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Posted May 27, 2016 by

Onboarding should focus on new hire experience

Job, new, time photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

When creating onboarding programs, employers should consider the interests of their new hires. This means focusing on what makes new hires comfortable and engaged with the onboarding process. Companies can take steps to create a smooth transition into the workplace for new employees. Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany, shares ways employers can build effective onboarding programs for new hires.

“A strong onboarding program is created with the new hire experience in mind. Many employers fail to make the first few days for employees exciting or fun. Bring people on and get them excited immediately.

Onboarding starts before new employees ever step foot in the office. So provide them with plenty of information about the company, who they’ll be meeting in the first few days, and what to expect from the entire process of getting oriented with their workspace, team, and tasks. Create an agenda before hiring employees.

Make employees feel comfortable with a clean, new space to work and introduce them to their colleagues. Encourage the staff to build casual relationships with new hires by taking them out to lunch; it establishes trust and respect. Essentially, employers are assigning mentors, employees the hires feel comfortable reaching out to.

Training should cover all of the protocols and procedures, but it needs to be engaging and can even be fun. Make it interactive; create games like scavenger hunts or other competitions to break the ice while also being informative. Technology is great for onboarding because it provides a convenient, easily accessible resource for new hires to find basic information including the dress code, benefits details, and the like, and to see how they fit within the company as a whole.

Be clear about company expectations and invest in training new hires over several weeks. This makes it easier to offer feedback, and go over the first performance evaluation. Consistent feedback and constructive critiques will help them improve on concerns as they arise, resulting in better evaluations and improving the company’s quality of hire.”

Need advice for creating an onboarding program? Get onboard our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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 May 20, 2016 by

Onboarding challenges for hiring managers

Thinking man photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Onboarding is a process that introduces new employees to their new workplace and helps them adjust to company culture. While onboarding is a normal part of the hiring process for some companies, it does not come without its challenges for hiring managers. If these challenges are not met well and properly faced, new hires won’t be in the best position to succeed. Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany, discusses some of the challenges hiring managers face during the onboarding process.

“Hiring managers face several challenges during the onboarding process, all of which can be very costly if they aren’t solved. They often fail to effectively define roles of new hires, leaving them in the dark. This missing information is a major stressor in the workplace and should be addressed immediately. Ensuring job descriptions are clear and accurate, and giving new employees that vision is vital to avoiding this issue on day one.

New hires want to know specific expectations. When details are vague, they don’t know what it takes to succeed. Hiring managers need to provide training materials that clearly define what makes strong employees. This also helps employers measure the quality of hire to determine how well the talent acquisition team is recruiting.

Another major challenge is clearly communicating company values. Many employees, both new and tenured, lack a clear understanding of their company’s vision. This goes back to setting expectations and clearly defining what success looks like. New hires should know how they can thrive in their entry-level jobs, and they should also know their roles in achieving large scale organizational goals.

Introducing new talent to a company is not easy. It’s a balancing act of providing enough information without overwhelming new employees. The role of hiring managers involves finding that sweet spot and communicating information in an effective, personable way. They also need to focus on introducing new hires to the team and integrating them into the company culture to ensure a strong fit.”

Want to learn more about onboarding? Visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Posted May 16, 2016 by

Improving your writing and getting career prospects

Woman writing photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

You may be able to walk the talk, but can you write it?

It’s no big secret that writing skills factor in greatly when it comes to getting and keeping a job, especially in such a competitive market. In a study conducted by Grammarly, out of 100 native English speakers’ LinkedIn profiles, those with fewer grammatical errors had more promotions and held higher positions in their respective companies.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder writing is a crucial communication tool for those in the workforce. In order to be fully able to convey your ideas, you need to articulate them clearly to other people. Writing often serves as the medium we relate ideas with, whether sending and responding to an email or updating our resumes for future employers.

Despite this overwhelming piece of evidence, not everyone pays attention to improving their writing. Do you want to remain stagnant in your job, or do you want to grow and get career prospects? Here are a few tips on how to become a better writer in the workforce:

1. Be a wide reader

You are what you read. There are numerous benefits linked to reading, and among the most notable would be improved writing skills.

In order to be great, you need to take inspiration from those who already are. Train your brain to tune into good writing practices by reading extensively. Others’ writing styles can certainly influence your own if you read them enough. Take time to sit back with a book, a well-written blog entry, or even browse through the news at least once a day. Aside from being able to unwind after or before the stressful day ahead, you’ll also be able to acquire new knowledge.

