• Building an internship program at an innovative company

    July 24, 2018 by

     

    What does an innovative company do to recruit and retain interns? I had the pleasure of speaking with Mario Portugal, Head of Recruitment at Beyond Limits, a leading developer of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. They built some strategic elements into their internship program that help them recruit the right talent and retain that talent into the future, all while allowing other employees to benefit from what the intern team has to offer.

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  • Graduated but don’t have a job yet? Tips and words of wisdom from VP at Robert Half

    May 14, 2018 by

     

    If you’ve graduated from college and the reality of the job search has sunk in, you’re not alone. We spoke with Kathleen Downs, who is Vice President with Robert Half Finance & Accounting. She has advised many entry-level job seekers and professionals in launching their careers, and we offer her advice here. There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel–there are jobs for grads out there–and Downs has concrete tips for fixing some possible mistakes you might be making in your job search. Continue Reading

  • Job search advice: What to audit on your social media, and how to use recruiters’ tactics on themselves

    April 04, 2018 by

     

    The recent movie everyone’s watching about Facebook data and Cambridge Analytica should make job seekers hyper aware of the information they post online. Political analysts might build psychological profiles, but what do you think recruiters do to find the right candidates?

    Some entry-level job seekers are surprised when they discover that recruiters search online for information about them. Steven Rothberg, President and Founder of College Recruiter says he finds this interesting. Some candidates get uncomfortable “when they discover that potential employers have looked at social media, talked with people not listed as references, and more.” But think of it this way, says Rothberg: you likely “have no qualms about looking at social media, talking with people who aren’t recruiters or hiring managers about that potential employer.” Continue Reading

  • Recruitment strategies for government agencies to quickly hire students and grads at scale

    March 29, 2018 by

     

    We had an excellent panel discussion last week with four experts who have years of experience recruiting for government agencies. They had insight into what unnecessarily slows down government recruitment, and what strategies recruiters should consider to fill their entry level positions with highly skilled individuals. Our panelists were Glen Fowler, Recruiting and Training Manager at California State Auditor; Josh Glazeroff, Chief of Outreach at Department of State; Kyle Hartwig, Senior Human Resource Specialist at NIH, and Elizabeth Purkiss, Vice President of Sales at College Recruiter.

    Anyone recruiting for government knows it is heavily bureaucratic. However, Glen Fowler at California State Auditor says government agencies can be successful in hiring at scale more quickly by analyzing their processes for ease, flexibility and timeliness. Look at your processes through the candidate’s lens, he says, not through your organization’s lens.  Continue Reading

  • Not sure what to major in? See if your passion fits these in-demand degrees.

    August 16, 2017 by

     

    If you haven’t selected a major yet, you are probably getting all kinds of advice from peers, parents, faculty and everyone with an opinion on social media. Many advise that you study what you’re interested in. To follow your heart, because that way you’ll find a job you’re passionate about.

    Considering a major that will actually be in demand

    I agree wholeheartedly that you should study what you care about. But shouldn’t you at least know what degrees are actually in demand, so you can make an informed decision?  Continue Reading

  • Spotlight on success: How AmeriCorps helps develop career skills

    May 24, 2017 by

    College students and recent college grads seeking service-oriented opportunities that also help build unique career skills can do so through AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.

    Career development opportunities through AmeriCorps

    That’s the type of career development Melissa Doodan is pursuing. Doodan wants to pursue a career in forestry and is working towards that goal as a Crew Leader through the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), a non-profit youth, leadership, service, conservation, and education organization that is a partner under the AmeriCorps umbrella of organizations.

    “Before I joined VYCC, I craved to learn practical skills and to obtain hands-on experience in the field,” said Doodan. “I knew that I wanted to work outdoors, but felt that I simply did not have the skills to do so.”

    Doodan credits her experience at VYCC with developing and advancing those skills, and with helping her learn “about the outdoors and how to work constructively with others,” she said, calling it an “incredible experience.”

    The skills someone gains through AmeriCorps depends entirely upon the organization with which they work, says Naomi Galimidi, Development Director, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.

