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Posted June 14, 2016 by

7 ways to make a good impression during business dinners

Attending business dinners and professional networking events often brings on anxiety for many people, particularly college students and recent grads. It should! It’s not something most people do on a regular basis, and it requires a special skill-set. How do you remember which fork is which? Should you place your napkin next to your plate or in your chair when you stand up to shake someone’s hand? And what if you take a bite of something disgusting and need to spit it out—oh geez!?!

The possibilities for embarrassing moments at business dinners are seemingly endless.

If that weren’t enough, you’re most likely attending business dinners for specific purposes. You’re either attending to network with coworkers, supervisors, or potential employers, or you’re attending as part of the interview process. Either way, you’re under pressure to demonstrate your best table manners.

This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, suggests seven quick ways to make a good impression during business dinners.


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

1.Skip the alcohol.

If offered alcohol, consider passing for multiple reasons. Drinking in the company of coworkers, supervisors, and potential employers can be dangerous. If you’re underage, it’s a clear no-no. If you’re of legal drinking age, it’s still questionable because you may inadvertently consume more alcohol than intended and wind up singing karaoke in the bar next door to the restaurant with your future boss watching. Need I say more?

A good general rule to apply to business dinners is “all things in moderation.” Don’t eat too quickly. Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu, but don’t order the cheapest item either. Don’t fill up six plates on the buffet. Don’t hog the conversation; listen as much as you talk.

2. Don’t comment on food.

When possible, stick to pleasant, neutral topics of conversation like family, weather, weekend plans, and hobbies. Avoid commenting on what you’re currently eating; it’s considered rude. You should also avoid discussing religion and politics, but of course, take the lead of your host and/or supervisor to an extent. If your boss engages you in political banter, you might follow her lead, but remember to tread lightly. What you say can and may be used against you at work!

3. Try to avoid being picky or whiny.

Unless you have a legitimate food allergy and receive items which may trigger an allergic reaction, don’t make demands or send your plate back. If you behave in a picky, demanding manner, this behavior says something about you and not about the restaurant or wait staff.

4. Attend career services’ etiquette dinners.

When you have the opportunity as a college student, attend etiquette dinners hosted by career services offices. These events might seem boring while you’re in college, but after you attend your first business dinner, you’ll wish you’d attend them. You’ll learn the ins and outs of formal business dinners. Sure, you can look these tricks of the trade up online and Google infographics on how to set a formal dining table, but there’s no teacher like experience. If in doubt, work your way from the outside in with flatware and take the lead of your fellow diners who seem experienced and comfortable, particularly your supervisors and potential employers. Perhaps the greatest mistake you can make is to appear really flustered and to allow your nerves to keep you from making conversation with those around you.

5. Treat servers well.

Be kind to the restaurant staff. There’s nothing which speaks more loudly than snobbish behavior toward servers and wait staff. Remember, what you say and don’t say—your non-verbal skills—speak loudly to your employers and future employers. Soft skills truly matter, so be kind and courteous to everyone around you.

6. Don’t chew with your mouth open!

This one is common sense. Don’t chew and speak simultaneously. It’s just plain gross.

Whatever you need to say can wait until you’ve swallowed your food—promise.

On that note, the best way to obtain great table manners is to practice them on a daily basis, so consider chewing with your mouth closed every day, even when you’re eating alone. If you don’t, you might find yourself smacking your pizza with your mouth wide open while sitting across from your potential boss. And you know that won’t impress her.

7. Say thank you.

As always, an attitude of gratitude always makes a great impression on others. Say thank you to your hosts, servers, to people who open the door for you, and to others who extend kindness to you during the meal. Again, it reflects well on you and your soft skills when you treat others well.

Need more networking tips to help you obtain a great internship or entry-level job? Keep reading our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted June 11, 2016 by

10 summer internship opportunities for 2016

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Do you imagine yourself with your own business or want to improve your skills? The best way to become a shark in any industry or business is to gain experience through a summer internship with top world companies and organizations.

Internships in Europe or USA’s top companies can help you to get skills you never had before. After the program, you will return to your home country with a backpack full of knowledge and skills. In this article, we’ve collected a list of 10 summer internship opportunities in the U.S. and abroad for 2016-2017 that may catch your interest.