This tip is especially helpful if you’re in the creative industry, where creative and powerful writing is the main tool of the trade, but it can also be beneficial for simple business writing. Noting some common trends in your favorite writers like style, grammar, and tone go a long way in helping to develop your own voice. You also learn new things in the process, which you can incorporate in the other areas of your life.

2. Read your work backwards

It sounds silly at first, but it’s effective in weeding out any grammatical errors you’ve missed in your last work email. Give it a shot, and it could save you from an embarrassing typo.

Our minds are programmed to autocorrect any minor errors they encounter. Remember those online tests that ask you to spot the “the” in a sentence? You may have been one of the majority who filtered out the extra “the”, in which case this second tip can come in handy to avoid any similar grammatical slip-ups.

Start from the last word of your composition up to the first word you’ve written. Since you’re no longer operating in the context of the content, your focus stays on the form of the text. If you’re already aware of what errors you’re on the lookout for, you’ll be able to spot any repetitive words, misplaced punctuation, and faulty spacing. Note this only works on a structural level, and not if you’re looking for something else like content relevance and fact-checking.

3. Turn spell check on

This doesn’t necessarily improve your skill, but it’s an easy fix if you’re in a hurry to compose an error-free report you’ll be delivering to your bosses the next day. Ruby Hardman, an editor from ResumesPlanet shared: “We can’t always be on top of our writing game, and having technology on our side helps in taking some of the load off our shoulders.”

Turn spell check on so you can automatically spot mistakes without having to painstakingly go through your work word per word. Don’t take this to mean you can let your guard down. In fact, this should give you time to focus on other aspects of your writing. If you’re writing up a resume, take the time to organize the details of it. If you’re writing a speech for a presentation, use it to focus on your tone and fine-tuning your content to the audience you’re presenting to.

Just remember that spell check isn’t perfect, either. There will be some errors it will miss and some idioms it may misinterpret. In that case, always have a dictionary ready to counter-check the results. Sometimes you’ll still have to do the heavy lifting in refining your work, but it will all pay off with a thriving career, and improved communication between yourself and other people.

Get on it write away!

Writing is an often overlooked skill that plays a huge, though subtle, role in leveraging your career. In his article on Harvard Business Review, iFixit’s Kyle Wiens openly declared he wasn’t too keen on hiring people with poor grammar, precisely because they don’t make good employees. According to Wiens, these job seekers lack the critical thinking and orientation to detail that efficient workers and leaders possess.

In order to project the right image to your employer, make sure to be on top of your writing game immediately. Read the right things to absorb some of their influence, proofread your work extensively, and if you’re in a rush, spell check is always a safe option. Just make sure to scan and countercheck for any missed marks.

So what are you waiting for? Become a better writer, and increase your chances of moving up in your industry today.

For more tips to improve your job search and build a career, head over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Paige Donahue, guest writer

Paige Donahue, guest writer

Paige Donahue is an editor and blogger from Pennsylvania. She is a traveler and a collector of some sort – coins, comic books, and stories. You can connect with her via Twitter.

Posted May 13, 2016 by

Basing your job search on company growth

Four college graduates in graduation gowns standing close to each other and making selfie courtesy of Shutterstock.com

g-stockstudio/Shutterstock.com

College students preparing to enter the workforce must consider jobs based on information that extends beyond the description of available positions, including company growth. By considering the characteristics of prospective employers, job seekers can make decisions that can improve their chances of having long, successful careers.

For many college graduates, getting involved with a growing enterprise represents an opportunity to share the benefits of company growth. Employers that currently experience growth and expect it to continue in the future often promote employees from within to fill vacant positions. The move controls recruiting and hiring costs, and gives employees opportunities for professional growth.

Company growth ranks as one of the most important factors in the job search. Although the stability of mature companies that have stopped growing might seem attractive, they could limit career development for new college graduates. Younger companies might bring a degree of uncertainty and increased responsibilities to the table, but they also bring an opportunity for new employees to quickly grow in their profession.

Expanding product lines

Companies that signal growth through the expanded product lines give prospective employees reasons to believe they can grow with the enterprise. Nike, an established company, once experienced periods of growth as the company extended its brand from shoes to clothing, accessories, and electronics. College graduates who see a company expanding in a similar way can expect to gain valuable experience in business and brand development during an extensive career with the same employer. After gaining work experience with such a firm, employees can market their skills and experience to other companies that want to grow.

