March 16, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Fake email addresses. Copycat web sites. Requests for personal information before a job is offered. Interviews conducted only via instant messaging. Promises of salary that are too good to be true. Requests to submit payment to move to the next step of the job search.
These are just a few of the dirty tactics scumbags use to try and scam job seekers, including inexperienced job seekers like recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. The threat is real, and like any online or cyber threat, the people conducting the fraudulent activity are often trying to gather information to steal one’s identity or money.
The team at College Recruiter takes the threat of job search scams and fake job postings seriously, and has implemented a multi-step process that identifies and blocks the vast majority of identity thieves and other scammers from ever posting a job to College Recruiter. In fact, every single job advertisement placed on College Recruiter goes through an in-depth verification process to prove the job posting is legitimate, and all ads are verified through actual contact with a human with the employer posting the job ad – something not every job board can claim.
“Here at College Recruiter, we take these fraudulent attempts very seriously and work daily to ensure all the jobs that are posted on our web site are from verified employers to protect our job seekers from applying, interviewing, and becoming victims of identity theft,” says Dani Bennett, Sales and Client Services Manager at College Recruiter.
In the article Rise of Recruitment Scams Hurt Both Job Seekers and Employers Alike, the team at global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas identified some recent and unfortunately, popular job search scams. What may be surprising to many is that these scams don’t just target small companies. Here are some examples:
- Scammers created a false ad for Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest metals and mining corporations. When a job seeker responded, the person who received the email asked for additional personal information, such as tax files, driver’s license, and birth certificate. Scammers then used this information to open credit cards and bank accounts. The messages from these so-called recruiters sound legitimate. In the Rio Tinto case, the recruitment email included an application with the company’s name and logo.
Remember, anyone can set up a fake web site or email account, for example through free email providers like Gmail, Yahoo!, or Hotmail. College Recruiter, however, will not accept any job postings that use a free email provider to receive job applications.
- In another incident in Houston, scammers set up an actual interview, via Google hangout, using the name of a reputable company, and then offered a position. The scammers then asked the job seeker to move around large sums of money, in this scenario, up to $3,000. To carry this out, they sent fraudulent checks made out to the job seeker to start a home office, then asked the job seeker to forward that money to a third party vendor.
“Any time a company asks you to pay or hold money for them, you should immediately see red flags,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “A credible employer would never ask their employees to move money through their personal accounts. That’s why companies have accounting departments.”
- In July, Shell Oil, one of America’s largest oil and natural gas producers with over 22,000 employees, posted a notice on its careers site warning job seekers that scammers were using the Shell name and logo to recruit for positions.
Besides the obvious problem for job seekers, the toll these scams can take on a company’s reputation is huge, says Challenger. Most employers don’t know these fraudulent job postings are out there until they are contacted by job seekers who have figured out it’s a scam and contacted the legit company directly. By then, the company reputation is already damaged with those job seekers.
“From a recruitment perspective, once a company’s brand has been associated with these fraudulent ads, it may be difficult to attract the talent needed when a position becomes available,” says Challenger.
College Recruiter Founder Steven Rothberg added, “Some job boards, like College Recruiter, have formalized, proactive, anti-fraud measures in place, but many job boards are more reactive and rely upon their users to complain about fraudulent postings before the job board takes any action.”
Not only do cyber criminals post fake job ads, unethical recruiters also post fake job ads, often on sites where they can post free job ads. Why would they do that? To act like they are “well-connected” and have a long list of candidates to choose from. A recruiter may submit these resumes to the employer for which they are hiring for, to show activity – which employers value when working with recruiters – and that they have an active pipeline of candidates, when they have no intentions of responding to, interviewing, or hiring these employees.
How can a job seeker spot a fraudulent job posting, or job search scam? Follow these tips from the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota:
February 23, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
College is expensive. And student loan debt is on the rise. While many believe the only way to graduate from college debt free is by receiving an academic or athletic scholarship, there are actually several strategies one can implement to graduate from college debt free – or with much less debt than the average college student graduates with – which is just over $30,000.
It’s not easy and it could make the path to graduation more challenging, but it can be done. It starts by planning in advance and digging deep to find ways to accomplish this goal.
“The days of going to college without any real pre-planning or self-evaluation are over,” says Bob LaBombard, retired CEO of GradStaff, a company that helps college students and recent college grads identify where there skills fit in the job force “It’s just too costly and risky.”
