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Posted June 15, 2017 by

How entry-level assistant jobs can lead to long-term career success

 

Recent college grads seeking the opportunity to develop a wide variety of job related skills can do so by pursuing entry-level assistant jobs.

That’s what Amanda Ponzar did in her first job as an administrative assistant.

“It taught me business skills, computer skills, organization, project management, and how to work with others,” said Ponzar, who is now the Chief Marketing Officer of Community Health Charities, an Alexandria, VA-based non-profit federation that raises awareness and funds through workplace campaigns and strategic partnerships.

From that job, Ponzar moved to a marketing assistant role with the Franklin Mint, a worldwide provider of fine art and collectibles.

“I learned about marketing and advertising, and demonstrated curiosity, competence, dependability, and initiative, so I was soon asked to edit management letters and collateral marketing materials, and then was recommended by my colleagues for a copywriter job at The Franklin Mint’s in-house ad agency,” said Ponzar.

That is when Ponzar’s career took off. She moved into advertising copywriter and marketing management roles, went back to school to earn a Master’s Degree in advertising and marketing, and is now a CMO of a non-profit.

She credits her varied experiences as an assistant for her career growth and success.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without those first entry-level jobs as an assistant that helped me define my career path,” said Ponzar.

College students, and recent college grads should consider assistant jobs as a way to get their foot in a door at a company they would like to work with, or to build important job skills. While most college grads don’t get a degree aspiring to be an assistant, think long-term. Assistant jobs help provide a paycheck to start paying off school loans or debt (and help achieve financial independence to not live at home), and/or provide real world experience and a chance to build important job skills. In addition, it’s a great opportunity for the recent college grad considering grad school to gain work experience before taking the next step of their career. Many assistants could also work with companies as they pursue advanced educational opportunities – and maybe the employer will also help pay for it through tuition reimbursement programs. Building a variety of marketable skills is important, and assistant jobs provide a great opportunity to do just that.

Assistants have unique opportunities to be exposed to all facets of a business, says Brandi Britton, District President of OfficeTeam, a leader in the placement of highly skilled office and administrative professionals into administrative assistant and front office jobs. Assistant jobs are in demand at small and large companies, non-profits, startups, Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley firms. Companies like Google, Facebook, and other leading tech firms all succeed because of good assistants.

“Entry-level assistant can learn valuable technology skills from constant exposure to Microsoft Office, enterprise resource planning, database management and customer relationship management software,” says Britton. “You may even build experience with social media tools since administrative staff are often tasked with monitoring and managing their company’s accounts.”

Recent college grads seeking assistant jobs, whether it be an administrative assistant, marketing assistant, office assistant, personal assistant or executive assistant (which often do take more advanced skills), can also learn these important career skills, says Britton:

  • Time and project management: Assistants often have to keep on top of executives’ schedules as well as project timelines. Let’s not forget that assignments come their way from every direction. That’s why assistants are masters of time and project management, organization, multitasking and adaptability.
  • Continual learning opportunities: You become well-rounded because you’re able to work on a variety of tasks – everything from event coordination to presentation decks. Once you figure out the types of projects you like most, you can hone your skills and consider moving on to a more specialized role in the organization.
  • Budget and negotiation: When you frequently speak with vendors and make purchases on behalf of the company, you quickly become skilled at budgeting and negotiation.
  • Verbal and written communication skills: Assistants are in constant contact with any number of internal and external contacts. If you’re in the role long enough, you’ll develop strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Specialized skills based on organization/industry: Being an assistant in a specific department or industry exposes you to the day-to-day operations and provides insight into that area’s lingo, processes and technology.
  • Inside company knowledge: You gain knowledge into colleagues’ work styles and the corporate culture, which gives you an advantage at the company if you hope to advance there.

Alissa Carpenter founded Everything’s Not Ok and That’s OK Coaching after over a decade in higher education. She has advised Millennials and GenZ students at institutions such as The Wharton School and Penn State.

“As a recent graduate, being a personal assistant can be beneficial to your long term career goals,” says Carpenter. “You have the unique opportunity to work on numerous tasks and learn transferrable skills. You are often on the front line and are able to build relationships and rapport that can provide valuable connections.”

The three skills organizations believe millennials are lacking can be developed in a personal assistant role, says Carpenter, including:

  • Interpersonal skills: You will be working with people from various levels both in and outside of your organization. You will learn to ask appropriate questions to find the most effective way to complete your tasks at hand and build strategic working relationships.
  • Teamwork: In one of the key positions that is crucial to putting events and tasks together, you will learn how to delegate and how to work with people with varying personalities.
  • Communication skills: As a key point of contact you will quickly learn the most effective ways to communicate with individuals and how people like to receive communications.