U.S. Embassy in London and Paris – Internship in International Relations

Generally, U.S. Embassy’s Internship in IR is an unpaid program. Nevertheless, they offer a Pamela Harriman Foreign Service Fellowship for students majoring in international affairs. This fellowship provides a $5000 grant to one intern at each U.S. embassy abroad. Start with interning at the U.S. Department of State, and you will have a chance to land the Fellowship. But don’t be upset if you didn’t get the grant; interning at the Embassy could give you a perfect ability to start your international career and gain positive experience in your field. This is not just an ability to work at the embassy; it’s a chance to become a part of something really important.

The World Bank – Internships in Economics, Finance, and other related fields

This summer internship program provides learning and first-hand experience to students and junior career professionals. Interns generally admit significant improvement of their skills and gain positive experience while working in a diverse environment. To be eligible, you must have an undergraduate degree and major in one of the following fields: economics, finance, education, social studies, or agriculture. Professional experience and fluency in foreign languages will be advantageous for your application. The Bank pays salaries to all interns and provides an allowance to travel expenses (on the individual basis). Located in Washington, D.C., the World Bank offers a training of four weeks minimum in duration.

KONE – internships in IT, Engineering, Business and Law

KONE is the global leader in the elevator and escalator industry and well-known for its solutions for modernization and maintenance of urban buildings. KONE offers various traineeships and internships in its units around the globe and can be an excellent starting point for entry-level professionals. The company looks for cooperation with senior students and gives the opportunity to write thesis assignments together with KONE’s professional mentors. This cooperation will complement your theoretical education and provide you with valuable industry insights.

Goldman Sachs – Internship in Financial Markets

Goldman Sachs provides you with an internship as a summer internship analyst. You can participate and intern almost everywhere you like as their offices are located all across the Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Despite that the program has no specific or strict requirements, any academic achievements would be advantageous for you. Interning in Goldman Sachs, you have a chance to get a full-time job position after you finish your summer internship.

H&M – internships in Business, Engineering

For those who love fashion, you may like this internship program. H&M offers an internship at their headquarters in Sweden. Participation can be a bit competitive, and you have to submit your application a year before you plan to intern. But imagine six weeks living abroad and working at one of the most successful companies in the modern world. That’s worth the effort, right?

Projects Abroad– Internship in Journalism

If you are looking for non-paid, but ultra useful, challenging yet really rewarding experience, you should try to participate at a Projects Abroad. This company offers two types of an internships: a Print journalism and a Broadcast placement. A Print journalism provides you with a job at a certain newspaper or magazine of a local community while a Broadcast placement will provide you with a job on the TV or a radio station. Together with hands-on industry experience, you get the opportunity to intern and travel the world – Projects Abroad has its offices in many countries, including Argentina, China, India, Jamaica, and Romania.

KPMG – Internship in Finance

This company looks for interns interested in finance and economics. The KPMG provides work with audit, advisory, and taxes in diverse spheres of business. The biggest advantage of this summer internship is that the corporation will cover all expenses of an intern, including flights and medical insurance. KPMG can become a perfect starting point for financial enthusiasts.

IAESTE – internships in technical fields

IAESTE is a worldwide company with many internship programs in engineering, computer sciences, architecture, and other technical fields. These internships are hosted in more than 80 countries around the world. There are no special requirements for candidates. However, if you know the local language, it will be much easier to adjust in a new environment. IAESTE internship gives its participants an opportunity to obtain new skills, get practical experience, and establish a vast network of potential partners.

Deloitte – Internship in Business

With Deloitte, you can intern in Brazil, China, Spain, Sweden, or Turkey. The internship opportunities are open to both freshman and senior students. Together with Deloitte professionals, all interns will explore peculiarities of the modern workplace and global markets and foster business relationships with leading experts in the industry. Note that prior to going abroad, the company will ask you attend a special two-weeks training session in your home country.