Growth through acquisition

Growing companies may choose to buy other firms as a pathway to growth. Professionals working for businesses expanding this way can find themselves at the top of the overarching corporate structure. Such a situation exposes employees to diverse business models and organizational structures, as they assimilate new firms into the company. Good performance in positions of high responsibility gives workers a path to higher pay and promotions.

Blue Coat, a growing player in the cloud security market, provided a good example of growth through acquisition when the firm bought Elastica, a startup provider of software that can detect the inappropriate use of cloud-based applications. The company adds innovative technology to the acquiring firm, as well as the responsibility to create synergy with the combined company. Qualified job candidates might consider working for such a company because the business could continue to fuel its growth by buying other companies.

Market expansion

Companies with existing products that seek to grow by entering new markets need well-educated job candidates to fill positions within the growing organization. Graduates who choose to join a firm with a demonstrated pattern of market expansion can expect to have a long-term pathway to career development, as they learn how to deal with markets regionally, nationally, and globally markets. As their employer grows, workers can expect to assume new responsibilities that increase their value to the firm and possible future employers. Although many companies such as Netflix have entered different countries to pursue growth, smaller companies might grow by expanding into different regions of the same country. For example, Express Employment Professionals began as a small staffing firm in Oklahoma and has since grown by expanding into hundreds of markets around the USA.

A study referenced by Forbes.com showed companies that promote employees from within outperform those that fill positions with external hires. College graduates willing to join a business during its early stages might at first accept a lower wage, but the increased chances of promotion within the firm can compensate for any initial loss.

If you’re looking for more job search tips, visit the College Recruiter blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Cameron Johnson, guest writer

Cameron Johnson, guest writer

Cameron Johnson is a BYU Alumni and business consultant. Since graduating from college in 2013, he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international marketing conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.

Posted May 12, 2016 by

10 soft skills employers expect of recent graduates

Background concept wordcloud illustration of soft skills glowing light courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Kheng Guan Toh/Shutterstock.com

Are you ready to find your dream job as soon as you graduate? Then, it’s high time to draw a detailed plan with soft skills required for the workplace. This will help you stand out from other candidates and be a perfect fit for the position of your choice.

To successfully accomplish the task, college graduates can analyze requirements for current vacancy announcements, make use of LinkedIn or Branded.me profiles of people with a great experience, and study analytical articles on the labor market to always stay updated.

It’s not a secret, though, that plenty of online sources post about top soft skills potential employers want in their candidates’ CVs or resumes. So, why not focus on them to make your preparation for obtaining a good entry-level job a bit easier? Here’s what is highly demanded by most of the recruiters:

1 – Lifelong learners

Recent grads can hardly boast of knowing everything about the work they will perform daily. It’s quite natural when something is learned along the way. Sometimes employers prefer young, enthusiastic graduates over highly experienced professionals, since the former tend to learn and absorb new information more eagerly and are ready to develop a learning habit. The latter instead are quite often more stubborn and unlikely to reach a compromise, which can hinder team effectiveness. Additionally, lifelong learners are supposed to know how to obtain and process information to solve the problems they haven’t faced before.

2 – Team players

Teamwork is not only about collective responsibility for every team player’s actions. It’s also about communicating your message to others and achieving that goal with the help of knowledge and each employee’s efforts. Effective team performance depends much on the correct management and delegation of tasks. In contrast to past expectations for team players, modern employers are looking for those who will be proactive and suggest creative solutions. Initiative is strongly encouraged.

3 – Effective time managers and schedulers

Chaos brings no positive effect. To show high productivity and performance, it’s crucial to hone time management and prioritization skills. These two skills rank high on most employers’ lists of soft skills. For that, managers and schedulers need to negotiate deadlines and schedule tasks appropriately. Should tasks be equally urgent, they’d better discuss which one to take first together with their reporters. When using electronic or paper planners, think of short breaks that need to be made between tasks, divide time-consuming tasks into several subtasks, and leave about 10 or 15% of time for coping with emergencies and contingencies. Set reminders well in advance, and review to-do lists daily.

4 – Good listeners and masters of convincing people

Being a good listener doesn’t mean you should keep silent while somebody else is expressing his or her thoughts, so that you can further move on to your statements. The point is to really listen and hear other team players and choose the best solutions working together. Another important thing is to know how to make everyone understand what you mean. In other words, you should learn to use simple and concise statements, speaking with confidence to all people in the company regardless of their seniority.

