• Apprenticeships: A new way for corporate employers to attract talent

    May 18, 2017 by

    An apprenticeship is three things:

    • It’s a job
    • It’s education
    • It’s a great opportunity

    That’s according to Apprentice Washington, a Division of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. While apprenticeships are common in the trades, apprenticeships are also valuable ways for college students and recent college grads to add and learn new skills in just about any profession, including jobs in the corporate world.

    Apprentice Washington says: “There are apprenticeships for nearly any job you can imagine: From high-tech manufacturing to health care.”

    And that’s why employers looking to attract, recruit and retain talented workers, should consider the benefits of implementing an apprenticeship program, or hiring apprentices.

    Apprenticeships are making a worldwide comeback

    Apprenticeships are suddenly popular in the United Kingdom because the government recently implemented a new tax on corporations which requires corporations to pay a “use it or lose it” tax that can be used to train apprentices, therefore incentivizing corporations to hire apprentices, or to turn current employees into apprentices through learning and development contracts.

    “I believe this is one of the largest changes to workforce planning in many years in the UK,” says Ilona Jurkiewicz, head of the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm. In her role with the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, Jurkiewicz leads internal and external strategy for how Thomson Reuters attracts, assesses, develops, engages, and retains early career talent, including those completing apprenticeships. “And, although this feels like a seismic shift, apprentice strategies are in place in a number of countries already and commonly used, for example, in Germany, France, and Australia.”

    In May, Government Canada announced plans to invest $85 million in apprenticeship programs. And now, United States business leaders are starting to take note. On May 16, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $4.2 Million in federal funding was secured to expand New York’s apprenticeship program. Forbes’ recently wrote that it’s time for America to expand the modern Apprenticeship, stating that “calls for the U.S. to expand apprenticeship programs seem to be gaining more traction daily.” This is backed by news that the Trump Administration has plans to adopt a nationwide target to hire five million apprenticeships in five years. Hertz, Sears, CVS Health, WalMart, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car are among five large U.S. employers who already have apprenticeship programs in place.

    John Ladd, Administrator at the USDOL/ETA Office of Apprenticeship, is fired up about the role apprenticeships can play in today’s workforce, saying “apprenticeship is big-tent business, and the tent continues to expand. It’s drawing in new champions from the business and philanthropic communities every day, linking their resources to those of state and local workforce agencies, education partners like community colleges and school districts, industry associations, unions and other apprenticeship sponsors.”

    The approach is aggressive. And that should be a welcomed approach for employers seeking alternative methods to finding skilled workers in both the trades, and corporate world.

    “We need more pathways for job seekers, and as the world realizes that diversity of background and approach is important, I believe apprenticeships will become a more viable and available opportunity for students,” says Jurkiewicz.

    How one employer benefits from an apprenticeship program

    Growing Leaders is a global nonprofit that encourages and equips young adults to take on real-life opportunities and challenges in the classroom, in their careers, and in the community. The company implemented an apprenticeship program for recent college grads, citing the opportunity to live out the company’s internal values to train up the next generation of leaders.

    “Some view this next generation as a problem, we view them as a solution,” says Tim Elmore, President of Growing Leaders, and author of Marching Off The Map, which provides understanding and how to practically apply the latest research on Generation Z.

    Apprentices gain a chance to invest further in a set of skills (project management, selling, customer service) or in a function (marketing, operations, sales), said Elmore.

    “Depending on the apprenticeship, it can also give the student quantifiable results that he or she contributed to,” added Elmore.

    It also gives the employer a chance to train the employee their way, and also, try before they buy – similar to an internship – where they can determine if an apprentice is the right fit for a full-time job.

    “An apprenticeship allows more time to train a new graduate before they enter a full time position, and allows a trial period to see if he or she would be a good fit on our team,” says Elmore.

    What exactly is an apprenticeship?

    In simple terms, an apprentice is someone learning a skill, says Jurkiewicz. An apprentice can be someone just starting their career, or learning a trade, or someone like a recent college grad at the beginning of their career and entering the world of work. An apprentice can even be an experienced professional working towards an advanced degree or certification.

