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Posted November 15, 2017 by

Professional networking: A definitive guide for students and grads to succeed in the job search

 

We put together our most popular content about professional networking and developed a one-stop guide with everything you need to know about networking as a student or recent college grad. The guide includes tips about:

  1. Where to start and how much time to spend networking
  2. The best elevator pitch and a formula for a successful informational interview
  3. Professional networking tips for college seniors to find a job by graduation
  4. The number one networking tip for introverts
  5. Benefits of joining a professional association
  6. Networking mistakes
  7. How to engage authentically

(more…)

Four happy college graduates standing in a row. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted December 27, 2016 by

10 strategies December college graduates should follow for job search success

 

As 2016 comes to a close many college students have now handed in their final paper, taken the last exam of their collegiate careers and entered the job market. But according to a study of 503 entry-level job seekers by national career matchmaking firm GradStaff, recent college grads seem largely unaware of career opportunities and unsure of how to apply their skills in the workforce.  So what strategies can December college grads put into action now to create results that land a job? Start by following these 10 strategies for success.

1. Develop a strong value proposition: Start by developing a strong value proposition and identifying those important soft and transferrable skills, 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.

“These soft skills – such as critical thinking, effective communication, time management and leadership – are in high demand among prospective employers,” says LaBombard. “Grads should consider how and where they’ve applied these skills during college, whether in classes or extracurricular activities, or in non-professional jobs, including restaurant and retail service positions.”

2. Sell what you want to do next: Next, be prepared to talk about what it is you want to do now that you are graduated.  Everyone that you know, run into, or talk to, is going to congratulate you on graduating, then ask “what’s next?” or “what do you want to do now?” The “I’ll take anything” approach is not a good option, says Kathleen I. Powell, Associate Vice President for Career Development at The College of William & Mary, and President, National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Case in point, if you tell someone you’ll take anything, it’s hard for that person to find “anything.”

But…

“If you tell someone you’re interested in arts management, accounting, psychology, now you’ve given that person an area to focus on and they can start thinking of contacts in their networks,” says Powell.

3. Casual conversations can lead to opportunities: Don’t blow off those casual conversations with friends, family members – that wacky uncle just may be well-connected in an industry where you want to work and be able to point you to a job opening, a mentor, or someone with whom you can set up an informational interview. Members of your church, social networks, parents of high school friends, relatives of your significant other, when they ask “what’s next” they are generally interested – so be prepared to effectively sell your excitement of what you want to do next. That’s the only way they can possibly help you, by knowing what you truly want to do.

4. Network, network, network: Because, it really is about networking. Recent ADP employment reports show the bulk of all new job growth – often as much as 70-80 percent in a given month – is driven by small and mid-sized businesses. “These companies often don’t have the resources to recruit on campus, and tend to rely on referrals from employees, clients, vendors and other partners to identify candidates,” says LaBombard. “As a result, personal networking is critical. All entry-level job seekers should seize opportunities to ask parents, teachers, friends, clergy and even former employers for connections in industries of interest, and they should continue engaging with professional associations, alumni groups and others for face-to-face networking opportunities.”

LaBombard offers these additional tips:

(more…)

Posted August 31, 2016 by

Sports analytics careers: Recent college grad discusses keys to success

Group of analysts reviewing data

Group of analysts reviewing data. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

It’s no secret that analytics and data are driving, and changing, the world of sports, at all levels. From high school to college, and the pros, individuals, organizations, and teams are using analytics to drive decisions on and off the field. The rapid rise in the use of sports analytics led to the creation of the popular MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, called “a forum for industry professionals, students, and fans to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry.”

The growth of sports analytics has also prompted Syracuse University to launch the first-ever sports analytics bachelor’s degree program in the United States. Launching in the Spring of 2017, the Syracuse University sports analytics bachelor’s degree program will focus on computer programming, statistics, math, and of course, sports.

In May of 2016 Zack Sims graduated from the University of Georgia with a double major in Digital and Broadcast Journalism and Statistics. He also earned a certificate from UGA’s sports media program, preparing him for a career in sports, or sports analytics. While at UGA Sims wrote for a few sports web sites, covered live events, and practiced analyzing sports data on his own. He was also a Division I athlete, participating in track and cross country. An informational interview helped Sims earn a sports analytics internship at Competitive Sports Analysis (CSA), an Atlanta, Georgia-based sports analytics company.

Below, Sims talks to College Recruiter about how he landed his sports analytics internship, what he does as a sports analytics intern, the type of technical and soft skills needed to succeed in sports analytics careers, what he knows now that he wish he knew while in college – and much more:

Informational interview led to sports analytics internship

Sims was required to complete an informational interview with a sports industry professional as part of a sports media class at UGA.

