• The best and worst career advice your parents ever gave you

    July 29, 2016 by

    It is only natural that you will seek your parents’ advice when you are getting ready to start your own career. After college, this is the source of many widely-awaken nights and several concerns and you should be able to rely on your folks for guidance on this matter.

    And you are very likely to follow what they tell you, especially if they are successful people. But, the thing is that sometimes they might mislead you just out of trying to keep you away from frustration and disappointment. Or, in other cases, they might not know your industry of choice well enough to understand its particularities.

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    So here is a curated list of the best and worst career advice that parents have given to their children. This way, you can prepare yourself to identify better when you should follow their lead and when a thank you and a smile should be the end of it.

    # The Worst

    So, let’s start with three pieces of advice where parents got it all wrong then.

    You must get a degree.”

    Most parents still think that if you don’t get a degree from a university, you are ruined for life. That you will never be able to get a good job or even to provide for yourself, as the best opportunities are available only for those with a wall full of certifications.

    But, while it can be true for some careers, which require specific qualifications and licences, such as medical doctors and law professional, it isn’t mandatory for everybody.

    There are many companies out there happy to contract talents that have never been to any university but who have proved themselves as capable of doing the job better than their competitors. And this is because a large number of these businesses are owned and run by people who also have no degree, for starters.

    Of course, you need to develop several skills so to be employable, but most of them can be acquired and improved through technical courses, workshops, e-learning, and even self-taught.

    Plus, there isn’t anything stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur yourself, and you won’t need any certification for it.

    A job exists to pay your bills. You don’t have to enjoy it.”

    You will spend from eight to who-knows-how-many hours in your job in the future. And the day has only 24 hours, and you will be asleep through other 8 hours, plus all other mandatory things you must do, such as eating, commuting and having a shower.

    So, yes, you might not need to be absolutely in love with your job, but you must like it enough so to avoid that it will turn your life into a nightmare. Something has to attract you about what you are doing, from your daily tasks to your colleagues and boss, or you won’t be able to cope with it.

    You can do anything you want.”

    Unfortunately, this isn’t true. It is lovely to hear that but we all know that there are some skills that we just don’t seem able to learn them the right way.

    You might dream with the idea of becoming a surgeon, but you know you have never managed to cut a piece of paper following a straight line, for example. Or you wish to become a professor, but get bored when trying to write a 20-page assignment.

    So, yes, you can learn enough to become an average professional, but if you want to stand out from the crowd and be successful in your career, you will have to identify your strengths and choose a path where they can be improved and bring you proper results.

    # The Best

    Now that we survived all those bad ideas, let’s have a look at three pieces of advice from parents that you should really take into consideration from now on.

    You have to work hard to get what you want.”

    Nothing could be more true than it. The time when you used to lie down on the sofa and ask money to your parents is long gone, as you probably already noticed. And it won’t get any better.

    So if you want anything in life, you will have to work for it and hard. You will have to put it as your top priority, get your time organised, make sure that you know what you want, and be persistent about it, even if the challenges start to seem too overwhelming to you at some stage.

    Don’t lose your integrity.”

    No matter what you are aiming for, you should never lose your integrity. If nothing else, it will guarantee that you sleep well at night with a clean consciousness.

    It is very easy to think that bending some rules, or even ignoring them altogether, is a fair way to get a job or a promotion. That is a dog-eat-dog world, and if you don’t do it, someone else will do it anyway. So you protect and look after yourself first.

    But while this is understandable, it is a resource that can backfire quite often. If you lie about your skills, for example, you know that you will be unmasked sooner or later. If you do anything morally or criminally wrong so to protect yourself or your job (or somebody else in your job), you will get yourself in trouble at some stage.

    And the price you will pay for it certainly won’t be worthwhile.

    A job doesn’t define the person you are.”

    So, yes, you prioritize your career above everything in the beginning, even relationships and family, and this is OK. But, it doesn’t mean that, if you fail, you will have failed as a person as well.

    A job is just part of what you do in life, and there are so many variables gravitating around it that you can’t be accountable for everything that goes wrong there. For starters, it is also a responsibility of your boss to make sure that you get your work done correctly, not only yours.

    You might be a much better professional in another company, or maybe in another career. There is nothing wrong in making changes. Also, you shouldn’t take criticism personally – what is being said is about the task, not about you as a person, remember it.

