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Posted August 12, 2019 by

Wanted: Soft Skills that Set You Apart and Make You a Valuable Employee

Congratulations! After years of hard work, you’ve graduated and now feel confident that your education has given you the technical skills you’ll need to get the job you want. That’s great. But, lots of other graduates possess the same degree and meet the technical job requirements, so what will set you apart? What are the skills employers want?

According to a 2019 Cengage survey of hiring managers and human resources professionals, employers want college graduates who have “soft skills” as well as technical expertise. What’s more, they’re having difficulty finding candidates who possess these soft skills. Specifically, the skills employers want include:

1.The ability to listen. The most in-demand skill was the ability to listen; 74% of employers said this was a talent they valued. It doesn’t sound hard to do, but research shows that a whopping 90% of people are not good listeners! We spend far too much time practicing the art of talking and not enough time learning to really listen. Good listeners can discern the hidden meaning vs. the literal meaning. For instance, a lot of communication lies in the tone, emotional cues and body language of the speaker. To be an effective listener, you must, as they say, “read between the lines.” Listen for the tone of voice and pick up on non-verbal cues, which involves your full attention. Effective listeners also gain understanding vs. simply getting an answer to a question. Many people stop listening after they think they’ve gotten the answer they want but fail to truly understand the full meaning. Again, this requires attentiveness and, in some cases, asking for clarification or more information. Other attributes of a good listener are letting the speaker finish without interrupting, waiting for the speaker to finish before formulating a reply in your mind and listening with an open mind. There is a key difference between hearing and actually listening.

2. Good communication skills. This goes hand in hand with listening. Most problems in the workplace stem from poor communication, which is why employers place such a high value on this skill. In today’s digital age, this means solid writing and speaking skills, both in person and over the web with video conferencing and email. Clarity, grammar, spelling, enunciation and organization all play important roles in effective communication. You can begin demonstrating these skills with your cover letter and resume—and of course, during your interview.

3. Attention to detail. This is defined as “the ability to achieve thoroughness and accuracy when accomplishing a task.” Again, on the surface, this doesn’t sound that hard to achieve. However, being thorough and accurate involves planning, organization, and the ability to break down a big project into manageable steps. To demonstrate this skill, come to interviews prepared with examples of assignments or work that involved thoroughness and accuracy. (A word to the wise: If you have spelling or grammatical errors in your cover letter and/or resume, it shows that you are not paying attention to detail!).

4. Time management. No matter the industry, being efficient and meeting deadlines are important to a company’s overall performance. An employee who can manage multiple projects at a time, keep track of deadlines and use time resourcefully is a valuable asset and it allows managers to focus on more important tasks than micromanaging every employee! Start demonstrating this skill by showing up on time for interviews and then discuss projects that involved successful time management.

5. Critical thinking and problem solving. Every job comes with its own set of challenges and unexpected setbacks. How will you handle them? Companies want employees who can objectively examine information to determine the best way to solve problems. A valuable employee is one who can find creative solutions to problems and act, instead of being stymied by obstacles. Come to interviews prepared to provide examples of how you’ve successfully handled problems or implemented solutions.

While these five soft skills made the “most wanted” list, other important talents that employers are looking for include initiative, teamwork, emotional intelligence and digital literacy.

“There is a need for more soft skills training, both in college and on the job, and today’s learners and graduates must continue to hone their skills to stay ahead,” said Michael Hansen, chief executive of Cengage.

Companies can train employees in technical skills, but soft skills are much harder to teach. Therefore, by demonstrating that you possess these sought-after skills from the first touchpoint in your job search to the final interview, you can grab an employer’s attention and set yourself apart.

