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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted May 19, 2016 by

Soft skills in the workplace: IBM offers tips to candidates

When entry-level candidates apply for jobs, they often claim to have great soft skills. However, after employers hire candidates, they may find that candidates don’t have the excellent soft skills they boasted about possessing. This creates a problem for employers in the onboarding process and afterward, too, as they are left to deal with new employees lacking basic soft skills required to adapt to the workplace and corporate culture.

Can the new employees interact well with their teammates? Are they capable of making strong decisions on their own without input from management every step of the way? Do new employees manage their time well, resolve conflicts as they arise, and communicate clearly, effectively, and appropriately with clients and coworkers? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ employers have big—often expensive–problems on their hands.

Pete Joodi, Distinguished Engineer for IBM, provides entry-level job seekers and employers with insight into why soft skills matter so much in today’s workplace, particularly in the field of information technology. In this interview by Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, Pete Joodi discusses the soft skills dilemma.


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At IBM, Pete Joodi, Distinguished Engineer, focuses on research and innovation in information technology. He focuses on optimization strategies; his goal is to find ways software and technology can improve energy efficiency, cost containment, and compliance.

Pete mentions that within the last 50 years, the world has truly expanded thanks to technology. We need to know how to work with each other now more than ever. This is the reason soft skills are more important than ever before.

IBM conducted a study in 2014. One of its findings indicated that soft skills are in great demand by employers but are most lacking in students graduating from institutions of higher education today. Pete Joodi doesn’t see this as a negative finding, however. Instead, it indicates an opportunity for growth and improvement for employers.

At IBM, the focus is on leading and contributing to technological innovation in the ‘cognitive era.’ Candidates applying at IBM need the following soft skills in order to succeed: communication skills, teamwork and collaboration skills, problem-solving skills, adaptability and flexibility skills, language and translation skills, ability to interact well with colleagues and clients, critical thinking skills, and conflict resolution skills.

Truly, soft skills are highly relevant at IBM. The world is more complex than it was, but it’s also more rewarding to work in the world today. In order to create consumable products, IBM and other companies must hire candidates with excellent soft skills.

For more details about how to improve your soft skills, transferable skills, and non-verbal skills, visit CollegeRecruiter.com, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 

Posted May 12, 2016 by

10 soft skills employers expect of recent graduates

Background concept wordcloud illustration of soft skills glowing light courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Kheng Guan Toh/Shutterstock.com

Are you ready to find your dream job as soon as you graduate? Then, it’s high time to draw a detailed plan with soft skills required for the workplace. This will help you stand out from other candidates and be a perfect fit for the position of your choice.

To successfully accomplish the task, college graduates can analyze requirements for current vacancy announcements, make use of LinkedIn or Branded.me profiles of people with a great experience, and study analytical articles on the labor market to always stay updated.

It’s not a secret, though, that plenty of online sources post about top soft skills potential employers want in their candidates’ CVs or resumes. So, why not focus on them to make your preparation for obtaining a good entry-level job a bit easier? Here’s what is highly demanded by most of the recruiters:

1 – Lifelong learners

Recent grads can hardly boast of knowing everything about the work they will perform daily. It’s quite natural when something is learned along the way. Sometimes employers prefer young, enthusiastic graduates over highly experienced professionals, since the former tend to learn and absorb new information more eagerly and are ready to develop a learning habit. The latter instead are quite often more stubborn and unlikely to reach a compromise, which can hinder team effectiveness. Additionally, lifelong learners are supposed to know how to obtain and process information to solve the problems they haven’t faced before.

2 – Team players

Teamwork is not only about collective responsibility for every team player’s actions. It’s also about communicating your message to others and achieving that goal with the help of knowledge and each employee’s efforts. Effective team performance depends much on the correct management and delegation of tasks. In contrast to past expectations for team players, modern employers are looking for those who will be proactive and suggest creative solutions. Initiative is strongly encouraged.