Problem solver words on business cards courtesy of Shutterstock.com

iQoncept/Shutterstock.com

5 – Problem solvers

At the top of most top list of soft skills is “problem solving skills.” The first step to successful problem solving is to clearly understand what the problem is and what caused it. The next step is to carefully consider interests of others and list all suitable solutions. The final step is to evaluate suggested options by listing their advantages and disadvantages, and then choose the one that has the most pluses. To be an efficient problem solver, you need to get rid of fear. By focusing more on tackling the problem, you will be able to do it with ease.

6 – Company fan

Being a company fan means to be knowledgeable about your employer’s industry. Understanding what key benefits the company gives to its customers or clients, how the process of decision-making is organized, what main competitors the company has, etc. are among the things job seekers should learn before a job interview.

7 – Data analyzer

If you work with people with analytical mindsets, you are a lucky person. This allows you to quickly gather, assess, and analyze new information, selecting only the things you will need at work. This soft skill is highly required for making future plans or prognoses, and creating recommendations for others to follow. This skill is also helpful when you need to analyze your successes or failures, which is very important for your progress.

8 – Tech-savvy person

This means not only knowing how to create, delete, or remove presentations or surf the Internet proficiently. Being tech-savvy means knowing what tools and programs are used by the specialist you want to become. For example, if you want to become a web designer, you will need to master such programs as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Indesign.

9 – Critical thinker

If you have a chance to join a series of workshops on how to become a good critical thinker, jump at the chance! These practical lessons will teach you how to criticize somebody else wisely by finding a strong argument and how to accept criticism of your work. Being a critical thinker is essential for improving your communication skills and professional growth too. Critical thinking ranks high on the list of soft skills regardless of your job title or position.

10 – Curious mind

Being curious means to never be afraid of asking questions. Though, it doesn’t mean you should behave like a chattering box, annoying other employees with your never-ending questions. You should ask questions when you don’t know the answers so your work won’t be done slowly. You must use proper discernment to ask questions of the right person (your manager or mentors) at the right time (one on one and in quiet settings, and preferably not during the last five minutes of meetings).

A few final tips

Taking an active part in extra-curricular activities and voluntary projects can also help job seekers develop a set of useful skills for their future jobs. By establishing friendly relationships with people, you increase your chances of getting what you need. Who knows, maybe some of your peers or instructors will recommend you as a highly promising hire one day.

Need more help with your job search? Head over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Nancy Lin, guest writer

Nancy Lin, guest writer

Nancy Lin is a student of Rockhurst University and enthusiastic freelance writer who enthuses about rock music, writing, and classic English literature. Feel free to contact her at Twitter or Google+.

Posted May 09, 2016 by

6 common mistakes grads make when searching for entry-level jobs

First Job word; business man touching on red tab virtual screen courtesy of Shutterstock.com

PhuShutter/Shutterstock.com

Recently, research from the Australian government shows how the shift from college education to full-time employment is becoming more challenging. Job prospects for young Australians are decreasing and on the other hand, recent graduates are making key mistakes when searching for entry-level jobs. Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online educators, has gathered information from a variety of recruiters to help recent graduates understand their mistakes when applying for entry-level jobs. Avoid these most common mistakes to avoid when searching for entry-level jobs.

1. Negative attitude towards work

Australian government research confirmed young people do not have enough of a positive attitude towards work. Recruiters recommend job seekers be more motivated and demonstrate enthusiasm to potential employers.

According to the study, young people need to be more responsible and reliable concerning their behavior and approach to their jobs. Recruiters suggest working with a business for a while, coming in to shifts, being punctual, and showing respect to colleagues, and customers or clients.

2. Think learning is over after college

Recruiters ask young professionals to be more open to learning when they start their first entry-level jobs. We all need to continue learning during our professional lives to stay updated with industry changes. But when starting a new job, it is especially important to have the right attitude towards learning because everything is new; employees will need to gain knowledge of the working process in their new companies and the different procedures to complete work correctly and in a timely manner. Your first employer is giving you an excellent opportunity to learn and gain valuable experience, so absorb as much as you can.

3. Underestimate the importance of previous work experience

Even though job seekers are applying for their first full-time entry-level jobs, having some related work experience will give them a competitive advantage. This may be some volunteer work done while still in school or some unpaid jobs during the summer. Don’t underestimate this experience; include it on your resume and tell your interviewers about it.

