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Posted August 01, 2016 by

4 winning resume tips for recent graduates

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.

Posted April 29, 2016 by

20 ways to rock your resume

Resume with pen on table closeup courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Casper1774 Studio/Shutterstock.com

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.

Posted April 11, 2016 by

10 job interview questions you shouldn’t ask

Bad job interview - concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Eviled/Shutterstock.com

Congratulations! You’ve landed an entry-level job interview. Now, it is time to prepare for the big day, which includes creating some interview questions to ask if you get the chance. Keep in mind, though, there are questions college students and recent graduates should not ask their potential employers during interviews.

1. How much does the job pay?

Asking about salary in an interview tells the interviewer you’re more concerned with money than the actual job. I’m not saying money isn’t important, but save this discussion for after you have received a job offer.

2. How many days of vacation do I get?

It’s not wise for job seekers to ask about vacation time before landing entry-level jobs. Focusing on time off without a job offer leaves an impression that you lack commitment to work.

3. Can I take time off during exams?

This question might indicate to employers that college students have trouble handling multiple responsibilities, or that school is more important than work. Even though school work is a priority for students, employers are considering what is important to them.

4. Can I use social media at work?

It’s probably obvious to most (if not all) of you why job seekers shouldn’t ask this question. Interviewers would feel you’re more concerned with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers than succeeding at the position you’ve applied for.

Businessman working from home on laptop courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

5. Can I work from home?

Asking this question can leave an interviewer wondering if you have an issue with coming to work regularly. Wait until proving yourself for a while on a new job before requesting to work from home.

6. What kind of job is this?

Please don’t ask this question. If you do, you might as well walk out of the interview. The interviewer expects you to know what kind of job you’ve applied for. You can find this information in the job posting and on the company website.

7. When will I get promoted?

Asking this question makes the assumption that a job seeker has won the position, which won’t impress the interviewer. Remember, you need to get the job first so concentrate on that. With a good attitude and hard work, you may eventually earn a promotion.

8. Do you want my references?

The interviewer is concerned about you, not anyone else. It’s great you have references but save them for later, and focus on nailing the interview.

9. Are there any background checks?

Asking potential employers about background checks raises a red flag in their minds that you have something to hide. If you’re sure of yourself as a job candidate, a background check or drug screen won’t bother you.

10. Did I get the job?

While I’m sure you can’t wait to find out if you got the job, avoid asking if you did in the interview. Unless you’re told otherwise, follow up to learn the employer’s decision. Don’t follow up too soon. It’s okay to ask the employer at the end of the interview about the timeline for filling the position—this lets you know how long to wait before calling to check on your status as an applicant.

In a nutshell, job seekers should wait until after they receive employment offers before asking questions related to issues primarily benefiting themselves.

Are you looking for more information to help you in your job search? Come over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted April 01, 2016 by

Using LinkedIn and Twitter for college recruiting

Social media icons Linkedin, Twitter, etc. on smartphone screen close up courtesy of Shutterstock.com

quka/Shutterstock.com

Social media can be a valuable tool in college recruiting. With many college students and recent graduates on social media, college recruiters could find the best job candidates and learn more about them. LinkedIn and Twitter are two social networking websites that benefit recruiters. Amera Fattah, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Eventistry, discusses both sites from a recruiter’s perspective and offers advice to college students and recent grads.

“LinkedIn continues to be the top social media platform to recruit college graduates. We are surprised how many recent graduates aren’t jumping on this platform until graduation time, and that’s usually after they learn how hard it is to find good employers to work for. We recommend graduates set up their LinkedIn profiles about two years before graduation. On their profiles, graduates should note they’re seeking internships and also when they are graduating. Many recruiting firms and people working in talent acquisition in corporations will connect with recent grads and bookmark for them later.

Another common way good recruiters pickup candidate leads is on Twitter. This is usually done through content marketing, where a piece of content is put in front of the target market. Sometimes, we add a job posting on Twitter or an article such as “millennial resume mistakes,” and we pick up many leads from recent graduates seeking employment. New graduates need to keep their heads on a swivel; on social media they are going to find opportunities flashing by their faces even when they’re not looking. Ultimately, this is really how social media works when attracting college graduates for this generation. Grads may be following the Yelp \ Talia Jane trend on Twitter and then see a job posting roll through their feeds, so pay attention.”

Want more advice on using social media for college recruiting? Follow our blog to learn more about the best practices in college recruiting and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Amera Fattah, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Eventistry

Amera Fattah, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Eventistry

Amera Fattah is the Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Eventistry – a Metro Detroit event and creative services company. A graduate of Oakland University, she achieved her Bachelors of Arts in Communication and Public Relations with a concentration in biology. She began her career in marketing and media relations and has worked across multiple industries ranging from non-profit organizations, medical technology, real estate, and career services. She is also a board member of the The Art Experience, a non-profit organization dedicated to art therapy of underprivileged and special needs people. Amera is an avid social media specialist and has a passion for marketing, media relations, and creative services with a history of diverse work experiences and focus on millennial entrepreneurship.