3 – Effective time managers and schedulers

Chaos brings no positive effect. To show high productivity and performance, it’s crucial to hone time management and prioritization skills. These two skills rank high on most employers’ lists of soft skills. For that, managers and schedulers need to negotiate deadlines and schedule tasks appropriately. Should tasks be equally urgent, they’d better discuss which one to take first together with their reporters. When using electronic or paper planners, think of short breaks that need to be made between tasks, divide time-consuming tasks into several subtasks, and leave about 10 or 15% of time for coping with emergencies and contingencies. Set reminders well in advance, and review to-do lists daily.

4 – Good listeners and masters of convincing people

Being a good listener doesn’t mean you should keep silent while somebody else is expressing his or her thoughts, so that you can further move on to your statements. The point is to really listen and hear other team players and choose the best solutions working together. Another important thing is to know how to make everyone understand what you mean. In other words, you should learn to use simple and concise statements, speaking with confidence to all people in the company regardless of their seniority.

Problem solver words on business cards courtesy of Shutterstock.com

iQoncept/Shutterstock.com

5 – Problem solvers

At the top of most top list of soft skills is “problem solving skills.” The first step to successful problem solving is to clearly understand what the problem is and what caused it. The next step is to carefully consider interests of others and list all suitable solutions. The final step is to evaluate suggested options by listing their advantages and disadvantages, and then choose the one that has the most pluses. To be an efficient problem solver, you need to get rid of fear. By focusing more on tackling the problem, you will be able to do it with ease.

6 – Company fan

Being a company fan means to be knowledgeable about your employer’s industry. Understanding what key benefits the company gives to its customers or clients, how the process of decision-making is organized, what main competitors the company has, etc. are among the things job seekers should learn before a job interview.

7 – Data analyzer

If you work with people with analytical mindsets, you are a lucky person. This allows you to quickly gather, assess, and analyze new information, selecting only the things you will need at work. This soft skill is highly required for making future plans or prognoses, and creating recommendations for others to follow. This skill is also helpful when you need to analyze your successes or failures, which is very important for your progress.

8 – Tech-savvy person

This means not only knowing how to create, delete, or remove presentations or surf the Internet proficiently. Being tech-savvy means knowing what tools and programs are used by the specialist you want to become. For example, if you want to become a web designer, you will need to master such programs as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Indesign.

9 – Critical thinker

If you have a chance to join a series of workshops on how to become a good critical thinker, jump at the chance! These practical lessons will teach you how to criticize somebody else wisely by finding a strong argument and how to accept criticism of your work. Being a critical thinker is essential for improving your communication skills and professional growth too. Critical thinking ranks high on the list of soft skills regardless of your job title or position.

10 – Curious mind

Being curious means to never be afraid of asking questions. Though, it doesn’t mean you should behave like a chattering box, annoying other employees with your never-ending questions. You should ask questions when you don’t know the answers so your work won’t be done slowly. You must use proper discernment to ask questions of the right person (your manager or mentors) at the right time (one on one and in quiet settings, and preferably not during the last five minutes of meetings).

A few final tips

Taking an active part in extra-curricular activities and voluntary projects can also help job seekers develop a set of useful skills for their future jobs. By establishing friendly relationships with people, you increase your chances of getting what you need. Who knows, maybe some of your peers or instructors will recommend you as a highly promising hire one day.

Need more help with your job search? Head over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Nancy Lin, guest writer

Nancy Lin, guest writer

Nancy Lin is a student of Rockhurst University and enthusiastic freelance writer who enthuses about rock music, writing, and classic English literature. Feel free to contact her at Twitter or Google+.

Posted March 01, 2016 by

Keeping it old school on social media

Even in the digital age, there’s something warm and fuzzy about throwing it back to the good old days and keeping it old school when using social media. Maybe this seems ironic, but it makes a lot of sense; whether you’re searching for jobs, networking professionally, or connecting with friends, it helps to apply the same communication skills you use when interacting face to face to your online communication via social media. Recruiters and talent acquisition leaders—your future bosses—are looking for employees who exhibit great communication skills. If you can apply the following five tips to your use of social media, you’ll definitely improve your odds of landing internships and entry-level jobs.