Utilizing a role as an assistant to get where you want to be later in one’s career can really be a asset to entry-level jobs seekers, says Lori Williams, Recruiting Coordinator for College Nannies, Sitters, and Tutors of Edmond, Oklahoma.

“Not only does it help build credibility and experience on your resume, but the people you often meet in that role can be sourced as references in the future,” says Williams. “You can develop many skills in this role, including project management, event planning, client relations, and administrative duties. All of these skills are transferable into future roles in just about any industry. Being able to develop these skills on the ground floor will help you add a good section to your resume entitled skills or career highlights and you can translate these into the job description for future career goals.”

Said Ponzar: “Never underestimate an assistant job as a way to get your foot in the door and show what you can do, learn about the company, develop relationships, and new skills.”

Look for assistant jobs right now on College Recruiter! Want more tips and advice on how to build career and job skills? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Posted October 27, 2016 by

Health care hiring experts reveal keys to success: What you need in an analytics and data career

Female hospital administrator working at a modern medical center

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Analytics, big data, data mining, and data science. Those are not just buzz words, but job titles for some of the hottest jobs of the future. And actually, the present. Especially in health care careers, where professionals throughout the world are using a variety of analytics and data to help cure diseases and solve business problems.

How so?

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. used data mining to model patient populations and define chronic disease groups, which ended up improving their ability to help diabetic patients manage and reduce complications of their disease. Health care providers are using predictive analytics to find factors associated with high-cost patients. They can detect insurance fraud and even forecast medical outcomes. Analytics and data continually make more impact in health care. And so do the job opportunities. But for recent college grads, understanding the job titles and career paths of analytics and big data careers can be confusing.

“The good news is that opportunity is abundant,” says Kevin Purcell, Ph.D., a Professor in the analytics program at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Harrisburg, PA. “As with any new field, sometimes deciphering job titles is the first hurdle.”

Purcell breaks down these potential job titles and what the job entails:

  • Data analysts: Responsible for gleaning information from data using various software packages and their knowledge of SQL on databases. This is often combined with intermediate level statistics.
  • Data scientists: Responsible for gleaning information from data, but at a larger scale and also often tasked with more open questions. The skill also demands more advanced statistical knowledge such as machine learning as well as programming skills to better manipulate data to his or her own will.
  • Data engineers: Typically software engineers that focus on building robust data pipelines that clean, transform and aggregate messy and unorganized data into usable data sources.
  • Big data architects: Develop plans for integrating, structuring, and maintaining a company’s data sources often employing big data technology such as Hadoop

Chris Lee is the Manager of Performance Measurement at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) in Orange, California. He sees two key skills that are crucial to success working in analytics and data in the health care industry. Those skills are analytical and technical skills – combined with interpersonal skills. Sure, it’s important to have advanced Excel skills, knowledge of databases, strong data mining and presentation skills. However, the most technical people need interpersonal skills to work with others, including non-technical co-workers.

“The main thing I’ve learned in the field that students can’t learn in the classroom is the interpersonal aspect of working with people who request data,” says Lee. “The people you will work with in the real world have all sorts of personalities and traits. Great interpersonal skills will help one foster relationships and make the data analysis portion of the job much easier when you can clearly define and understand the data elements that the requester is asking for. Most successful analysts have that right balance that enables him or her to interact with the data requester to generate/create the correct data analysis.”

Purcell agrees: “It is imperative for both data analysts and data scientists to be competent communicators,” he says. “Data storytelling is an indispensable skill needed to communicate technical findings to non-technical audiences with a focus how the findings can impact the business or organization.”

Purcell says employers look for other core skills such as intellectual curiosity, analytical thinking, and knowledge of software tools such as R, Python, a high-level programming language (Java or C++), and GUI-based visualization.

Kevin Huggins, Ph.D., also a Professor in the analytics program at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, says getting hands-on, real-life experience is crucial to launching one’s entry-level analytics and data career.

“Nothing can replace practical experience,” says Huggins. “Internships are excellent options, but sometimes not available to everyone. Since most platforms are open, contributing to open competitions or open-source collaborations can provide experience where professional opportunities are scarce.”

Carolyn Thompson, Managing Principal, Merito Group, LLC, a talent acquisition and consulting firm, says the single most requested skill set in healthcare analytics that employers seek is revenue cycle experience. “Because of the complex nature of payment and provider relationships, this is an area where the demand is literally never fully met,” says Thompson. “These people have strong Excel skills, good business judgment and can do modeling and forecasting around all the various aspects of healthcare revenue.”

Andrew S. Miller, President & CEO of BrainWorks, a leader in big data recruitment, says employers want recent college graduates who are trained in statistics, math, quantitative analysis, using programs, and algorithms. But ultimately, recent college grads also have to be able to communicate and present the data.

“The ability to take your finding and present to key business stakeholders is critical,” says Miller. “Employers want a person who can not only massage and manipulate data, but interpret the data into insights and meaningful conclusions. If they can’t convey the information in a way that makes sense or sells management or what action to take, their value to the employer becomes limited.”