    To Sum Up

    Our parents certainly are the first people we should look for advice when we are trying to start a career for ourselves. They have been there, they know us well, and want the best for us, so they will support us in our journey to the best they can.

    On the other hand, exactly because of it, be ready to understand that some of their suggestions might be just wrong or not suit your needs or of the path that you chose. So learn to listen to everything, and then to evaluate what you will do or not with the information you got from your parents.

     Want more great career advice? Follow College Recruiter on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Patrick Cole, guest writer

    Patrick Cole, guest writer

    About Patrick Cole, the author:

    Patrick Cole is an entrepreneur and freelancer. He is also a contributing blogger for several websites. Patrick loves self-education and rock music. Connect with Patrick via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter

  • 10 career mistakes to avoid

    June 26, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    One of your top goals is to have a happy and successful life.

    Your career is the key to achieving this goal.

    You’ve got a nice degree, have a lovely smile and are ready to work, but there’s one more thing that could stop you from realizing your dreams:

    Mistakes.

    Some mistakes could harm or even end your career. You have to recognize and avoid them at all costs if you really want to have a successful life.

    There are 10 career defining mistakes.

    1. Dressing badly at work

    Research tells us that what we wear affects how we think. How we dress also affects how other people perceive us.

    Sure, you deserve to get the respect you think you deserve and get people to listen to you. People should respect you because you know what you’re talking about.

    So why should you wear expensive socks to get people to respect you?

    Let me tell you a story.

    One day I was on a bus headed to my friend’s house. It’s been a long time since I went to the neighborhood so I wasn’t so sure which stop to get off at. I was constantly looking out at the window, and the gentleman sitting beside me could not help but notice it.

    He nicely asked where I was going and if I needed help. I told him where I was going, and he said I should exit in two stops. I thanked him.

    A few minutes later, another man sitting behind me said “Actually, you should get off at the next stop.”

    I thanked him and exited where he told me, ignoring the advice of the first guy.

    Now, you may want to ask me why I chose the second guy’s advice.

    As I walk away from the bus stop, I realized I ignored my seatmate’s advice because he was wearing sweatpants, had a dark stain on his T-shirt, and looked like he skipped showering that day. I realized that I chose the second guy’s advice because he wore a collared jacket, well-polished shoes, and designer glasses.

    When you dress well at work, people will notice you. Your superiors will notice you, and they would admire you for that. That would open up more opportunities for you.

    2. Expressing a rude and negative attitude at work

    Even if you’re a highly-talented employee but always express a bad and negative attitude at work, you’ll have a high mountain to climb to advance your career. Many managers hate working with employees who have bad attitudes because they decrease the team morale.

    According to studies from Leadership IQ, 87% of employees say that working with somebody with a bad attitude has actually made them want to change jobs. And as much as 89% of new hires who fail within 18 months actually failed because of attitudinal issues, not skills. Bad attitudes also include laziness, tardiness, inappropriate jokes, unresponsive to emails, etc. List all the bad and negative attitudes you have and make a consistent effort to overcome them.

    3. Not building good relationships with your colleagues

    Bad relationships are bound to happen from time to time. How you deal with them is the most important thing.

    Your colleagues are the keys to your happiness at work. If you’re not happy with your coworkers, then you’ll certainly be looking for work soon. I’m a big believer of the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want your coworkers to be kind and respectful to you, then you have to be kind and respectful to them.

    Make sure you remember your coworkers’ names and address them by their names. It’s easy to say happy birthdays to your coworkers on Facebook when you rarely talk to them at work. Make sure you’re doing that important one-on-one conversation. Get on the phone and tell them “Happy Birthday.” Go an extra mile and surprise them with a gift. This little generosity will make you more likable at your workplace.

    4. Writing unprofessional emails to colleagues

    You know there are some unprofessional things you shouldn’t say to your colleagues in the workplace. The same is true for work emails.

    For example, it’s not appropriate to answer a colleague asking you how your job search is going inside your work email. Another example is when your colleague complains about other coworkers and says nasty things about them.

    These are discussions you shouldn’t allow inside your work email. I don’t think it’s good to allow it at all whether it’s your personal or work email. You should know that you don’t own your work email, your employer does. Your employer can monitor who you’re communicating with on your work email. You could be in trouble if you’re making inappropriate remarks about sensitive issues at your workplace.

    In addition to that, there are some email mistakes that can make you look really unprofessional.

