, highlights why recruiters and employers should visit college campuses.

“I think it is important for recruiters to actively attend networking events on university and college campuses to assist with developing college students’ understanding of the working world, and begin identifying the marketable skills and abilities essential in that specific area of employment. Employers who attend networking events on university and college campuses have immediate access to college students from various economic and cultural backgrounds while connecting information to students about opportunities for the company or organization they are representing. This information can be helpful for short and long-term career goal setting and connecting students to professionals in the fields of work they are interested in.”

For more advice on professional networking, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

John Link, Assistant Director for Career Development at Webster University

John Link, Assistant Director for Career Development at Webster University

John Link is the Assistant Director for Career Development at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. An Indiana native, John spent time working at Indiana State University’s Career Center in career programming before making the move to St. Louis. Prior to working in higher education, John worked as an elementary teacher in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and served as an instructional coach to assist teachers in further developing their math and science teaching skills. John enjoys working in career development and helping define students’ career goals through personalized career coaching.