Studies are essential, but having first-hand experience shows employers that you have some practical skills and a better understanding of work responsibilities and professional work life.

4. Failure to make a good first impression

Whoever says his opinion is not influenced by the first impression is lying. In an interview, job seekers only have a few seconds to convince interviewers that they are the right candidates, so along with their studies, work experience, and the right attitude, their presentations during interviews will play an important role in their success in landing their first full-time jobs.

According to the research, recent graduates often dress inappropriately for work and have untidy hair, so recruiters recommend paying special attention to appearance. Not every company’s dress code is the same, so make sure to verify details about the company culture before an interview in order to dress appropriately.

5. Poor job search and application skills

When looking for their first jobs, Australian young professionals are making very common mistakes, according to research. These skills improve with time and practice, but a couple pieces of advice recruiters give are: make sure each application (resume and cover letter) is tailored to the position for which you are applying, and always double check your application’s spelling and grammar. Recruiters see these types of mistakes as a lack of attention to detail and unacceptable in today’s marketplace.

Recruiters also suggest job seekers approach employers directly after providing their resumes and personally following up with them.

6. Unrealistic work expectations

When applying for their first entry-level jobs after college, recent graduates need to understand they cannot “start at the top.” They have to make an effort to work their way up through the business.

Another common mistake is to expect high compensation. This will also come with time as employees gain experience and assume more responsibilities. The nature of the work they do may not be exactly what they want initially, but as long as workers are learning and doing something they like, they are on the right path.

Need more tips for your job search? Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Maria Onzain, guest writer

Maria Onzain, guest writer

Maria Onzain is a content marketing expert writing for Open Colleges about education, career, and productivity. She is passionate about all things digital, loves technology, social media, start-ups, travelling, and good food.

Posted May 06, 2016 by

Working for a startup after college

Startup business people working at modern office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Everyone is nervous heading into their last year of college (except for those going to grad school, that is). It’s time recent graduates prove to themselves, and probably to their parents, that all of this was worth it; they can get entry-level jobs, get out on their own, support themselves, and start on a career path. It is probably their family’s hope that grads will conduct their job search seriously, and look at companies/organizations that promise a bright future. They’ve attended their first job fair, passed out their resumes, spoken with corporate recruiters, and some seemed interested. But something doesn’t “feel” right in their gut. There’s no excitement about all of this.

As recent graduates reflect on why they lack excitement, their minds go to the concept of a “corporate” environment with everyone playing their roles, a pretty large bureaucracy, policies, set work hours; “a single cog in a very large machine you will be,” as Yoda would say. Then there’s the office politics grads studied about in those business courses. Somehow, it doesn’t seem right. They’re thinking about their future success, which doesn’t include what the “big boys” offer. Recent grads need to look elsewhere.

Graduates need to consider working for a startup. Now their parents and some of their friends might think they’re a bit nuts. There’s no job security, as 50% of all startups fail within five years, and then where will they be? Mom may be wringing her hands. However, this isn’t their parents’ world anymore, and there are large advantages to taking this path right now in their lives when they have no obligations other than to themselves.

Flexibility and continuous learning

Most start-ups do not have “pigeon-hole” jobs. They will demand everyone pitch in when and where it is needed. Graduates may have a “job title,” but that will not mean a great deal. They’ll have a skill others may not, but they will be required to learn everyone’s job and everyone will be required to learn some of their job. This environment means continuous learning.

What’s the other great thing? Grads will be forced out of their “comfort zone” into exciting challenges; things can change on a dime, and they will need to change with them. If graduates really enjoy risks and challenges, they’ll love it.

Discover new talents

With all of the emphasis on pitching in, group decision-making, and problem-solving, recent grads may find they have creative talents and current skills they never knew or nurtured. They will be far more well-rounded in what they know and what they can do.

Learn how to budget

Pay is generally not the best for those who join startups. In fact, no one joins a startup for the salary. Graduates will often have to continue living like poor students, but they know how to do it. They’ll stretch those dollars, shop at thrift stores, and eat Ramen noodles sometimes. So what? Grads will also learn how to budget and be frugal.

Business people cheering with arms raised courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Work with passionate people

Enthusiasm is contagious, and that is one of the great things about startups. Everyone comes to work excited about the day and their projects. Everyone shares in each other’s successes (and pumps each other up when there are failures). Grads, too, will be excited about getting up every morning and getting to work; many people in the corporate world would love to have that feeling.

