• How self-underestimation leads to job interview failure

    August 29, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    People are notorious for underestimating their skills and abilities, and it happens for a variety of reasons. It’s a part of human nature to hesitate, to compare, and to have a fear of imperfection. Everyone faces these challenges on a daily basis. And when it comes to the job interview, every candidate knows there’s a crowd of other applicants who might be much better, which can cause panic. This feeling is a destructive force that can lead to a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. But there are also lots of things you can do to stay confident.

    The greatest weapon against self-underestimation is good preparation. When you know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to behave in a job interview, self-underestimation will be greatly reduced.

     

     

    Here’s what you need to do:

    Be active

    One of the most important things your potential employer wants to see is your record of engagement and activities. Besides studying, listing part-time jobs or freelance work is a plus. A huge plus is also going to be any other kind of engagement – running a blog, working as a tutor, starting a book club, volunteering, and so on. Focus especially on the activities that relate directly to the job for which you’re applying. Thanks to this information, you’ll prove to be an active and enthusiastic person, which is very desirable for any job position.

    Answer typical questions in advance

    Every employer asks a set of fairly typical questions. These often include the following: Why should we hire you? What are your greatest professional achievements? Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your strengths and weaknesses? They are rather simple and repetitive, and yet candidates tend to stumble when answering these questions. You have a chance to practice at home, so make the most of it. Ask your parent or friend to help. For half an hour, your parent or friend plays the part of “employer” and asks you those typical questions, and you answer them. Act as if you were in a real job interview and try to memorize what you would say to answer an employer’s questions.

    Learn more about the position

    Don’t forget to read the job description carefully and learn more information about the company to which you’re applying. Your employer will likely ask you what you know about the company. Your aim is to not get caught off-balance. Some people, especially when nervous, find it difficult to collect their thoughts, and as a result they get stuck. In order to avoid an awkward moment, research the company – there’s obviously a company website with all the information you’ll need to sound intelligent and articulate.

    Work on your cover letter and resume

    Make your cover letter and resume stunning so they stand out from others. In fact, these two items constitute a potential employer’s first impression of you, and it makes sense to do your best. Take care to avoid the following common mistakes:

    • There are lots of templates for cover letters and resumes available online, but using them without making changes is a bad idea. Recruiters receive dozens of cover letters and resumes that seem nearly identical. How can they choose the best one if all of them are equally ordinary? And what if employers check for plagiarism? I doubt they will want to hire someone who cuts corners and doesn’t bother to write a decent original resume and cover letter.
    • Don’t write the same information in both your resume and cover letters. These two papers should complement the image you introduce to the potential employer. Respect your employer’s time and don’t repeat yourself. Including irrelevant information is also no good.
    • Don’t make your cover letter too long or too short. Just find a happy medium. If you’re a recent graduate without much employment history, neither document should be longer than one page.
    • Check your cover letter and resume for mistakes and typos. Sometimes it happens that you don’t find errors within your text. For this reason, ask your friend to proofread your writing. In addition, you should also run your cover letter and resume through an automated spell checker.

    Confidence comes with practice, and your confidence in the job interview can only be gained if you prepare yourself and go to a few of them. Remember that recruiters are not your enemies, and you don’t need to resist them – you’re just going to have a nice talk to find out if you’re the right person for the position. You’ll see there’s no need to overly dramatize the process!

    Rose Scott, guest writer

    Rose Scott, guest writer

    Need more job search and job interview assistance? Check out our great salary calculator and free resume editing tool. Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
    Rose Scott is a literature teacher who aims at improving education. A lifelong dreamer, she finds her inspiration in pep-talks with meaningful people whose enthusiasm is contagious. Outside of her teaching pursuits, she cannot imagine her life without writing. It is something more than just a hobby. Writing is her passion. Rose will be glad to meet you on her Twitter:@roserose_sc

  • The #1 student job search mistake

    June 25, 2016 by

    As an Associate Career Services Director for the University of Michigan and the CEO of Break into Tech, I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of students during the job search while trying to launch their careers. And it’s an area I’m particularly proud to support, having leveraged my own student experience to land roles at Apple, LinkedIn, and startups.

