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Posted December 27, 2016 by

10 strategies December college graduates should follow for job search success

 

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

1. Develop a strong value proposition: Start by developing a strong value proposition and identifying those important soft and transferrable skills, says Bob LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff, a company that serves as a career matchmaker for recent college graduates, and companies that are looking to fill entry-level jobs.

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

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

But…

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

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

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

LaBombard offers these additional tips:

(more…)

Posted March 11, 2016 by

LinkedIn tip #5: Rich media content

What is rich media content, and will sharing it on your LinkedIn profile really help you in your job search?

This article and video, featuring expert Chaim Shapiro, will answer that question.

Over the next two weeks, College Recruiter is publishing 10 LinkedIn tips. Today’s video, tip #5, is hosted by Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter. Chaim Shapiro, Assistant Director of Career Services at Touro College and social media consultant, offers college students, recent graduates, and other job seekers tips about including rich media content in their LinkedIn profiles.


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

Chaim Shapiro encourages LinkedIn users to add rich media content, including hyperlinks to published content on websites, slideshares of PowerPoint presentations, documents such as resumes, and YouTube videos to their LinkedIn profiles. Whatever claims LinkedIn users make in the summary section of their profiles, they should back up with rich media content.

Shapiro reminds users that other LinkedIn connections will only be able to view the top five items of rich media content in the summary section unless they click “see more”; users can choose which five are presented at the top of the summary section and should think strategically about placement.

For more of Chaim Shapiro’s top 10 LinkedIn tips, subscribe to College Recruiter’s YouTube channel and follow College Recruiter on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed. is the Assistant Director of Career Services at Touro College, a freelance writer, public speaker and social media consultant specializing in LinkedIn. He has presented his popular LinkedIn Workshop at National Conferences, Universities, Public Libraries and for communal organizations across the country. Chaim earned a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel from Loyola University, Chicago, and also studied in the Institutional Leadership and Policy Studies Ph.D. program at the University of California, Riverside Graduate School of Education. He has more than 12 years of experience working in college administration.

Posted March 09, 2016 by

LinkedIn tip #3: Vanity URL & public profile settings

When searching for jobs and networking online, do you use LinkedIn effectively? Over the next two weeks, College Recruiter is publishing social media expert Chaim Shapiro’s top 10 LinkedIn tips. Today’s tip, tip #3, provides viewers and readers with tips about editing their vanity URLs on LinkedIn and tips for tweaking their public profile settings for optimal success.

 


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

Expert Chaim Shapiro, Assistant Director of Career Services at Touro College and award-winning social media consultant, provides college students, recent graduates, and all job seekers with valuable information about LinkedIn in his video. He advises viewers to edit the vanity URL in LinkedIn immediately after creating a LinkedIn account to reflect their names (or something very similar) to avoid a vanity URL with lots of letters, numbers, and a confusing LinkedIn URL.

Your vanity URL leads people to your public profile page, so it’s important to keep the vanity URL simple. Shapiro also recommends that LinkedIn users take time to select which information they want to share on their public profiles.

For more of Shapiro’s LinkedIn tips, subscribe to College Recruiter’s YouTube channel, follow College Recruiter’s blog, and follow College Recruiter on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed. is the Assistant Director of Career Services at Touro College, a freelance writer, public speaker and social media consultant specializing in LinkedIn. He has presented his popular LinkedIn Workshop at National Conferences, Universities, Public Libraries and for communal organizations across the country. Chaim earned a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel from Loyola University, Chicago, and also studied in the Institutional Leadership and Policy Studies Ph.D. program at the University of California, Riverside Graduate School of Education. He has more than 12 years of experience working in college administration.

Posted February 15, 2016 by

3 tips for a focused job search

Man writing job search diagram on glass board

tommaso lizzul/Shutterstock.com

College students must stay focused when conducting a job search for entry-level jobs. This means eliminating distractions. Consider these three tips to help you conduct a more focused job search.

