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Posted January 26, 2016 by

How to make the most of professional networking events

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

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

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


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

1. Eat prior to arrival.

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

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

2. Dress conservatively.

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

3. Smile!

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

4. Go hands-free.

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

Businesspeople shaking hands at networking event

Minerva Studio/Shutterstock.com

5. Prepare an elevator pitch.

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

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

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

6. Talk less; listen more.

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

7. Give and receive contact information.

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

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

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

8. Call them by name.

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

9. Follow up.

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

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

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

 

 

 

Posted January 19, 2016 by

Resume 101: 5 tips for writing your first resume

Writing your first resume may overwhelm you.

Don’t let it. College Recruiter is here to help with a brief video providing five basic resume writing tips for college students and recent college graduates.

 

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

 

1. Keep a running list.

Prior to writing your first resume (beginning the minute you step foot on campus during your first year of college, ideally), it’s helpful to keep a running list of what you’re up to—on-campus involvement (sorority and fraternity involvement, clubs, etc.), work experience, scholarships and awards earned, and volunteer activities. Take note of titles of scholarships, companies, managers, and organizations. It’s easy to forget these details when you sit down to compose your first resume, but if you’ve been maintaining a running list, you’ll have it all on hand.

You can keep this running list in whatever format suits your style—Microsoft Word document, a journal, or audio files. Just be sure these notes are kept in a place where they can be easily retrieved when you are ready to write your first resume.

2. Avoid templates.

Resume templates—both those you pay for and those you download at no cost—often look appealing and impressive at first glance.

However, resume templates can create snags for you when you begin to edit your resume later. Templates also contain formatting which is troublesome for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS); almost all corporations utilize ATS’s when resumes are submitted online. In addition, you might think the template you select will set your resume apart from others, but if it’s available for purchase or for free online, chances are that lots of other job applicants have formatted their resumes using the same template in the past.

3. Ask for help.

If you haven’t already done so, schedule a resume writing appointment with your career services office on campus. The professionals in your career services department want to help you succeed in finding your first full-time job or internship, and creating a basic resume is an essential part of that process. When you show up for your appointment, take your running list (tip #1) with you as well as copies of job descriptions you’ve held in the past if you have those on hand (tip #4).

College Recruiter also offers college students and recent grads a free resume editing service. After drafting your resume, submit it to us for feedback as well.

4. Retain copies of job descriptions to help you write accomplishment statements.

Each time you obtain a job, even if it’s a part-time job or an unpaid volunteer position, retain a copy of the job description. The best time to ask for and obtain copies of job descriptions is during the hiring process, but if you forgot to ask for them, you can almost always find copies on company websites.

Andrey Bondarets/Shutterstock.com

Andrey Bondarets/Shutterstock.com

Job descriptions list job duties. Job duties morph into accomplishment statements on your resume. What are accomplishment statements? Accomplishment statements are bulleted statements listed on your resume beneath each job title that quantify and qualify your efforts and demonstrate to your future employers that you’re the right person to hire. Accomplishment statements answer the questions, “How much?” and “How many?”

Most students—and even professionals—need help when wording their accomplishment statements, so be sure to seek assistance from your career services professionals and from College Recruiter’s resume editors when working to tweak the accomplishment statements on your resume.

5. Tailor your basic resume when applying for jobs.

Once you’ve created a basic resume, you’re ready to move forward and begin applying for job openings. It’s always a good idea, though, to tailor your basic resume to better match the positions you’re applying for. Analyze the job description for the open position you’re applying for, looking for terms describing technical skills or job duties specific to that role—which  keywords stand out? Be sure to fit those keywords into your tailored resume if you possess those skills; your resume will stand out from others the more closely your qualifications match the employer’s specifications.

Crafting a concise basic resume is the first step to success on your job search journey.

Learn more about connecting the dots to career success by following College Recruiter’s blog. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, too.

 

Posted January 14, 2016 by

Job application advice for interns and grads

With the spring semester in full swing this week, many college students have begun to ask themselves (or at least their parents have begun to ask them) that age old question: what am I going to do this summer? Or better yet, if they’re graduating in May, what am I going to do after graduation?

