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Posted May 14, 2016 by

10 reasons how becoming a personal assistant can benefit your career

 

With the standard paths to fame and fortune well-trodden, it is important to be on the lookout for new ways to make a buck and your mark. One surprising way to do so is to become a personal assistant.

Here are 10 reasons why.

1. Personal assistants learn how the best in the business do what they do

How many of us start off doing something and then six months or a year down the line say to ourselves, “I wish I’d known about that when I started out.” Well, had you been a personal assistant, you would have probably known, as you can look on over the shoulders of the best in the business. You can’t put a value on that.

2. The pay is surprisingly good

That’s not to say the pay is bad; it isn’t. A mid-range PA can make about $60,000 a year. Are you even better? Well, then it can go up to between $80,000-120,000. Now, you won’t be buying any yachts for that money, but you won’t be going hungry either.

3. You get to say, “You know who I work for?”

And besides, you’re going to get quite a few of the perks of being rich without being rich anyway, provided you know how to name drop. Want to have dinner in a Michele star restaurant but don’t have reservations? Come right this way, sir. Want to buy that new Chanel bag? I just happen to have one behind the counter. The benefits can be truly tremendous.

4. Personal assistants go to interesting and exciting places

For example, if your boss travels, often you’ll get to go along. And that can take you to some pretty amazing places (and have you staying at some nice hotels). Don’t like to travel? Select a boss who stays in one place! You get to choose who you’ll work for.

Also read: 5 reasons why recent college grads should consider work and travel jobs

5. You can qualify with any educational background

Now in many different occupations, you can’t get in the door without the right degree. Quite often, job seekers absolutely need a college education. That does not necessarily have to be the case in PAing, however. Just as long as you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, you can get far.

Search for entry-level personal assistant jobs now!

6. You can use it to jump start your career into another line of work

You can even use being a personal assistant to pass some of the lower rungs of the career ladder, as you demonstrate what you’re capable of to somebody who can actually make the hiring decisions.

7. Personal assistants rub shoulders with the movers and shakers

Even if your boss doesn’t hire you, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to impress people. After all, you’re going to be meeting other important people and taking their calls. If you know how to impress people, you’ll be able to leverage that into a better position somewhere down the line.

Also read Networking: A Definitive Guide for Students and Grads to Succeed in the Job Search

8. Your days will vary immensely

Also, your days as a personal assistant will rarely be boring. You’ll get a huge amount of different activities thrown on your plate and be left to tackle them as best you can. Of course, you’ll have to adjust your day to fit the schedule of your boss, but if you can live with that, the world is your oyster.

9. You’re a gatekeeper

There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that people have to get past you to speak to your boss. The smart ones will know that and make certain to go out of their way and be nice to you. And the others? Oh I’m sorry, I don’t know how we just got disconnected for the third time in a row! There must be something wrong with the telephone system!

10. You get to learn from other people’s mistakes

Most importantly, a personal assistant gets to see what other people do wrong in high power situations and make certain you don’t do the same. That can be incredibly valuable down the line when you’re trying to do your own thing – or when you sell the book rights, of course.

Now being a PA isn’t for everybody. You’ve got to tolerate negative attitudes from others when they’re having their bad days, and some of us weren’t made to get coffee. For those of us willing to take a humility pill and play second fiddle for a few years, however, it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn and get a glimpse in a different world.

Ready to find a personal assistant job today? Search on College Recruiter!

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Luisa Brenton, guest writer

Luisa Brenton, guest writer

Luisa Brenton is a lifestyle blogger. You can find more of her posts at TrustMyPaper. She was born in Italy, graduated from The St. Louis School of Milan, and went to Chicago to pursue higher education at the Chicago’s Public Research University. Luisa is interested in modern literature. She is fond of journalism as well.

Posted February 02, 2016 by

Creating a reference page for your resume

The job search involves multiple steps. One of the first steps involved is creating a reference page. The step prior to this is writing a basic resume. You will edit, tailor, and tweak your resume each time you apply for specific positions. Next you’ll want to create a separate reference page.

How do you select people to serve as references? How do you create and maintain a reference page?

Check out College Recruiter’s four-minute video about creating a reference page for your resume.


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

1. Create a separate reference page

Be sure to indicate to potential employers who will review your resume that you have a reference page available. At the bottom of your resume, type “references available upon request.” Creating a separate reference page is helpful for a few reasons. It saves space on your resume, and when employers choose to pursue you further in the hiring process and want to check references, they must contact you to obtain a copy of your references. This allows you time to quickly call or email your references; your references are then better prepared to provide positive, clear answers about your qualifications for employment.