1. One creative and effective idea for a more focused job search is creating a weekly workflow plan every Friday afternoon for the following week. Which organizations will you reach out to for the first time, how, and when? Which organizations will you follow-up with for the second time, how, and when? Which organizations will you follow-up with for the third time, how, and when? Plan your job search schedule in the same way your college courses are planned out with syllabi.

2. Limiting the number of times you check email and text messages will help you stay focused on your job search. If you’re always glancing at your inbox, it will take away from time-consuming tasks such as writing resumes and cover letters. Unless messages are urgent, answer them later.

3. Setting timeframes and goals is another way to stay focused. Creating a plan provides college students with structure in finding jobs. By breaking down the time to search for jobs into individual parts, you won’t overwhelm yourself, and you will feel a sense of accomplishment by completing tasks.

A successful job search requires a commitment. By avoiding distractions, you won’t get sidetracked from that commitment. College students and recent grads who stay focused will ultimately land great entry-level jobs.

Need more tips related to staying focused and motivated during your job search? Follow our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube for career tips and job search motivation.

At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent grad deserves a great career. We work to create a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and grads to excellent entry-level jobs.

Posted January 19, 2016 by

Resume 101: 5 tips for writing your first resume

Writing your first resume may overwhelm you.

Don’t let it. College Recruiter is here to help with a brief video providing five basic resume writing tips for college students and recent college graduates.

 

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

 

1. Keep a running list.

Prior to writing your first resume (beginning the minute you step foot on campus during your first year of college, ideally), it’s helpful to keep a running list of what you’re up to—on-campus involvement (sorority and fraternity involvement, clubs, etc.), work experience, scholarships and awards earned, and volunteer activities. Take note of titles of scholarships, companies, managers, and organizations. It’s easy to forget these details when you sit down to compose your first resume, but if you’ve been maintaining a running list, you’ll have it all on hand.

You can keep this running list in whatever format suits your style—Microsoft Word document, a journal, or audio files. Just be sure these notes are kept in a place where they can be easily retrieved when you are ready to write your first resume.

2. Avoid templates.

Resume templates—both those you pay for and those you download at no cost—often look appealing and impressive at first glance.

However, resume templates can create snags for you when you begin to edit your resume later. Templates also contain formatting which is troublesome for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS); almost all corporations utilize ATS’s when resumes are submitted online. In addition, you might think the template you select will set your resume apart from others, but if it’s available for purchase or for free online, chances are that lots of other job applicants have formatted their resumes using the same template in the past.

3. Ask for help.

If you haven’t already done so, schedule a resume writing appointment with your career services office on campus. The professionals in your career services department want to help you succeed in finding your first full-time job or internship, and creating a basic resume is an essential part of that process. When you show up for your appointment, take your running list (tip #1) with you as well as copies of job descriptions you’ve held in the past if you have those on hand (tip #4).

College Recruiter also offers college students and recent grads a free resume editing service. After drafting your resume, submit it to us for feedback as well.

4. Retain copies of job descriptions to help you write accomplishment statements.

Each time you obtain a job, even if it’s a part-time job or an unpaid volunteer position, retain a copy of the job description. The best time to ask for and obtain copies of job descriptions is during the hiring process, but if you forgot to ask for them, you can almost always find copies on company websites.

Andrey Bondarets/Shutterstock.com

Andrey Bondarets/Shutterstock.com

Job descriptions list job duties. Job duties morph into accomplishment statements on your resume. What are accomplishment statements? Accomplishment statements are bulleted statements listed on your resume beneath each job title that quantify and qualify your efforts and demonstrate to your future employers that you’re the right person to hire. Accomplishment statements answer the questions, “How much?” and “How many?”

Most students—and even professionals—need help when wording their accomplishment statements, so be sure to seek assistance from your career services professionals and from College Recruiter’s resume editors when working to tweak the accomplishment statements on your resume.

5. Tailor your basic resume when applying for jobs.

Once you’ve created a basic resume, you’re ready to move forward and begin applying for job openings. It’s always a good idea, though, to tailor your basic resume to better match the positions you’re applying for. Analyze the job description for the open position you’re applying for, looking for terms describing technical skills or job duties specific to that role—which  keywords stand out? Be sure to fit those keywords into your tailored resume if you possess those skills; your resume will stand out from others the more closely your qualifications match the employer’s specifications.