This Tuesday Tip video, featuring Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, offers five suggestions for college students and recent grads for using social media old school style.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

1. If you can’t show Grandma, don’t show anybody.

When using social media platforms, particularly platforms which are image-heavy like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, avoid posting photos (or posting comments or status updates) containing images or words you wouldn’t show or share with your grandma. If your grandma is a hipster, this rule doesn’t apply to you. Think about the stereotypical grandma who might be offended at the notion of seeing her grandson’s photos of a wild party. That’s the grandma we’re referencing here.

If that mild-mannered, conservative grandma wouldn’t want to see it or read about it, chances are your potential employers don’t want to see it or read about it either. So don’t share it on social media. Remember that just because you think you have your privacy settings locked down doesn’t mean they’re truly secure. Your friends can always tag you in photos. Facebook is publicly traded. And your friends and contacts can also take screen shots of what you post before you realize you need to delete the scandalous content. So play it safe and follow the grandma rule, particularly prior to and during your job search.

2. No phones allowed.

If you’re a traditional college student, your parents can probably tell you lots of stories about what it was like to attend parties and other college functions sans cell phones. Most wild college functions were never documented; the only records that exist of the crazy things that happened at sorority houses in the 80s and 90s live in the memories of the people who attended.

Take notes from the old folks on this one. The benefit to turning off your cell phones at the door of functions with your friends is that you won’t wind up posting any scandalous photos on social media, only to regret those posts later. It might seem fun to share the photos now, but when you begin searching for a job or internship, and employers Google you and find said photos, you’ll wish you’d followed the “no phones allowed” rule once in a while. You might want to suggest to your friends that they follow suit and turn off their phones, too. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find that you have more fun when you aren’t worried about taking selfies or being caught doing something silly.

3. Pay attention; you’re creating a brand.

When sharing, posting, liking, or communicating in any way with your contacts on social media, remember that you’re creating a brand for yourself. As The Police so aptly put it, “I’ll be watching you.” Your contacts—particularly recruiters and potential employers—are watching you. People often pay more attention to your online activity than what you might think. Be sure that you mindfully interact online and treat others with courtesy and kindness. Portray the image of yourself you want others to see. Brand yourself intentionally because if you don’t, you’re still creating a brand; it will just be a personal brand you’ve created haphazardly.

When you interact through social media, commenting thoughtfully on photos and status updates also lets your contacts know that you care about their content. This helps build genuine relationships. This is another way to apply old school communication principles to your online interactions.

4. Request a meeting with professional contacts.

After you’ve interacted with a professional contact online for a while, don’t be afraid to make the suggestion that you meet face to face, to ask for your contact’s phone number, or to request a Skype visit. Taking the next step toward more personal face-to-face interaction is always preferable because it gives you the opportunity to get to know your contact better. Professionals—whether employers or mentors—understand that you are networking in order to gain understanding about your career field and to seek job opportunities. Make your intentions clear when requesting a visit. If you are attempting to learn more about the career field, tell your contact that. If you want to learn about the company your contact works for, state that when you request to meet for coffee.

Most people are open to this type of request if they have time in their schedules. Even if they can’t meet face to face, they can often visit over the phone or online. Moving from social media, like Facebook messaging or direct messaging on Twitter, to a phone call, is a positive step toward building a lasting professional relationship.

5. “As offline, so online.”

This tip comes straight from marketing guru Samantha Hartley, owner of Enlightened Marketing. In the world of social media and electronic communication, people tend to interact more abruptly and to leave their manners at the door. This is a major faux pas if you want to maintain healthy professional relationships with your friends, professional contacts, and coworkers (and land jobs in the future).

Remember that when interacting on social media and through email, it’s just as important to treat people with courtesy, respect, and kindness as it is offline (face to face). As offline, so online.

