• The hidden problem with big data

    October 17, 2016 by

    1547174HR has long measured recruitment success. Now, in the age of “big data”, we are generating so much more to measure. One benefit of analyzing big data is that with more information we’ll have better decision-making and reduce the stubborn subjectivity that comes with using human brains.

    Right?

    We should be cautious to assume that human bias will disappear just because we have more analytical tools at hand. In fact, big data can expose our bias and force you to walk the walk. Once you track all those numbers, some unconscious bias and unintended discrimination may emerge and will now be in plain sight. Ultimately, this accountability is a great step forward in recruitment. You’ll just want to make sure your company is ready to respond. Here are three examples of where it’s wise to examine your data practices.

    Scraping personal data from online sources. It wouldn’t be too hard to discover a candidate’s race or sexual orientation, given how much personal trace we all leave on the Internet. We’d love to assume those factors make no difference, but too many studies have shown otherwise. Some minority job applicants have even resorted to “whitening” their resumes. A study published this year showed that minority applicants were more successful if they deleted information from their resume that hinted at their race, for example, if they attended a Historically Black College or were a member of Hispanic professional association.

    Key word searching. Keyword searching can be a great way to sort out quality candidates among the thousands of real or potential applicants. However, employers must “apply the same rigor that they would use when creating job advertisements. For example, avoid any terms that could be considered directly or indirectly discriminatory (e.g., ‘‘recent graduate,’’ ‘‘highly experienced.’).”

    Hiring tests. Many companies give candidates a test at the interview stage to help them make decisions based on qualitative data. It sounds great, and can be, if it’s administered fairly. If you use these tests, you must use them for all applicants. And you must—gasp!—actually pay attention to the data. For example, it wouldn’t be fair to only give the test to minority candidates (this happened), or ignore White candidates’ bad test results (this happened too).

    Using big data can be used to make good hires. Just don’t forget to be honest with yourself. If you analyze a big pool of data to select qualified candidates, and they all end up being of one race and one gender, this is a sign you may have accidentally inserted your own bias. Go back to the steps in your process. Ask yourself, “Are my words or actions appealing to only certain demographics?” (This recruiting tech company uses their own big data to help you look at wording in your job postings, for example.) As one of America’s most popular economists, Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics fame, puts it:

    We believe that if you get a pile of data representing a million decisions, that that’s better than asking three people what decisions they made. While I very much believe that to be true, and I very much applaud all the instincts for all of us to work with data in aggregate to distill the biggest truths, I also know that we’re humans and that …we’re biased in a lot of ways.

     

  • 4 winning resume tips for recent graduates

    August 01, 2016 by
    Businessman passing document to businesswoman photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    You don’t like getting spam, do you? Well, neither do hiring managers. It may be quick and efficient to upload your resume on popular job sites and send employers the same robo-resume, but hiring managers view these generic, mass mailings as spam. They can spot one-size-fits-all resumes in a nano-second and quickly discard them.

    Here are four tips from hiring managers featured in the book, Graduate to a Great Career, on how to create a winning resume:

    1. Add a short profile statement and your key selling points at the top “above the fold”

    Realize your resume is an ad for branding yourself. Like a newspaper, an ad, or web page, the most important “real estate” is in the top half of your resume. Branding resumes begin with a profile or qualifications statement, a couple of crisp sentences that define your value. A strong profile statement is critical for recent graduates. You don’t have an impressive job title and career history yet, so you’ll need to specify your career focus and value proposition in your profile statement. In fact, many hiring managers told me a big problem with new graduate resumes is it can be hard to determine what entry-level job the new grad is looking for, especially if the grad doesn’t have a career-specific major like accounting or computer science. A profile headline like “Seeking an entry-level positioning” is too generic and doesn’t convey your career path. Remember, it’s your job to convey your career identity, not the hiring manager’s. For example, a recent grad named Erin who was a psychology major pursuing a career in marketing began her profile with the headline, “Aspiring marketing assistant: Psychology grad with pulse on the consumer mindset,” followed by a few bullets outlining her focus, strengths, and marketing credentials through two internships.