Learn entrepreneurship

Forecasters predict small businesses will be more a wave of the future than large corporations. Why? First, corporations continue to expand globally and set up headquarters in other countries. Second, people no longer trust large corporations like they used to. These giants have taken big tumbles in recent years and no longer provide job security to their employees. It is the small business that is trending now. Working for a startup gives employees valuable experience in becoming small business owners at some point, if they should choose to head in that direction.

Push through failure

Most startups have their failures. The good ones with resilient employees move forward, learning from the failure but never losing the enthusiasm for what they are doing. It’s good to experience failure when young; it is a wonderful teacher. If that startup goes “belly up,” think of all the lessons employees have learned in the meantime.

Potentially invest or be given a stake

A lot of startups value their original people, and founders will give those people a stake in the company. Many people became millionaires because they started out with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg. Having a stake in a company at a young age is a great thing.

Love the Culture

Flexible hours are a big plus. Value is not based upon the number of hours worked. It is based on what employees produce. They may work several 18 hour-long days, only to sleep in late for several days after that and only put in four hours or so.

Dress is a big factor for many job seekers. If they love a jeans and flip-flop environment, taking their dogs to work, letting their hair grow, or sporting a tattoo, they will find the startup environment is where they want to be.

Choosing the right startup

Startups come in all different stages of development. Choosing one should be based on job seekers’ level of risk tolerance, their investigation of the founder(s), and their passions for the product(s) or services being developed. Nothing is carved in stone; if one idea doesn’t work out, there are many others to try.

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

Rick Riddle, guest writer

Rick Riddle, guest writer

Rick Riddle is passionate about the self-development process and wants to share his experience with more people via his articles. He believes self-sufficiency and discipline lead to great results. Follow him on Twitter.

Posted May 05, 2016 by

Internships with small companies offer benefits

Interns Wanted / Internship concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Aysezgicmeli/Shutterstock.com

Many students place a higher value on “prestigious” internships at places like Goldman Sachs for finance, CNN for media, and Facebook for technology. While there is definitely value in interning for these firms, most of that value is derived from the perception of other people. I would encourage students to look smaller. I think experience working for small businesses and organizations can be the BIGGEST hidden gem in your college career. This played out in my own recruiting process. One of the best internships I had was with a small investment firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. The office consisted of only 15 people, and the internship was unpaid. However, I think I learned three years of skills and knowledge in my three months with the company. I have also seen this take place for other students I have interviewed on my podcast “Interns on Fire.” More often than not, students have a better experience interning for smaller organizations and here is why:

1. More responsibility: Since these companies are smaller, they lack the bureaucratic red tape that prevents interns from doing meaningful work. These companies are often competing against larger companies with 10% of the workforce. This translates to more meaningful work for interns.

2. More diversity: For many of the same reasons mentioned earlier, employees for these companies wear multiple hats. They have to coordinate events, answer customer calls, process orders, and manage key strategic initiatives. Since they work across different divisions, interns are more likely to do the same. Therefore, they will not be siloed into just one role or with just one task for their entire internships. Interns will likely get the opportunity to work across many different areas.

3. Better culture: Typically, smaller firms have better cultures and camaraderie. Because they are smaller, they tend to focus more on hiring people who are good culture fits. Hiring one bad egg does a lot more harm to a small organization than it does for a Fortune 500 company. Working for a smaller organization will give interns greater access to potential mentors and friends.

4. Ability to make an impact: Given that many small organizations have so much to accomplish with so few resources, they are often spread thin. In many cases, there have already identified a few valuable projects they just haven’t had the chance to work on yet. This leaves the door wide open for interns to come in and make an impact.

Don’t be afraid to go smaller. It can be the catalyst you need to jumpstart your college career. An internship with the right organization can be a game changer.

Interested in searching for internships? Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Carl Schlotman IV, guest writer

Carl Schlotman IV, guest writer

Carl Schlotman IV was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Carl completed six internships in his collegiate career with world-class financial institutions such as: Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs. After gaining experience with his internships and accepting a full-time offer with Wells Fargo Securities in Investment Banking upon graduation, Carl seeks to give back to younger students. He published his first book, Cash in Your Diploma, in April 2014.

Carl has spoken at several universities around the country to share his strategies and tactics for getting the job you want in the field of your choice, making the salary you desire. He also hosts a podcast highlighting the best student interns across the country, “Interns On Fire.”

