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Posted June 26, 2016 by

10 career mistakes to avoid

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

One of your top goals is to have a happy and successful life.

Your career is the key to achieving this goal.

You’ve got a nice degree, have a lovely smile and are ready to work, but there’s one more thing that could stop you from realizing your dreams:

Mistakes.

Some mistakes could harm or even end your career. You have to recognize and avoid them at all costs if you really want to have a successful life.

There are 10 career defining mistakes.

1. Dressing badly at work

Research tells us that what we wear affects how we think. How we dress also affects how other people perceive us.

Sure, you deserve to get the respect you think you deserve and get people to listen to you. People should respect you because you know what you’re talking about.

So why should you wear expensive socks to get people to respect you?

Let me tell you a story.

One day I was on a bus headed to my friend’s house. It’s been a long time since I went to the neighborhood so I wasn’t so sure which stop to get off at. I was constantly looking out at the window, and the gentleman sitting beside me could not help but notice it.

He nicely asked where I was going and if I needed help. I told him where I was going, and he said I should exit in two stops. I thanked him.

A few minutes later, another man sitting behind me said “Actually, you should get off at the next stop.”

I thanked him and exited where he told me, ignoring the advice of the first guy.

Now, you may want to ask me why I chose the second guy’s advice.

As I walk away from the bus stop, I realized I ignored my seatmate’s advice because he was wearing sweatpants, had a dark stain on his T-shirt, and looked like he skipped showering that day. I realized that I chose the second guy’s advice because he wore a collared jacket, well-polished shoes, and designer glasses.

When you dress well at work, people will notice you. Your superiors will notice you, and they would admire you for that. That would open up more opportunities for you.

2. Expressing a rude and negative attitude at work

Even if you’re a highly-talented employee but always express a bad and negative attitude at work, you’ll have a high mountain to climb to advance your career. Many managers hate working with employees who have bad attitudes because they decrease the team morale.

According to studies from Leadership IQ, 87% of employees say that working with somebody with a bad attitude has actually made them want to change jobs. And as much as 89% of new hires who fail within 18 months actually failed because of attitudinal issues, not skills. Bad attitudes also include laziness, tardiness, inappropriate jokes, unresponsive to emails, etc. List all the bad and negative attitudes you have and make a consistent effort to overcome them.

3. Not building good relationships with your colleagues

Bad relationships are bound to happen from time to time. How you deal with them is the most important thing.

Your colleagues are the keys to your happiness at work. If you’re not happy with your coworkers, then you’ll certainly be looking for work soon. I’m a big believer of the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want your coworkers to be kind and respectful to you, then you have to be kind and respectful to them.

Make sure you remember your coworkers’ names and address them by their names. It’s easy to say happy birthdays to your coworkers on Facebook when you rarely talk to them at work. Make sure you’re doing that important one-on-one conversation. Get on the phone and tell them “Happy Birthday.” Go an extra mile and surprise them with a gift. This little generosity will make you more likable at your workplace.

4. Writing unprofessional emails to colleagues

You know there are some unprofessional things you shouldn’t say to your colleagues in the workplace. The same is true for work emails.

For example, it’s not appropriate to answer a colleague asking you how your job search is going inside your work email. Another example is when your colleague complains about other coworkers and says nasty things about them.

These are discussions you shouldn’t allow inside your work email. I don’t think it’s good to allow it at all whether it’s your personal or work email. You should know that you don’t own your work email, your employer does. Your employer can monitor who you’re communicating with on your work email. You could be in trouble if you’re making inappropriate remarks about sensitive issues at your workplace.

In addition to that, there are some email mistakes that can make you look really unprofessional.

For example:

  • Using informal or curse words you’re not allowed to use at work
  • Rambling in your email instead of getting straight to the point
  • Forgetting to attach files when you say you’ve attached files
  • Spelling the person’s name wrong or using a different name to address the recipient

These email mistakes may not look big to you, but they are serious mistakes that can prevent you from accelerating your career.

5. Making career choices based on earnings

The love of money could lead you down the wrong career path.

I’m not saying “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

You need money to do a lot of things. You probably need money to pay student loans, buy some nice outfits and keep the roof over your head. So you definitely need money. We all do.