    2. Expand your skill set to take advantage of new market opportunities

    Be willing to take advantage of where the momentum is in the marketplace. During her job search for marketing jobs, Erin, our aspiring marketer mentioned above, noticed big retailers were advertising entry-level jobs and internships in merchandising, an area related to marketing that involves selecting products and evaluating sales performance. She decided to expand her job search and pursue both career paths: merchandising and marketing. Because there were a lot of merchandising internships online, she snagged a three-month, part-time internship at a large global retailer. But Erin needed a different elevator pitch and resume to apply for full-time merchandising jobs, and now with her internship, she had a story to tell. She had a hands-on role in compiling trend and competitive analysis reports, which gave her specific marketable skills. Here is Erin’s new profile statement for her merchandising resume, “Merchandising assistant with strong analytic, merchandising, and marketing skills.” She included new skills such as “completed Excel reports for accurate demand forecasting that resulted in a 10% improvement in accurate buying.” Before long, Erin was offered a merchandising job at a top global retailer.

    3. Play to keywords and how the resume robots screen resumes.

    The first “person” your resume has to impress is not likely to be a human being but a computer. Due to the volume of resumes that large and medium-sized companies receive, most companies use ATS (applicant tracking systems). Most ATS’s are not kind to new grads since they are programmed to check for a strong keyword match. Since most recent grads have limited experience, they don’t score high on an ATS (Only 25% of resumes make it past the resume robots). If you do have a strong skills match with a job posting, take the time to use the same exact words in your resume so the resume robots pick them out. Your resume can also be discarded if you format it incorrectly. Keep the layout simple with commonly used section titles like profile, work experience, education, etc.

    4. Emphasize skills, experience, and results in the “Action + Numbers = Results” format.

    Employers now give twice as much importance to specific skills and work experience as academic courses and grades. How do you make your abilities and skills stand out when you’re a new grad with limited work experience? It might take more effort than for an experienced job seeker, but you have more experience and accomplishments than you realize. Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished in internships, school projects, volunteer activities, part-time jobs, and the like. Then, follow this formula to create a powerful results bullet:

    Action + Numbers = Results

    Did [A] + as measured by [N] = with these results [R]

    Here are a few examples of how college students and recent grads have created marketable results bullets out of internships and part-time jobs:

    • Raised $55,000 in first month calling alumni for university capital
    campaign; the top student performer all four weeks.

    • As a brand ambassador interning at X Company, challenged to increase
    website traffic, wrote ten blog posts that generated over 240 responses,
    and helped boost sales.

    • Prepared detailed Excel reports and pitches for business development
    group at fast-growing technology company that
    increased response rate by 15%.

    The key to a successful resume and job search is to go for quality over quantity. You need to invest a little more time to create a resume that is right for each job, but it will pay off. Your efforts will be rewarded, and you’ll be on your way to an interview in no time.

    Catherine Kaputa, guest writer

    Catherine Kaputa, guest writer

    Catherine Kaputa is a Personal Brand Strategist, Speaker, and Author of the newly-released book, Graduate to a Great Career: How Smart Students, New Graduates, and Young Professionals Can Launch Brand You. (April 2016. graduatetoagreatcareer.com). She is the author of two best-selling books, You Are a Brand and Breakthrough Branding for entrepreneurs. She is the Founder of SelfBrand (selfbrand.com). Speaking clients include Google, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Intel, Citi, Merck, Northwestern University, New York University, and University of Illinois.

  • 10 most tricky HR questions for students

    July 16, 2016 by
    Interview photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    You know what the problem is when you graduate and start the interviewing process? You have perhaps half a dozen, perhaps twice that number of interviews under your belt. The people sitting there behind those big desks staring at you steely-eyed? They have done hundreds. That means they know the tricks, they know the strategies, and they know how to make you stumble. If you want to stand a chance at beating them at their own game, you have to be prepared.

    Why should I hire you?

    This one catches people a lot. They are afraid they will either come across as too arrogant or that they will not push themselves enough. The thing is that is not really what the question is about, and both those traps can be easily avoided if you realize that.

    This is not about you telling them how amazing you are. This is about you showing how much you know about them (which is everybody’s favorite topic). So show them that you know what the position entails and what skills will be required. After you have done that you can modestly admit that you have those skills (preferably with a few examples of where you’ve used those skills as showing is always better than telling).

    Why is there a gap in your work history?

    You have been unemployed for six months because you needed some time to chill out and get your priorities sorted. Or you spent some time living on a beach seeing if it is really true your skin turns green when you drink too many mojitos. Or you lived in your parents’ basements and played video games. Fantastic! You do not necessarily want to tell them that though.

