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Posted January 13, 2016 by

4 secrets to job search success

Erin Vickers

Erin Vickers, Staffing Consultant, RightSourcing, Inc.

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

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

Establish your brand and keep it professional.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Use and grow your network

Andresr/Shutterstock.com

Andresr/Shutterstock.com

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

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

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

 

Posted January 11, 2016 by

5 things keeping job seekers from their dream jobs

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.

Posted January 01, 2016 by

Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan

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

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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

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

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some career-related goals might be:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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