Consider these facts: More than half of college students change their major at least once. Further, recent data shows that only about 56 percent of students entering college graduate within six years; almost half drop out.
“Clearly, lack of a clear-cut plan often causes students to waste time, precious tuition dollars and, ultimately, interest in completing a degree,” says LaBombard.
There are many strategies that can help college students cover the high costs of obtaining a college degree, and if done correctly, graduating debt free. We highlight those strategies here:
February 14, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Note to those restaurant employees who get frustrated going to work on a Saturday night while friends are preparing for a night out on the town.
Employers understand the sacrifices you are making, and in the long run, it will pay off. Why?
Because employers covet recent college grads and entry-level job seekers who have restaurant industry experience. Sure, that doesn’t help when you feel you are missing the must-attend social event of the year (you’re really not) because you have to go to work, but it’s going to pay off when applying for that first job.
Same goes for that retail worker, who goes to class all day and closes up shop every night, or who has to pull a double shift on a Sunday when other workers call in sick (because they did go to that social event the night before).
Thousands of college students and recent college grads work restaurant jobs and retail jobs, and whether they know it or not, they are developing transferable skills that employees seek in recent college grads and entry-level job seekers.
February 09, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Dear Matt: I recently graduated from college and it’s almost time to start paying back my student loans. I have over $50,000 in student loan debt, and it seems almost overwhelming to have to pay all this back, especially with many other expenses. Fortunately I have landed a job, and am making a decent salary. That helps, but I’m feeling financial pressure to make it all work. Do you have any tips or resources for people like me seeking advice on how to manage the overwhelming burden of paying back student loans/debt?
Matt: I cringed when I heard the numbers. My niece is in her second year of college and has already accumulated $65,000 in student loan debt. “But it’s totally worth it,” she said, before leaving for London for a month-long school-sponsored education program. She’s right in the fact that a college degree, and the experiences that come with it, are worth it. But it’s painful to see so many young students accrue so much debt. She may realize that as well – after one year at a private school, she’s now going to a public university and back living at home as a way to cut costs.
Her story reminded me of my cousin who accumulated over $120,000 in student loan debt. Her first job was for a large financial institution (her degree was in education, from a private school). Her boss at that job, only a few years older, didn’t go to college, had no student loan debt, and made more money than her. Those two eventually got married – which is how I know this story – but that in itself is a whole other story.
Why do I tell these tales? Because these are common stories for today’s college student and college graduate. And while it doesn’t change this reader’s situation – or pay their debt, any recent college graduate with student debt should understand that you are not alone, and that there are resources out there to help you.
In fact, nearly seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt, with an average of $30,100 per borrower, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.
When I paid back my student loans after graduating from Minnesota State University, Mankato (Mankato State University back then), I did it without a plan, or real understanding of the options available to me. I simply read the letters sent to me, submitted the pay stub and check to the loan servicing company (no online payments back then) each month, and cringed as it seemed like a lingering debt that would never go away.
Don’t be like me. Don’t go about paying back student loan debt without a plan. Take advantage of the many online resources available, and heed advice from financial experts like Phil Schuman, Director of Financial Literacy at Indiana University (IU). Schuman unleashed multiple financial literacy initiatives in the past four years, and reduced undergraduate student borrowing across IU by nearly 14 percent – which comes out to a whopping savings of $78 million, since introducing his financial literacy efforts.
It’s tough to start one’s professional career drowning in debt. But don’t let that debt dominate your life.
“While it’s extremely important that you get rid of (student loans) as fast as you possibly can, make sure you don’t do it at the expense of your wellness,” says Schuman. “If there are things in life that are important to you and keep you going, even if they cost a little bit of money, make sure to keep them as part of your life. Having those things in your life will help keep you motivated and energized to continue tackling your student debt.”
Katie Ross, Education and Development Manager for the American Consumer Credit Counseling, an organization that provides information and guidance on issues such as identity theft, credit, debt and budgeting, agrees.
“There is a stigma about being in debt that causes many borrowers to prioritize eliminating student loan debt over other financial objectives like saving for a house or for retirement,” says Ross. “If possible, do not neglect saving for retirement just to expedite student loan repayment.”
I get it – it’s hard to think about saving for retirement – let alone making monthly rent payments, car payments, or even going out on the weekend – when that large monthly loan payment looming. But it can be, and will be done. You will get out of debt. But it’s not easy, and takes planning, preparation and diligence.