Gap Medics Ltd – internship in Medicine and Dental fields

It’s not a paid summer internship, but it is a unique opportunity to gain perfect experience. This is a big international company that provides students of medicine and dental majors with an opportunity to improve their critical and soft skills while travelling in one of the most beautiful parts of our world. You can become an intern in Croatia, Poland, and Thailand or in the Caribbean. The Gap Medics Ltd offers programs in Spanish and English that enables more students to have practice in their field. Also, during the internship, you will be able to address all your issues or questions to company’s support team that operates 24/7.

Hope this information will help you find a perfect internship for the summer. The business world has many opportunities for you to improve your skills and intern abroad during the summer; just believe in yourself.

Emma Rundle, guest writer

Emma Rundle, guest writer

Searching for a summer internship right now? Check out the internships posted on College Recruiter.com and register to have new job postings sent directly to you. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube as well.

Emma Rundle is a student, blogger and freelance writer for Eduzaurus. In Emma’s opinion, one of the primary goals in life is helping people, especially students.

Posted June 02, 2016 by

Helping new hires through onboarding process

Male graduate in cap and gown with diploma photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

For some new hires like college students and recent graduates, starting new entry-level jobs might be intimidating. They can use some help in the onboarding process. New hires need to understand company culture, along with having clearly defined expectations for their positions. When employers communicate important information to new employees, they not only create effective onboarding programs, but they also give employees the necessary tools to succeed. Eden Chen, Co-Founder of Fishermen Labs, shares his company’s approach to onboarding.

“Our onboarding program is focused on trying to help employees understand our culture, making sure they have adequate support (especially in the form of mentorship), figuring out exactly what expectations new employees have in terms of where they want to see themselves grow and what positions they aspire to, and getting employees involved in a project as soon as possible. Our view is the best way to learn is by doing, so instead of spending time in lengthy onboarding processes, we make sure the above items are settled and then throw new hires into the mix, eliminating red tape.”

Want to help your new hires in the onboarding process? Check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Eden Chen, Co-Founder of Fishermen Labs

Eden Chen, Co-Founder of Fishermen Labs

Eden Chen is the Co-Founder of Fishermen Labs, one of the fastest growing software development agencies in the US. Eden is a serial entrepreneur and heads up various other startups including Knife and Fox (design agency), Ctrl Collective (co-working), Glo Bible (app with 3 million+ downloads), Zolo Studios (game studio), and Dev Crew (international software development).

Posted May 31, 2016 by

5 tips for enjoying new employee training

New employee training is a basic part of the onboarding process in most companies. If you’re starting your first full-time, entry-level job, chances are, you’ll be required to participate in multiple training seminars and workshops with coworkers and other new employees. If you’re rolling your eyes and downloading new apps to distract you during the workshops, take five minutes to watch this video and read this article before making the decision that new employee training is going to be the worst part of the hiring process.

This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, might change your mind about what new employee training and professional development is all about.


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

1. Be prepared.

The night before new employee training, get some sleep. The worst thing you can do prior to a full day of training and workshops is stay up all night and arrive with just a few hours of sleep under your belt. While the coffee is usually free-flowing at most new employee training events, there’s no amount of coffee in the world that can compensate for lack of sleep when you’re sitting in a chair and listening to speakers back to back all day long, no matter how engaging the subject matter. Don’t set yourself up for failure (or for a huge embarrassment, like snoring or drooling on your first day of training). Get at least six hours of sleep, eat a real breakfast, and do some research online about the subject matter on the training agenda if it’s provided in advance. You’ll look like a rock star if you have a few great questions prepared on the training topics, and what better way to impress your new boss?

2. Get involved.

Be a mindful listener and active participant. Sit near the front and middle of the room; this helps you to stay engaged in conversation and pay attention to the speaker, whether you want to or not. If you have questions, work up the courage to ask. This helps you to get involved, but it also keeps training sessions interactive for everyone else, and that’s a good thing.

3. Be open-minded.

When reviewing new employee training agenda, try not to zone out immediately. It’s easy to assume none of the information will be helpful or apply to your particular position. If you make snap judgments about the material being covered or assume the speaker has little to share that’s interesting before he opens his mouth, you might miss out on great learning opportunities which could enrich your career. There’s nothing more attractive to an employer than a new employee who’s willing to grow and learn.