    There is more to gain than just experience, however. Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps, strategic initiatives of ServeMinnesota, place AmeriCorps tutors in school settings to help children become proficient in reading by the end of third grade, and in math by the end of eighth grade. Lisa Winkler, Vice President of External Relations at ServeMinnesota, says one of the benefits of joining AmeriCorps is an education award. In addition to receiving a stipend throughout the year, “after completing your term of service, you receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to repay qualified student loans or pay tuition. New grads who serve can invest in their future by putting their award toward higher education, increasing potential earnings and lowering their risk for unemployment. The education award makes it possible for AmeriCorps alums to pursue their passion or repay student loans faster.”

    Real world work environment

    AmeriCorps members benefit from gaining real experience in the professional world.  Winkler of Reading Corps and Math Corps says that in the case of their tutors, the real-world experience of being in a school and working directly with students can be very beneficial to someone going into a career in teaching or education.

    VYCC, headquartered on historic Vermont farmland, gives its service members a taste for a 9-5 workday. During the day, corps members are immersed in learning by doing projects that range from pulling invasive species along floodplains to the custom design and construction of composting toilets in state parks. This ensures opportunities that can accommodate a range of skill levels, says Galimidi.

    Serving with an AmeriCorps program “is far more than a service experience,” says Galimidi. Corps Members receive training and practice in a real world skill, for example with VYCC, “technical project skills such as carpentry or forestry, and interpersonal skills such as leadership and communication.”

    Career skills developed through AmeriCorps

    Service with AmeriCorps helps new grads build skills transferrable to any future workplace. Winkler points to skills like “adaptability, time management, and an ability to incorporate feedback to improve.” AmeriCorps members also have many opportunities to connect to their community and build their professional network, which is essential for any entry level professional. “They learn to communicate,” says Winkler, “and build relationships with people of diverse backgrounds.”

    In addition, Galimidi said that past AmeriCorps members have reported the development of these important career skills:

    • How to build something from the ground up
    • How to manage stress
    • How to find joy in work
    • How to put in extra effort
    • How to take initiative
    • How to understand others’ needs, experiences, and feelings
    • How to appreciate different viewpoints
    • How to see themselves as leaders and teachers
    • How to be less impulsive
    • How to maintain a positive attitude
    • How to listen
    • How to work closely with others
    • How to help others resolve conflict
    • How to understand that effective leaders inspire and create an environment where others can grow.
    • How to build confidence in sharing ideas, solving problems, adapting to new situations.
    • How to demonstrate confidence through eye contact, a strong handshake, and initiating conversations.

    Report: Employers covet problem solving skills

    These are all important, and crucial skills valuable in today’s workplace – no matter what type of job or career one pursues. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2017 report, a college grads ability to work as part of a team is the top skill employers covet (78 percent of survey respondents indicated as the No. 1 skill). Other top skills were problem solving, communication (both written and verbal), and a strong work ethic. These are all gained through the various AmeriCorps experiences available to pursue.

    “Supportive relationships create conditions for all members to try new things, rely on one another, share power, and expose one another to new ideas and experiences,” says Galimidi.

    STEM opportunities through AmeriCorps

    One of the misconceptions of AmeriCorps is that opportunities are only available for those seeking outdoors-related careers. However in 2016 the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, announced major expansions of STEM AmeriCorps that will support STEM mentoring opportunities for young people. STEM jobs – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, are in-demand, and job seekers with those skills will be sought-after by employers seeking skilled/trained workers.

    Minnesota Math Corps tutors, for example, work toward filling that skills gap. Math tutors work with students grades four through eight who are falling behind in math.

    In addition, some non-profit organizations in Silicon Valley have partnered with AmeriCorps for technology-driven service opportunities. In the article How AmeriCorps Works to Get You the JobBen Duda, Co-Executive Director at AmeriCorps Alums, a community of engaged citizens and civic leaders who either work or previously worked with AmeriCorps, said working with AmeriCorps helped develop career skills such as project management, facilitation, and community engagement. Most important, working with AmeriCorps develops transferable skills for any career path.