Sources:

  • “Survey: Employers Want ‘Soft Skills’ from Graduates,” by Jennifer Bauer-Wolf, Insidehighered.com, January 2019.
  • “7 Skills Employers Look for Regardless of the Job,” by Ashley Brooks, Rasmussen.edu, October 2018.
  • “90% of People are Poor Listeners. Are you the Remaining 10%?” by Rima Pundir, Lifehack, 2019.
Posted August 01, 2019 by

Job Search Tips to Help You Find the Right Opportunity

While there may be more job openings than qualified applicants, that doesn’t mean finding the right opportunity is easy. In fact, searching for a job is hard work! And, like any task, it requires some “best practices” to get good results. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your job search.

Broaden your scope.

Instead of simply looking at specific job titles, take the time to look at the skills the company is seeking in a candidate. Job titles can differ among industries and organizations, so why limit yourself to a title. Matching your skill set to those required for a position can ensure a better fit and provide more options including some that you may not have considered.

Decide what is non-negotiable.

More is not always better. You could send out as many applications as possible and hope for the best, or you could narrow your search to positions and companies that offer a good fit. Finding a good fit includes knowing what you’re unwilling to accept. Make a list of things that are deal breakers. For instance, you may not be able to relocate due to family obligations. How far are you willing to commute each day? Are flexible hours a nicety or a necessity? Is a positive corporate culture high on your priority list? In other words, do some research before sending out applications and start with those companies that fit the bill.

Keep good records.

Being organized can help you in several ways. First, even if you receive a rejection, there could be another opportunity at this company in the future. Or, there may be something about the job description that really resonates with you and could lead you in a new direction. Second, if you do get an interview, you will want to refer back to the job listing to prepare. Finally, if you receive specific feedback from a company, it may help you change tactics, revise your resume or improve your cover letter.

Customize your cover letter and resume.

Jobs are not one size fits all. Just as you’re looking for a job that fits you, every company is looking for the “right” candidate with specific experience, skills and personality. With that in mind, be sure to tailor your cover letter and resume for each position you apply to, highlighting the experience and skills that the employer is seeking. Also, if you’re working off a form letter or template, be sure to double check that all the names are correct before sending it!

Prepare for the interview.

Don’t just show up. Remember, you’re trying to set yourself apart from other candidates, so come prepared with information about the industry, the company, the position, and if possible, the person you are interviewing with. Doing your homework will not only make you feel more confident, it will also demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and your willingness to go the extra mile.

Have questions ready.

Most people will wrap up an interview by asking the candidate if he/she has questions about the company or position. A surprising number of interviewees don’t come prepared with questions and fumble needlessly to think of something to ask (especially when you may already be nervous). Stand out from the pack by preparing a few thoughtful questions in advance. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about the company, it’s culture and the position. For some great questions to consider, read “8 Questions Job Seekers Should Ask.” https://www.collegerecruiter.com/blog/2019/07/01/8-interview-questions-job-seekers-should-ask/

Don’t forget to respond.

Manners matter! Always send a thank you note within a day or two of your interview. Make sure it reflects your enthusiasm about the position by sharing why you’re excited about the company and the job. To keep the conversation going, you can ask another pertinent question. Also, it’s a good idea to let some of your personality shine through instead of sending a standard, formal thank you note. After all, you want them to remember you!

(This article was adapted from “10 Job Search Tips to Help You Find Your Best Opportunity Every Time, by Nina Zipkin, Entrepreneur, 2010.)

College Recruiter is the leading job search site used by students and recent graduates of all 7,400+ one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities who are searching for internships, part-time jobs, seasonal work, and entry-level career opportunities. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1,000 companies, federal government agencies, and other employers who want to hire dozens, hundreds, or thousands of students and recent graduates per year. Our mission is to connect great organizations with students and recent graduates.

Posted August 29, 2016 by

How self-underestimation leads to job interview failure

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

Posted June 25, 2016 by

The #1 student job search mistake

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!

Posted June 20, 2016 by

How to get a dream job even without experience

Dream, job, way photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

It’s intensely frustrating. You spend years getting further education, you work your butt off, you rack up extra debt, and afterwards no doors will open because ‘you lack experience’ or because university ‘didn’t teach you the skills you need.’ But how can you get experience if nobody will give you a job?