4. Don’t worry about what others think.

Are you afraid to sit at the front of the room because you don’t want people to look at you? Are you afraid to ask questions because you might sound stupid? Are you afraid to introduce yourself to the speaker or presenter after the workshop because you don’t know what to say? Those are normal fears, but if you allow your fears to dictate your actions in training situations, you’ll miss out on great opportunities for growth.

Remember that new employee training is for you. If you can remember this, you might be able to care less about what others think and base your decisions on what’s going to benefit you, help you perform your job well, and help you reach your career goals.

5. Think about networking.

Set a goal to network with at least two participants and one presenter when attending new employee training. If you find that the training topics aren’t that interesting, this gives you a side goal to focus on that’s still productive. At lunch or during breaks, introduce yourself to other new employees or to the recruiters and human resources managers hosting the training sessions. Introduce yourself to the presenter whose session you find most interesting, and ask at least one question about the subject matter. Follow up with these new contacts after the training session on social media via LinkedIn, Twitter, or another popular site, and maintain the connections you made.

Professional networking can help you form amazing connections, and these connections can lead to great career opportunities.

For more onboarding and networking tips, visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

Posted May 24, 2016 by

How to have a great first day at work, Part 2

Starting your first full-time, entry-level job can be intimidating. Don’t let your nerves overcome you on your first day at work. If you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 of this series.

This video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, offers five more tips to help you shake off the first day jitters and prepare for your first day of work with confidence.


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

1. Observe.

On your first day at work—or even within the first few weeks or months of a new position—spend more of your time observing and listening than you do talking, saying yes, and volunteering for every opportunity that comes your way. You will learn a lot about company culture, your coworkers, your supervisors, and your new position by observing. You can figure out which circle of work friends you want to align yourself with and which group of friends to join for happy hour. You’ll figure out how to fit in and how to avoid major communication pitfalls. And you’ll avoid getting in over your head by overfilling your plate with unnecessary commitments, too.

2. Say yes to lunch.

On your first day and within the first week of work, you may be invited to lunch by coworkers who are trying to make you feel welcome. In general, it’s a good idea to say yes. Going to lunch isn’t a huge commitment. It gives you an opportunity to network and to learn about the workplace in a less threatening and less formal environment. If you go to lunch with someone and determine you don’t necessarily click as friends outside of work, you haven’t lost anything or made a commitment to joining that person for lunch every day of the week. No harm, no foul.

3. Silence your cell phone.

You have to be responsible enough to remember to do this yourself; chances are, no one’s going to remind you, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than your phone buzzing or ringing during a team meeting, onboarding training session, or worse yet, an all-company meeting. Take it a step further and implement a personal policy of avoiding carrying your phone around with you during work. Sure, everyone needs to send an occasional personal text message or personal email. But for the most part, work while you’re at work, and tend to personal business when you’re not at work. This helps you to stay focused on doing a great job and learning the ropes of your new position, and it demonstrates respect for your coworkers when you’re communicating with them (rather than gazing at the screen on your phone).

4. Use names.

Referring to people by their names is a great idea throughout life for several reasons, but it’s particularly helpful when you start a new job. When you refer to coworkers by name, you make them feel more important. This is a basic networking tip. In addition, referring to people by name often softens the blow when you’re making requests, giving orders, sharing information, and sending emails which otherwise seem cold and impersonal. And lastly, referring to people by name helps you to remember who you’re talking to.

5. Say thank you.

When coworkers, supervisors, and others at your new company treat you with kindness and courtesy during the onboarding process, respond with gratitude. Say thank you if someone opens the door for you, gathers office supplies for you, sets up your computer, or invites you to lunch. You might even consider writing thank you cards or at least emails to individuals who go above and beyond to make you feel welcome during your first few weeks of work. Remember, you’re establishing long-term working relationships with people within your company, and what better way to do that than to demonstrate gratitude for their help and kindness.

For more onboarding tips, check out our onboarding YouTube playlist and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 

Posted May 18, 2016 by

5 onboarding tips to make the first day a success for new hires

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

The first day on the job is always nerve-wracking, especially for the recent college graduate starting their first job, or the entry-level employee taking that next step in their career. That’s why it’s important for employers to create an onboarding program to acclimate new hires and make them feel welcome from day one.