    For example:

    • Using informal or curse words you’re not allowed to use at work
    • Rambling in your email instead of getting straight to the point
    • Forgetting to attach files when you say you’ve attached files
    • Spelling the person’s name wrong or using a different name to address the recipient

    These email mistakes may not look big to you, but they are serious mistakes that can prevent you from accelerating your career.

    5. Making career choices based on earnings

    The love of money could lead you down the wrong career path.

    I’m not saying “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

    You need money to do a lot of things. You probably need money to pay student loans, buy some nice outfits and keep the roof over your head. So you definitely need money. We all do.

    But when you choose a career or a job you don’t even enjoy based on your goal to make $90,000 per year, that’s when it becomes a problem. You need to ask yourself:

    Does your desire for money match your passion and skills? When you choose a job you’re less passionate about, you’ll be pushing yourself to get things done. And this would be visible in your performance. You should choose a job where you have the skills and abilities to get the job done.

    6. Not investing in yourself

    If you strip Larry Page of his assets and dump him on the street, I can assure you that he would be back living a comfortable life within a week.

    Larry Page has a ton of human capital.

    According to Wikipedia“Human capital is the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.” In other words, human capital is a collection of resources—all the knowledge, talents, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence, training, judgment, and wisdom that are possessed by an individual. If you want to achieve a lot of success in your career, you need a lot of human capital. Focusing on building your human capital is a lot more productive than worrying about “job security.

    So how do you build your human capital?

    You build up your human capital by investing in yourself through:

    • Improving your skills
    • Acquiring complementary skills
    • Reading educational books
    • Starting healthy habits
    • Building your personal brand
    • Getting a mentor

    As you do these things, you’ll become irreplaceable in your organization. You’ll become the go-to person within your company. Many more people will start looking up to you. All these help you accelerate your career.

    But when you stop investing in yourself, you become stagnant. Your skills become obsolete.

    7. Not maintaining a healthy work-life balance

    A poor work-life balance is bad for both the employee (you) and the employer.

    People who have a poor work-life balance are more stressed and experience more family conflicts. They also tend to have both mental and physical problems. If your private life is suffering, it will negatively impact your professional life. Your private life comes first. When you experience more problems in your private life, your creativity, engagement and productivity at work will suffer.

    The only way to prevent this is to keep a work-life balance.

    This may not look like a career mistake to you, but it’s a mistake that can have adverse effects on your career. You should set work hours and stick to them. Don’t work during times when you should be with your family or have set aside times for tending to personal matters which are a priority to you.

    8. Not improving your communication skills

    “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”—Theodore Roosevelt

    The consequences of poor communication are great.

    For example, if your communication skills are poor, your message would be hard to understand, and this can lead to serious confusion among your colleagues.

    Too much information when it is not needed can also affect the concentration of the listener.

    Poor communication becomes more serious when you communicate with customers. If customers are not serviced in the right manner, it would reduce sales, thereby affecting business goals.

    Great communication skills help you do well at your job because you’ll be using these skills when requesting information, discussing problems, giving out instructions, and interacting with your colleagues. As a result of demonstrating good communication skills, you’ll enhance your professional image, build sound business relationships, and get more successful responses.

    You have to continue sharpening your communication skills if you want to get and stay at the top.

    How do you do that?

    You sharpen your communication skills by:

    • Striking up conversations with strangers
    • Reading good books
    • Listening to others
    • And engaging in more one-on-one conversations

    9. Not networking outside your company

    Your network is your net worth.

    Your network is your source of job opportunities, potential business partnerships and much more. Your network won’t only find your next job, but it will help you improve your current position.

    NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!”—Adam Small

    One of the biggest mistakes many people make is to network when they are only looking for a job. You can’t only rely on people you already know within your current workplace to help you land your dream job. You must always be networking outside of your company, and even your industry.

    For example, let’s say you’re a website designer; networking with other website designers alone would limit your opportunities. You should network outside your industry like in the Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Energy sectors. People in these sectors could be good references. They could become customers. They might know someone who needs your service.

    LinkedIn is a very good place to start networking with people outside your industries.

    But your conversation with those people shouldn’t be limited to the web. Take it offline. Do face-to-face meetings with them. That’s how you expand your network and increase your chance of career success.

    10. Not serving your network

    The truth is the people in your network needs you as much as you need them.

    You can’t just expect people in your network to connect you with other people they know. You can’t just expect them to link you up with job opportunities without you giving them some value. You’ll appear selfish if you always expect people to do things for you but offer nothing in return.