But when you choose a career or a job you don’t even enjoy based on your goal to make $90,000 per year, that’s when it becomes a problem. You need to ask yourself:

Does your desire for money match your passion and skills? When you choose a job you’re less passionate about, you’ll be pushing yourself to get things done. And this would be visible in your performance. You should choose a job where you have the skills and abilities to get the job done.

6. Not investing in yourself

If you strip Larry Page of his assets and dump him on the street, I can assure you that he would be back living a comfortable life within a week.

Larry Page has a ton of human capital.

According to Wikipedia“Human capital is the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.” In other words, human capital is a collection of resources—all the knowledge, talents, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence, training, judgment, and wisdom that are possessed by an individual. If you want to achieve a lot of success in your career, you need a lot of human capital. Focusing on building your human capital is a lot more productive than worrying about “job security.

So how do you build your human capital?

You build up your human capital by investing in yourself through:

  • Improving your skills
  • Acquiring complementary skills
  • Reading educational books
  • Starting healthy habits
  • Building your personal brand
  • Getting a mentor

As you do these things, you’ll become irreplaceable in your organization. You’ll become the go-to person within your company. Many more people will start looking up to you. All these help you accelerate your career.

But when you stop investing in yourself, you become stagnant. Your skills become obsolete.

7. Not maintaining a healthy work-life balance

A poor work-life balance is bad for both the employee (you) and the employer.

People who have a poor work-life balance are more stressed and experience more family conflicts. They also tend to have both mental and physical problems. If your private life is suffering, it will negatively impact your professional life. Your private life comes first. When you experience more problems in your private life, your creativity, engagement and productivity at work will suffer.

The only way to prevent this is to keep a work-life balance.

This may not look like a career mistake to you, but it’s a mistake that can have adverse effects on your career. You should set work hours and stick to them. Don’t work during times when you should be with your family or have set aside times for tending to personal matters which are a priority to you.

8. Not improving your communication skills

“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”—Theodore Roosevelt

The consequences of poor communication are great.

For example, if your communication skills are poor, your message would be hard to understand, and this can lead to serious confusion among your colleagues.

Too much information when it is not needed can also affect the concentration of the listener.

Poor communication becomes more serious when you communicate with customers. If customers are not serviced in the right manner, it would reduce sales, thereby affecting business goals.

Great communication skills help you do well at your job because you’ll be using these skills when requesting information, discussing problems, giving out instructions, and interacting with your colleagues. As a result of demonstrating good communication skills, you’ll enhance your professional image, build sound business relationships, and get more successful responses.

You have to continue sharpening your communication skills if you want to get and stay at the top.

How do you do that?

You sharpen your communication skills by:

  • Striking up conversations with strangers
  • Reading good books
  • Listening to others
  • And engaging in more one-on-one conversations

9. Not networking outside your company

Your network is your net worth.

Your network is your source of job opportunities, potential business partnerships and much more. Your network won’t only find your next job, but it will help you improve your current position.

NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!”—Adam Small

One of the biggest mistakes many people make is to network when they are only looking for a job. You can’t only rely on people you already know within your current workplace to help you land your dream job. You must always be networking outside of your company, and even your industry.

For example, let’s say you’re a website designer; networking with other website designers alone would limit your opportunities. You should network outside your industry like in the Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Energy sectors. People in these sectors could be good references. They could become customers. They might know someone who needs your service.

LinkedIn is a very good place to start networking with people outside your industries.

But your conversation with those people shouldn’t be limited to the web. Take it offline. Do face-to-face meetings with them. That’s how you expand your network and increase your chance of career success.

10. Not serving your network

The truth is the people in your network needs you as much as you need them.

You can’t just expect people in your network to connect you with other people they know. You can’t just expect them to link you up with job opportunities without you giving them some value. You’ll appear selfish if you always expect people to do things for you but offer nothing in return.

The best way to keep people interested in you is to serve them. When you diligently do something good for people, they will want to return the favor, though, your major aim of helping people shouldn’t be to get something in return. The more people you serve, the more your network grows, and the more your network grows, the more opportunities will come your way.

Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

Need more tips for making the best career choices? Visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Michael Akinlaby is a freelance writer and SEO Consultant. He’s the founder of RankRain, an internet marketing agency that specializes in content marketing and Search Engine. 

Posted May 17, 2016 by

How to have a great first day at work: Part 1

Congratulations on landing your first full-time entry-level job after graduating from college! Woohoo! This is a huge milestone in your career journey.

Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking. Remember the feeling you had when you started high school? You might feel a little like that on your first day at work, minus the horrific acne and monstrous crush on your neighbor.

This video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, is one of two videos offering help to recent grads starting their first entry-level jobs. Here are five ways you can ensure success on your first day at work.


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

1. Dress well, sleep well, and feel well.

Get a great night’s sleep the night before your first day at work. Certainly celebrate your new job with your friends and family, but celebrate at least two days prior to your first day. Wake up in plenty of time to get ready for work. We all have those days when we don’t like the outfit we selected for work, and chances are, it will be your first day of work. Give yourself at least 20 or 30 extra minutes to get ready on your first day at work.

When you look good, you feel good. Dress up (at least a little bit) on your first day at work. Wear an outfit that fits into the company’s dress code, but spend a little extra time fixing your hair or makeup. It doesn’t hurt to feel great when you’re going to spend all day long in training sessions, meeting new people, and looking people in the eye.

2. Arrive early.

Arrive at least 15 or 30 minutes early on your first day at work. This helps you to avoid showing up late due to traffic problems or getting turned around. It’s common to feel disoriented when you are in a new town or don’t know which parking lot to use. How far will you have to walk from the parking lot to the building? Are there designated parking spots? Don’t park in those! Knowing this information in advance is helpful. Arriving early gives you the opportunity to network with coworkers and eases nerves.

3. Prepare an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is a 30-second spiel explaining who you are, where you’ve been, what you do, and where you’re going in life or at work. Preparing a brief elevator pitch related to your new position will come in handy when you’re being introduced to multiple teammates, supervisors, and colleagues repeatedly throughout the day. Chances are, you’ll be asked the question, “So who are you? What is it you’ll be doing for us?” Be prepared with a smooth response.

4. Smile often.

When shaking hands and delivering that elevator pitch, smile. Smiling improves your mood and the moods of those around you as well. Start off on the right foot on your first day at work by spreading cheer and goodwill to people around you.

4. Be positive no matter what.

Whether you have to sit through eight hours of training, which you find incredibly boring, or whether you arrive and find that your desk is not set up at all, be positive. Not many people enjoy working with negative people. Avoid making negative comments, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. If you need to ask for help, do so politely and quietly. Avoid making a scene in a fussy or dramatic manner right off the bat. Very few things leave a bad taste in employers’ mouths as a new employee who begins complaining before she’s even begun working.

For more suggestions on starting out strong in your new entry-level job, visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

Posted May 11, 2016 by

How to conduct a successful informational interview

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Interviewing is hard. And stressful – especially for the recent college graduate or entry-level job seeker who has limited experience in an interview setting. To gain more experience, and to expand your professional relationships, consider conducting an informational interview. The purpose of an informational interview is to gather information and meet someone who is in a role or company you aspire to be in. It’s not a job interview – the person conducting the informational interview (you) should be the one asking the questions.

“Informational interviews are a good way to get the answers you need to make career choices,” says Bill Driscoll, the New England District President of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half, and the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. “Asking experienced professionals who have specialized expertise about their role and what it involves can give you real-world insights.”

In fact, 36 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said these meetings are becoming more common, with nearly one-third (31 percent) receiving informational interview requests at least once a month. Job seekers should take note – 84 percent of executives said when someone impresses them in a meeting, it’s likely they will alert that person to job openings at the company.

Although informational interviews are not intended solely to seek a certain position in a company, it can set you up for consideration of future roles if you make a good impression. It could also lead to referrals to other contacts or job openings.

Informational interview etiquette guidelines

There are some basic etiquette guidelines to follow when requesting an informational interview, says Driscoll:

  • First, narrow down who you would ask for an informational interview. Create a list of companies you would like to work for, identify career paths that would suit your strengths and interests, and consider which industries interest you. Once you’ve identified these key factors, do some online research to choose the correct contact to interview.
  • Email is a good introductory mode of communication. Keep it simple – be concise but friendly. Briefly go over your background, state the reason you are reaching out to them, and request a meeting or phone call. Be sure to include why you want to meet that person in particular.
  • Look to your professional network to make an introduction. Seeing a message from a familiar name may increase your chance of getting a response.
  • LinkedIn can help you identify contacts and send messages. Keep in mind that people don’t necessarily log on to LinkedIn each day or check their messages on the site, so you might not get a quick response.
  • A phone call is another option to reach an informational interview candidate. Be prepared with what you’ll say in case you get a hold of the person or their voicemail.