“Sometimes the simplest things get overlooked and the smallest things make a huge impression,” says Julie Desmond, a talent acquisition specialist with Tennant Company, a manufacturer of indoor and outdoor environmental cleaning solutions with over 3,000 employees worldwide.

Here are five onboarding tips to make the first day a success for new hires:

1. New hires must know exactly what to bring
According to a 2009 study by the Aberdeen Group of senior executives and HR staffing and recruiting personnel, 83 percent of the highest performing organizations began onboarding prior to the new hire’s first day on the job. Do this by sending the new employee a checklist of things to bring for that that first day: Driver’s license or form of identification, social security card, and names and numbers of emergency contacts, are a good start. Let them know they will be completing paperwork such as a W-4 or I-9, benefits and payroll forms.

“I’ve been in onboarding sessions where this information wasn’t conveyed in advance,” says Desmond. “As a result, it took longer than necessary to get through this step. We know this is a high-hassle moment for new employees. Making it easy is very, very simple.”

2. New hires must know exactly where to go
We’re not talking directions to the office. And it’s not enough to simply tell new hires what time to arrive that first day on the job. There should be a clear onboarding plan in place, says Desmond. Tell them “when you arrive, ask for Jane Smith. Jane will meet you there and bring you to a conference room where you will complete your new hire paperwork.”

This gives them a point person to reach out to versus showing up and sheepishly asking the front desk staff who to ask for and where to go.

“When people know what to expect, they are more comfortable, better able to learn and process information, and from day one they understand that, here, we communicate clearly and don’t waste time guessing at what’s going to happen next,” says Desmond.

3. Don’t assume the employer knows what you know
The worst part about a new job is just that – it’s new and there are unknowns. That’s why an established person within the company needs to make sure the new hire knows the company dress code, where the bathrooms are, how to ask for days off, and where they can get coffee or a bite to eat. “Everyone forgets these things, because insiders already know,” says Desmond.

4. Have the new hires’ technology in place
This person has been planning for their first day on the job for the past two weeks. So, why is it that new hires always spend part of the first day on the phone with IT?

“Good talent is hard to come by,” says Desmond. “When our new hire heads home at the end of the day, do we want him or her to tweet, “first day on the job, got a cool new laptop and got started on a cool new project already.” Or do we want them to say, “Not sure about the new gig. Spent all day with Freddie from the IT Help desk.”

5. Make the first day special
The little things count, says Bob LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff, a company that serves as a career matchmaker for recent college graduates and companies that are looking to fill entry-level jobs. Make sure the new hire’s work station is ready, announce the new hire company-wide via email (with picture, if possible), describe their background and role and have top executives or department leaders personally introduce themselves to the new hire. “Make sure the new hire knows their presence is important,” says LaBombard. After paperwork is complete, the new hire should meet with their manager, and new team members. If possible, take the new employee out to lunch to get to know them better.

This may just be another day for HR, a manager and other company employees, but for new hires, especially recent college grads, this is arguably the biggest day of their professional career to this point.

It’s important to them – and should also be to employers.

“Day one matters more than ever for new recruits,” says Desmond.

For more onboarding tips, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Julie Desmond, a Talent Acquisition specialist with Tennant Company

Julie Desmond, a Talent Acquisition Specialist with Tennant Company.

 

Julie Desmond is a Talent Acquisition specialist with Tennant Company, a manufacturer of indoor and outdoor environmental cleaning solutions with over 3,000 employees worldwide. Tennant Company is committed to providing a rewarding work environment where employees have opportunities to contribute their unique talents and skills to building an even stronger Tennant.

 

 

Bob Labombard

Bob Labombard, CEO of Gradstaff, Inc.

Bob LaBombard has more than 30 years of business experience in the chemical, environmental, professional services and staffing industries, including 18 years of staffing industry experience as CEO of GradStaff, Inc., and founder and CEO of EnviroStaff, Inc. He is a leader in helping client companies develop comprehensive strategies to fill both short- and long-term staffing requirements.

