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Posted July 27, 2016 by

10 tips for college graduates seeking job search success

Businessman working from home on laptop courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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College seniors and recent college graduates often enter the job market eager and excited about the possibilities of landing that first job. But many quickly find out job search success isn’t immediate and requires a lot of hard work.

But successful job seekers also quickly realize there are resources that can help: mentors, college career services departments, and professional contacts are willing to assist recent college graduates in their quest for job search success.

Below, we organized feedback from a variety of career services professionals and recruiting experts, all who offer job search and career advice for college seniors, recent college grads, and entry-level job seekers striving to achieve job search success. We’d like to offer our own secret: register as a job seeker with College Recruiter. We’ll send you new job leads tailored to your interests and preferences and save you the trouble of searching for them on a regular basis.

1. Write down the best qualities of one job you would do for free

“Think about the one job you would do even if you weren’t being paid for doing it – the job you would do right now simply for the joy it brings you. Write it down. Then write down the qualities of this job. As you interview, be sure to ask questions that address the presence of these qualities. At the offer stage, be sure to assess the offers in terms of the presence or absence of these qualities.”

Steve Levy, Advisor at Day 100

2. Find a mentor

“The best tip that I could give college seniors is to be willing to ask questions. It can be intimidating to have peers with jobs already lined up and seemingly everything figured out. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know about the job search. Ask for help with the process. Find a mentor or several mentors, and use their time wisely. Instead of asking for a simple resume review, bring your resume and 5 job descriptions and ask, “how could I strengthen my application for each of these roles?” or “If you were interviewing for these positions, how would you evaluate candidates?” Once you start asking deep-dive questions about resumes, jobs, and interviews, you will become an active, engaged candidate.”

Mike Caldwell, Director, Business Careers & Employer Development and College of William & Mary

3. Connect with your cover letter

“When writing your cover letter, make sure you’re talking about how well you fit with both the job description AND the company. There will likely be several candidates who have a strong background for the position. Once that has been established, the company will look at who will fit best into the company and its established culture. This is your opportunity to establish that connection early.”

Kelsey Lavigne, Career Services Specialist, University of Arkansas College of Engineering

4. Resume tip: Show don’t tell

“Show me; don’t tell me. I often say that evidence is worth more than a thousand words. When hiring, I am looking for someone who truly ‘walks the talk’—and a great way for candidates to demonstrate or prove their ability, passion, skills, and knowledge is by using a portfolio—which goes well beyond a static resume.”

Heather Hiles, is the CEO and founder of Pathbrite

5. Focus on people first

“When you get into your job — no matter what you’re doing or how much you like it — focus on people first. Get to know your coworkers and get to care about your coworkers. You have no idea what turn your career will take, and in five years this job may be a small blip on your resume. But what makes the job worth the time are the people you meet and the relationships you form.”

Sarah Greesonbach, Principal at B2B Content Studio, @AwYeahSarah

6. Be specific in your first job search

“Be open to other career path opportunities which may come your way, but in your initial search be specific. A narrow focus will keep you from wasting your time (and that of employers, recruiters, and hiring managers) by applying and interviewing for positions which really aren’t a good fit or what you want to be doing. Also, it’s okay to start at the beginning, though the pay and responsibility may be less than what you were hoping. Go in with the understanding and determination that as long as you do more than what you are paid to do, you will eventually end up being paid more for what you do, if not by your present employer, then its competitor.”

David Flake, Human Resources Director at State of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

7. Stay organized

“Start early and stay organized. Keep a log of applications you’ve completed, date, which copy of your resume you sent, and any contact information you have. Use that to follow up on jobs!”

Rebecca Warren, Career & Disability Services Coordinator, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville

8. Utilize your college career services department

“Make use of the career services office at your college or university. The staff can direct you when it comes to resumes, career fairs, job opportunities, and the appropriate ways to follow up with potential employers.”

Kaitlyn Maloney, Human Resources Coordinator, New England Center for Children

9. Maintain a positive online image

“Make sure you are reflecting your professional self. Search for your name online. See what comes back in the results. Remember you’re selling yourself to potential employers, and you should present your best self. Keep social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) free from questionable posts and images.”

Erin Vickers, Staffing Consultant, RightSourcing, Inc.

10. Always learn to grow as a professional

“Be gentle with yourself as you navigate the job market. You probably won’t land your dream job the first time around. However, if you understand that this process is a continuation of your learning and growth as both a professional and person you will be just fine.”

Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer, Talent Think Innovations, LLC.

The job search is tough. Seek out help and assistance. Utilize these resources and tips to help succeed in your job search now and throughout your career.

For more job search success stories and tips, visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Posted June 25, 2016 by

The #1 student job search mistake

As an Associate Career Services Director for the University of Michigan and the CEO of Break into Tech, I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of students during the job search while trying to launch their careers. And it’s an area I’m particularly proud to support, having leveraged my own student experience to land roles at Apple, LinkedIn, and startups.

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

But the one thing that shocks me time and again is that 95% of students make the same mistake when it comes to landing a job. And no, it’s not a bad resume, or a poorly written cover letter or even weak interview skills. Instead, it’s that most basic trait:

Humility.

Yes, humility.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Huh? How hard could it be to act humble?”

But here’s the real deal. That same confidence is a handicap. Because it blinds students to just how hard it is to stay humble in a world where everyone always has to be on, to constantly present their best self.

As evidence, allow me to submit my experience as a Michigan alum working at LinkedIn:

  • Every single day during application season, I’d received at least one email from a current student who wanted to work in Silicon Valley
  • Usually, those emails started out: “Dear Jeremy, I’m XXX and I’d really like to work at LinkedIn…”
  • Eventually I’d get on the phone with these students, and they’d spend the first 15 minutes of the call telling me about themselves, and the last 15 minutes asking me if I could help them get a job.
  • Then, I’d never hear from them again.

On the other hand, about 2-3 times a year, the sequence would go very differently:

  • I’d get an email from a student well before application season that said: “Dear Jeremy, As a a Michigan student, I was so excited to come across your profile today. I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to find someone who’s walked your path. I know you must be really busy, but would you ever have a few minutes to share your story with me?”
  • When I got on the phone with them, we’d spend 15 minutes talking about my experience, followed by 15 minutes of them asking me for my advice about really tricky career questions.
  • Then they’d follow-up the next month to wish me a happy holiday or update me on campus. And they’d continue to do that each month with cool articles they found or little tidbits of school news.
  • Then, only when application season finally rolled around, would they ever ask for support during the application process.

And sure enough, about 2-3 times a year, I’d write an internal recommendation for a student, basically guaranteeing them an interview.

Now, any guesses which students I went to bat for?

Hopefully that illuminates two things about the job search:

BUT

  • You’ve got to network in the right way – the humble way.

Which means no:

  • Waiting until application season to reach out – you need to build relationships in advance; not at the last second.
  • Focusing all the attention on yourself – you need to build a real relationship; not just a transaction.
  • One shot networking – you need to build a relationship over time, not in a single phone call. This aids your job search.

So consider yourself warned. Yes, humility is critical to your job search success. But don’t assume it’s going to be easy. Instead, make it a priority and work hard at it. And then you can avoid the biggest mistake that’s trapped so many others!

Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

Need more help networking and figuring out how to build great relationships on your way to finding a great entry-level job? College Recruiter can help. Keep reading our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Jeremy Schifeling is the Founder + Chief Nerd at Break into Tech, a site for anyone who wants to land an awesome tech job, no matter their background. Get a free guide to the seven ultimate secrets that took Jeremy from school to Silicon Valley!