    Instead, talk about how you used that time to make yourself a better person. Talk about freelancing work you did, social outreach, or how you spent your time searching for the perfect job (which is obviously the one you are interviewing for right now). Put a positive spin on things by showing how much you grew as a person.

    You have been fired from your last job. How did it make you feel?

    You have to demonstrate that you can take a blow without becoming either angry or resentful. So even if you are, burry that deep and instead tell them about how you used this as an opportunity to improve yourself so that nothing like this can ever happen to you again.

    What is your biggest weakness?

    A nasty question! There is no doubt about it. You better prepare to meet this one every so often, because a lot of HR managers have this one in their repertoire and like to throw it out there to see how you react.

    The right way to go is to remember that strengths and weaknesses can be different sides of the same coin. So if you have a weakness, admit it and then explain to them how in some situations it can be a strength. Alternatively, take your greatest strength and admit when it might actually be a weakness. That way you show you understand yourself.

    Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?

    This one is as much to see how you handle being put on the spot as to see if you will be honest. Remember, everybody is bound to have bad experiences occasionally. We are all human. So they are not going to believe you when you say ‘no, never.’ Instead think of something that did go wrong then admit that it was at least partially your fault and explain how you learned from it and how you will be better next time. That shows both humility and wisdom.

    Do not bag on your previous employer! That will raise all sorts of red flags. Yes, it they might be bad people, but this person sitting opposite you will not have a better impression of you if you decide to tell them that.

    Frustrated businesswoman screaming photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Tell about a day when you messed up at work

    Another one of those situations where you have to be honest and admit you have done something wrong. After all, nobody is perfect, and if you are not willing to admit you have screwed up you can wave the job you are interviewing for good-bye. Just like with the last question the trick here is to show what you have learned.

    How would you deliver bad news to a colleague?

    Here is your opportunity to demonstrate empathy and your ability to deal with a stressful situation in a grownup manner. So do not suggest you would send them a text or first let everybody in the office know so that you can all have a laugh. Instead, show them how diplomatic you are.

    Will you be out to take my job?

    Okay, here you can lie. ‘No’ is the correct answer. ‘I doubt I could do it as well as you’ is a good follow up.

    How did you prepare for this interview?

    Here is where you demonstrate that you care enough about the job to actually have researched the position (you did research the position didn’t you?). So tell them how you went to the website and read this that and the other. Here you get to show off some of the things you learned, including talking a little bit about the industry as well as what their company specifically does.

    Where would you really like to work?

    ‘Here’ is the right answer. Now you can be a bit honest and suggest that you want to ultimately move into another area in the company, but whatever you do, do not say another company name! That is a fantastic way to close the door on any opportunity to work there.

    Last words

    The most important thing to remember is that there will be other interviews and however many ‘no’s you get you only want one ‘yes’, so don’t get too stressed out. You will get there in the end. After that, you will have to go through the hard work of keeping the job. That is not exactly easy either, but at this moment, that probably feels more like a ‘wish I had that problem’ problem.

    Need more interview tips? Visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

    Dante Munnis, guest writer

    Dante Munnis, guest writer

    Dante Munnis is a blogger and idea maker from Stockholm who is interested in self-development, web related topics, and success issues. He shares ideas for students living a better life and building habits that stick. To get strategies for boosting your mental and physical performance, you can get in touch with Dante via Twitter.

     

  • How to get a dream job even without experience

    June 20, 2016 by
    Dream, job, way photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    It’s intensely frustrating. You spend years getting further education, you work your butt off, you rack up extra debt, and afterwards no doors will open because ‘you lack experience’ or because university ‘didn’t teach you the skills you need.’ But how can you get experience if nobody will give you a job?

    Well fear not; there are actually ways to get that dream job after all, and that’s without first working 10 years at some entry-level position trying to make your mark. It just means working hard right now and showing everybody that you’ve got the mojo to pull it off.
    So are you ready to get noticed? Here’s what you’ve got to do.

    Do the time

    Despite what many young people think, the world doesn’t owe them anything. That means your dream job is not going to get thrown into your lap. If you want it, you’ve got to look for it, hunt for it, and when you found it, battle to get it. So make sure you don’t sit back and wait for something to happen.

    Instead, pursue every channel to get the job you want, be it social media, friends of the family, career counseling at university or the classifieds in the local newspaper (some people actually still use those). And apply to everything that sounds close to what you want. Even if you don’t end up wanting it, the experience from going to the interview can be just what you need to wow your future employers when you do land the right interview.