Get out of student debt by following these tips:
1. Take ownership of your debt: “You need to realize that you are in charge of how quickly your debt can go away,” says Schuman. “Don’t allow yourself to blame others for your debt being there or hope that others will help you get rid of it. Own your debt and get rid of it as fast as possible.”
Set a “done with debt” date and then do everything you possible can to meet it.
2. Create an efficient budget: A carefully planned budget will help any individual gain a better understanding of their financial outlook and how they’ll need to adjust their lifestyle to afford to live, save, and pay off debt. “Knowing how much money you have to dedicate to paying off students loans and what expenses can be reduced is the best place to start when trying to figure out how to eliminate student loan debt quickly,” says Ross.
3. Calculate payments: At StudentLoans.gov, borrowers can access a repayment estimator that will help them understand how much their monthly payments will be under different repayment plans. Because the site accesses borrowers’ specific student loan files, repayment calculators can show each graduate repayment details that are unique to their specific loans. This will also let borrowers see what the interest rates are on their different loans and what they will pay in interest using different repayment options.
4. Worry about the amounts, not the interest rates: “Before I explain myself I do want to assure you that I do understand math,” jokes Schuman. It might seem contradictory to not focus on the interest rates of a debt, but paying off debt is more a matter of psychology than it is math, he says. In the case of focusing on paying off debts by interest rates, while it will allow you to pay less in interest when all is said and done it is difficult to tackle debt when you don’t see the numbers go down fast. If you pay off your debts by prioritizing the one with the lowest balance – and still paying the minimums on all other debts – you’ll see your number of debts go down faster, which will motivate you to keep tackling your debt. Once you get rid of the first debt, apply the money you used to pay off that debt and apply it to the one that now has the lowest balance, and so on.
5. Understand relief eligibility: While logged into the Federal Student Aid website, borrowers should read up on different relief programs that are available to military personnel, public servants, persons with disabilities, and other individuals, points out Ross. The details of the programs are important because borrowers might already be eligible or can become eligible based on the industry they enter upon joining the workforce. Some may qualify to have their loans discharged or forgiven after just 10 years of on-time payments.
6. Choose a loan repayment plan: Those who can afford it and are interested in getting out of debt quickly should choose whichever plan has the highest payments and the shortest repayment period. Anyone in any plan can accelerate their repayment by paying a little more than their minimum payment each month. This will save the most in interest over the life of the loans.
7. Make one extra monthly payment per year: Making 13 payments a year instead of 12 can help save big on interest. Learn more about that strategy in the article Paying off Student Loan Debt: 5 Tips.
8. Contact the loan servicing company: Graduates and other borrowers should know which company is handling their student loan debt. Student loan repayment and billing for some borrowers is not handled by the government itself but by a loan servicing company. Getting in touch with the loan servicing company will help borrowers update their contact info, learn about potential ways to reduce interest, and get up-to-date details about how much they still owe.
9. Enroll in autopay: If borrowers are financially able, the easiest way to ensure that their loans are taken care of is to enroll in a service that automatically deducts their loan payment from their bank account each month. Plus, this protects grads from missing payments and hurting their credit, says Ross.
10. Be cautious about refinancing student loans: Many new grads obsess over their debt and paying it off as quickly as possible, says Ross. Know that refinancing comes with risks like losing the benefits offered with federal student loans. Also, your credit need to be in really good shape in order to refinance and get a good interest rate. If you do choose to refinance, be careful about choosing a fixed or variable interest rate. Interest rates, which are set by the Federal Reserve, are likely to increase, which could be harmful to your debt repayment plans, says Ross. Be sure to carefully read all terms and conditions when refinancing.
11. Set up an emergency fund: Don’t accelerate payments on deductible student loan debt until you’ve set aside six to 12 months of “emergency” money, says Beth Walker, CCPS, CRPC®, a Partner and Personal CFO for The Wealth Consulting Group and founder of Center for College Solutions, a resource for families and college students whose goal is to reduce the stress – and costs of attending college.
“This seems counterintuitive but student loan debt is still relatively ‘cheap’ and having liquidity, use and control of capital is the foundation to a strong financial future,” says Walker.
12. Find a way to focus on the future: This may seem years away, but remember this tip: Once the loans are paid off, immediately direct the monthly loan payment toward a long-term savings program. “You’ve learned to live without using that cash flow in your current lifestyle up to this point, so take advantage of that fact and fund your future lifestyle with the equivalent of your education loan payments,” says Walker.
