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Posted February 23, 2016 by

4 ways to overcome lack of experience

Have you ever interviewed for a job and been rejected because of your lack of work experience?

When you’re applying for entry-level jobs or internships as a college student or recent grad, this is a pretty common experience. Even though the career services office on your campus may have barked at you incessantly about applying for internships and part-time job opportunities, and your parents breathed down your neck over break about doing seasonal work to make some extra money, you may find yourself with very little work experience to list on your resume at this point.

If that’s the case, today’s Tuesday Tip video and article are for you. College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, offers four quick tips in a 5-minute video.


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1. Lack experience? Get some.

Alanis Morissette should have added this to her lyrical list of ironies back in 1995. Recruiters don’t have much sympathy for job seekers without experience listed on their resumes, though. If you lack experience prior to the job search, the best remedy is to seek experience. The sooner you can gain experience, the better.

The worst thing you can do for yourself is to allow yourself the luxury of feeling bad about your lack of experience. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take action. A great first step is to register at CollegeRecruiter.com and search for job opportunities in your area.

2. List all experience.

If you can’t find a full-time job, settle for part-time employment. Combine a few part-time jobs if necessary. It’s best to find part-time employment in your preferred career field, of course, because this allows you to build a repertoire of skills you can use in that great entry-level full-time job you’ll land soon.

If you can’t find a paid part-time position, consider volunteering with a non-profit organization. You might be able to use the skills gained in your academic major to help the organization; this experience can be listed on your resume as well.

Don’t forget to list other experience on your resume as well, including paid and unpaid internships and your involvement in organizations both on-campus and off-campus.

3. Compensate with strong soft skills.

Soft skills are skills which you may have acquired as a college student (but not necessarily in the classroom); these skills are a combination of personality traits and habits which make you a quality employee and a pleasant person to interact with. Research shows that people with excellent soft skills tend to perform well at work; in fact, people with strong soft skills perform just as well (and sometimes better than) people with strong technical skills.

Some of the soft skills recruiters and talent acquisition professionals are looking for including communication skills, a strong work ethic, time management ability, problem-solving skills, and ability to work well under pressure.

When you’re in an interview, think about how you can sell yourself by demonstrating your soft skills. Think in advance how you would answer questions like, Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult problem. How did you solve it?

4. Seek additional training opportunities.

If you lack training which applies to the job opportunities you’re seeking, get some! There are multiple ways to seek training. You can take an extra college course in journalism, for example, if you want to write for your local newspaper but keep getting rejected when you apply for writing positions. You might also scour the internet and newspapers for local writers groups. These groups are free to join, and not only will you learn from other writers, but you might enjoy the fellowship and constructive criticism.

Ultimately, if you lack experience related to your career field, no one can gain it on your behalf.

It’s your responsibility to stake your claim in the world of work.

Taking steps in the direction of gaining work experience can be intimidating, but you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment each time you take one more step.

Why not take one more step forward today?

Work on the draft of your resume. Submit your final draft to the free resume editors at College Recruiter. Make an appointment with the career services department at your local university. Find out when the career fair will be hosted on your campus this spring. Register and search for jobs on College Recruiter’s website.

For more Tuesday Tips, subscribe to College Recruiter’s YouTube Channel, follow our blog, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

 

Posted February 16, 2016 by

7 resume tips for non-traditional college students

Even though the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the vast majority of today’s college students—73 percent—are categorized as non-traditional college students, or adult learners, still struggle on university and college campuses to find adequate answers to their unique problems and challenges. One of the problems and challenges non-traditional college students face is preparing a great resume prior to entering (or re-entering) the workforce after graduation.

This 4-minute video featuring College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, provides non-traditional college students with resume tips.


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1) Bend the resume rules.

Many of the standard resume tips college students find on the internet and even from career services experts are great tips, but they’re geared toward traditional college students, students who enroll in college immediately after high school graduation, attend college full-time without taking breaks in attendance, and graduate within four to five years.