    Develop your soft skills

    One of the biggest problems employers have with fresh graduates is that they don’t have the soft skills necessary to actually get anywhere in the workplace. By soft skills I mean teamwork, communication, writing and problem-solving skills. An even bigger problem? Graduates think they’re actually very good at those things and therefore don’t take the time to become better at them. Don’t be like everybody else; accept that you’ve still got a lot to learn, then go out of your way to learn soft skills!

    Be confident but not arrogant

    There is another good reason besides soft skills that many people don’t like hiring recent graduates – and that’s because recent graduates often have a much higher estimation of what they’re capable of than what they’re actually capable of. They come swaggering into the workplace believing that they’ll show these business people a thing or two about how it’s done.

    The thing is, often they don’t know how it’s done. They’ve got too little work experience and often too much idealism. They’ve got a lot to learn but think too highly of themselves to realize this is so.

    Don’t be that person. Be respectful, accept that you’re still at the beginning of your life and that experience is valuable, but make it clear to your future employer that you’re smart enough to know what you know and driven enough to learn what you don’t. That will impress them.

    Prepare for the interview

    There are some tricky questions interviewers can’t ask you, and if you haven’t prepared then they may stump you. So take time to prepare. Not only that, but make sure you know the names of the people you’re going to interview with, as well as whatever basic facts you can find online. People will be impressed if you are well-informed. It shows that you care, that you’re a good researcher, that you’re proactive and that you’re willing to invest effort to get what you want.

    Show off your expertise

    If you want the dream job, you’ve got to show that your skill set is much greater than your limited CV gives you credit for. So you’ve got to show off your expertise. This can be done in multiple ways–by getting an endorsement from somebody who matters in the industry or one of your professors, for instance, but probably the best way is to actually start working in the field. So either start freelancing while you’re still in college, or otherwise start blogging and build up a reputation as somebody who knows what they’re talking about.

    Be passionate

    Read books and articles in your field, understand theory as best you can, know who the players are, and when you get around to writing your cover letter, show them how much you care. Now don’t be a gushing ninny. You’ve got to be professional, but you still have to demonstrate to them that even though you don’t have as much experience as everybody else in the field, you’ve got more than enough passion to make up for it.

    Be a protagonist

    You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions or your lack thereof. It won’t be easy to jump the cue. It will, in fact, take a lot of hard work, so you’ve got to prepare for that. That said, it is possible so long as you take the time to be do what you’ve got to do and show that you’re a cut above the rest.

    And if it goes wrong, own it, learn what you can from it and get back up again. Then push on. That’s the only way it’s going to work. You’ve got to be the hero of your own story, because otherwise you’re the victim. And who hires the victim?

    Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

    Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

    Jonathan Emmen is a student and an inspired blogger from Copenhagen. His passion is writing, and he finds inspiration in traveling, books, and movies. You can follow him on @JonnyEmmen or you can also follow him on Kinja.

  • Top 9 excuses for not attending a job interview

    June 13, 2016 by

     

    Oh no! Something has gone horribly wrong and now you can’t attend the job interview! What can you possibly say to the company to make them give you another chance? Well, whatever you are going to say, may I suggest that you say it as early as possible? Call in a timely fashion. This will show them you respect them and their time. This is vital if you want to make certain that you’ll get another chance. Continue Reading

  • 5 tips to manage a stress-free online job search

    May 23, 2016 by
    Women laptop photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Today, most job searches are conducted online. Although some parts of the country will still focus on more personable job searches, the majority of young Americans will be searching for their first entry-level jobs on computers. Online job searches are both convenient and troublesome. Recent graduates no longer have to go to an employment agency’s office or endlessly drop in on various professionals in order to gain employment in a company; rather they can conduct all of their employment research from the comfort of their own homes. On the other hand, potential entry-level employees can be difficult to distinguish from one another because their résumés tend to look similar. On paper, new grads can appear to be one and the same, but in person their different skills, interests, and personalities can shine through. For many employers, the right personality is just as valuable as qualifications on paper. So how can recent grads manage their online job search without becoming entirely overwhelmed?

    1) Focus the job search

    New grads who have obtained broad degrees such as in business or communications will be able to apply to a diverse range of jobs. However, applying to several different jobs in several different subfields can become stressful very quickly. Job seekers are encouraged to focus their searches on a particular job title (and similar positions) during their online searches. They should start with a subfield they feel passionate about because their excitement for the position (or lack thereof) will shine through and give them a better chance of achieving interviews.