    “There are hundreds of jobs out there, and it’s incredibly exciting to see how AmeriCorps alums are utilizing their service experiences to succeed in a diverse array of careers,” said Duda.

    Serving with AmeriCorps helps people work in challenging and structured, informal experiential learning opportunities, be that outdoor physical work, a school or other setting. Clear expectations are set, and participants gain a sense of accomplishment, while having a safe place to try new things and learn from mistakes.

    After AmeriCorps: Professional opportunities await

    “AmeriCorps is an investment of your time and passion, but it’s also an investment in yourself,” says Winkler. Discovering your true calling and being pointed in the right direction can be the greatest benefit.

    An AmeriCorps service position can provide a foot in the right door. For example, members of VYCC work closely with representatives from state and federal agencies including the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and Vermont Agency of Transportation.

    Ken Brown worked for VYCC in 2007 as a park manager at North Hero State Park. Today, Ken applies his passion for recreational management as Regional Trails Coordinator for Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.

    Tutors with Reading Corps and Math Corps have said that their service helped them land a job in the same school district after their service, according to Winkler. For tutors who don’t pursue a teaching career, the skills they gain can benefit them no matter what career they choose. “Tutors who use service as a gap year between undergraduate and grad school have furthered their education in medicine, science, education, social work and counseling, among other fields.” Winkler says they find Reading Corps and Math Corps tutors in a wide variety of professions after their service.

    Doodan hopes to launch her forestry career, using VYCC as a first step. She – and thousands of other young, aspiring professionals – are on the right path, thanks to skills learned through the many diverse AmeriCorps programs.

    Ready to search for AmeriCorps positions? Search on CollegeRecruier.com today! Want more career advice and job search tips? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • 5 internship recruitment solutions for government agencies

    May 16, 2017 by

     

    Federal agencies seeking to hire interns or implement internship programs should take a cue from their private sector counterparts, says Mel Hennigan, VP of People at Symplicity Corporation, an Arlington, Virginia-based company that specializes in enterprise technology and information systems management for higher education, government, and businesses.

    In other words, they should evaluate, research, and learn the value of implementing a robust internship program as a way to attract college students and recent college grads to their organization. Don’t expect today’s student or grad to find you – federal employers have to find them through creative methods involving technology, social media, and the right advertising approach.

    “A one-size-fits-all approach does not work, so employers, even at the federal level, need to be creative,” says Hennigan, who has spent nearly a decade of her career in roles that support the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and intelligence agencies. Hennigan is also a member of the Society For Human Resource Management Talent Acquisition Panel. “Don’t expect interns to find you,” says Hennigan. “Employers have to go where the talent is, and become visible to the college student or college grad.

    Kyle Hartwig, ­­­­­­Senior Human Resource Specialist with the National Institute of Health (NIH), agrees. The NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is the nation’s medical research agency. To be a successful in federal government recruiting, employers need deep knowledge of staffing systems and federal hiring practices and laws. However, employers must also be willing to use innovative technologies and alternatives to posting on USAJOBS. Hartwig discussed that and more in the College Recruiter article and video 7 steps for successful federal government recruiting.

    “Student marketing in parallel with federal government hiring is never easy,” says Hartwig. “The first challenge, however, is engaging with the talent you seek.”

    Hennigan and Hartwig provide these tips for government agencies seeking new internship recruiting solutions:

    1. Understand the new student landscape

    Many students and recent college grads first find out about internship programs/opportunities, campus hiring fairs, or how to connect with recruiters at federal agencies through commonly used online tools – social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).

    “Skip the usual power point and start using social media conversations,” says Hartwig. “Throw out the calendar of events and list digital outreach tactics you plan to use before you show up on campus.”

    2. Form partnerships

    Government agencies can benefit from forming partnerships with colleges and universities. Develop relationships with campus career counselors, department leaders, professors, and alumni. Seek out opportunities for employees of your organization to speak at their alma mater, even narrowing it down to a specific set of students, grads or by department. Also consider participating in university employer summits or planning activities at university career centers. Find what approach works best for your organization and develop that approach. Federal employers should also read research reports from Corporate Leadership Council or Partnership for Public Service, says Hartwig, to stay on top of trends and issues.