Type your reference page using the same font and format as your resume; you want to ensure that employers easily recognize that your reference page matches up with your resume if the two pages become separated. For this reason, you’ll also want to include the same or similar header at the top of your reference page listing your contact information (name, address, phone number, and email address).

2. Ask first

Always ask people before listing them as references; when people are prepared for reference checks, they can provide glowing reviews of you without feeling flustered. They are also more likely to serve as a reference in the future if you treat them with courtesy and respect by asking for permission to list them as references on the front end.

3. Hesitation means no

If people hesitate to say yes when you ask for permission to list them as references, do not list them as references, even if they eventually give you permission. There’s some reason for their hesitation. You don’t want to take any chances on one of your references giving you anything less than a stellar review; there are many times when employers checking references pick up on tone of voice or implied hints dropped by references over the phone or even in emails. Don’t let one bad reference check cause you to miss out on a great job opportunity. Move on and ask someone else to serve as a reference for you.

4. Go above and beyond

Employee Reference Check Form courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Sinseeho/Shutterstock.com

Try to provide more than the minimum number of references required. Most employers request at least three references; list five to seven instead. When human resources professionals, hiring managers, or recruiters check your references and need quick responses, this provides them with more than enough people to call or email, and if they don’t hear back from the first three people on the list, they can call one or two of your other references instead.

5. Provide variety

When selecting your references, provide potential employers with variety. Think about offering recruiters a broad overview of your qualifications, including your work history, educational background, and volunteer and extracurricular involvement. Include references like coworkers, supervisors, former professors, students you partnered with on major projects, fellow volunteers, directors of non-profit organizations who managed fundraisers you participated in, etc. The longer the relationship you’ve had with your references, the better; one of the questions employers might ask of your references is how long they have known you.

6. Clear communicators

Select references who will not only speak highly of you but who will also speak clearly and concisely about you, and preferably in an upbeat manner. Your favorite former college professor might be the nicest guy in the world, but if he’s extremely soft-spoken and stammers most of the time, you might consider finding another former professor to ask to serve as a reference. Remember that about 80% of employers check references, with about 16% checking references prior to the interview. Be sure you select references who will serve as cheerleaders for you prior to your arrival at the interview.

7. Titles don’t always impress

Avoid listing references simply because their job titles look impressive on your reference page; instead think about what your references will have to say about you. Can they provide real, concrete examples about the ways you’ve demonstrated your skills and abilities? If not, why are you listing them on your reference page? Remember that recruiters and hiring managers want to know if you’re a good fit for the open position. If your references can’t provide information to reassure employers that you’re the best candidate for the job opening, find references who can. Be sure your references know the real you.

8. Maintain and update

Keep your reference page updated with current contact information. Don’t make it tough on employers to check your references; they might give up if they run into snags when checking your references and move on to the next candidate in line for the job.

9. Say thanks

Lastly, be sure to thank your references each time you obtain an interview or land a job. You never know the difference your references’ reviews can make in your job search. Your references serve as part of your network of supporters, and maintaining positive connections with your network always pays off.

For more Tuesday Tips and job search secrets, follow College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

Posted January 26, 2016 by

How to make the most of professional networking events

If you’re like one third to one half of the U.S. population who consider themselves introverted, discussing professional networking events—whether career fairs, meet and greet hours held at conferences, or even happy hour with coworkers or potential employers—induces slightly sweaty palms. Networking events are often referred to as “shmoozy events” because of the negative connotations associated with networking.

Done the right way, professional networking doesn’t have to be socially awkward; you don’t have to push yourself on others or worry about saying exactly the right thing at just the right time in order to land a job or get a raise. It is important to remember, though, that first impressions are made within the first seven seconds of meeting someone. That’s a powerful statistic and one that sticks; the primacy effect (the tendency to remember what we notice first, whether it proves accurate or not) has lasting impact on our brains.

This brief video provides college students and recent grads with simple, easy tips to implement at networking events. These tips are especially helpful if you’re a networking newbie, about to graduate and begin networking as part of your efforts to find your first full-time job.