    What employers need to know about apprenticeships

    • Apprenticeships are often paid
    • Apprenticeships vary in length, so it tends to be driven by type of apprenticeship you are implementing and then the way the person is learning.
    • Employers often implement one off apprenticeships (hiring an individual for a specific role), as well as more programmatic approaches (a full apprenticeship program, with set criteria, similar to an internship program).

    An apprenticeship is unique and different from an internship or internship program. During an apprenticeship, there is a formal or informal contract between the apprentice, an employer, and sometimes a certifying body (a university or education body) through which the apprenticeship is attaining skills, says Jurkiewicz. At Growing Leaders the apprentice commits to an eight to 12 month apprenticeship, versus say a summer internship, which may be three or four months.

    “At the end of an apprenticeship, a student will have a more in-depth understanding of a certain function of business and clearer picture of how an organization operates,” says Elmore.

    The long-term benefits of apprenticeships for employers

    The reality is, not every college graduate is equipped with the right skills needed to succeed in the real world. Whether it’s soft skills, technical skills, communication skills, or the ability work with a diverse workforce that spans across generations. When an employer hires an apprentice, they are dedicated to providing further on-the-job training, while being able to mold the employee to fit their needs. While that seems to benefit the job seeker, it also benefits the employer, because it helps them create a pipeline of talent that could eventually be hired into a full-time role. If hired, these college grads are already familiar with the company, business, products, services, clients, and colleagues. They can move right into a full-time role, saving time on training and reducing time spent recruiting.

    “Businesses gain by having an on-boarding pathway to find stellar graduates who can offer up their gifts and talents to help an organization succeed,” says Elmore. “Millennials are the largest generation in the workplace and those organizations who can succeed in leading them well will have the upper hand. Apprenticeships literally give an organization a chance to observe a new, young professional at little cost.”

    Want more information on apprenticeships? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • 5 internship recruitment solutions for government agencies

    May 16, 2017 by

     

    Federal agencies seeking to hire interns or implement internship programs should take a cue from their private sector counterparts, says Mel Hennigan, VP of People at Symplicity Corporation, an Arlington, Virginia-based company that specializes in enterprise technology and information systems management for higher education, government, and businesses.

    In other words, they should evaluate, research, and learn the value of implementing a robust internship program as a way to attract college students and recent college grads to their organization. Don’t expect today’s student or grad to find you – federal employers have to find them through creative methods involving technology, social media, and the right advertising approach.

    “A one-size-fits-all approach does not work, so employers, even at the federal level, need to be creative,” says Hennigan, who has spent nearly a decade of her career in roles that support the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and intelligence agencies. Hennigan is also a member of the Society For Human Resource Management Talent Acquisition Panel. “Don’t expect interns to find you,” says Hennigan. “Employers have to go where the talent is, and become visible to the college student or college grad.

    Kyle Hartwig, ­­­­­­Senior Human Resource Specialist with the National Institute of Health (NIH), agrees. The NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is the nation’s medical research agency. To be a successful in federal government recruiting, employers need deep knowledge of staffing systems and federal hiring practices and laws. However, employers must also be willing to use innovative technologies and alternatives to posting on USAJOBS. Hartwig discussed that and more in the College Recruiter article and video 7 steps for successful federal government recruiting.

    “Student marketing in parallel with federal government hiring is never easy,” says Hartwig. “The first challenge, however, is engaging with the talent you seek.”

    Hennigan and Hartwig provide these tips for government agencies seeking new internship recruiting solutions:

    1. Understand the new student landscape

    Many students and recent college grads first find out about internship programs/opportunities, campus hiring fairs, or how to connect with recruiters at federal agencies through commonly used online tools – social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).

    “Skip the usual power point and start using social media conversations,” says Hartwig. “Throw out the calendar of events and list digital outreach tactics you plan to use before you show up on campus.”