    The best way to keep people interested in you is to serve them. When you diligently do something good for people, they will want to return the favor, though, your major aim of helping people shouldn’t be to get something in return. The more people you serve, the more your network grows, and the more your network grows, the more opportunities will come your way.

    Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

    Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

    Need more tips for making the best career choices? Visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

    Michael Akinlaby is a freelance writer and SEO Consultant. He’s the founder of RankRain, an internet marketing agency that specializes in content marketing and Search Engine. 

  • 5 common onboarding mistakes employers make

    May 26, 2016 by
    Businesswoman dissatisfied with subordinate's behavior photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    The onboarding process should be a positive and productive experience for new employees. Employers who succeed during this process benefit in the short-term and long-term with satisfied employees who can help achieve company goals. However, if onboarding is done incorrectly, new hires won’t likely be effective for companies. Wesley Higbee, President of Full City Tech Co., shares five common onboarding mistakes made by employers.

    1. Treating everybody the same. It’s important to have a process or checklist. Just don’t try to standardize it. Tailor what you do to the candidates you’re hiring. If new hires have accolades in sales, don’t put them through a sales training program.

    2. Waiting periods for benefits. There’s nothing to gain by withholding vacation days, health care, etc. Waiting periods connote cheapskate and/or creates mistrust. If you don’t trust new employees enough to give them benefits on day one, why are you hiring them?

    3. Not training new employees. Just throwing them to the wolves and of course, firing them when they don’t perform up to your expectations. The same expectations you never made clear.

    4. Not including new hires in the process of assessing what they want/need to learn. Force feeding training and then throwing employees to the wolves.

    5. Not learning from new hires. Assuming learning is a one-way road. There are plenty of candidates you might hire that have more to teach you, than you have to teach them.”

    Looking for help with your onboarding process? Check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Wesley Higbee, President of Full City Tech Co.

    Wesley Higbee, President of Full City Tech Co.

    Wes Higbee helps organizations make the leap from today to tomorrow. Wes’s career has been a journey. He started out in software development helping organizations tackle business opportunities. In working closely with customers as a consultant, he realized there are many needs beyond the software itself that nobody was taking care of. Those are the needs he addresses today, whether or not technology is involved.

    Along the journey, Wes has had a passion for sharing knowledge. He’s been a speaker at countless local groups, community organizations, webinars, and conferences. He speaks professionally to help organizations improve.

  • Onboarding challenges for hiring managers

    May 20, 2016 by
    Thinking man photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

    Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

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

  • Benefits of using video and phone interviews in recruiting

    April 27, 2016 by
    Female boss talking with applicants online on video conference courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Photographee.eu/Shutterstock.com

    While face-to-face interviews have not become obsolete, new interviewing methods are becoming more popular today. Video and phone interviews not only benefit job candidates but also benefit recruiters. Recruiters can save time and learn more about candidates to make the best hiring decisions. Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany, explains why video and phone interviews are effective in college recruiting.

    “Video interviewing benefits both candidates and hiring managers. For an organization, pre-recorded screening questions create a consistent candidate experience by asking the same questions to applicants the same way. Candidates benefit because the technology is easily accessible and simple to use — just hit record.

    Before in-person interviews, companies want to know the basics such as candidates’ skill sets, ambitions, what they can contribute to the company, etc. All of this valuable information is easy to gather through phone and video interviews.

    The problem many organizations face when recruiting college students and recent graduates is a skills gap they possess and the skills needed to get the job done. While these interviews don’t fix the skills gap, they give recruiters a better understanding of the candidates. Recruiters can evaluate them more efficiently to avoid eliminating top talent who may not communicate their potential as clearly on their resumes, as they can when responding to specific questions. This affects the quality of hire, the most important measurement that tells employers how well their hiring teams recruit.

    When using video interviews, recruiters are effectively finding high quality candidates and eliminating those who fall short. Additionally, they are reducing time to hire significantly and improving their return on investment (ROI).

    We use our own talent management platform, which offers a video interviewing feature that seamlessly integrates candidates’ recorded responses with the applicant tracking system. This allows the entire hiring team to engage by watching the recordings at their convenience and collaborating by providing feedback through the platform.”

    Do you want to learn more about phone and video interviews? Head to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

    Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

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

  • Training to interview entry-level job candidates

    April 20, 2016 by
    Young woman being interviewed for a job courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock.com

    Some hiring managers may believe they don’t need much preparation to interview candidates for entry-level jobs. However, getting the most value out of these interviews requires interviewers to understand what they are looking for in potential employees. Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany, discusses the benefits of training hiring managers to interview candidates for entry-level jobs and offers advice for the hiring process.