    2) Supplement with in-person contacts and connections

    Although online job searches are convenient, they are not always successful if conducted without the help of in-person contacts. Former professors and alumni connections are an essential part of a first time job search, and they can provide introductions and tips that can be extremely valuable. An online resume can easily go from the middle of the pile to the top with an introduction or recommendation coming from someone already within the company.

    3) Pick a time of day to call it quits

    At some point, job seekers have to call it quits, at least for that day. In many cases, recent grads are searching for a job late in the evening after coming home from their part-time college jobs. Job seekers don’t do a great job of proofreading or checking for important details late at night and often send out applications they later wish they could have taken a second look at. The late hours of the evening also come with varying degrees of mental fatigue that result from a full day’s work. Even if job seekers are a few minutes away from finishing an important application, they’re encouraged to proofread the next morning with fresh eyes.

    4) Go the extra mile

    Because most current applicants don’t reach out in person or on the phone, those who do will get more attention. If there is a number for an HR Manager or department head, applicants should give them a call and introduce themselves or ask any pertinent questions regarding the position. Instead of following up with just an email, follow up with a personable phone call. Applicants who are giving an interview are encouraged to send a handwritten thank-you note that will make them stand out from the crowd.

    5) Put a little piece of your personality in each cover letter

    Because the hiring manager only learns about applicants from a couple pieces of paper, it’s important their personalities shine through. Most applicants write one cover letter and gear it towards each position. However, an applicant’s skills and passion tend to become apparent when each cover letter is written from scratch. Additionally, it’s important that job seekers write their cover letters at a time of day when they have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It’s also a great idea to ask another person to proofread a cover letter and make sure that it’s personable, professional, and easy to read.

    For more help with your online job search, make you way to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Robyn Scott, guest writer

    Robyn Scott, guest writer

    Robyn Scott, a guest writer for College Recruiter, is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.

  • How to conduct a successful informational interview

    May 11, 2016 by
    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!

  • 6 things to do before starting a new job

    May 02, 2016 by
    Welcome on board - businesswoman holding white sign with text in the office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    docstockmedia/Shutterstock.com

    It’s the time of year when many college seniors begin thinking about what they will do after graduation. Most students focus on the interview process but may not have thought about what to do when they are offered full-time jobs. It can be both exciting and scary but starting a first professional job is now part of the imminent future. Although many students have worked part-time and participated in internships, starting a full-time job is a different venture. Student life is unique in many ways, so it’s important for soon-to-be graduates to make a few changes before they begin new entry-level jobs.

    1) Look the part

    College doesn’t have a dress code, but most jobs do. To be taken seriously, it’s a good idea for students to know what most of their colleagues will be wearing. Some offices will require a suit and tie, but most are now business casual. One of the most common mistakes new employees make is showing up to the office in attire that’s too informal.

    2) Practice the importance of being prompt

    Probably the most undervalued asset new employees can possess is promptness in communication. In addition to being to work on time or early, new employees should learn how important it is to stay in communication with the team. It’s fairly common for college students to forget about emailing professors or their peers because they’re mostly relying on social media to be in touch. However, new employees who don’t respond to a colleague’s or supervisor’s email or phone call will be viewed as unreliable. If something is going to take 24 hours to complete, be sure to send a quick note that communicates this information.

    3) Get into a daily routine

    College classes can be held at 7:30 in the morning or 10:30 at night, and most students will have significant breaks to work on self-study throughout the day. Most office jobs, however, are from eight to five (although flexible work schedules are becoming more common). It’s important to get into a routine of getting up early and dealing with the morning commute and also having enough down time later in the day to be prepared to do it all again tomorrow.

    4) Gather paperwork

    Once students graduate and start new jobs, they’ll be very busy adjusting to their new responsibilities. Gather any academic paperwork needed prior to the first day on the job. This can include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, references, networking contacts, or anything else that might be needed in a particular field. Many employers will ask for this paperwork, so it’s better to have it on hand and readily available.

    5) Chat with your mentor

    It’s a great idea to sit down with a mentor before starting a new job. A mentor will have specific and valuable insight into a particular field and perhaps even a specific company or manager. Take any advice available in order to be successful the first few months of a new career. Mentors can also help ease anxiety and build confidence that can make those first few weeks run smoothly.