    2. Form partnerships

    Government agencies can benefit from forming partnerships with colleges and universities. Develop relationships with campus career counselors, department leaders, professors, and alumni. Seek out opportunities for employees of your organization to speak at their alma mater, even narrowing it down to a specific set of students, grads or by department. Also consider participating in university employer summits or planning activities at university career centers. Find what approach works best for your organization and develop that approach. Federal employers should also read research reports from Corporate Leadership Council or Partnership for Public Service, says Hartwig, to stay on top of trends and issues.

    There’s additional partnership options too, like thinking outside the box and partnering with College Recruiter. How so?

    Government clients who want to hire hundreds or even thousands are typically going to look at packages which integrate targeted email campaigns, targeted display ad campaigns, and targeted mobile banner advertising campaigns, each of which allow College Recruiter the opportunity to deliver to the career sites of those employers thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of candidates targeted by geography, school, major, year of graduation, diversity, military veterans, occupational field, and more.

    3. Don’t wait for interns to come to you

    The first step, for federal agencies to take, says Hennigan, is to identify the type of talent they need to hire for an internship position. Do they need a STEM graduate, a marketing professional, an IT professional, administrative, technical expert, or other?

    Then employers must find out where those students and grads are, and meet them where they are at. By forming those partnerships, they can quickly identify where they can best find qualified students to apply for internship opportunities.

    “The landscape has changed, and employers need to figure out how to get talent interested in their opportunities,” says Hennigan.

    4. Identify talent

    Once the employer has identified the type of talent they need to find, they need to create a plan for attracting that type of talent. Federal employers need to look beyond just being a federal agency to attract employers. “Personalize the engagement,” says Hennigan. “Today’s college student and grad is looking to be wowed, and wants to know why working for your company is the right choice for them.”

    Federal agencies compete against the private sector, and that includes Silicon Valley firms, Fortune 500, and hot new technology startups. Leave the boring behind when working to attract interns.

    “It’s very easy for a federal agency to sell the message of how working for the government is contributing to the mission of the country, and patriotic, but today’s students and grads want more than that.”

    That’s why federal internship programs or internship opportunities need to clearly outline a value proposition, says Hennigan. It needs to clearly outline what the organization can offer the intern (real world training and experience, working on real world projects, solving problems, contributing), and the outcome (invaluable skills that helps them become more marketable for the next step in their career, or if possible, an opportunity to apply and interview for a full-time job with the organization).

    “Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes,” says Hennigan. “They want to be able to contribute and make an impact, show them how they can do that as an intern.”

    5. Learn from other successful internship programs

    An internship should add value to the intern, not the company, says Hennigan. But through that internship, the intern can add value to the company by working on real projects, solving everyday business problems, and making a contribution from day one.

    Building an internship program takes dedication – many private employers hire people solely to manage and develop an internship program. It would be helpful for federal agency’s to consult with industry professionals or colleagues who work on building internship programs to get advice. What works for them? What do private sector employers do that can be implemented in a federal organization (they are more similar than most think). Partner with organizations like SHRM, or participate in industry panels or summits to learn more, and build a network of resources who can provide cost-effective solutions for creating an internship program.

    A typical internship should last from eight to 12 weeks says Hennigan, and in the end, the goal should be to keep that intern or group of interns interested in pursuing employment opportunities with the federal organization they are interning with.

    “Every internship should have the end goal of funneling fresh talent into the organization,” said Hennigan.

    According to Hartwig, government agencies are afraid of doing active outreach because they are concerned about ethics. There are very stringent laws associated with hiring. Thus, HR specialists for government agencies often shy away from taking real steps to find talent for unique roles. More often than not, many federal agencies don’t feel they have the freedom to recruit and find their own talent. With strict or even confusing federal staffing regulations, recruiters often opt for simply posting an opening on USAJOBS, or a few other places.

    That approach doesn’t always work. There are other options available.

    Working for a government agency holds prestige for many students and college grads. But that’s not enough these days.

    “It’s no longer a world where the candidates don’t have options,” said Hennigan. “The organizations who communicate the best value and opportunity to the student or graduate are going to attract top talent.”