Well fear not; there are actually ways to get that dream job after all, and that’s without first working 10 years at some entry-level position trying to make your mark. It just means working hard right now and showing everybody that you’ve got the mojo to pull it off.
So are you ready to get noticed? Here’s what you’ve got to do.

Do the time

Despite what many young people think, the world doesn’t owe them anything. That means your dream job is not going to get thrown into your lap. If you want it, you’ve got to look for it, hunt for it, and when you found it, battle to get it. So make sure you don’t sit back and wait for something to happen.

Instead, pursue every channel to get the job you want, be it social media, friends of the family, career counseling at university or the classifieds in the local newspaper (some people actually still use those). And apply to everything that sounds close to what you want. Even if you don’t end up wanting it, the experience from going to the interview can be just what you need to wow your future employers when you do land the right interview.

Develop your soft skills

One of the biggest problems employers have with fresh graduates is that they don’t have the soft skills necessary to actually get anywhere in the workplace. By soft skills I mean teamwork, communication, writing and problem-solving skills. An even bigger problem? Graduates think they’re actually very good at those things and therefore don’t take the time to become better at them. Don’t be like everybody else; accept that you’ve still got a lot to learn, then go out of your way to learn soft skills!

Be confident but not arrogant

There is another good reason besides soft skills that many people don’t like hiring recent graduates – and that’s because recent graduates often have a much higher estimation of what they’re capable of than what they’re actually capable of. They come swaggering into the workplace believing that they’ll show these business people a thing or two about how it’s done.

The thing is, often they don’t know how it’s done. They’ve got too little work experience and often too much idealism. They’ve got a lot to learn but think too highly of themselves to realize this is so.

Don’t be that person. Be respectful, accept that you’re still at the beginning of your life and that experience is valuable, but make it clear to your future employer that you’re smart enough to know what you know and driven enough to learn what you don’t. That will impress them.

Prepare for the interview

There are some tricky questions interviewers can’t ask you, and if you haven’t prepared then they may stump you. So take time to prepare. Not only that, but make sure you know the names of the people you’re going to interview with, as well as whatever basic facts you can find online. People will be impressed if you are well-informed. It shows that you care, that you’re a good researcher, that you’re proactive and that you’re willing to invest effort to get what you want.

Show off your expertise

If you want the dream job, you’ve got to show that your skill set is much greater than your limited CV gives you credit for. So you’ve got to show off your expertise. This can be done in multiple ways–by getting an endorsement from somebody who matters in the industry or one of your professors, for instance, but probably the best way is to actually start working in the field. So either start freelancing while you’re still in college, or otherwise start blogging and build up a reputation as somebody who knows what they’re talking about.

Be passionate

Read books and articles in your field, understand theory as best you can, know who the players are, and when you get around to writing your cover letter, show them how much you care. Now don’t be a gushing ninny. You’ve got to be professional, but you still have to demonstrate to them that even though you don’t have as much experience as everybody else in the field, you’ve got more than enough passion to make up for it.

Be a protagonist

You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions or your lack thereof. It won’t be easy to jump the cue. It will, in fact, take a lot of hard work, so you’ve got to prepare for that. That said, it is possible so long as you take the time to be do what you’ve got to do and show that you’re a cut above the rest.

And if it goes wrong, own it, learn what you can from it and get back up again. Then push on. That’s the only way it’s going to work. You’ve got to be the hero of your own story, because otherwise you’re the victim. And who hires the victim?

Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

Jonathan Emmen is a student and an inspired blogger from Copenhagen. His passion is writing, and he finds inspiration in traveling, books, and movies. You can follow him on @JonnyEmmen or you can also follow him on Kinja.