    “Entry-level jobs don’t get enough attention sometimes. They can provide value for any organization. A new hire who excels at an entry-level job wants to continue succeeding and, ideally, grow within your organization. By training hiring managers to interview entry-level candidates, employers can save their companies time and money, build their internal talent pipelines, and encourage internal talent mobility.

    Hiring managers need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to effectively find quality talent. When they evaluate entry-level job seekers, discerning their job skills can be difficult to do. Train hiring managers to ask the right questions to identify the crucial skills candidates possess and to accurately assess candidates’ soft skills and motivation.

    The best method for training, evaluating, and improving your hiring process is by looking at analytics. Quality of Hire is the perfect tool for seeing how well your hiring managers are recruiting. It considers performance and goal achievement, as well as retention rates.

    This metric informs the overall quality fit for people joining the team and provides leadership with the tools necessary to see how well managers are hiring for company culture and performance. We access this metric through our own talent management platform to consistently evaluate and improve our processes to ensure we are building the best team possible.”

    For more information on interviewing job candidates, go to the College Recruiter blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

    Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

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

  • How to avoid 5 common study slip-ups

    April 02, 2016 by
    Female college student studying in a library courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    michaeljung/Shutterstock.com

    Highly effective students know how to study. They pace themselves and don’t save all of their studying for the last minute. They also know how to take notes along the way to make their studying more efficient. Cramming and other last-minute study techniques can leave them exhausted, and incapable of performing well on test day. Use these ideas to improve your study system, and get a better grade this time around.

    1. Avoid cramming

    If you absolutely have to cram before a test, try to take breaks. Sleep is important for learning, so find a few hours to sleep after a long study session, and you’ll be better able to think clearly during the test. Research shows the first sleep cycle lasts about three hours. After that, we dip in and out every one and a half hours. Try to sleep from three to four and a half hours before your test.

    2. Create a habit

    Studying at the same time every day allows students to study better for their tests and make time for important assignments. Pick a time when you are unlikely to be disturbed and aim for the same time each day. You’ll get a better study session, and your brain will start to become used to your study routine.

    3. Study locations

    The place where students study is important. If they find they study best in the library, they should make a habit of getting out of their dorms or apartments, and getting to the library first thing. Make home a safe place from school work, and find places outside of it to work hard and for preparation. This way, home can become a place to relax, unwind, and have some fun.

    4. Set specific goals

    If you’re working toward a master’s in higher education, your goals should be specific and relate not only to your coursework, but your future career. Create lesson plans to start building the skills to become a teacher. Conduct mock lectures when teaching the material you’re learning in school to an imaginary classroom. This will not only show what you haven’t learned, but will prepare you to become a more effective educator. The same goes if you plan to intern as a scientist in the lab or research assistant. Come up with appropriate scenarios and hands-on study that prepare you for your future career and still help you learn the material.

    5. Don’t procrastinate

    Treat studying like a job. The most important thing to remember is students don’t have to be in the mood for studying. Studying is a process, and they may have some good days and some bad days. It’s okay to have a bad study session. Don’t let your mood affect whether you’re going to study. Push through and make your habits stick, and the rest is easy.

    If you’re going for a long study session, start with the most difficult subjects first. Move on to the easier subjects when fatigue becomes a factor. Remember to take frequent breaks, and eat foods high in protein and carbs to sustain your energy levels and to prevent dips in energy.

    If you’re looking for more study tips, go to the College Recruiter blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Photo of Brooke Chaplan

    Brooke Chaplan, guest writer

    Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

  • What is career counseling

    March 05, 2016 by
    Photo of Veranda Hillard-Charleston

    Veranda Hillard-Charleston, guest writer

    Do people believe their current career trajectories feel like a hopeless game of grasping at straws? Maybe they’ve been thinking, “I don’t know what I want to do with my life” or “I don’t know what jobs I can get with my major/degree.” Having a long list of “I don’t knows” in the career department certainly doesn’t lead to increased life satisfaction. Luckily, there’s a solution: career counseling.

    What is career counseling?

    Career counseling is a goal-oriented process targeted at helping people gain better insight about themselves and what they want out of their careers, education, and lives.