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    But the one thing that shocks me time and again is that 95% of students make the same mistake when it comes to landing a job. And no, it’s not a bad resume, or a poorly written cover letter or even weak interview skills. Instead, it’s that most basic trait:

    Humility.

    Yes, humility.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Huh? How hard could it be to act humble?”

    But here’s the real deal. That same confidence is a handicap. Because it blinds students to just how hard it is to stay humble in a world where everyone always has to be on, to constantly present their best self.

    As evidence, allow me to submit my experience as a Michigan alum working at LinkedIn:

    • Every single day during application season, I’d received at least one email from a current student who wanted to work in Silicon Valley
    • Usually, those emails started out: “Dear Jeremy, I’m XXX and I’d really like to work at LinkedIn…”
    • Eventually I’d get on the phone with these students, and they’d spend the first 15 minutes of the call telling me about themselves, and the last 15 minutes asking me if I could help them get a job.
    • Then, I’d never hear from them again.

    On the other hand, about 2-3 times a year, the sequence would go very differently:

    • I’d get an email from a student well before application season that said: “Dear Jeremy, As a a Michigan student, I was so excited to come across your profile today. I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to find someone who’s walked your path. I know you must be really busy, but would you ever have a few minutes to share your story with me?”
    • When I got on the phone with them, we’d spend 15 minutes talking about my experience, followed by 15 minutes of them asking me for my advice about really tricky career questions.
    • Then they’d follow-up the next month to wish me a happy holiday or update me on campus. And they’d continue to do that each month with cool articles they found or little tidbits of school news.
    • Then, only when application season finally rolled around, would they ever ask for support during the application process.

    And sure enough, about 2-3 times a year, I’d write an internal recommendation for a student, basically guaranteeing them an interview.

    Now, any guesses which students I went to bat for?

    Hopefully that illuminates two things about the job search:

    BUT

    • You’ve got to network in the right way – the humble way.

    Which means no:

    • Waiting until application season to reach out – you need to build relationships in advance; not at the last second.
    • Focusing all the attention on yourself – you need to build a real relationship; not just a transaction.
    • One shot networking – you need to build a relationship over time, not in a single phone call. This aids your job search.

    So consider yourself warned. Yes, humility is critical to your job search success. But don’t assume it’s going to be easy. Instead, make it a priority and work hard at it. And then you can avoid the biggest mistake that’s trapped so many others!

    Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

    Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

    Need more help networking and figuring out how to build great relationships on your way to finding a great entry-level job? College Recruiter can help. Keep reading our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Jeremy Schifeling is the Founder + Chief Nerd at Break into Tech, a site for anyone who wants to land an awesome tech job, no matter their background. Get a free guide to the seven ultimate secrets that took Jeremy from school to Silicon Valley!

  • Why employees should put extra effort into impressing the boss

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

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

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

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

    Learning from your boss

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

    Self-improving

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

    You are the image of your boss

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

    Improving your current job

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

    Getting promoted

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

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

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

    Nate Vickery, guest writer

    Nate Vickery, guest writer

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

  • 10 soft skills employers expect of recent graduates

    May 12, 2016 by
    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+.

  • 6 things to do before starting a new job

    May 02, 2016 by
    Welcome on board - businesswoman holding white sign with text in the office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    docstockmedia/Shutterstock.com

    It’s the time of year when many college seniors begin thinking about what they will do after graduation. Most students focus on the interview process but may not have thought about what to do when they are offered full-time jobs. It can be both exciting and scary but starting a first professional job is now part of the imminent future. Although many students have worked part-time and participated in internships, starting a full-time job is a different venture. Student life is unique in many ways, so it’s important for soon-to-be graduates to make a few changes before they begin new entry-level jobs.

    1) Look the part

    College doesn’t have a dress code, but most jobs do. To be taken seriously, it’s a good idea for students to know what most of their colleagues will be wearing. Some offices will require a suit and tie, but most are now business casual. One of the most common mistakes new employees make is showing up to the office in attire that’s too informal.