Crafting a concise basic resume is the first step to success on your job search journey.

Learn more about connecting the dots to career success by following College Recruiter’s blog. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, too.

 

Posted January 07, 2016 by

Finding your first full-time job after college

Ever felt torn about making plans? I have. Especially as a college student, I felt frozen when making decisions. Small decisions were simple. When selecting pizza toppings (my college boyfriend worked as a Domino’s delivery driver so we often pigged out on the stuff) or choosing whether to hang out in Memphis or St. Louis for the weekend, I could manage. But ask me to plot out the next five years of my life? No thanks.

Maybe you can relate. Let’s pretend it’s May 1, college graduation is the following weekend, and all your friends are making down payments on apartments. They’re gabbing about how they plan to spend their first “real” paychecks at their first “real” jobs, bragging about how they found their first full-time jobs, and your head is buried under a beanbag like an ostrich in the sand.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Duplass/Shutterstock.com

It’s easy to temporarily pretend the world of adulting doesn’t exist.

But it does, of course.

If you’re a senior in college, it’s not really your future career we’re talking about—it’s the now. I know, I know—go ahead and grab the nearest pillow and cover your head for a moment to muffle the ear-piercing panicky scream. Then breathe.

Your future career isn’t really your future career, and you’re already technically an adult. Career planning is an ongoing process, and you’ve already begun working on it whether you realize it or not.

You began the career planning process your first year of college or even earlier in life. During your first few years of college, probably before completing 60 credit hours, you selected a major field of study. You might have met with an academic advisor or career counselor regarding your choice of major/minor and discussed the job outlook (including expected salary range) for your field of study (if not, it’s never too late to do this or to research this information on your own).

If you were super proactive, you might have visited the career services or career development office and sought career counseling advice and services related to resume writing, interview skills, and other valuable information. Or you might have blown this off entirely and thought you’d get to it later. That’s okay—you have one semester left on campus—make the most of it!

Like many students, you probably obtained some form of work experience while in college, either during the academic year or during summer/winter breaks. Whether you worked part-time or full-time, volunteered, or worked as an intern (paid or unpaid), you learned real transferable job skills to list on your resume and discuss in upcoming interviews. Did you know you were investing in your future career while standing over a vat of grease, waiting to pull French fries for 50 hungry customers at lunch? You were. You obtained customer service skills, time management skills, multitasking skills, and team working skills, to name a few. Those 15 hours per week each semester weren’t wasted.

The key at this point in your career journey is to refuse to remain satisfied with where you’re at. You’ve worked your tail off in college. Now’s the time to apply what you’ve learned, both in the classroom and outside the classroom, and begin searching for your first full-time job, one related to your college major, rather than remaining underemployed or unemployed after graduation.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Kotin/Shutterstock.com

I can see you breathing a little more evenly now. See—you’ve already connected several crucial dots on the path to career success.

Follow our blog and let us help you maintain motivation this semester as you begin searching for your first full-time job.

 

Posted January 01, 2016 by

Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan

Most college students make a list and check it twice before leaving campus during finals week. Catch up on countless hours of missed sleep during fall semester? Check. Hang out with hometown friends and reminisce about old times? Check. Curl up in Dad’s crusty old recliner and watch every episode of “The Big Bang Theory” aired since 2007? Check.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

There may be other items that make the list but rank lower in priority because, let’s face it, they’re simply not as fun to complete—obtain seasonal employment, complete the FAFSA online for the upcoming academic year, fill out grad school applications, stop by the local architect’s office to ask about a summer internship opportunity, etc. The list could literally go on FOR-EV-ER, as The Sandlot’s Squints puts it.

Realistically, many students head back to campus in January without having completed the lower-ranking, future-focused tasks. This doesn’t seem like a big deal in January; the entire spring semester lies before you like a blank notebook. Sounds simple, right?