    According to Boise State University, the counseling element is one-step in a lifelong process of career development. Therefore, the object of career counseling is not to guide people in making better career decisions today. Instead, the focus of this process is to equip people with the self-knowledge and expertise needed to improve their careers and life decisions over their lifespan.

    A career counselor is generally a master’s level professional with a background in career development theory, counseling methods, assessments, and employment information and resources. A professional will hold a confidential session with people to identify their unique values, interests, skills, career-related strengths and weaknesses, and personal goals in order to determine which resources they require and which course of action is most appropriate in helping them achieve these goals.

    A career counselor can even help people separate their own career-related goals from those of others, such as parents, teachers, and friends who may be pressuring them to choose a specific career path.

    Do I need career counseling?

    Whether they’re freshmen in college or five years post-graduate, college students and recent graduates can benefit from the services of a career counselor. Since career development is a lifelong process – and people’s interests and skills are steadily changing – the earlier they gain insight about themselves and learn how to make career-related decisions, the better. If job seekers’ current dialogue is filled with “I don’t knows,” career counseling is a smart choice for them.

    Possible career counseling for bank credit presentation of important issues courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    frechtoch/Shutterstock.com

    Maximizing from the counseling experience

    So college students and recent graduates made the choice to get career counseling and scheduled an appointment. Their part is done, right? Wrong. A common misconception about career counseling is people show up, and an expert tells them exactly what career choices are best for them. In truth, career counseling is not a one-sided, quick solution to academic or career dilemmas. Consider the following:

    • Job seekers are not simply there to receive. The counseling experience requires participation. An honest examination of job seekers is vital for the career counselor to guide them in the right direction. Together, they might uncover their career interests, but they must take action to continue down the right path.

    • People must narrow down their goals. Coming in with a broad desire to “Figure out what they want in life” just won’t cut it. A clear-cut objective is necessary so each session has structure and both parties can tell when their work together is complete.

    • Job seekers have to continue the career development process beyond counseling. A good career counselor can help them define their interests and values, identify goals, and provide resources and strategies for reaching these goals. Still, the important work is done by job seekers. They have to actually use these resources to pinpoint internships or job opportunities appealing to them and constantly consider how different opportunities match their interests, values, and skills.

    Career counseling offers people a safe and confidential place to explore their career passions and identify areas in which they are experiencing difficulty. It is a collaborative relationship – the client and the counselor work together to discover the client’s true career goals and work to overcome any obstacles. However, the client must be devoted to career development and willing to do the work to truly benefit from the experience.

    If you want more career advice, go to College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Veranda Hillard-Charleston is Chief Contributor for MastersinPsychologyGuide.com. She received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Veranda has more than five years of experience as a trained mental health professional.

  • 3 tips for a focused job search

    February 15, 2016 by
    Man writing job search diagram on glass board

    tommaso lizzul/Shutterstock.com

    College students must stay focused when conducting a job search for entry-level jobs. This means eliminating distractions. Consider these three tips to help you conduct a more focused job search.

    1. One creative and effective idea for a more focused job search is creating a weekly workflow plan every Friday afternoon for the following week. Which organizations will you reach out to for the first time, how, and when? Which organizations will you follow-up with for the second time, how, and when? Which organizations will you follow-up with for the third time, how, and when? Plan your job search schedule in the same way your college courses are planned out with syllabi.

    2. Limiting the number of times you check email and text messages will help you stay focused on your job search. If you’re always glancing at your inbox, it will take away from time-consuming tasks such as writing resumes and cover letters. Unless messages are urgent, answer them later.

    3. Setting timeframes and goals is another way to stay focused. Creating a plan provides college students with structure in finding jobs. By breaking down the time to search for jobs into individual parts, you won’t overwhelm yourself, and you will feel a sense of accomplishment by completing tasks.

    A successful job search requires a commitment. By avoiding distractions, you won’t get sidetracked from that commitment. College students and recent grads who stay focused will ultimately land great entry-level jobs.

    Need more tips related to staying focused and motivated during your job search? Follow our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube for career tips and job search motivation.

    At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent grad deserves a great career. We work to create a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and grads to excellent entry-level jobs.

  • Balancing academics and work as a college student

    February 13, 2016 by
    Photo of Anthony Taylor

    Anthony Taylor, guest writer

    Students go off to college, but it’s not the rosy life they see in the movies. There are bills to pay, tuition to afford, books to buy, and honestly, balancing finances at a young age is hard. Studying in college and concentrating on getting good grades is tough enough without throwing in a job into the mix. But the money has to flow in to either support the family or to support getting an education. Whatever the reason, here are a few tips to help college students juggle their working and studying lives.