 

Posted May 17, 2016 by

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

2. Arrive early.

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

3. Prepare an elevator pitch.

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

4. Smile often.

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

4. Be positive no matter what.

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

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

 

Posted May 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 10, 2016 by

How to select a career mentor

When you graduate from college, you lose daily, immediate access to some of your greatest mentors and teachers—faculty members, advisors, and career services professionals who have guided you through some of the best and most formative years of your life. When starting your first entry-level, full-time job, it’s important to begin seeking out a career mentor.

This five-minute video, created by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, will help you select a quality career mentor.


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

There are at least two types of mentors you need to find, ideally, when you begin your first full-time, entry-level job. The first type of mentor you need to find is a workplace mentor. This mentor works for the same company or organization but has at least a few years of experience under her belt. She probably works for the same team or within the same division and can provide you with guidance related to company policies and procedures, the ins and outs about how to make coffee in the breakroom, and other important tips about surviving on a daily basis within your organization.

This video and article will help you select the other—and more important—type of mentor: a career mentor. A career mentor is a lifelong mentor; your career mentor has years of experience, preferably decades of experience, and works in your “dream career field.” A career mentor will provide career guidance and mentorship over the course of your career journey. When selecting a career mentor, be picky. You should spend at least a few months observing professionals and contemplating “fit” before asking someone to serve as your career mentor.

Here are a few tips to aid you in selecting your career mentor.

1. Look for elevator people.

Elevator people are defined as people who bring you up, while basement people bring you down. This trait is especially important in mentors. When you’re asking someone for advice and guidance, you don’t want to leave every conversation feeling controlled, manipulated, deflated, or picked apart. Not only does that type of relationship sound very unhealthy, but it’s also completely unproductive. Seek out a career mentor who lifts others up. Is the mentor you’re considering territorial with her ideas? Does she appear jealous when you discuss something you’re working on that’s exciting to you? Move on and consider option B.

2. Go for the “gel.”

Can you completely relax when talking to your career mentor? This doesn’t mean you need to think of your career mentor as a peer; she’s not. You should have a great amount of respect for your career mentor.  Competent communication is defined as communication that is both effective and appropriate. Of course you want to interact with your mentor with an appropriate level of respect; you won’t talk to your mentor about the party you hosted Saturday night or your conflict with your boyfriend. You discuss those matters with your personal friends.

But it is crucial to select a career mentor you “gel” with. Can you be honest about your career goals, or do you feel intimidated to discuss the future? Are you afraid your career mentor will laugh at your dreams? When you make mistakes at work (and don’t worry—every new entry-level employee makes mistakes), do you feel comfortable confessing those mistakes to your career mentor and seeking advice about how to overcome them? If not, you probably need to consider seeking out a new career mentor.

3. Find a great listener.

Motivational speakers may seem inspiring when you meet them, but remember when seeking a career mentor, you must find someone who can listen as much as she talks. You’re going to come up against obstacles over the course of your career journey, and it’s important that your career mentor listen well (without placing judgment). Only excellent listeners can offer excellent feedback and suggestions. Great career mentoring relationships tend to look alike—be sure yours matches up.

4. Reflect on your feelings.

Always reflect on your feelings after spending time with potential career mentors. Weigh pros and cons, make lists, and attempt to make a clear-headed decision before selecting a career mentor, certainly. But at the end of the day, relationships like this must be based at least partly on gut instinct. After going to lunch with your career mentor, do you feel better or worse? When you have a phone conversation, do you feel more positive or disheartened? Do you feel more motivated to go back to work and to try to reach your goals, or do you feel like taking the day off after talking to your mentor?

5. Don’t discount your feelings before you make the final decision about asking someone to serve as your mentor.

Lastly, when you decide to ask someone to serve as your career mentor, be gracious and grateful. Your career mentor is doing you a huge favor and will likely invest hours—if not days—of her life in yours. Mine has.

For more advice about starting your first full-time job off right, read our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted May 06, 2016 by

Working for a startup after college

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

dotshock/Shutterstock.com

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

pikselstock/Shutterstock.com

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.