    2) Practice the importance of being prompt

    Probably the most undervalued asset new employees can possess is promptness in communication. In addition to being to work on time or early, new employees should learn how important it is to stay in communication with the team. It’s fairly common for college students to forget about emailing professors or their peers because they’re mostly relying on social media to be in touch. However, new employees who don’t respond to a colleague’s or supervisor’s email or phone call will be viewed as unreliable. If something is going to take 24 hours to complete, be sure to send a quick note that communicates this information.

    3) Get into a daily routine

    College classes can be held at 7:30 in the morning or 10:30 at night, and most students will have significant breaks to work on self-study throughout the day. Most office jobs, however, are from eight to five (although flexible work schedules are becoming more common). It’s important to get into a routine of getting up early and dealing with the morning commute and also having enough down time later in the day to be prepared to do it all again tomorrow.

    4) Gather paperwork

    Once students graduate and start new jobs, they’ll be very busy adjusting to their new responsibilities. Gather any academic paperwork needed prior to the first day on the job. This can include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, references, networking contacts, or anything else that might be needed in a particular field. Many employers will ask for this paperwork, so it’s better to have it on hand and readily available.

    5) Chat with your mentor

    It’s a great idea to sit down with a mentor before starting a new job. A mentor will have specific and valuable insight into a particular field and perhaps even a specific company or manager. Take any advice available in order to be successful the first few months of a new career. Mentors can also help ease anxiety and build confidence that can make those first few weeks run smoothly.

    6) Get organized

    Graduating from college is a huge transition and can leave students feeling their lives are in disarray. Each person’s situation will be different, but it’s important to begin a new job feeling organized. Whether this means settling into a new home, moving across the country, or just getting paperwork in order, an organized lifestyle will help a person be more professional and help them focus on making a great impression in the workplace.

    Want more advice for recent graduates going into the workforce? Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Robyn Scott, guest writer

    Robyn Scott, guest writer

    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.

  • 5 things keeping job seekers from their dream jobs

    January 11, 2016 by
    sandra lambert

    Sandra Lambert, guest writer

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

    1. Procrastination

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

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

    2. Lack of people skills

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

    3. Fear of failure

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

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

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

    4. You’re stuck in your comfort zone

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

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

    5. Organization isn’t your strong suit

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

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

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

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

  • Entrepreneurial mindsets: Make your business a success

    December 09, 2015 by
    man's hand writing think Like an entrepreneur with black marker on visual screen

    Man’s hand writing Think Like an Entrepreneur with black marker on visual screen. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    A positive attitude on achieving wealth and making money in an honest fashion is one of the best ways to start a journey towards becoming rich. History is littered with people who became millionaires and billionaires from humble beginnings. People can become rich by gambling or taking advantage of the property market; however, there are many other things you can do to become wealthy. Continue Reading

  • Losing A Dream Job- Learn How You Can Handle The Situation With 6 Easy Tips

    September 04, 2015 by
    office, the head of a woman worker's release

    Office, the head of a woman worker’s release. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Losing your dream job seems like a nightmare as it rips your self-esteem to shreds. Not only such a situation leaves you with a very limited lifestyle but sometimes, it also pushes you into deep depression and stress. However, below you will learn some wonderful tips that will help you cope after losing your dream job and start working towards a new career: Continue Reading

  • How to create a good impression at the job interview?

    by
    young candidate having an interview with his employer

    Young candidate having an interview with his employer. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    There are a number of things that play a significant role in passing a job interview; one of them is your impression. Know that your impression can either get you selected or rejected for a job. Therefore, you must create a good impression of yourself on the recruiters. Follow the guide below to know how to create a good impression at the job interview: Continue Reading

  • Six Ways You Can Increase Your Chances Of Getting Your Dream Job

    August 03, 2015 by
    Green road sign with a blue sky gradient background.

    Green road sign with a blue sky gradient background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Getting your dream job, whether it’s being a software developer for Apple or a sketch artist for Disney, can be difficult these days, considering the economic realities the world faces. Nonetheless, you can increase your chances of getting your desired career position with these six simple, but powerful methods. Continue Reading