Posted May 23, 2016 by

5 tips to manage a stress-free online job search

Women laptop photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Today, most job searches are conducted online. Although some parts of the country will still focus on more personable job searches, the majority of young Americans will be searching for their first entry-level jobs on computers. Online job searches are both convenient and troublesome. Recent graduates no longer have to go to an employment agency’s office or endlessly drop in on various professionals in order to gain employment in a company; rather they can conduct all of their employment research from the comfort of their own homes. On the other hand, potential entry-level employees can be difficult to distinguish from one another because their résumés tend to look similar. On paper, new grads can appear to be one and the same, but in person their different skills, interests, and personalities can shine through. For many employers, the right personality is just as valuable as qualifications on paper. So how can recent grads manage their online job search without becoming entirely overwhelmed?

1) Focus the job search

New grads who have obtained broad degrees such as in business or communications will be able to apply to a diverse range of jobs. However, applying to several different jobs in several different subfields can become stressful very quickly. Job seekers are encouraged to focus their searches on a particular job title (and similar positions) during their online searches. They should start with a subfield they feel passionate about because their excitement for the position (or lack thereof) will shine through and give them a better chance of achieving interviews.

2) Supplement with in-person contacts and connections

Although online job searches are convenient, they are not always successful if conducted without the help of in-person contacts. Former professors and alumni connections are an essential part of a first time job search, and they can provide introductions and tips that can be extremely valuable. An online resume can easily go from the middle of the pile to the top with an introduction or recommendation coming from someone already within the company.

3) Pick a time of day to call it quits

At some point, job seekers have to call it quits, at least for that day. In many cases, recent grads are searching for a job late in the evening after coming home from their part-time college jobs. Job seekers don’t do a great job of proofreading or checking for important details late at night and often send out applications they later wish they could have taken a second look at. The late hours of the evening also come with varying degrees of mental fatigue that result from a full day’s work. Even if job seekers are a few minutes away from finishing an important application, they’re encouraged to proofread the next morning with fresh eyes.

4) Go the extra mile

Because most current applicants don’t reach out in person or on the phone, those who do will get more attention. If there is a number for an HR Manager or department head, applicants should give them a call and introduce themselves or ask any pertinent questions regarding the position. Instead of following up with just an email, follow up with a personable phone call. Applicants who are giving an interview are encouraged to send a handwritten thank-you note that will make them stand out from the crowd.

5) Put a little piece of your personality in each cover letter

Because the hiring manager only learns about applicants from a couple pieces of paper, it’s important their personalities shine through. Most applicants write one cover letter and gear it towards each position. However, an applicant’s skills and passion tend to become apparent when each cover letter is written from scratch. Additionally, it’s important that job seekers write their cover letters at a time of day when they have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It’s also a great idea to ask another person to proofread a cover letter and make sure that it’s personable, professional, and easy to read.

For more help with your online job search, make you way to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

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.

Posted April 25, 2016 by

10 best websites for resume building

Resume with pen and a computer courtesy of Shutterstock.com

maga/Shutterstock.com

The resume writing process is perhaps the most important part of your job search. Regardless of experience level, current position, or amazing random talents, you won’t be considered for jobs unless you first create attention grabbing resumes. The following websites are fantastic places to build killer resumes that will get you noticed!

1. CV Maker

CV Maker lets job seekers create custom resumes online for free. The website features a wide variety of templates to choose from, as well as a super, simple interface for collecting information on experience and skills. The site is approved by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and Mashable.

2. Kick Resume

Endorsed by Forbes, Business Insider, and Yahoo!, Kick Resume allows job seekers to create beautiful resumes and cover letters. All of the templates are created by designers, and the styles are colorful and attractive. The site is free with unlimited downloads.

3. Online CV Generator

Online CV Generator lets job seekers design their own custom resumes with an easy, step-by-step, fill in the blank questionnaire. The website claims they can create resumes in less than five minutes, but in reality it will likely take closer to 10-15 minutes, unless job seekers are recent grads with no experience to add into the algorithm.

4. Papers Gear

With Papers Gear, job seekers can either order custom resumes written by professional writers, or they can hire them to edit or proofread their resumes before submitting them to potential employers. The writers can also help job seekers format their resumes.