For more Tuesday Tips and suggestions about using social media effectively in your job search, follow our blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Posted February 23, 2016 by

4 ways to overcome lack of experience

Have you ever interviewed for a job and been rejected because of your lack of work experience?

When you’re applying for entry-level jobs or internships as a college student or recent grad, this is a pretty common experience. Even though the career services office on your campus may have barked at you incessantly about applying for internships and part-time job opportunities, and your parents breathed down your neck over break about doing seasonal work to make some extra money, you may find yourself with very little work experience to list on your resume at this point.

If that’s the case, today’s Tuesday Tip video and article are for you. College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, offers four quick tips in a 5-minute video.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

1. Lack experience? Get some.

Alanis Morissette should have added this to her lyrical list of ironies back in 1995. Recruiters don’t have much sympathy for job seekers without experience listed on their resumes, though. If you lack experience prior to the job search, the best remedy is to seek experience. The sooner you can gain experience, the better.

The worst thing you can do for yourself is to allow yourself the luxury of feeling bad about your lack of experience. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take action. A great first step is to register at CollegeRecruiter.com and search for job opportunities in your area.

2. List all experience.

If you can’t find a full-time job, settle for part-time employment. Combine a few part-time jobs if necessary. It’s best to find part-time employment in your preferred career field, of course, because this allows you to build a repertoire of skills you can use in that great entry-level full-time job you’ll land soon.

If you can’t find a paid part-time position, consider volunteering with a non-profit organization. You might be able to use the skills gained in your academic major to help the organization; this experience can be listed on your resume as well.

Don’t forget to list other experience on your resume as well, including paid and unpaid internships and your involvement in organizations both on-campus and off-campus.

3. Compensate with strong soft skills.

Soft skills are skills which you may have acquired as a college student (but not necessarily in the classroom); these skills are a combination of personality traits and habits which make you a quality employee and a pleasant person to interact with. Research shows that people with excellent soft skills tend to perform well at work; in fact, people with strong soft skills perform just as well (and sometimes better than) people with strong technical skills.

Some of the soft skills recruiters and talent acquisition professionals are looking for including communication skills, a strong work ethic, time management ability, problem-solving skills, and ability to work well under pressure.

When you’re in an interview, think about how you can sell yourself by demonstrating your soft skills. Think in advance how you would answer questions like, Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult problem. How did you solve it?

4. Seek additional training opportunities.

If you lack training which applies to the job opportunities you’re seeking, get some! There are multiple ways to seek training. You can take an extra college course in journalism, for example, if you want to write for your local newspaper but keep getting rejected when you apply for writing positions. You might also scour the internet and newspapers for local writers groups. These groups are free to join, and not only will you learn from other writers, but you might enjoy the fellowship and constructive criticism.

Ultimately, if you lack experience related to your career field, no one can gain it on your behalf.

It’s your responsibility to stake your claim in the world of work.

Taking steps in the direction of gaining work experience can be intimidating, but you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment each time you take one more step.

Why not take one more step forward today?

Work on the draft of your resume. Submit your final draft to the free resume editors at College Recruiter. Make an appointment with the career services department at your local university. Find out when the career fair will be hosted on your campus this spring. Register and search for jobs on College Recruiter’s website.

For more Tuesday Tips, subscribe to College Recruiter’s YouTube Channel, follow our blog, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

 

Posted February 03, 2016 by

Overcoming employers’ preference for candidates with work experience

Many employers prefer job candidates to have work experience when they apply for jobs. While gaining work experience gives college students and recent graduates a leg up on their competition, there are ways to overcome not having it. Bill Driscoll, District President of Accountemps, discusses the work experience dilemma and offers advice to college students and recent graduates searching for entry-level jobs. (more…)

Posted January 08, 2016 by

5 tips for a successful Skype interview

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Many companies are hiring for remote or part-time positions these days that require some creativity when it comes to the interview process. Many recent graduates will be conducting interviews via phone or Skype. It’s important that applicants keep a few things in mind when conducting a Skype interview so their professionalism and personality can shine through when they ask and answer questions about the position.