    6) Get organized

    Graduating from college is a huge transition and can leave students feeling their lives are in disarray. Each person’s situation will be different, but it’s important to begin a new job feeling organized. Whether this means settling into a new home, moving across the country, or just getting paperwork in order, an organized lifestyle will help a person be more professional and help them focus on making a great impression in the workplace.

    Want more advice for recent graduates going into the workforce? Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Robyn Scott, guest writer

    Robyn Scott, guest writer

    Robyn Scott, a guest writer for College Recruiter, is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.

  • 20 ways to rock your resume

    April 29, 2016 by
    Resume with pen on table closeup courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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    Another week without attention paid to your resume. You are applying for jobs that match your education and skills; you have a nicely formatted document; and you have outlined your work experience very well with bolded headings and bullet points like you were told to do. You’re qualified but just can’t manage to get that call for an interview. Could there be that many people more qualified than you? Maybe not. There may be some flaws in your resume you have not realized.

    Here are 20 tips that can improve your resume.

    Make sure you are emphasizing results, not responsibilities

    It’s a common error; job seekers are trying very hard to list all of their responsibilities for each position. Their thinking, of course, is the more responsibilities, the more qualified they will be. What is more important to employers is the results, what job seekers have actually accomplished.

    Take a look at the responsibilities you have listed for each position. Can you list any quantifiable results? Did your re-organization save the department $50,000 a year? Sometimes, you may think results will be hard to provide. For example, perhaps you took over a department that had no baseline data to work with to show improvement. And maybe the improvement was qualitative rather than quantitative. Take employee morale, for instance. You know you improved it when you took over that department. But how was the improvement measured? Maybe there was much lower turnover or maybe the rate of absenteeism dropped significantly. These are important figures to have. Never leave a position without gathering figures that support your results.

    A lot of space was spent on this item. Why? Because it is the one thing employers say is usually missing from a resume.

    Target skills/background for each position

    This is the primary reason why you need to tweak each resume for every job opening. If you have background in training, administration, HR, and sales/sales management, and are applying for jobs that focus on one of those, then focus your resume in that direction. Spend far more space on that focus area than on others. Generic resumes don’t really work anymore.

    Re-visit keywords for each position

    Change out your keywords based upon two things: the job description and the company’s website. Sometimes, reading through the company’s home page and the “about us” page will give you more keywords to include. And keywords that relate to the position should be placed as close to the top of the resume as possible and included in your cover letter.

    Include a summary section

    A statement of your career goals at the beginning of your resume is not advisable. Companies don’t care about your goals; they care about what you “bring to the table.” Switch that out for a short summary of your skills and experience that relate to the position, with four to five sentences only.

    Use standard software

    Microsoft Word or a PDF version of your resume should be the only programs used to submit resumes. Scanning will probably not recognize any other programs, and you will never know your resume was unreadable.

    Business woman unhappy with resumes of applicants and throwing them on the table courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Milles Studio/Shutterstock.com

    Aim for one page

    Edit, edit, edit. Take out anything superfluous, reduce sentences to phrases, and remove some of your contact information. Employers don’t need your address and don’t include references unless specifically asked to do so. If you are able to edit the resume to one page, that is ideal. But NEVER go beyond two pages unless you are preparing a CV.

    Do not lie

    Not about anything. Of course, you want to try to avoid resume mistakes, and of course you want to present yourself in the best light. Exaggerating or giving yourself a job title you did not actually have are big risks. These things can be discovered when references and/or social media are reviewed. Focus on your skills and qualifications completely but honestly.

    Use action verbs

    They are so much stronger. If you don’t know the difference, here is an example:

    1. Responsible for implementing budget reduction by 10% without loss of productivity

    2. Reduced budget by 10% without loss of productivity

    The second phrase is strong and active. (P.S.: Never use “I”)

    Visual appeal is a must

    You’ve seen enough resume templates to understand what visual appeal is. The best font now is probably Arial, 12-14 point. The reason for this is there’s good, natural spacing between lines that are not complete and enough white space between bulleted points. Your final resume should have sub-headings in bold (e.g., each position), and a larger font to separate sections of the document. The goal is to make it scannable, not just by a computer program (applicant tracking systems), but by humans, too. No one wants to search for your information.

    Be clear about job titles

    So long as you are not exaggerating, use a job title that will make clear what you did at a previous organization. Sometimes, organizations have internal titles that mean nothing on the outside. So, if you were a “Level II Tech Support,” change that out to “Systems Analyst,” if that was what your position really entailed.