5. Visual CV

Visual CV is a resume creation website that lets job seekers sign in via LinkedIn. The site can import all of their data from LinkedIn, so they don’t have to go through the sometimes tedious process of adding all of their job histories. The site has a wide collection of templates to choose from. Unlike other sites, the templates are divided by profession. So, engineers will have different template recommendations than consultants.

6. Ask Petersen Resume Writing Service

When applying for jobs, job seekers might learn they need multiple versions of their resumes. Instead of spending valuable time rewriting resumes over and over, they could hire an essay writing service to do that for them. Ask Petersen offers up reviews of the top custom writing sites so job seekers can find the best option for their resumes.

7. Visualize.me

Visualize.me is very different from other resume creation websites because it allows job seekers to create infographic resumes. Instead of a boring list of accomplishments, they can create a mind map for their past.

8. Essays Capital

Essays Capital is a custom writing service for students and professionals. In addition to resumes, they also write essays and cover letters. Hire them to create a resume for you or to edit and format your existing resume.

9. Represent

Represent offers many of the same options as other resume creation websites, but it also automatically formats your resume for mobile devices as necessary. So, no matter where potential employers decide to open the file, they’ll be able to view it easily.

10. Resume Bucket

What makes Resume Bucket stand out from the other websites is once job seekers create their resumes, they can apply for jobs directly from the website.

The days of fending for yourself when creating a resume are over. Today, job seekers have a plethora of resources at their fingertips. These 10 websites are wonderful places to start when they write their resumes. Be sure to choose the one that is best for your particular skill set and career path. Good luck!

Do you need some resume help for your job search? Get a free resume critique at College Recruiter. Also, visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Anna Olinger, guest writer

Anna Olinger, guest writer

Anna Olinger is a freelance content manager from Washington, DC. For more tips on content marketing, writing, and social media, follow Anna on Twitter and Linkedin.

Posted March 12, 2016 by

Preparing introverts and extroverts for the job search

Extrovert or introvert as a choice of different belief courtesy of Shutterstock.com

kentoh/Shutterstock.com

Introverts and extroverts handle things in very different ways. School counselors’ job is to help all of their students, and one of the best ways to do this is to know how introverts and extroverts prefer to do things. When preparing them to leave college and enter the job market, there are several things a counselor can do that will help tailor students’ paths with their personalities.

Discover which they are

Before school counselors begin counseling students based on their personalities, they have to determine if students are introverts or extroverts. Unless counselors have a longstanding and personal connection with students, it is probably a good idea to give them some tests to help determine their personality style. Tests — such as this one from Psychology Today — will help determine whether students are introverts or extroverts. Often students themselves are not aware of their own styles, and doing the test will be beneficial to both students and counselors.

Inform students how their personalities can impact their jobs

Many people do not know the difference between introverts and extroverts, and they often don’t know which category they fall into. Once school counselors have determined which one students are through some tests, they can begin telling students about what it means. Explain to students how extroverts and introverts may tackle different scenarios, and how they prefer to do things.

Choose the right application method

Now that both counselors and students understand the latter’s personality type, they can begin tailoring the application process for when they are looking for jobs. For example, counselors can tell extroverts that face-to-face interviews are better for them, since they are more outgoing, while introverts may be better at cover letters and resumes.

However, some application types cannot be avoided; in this case, counselors should help students improve on things that are not necessarily their strengths. For example, here are some ways that introverts can prepare for interviews.

In addition, school counselors can steer them towards jobs more suited to their personalities. As an example, an introvert may not be best suited for a sales position job, or one requiring a lot of group work. On the other hand, an extrovert is probably not suited for a job requiring them to work long hours alone.

College sports male volleyball finals in Milan courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Paolo Bona/Shutterstock.com

Suggest outside activities

Since a lot of college students do not have work experience they can add to their resumes, outside activities can help bolster them. Give students some options for things they can get involved with that will be suited for their personality types, along with their interests. The more activities they can get involved with, the better their resumes will look.