“I told my professor that I wanted to work in sports analytics, and he told me he had recently met a woman named Diane Bloodworth, who owned her own sports analytics company in Atlanta,” said Sims. “I interviewed with Diane and got an understanding for how she got into the industry. She told me to stay in touch, so I called her shortly before graduating and asked if she had any openings. She offered me an internship, and I started working shortly after.”

Sports industry background

During the informational interview, Sims was able to discuss how his previous work in sports prepared him for a sports analytics internship. In the summer of 2015 he served as the Broadcast Intern for the Sunbelt Collegiate Baseball League, where he did play-by-play and commentary, and wrote game stories. He also wrote for three different websites covering college football. During his time at UGA, he covered a multitude of sports (swimming, softball, basketball, baseball and more) for the UGA sports media program. Two of his assignments from that program got published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Athens Banner-Herald.

Day-to-day duties of a Sports analytics intern

At CSA, Sims works as an analytics intern. CSA currently offers two products. scoutPRO is for fantasy football players. This product provide projections, access to a fantasy football expert, and insights into player data. CSA also offers scoutSMART, which is an analytics based recruiting software. It shows college football coaches how well a recruit will fit into their program. CSA currently only works in college and pro football. Its clients are fantasy football users (scoutPRO) and college football coaches (scoutSMART).

Sims’ day-to-day duties go far beyond the job title, because CSA is a startup company. Sims said this internship has provided him with experience in a lot of different areas beyond sports and analytics. He uses math, business and communication skills on a daily basis. He helps with CSA marketing efforts, managing social media, and analyzing NFL data. He manages software databases and much more.

When you work at a startup, you aren’t tied down to specific duties,” says Sims. “You really help in any way you can. I help manage our corporate website, run our Twitter accounts, head up our email marketing campaigns, manage the database for our scoutSMART, and create some visual analytics for our scoutPRO users. I’ve been able to work in so many areas during my internship.”

Software skills crucial in sports analytics careers

To succeed in a career in sports analytics, one must be able to have much more than a knowledge and interest in sports. They must be analytical, and be able to understand, learn, and use a variety of software programs, and have a variety of technical skills.

Prior to this internship, Sims used Kaggle, a social media site for data analysts, to practice analyzing sports data. He primarily looked at Major League Baseball data on Kaggle. Now, at CSA, R, Tableau and Excel are the three main programs Sims uses for conducting data analysis.

“They are great for breaking down large data sets and producing something meaningful,” says Sims. “I also use Constant Contact for managing our email marketing campaigns.”

Coding/programming skills important in sports analytics careers

“The one thing I wish I would have known was how important coding/programming is,” says Sims. “If you want to get into analytics, you really need to be proficient in a few programs. I was exposed to R and SAS while at UGA, but I didn’t really start learning them in-depth until I started teaching myself the last few months.”

Sims expanded on the technical skills needed to succeed in a sports analytics career, saying “I think you need to know R (or SAS), Tableau, and SQL to land some bigger jobs in analytics. Each of these plays a very big role in any analytics job. The good thing is there are plenty of places on the internet where you can learn these tools (W3Schools, R for Everyone, Tableau Website, Kaggle).”

Soft skills are crucial to sports analytics career success

You can love sports, and be an analytics genius, but soft skills are still crucial to succeed in sports analytics careers.

“I definitely think you need to be effective at communicating to work in analytics,” says Sims. “There are a lot of people who can break down data, but there aren’t many people who can do that and clearly explain what the data is telling them.”

From college classroom to the real world

Sims says the sports media and journalism classes he took at UGA helped prepare him for his internship.

“These classes made it easy to tell a story from the data I work with,” says Sims. “I think my statistics classes taught me what to look for when analyzing data.”

The future of sports analytics careers

Since starting his internship and searching for jobs in sports analytics, Sims has noticed just how fast the field of sports analytics is growing: “I’ve learned the sports analytics market is growing like crazy,” he said. “There are so many opportunities emerging, and this should continue for the next couple of years. This excites me, because I know I can work my up in the industry.”

Passion for sports important

Most college students or recent college grads who pursue a career in sports analytics are likely going to have a passion for sports. And that is another valuable trait to showcase with employers, when interviewing for jobs in sports analytics.

“I definitely think you need a passion for sports to be successful in this field,” says Sims. “When I’m trying to analyze data for our fantasy football users, it helps that I know what kind of metrics are important to them. I love football and I also play fantasy football, so it helps me know what our customers will want to see.”