Andy Ek, Manager of College Relations, Koch Industries, Inc.

      Andy Ek, Manager of College Relations, Koch Industries, Inc.

Andy Ek, Manager of College Relations for Koch Industries, offers college students pertinent advice and direction related to searching for both full-time jobs and internships.

What is the best advice you have to offer new college graduates about how to prepare for the job search process in January if they plan to graduate in May?
Regardless of timing, I’d encourage all students to self-reflect on their best natural abilities and their specific career interests. What are they good at and what types of roles would they enjoy doing most?  I think it’s important for each student to research firms that offer careers (not just employment) in their areas of interest.  Students will benefit from networking as much as possible (with peers, faculty, employers, etc).  The knowledge gained from building these relationships will lead students straight toward the opportunities with the most potential.

If students want to work for Koch as a summer intern, when should they apply? Please describe the application process.
The application process for our summer internship program starts at the beginning of the previous year’s fall semester.  For example, most students interested in our summer 2016 intern opportunities applied in mid-September 2015 in order to be considered.  All applications are available on our recruitment website, www.kochcollegerecruiting.com, and will require completion of an online profile, a short questionnaire related to the role’s qualifications, and submission of a resume.  Students eventually hired for a position typically receive an on-campus or phone interview, before traveling to a site location for a second interview.

Have you hired an intern who later became a star employee?
Our goal in employing interns is to identify those individuals with the right mix of virtues and talents required to be successful within our firm.  We are thankful to have had numerous examples of star employees hired through our college recruiting process, including eight who are current or past presidents of various Koch companies.

Want to learn more about how to connect the dots along the path to job search success? Follow our blog and connect with College Recruiter on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

Andy Ek is the Manager of College Relations for Koch Industries, Inc. In this role, Andy is responsible for leading Koch’s college recruiting program, managing and developing Koch’s relationships with key universities, and partnering with Koch leadership to determine optimal entry-level talent strategies for their organizations. A native Kansan, Andy is a 2004 University of Kansas graduate with a degree in Business Administration and Accounting – he also earned a Master’s in Business Administration from KU in 2011.  Andy was recognized as one of the Wichita Business Journal’s 40 under 40 honorees in 2015.

Based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch Industries, Inc. is one of the largest private companies in America.  With a presence in more than 60 countries, Koch companies employ more than 100,000 people worldwide, with about 60,000 of those in the United States.

Posted January 13, 2016 by

4 secrets to job search success

Erin Vickers

Erin Vickers, Staffing Consultant, RightSourcing, Inc.

It’s tough to begin searching for your first full-time job as a college student, having worked as an intern, volunteer, or in part-time positions in the past. Transitioning to full-time job status is huge, and the interim evolutionary phase feels odd at times and requires some changes on your part.

Expert staffing consulting Erin Vickers offers 4 helpful tips to ease the transition and aid the job search process.

Establish your brand and keep it professional.

Make sure you are reflecting your professional self. Search for your name online and see what comes back in the results. After all, you are selling yourself to potential employers, and you should present your best self. Keep your social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) free from questionable posts and images.

Create a professional email address if you do not already have one. Email addresses are free and easy to establish so there’s no excuse for not having one for professional interaction. Employers don’t want to message “foxymama@thisemail.com” or “hotdaddy@thatemail.com.”

Remove questionable greetings, ringtones, ringback tones, etc., from your phone. Choose a standard voicemail greeting stating your full name, requesting callers to leave a message.

Do not be a no call, no show to an interview whether it’s over the phone or in person. Period.

Employers understand that other opportunities present themselves and are not offended (though maybe disappointed) when they hear “no” for whatever reason. Politely call or email your contact to let the company know you will not be attending the previously scheduled interview. You do not need to go into great detail about why you are canceling your appointment, but you do need to let your interviewer know you will not be there and thank them for their time and consideration.

Remember the STAR or PAR acronym while giving answers in an interview.

STAR stands for Situation/Task, Action, Result, while PAR stands for Problem, Action, Result. Many interviewers will ask you to “tell them about a time when….”  By integrating the STAR/PAR acronyms, you will be able to respond with a complete answer: you should describe a situation, task, or problem you faced, detail the action you took when resolving it, and then tell what resulted from your actions.