So you have student loan debt. That’s reality. Don’t let it get you down. Develop a plan for success. And heed the advice from experts. By reading this article you’ve already received advice from a financial literacy expert, a manager from a consumer credit counseling agency, and a financial planning expert who has a decade of experience helping families and individuals pay off student debt.
That’s a good start. That’s more than I ever did – and more than most people do.
Keep it up and you will dominate your student debt.
About Ask Matt on CollegeRecruiter.com
Ask Matt is a new monthly career advice column that offers tips and advice to recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. Have a question? Need job search or career advice? Email your question to Matt Krumrie for use in a future column.
February 07, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Remember what your teachers and professors constantly said, from kindergarten through college? There are no bad questions.
The same goes for internships. There are no bad internships. Whether it’s at a small company, large company, start up, non-profit, public or private company, government agency (the list goes on), there is tremendous value in an internship.
But obtaining an internship takes hard work, planning and preparation. And to obtain an internship this summer, college students and recent college grads need to start the process now.
“The internship cycle is a moving target and seems to be starting earlier and earlier,” says Kathleen Powell, Associate Vice President for Career Development for The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and President of the National Association of Colleges and Employers. “In fact, college career centers work with many employers who are looking to fill internships in the fall semester. But don’t let that dissuade you, start the process now.”
So what does one have to do to land an internship this summer? Follow these tips and strategies for success:
January 31, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Becoming a first-time manager can be tough. New managers are often pulled in many directions, and it can seem like the to-do list never ends. But if you ask any successful manager how they manage it all, it’s likely they will say the key is this:
Poor time management skills can result in missed deadlines, dissatisfied clients, and even increased overtime costs. Not only do today’s managers today need to focus on ensuring they are managing their time well, but they should also help their employees do the same.
- Plan and set goals: Work with employees to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals. For each goal, agree to a timeline for completion and break the goal down into small, manageable assignments. Consider providing employees with task management tools, such as online calendars, project management programs, or a simple to-do list.
- Prioritize: Help employees prioritize their responsibilities based on customer benefit and urgency and encourage them to complete tasks starting with those with the highest priority This process requires effective communication to ensure that priorities are properly aligned with company goals.
- Organize: Every minute lost because of a misplaced tool, or document is a minute that could have been spent completing a task. Emphasize the importance of an organized work space to help maximize efficiency.
- Streamline: Evaluate processes and procedures regularly to ensure efficiency. Managers should have regular discussions with employees to get their insight on more efficient methods for completing their job responsibilities.
- Delegate: Proper delegation can ensure the right tasks are assigned to the right people. But, there is more to delegating than simply assigning a task. Explain job duties thoroughly, work with employees to develop a plan for completing the task, monitor progress, and provide the resources and support necessary to reach assigned goals. Most important, share your own knowledge if you, yourself, have done the job before. They will appreciate that personal “shared learning.”
- Dedicate time for less pleasant work: It’s human nature to sometimes procrastinate, especially when a difficult or undesirable assignment presents itself. To help employees stay focused, break large projects into smaller parts and schedule specific time (such as the beginning of the workday) for the larger or more unpleasant projects.
- Manage communications: For employees on a tight deadline, answering phone calls and emails can be distracting. Consider establishing guidelines for responding to these types of communications. For example, when employees are on a tight deadline, ask them to check voicemail and email at set intervals and respond to urgent communications first. All other communications can be put on hold until after important projects have been completed.
- Avoid interruptions: Whenever possible, schedule important job duties for a part of the day when there are fewer disruptions. For example, if an employee is the first one in the office in the morning, this may be a good time to work on assignments that require more concentration. Also, remind employees that interruptions are inevitable, and for planning purposes, they should allow a little extra time for unexpected interruptions.
- Schedule tasks for peak performance: If possible, physically or mentally demanding work should be scheduled for when workers are at peak performance. This may vary depending on each employee. Encourage employees to consider when they have the most energy and suggest that, if possible, they to focus on bigger or more important projects during those times.
- Help ensure proper balance: No matter how well employees manage their time at work, they are unlikely to perform at their best if they return to work each day stressed or lacking energy. Provide employees with regular rest breaks throughout the day and be aware of applicable state meal and rest break requirements. Consider a wellness program that encourages healthy habits and encourage employees to use their vacation time.
“Effective time management is important for any business and can be especially important for new managers working with employees that often have multiple responsibilities,” says Rush. “As a manager, it is your responsibility to provide your employees with the training and tools they need to optimize their performance.”