Encourage them to explore outside their style

While it is a good idea for students to play to their strengths, that does not mean they should avoid anything that makes them uncomfortable. School counselors should encourage students to keep an open mind, and to try some things not necessarily suited to their personality types. At some point along their career paths, students are probably going to do something outside their normal comfort zones, and by expanding their horizons now, they will be better equipped to handle it in the future.

Hopefully this short list will help school counselors tailor the counseling of their students. Helping students realize what their strengths are and how they can utilize them is a great tool for after they graduate and will help guide them for years to come.

Need more tips for your job search? Learn more at College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Photo of Tony Newton

Tony Newton, guest writer

Tony Newton is a contributing author for @DailyKos and @NationOfChange His favorite subjects are social awareness campaigns and public policy in pedagogy.

Posted February 24, 2016 by

Senior year job search: A timeline

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Robyn Scott, guest writer

All of a sudden students are part way through their senior year of college, and employment (or unemployment) is just a few short months away. Students who wait to look for jobs until college is over will generally find they are unemployed or working at a part-time job they don’t like for the entire summer.

Of course, lucky students will have secured positions by the fall, but many will need to search for much longer than that. No two students will have the exact same experience. Employment opportunities vary depending on the field, time of year, and flexibility of the job seeker. Recent graduates who are willing to relocate or consider full-time internships, for example, may have more opportunities than people looking for full-time paid employment in their current city only. To avoid post grad unemployment, it’s good for students to start their job search while they are still in college.

1) First semester senior year

During the first semester of senior year, students are not likely to receive a full-time job offer. Although there are a few high demand fields, most students will be doing preliminary research at this point. Students are encouraged to begin networking with people in their chosen career fields if they haven’t already done so. They can also start investigating which companies hire new graduates and find out if recruiters will be on campus during the year. Additionally, the first semester is a good time to meet with professors or professionals within the field to get information about possible opportunities in the future. Although most companies are not going to give an official interview at this point, they may offer an informational interview. A familiar face is more likely to be hired later on.

2) Beginning of second semester senior year

Once students get to their second semester of their senior year, they can start legitimately looking for jobs. Many companies hiring new graduates will begin their recruitment process at this point knowing their employees can’t start until the beginning of summer. One of the most challenging issues for students at this point is finding a balance between school and the job search. It’s important students devote their full attention to study the week before midterms and finals but still manage to send out applications and meet with recruiters.

Woman filling out application during job search courtesy of Shutterstock.com

pixelheadphoto/Shutterstock.com

3) End of second semester senior year

By the end of the second semester, it’s important students are sending out completed job applications on a regular basis. There is not a magic number but one to two applications per week will serve as a good, minimum goal. In addition to applying for jobs the traditional way, students should be actively networking and refining their resumes. Also, it’s important to tailor each cover letter to a specific position. The human resources department can easily tell who made the effort to read the entire job description and who wrote a standard letter.

4) The summer after graduation

The majority of college seniors will not have secured full-time employment by their graduation date. However, this is when it’s important to stay motivated and get creative. In addition to continuing a full-time job search in a specific field, recent grads should look at viable part-time positions, paid internships, and transition jobs that can help them build their resumes. There are several companies that won’t hire somebody until they have a couple years of experience, so that dream job may be just around the corner. In order to beef up their resumes, recent grads can be creative and have two part-time jobs or look into the possibility of something near their field, if not directly in it.

Looking for more advice on the job search? Go to College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

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.

Posted February 16, 2016 by

7 resume tips for non-traditional college students

Even though the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the vast majority of today’s college students—73 percent—are categorized as non-traditional college students, or adult learners, still struggle on university and college campuses to find adequate answers to their unique problems and challenges. One of the problems and challenges non-traditional college students face is preparing a great resume prior to entering (or re-entering) the workforce after graduation.

This 4-minute video featuring College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, provides non-traditional college students with resume tips.


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

1) Bend the resume rules.

Many of the standard resume tips college students find on the internet and even from career services experts are great tips, but they’re geared toward traditional college students, students who enroll in college immediately after high school graduation, attend college full-time without taking breaks in attendance, and graduate within four to five years.