1) Technical issues

The first thing to think about when doing to a Skype interview is any technical issues that might occur. First, make sure to get the interviewer’s Skype name prior to the day of the interview and give them yours as well. If you’ve been using a Skype name such as “luv2chill,” which would be appropriate for a college student, it might be time to go ahead and download a new version of Skype with a professional nickname such as “firstname_lastname”. Make sure your internet connection is excellent and Skype with somebody out of town for a few minutes to check your connection speed. There’s nothing more frustrating than having Skype drop the call several times during the interview. It’s also a good idea to have a viable backup plan if Skype isn’t working. Make sure your cell phone is charged and offer to finish the interview by phone if things aren’t working out. Lastly, have a good sense of humor about any technical issues on either end. If the person interviewing you feels comfortable that you can make things work in a difficult situation, it speaks to your abilities as a potential employee.

2)  Lighting and background

When being interviewed via Skype it’s critical to take a look at lighting and background. Many people look eager and fresh faced in real life but may look completely washed out on a little computer screen. It’s important not to look tired or worn out during an interview and also a good idea to deal with this ahead of time. Set up your Skype camera and play around with the lighting in the room you will be using for your interview. Make sure the lighting is even and the background is neutral. The reality is you may be using Skype in your bedroom as this may be the only private place for many new graduates. However, you don’t want the person interviewing you to see your personal items. You can put up a screen or move your desk around until you get a basic neutral background.

3)  Formal vs. informal

Andrey Popov/Shutterstock.com

It’s difficult to determine if a Skype interview will be more or less formal than an in-person interview. Some employers look at a Skype interview as a more casual and convenient way of getting to know someone, whereas other employers view it as the only way they can get in touch with a remote employee who will be working in their home office in another state. Applicants can play off of the vibe given from the hiring manager. Be prepared to have a professional interview similar to an in-person interview in a corporate office when you start. However, if the hiring manager is more relaxed and casual, it’s okay to have a more informal chat and let them get to know your personality.

4)  Keep the conversation flowing

Applicants should be able to keep the conversation flowing over Skype. They won’t have the same social cues they would in an in-person interview because it’ll be difficult to read the interviewer’s body language. Additionally, technical issues including voice and video can make it difficult to have a fluid discussion. Rather than having several awkward pauses practice a few mock interviews over Skype with a friend and figure out professional but friendly ways to fill the conversation. For example, if you’re in your home office in Florida, and the corporate headquarters are in Illinois, chat about the local office, weather, or any kind of small talk that pertains to the job. The point is to keep the interviewer at ease as they may be just as nervous as the applicant.

5)  Create a professional environment

It’s important to create a professional environment inside and out. This means that in addition to looking the part, the surrounding should be appropriate for an interview. Applicants are encouraged to find a quiet setting where they will be entirely uninterrupted by classmates or roommates. The more professional the environment, the more likely the applicant is to display sophistication to an employer and to obtain the position.

Robyn Scott, a guest writer for College Recruiter, is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK. 

This month, College Recruiter will publish guest articles and other content to assist college students seeking entry-level jobs after graduation or summer internships. Check out “Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan.

 

 

Posted October 13, 2015 by

Beyond text: Communication and Gen Z – Part two: Nailing the interview

College students and recent college graduates—part of Generation Z—often find themselves feeling unprepared for upcoming internship and job interviews. Part 2, Nailing the interview, of this three-part webinar series, Beyond text: Communication and Gen Z, prepares college students and recent college graduates for upcoming interviews by providing them with an understanding of nonverbal and verbal communication skills needed to succeed during the interview process. The webinar offers valuable tips for nailing the interview, practical do’s and don’ts, and anecdotes related to common interview mistakes. (more…)

Posted October 07, 2015 by

Beyond text: Communication and Gen Z — Part one: Starting out strong

Today’s college students—part of Generation Z—spend countless hours connected to electronic devices and disconnected to other people. This disconnection to others affects students’ communication skills. This three-part webinar series, Beyond text: Communication and Gen Z, features Andrea McEwen Henderson (https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreamcewen), former National Account Manager for College Recruiter, and Bethany Wallace, (https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethanywallace), English Instructor at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville. College Recruiter is pleased to introduce Bethany as its new part-time Content Manager; Bethany will join the team as a full-time member in 2016.