Use these ten tips to do just that.
January 26, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
For many managers, especially first-time managers, giving candid, constructive feedback is the toughest part of their jobs.
And that’s why disciplining and/or terminating employees is so difficult for recent college grads and entry-level managers, says Don Maruska, founder and CEO of three Silicon Valley companies author of How Great Decisions Get Made and Take Charge of Your Talent.
“Many supervisors shy away from giving effective feedback because they fear how employees will react,” says Maruska, who earned his BA magna cum laude from Harvard and his MBA and JD from Stanford, and also previously led projects for McKinsey & Company, a trusted advisor and counselor to many of the world’s most influential businesses and institutions. “When they finally give the feedback, they often have built up such frustration that the feedback becomes an unproductive battle rather than a positive step forward.”
Because many managers lack the proper training, preparation, or confidence disciplining or terminating an employee, they may ignore the situation. That’s the wrong approach.
“Don’t let the sun set without giving feedback on any performance that isn’t on target,” says Maruska. “That may sound like a tough standard, but every day that goes by only makes the situation more difficult.”
Tips for disciplining an employee
Lois Barth, a human development expert, career/life coach, motivational speaker and author of the new book, Courage to Sparkle, says managers should look to educate and create consensus versus simply just disciplining an employee, or scolding them for poor performance or breaking company rules or policies that don’t quite warrant termination. When there is a situation when you have to discipline someone, focus on their behavior versus them as a person, says Barth.
“As a manager, when you can call out their behavior versus their value as a human being, people will feel less defensive,” says Barth. “Instead of punishing the employee, use your authority as a leader to educate them on why that policy is in place. When people can wrap their mind around the why they are usually pretty good with the what.”
Maruska provides this highly effective formula for providing feedback when disciplining employees that yields constructive results:
Intention: State your intention clearly in terms that show what’s in it for the employee and the firm. For example, “Sam, I want you to be a productive and successful contributor to our team’s growth.”
Observation: Describe what you observe in objective terms. Think through your feedback so that you can deliver it in ways that identify behavior rather than challenge the person’s worth. For example, “When the sales reports arrive after noon on Friday, our team can’t get the results out in time for the sales people to plan next week’s priorities.”
Request: Make it simple, short, and direct. For example, “Sam, will you give me a plan for how you can reliably deliver the sales reports by noon each Friday?”
Confirmation: Be clear about your agreement. For example, “I’ll look forward to your plan by the close of the day tomorrow. OK?”
Tips for terminating an employee
Terminating an employee can be stressful and nerve-wracking for first-time managers. Managers who have access to HR departments, or legal resources within their company should utilize those resources before terminating an employee. It may even be beneficial to have HR lead the meeting, and/or be present in the room during the meeting. HR can also provide the terminated employee with information on paperwork, issue the final paycheck if applicable, and provide any other legal, contractual information, or papers to sign. If it’s a small company, don’t hesitate to ask the company owner or other leadership to be in the room when terminating an employee. Eric Meyer, a partner in Philadelphia-based Dilworth Paxson LLP’s labor and employment group, recommends at least two people be present during any termination meeting. The reason, says Meyer, is so one person can take notes of what is said. If there is litigation, this will avoid a dispute about what was actually said.
In some cases, a termination is obvious, and warrants nothing more than a straight-forward statement, simply saying “thank you for your work, but we have decided to terminate your employment.” Be prepared for the employee to be frustrated, especially if they don’t feel it’s warranted.
If the conversation goes deeper, do not attack the individual.
“Terminations get messy when the terminated employee feels that his or her self-worth is on the line,” says Maruska. “You need to separate performance from the person.”
If feedback is given during a termination meeting, especially if an employee is let go through a layoff, or because the company is downsizing, highlight the strengths of the employee, and tell the employee you’d like to support them in their next step or opportunity. “This is not only more humane but also quicker and cheaper than making the termination a contest of wills,” says Maruska.
And finally, practice before you go live with either a discipline or termination meeting. Being straightforward and clear can be a tough transition for recent college grads, especially new managers who are now managing friends, so find opportunities to practice giving feedback with another manager, colleague, or friend. Focus on your tone, body language, and non-verbal cues to come off polished and professional. Most of all, be confident in your delivery.
Having difficult conversations is difficult. But it’s part of what it takes for millennials to be a good manager. Follow these tips and prepare now to succeed later when terminating or disciplining and employee.