    Be really brief

    Do not use full sentences unless you are crafting a CV (These are prose documents). Brief phrases only, please. Remember – scannable.

    Perfect grammar and spelling

    Don’t rely only on grammar and spell-check programs. They will not recognize incorrect numbers or words that are wrong but are still words. And, in some instances misspellings will not be caught either. If you are really good in this area, read your resume backwards, and you will catch misspellings; read it forward line-by-line. If you are not highly skilled, get someone who is.

    Avoid gimmicks

    Having your resume hand-delivered by FedEx or courier is not appreciated, and, in fact, is a bit of a turnoff. Just don’t do it. Submit your resume according to the instructions on the job posting.

    Graphics should fit the company culture

    It is more acceptable today to use some color and graphics than in the past, but these resumes are best suited for younger, more progressive organizations. Tailor color and graphics based upon the culture of the company. If you are not sure, check the website. As a general rule, banks, financial, and educational/scientific institutions are conservative; tech and marketing companies are more progressive. For creative positions, graphics are certainly suitable.

    Never state salary

    Never include past salaries in your work experience. And absolutely never include your salary or benefit requirements for a new position. Epic fail if you do.

    Don’t address negatives

    If you were fired or laid off, never state this in your resume. That is the stuff for discussion during an interview. And don’t lie about it either; be as honest as possible, and never “trash” a former boss or company.

    Add links

    Long before submitting resumes, it will be important to have a professional online presence. Include the link to your LinkedIn profile and, if warranted, a website with a portfolio of your work and/or accomplishments. If you have been a guest blogger on relevant sites, provide links to those posts too.

    Update consistently

    It is often advised when you start a new position, you begin updating your resume. This is because you want to be sure to remember all of your accomplishments if and when you decide to make another career move, or if, for any reason, your employment is terminated (companies do close). Keep your resume updated all the time.

    No tag lines

    Lines such as “References available upon request,” are not necessary and just take up space. Leave them out. If you are asked for references or links to things during an interview, you can provide them at that time.

    Do not abbreviate

    The only abbreviation you can use is “U.S.” Otherwise, spell everything out. Even abbreviations for schools attended may not be known by employers. The rule for acronyms is the same; spell them out.

    This article provides a good checklist for job seekers, whether they are crafting their first resumes ever or if they are veterans with several previous resumes under their belts. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a difference.

    Need assistance with your resume for your job search? Get a free resume critique on College Recruiter. Also, come to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

    Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

    Kerry Creaswood is a young and ambitious writer from Savannah, Georgia. She is fond of various forms of art and thinks everything we can imagine is real. To find more about Kerry, check her Twitter.

  • Google before interviewing job candidates

    April 28, 2016 by
    Homepage of Google.com courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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    Before requesting job candidates for interviews these days, recruiters and hiring managers are doing their homework. Thanks to Google, employers can learn more about potential employees on social media and elsewhere and decide whether or not candidates fit their company culture. The practice of Googling candidates is becoming more common. Joel Passen, Head of Marketing at Newton Software, Inc., says this practice is now normal and not just a trend.

     

    “In the fourth quarter of 2014, we surveyed 350 corporate recruiters. These are recruiters at US-based, small and medium-sized businesses. We found 67% of these respondents do indeed Google search their applicants before making contact or a decision on whether or not to interview applicants. Our hunch was “Googling” applicants was more than just a trend; it’s become the new normal way to gather tidbits of social proof before engaging with job seekers. We found the pervasiveness of Googling job seekers so strong that we actually added a feature to our applicant tracking system to allow users to Google a candidate with one click. As such, Googling candidates during the early stages of the applicant lifecycle has become a feature!”

    If you’re interested in more interviewing advice for employers or job seekers, go to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Joel Passen, Head of Marketing at Newton Software

    Joel Passen, Head of Marketing at Newton Software

    For nearly a decade, Joel Passen spent his days in the belly of the beast as a corporate recruiting leader where he consistently drove change. Passionate about the intersection of technology and talent, Joel co-founded Newton Software, a technology company developing cloud-based recruiting solutions for small and medium-sized employers, where he serves as the Head of Marketing. In addition to his responsibilities at Newton Software, which was acquired by Paycor in 2015, Joel actively serves as an Advisory Board Member for two growing companies in the talent acquisition industry.