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

1. Eat prior to arrival.

While light to heavy hors d’oeuvres are often served at most networking events, it’s never a good idea to arrive on an empty stomach. Be sure that the snack you choose isn’t heavy on onions or garlic-laden, though; you don’t want to carry offensive odors to your networking event.

Arriving without an empty stomach will help you feel calm and mentally alert. You will be more able to focus on potential employers, build connections, and enjoy yourself if you’re not hungry.

2. Dress conservatively.

Dress codes are all over the place for networking events. Play it safe and stay conservative, wearing business attire. You can’t really go wrong with a well-fitting business suit. If you want to dress it up, wear a brighter shirt or tie than you might normally wear, but don’t go crazy. Networking events aren’t the time to pull out your new sequined dress or to dress down either, thinking it’s more about socializing. Remember, you’re ultimately there to build professional connections; these connections might assist you in your job or internship search now or later.

3. Smile!

Smiling is the easiest way to let people know you’re approachable. If you’re introverted, intimidated, or simply not excited about the event, smiling is a great “fake it til you make it” strategy for making the most of networking events. You’re already there, so why not have a good time?

4. Go hands-free.

Keep one hand free at all times. If you must eat a quick snack, put down your drink in order to eat. Best case scenario, though, you will watch this video and read this article before you begin attending networking events, and you can adhere to tip #1 (eat prior to arrival). When you eat prior to arrival, you’ll find yourself able to more easily shake hands, exchange business cards, and carry a bottle of water because not carrying a plate of food.

Businesspeople shaking hands at networking event

Minerva Studio/Shutterstock.com

5. Prepare an elevator pitch.

At professional networking events, you’re most likely going to introduce yourself and be asked the question, “So what do you do?” repeatedly. An elevator pitch answers this question and then some. Your elevator pitch—if pitched properly, that is—communicates who you are (in terms of education and work history), what you do (related to jobs and careers), what you want to do, and why. It’s important that potential future employers understand that you have specific goals—that’s an admirable quality, one most employers seek in candidates.

Your elevator pitch should last no longer than 30 seconds (stay focused) and should end with a question. That question shouldn’t be, “How can you help me?” Even though we’re all seeking help from others in the job search process, the question should be focused on your new contact. Is your contact the CEO of a company? Ask him how he began his career in the business world. Ending with a question lets the other person know that you are not self-centered; networking is a two-way street, and getting to know your connections is vital to successful networking.

If your new contacts or potential employers want to get to know you further after you give your spiel, they’ll follow up with questions. On the front end, keep it short and sweet.

6. Talk less; listen more.

As the saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. As Dale Carnegie said in How to Win Friends and Influence People, “Talk to someone about themselves, and they’ll listen for hours.” General managers consistently rank listening as one of the top skills in the workplace, too. It matters, and people value you when you do it well.

7. Give and receive contact information.

Prepare business cards before beginning your job search or internship search. You can purchase very affordable business cards online from a variety of vendors or use a business card template available for free online. You definitely don’t want to arrive at networking events empty-handed, though.

When someone asks for your business card, it’s proper etiquette to ask for theirs as well (and vice versa). Don’t make it your goal, though, to procure as many business cards at networking events as possible. There’s no point in this behavior. Unless you actually established an initial connection with a real person at a networking event, a business card is just a piece of paper.

If possible, wear pants or a skirt with pockets or carry a small purse. You need a place to keep the business cards you gather. You might think of the whole “exchanging business cards” process as old-fashioned, but it’s still being done, and if you don’t bring cards to networking events, you’re the one who’ll be left out.

8. Call them by name.

When introduced to someone new at a professional networking event, call that person by name throughout the event. Not only will this help you remember the person’s name later, but it will also make that person feel recognized and provide a personal touch (give that person warm fuzzies), and there’s nothing wrong with that.

9. Follow up.

You don’t need to come home after networking events and immediately search for your new contacts on LinkedIn or Twitter, sending invitations like a stalker. Connecting on social media is part of networking, but following up has many layers. It’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Think carefully about each of your brand new contacts and how you might best connect with them individually before sending a mass email to 20 potential employers with your resume, references, and electronic portfolio attached.

Remember, networking—whether online or offline—is about building connections which hopefully last for a lifetime. These relationships are just like the other relationships you invest in; relationships require work, and relationships are about give and take. Those same principles apply to professional networking.

For more Tuesday Tips, follow College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Stick with College Recruiter as we help you connect the dots on your path to career success and introduce you to great jobs, internships, and careers. Begin your search and apply today!