    There’s additional partnership options too, like thinking outside the box and partnering with College Recruiter. How so?

    Government clients who want to hire hundreds or even thousands are typically going to look at packages which integrate targeted email campaigns, targeted display ad campaigns, and targeted mobile banner advertising campaigns, each of which allow College Recruiter the opportunity to deliver to the career sites of those employers thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of candidates targeted by geography, school, major, year of graduation, diversity, military veterans, occupational field, and more.

    3. Don’t wait for interns to come to you

    The first step, for federal agencies to take, says Hennigan, is to identify the type of talent they need to hire for an internship position. Do they need a STEM graduate, a marketing professional, an IT professional, administrative, technical expert, or other?

    Then employers must find out where those students and grads are, and meet them where they are at. By forming those partnerships, they can quickly identify where they can best find qualified students to apply for internship opportunities.

    “The landscape has changed, and employers need to figure out how to get talent interested in their opportunities,” says Hennigan.

    4. Identify talent

    Once the employer has identified the type of talent they need to find, they need to create a plan for attracting that type of talent. Federal employers need to look beyond just being a federal agency to attract employers. “Personalize the engagement,” says Hennigan. “Today’s college student and grad is looking to be wowed, and wants to know why working for your company is the right choice for them.”

    Federal agencies compete against the private sector, and that includes Silicon Valley firms, Fortune 500, and hot new technology startups. Leave the boring behind when working to attract interns.

    “It’s very easy for a federal agency to sell the message of how working for the government is contributing to the mission of the country, and patriotic, but today’s students and grads want more than that.”

    That’s why federal internship programs or internship opportunities need to clearly outline a value proposition, says Hennigan. It needs to clearly outline what the organization can offer the intern (real world training and experience, working on real world projects, solving problems, contributing), and the outcome (invaluable skills that helps them become more marketable for the next step in their career, or if possible, an opportunity to apply and interview for a full-time job with the organization).

    “Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes,” says Hennigan. “They want to be able to contribute and make an impact, show them how they can do that as an intern.”

    5. Learn from other successful internship programs

    An internship should add value to the intern, not the company, says Hennigan. But through that internship, the intern can add value to the company by working on real projects, solving everyday business problems, and making a contribution from day one.

    Building an internship program takes dedication – many private employers hire people solely to manage and develop an internship program. It would be helpful for federal agency’s to consult with industry professionals or colleagues who work on building internship programs to get advice. What works for them? What do private sector employers do that can be implemented in a federal organization (they are more similar than most think). Partner with organizations like SHRM, or participate in industry panels or summits to learn more, and build a network of resources who can provide cost-effective solutions for creating an internship program.

    A typical internship should last from eight to 12 weeks says Hennigan, and in the end, the goal should be to keep that intern or group of interns interested in pursuing employment opportunities with the federal organization they are interning with.

    “Every internship should have the end goal of funneling fresh talent into the organization,” said Hennigan.

    According to Hartwig, government agencies are afraid of doing active outreach because they are concerned about ethics. There are very stringent laws associated with hiring. Thus, HR specialists for government agencies often shy away from taking real steps to find talent for unique roles. More often than not, many federal agencies don’t feel they have the freedom to recruit and find their own talent. With strict or even confusing federal staffing regulations, recruiters often opt for simply posting an opening on USAJOBS, or a few other places.

    That approach doesn’t always work. There are other options available.

    Working for a government agency holds prestige for many students and college grads. But that’s not enough these days.

    “It’s no longer a world where the candidates don’t have options,” said Hennigan. “The organizations who communicate the best value and opportunity to the student or graduate are going to attract top talent.”