Non-traditional college students and adult learners must be prepared to adapt the resume guidelines provided for traditional students, particularly if they have several years of work experience related to their college majors. Some of the guidelines non-traditional college students may want to stray from include sticking to a one-page resume and listing education at the top of their resumes. Depending on years of experience and level of experience, these guidelines may or may not apply.

2) Seek professional help.

All college students benefit from resume editing assistance. However, seeking resume writing and editing assistance is even more crucial for non-traditional college students since non-traditional college students often have multiple exceptions to the typical resume rules to address and multiple questions to ask. Should I list the part-time job I held for only three months and quit when I had my daughter? Is it better to list my sales management position or not since I was laid off after three years, and I was the only person who was laid off? These are questions best answered by a professional. Seek help from career services experts on your local campuses and from College Recruiter’s free resume editors. Don’t edit your resume alone!

3) Avoid affiliations.

Your parents or grandparents may have advised you to avoid talking about politics and religion on first dates. The same general rule goes for resume writing. Avoid listing volunteer work and service positions which reveal religious, political, or other affiliations. Non-traditional college students often feel more grounded and sure of themselves in terms of beliefs and values; however, use caution when sharing those beliefs on your resume.

If you insist on doing so, understand that putting your religious and political affiliations in writing on your resume may open you up to unintentional discrimination by potential employers when they review your resume during the screening process. Review the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website; a good rule of thumb is if it’s an illegal interview question, don’t willingly offer the information to recruiters and talent acquisition professionals by listing it on your resume before you make it to the interview.

4) Update your resume.

If you change jobs, take on more responsibility in your current position, join a new campus or community organization, or earn an additional scholarship or award, add this information to your resume. Regardless of the changes and accomplishments in your life, set a reminder in your phone or on your calendar to update your resume every six months. For non-traditional college students, this regular resume updating is crucial because non-traditional college students typically live active lifestyles, working part-time or full-time while attending college, all the while maintaining community involvement and tending to family responsibilities.

Think of a resume as a working document. You should never create your resume and then file it away. Always be prepared to email an updated copy to a recruiter or potential employer on a moment’s notice. You never know when someone in your social network may hear of a great job opening and think of you.

5) Tend to details.

Countless human resources managers and recruiters have passed over resumes with spelling errors, grammatical errors, and mechanical errors. Use past tense to describe prior jobs and present tense to describe your current position. Use spell check and grammar check. Take advantage of College Recruiter’s free resume editors. Visit the career services office on your campus. Ensure proper spelling of all job titles and companies listed on your resume. Do not misspell your own references’ names. These are small details, but details matter. Employers want to hire professionals who can handle making important daily decisions for their companies; submitting a seamless resume is the first step in proving you’re qualified to make big decisions. Remember, seek resume editing assistance.

6) Address gaps.

Non-traditional college students often have gaps in their work history. When you have gaps in your work history, you may choose whether to list them or not. If you don’t list the gaps on your resume, be prepared to explain those gaps in your work experience in your interviews and/or cover letters. If you list the gaps on your resume, list transferable skills and volunteer duties performed.

For example, if you took three years off from working full-time to stay at home with your child, and during that time you worked in the nursery at your church, volunteered during vacation Bible school, and babysat two other small children one day each week, you can list in-home childcare for three children for three years, volunteer teaching experience for 12 toddlers for a non-profit organization during each summer for three years, and volunteer childcare worker one day per week for 2-10 children. This experience might not feel substantial to you, but it demonstrates that you were involved in your community, managed others, planned lessons, taught skills and material to small children, and a variety of other tasks which you can list as transferable skills on your resume.

7) List all experience.

Entitle your work experience section “Experience.” This allows you the freedom to list all experience in this category, including your military experience, volunteer work experience, internships (paid or unpaid), and paid work experience. Whether you value your volunteer experience as highly as your paid work experience or not, many employers will. Don’t underestimate the value of your own experience.

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