 

This webinar series provides college students and recent college graduates with information and understanding regarding the key role communication skills play in future career success. Part 1, Starting out strong, addresses why communication skills matter and how students and graduates can begin the process of acquiring vital communication skills today.

 

Key takeaways:

  1. The audience will understand why Generation Z/traditional-aged college students may lack communication skills and why acquiring them is crucial.
  2. The audience will receive tips on improving communication skills as college students.
  3. The audience will learn how to develop an action plan for improving communication skills.

 

If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

 

How would you define great communication skills?

Great communication skills allow one to communicate effectively and appropriately in any given context with absolute ease.

 

Why do today’s college students, most of whom are part of Generation Z, need to be concerned about developing communication skills?

The reason Generation Z students need to be concerned about communication skills is because research shows that Gen Z students are so connected to technology that they tend to have lower emotional intelligence levels.  While Gen Z students have many assets, communication skills don’t make the list. This is mainly because the amount of face to face interactions have decreased in communities, not providing Generation Z enough opportunities to interact. Gen Z students should be concerned because communication skills are really needed later in the workplace.

 

When do students need to start concerning themselves with developing communication skills?

They need to start learning these skills as soon as possible. Communication skills are not something we learn overnight, and the more we practice, the better we get.

 

How should current college students develop an action plan for improving their communication skills?

  1. Get a mentor, someone the student respects and who would be willing to guide the student through the process of acquiring soft skills.
  2. Take advantage of career services and communications workshops or classes.
  3. Get off campus and interact with people. Look for opportunities to connect with people face-to-face.

 

What about recent college graduates who missed out on opportunities to develop communication skills while they were in college? What can they do to catch up at this point and to develop those crucial communication skills?

  1. Try to connect with the alumni office or young professionals organizations.
  2. Get involved in things that will force them to get out there and talk to people.
  3. Get off the phone and talk to people in person.
  4. Smile!

 

If you could share three words of wisdom with college students regarding communication, what would you say?

  1. Ask people about themselves. This gets the focus on the other person and takes away the pressure to talk. It also allows us to showcase our listening skills.
  2. Think of networking as trying to build a relationship, not a gain.
  3. Understand that we all make mistakes in communication, and be humble enough to admit mistakes and apologize to others.

 

Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, and English Instructor at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, looks forward to joining the College Recruiter team full-time in 2016. Follow Bethany on Twitter at @wallacembethany, on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethanywallace, or on WordPress at http://justwheat.wordpress.com.  

Posted August 03, 2015 by

Aspects of Starting an Automobile Career

portrait of an auto mechanic at work on a car in his garage

Portrait of an auto mechanic at work on a car in his garage. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you are passionate about cars, there are various job opportunities in the automobile industry that are worth considering. From being a skilled technician to designing, the world of automobiles has a lot to offer.

Technicians and Mechanics

  • For individuals who are interested in addressing problems that affect vehicles and fixing them, becoming a technician is the ideal choice. Technicians and mechanics are responsible for working on different types of automobiles and repairs.

(more…)

Posted June 05, 2015 by

How to use the secret language of job postings to supercharge your resume, cover letter and interview

 

Job postings have a secret language all their own and understanding this can supercharge both resume and cover letter, plus your performance at job interviews.

There are half a dozen keywords and phrases that you see in almost every job posting. These words and phrases are so commonly used that most people say they are meaningless – that you could put any job title on top of them. These people are missing the point. Far from being pointless, these words represent a secret language that most job hunters never grasp but should include in their job application. Those that elaborate on these keywords and phrases are the ones who get the job offers and the subsequently promotions that help them achieve far greater levels of long-term success.  (more…)