Analytics and big data jobs are hot and in demand. Especially in the health care industry. Use these tips to advance your career and land that first job or internship.

Want to learn more about the latest in analytics and data careers? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connecting with us on LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Posted March 04, 2015 by

Effective Ways to Become a Chief Risk Officer in a Debt Relief Company

Consultation. Consultation and discussion with consultants and customers.

Consultation. Consultation and discussion with consultants and customers. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When individuals want to get rid of the burdensome debts, they can take help from the debt relief companies. The companies can act as the credit advocates and can work in favor of the debtors by improving their financial status. The main activities of the consultants can be educating the consumers with the possible remedies during the time of their financial crisis. The settlement or the re-negotiating activities can be performed by the companies for decreasing the interest rates, fees and the balance for the debtor. (more…)

Posted February 20, 2015 by

Learn to Resolve Conflict Today to Improve Your Career for Tomorrow

Man told off by woman - isolated on white

Man told off by woman – isolated on white. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Conflicts are inevitable in business. Whether it’s between colleagues, your boss or a client who isn’t pleased, resolving conflict early is paramount.

The good news is that it’s one of the important interpersonal skills that can be worked on. Even with a lot of practice, conflict is rarely evereasy due to the strong negative emotions involved.

Conflict management is a difficult skill to develop for those who naturally avoid conflicts. Avoiding a conflict may make you feel more comfortable in the short term, but will only create additional issues in the long term.

In order to best deal with conflict, you must have a strong conflict management style and approach in order for both parties to walk away as if they’ve walked away feeling good. (more…)

Posted September 09, 2014 by

What It Takes to Land an Entry Level Job in Mergers and Acquisitions

If you’re interested in getting an entry level job in mergers and acquisitions, the following post shares how you can acquire one.

Want to stand out from the competition when applying for a graduate job in M&A? Here’s how.

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Posted March 24, 2014 by

Do Job Seekers Have the Soft Skills to Obtain Jobs for Recent College Graduates and Advance Their Careers?

In order to obtain jobs for recent college graduates and advance their careers, job seekers need to focus on acquiring soft skills.  The following post has more on the importance of developing these skills.

Soft skills are essential irrespective of the level of management – entry, middle and top level management. People rise in organizations due to hard skills but fall due to lack of soft skills. Successful professionals need more of soft skills rather than hard skills. And to make it to the CEO level

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Posted March 14, 2014 by

How to Find a Job That Not Everyone’s Applying To

Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim, Chief Executive Officer at KAS Placement Sales Recruiting

Often, it’s not your resume that’s hurting you.  It’s not that your LinkedIn profile is preventing you from job search success.  It’s not where you went to college, either.

Rather, it’s the number of other applicants going for the same openings.  For instance, if you’re applying to the same positions as a 1,000 other qualified applicants, you have a 0.1% chance of getting that job.

As an intelligent job seeker, you should automatically recognize that when you utilize the mainstream avenues such as LinkedIn and Monster, you’re often competing with the masses.

As a result, you have less options, more rejection and lowered confidence from non-responsive hiring managers. (more…)

Posted January 15, 2014 by

Pursue Physiotherapy Courses for a Promising Career in 2014

Swati Srivastava

Swati Srivastava

Physiotherapy is a career-oriented discipline that offers various lucrative job opportunities. If you think you possess traits and interest in the respective field, the following post has a lot to tell you about a career in physiotherapy. Read on…

Physiotherapy is a booming career option in India, which requires dynamic professionals with important traits like patience, dedication and interpersonal skills. If you wish to pursue a career in the respective field, it is important to start early preparation. (more…)

Posted December 26, 2013 by

Young Professionals, Do You Show Professionalism on Your Recent Graduate Jobs?

For young professionals on recent graduate jobs and other employees in the workplace, there are certain qualities that define them as a professional.  In the following post, learn what these qualities are and more from an infographic.

The word “professional” gets thrown around a lot. Many believe it has to do with someone’s title, or experience level. Others consider someone to be more or less professional by the way they dress, or by their work ethic. But what does this word really mean? And why is this important to know?

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Posted November 13, 2013 by

Careers in Debt, Profitably So

Debt settlement approved

Debt settlement approved. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The recent economic collapse may have resulted in widespread financial loss but it has created a lot of profitable careers in the debt settlement industry. Debt settlement is the quickest and most rapidly expanding sector of the financial market and it appeals to those who are trying to get out of the economic recession and make profits from it. Those who are targeting demanding and well-rewarded careers should consider debt related careers as more and more debt companies provide debt related services for alleviation of the indebted and their problems. Debt settlement negotiators are now in demand as creditors now strive to figure out how to negotiate credit card settlements and other debts. (more…)