Being a well-rounded college graduate is valuable

“I’m a believer that the more versatile your background is, the better,” says Sims. “Being passionate about sports is great, but if you can also break down data and draw important meaning from it, you can definitely find a job in sports analytics.”

The importance of a sports analytics internship

An internship is crucial to success.

“It’s really hard to just land a sports analytics job when you come out of college, unless you’ve done a lot of work/projects on your own,” says Sims. “Internships are a stepping stone for you to get a job with a sports team, sports technology company, or other sports organization or business.”

The future

Sims would welcome the chance to stay at CSA once his internship is complete. He also still dreams of working in an analytics role for a professional sports team/organization, or sports media company. For now, he knows he’s getting some of the best on-the-job training he can to pursue his passion and dream of working in the fast-growing field of sports analytics. Sims calls working at CSA “a great experience,” adding that he “gets the freedom to explore projects that I might not get a large company.”

Sports analytics careers are not the future, they are the present. Zack Sims is prepared to take the next step in his career. Current college students, recent college grads and entry-level job seekers can prepare for the next step in their career by staying connected to College Recruiter to learn about careers in sports analytics. To do so, visit our blog, and connect with us on LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Zack Sims

Zack Sims

About Zack Sims
Zack Sims graduated from the University of Georgia in the srping of 2016 with a double major in Digital and Broadcast Journalism and Statistics. He also earned a certificate from UGA’s sports media program and was a member of the UGA track and cross country teams.

Posted July 04, 2016 by

How college students can network professionally

Tablet photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

While obtaining a higher education, it’s a smart idea for college students to gather some contacts along the way. Building a professional network in college can be helpful when searching for internships and entry-level jobs. Don’t underestimate classmates, professors, or anyone else who can assist with your job search. John Moriarty, Director of the Career Development Center at Barry University, gives advice on how college students can build a professional network in school.

“The old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is as true today as it was 50 years ago. Building a professional network is the key to unlocking the secrets to success and scores of unknown opportunities. The internet makes it possible to identify professionals in your chosen field; passion, persistence, and determination will enable you to connect with those professionals.

The first and most obvious place for college students to find professionals to connect with while still in school is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional social media platform where professionals create profiles detailing their professional experience, expertise, and education. Using the advanced search feature in LinkedIn, students can search various criteria to find the right person to connect with.

Armed with a list of professionals who are working in college students’ desired fields, it is now time for students to contact the professionals about conducting an informational interview. Ask to meet with professionals (15 to 20 minutes) to learn more about what it takes to succeed in their professions and get advice as job seekers just beginning their careers. Request a face-to-face meeting, but if that is not possible, ask for a phone interview. This is an excellent opportunity for students to build a rapport with professionals and impress them with passion, enthusiasm, and a desire to succeed in the industry.

Besides LinkedIn, college students should take advantage of other internet resources such as industry association websites, news articles, and blogs to identify connections. In addition, students should use the resources of faculty, staff, and the career development center to build their networks.”

Learn more about building a professional network in college on our blog, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

John Moriarty, Director of the Career Development Center at Barry University

John Moriarty, Director of the Career Development Center at Barry University

John Moriarty has an M.B.A. from National University in San Diego, California, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Florida. A native of South Florida, and a Marine Corps veteran, John spent nine years recruiting employees for various local and national companies before joining the Barry University Career Development Center staff. John has served as a Career Counselor, an Assistant Director, and is currently serving as the Director of the Career Development Center.

Posted May 11, 2016 by

How to conduct a successful informational interview

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Interviewing is hard. And stressful – especially for the recent college graduate or entry-level job seeker who has limited experience in an interview setting. To gain more experience, and to expand your professional relationships, consider conducting an informational interview. The purpose of an informational interview is to gather information and meet someone who is in a role or company you aspire to be in. It’s not a job interview – the person conducting the informational interview (you) should be the one asking the questions.

“Informational interviews are a good way to get the answers you need to make career choices,” says Bill Driscoll, the New England District President of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half, and the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. “Asking experienced professionals who have specialized expertise about their role and what it involves can give you real-world insights.”

In fact, 36 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said these meetings are becoming more common, with nearly one-third (31 percent) receiving informational interview requests at least once a month. Job seekers should take note – 84 percent of executives said when someone impresses them in a meeting, it’s likely they will alert that person to job openings at the company.

Although informational interviews are not intended solely to seek a certain position in a company, it can set you up for consideration of future roles if you make a good impression. It could also lead to referrals to other contacts or job openings.