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

But a blank piece of paper gets you nowhere in terms of a future career or internship (and certainly generates little cash flow). And most people, not just college students, tend to put off today what can be done tomorrow. Unfortunately, employers and recruiters don’t feel your procrastination pain. They only care if you’re the smartest and best if you’ve actually applied on time and filled their needs for openings.

While you still have time and aren’t stressed by the pressure of spring courses, pour a cup of coffee, prepare to brainstorm, and draft a simple 4-step blueprint for action.

1. Accept your limitations and lower your expectations. This might sound like odd advice, but it will keep you from dropping the career-planning ball altogether. Most of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought; this causes us to set ridiculously high expectations and goals (AKA perfectionism). It’s been said that it’s unrealistic to plan more than 90 days out, so don’t do it. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you’ve begun. Eat that elephant one bite at a time.

2.Identify a few (3 to 5) key career-related goals that matter to you. These goals need to be directly related to obtaining an entry-level job after graduation or an internship during the summer of 2016. Perhaps you’re not interested in an internship but are interested in obtaining part-time employment during the summer that relates to your academic major or minor. Regardless, you might need help with this step. Who can help?

a) 
College Recruiter’s blog. Keep reading this month and follow our blog (via email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn). During January, you’ll read about nothing but information related to helping college students plan for and obtain entry-level jobs after graduation and internships during the summer.   b) Your career services office on campus.

Let’s pretend your goal is to work for Target Corporation in entry-level management near Houston, Texas, and  you plan to graduate in May 2016. This is a pretty specific goal (which is good—the more narrow your focus, the easier it is to set goals and action steps).

Some career-related goals might be:

  • Develop a more polished resume (your current resume was drafted when applying for college three years ago and hasn’t been updated since) and learn how to write a great cover letter.
  • Improve phone/online interview skills since you live three states away from Texas and will most likely interview over the phone or online.
  • Learn how to convey your “campus life” experiences as transferable skills during interviews since you’ve only held one part-time job and feel insecure about your lack of real-world experience.

(Spoiler alert: Stay tuned to our blog this month to learn about all this and more.)

3. Define action steps necessary to help you attain your 3-5 goals. This step’s crucial; goals are simply idealistic dreams unless you take steps to realize them.

Let’s stick with our hypothetical you who hopes to work in entry-level management for Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, after graduating in May 2016. Here are some suggested action steps:

  • Update existing resume with part-time job, volunteer experience, campus involvement, and coursework relevant to future employment.
  • Submit resume to College Recruiter’s free resume review service (yep, FREE) and to campus career services office.
  • Follow College Recruiter’s blog this month for posts related to interview skills. Search College Recruiter’s blog for past articles and webinars related to interview skills.
  • Attend mock interviews and career fairs on campus—these are free and afford you valuable practice.
  • Work on revising your resume to reflect transferable skills and to reframe the way you think about your own skills, too.
  • Search for job openings with Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, on College Recruiter’s website after registering. Registering first is important because College Recruiter sends you new postings (saving you time and effort).

4. Get busy. Blueprints look impressive hanging on the wall, but they’re much more impressive when framed inside the buildings built by the very architects who drafted them in the first place.

Developing an action plan is tough brain work—but the real work kicks in when you crawl out of the comfy recliner (even though you have three more days of winter break) and begin implementing your plan.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The payoff may not be immediate, but pretty soon you’ll see results—the empty page will fill with a pretty cool image you created by simply connecting the dots by taking action all semester.

 

Posted May 24, 2012 by

Lessons Learned – Job Search Strategies

Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of working with a range of organizations, from some of the world’s largest and notable engineering firms to the smallest non-profits. Since I first entered the job market, times have changed. When I look back on my professional experiences and job hunts, I realize that in one 7 year period, I worked for 5 companies from New York City to Chicago on over $100 million in projects. I marveled at the variety of companies and projects that I had worked on as well as the resolve it had taken to secure and add value at all of them. In the end, I discovered some common threads and themes that I found worth sharing which helped me. And in this article, I have decided to share the lessons I believe any student facing graduation with or without a guaranteed position in their future would benefit from. (more…)