Posted April 30, 2016 by

3 employment options for recent grads

Graduation male student with different careers to choose courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Tom Wang/Shutterstock.com

Considering the economy and technology are on the upswing, many recent grads start their careers while studying at college. And we are not talking about part-time at the campus café; college students often have jobs that bring them valuable professional experience, and ensure a tangible level of income. So when graduation day comes, college students are not a bunch of scared rookies but professionals with decent backgrounds in their fields. Nevertheless, there is still a question: what form of employment is worth the effort? Startups and freelancing look more attractive, yet they conceal many tricky pitfalls. As for good old full-time employment, it needs serious reshaping and improvement to attract young professionals. There are at least three employment options for recent grads, but which option is best?

It is all in the mindset

According to recent surveys, three out of five students expect they will be able to work remotely, and less than a half of 18-29 year olds employed are working full-time. It is not a crisis or an unexpected epidemic given that youth follow the elder generations; Gen Z (this is how sociologists and HR experts categorize people born in the mid to late 1990s through the 2010s) had a Millennials rise as a model to follow. The same surveys indicate about 30% of Gen Y started businesses while in college, and about 91% are considering changing their current jobs within three years. With this in mind, we can tell the younger generation has been raised in the spirit of freedom and solopreneurship, now demanding a different approach from HR departments and recruiters. Yet, the last say goes to employees, and here are things they should consider before accepting job offers and jump into their careers or solo businesses. Let’s take a look at each of the following three employment options for recent grads to consider.

Start a company

Starting your own company is rather challenging, though many examples have proven it to be successful. The idea is to push your passion into profit and convince others that your business is worth all the efforts.

Startup advantages:

– Working for yourself
– Creating great financial opportunities
– Implementing your own ideas
– Great life experience

Startup disadvantages:

– Tough competition
– Investments needed
– Lack of “job security”
– Startup is riskier and more costly

Understand that starting your own business calls for an award-winning concept necessary to enter the entrepreneurial world. Those who choose to make such a living should be patient, as niche startups are likely to bear fruit no sooner than 12 months after launch.

Freelancing

Freelancing is actually quite similar to starting your own business. On the one hand, it comes rather risky though you do not have to invest. On the other hand, you are free to follow your commitments with passion and drive.

Freelancing advantages:

– Benefit from flexible hours (Sleep until noon, if you like. No one will ever bother you unless the project deadline is approaching)
– Take control of your customers and tasks (Choose whom you are going to work with and opt for the most appealing tasks)
– Keep all the profits (You are the boss. You don’t have to split the profit or pay salaries, yet be aware of taxation and other expenses)
– Stay wherever you want (Freelancing is perfect for a travelling enthusiast)

Freelancing disadvantages:

– Lack of steady workloads (At some point, you can suffer from the lack of orders unless you’ve managed to create a solid customer base)
– Insecurity (There are numerous occasions when freelancers are not paid or become victims of fraud)
– You pay for yourself (No social package or any other benefits provided by the employer. You’re the boss, remember?)

Full-time job

The most influential thing about a full-time job is a contract and guaranteed salary in addition to employer’s benefits, a workplace provided, and more. However, the current economic situation will hardly provide you with total job and financial security, while being hopeless in enabling your professional development.

Full-time advantages:

– Steady salary (Your monthly payment is guaranteed)
– Governmental and social securities (Your contact is protected by social and economic policies)
– Constant workload (You will never witness a lack of tasks and duties)

Full-time disadvantages:

– Heavy workload (Too much work is not good for you. It results in stress and health problems in addition to a lack of personal time)
– Lack of professional development (You can stick to a routine without the slightest chance to develop your skills)
– Not enough salary (You will hardly find employees who are satisfied with their monthly salaries. Always keep in mind that every employer is eager to cut down on expenses. Salary is a key point in the list of expenses)

Each working arrangement comes with pros and cons. The best way to make up your mind is to consider every point we have discussed. No matter what you choose, get pleasure from what you are doing and never hesitate to make a crucial step and change your life for the better.

Need more advice regarding employment options? Search for jobs with College Recruiter and check out our blog. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Justine Thomas, guest writer

Justine Thomas, guest writer

Justine Thomas is a blogger and freelance writer. Her main interests are foreign languages, psychology, and fitness. Currently, she is working at educational company, Edubirdie.com, as a consulting editor.