    Want more tips and strategies on how government agencies can connect with interns? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Work abroad: Why recent college grads should conduct a global job search

    May 09, 2017 by

     

    Jobs that require travel or allow recent college grads to work abroad can help build cultural awareness, strengthen one’s ability to navigate through dynamic environments, and cultivate a level of agility, which is required by most employers today, says Ayana Pilgrim-Brown, assistant director of career competencies at the Center for Student Professional Development within Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

    It’s no secret working abroad can help recent college grads land that first job. That’s why recent college grads seeking frequent travel to exotic locations, should explore options as tour guides, travel consultants, and within the airline industry, says Pilgrim-Brown. For a business student who wants to solidify his or her status as a global business professional, jobs in consulting, supply chain management, and sales offer the chance to travel to vast locations throughout the world. New graduates who aspire to make a difference in the world should consider non-profits and non-governmental organizations. There are several pathways in the areas of development and humanitarian assistance, adds Pilgrim-Brown. And for the multilingual applicant, there are solid prospects using language skills as a TEFL instructor, translator, or interpreter.

    “Job seekers should do their due diligence to make sure these opportunities are formalized and in writing with agreeable terms of employment,” says Pilgrim-Brown.

    Rustic Pathways is a non-profit organization that facilitates educational experiences for students through travel and philanthropy.

    “Traveling equips recent college grads with a unique and necessary skill set that will help them create successful careers,” said Chris Stakich, CEO of Rustic Pathways. In fact, Stakich is quick to credit how traveling throughout the world for work the first four years of his career helped build professional skills necessary to become CEO.

    “Most of my success has been a result of living out of a bag for the first four years of my career,” he says.

    In addition to service opportunities–such as working with Peace Corps, or with a multinational organization or large employer, or through a non-profit–there are more opportunities than ever for recent college grads to work abroad, and get paid to travel. There are also training opportunities, such as the Rustic Pathways Leader Corp program, which are designed for recent college grads looking to make the transition from college to career.

    Traveling for work, and working abroad, teaches these important soft skills that employers covet, says Stakich:

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  • 10 strategies for securing a summer internship

    February 07, 2017 by

    Remember what your teachers and professors constantly said, from kindergarten through college? There are no bad questions.

    The same goes for internships. There are no bad internships. Whether it’s at a small company, large company, start up, non-profit, public or private company, government agency (the list goes on), there is tremendous value in an internship.

    In fact, there are even hidden benefits of internships that go bad.

    But obtaining an internship takes hard work, planning and preparation. And to obtain an internship this summer, college students and recent college grads need to start the process now.

    “The internship cycle is a moving target and seems to be starting earlier and earlier,” says Kathleen Powell, Associate Vice President for Career Development for The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and President of the National Association of Colleges and Employers. “In fact, college career centers work with many employers who are looking to fill internships in the fall semester. But don’t let that dissuade you, start the process now.”

    So what does one have to do to land an internship this summer? Follow these tips and strategies for success:

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  • Ask Matt: How recent college grads can benefit from joining professional associations

    November 18, 2016 by

    Networking2Dear Matt: I’m a recent college graduate who is seeking opportunities to grow and network within my field. I’ve always heard that professional associations are beneficial. Why should recent college grads join professional/industry associations?

    Matt: Joining an industry-related association or trade organization, or young professionals networking organization, are great ways for recent college graduates to network, meet other like-minded professionals, and learn. Many recent college grads have met professionals who have become future co-workers, managers, and even friends, through associations or various professional networking organizations.

    But meeting people and making contacts and friends are only a small reason why joining industry associations are highly recommended for college students and recent college grads.

    “Recent graduates benefit immensely from joining professional associations – and there’s much more to it than networking for job opportunities or brushing up on your interviewing skills,” says Richard Baseil, executive director of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, the world’s premier association for signal processing engineers and industry professionals.

    Joining professional associations allows college students and recent college graduates to stay on top of industry trends, learn about volunteer or leadership opportunities, and enables project collaboration. For example, IEEE’s Signal Processing Society offers current students and recent graduates exclusive member benefits including continuing education, substantial discounts on various technical and industry resources, and career recognition through scholarships and awards.  And, since most employees do not stay with a single employer through their career, an association such as IEEE can act as a stable “home base” as members seek other opportunities.

    Employers like employees who step outside their comfort zone Continue Reading