Posted February 10, 2016 by

5 tips for hiring interns

Every company or organization that regularly hires numerous interns, with or without a college recruiting program, wants to know the best practices for hiring interns. Steven Rothberg, President and Founder of College Recruiter, offers his top 5 tips for hiring interns in this 5-minute video.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

1. Write compelling job posting ads.

Remember that job postings ads are not job descriptions. Understandably, job descriptions are often lengthy, detailing minutiae involved in daily tasks of the position, including “other duties as assigned.” However, job posting ads for internships should be succinct and convey your corporate identity and define your industry.

“Job posting ads are sales documents,” says Rothberg.

2. Approach internship training with enthusiasm.

“Internships are entry-level positions; by definition, that means [candidates] don’t have experience,” Rothberg reminds employers.

Employers, then, must provide interns with training. Rothberg explains the benefits of hiring interns, in spite of the need to train them.

3. Offer interns meaningful, realistic experiences.

Meaningful work doesn’t necessarily mean “interesting.” Many employers mistakenly believe they must entertain interns for a few months. Instead, employers should provide interns with a realistic view of their companies. This increases the likelihood that employers will retain interns hired full-time upon graduation.

4. Provide feedback.

The more feedback internship managers can provide to interns, the better.

“One of our clients encourages its managers to provide interns with at least one piece of tangible feedback every single day,” notes Rothberg.

Providing quality feedback doesn’t require writing formal reports, and the more interaction you have with your interns, the more feedback you will naturally provide.

5. Consider the internship relationship “temp to perm.”

Rothberg discourages recruiters from viewing interns as cheap hires or temporary labor; if employers and interns view the relationship as temp to perm, both will invest more in the experience.

At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent graduate deserves a great career, and we are committed to creating a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and graduates to great careers. Let College Recruiter assist you in the recruiting process. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook for more information about the best practices in college recruiting.

 

Posted July 14, 2015 by

How to Begin the Job Search as a New Graduate

Young female bachelor kneeling on a start line with a hand give a guide to start her new journey

Young female bachelor kneeling on a start line with a hand give a guide to start her new journey. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

You’ve just thrown your graduation cap into the air and you’re thinking finally, freedom! You ascend one end of the stage knowing you’re leaving school behind, and descend the other end having officially entered ‘The Real World.’

Then it hits you.

Soon you’ll have to:

1. Apply for jobs.

2. Figure out how you’ll be using the degree you’ve spent years of sleepless nights and thousands of dollars to earn.

Don’t panic. These two tips will get you started in your job hunt. (more…)

Posted January 30, 2015 by

Classroom to Career: Six Steps You Must Take to Get a Rewarding Job

Woman searching newspaper classified ads

Woman searching newspaper classified ads. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

With many students working hard towards getting their degree, some don’t anticipate how difficult it may be to find a job, even with an education. As college grads enter the workforce, they may accept another position until the right one comes along. Following these six steps can help you find a rewarding job after college: (more…)

Posted December 10, 2014 by

Vets Can Make a Difference in Your Recruiting

Soldier salutes on white background

Soldier salutes on white background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Did you know that 99% of the companies that have hired military veterans want to hire more?

There are many good reasons for hiring vets:

  • Vets are typically better educated than their civilian counterparts
  • Vets are eligible for free relocation
  • Vets represent an elite subset of the market (only 24% of 18-24 years olds can join)
  • Vets are trained to be goal-directed and detail-oriented

(more…)

Posted December 08, 2014 by

Where Do Your Hires Come From?

Congratulations, you're hired! says manager to selected candidate

Congratulations, you’re hired! says manager to selected candidate. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

For the past decade, Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler of CareerXroads have surveyed thousands of employers about where their hires originated. This reliable study (you can get your copy here) consistently points to three top sources:

  1. Referrals;
  2. Employer career sites; and
  3. Job boards.

(more…)

Posted November 10, 2014 by

3 Ways to Create a Resume Title Worth Noticing

Resume form title page close-up. Shallow DOF.

Resume form title page close-up. Shallow DOF. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Job seekers, as you’re writing your resumes, have you thought about how to get the attention of potential employers?  How about creating an attractive resume title?  A resume title allows you to summarize your skills and experience, and tell an employer how you can help him or her.  Think of the title as a newspaper headline; it is the first thing a reader sees on the paper.  In this case, your resume title is the headline and the reader is an employer or recruiter.  If your title is appealing, then the reader is more likely to want to learn more about you as a job seeker.  Here are three ways to create a resume title worth noticing. (more…)