Informational interview etiquette guidelines

There are some basic etiquette guidelines to follow when requesting an informational interview, says Driscoll:

  • First, narrow down who you would ask for an informational interview. Create a list of companies you would like to work for, identify career paths that would suit your strengths and interests, and consider which industries interest you. Once you’ve identified these key factors, do some online research to choose the correct contact to interview.
  • Email is a good introductory mode of communication. Keep it simple – be concise but friendly. Briefly go over your background, state the reason you are reaching out to them, and request a meeting or phone call. Be sure to include why you want to meet that person in particular.
  • Look to your professional network to make an introduction. Seeing a message from a familiar name may increase your chance of getting a response.
  • LinkedIn can help you identify contacts and send messages. Keep in mind that people don’t necessarily log on to LinkedIn each day or check their messages on the site, so you might not get a quick response.
  • A phone call is another option to reach an informational interview candidate. Be prepared with what you’ll say in case you get a hold of the person or their voicemail.

How to prepare for an informational interview

Research the company and person you are meeting. Informational interviews tend to be short, so use the opportunity to ask the questions you genuinely want answered. Come prepared with your list of questions. Things you might want to ask are:

  • How did you get started in this industry/company/career path?
  • What is a typical day like?
  • What are the most important skills required in this role/industry?
  • How did you get your job?
  • Can you name some industry associations that I should join?
  • What do you like most about your company?

Dress professionally for your informational interview – just like you would for a job interview.

“Remember this is a business meeting and the way you dress can say a lot about you,” says Driscoll.

Go into an informational interview with a clear understanding that this is a chance to learn about a career, industry and company, to expand your professional relationships and to become better prepared for future interviews. Just don’t expect it to always lead to a job or job interview with that company.

“An informational interview is a great way to meet someone who can make hiring decisions, but don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t lead to a job interview,” says Driscoll. “The point is to learn and establish an important business relationship.”

When the informational interview is done, don’t forget to show gratitude. Always mail a handwritten thank-you note after an interview and keep your new contact updated on your job search and career progress.

Need career advice as a recent graduate? Go to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

Bill Driscoll, Accountemps

Bill Driscoll, New England District President of Accountemps

Bill Driscoll is the New England District President of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half, and is based in the company’s Boston office. Bill oversees professional staffing services for Robert Half’s 23 offices throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and portions of New York. Bill is considered a local and national expert on recruiting practices, hiring and job search trends, and other workplace issues.

Ready to begin your job search? Start at College Recruiter today!

Posted January 20, 2016 by

9 ways job seekers can stand out

Whether it be college students or other young job seekers, finding employment doesn’t necessarily come easily to college students. However, the more effort college students put into their job searches, the more they will get out of them. Amber Stover, Director of Talent Acquisition for Edmunds.com, provides tips for anyone seeking to improve their job searches and stand out from the crowd. (more…)

Posted November 25, 2015 by

4 steps to using social media for uncovering the hidden job market

Social media is an important tool for today’s job seekers. How job seekers present themselves online can either help or hurt their job searches. This applies not only to visible job openings but also those in the hidden job market. Employers haven’t advertised these jobs publicly but need to fill them. The following webinar, 4 steps to using social media for uncovering the hidden job market, shares tips for using social media to learn about job opportunities along with other valuable information. (more…)

Posted October 26, 2015 by

Job seeker webinar: 10 things to remove from your resume right away

There is not much time for job seekers to make a great impression with their resumes. Job seekers have around six seconds to impress recruiters with their resumes if they expect to become potential job candidates. Part 1 of this three-part webinar series, 10 things to remove from your resume right away, informs recent college graduates and career changers of 10 things to eliminate from their resumes to improve their job searches. This webinar also provides resume tips and advice when applying for jobs. (more…)

Posted April 28, 2015 by

Searching for an Internship While Abroad? Tips to Land Current Opportunities

Have you ever thought about landing an internship while abroad?  Interning in another country can not only allow you to gain some work experience in a particular career field, but also learn about a different culture.  In order to make this goal a reality, you must prepare ahead of time.  So, what do you need to know?  Here are some tips to help you get one of the current internship opportunities available during your time abroad. (more…)

Posted January 20, 2015 by

How to Be a Strategic Career Explorer

Mark Skoskiewicz

Mark Skoskiewicz, Founder of MyGuru

Whether you’re concerned with success in high school, college, a job search, or a specific career, it turns out that who you are (your background, skills, talents, etc.) is actually less important than what you do (the strategies you follow, plans you put in place, and effort you expend). Most people don’t necessarily find this intuitively true, but lots of research has been done to back up the point.

Here’s the main point of this article. You need to manage your academic life and professional career like a CEO manages a business: by researching, developing, and implementing strategies. (more…)