    1. Find a job with flexible hours: Let’s face it; students are in college now. There will be coursework and assignments with tight deadlines, and studying should always be a priority. An education will serve as the building blocks for the future so students shouldn’t push it in the backburner. They should find jobs where they can easily accommodate their studies, too, so neither one suffers. These jobs could be within the college campus, as those kinds of jobs understand the balance between work and study, and they can help college students manage their homework.

    2. Manage time wisely: With so much on the line, it is wise to have a good time management schedule. College students should know where they spend their time. Many successful people plan nearly each moment of their day to get the most out of their 24 hours. Many times we end up wasting time and not realizing it when we could be putting it to good use. Use lunch breaks to catch up on math homework, or grab a few hours of work during a long lunch break in college. Those few hours can add up during the week. Students need to keep checking in to see if they’re on track per their schedules to know they’re not overcommitting themselves or falling short of their goals. If students know they function better in the mornings, they should get evening jobs so they can do coursework or assignments when they’re fresh and vice versa.

    3. Have family support: This goes without saying; without a support system, college students will find it very hard to adjust both lives alone. Students should inform their managers at work, friends, or family to support them in this decision, and help them both personally and professionally. This kind of support will help students infinitely when they feel the pressure is too much, or they need help with managing homework.

    4. Know what they want: College students should choose jobs wisely if they can. Students should think about how what they do now could benefit them in the future. Remember, everything can be added to their portfolios. If working in a store, think of inventory – managing time and stock. All of this could and should be interpreted as work experience, and this could boost entry into the working world by gaining experience, references, professional growth, and of course, the money.

    5. Be creative in getting homework done: By having a job, college students are effectively cutting down on their study hours. Students must be smart about juggling their time, and try listening to lectures while working. They should also keep their managers in the loop so they get that support system. This way, students can learn, revise, and perhaps even do homework during work hours, which don’t require much brain activity like sorting mail, etc.

    6. Take a mental break: It is important to have some time out from studies. Always having studies/ homework on the mind will stress students out, especially if they know they can’t do it during work hours. Allow a study free zone while at work. Know there is nothing students can do about it, so they should give themselves permission to relax. Many times we block ourselves, and take on more stress over things we cannot control. Those moments students are not thinking about studies could benefit them in the long run. This way, they can approach their assignments with a fresh mind.

    Smiling college students holding hands at graduation courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

    7. Stay focused on the end goal: The end goal should be graduating. Many times, once students start working, they find it hard to stay focused on education. It becomes easy to forget about studies and think about short term benefits, such as getting paid. This spending power lets many people forget about graduating. College students must find ways to motivate themselves. Keep pictures of graduates at their ceremonies or photos of people who managed to reach the pinnacle of their careers to have an aim and a goal to reach.

    8. Research on future courses: Students should find courses relevant to them and their future interests. Don’t choose a random course because friends are taking it, or because somebody else has a strong opinion about it. Students need to discover what they are passionate about and what they see themselves doing in the future. Doing some research on courses will help them achieve their future goals.

    9. Be smart financially: Money can flow through college students’ fingers like water if they’re not careful. Keep track on spending and where the money has to be allocated. If there are bills to pay, keep that money aside, or pay off debts before doing anything else. This helps students become more financially independent. This not involves their weekly paycheck, but also their tuition. Most colleges have hefty fees so be sure to enroll in a program where there are future benefits. Don’t get a job and go into debt due to careless spending, as this will cause a downward spiral.

    10. Be passionate: Happiness can only come from within. College students should be passionate about the courses they will be taking; passion will get them through tough times. If students truly do something they love, they will excel in it. Be happy at the workplace. Find a job that is mentally stimulating or has a good work team. This makes a huge difference in students’ mental health and happiness, and when they’re young and balancing their work and study lives, this is very important.

    The balance for managing studies and work can be a fine line, and one that should be carefully monitored so college students don’t end up suffering by their decision to work. This has become a recent trend, as many young students have bills to pay, and this enables them to gain work experience while also getting homework help and inspiration from their coworkers or family.

    Need more tips for college students, check out College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Anthony Taylor is a writer, student and editor on student’s writing website. He loves reading, writing motivational stories and spending the time with his family. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+ for more interesting stories.