How to prepare for an informational interview

Research the company and person you are meeting. Informational interviews tend to be short, so use the opportunity to ask the questions you genuinely want answered. Come prepared with your list of questions. Things you might want to ask are:

  • How did you get started in this industry/company/career path?
  • What is a typical day like?
  • What are the most important skills required in this role/industry?
  • How did you get your job?
  • Can you name some industry associations that I should join?
  • What do you like most about your company?

Dress professionally for your informational interview – just like you would for a job interview.

“Remember this is a business meeting and the way you dress can say a lot about you,” says Driscoll.

Go into an informational interview with a clear understanding that this is a chance to learn about a career, industry and company, to expand your professional relationships and to become better prepared for future interviews. Just don’t expect it to always lead to a job or job interview with that company.

“An informational interview is a great way to meet someone who can make hiring decisions, but don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t lead to a job interview,” says Driscoll. “The point is to learn and establish an important business relationship.”

When the informational interview is done, don’t forget to show gratitude. Always mail a handwritten thank-you note after an interview and keep your new contact updated on your job search and career progress.

Need career advice as a recent graduate? Go to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

Bill Driscoll, Accountemps

Bill Driscoll, New England District President of Accountemps

Bill Driscoll is the New England District President of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half, and is based in the company’s Boston office. Bill oversees professional staffing services for Robert Half’s 23 offices throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and portions of New York. Bill is considered a local and national expert on recruiting practices, hiring and job search trends, and other workplace issues.

Ready to begin your job search? Start at College Recruiter today!

Posted April 19, 2016 by

7 interview appearance tips

Did you know that 65% of employers admit that clothing can be the deciding factor between similar candidates in the hiring process?

Apparently what you wear—and your overall interview appearance—really matters. It’s important to plan ahead for your interview, and that includes thinking about your interview appearance from head to toe. No one wants to wake up the morning of an interview, hitting snooze too many times to the point of having to skip a shower, yanking the first presentable outfit out of the closet, dreading the interview the entire time. That’s really setting yourself up for interview failure.

Set yourself up for interview success instead by watching this video featuring College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace. You’ll learn seven simple ways to enhance your interview appearance.


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

1.. Research the position, the company, and the career field.

Expectations for interview appearance and attire vary based on these criteria. If you’re interviewing in a super casual work environment, you can get away with wearing business casual attire (slacks, blouse, and flats). However, if you’re interviewing at a large corporation for a management position, you better don a business suit. Doing your homework and understanding the corporate culture in advance will help you avoid major interview appearance mistakes. If  your homework doesn’t help you make a clear decision, stop by the career services office on campus and ask for advice.

2. If in doubt, err on the side of conservative and classy. Translation: wear a suit.

If you aren’t sure what to wear, and your research yields few clear results, wear a suit. It’s better to dress up than to dress down for a job interview. Your future employer will most likely be impressed that you took time and energy to invest in your interview appearance.

If you wear a business suit, be sure it’s clean, pressed, and tailored. If you can’t afford to have it dry cleaned, clean it yourself on the gentle cycle and iron it carefully on the lowest setting. Have it tailored to fit you (or hem it yourself if necessary), but do not wear a suit with cuffs that are too long and too-long hemlines. This makes you look like you’re wearing your grandma’s suit, and that’s not a cute look for anyone.

3. Don’t blow your budget on interview attire.

As a college student or recent grad, you simply can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive suit or interview outfit. Be savvy and scour consignment stores for great deals on secondhand suits in excellent shape. Try to find suits that are still considered modern or fashionable, though, if possible. You don’t want to sport a look that was popular three decades ago.

4. Clean up.

Don’t sleep late the morning of an interview. Take a shower and practice good hygiene in every way. Clean hair, nails, and teeth let your interviewers know that you take pride in your interview appearance as well as minor details—and this lets them know you’ll take pride in the work you’ll do for them if hired. Skip heavy doses of cologne and perfume, and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke before a job interview.

5. Avoid excessive everything.

Flashy jewelry, sparkly eyeshadow, dangly earrings, bold neckties, colorful patterns, and fun socks are all great ways to demonstrate your personality in everyday life. Skip these over-the-top accessories when dressing for your interview, though. Neutral colors and subtle patterns (or solid colors) are better choices for suits and clothing items. When choosing jewelry, shoes, and accessories, think classic.