Non-traditional college students and adult learners must be prepared to adapt the resume guidelines provided for traditional students, particularly if they have several years of work experience related to their college majors. Some of the guidelines non-traditional college students may want to stray from include sticking to a one-page resume and listing education at the top of their resumes. Depending on years of experience and level of experience, these guidelines may or may not apply.

2) Seek professional help.

All college students benefit from resume editing assistance. However, seeking resume writing and editing assistance is even more crucial for non-traditional college students since non-traditional college students often have multiple exceptions to the typical resume rules to address and multiple questions to ask. Should I list the part-time job I held for only three months and quit when I had my daughter? Is it better to list my sales management position or not since I was laid off after three years, and I was the only person who was laid off? These are questions best answered by a professional. Seek help from career services experts on your local campuses and from College Recruiter’s free resume editors. Don’t edit your resume alone!

3) Avoid affiliations.

Your parents or grandparents may have advised you to avoid talking about politics and religion on first dates. The same general rule goes for resume writing. Avoid listing volunteer work and service positions which reveal religious, political, or other affiliations. Non-traditional college students often feel more grounded and sure of themselves in terms of beliefs and values; however, use caution when sharing those beliefs on your resume.

If you insist on doing so, understand that putting your religious and political affiliations in writing on your resume may open you up to unintentional discrimination by potential employers when they review your resume during the screening process. Review the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website; a good rule of thumb is if it’s an illegal interview question, don’t willingly offer the information to recruiters and talent acquisition professionals by listing it on your resume before you make it to the interview.

4) Update your resume.

If you change jobs, take on more responsibility in your current position, join a new campus or community organization, or earn an additional scholarship or award, add this information to your resume. Regardless of the changes and accomplishments in your life, set a reminder in your phone or on your calendar to update your resume every six months. For non-traditional college students, this regular resume updating is crucial because non-traditional college students typically live active lifestyles, working part-time or full-time while attending college, all the while maintaining community involvement and tending to family responsibilities.

Think of a resume as a working document. You should never create your resume and then file it away. Always be prepared to email an updated copy to a recruiter or potential employer on a moment’s notice. You never know when someone in your social network may hear of a great job opening and think of you.

5) Tend to details.

Countless human resources managers and recruiters have passed over resumes with spelling errors, grammatical errors, and mechanical errors. Use past tense to describe prior jobs and present tense to describe your current position. Use spell check and grammar check. Take advantage of College Recruiter’s free resume editors. Visit the career services office on your campus. Ensure proper spelling of all job titles and companies listed on your resume. Do not misspell your own references’ names. These are small details, but details matter. Employers want to hire professionals who can handle making important daily decisions for their companies; submitting a seamless resume is the first step in proving you’re qualified to make big decisions. Remember, seek resume editing assistance.

6) Address gaps.

Non-traditional college students often have gaps in their work history. When you have gaps in your work history, you may choose whether to list them or not. If you don’t list the gaps on your resume, be prepared to explain those gaps in your work experience in your interviews and/or cover letters. If you list the gaps on your resume, list transferable skills and volunteer duties performed.

For example, if you took three years off from working full-time to stay at home with your child, and during that time you worked in the nursery at your church, volunteered during vacation Bible school, and babysat two other small children one day each week, you can list in-home childcare for three children for three years, volunteer teaching experience for 12 toddlers for a non-profit organization during each summer for three years, and volunteer childcare worker one day per week for 2-10 children. This experience might not feel substantial to you, but it demonstrates that you were involved in your community, managed others, planned lessons, taught skills and material to small children, and a variety of other tasks which you can list as transferable skills on your resume.

7) List all experience.

Entitle your work experience section “Experience.” This allows you the freedom to list all experience in this category, including your military experience, volunteer work experience, internships (paid or unpaid), and paid work experience. Whether you value your volunteer experience as highly as your paid work experience or not, many employers will. Don’t underestimate the value of your own experience.

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