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Money in a jar for a college fund. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted February 23, 2017 by

17 strategies that can help you graduate from college debt free

 

College is expensive. And student loan debt is on the rise. While many believe the only way to graduate from college debt free is by receiving an academic or athletic scholarship, there are actually several strategies one can implement to graduate from college debt free – or with much less debt than the average college student graduates with – which is just over $30,000.

It’s not easy and it could make the path to graduation more challenging, but it can be done. It starts by planning in advance and digging deep to find ways to accomplish this goal.

“The days of going to college without any real pre-planning or self-evaluation are over,” says Bob LaBombard, retired CEO of GradStaff, a company that helps college students and recent college grads identify where there skills fit in the job force  “It’s just too costly and risky.”

Consider these facts: More than half of college students change their major at least once. Further, recent data shows that only about 56 percent of students entering college graduate within six years; almost half drop out.

“Clearly, lack of a clear-cut plan often causes students to waste time, precious tuition dollars and, ultimately, interest in completing a degree,” says LaBombard.

There are many strategies that can help college students cover the high costs of obtaining a college degree, and if done correctly, graduating debt free. We highlight those strategies here:

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Posted September 06, 2016 by

10 tips for college grads who complete an internship without a job offer

Person pointing at job search

Person pointing at job search. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Many recent college graduates head into a summer internship hoping they secure full-time employment with that company once the internship is completed. But, for a variety of reasons, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Now what? How do recent college graduates and entry-level job seekers move forward in the job search when they don’t secure a full-time job from an internship?

With confidence, because they just gained the invaluable on-the-job training employers covet.

Because, for recent college graduates, the number one goal of any internship should be to gain work experience in a professional business setting, 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.

While larger companies tend use their internship programs as a way to evaluate interns for employment in a subsequent year, small and medium employers are more likely to hire interns to accomplish specific goals, like completing a well-defined project or to cover staff for the summer vacation season, says LaBombard. Not getting hired full-time is in no way indicative of an interns performance on the job.

“Either way, internships are a great way for students to apply their skills in meaningful work, and learn how to receive feedback and apply coaching tips from supervisors,” says LaBombard. “Even if an internship does not result in a full-time job offer, the experience should help interns better define their value proposition to employers by gaining a more focused appreciation for the core skills they possess, and how they have been successfully applied in the workplace.”

So what should job seekers who completed an internship without a full-time job do next? Start by registering as a job seeker with College Recruiter. We’ll send you new job leads tailored to your interests and preferences and save you the trouble of searching for them on a regular basis.

Next, consider these tips from Bill Driscoll, district president for Accountemps, and Tel Ganesan, Board Chairman of Kyyba, Inc., a global IT, engineering and professional staff augmentation company, and Managing Partner of Kyyba Ventures. Both have experience working with recent college graduates who have completed internship programs. They help answer the question:

My internship is over, now what:

1. Be flexible: College graduates looking to land their first jobs need to be flexible, proactive and creative. Consider volunteer assignments or temporary work as a way to continue to gain additional experience and build your skill set, says Driscoll.

2. Network: Online and off. Many companies don’t advertise open positions, so networking plays an important role in finding out about hidden job opportunities. “Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job, whether in-person at industry association events, or using professional networking websites,” says Driscoll. “You’d be surprised at who might be able to help.”

3. Use college career center/alumni resources: College career centers usually welcome recent grads and can help in your job search. You also might be able to connect with other alumni who can provide advice. These resources are often underutilized by recent college grads who don’t go back to their college/alumni career center seeking assistance. They are ready to help you – even now that you graduated. Learn more about how to use your college career center in the job search.

4. Don’t overlook your online image: Applicants need to actively monitor and maintain their professional reputations online. Keep a clean online profile. Future employers are watching.

5. Initiate contact: Research companies you would like to work for and ask for an informational interview to learn more about the organization. “It also can help employers get to know you so you’re top of mind when that company has a vacant position,” says Driscoll.

6. Meet with a recruiter: Staffing executives can be your eyes and ears in the job market. Recruiters also provide useful feedback on your resume and interview skills, and help you locate full-time and temporary jobs.

7. Ask for references: Before your last day, ask your manager, and/or co-workers if they will be references. Professional references can sometimes hold more value than a supervisor from a work study program, or college professor (but those are both viable references if need be).

8. Update your cover letter and resume: Did you track your achievements and successes at the internship? Be sure to update this information on your resume and put it at the top of your resume, right under education. “Highlight any unique activities you partook in that may set you apart from the competition,” says Ganesan. Include project work and results, being a part of a team, technical/computer skills learned/used, and any other success story.

9. Apply for more than a handful of ideal jobs: Set target companies or jobs, but be flexible in your search. “Consider numerous possibilities, especially when you’re just starting off,” says Ganesan.

10. Use your social network: Use your social media network, as well as family and friends, to find a personal connection at particular companies. “That individual may be able to assist in securing an interview or simply provide advice and insight into the organization,” says Ganesan.

Don’t view the completion of an internship without a job as the end. View it as a new start, and a new beginning to a job search that is now backed by real world internship experience – something every employer craves.

For more tips on how to secure a job after your internship is completed, and other job search and career advice, visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedInTwitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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.