    Want more tips and strategies on how government agencies can connect with interns? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Ask Matt: How to respond to the 5 most basic interview questions

    May 11, 2017 by

     

    Dear Matt: I recently completed an interview, and realized, I wasn’t prepared to answer the most basic interview questions. I spent more time preparing for that odd, or unique question that may come up, and not enough time on the basics. What are some answers or responses to the most basic interview questions every recent job seeker should be sure to master before the next interview? 

    Preparation is key to a successful job interview. But when preparing for a job interview, many recent college grads focus on how they will answer the tough interview questions, instead of mastering how they will answer the most basic interview questions. While the former is important, the latter is crucial to a successful entry-level job interview.

    “As you prepare yourself for interviews, you may find yourself focusing solely on prep for the more complex interview questions,” says Jill O’Connell, VP of Talent Management at Cengage, an education and technology company that provides resources for the higher education, K12, professional, library, and workforce training markets worldwide. “You don’t want to be caught unprepared to answer the most basic questions.”

    What are the most basic job interview questions and what responses do employers want to hear? O’Connell and Michael Steinitz, Executive Director of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half, provide a list of five basic interview questions every recent college grad should master for interview success:

    Continue Reading

  • Work abroad: Why recent college grads should conduct a global job search

    May 09, 2017 by

     

    Jobs that require travel or allow recent college grads to work abroad can help build cultural awareness, strengthen one’s ability to navigate through dynamic environments, and cultivate a level of agility, which is required by most employers today, says Ayana Pilgrim-Brown, assistant director of career competencies at the Center for Student Professional Development within Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

    It’s no secret working abroad can help recent college grads land that first job. That’s why recent college grads seeking frequent travel to exotic locations, should explore options as tour guides, travel consultants, and within the airline industry, says Pilgrim-Brown. For a business student who wants to solidify his or her status as a global business professional, jobs in consulting, supply chain management, and sales offer the chance to travel to vast locations throughout the world. New graduates who aspire to make a difference in the world should consider non-profits and non-governmental organizations. There are several pathways in the areas of development and humanitarian assistance, adds Pilgrim-Brown. And for the multilingual applicant, there are solid prospects using language skills as a TEFL instructor, translator, or interpreter.

    “Job seekers should do their due diligence to make sure these opportunities are formalized and in writing with agreeable terms of employment,” says Pilgrim-Brown.

    Rustic Pathways is a non-profit organization that facilitates educational experiences for students through travel and philanthropy.

    “Traveling equips recent college grads with a unique and necessary skill set that will help them create successful careers,” said Chris Stakich, CEO of Rustic Pathways. In fact, Stakich is quick to credit how traveling throughout the world for work the first four years of his career helped build professional skills necessary to become CEO.

    “Most of my success has been a result of living out of a bag for the first four years of my career,” he says.

    In addition to service opportunities–such as working with Peace Corps, or with a multinational organization or large employer, or through a non-profit–there are more opportunities than ever for recent college grads to work abroad, and get paid to travel. There are also training opportunities, such as the Rustic Pathways Leader Corp program, which are designed for recent college grads looking to make the transition from college to career.

    Traveling for work, and working abroad, teaches these important soft skills that employers covet, says Stakich:

    Continue Reading

  • 5 reasons recent college grads should consider work and travel jobs

    May 04, 2017 by

     

    Recent college grads seeking work and travel jobs can often do so by finding employment with a multinational organization that has offices throughout the world. So instead of taking a year off to travel the world after college graduation, why not find a job that allows one to travel for work – and get paid for it, while gaining valuable professional and personal experience?

    1. Work and travel jobs provide unique on the job experience.

    Traveling for work, or as part of a job, is a great way to see the world, while building important professional and life skills that will benefit individuals throughout the rest of their career.

    “Experience is the best teacher,” says Ilona Jurkiewicz, head of the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm. In her role with the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, Jurkiewicz leads internal and external strategy for how Thomson Reuters  will attract, assess, develop, engage, retain, and flow early career talent. This spans everything from interns and apprentices to MBAs and PhDs.