January 10, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
For many first-time managers, it can be hard to gain professional respect from a more experienced management team and other senior leaders. It can be discouraging to attend leadership meetings, management training, or be involved in the decision-making process and feel like you don’t have a voice.
Gaining trust as a manager can take time, but it doesn’t mean new managers need to wait, or feel like they have to gain approval from more experienced leaders to start building trust, and credibility within an organization. While the first goal should be to lead your new team and be the best manager you can be, it’s never too early to focus on how to become a manager who can influence others within the organization.
To gain that trust, respect, and a strong reputation, start by being accountable, says Greg Bustin, author of Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture. Bustin has dedicated his career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of companies on this crucial topic of accountability. During the last six years, he has interviewed and surveyed more than 5,000 executives around the world – from companies that include, but are not limited to, Marriott, Container Store, Ernst & Young, Sony, Herman Miller, Nucor, and Southwest Airlines – to understand how high-performing corporations successfully create and sustain a culture of purpose, trust, and fulfillment.
“Lack of accountability is the single greatest obstacle facing even the most experienced leaders,” says Bustin. “It saps morale, drains profits, and disenfranchises employees—and can shift your team into crisis mode on a daily basis.”
Bustin also created the highly popular best and worst in workplace accountability survey, and offers these five tips for new managers looking to make an impact in the organization:
January 05, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Congratulations on landing that first job out of college. The hard work has paid off.
Now welcome to the real world. A world where bad managers can quickly turn fun, exciting new jobs into a recent college grad’s worst nightmare.
“Getting a job one loves is a wonderful accomplishment for recent college graduates,” says Laura Poisson, President of ClearRock, Inc., a Boston-based career transition, outplacement, leadership development, and executive coaching firm. “However, having to deal with a bad manager can make that new job a nightmare. It is often hard, especially for a younger person or someone who is new to a company, to determine the best way to deal with a difficult boss.”
LaSalle Network, a national staffing and recruiting firm, recently published a survey of more than 1,000 people on their experiences with bad bosses. The survey findings showed that 84% of respondents have had a bad boss, and 43% of respondents quit the company because of the bad boss. In addition, the survey found that 59% of respondents would have stayed if given the opportunity to report to someone else. According to the survey, these were the main characteristics that respondents attributed to bad bosses:
- Only notices negatives, never the positives (56%)
- Are narcissistic; only care about themselves, not their staff (45%)
- Clueless; never know what is going on and/or are forgetful (44%)
- Absent; they are never there (31%)
If you have a manager that’s cramping your style, think things through before approaching your manager, HR, or other co-workers. Why?
There may be things you don’t realize, but that matter. For example, consider this:
January 03, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
To become a manager, one must show an employer they possess a wide variety of skills. Leadership skills are crucial. So is the ability to communicate, handle adversity, and deal with diverse personalities and skill sets.
A first-time manager must also develop strong critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills to be successful, says Sylvia R.J. Scott, Founder of Girls’ C.E.O. Connection™ (Girl’s Creating Enterprising Organizations), a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to engaging and equipping high school girls as entrepreneurs. They also must show the company can trust them, which is why they were hired as a manager.
“A manager is the one with the ability to plan, direct and coordinate the operations of a business, division, department or operations,” says Scott. “To be a first-time manager as a recent graduate shows the company trusts the person and believes in his or hers capabilities and ability to help grow the company.”
In February Scott is speaking to a group of college women, primarily seniors, at the University of Colorado, about what it takes for first-time managers to succeed. She will focus on these eight skills, traits and attributes of a successful first-time manager:
- Know and understand your company culture.
- Know the parameters of your particular position. That includes how much leeway you have on decision making.
- Ask questions and get clarity even if you think you understand. As a manager you don’t have time for you and/or your staff to make mistakes.
- Expect the best-not perfection from your staff. Praise them when it is appropriate. If there are issues face them immediately.
- Learn each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Play on their strengths, not their weaknesses.
- Control your emotions, tongue, and actions. Avoid gossip, even after hours or with colleagues. Take a break if someone is pushing your buttons. Watch the tone of your emails when responding to challenges, and watch the tone of your voice.
- Always use proper English, grammar and spelling when writing any type of communication, even an email. They need to be as clearly written as any other business communication.
- Find a mentor within the company and then one outside your company that knows the ropes of being a manager and what is needed to excel.