Use and grow your network

Andresr/Shutterstock.com

Andresr/Shutterstock.com

You want to do X.  You know or know of someone who does X.  Make the connection and see what transpires. Perhaps the connection will lead to a job, but it could also potentially become a mentor/mentee relationship that will assist with career guidance in your quest for a job or better job.  Also, having a LinkedIn profile connects you to a world of people with roles similar to the one you are probably seeking. Send a terse yet somewhat personal message to those with whom you want to connect: e.g. Hi ___, Looks like we have this person, group, skill, etc. in common.  I’d like to connect with you.

Want more secrets to connecting the dots on your path to career success? Follow College Recruiter on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter or start searching for jobs on our website today.

Erin Vickers, Staffing Consultant at RightSourcing, Inc., has spent more than 16 years in various recruiting roles in a variety of industries. Her experience includes full-lifecycle recruiting for nationally-known telecommunications carriers and a third-party administrator. Additionally, she has supported several staffing initiatives for an international chemical company and a widely-renowned insurance company. She has placed candidates in accounting, engineering, executive, financial, marketing, and other professional positions as well as various customer service and technician-type roles. As a Staffing Consultant, she has piloted an on-site recruiting program in support of an exclusive client’s needs.  Her passion is to strategically assist her client in operating an efficient organization by providing top talent.  Erin graduated from Lyon College (Batesville, AR) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to live music, traveling, and spending time with her two spoiled rescue dogs.

 

Posted December 30, 2014 by

Moving to a New Flat after Graduating

Melissa Burns

Melissa Burns

For most people graduating from college is associated with finding their first full-time job, following their ambitions and building plans for a future career; one thing that often eludes their attention is moving off to start living alone, probably for the first time in their lives. Before they lived first with their parents, then in a college dorm, now they have to set up their own household.

But first – actually move their things there, which can be tricky if you haven’t done it before. Here are a few tips that will help you out. (more…)

Posted December 10, 2014 by

How to write an amazing internship cover letter

 

A cover letter for an internship highlights the answers to 3 main questions:

1. What is your reason to pursue the internship program? The answer to this question will include details such as ‘what do you know about the program?’ and ‘how it is of interest to you?’

2. What is your reason to pursue the internship with a specific employer? You can write about ‘what you know about this employer?’ and why you have chosen an internship rather than a full-time program?

3. How will you best use this internship opportunity to excel in your career? You can answer with details about your short-term and long-term goals. (more…)

Posted October 06, 2014 by

Job Offer Rate Improves for Class of 2014 Thanks to Liberal Arts Majors

National Association of Colleges and Employers logoThere is good news for graduates in the class of 2014.  From last year to this year, the job offer rate has seen an improvement of about two percent.  Learn more in the following post.

The full-time job offer rate for graduating seniors who applied for a job has improved for the class of 2014, according to results of a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). (more…)

Posted September 09, 2014 by

Will You Find an Internship that Leads to a New Job Opportunity?

What are the chances that you find an internship that will turn into a new job?  The following post features an infographic that may tell you.

According to a study by NACE, internship to job conversion has risen to 51.2 percent. So, your internship is more likely to turn into a full-time job now, right? Well, maybe. This interactive infographic depicts data from a new LinkedIn study about the correlation between students who do internships and how often those internships turn into full-time jobs

Link:

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Posted July 30, 2014 by

5 Reasons Why Internships and Co-ops Are Essential!

Intern organizing shelves in supermarket under supervision of store manager

Intern organizing shelves in supermarket under supervision of store manager. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you’re a student, you might be looking into part-time jobs to make some money during the school year, or maybe a full-time job for the summer. While making money to help pay for school sounds like a good idea, it might end up costing you money in the long term.

The reason is simple: it’s getting harder and harder for university and college graduates to find a full-time job in their career path once they graduate—especially for those who do not have any practical work experience. It has become incredibly valuable for students to take co-ops during the school year and internships in the summer.

Here’s why. (more…)