    “You can read about business etiquette, cultural nuances in offices, or the pace of change in emerging markets all you want, but nothing beats seeing and feeling these things up front and center,” adds Jurkiewicz.

    2. Want to climb the corporate career ladder? You’ll need international business experience.

    Do you have aspirations to become a CEO (6 rules for women who want to become corporate leaders), or goals to someday earn a spot on the board of directors at a large, global organization? Then international business experience is a must. For many employers, access to the C-suite or senior level roles is prohibited for those who don’t have international or multinational experience.

    “Corporations need individuals with a global mindset leading the way,” said Jurkiewicz. “Aside from a long or short term assignment sponsored by the company or moving to another company, travel is a great way to get this type of experience and skillset. This will undoubtedly provide lifelong experiences if you apply the skills you learn, and know how to talk about it.”

    Additionally, many work and travel jobs tend to be client facing as the employee is often traveling to the site of the client. “This is also a fantastic double punch,” says Jurkiewicz. “Customer service experience is highly valued in every industry, and it’s helpful to get that earlier on. The more you understand a customer and how to serve them, the more likely you will make smart and insight driven business decisions.”

    Developing a strong understanding of how to do business across cultures, along with learning foreign language skills, is essential to international business success. Traveling to different countries can help build those all-important business and interpersonal skills to work with different business professionals/leaders in different countries. Doing it now, out of college, with less personal responsibilities (for most recent college grads), is the time to do it.

    It’s not now or never, but in some cases, if it’s not now, it’s never.

    “The older you get, the more responsibilities and roots you have,” says Jurkiewicz. “You buy a house and a car, and you have to figure out how to solve for that. Your partner has a job that doesn’t allow travel, so that becomes a factor you have to take into account. A pet requires constant home care and attention. Your parents begin aging and you worry about being closer. Earlier in your career, your life is less tethered and you are also likely more easy going and willing to forego the ‘perfect’ travel scenario because you want the opportunity more than all the fanfare that goes with it.”

    3. Traveling for work builds international business and networking skills.

    A job at a large, multinational company can provide recent college grads global work and travel job opportunities, whether it’s for business trips or projects, or permanent opportunities. A recent college grad could start in a U.S. branch of a multinational organization, and transfer to a global office at any point during their career. One example: A graduate of a United States public college got a job at a large financial services organization right after graduation. He spent a few years in the Minneapolis office of that firm, then transferred to a role in Russia, where he worked for five years before moving back to Minnesota for a different role with the same company. He met his wife at that job in Russia, and together they had two kids. He returned to Russia for a family vacation last summer. The experiences, personal and professional, are things he still talks about this day.

    Many large organizations have internal programs in place for employees who want to transfer to roles across the world, which in turn, helps employees make a more seamless transition to a new country.

    “Every colleague can be a potential partner or someone to help you assimilate into the location,” says Jurkiewicz. “You just need to be open to seeing them that way.”

    Multinational organizations also can provide access to global educational and training tools, either for business trips, or for permanent relocation. For example, Thomson Reuters subscribes to Culture Wizard, which allows employees to set up profiles of the employee’s home country and the country they are traveling to, to learn about the difference in culture, and business in those countries. “This helps professionals assimilate faster and avoid quirks or issues that can come up,” says Jurkiewicz.

    International companies invest in language courses for employees, ranging from Rosetta Stone to apps like DuoLingo. Others provide soft skills training and training on how to communicate in different settings and cultures. That type of training is invaluable, especially early in one’s career, because those additional skill sets can help them become more valuable to the organization, and in turn, help earn a promotion, or take on new responsibilities sooner in one’s career.

    4. Traveling for work develops important soft skills not taught in the classroom.

    But you don’t have to be an aspiring CEO or board member to benefit from a job that allows you to see the world for work. Studies of large companies report that one of the skills most often missing in new hires is resilience, says Jurkiewicz. Traveling – and being challenged daily in a new environment – builds resiliency, because it forces recent college grads how to survive and thrive outside their comfort zones.