6. Put the focus on you, not your appearance.

By taking the previous tips into consideration, you’ll allow yourself the freedom to relax. This will help potential employers to focus on YOU, not your appearance. You won’t be fidgeting or fighting your own outfit. Instead, your future boss will notice your soft skills, your ability to work the room, your great laugh, and your attention to details when answering questions and responding to others.

You never want recruiters to remember the way you fixed your hair the day of an interview. You always want them to remember the reasons you listed for why they should hire you.

7. Remember that if you’re not comfortable and confident, you can’t focus on the content of your conversation with your future employer.

Lastly, choose clothing and accessories you feel completely comfortable and confident wearing. If you feel constrained or awkward, it will show in your facial expressions and body language, and that won’t win you any brownie points. You want to appear alert, focused, and grateful for the opportunity to be interviewed. If you’re thinking about how tight your jacket is, whether your pants are going to rip when you stand up or sit down, or how large the blister is on your right foot while you’re touring the job facility, you will certainly not have a Zen quality about you.

Write a great resume, apply for jobs, and prepare well for interviews. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for regular job search assistance and for more Tuesday Tip videos and articles like this.

 

 

Posted March 05, 2015 by

Avoid These 10 Mistakes and Land Your Dream Job

Sarah Landrum photo

Sarah Landrum

After you graduate, the real fun begins; and by fun I mean work. Let me rephrase that: After you graduate is when the real effort begins. All of the energy leading up to the fireworks of graduation quickly fades, and then it’s time to land a job.

Of course, you’re not looking for any job. You want to land your dream job.

Working toward your goal of landing that perfect job isn’t going to come without some effort. While the days and weeks after graduation might seem like the perfect time to relax and revel in the glory of all you’ve accomplished, quite the opposite is true.

Now is the time to buckle down and go confidently toward the career you worked so hard to achieve. To help bring your plans to fruition, avoid these 10 mistakes. After all, landing your dream job depends on it. (more…)

Posted July 01, 2014 by

How to Succeed in Video Job Interviews

Andrew Hastings

Andrew Hastings of Kira Talent

If you are a recent graduate or looking for a job, make sure to prepare for new trends. Companies are increasingly using video job interviews as a screening tool to connect with applicants, so prepare yourself with these tips and use the video interview to your advantage. (more…)

Posted May 02, 2014 by

Applying for Recent College Graduate Jobs? Take Your Resume to the Mountain Top

When applying for recent college graduate jobs, your resume is sure to be a key factor.  So, how can you take it the mountain top?  Learn more in the following post.

We all know that for each open position, a recruiter receives a mountain of resumes. So what if you had access to insider knowledge that would help you climb to the top of that mountain? This infographic from our friends at Kelly Services provides exactly that: insider information from hundreds of recruiters that will help you rise well above

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Posted March 31, 2014 by

5 Ways Young Professionals on Entry Level Jobs Can Leave a Lasting Impression on Their Bosses

Young professionals, do you need some advice on how to leave a lasting impression with your bosses on your entry level jobs?  Learn five ways to do so in the following post.

In college, I couldn’t wait for what we all called “the real world,” I devoured plenty of articles that dished out advice on navigating the interview process, getting along with coworkers and, most importantly, being positively regarded by the boss. Common advice for impressing superiors included “dress for success”, “show up on time”, “be positive” and simply “be really

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Posted January 29, 2014 by

Preparing to Interview for an Entry Level Job? How Employers Expect You to Dress

If you’re not sure how to dress when preparing to interview for an entry level job, employers share some advice in the following post.

You’ve likely heard the expression “clothes make the man (or woman)”. Perhaps nowhere is this more relevant than in a job interview. Perhaps you know how important it is to dress professionally, but did you know the colors you wear require just as much consideration. A new survey from CareerBuilder asked more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource

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Posted December 10, 2013 by

Want to Have a Successful Career Fair Experience for Your Entry Level Job Search? Follow These 10 Tips

College students, how can you take advantage of a career fair to enhance your entry level job search?  The following post has 10 tips for success.

On-campus career fairs can be pretty intimidating. Employers are seeking qualified candidates in-on-the spot interviews. Where do you start? A well-prepared career fair goer can really benefit from the experience. Afterall, it’s possible to leave a career fair with a job! So it’s important to do your

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