    Traveling for work develops these additional soft skills, says Jurkiewicz:

    • The ability to develop new relationships: “Individuals who have developed strong networking and relationship building and management skills, and nurture new contacts through travels will likely be more successful – both right now, and in future jobs and opportunities,” says Jurkiewicz.
    • How to handle the unexpected: When you travel, you always have to be ready for the unknown. What if your luggage gets lost and you have a business meeting? What if your flight is delayed or you get re-routed? What if no one speaks English in the Airbnb you have booked? These are real world skills that require you to think on your feet and problem solve, and really enhances your ability to flex when the moment arises.
    • Self-Discipline: Travel for work requires you to be disciplined in managing a lot at once, including your personal life back home, your work life, and of course you as a person while always being in changing circumstances. It forces you to adapt to new routines and to be disciplined in how you use your time and ensure you don’t just get stuck in travel mode.
    • Long distance relationship: This may seem silly, but if you are in a long distance relationship and don’t need to be in one location all the time – then a job that requires a lot of travel is perfect. You never know, it might even lead you toward the location of your significant other.
    • Air Miles: Many companies let you keep your own air miles, so that means a perk for you as you can use them for personal reasons!

    5. Overseas work and travel jobs allows one to plan vacations around work trips

    In the U.S., vacation time is often limited, especially for recent college grads. By having a job that requires travel, you can often add on personal days to explore that location or adjacent cities/sites. It’s a built in vacation once the work is done.

    “This is a great way to maximize your time off and always feel like you have mini vacations or extended breaks,” says Jurkiewicz.

    It’s important to remember that not all work travel is glamorous, says Jurkiewicz.

    “Your personal relationships can really suffer from a lack of face time and consistency,” she says. “Your health can also suffer. Being on the road means not being able to control what you eat, or how you exercise, and the days can be long. You can also really suffer from jet lag which seems okay when the adrenaline is pumping, but you can crash very hard. It takes a lot of work to ensure you are able to take care of yourself while always on the road.”

    Traveling to other countries for work presents great opportunities for recent college grads. It can help develop professional skills that last a lifetime. And it can allow one to see parts of the world they may never have an opportunity to see if it wasn’t for that job. Recent college grads, now is the time to consider a job that allows you to travel for work. Use these tips to find success, and work and travel job that propels you to career success.

    For more tips on the benefits of traveling overseas for work, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

     

  • How recent college grads can ace the second job interview

    April 27, 2017 by

     

    Almost every job interview boils down to three key questions in the mind of the interviewer, says Steve Koppi, Executive Director of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, Mass) Career Development Center.

    1. Can this candidate do the job
    2. Will this candidate do the job, and
    3. How will this candidate fit in or get along with others?

    “These same principles apply to second round interviews,” says Koppi. “The good news is that you have cleared at least that first hurdle. The employer believes you, the candidate, can do the job, and you have the skills and knowledge they are seeking in a new hire.”

    Thao Nelson, Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Career Services at the Indiana University Kelly School of Business, is also a former recruiter. She invited recent college grads to a second job interview when they convinced Nelson of these three things in the first interview:

    1. That they can do the job and provided strong, impactful, and relevant examples
    2. They really wanted to work for her company.
    3. That they were likable, and she or others on the team would enjoy working with them.

    A job seeker who makes it to a second job interview has demonstrated they have the background, core aptitudes, and transferable skills to do the job, says Cheryl Goodman, Talent Development Manager with Alexander Mann Solution’s, a talent acquisition and management firm with clients in 80 countries. Goodman is based in Cleveland, Ohio and heads up Alexander Mann Solution’s new graduate recruitment program.

    In the second interview recent college grads are “being assessed for long-term potential to thrive within the culture and contribute to the company,” says Goodman. “It’s about ROI, too, because the company will be investing in your career launch and professional development, so they are looking to be sure that’s a wise investment.”

    What to expect in a second interview

    A candidate who makes it to a second interview can expect to be presented with scenario-based questions, such as how they would respond to certain situations and why, says Goodman.

    Continue Reading

  • 10 reasons why college grads should consider entry-level sales jobs

    April 25, 2017 by

     

    Entry-level sales jobs present a great opportunity for recent college grads to learn professional skills that last a lifetime. And below, a variety of entry-level sales professionals, as well as business owners and sales executives with experience at companies like Google, IBM, AOL, and Dell Computers, talk about the unique and life-long skills developed through an entry-level sales job. Here is what every recent college grad needs to know to succeed in a career in sales:

    1. Sales jobs are not restricted based on one’s degree

    Recent college grads and entry-level sales professionals who are able to participate in a company-sponsored sales training program will learn skills that last a lifetime, says Maddy Osman, an SEO content strategist and digital marketing professional. Before she started her own business, Osman worked as an account representative for Groupon, where she went through over two months of cold-calling sales training, graduating among the top 5 of 25 trainees in her class. Osman says she still refers to the sales materials she learned in that training and applies it to her digital marketing role.

    “Even if you never work in sales again, you’ll learn about psychology, and negotiation, which will help you when getting a new position, negotiating for a higher salary, or creating strategic partnerships,” said Osman.

    In her role at Groupon, Osman worked alongside employees who majored in liberal arts, theater, marketing, and history, to name a few. The common denominator among those who were successful was that they were outgoing, and/or held student leadership roles at their college or University.

    “There wasn’t one area of study more represented than another,” said Osman. “So it’s not necessarily about the degree – as long as you have one.”

    That being said, one doesn’t have to go through a dedicated sales training program to succeed in entry-level sales jobs. Learn why below.

    2. Everyone can succeed in sales – even those who don’t think they can sell

    Mac Anderson graduated from Miami of Oho in 2015 with a degree in marketing. Anderson achieved a lot while in college, working a part-time job at a bar/restaurant, volunteering for two non-profits, and maintaining a full course load and active social life.

    “I learned a lot about myself by trying new things and making a leap of faith,” said Anderson.

    Anderson had a wide variety of other experiences too. He coached a traveling youth baseball team, and was a laborer on a construction crew. He also worked in sales, marketing, and logistics for a non-profit called Top Box Foods.

    But it’s his current entry-level sales job at ParqEx that has Anderson buzzing about where his career is going. ParqEx is a marketplace (mobile app + website) that allows owners of underutilized parking spaces to rent out their parking, by the hour, day, week or month, to a driver in need of convenient, affordable parking. ParqEx specializes in hard-to-park neighborhood and has partnered with many local neighborhood organizations and chambers of commerce to solve the parking nightmare.

    “I honestly never thought of myself as a salesman because I did not think I had the right characteristics,” said Anderson. Soon after Anderson started in his current role, he was presenting to a group of over 100 builders (and potential clients) – an experience that has played a key role in him developing a positive, can-do attitude, and desire to succeed in sales.

    “I have learned that I can do literally anything I set my mind to,” said Anderson.

    But many recent college grads are afraid to do what makes them uncomfortable, or not familiar to them in their job or career. Especially early in their career, and especially if it’s a 100 percent commission-based sales job. That’s why many recent college grads shy away from sales careers. But it’s been the exact opposite affect for Anderson, and has helped him thrive as a professional

    “Getting out of your comfort zone is essential for personal and professional growth,” says Anderson.

    Every sales person has a different style, says Anderson. That’s why he feels there’s no one-size-fits-all template to sales success. “Just try new tactics, do what feels right for you personally, and always be positive and confident,” says Anderson. “You will get comfortable and find your style.”

    Kevin Cote, Director of Sales at Namely, a leading HR, Payroll, and Benefits platform for mid-sized companies, agrees.

    “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” says Cote. “The only way to grow in sales and win business is to be confident in asking difficult questions, navigating awkward or tricky objections, and mastering the science of being comfortable in uncomfortable situations.”

    3. Sales is perfect training for future CEO or business owner Continue Reading

  • How to negotiate salary: Must-read tips for female college grads

    April 20, 2017 by

     

    Many recent college grads are unprepared to negotiate salary during an entry-level job interview. And in the long run, they pay the price – financially, that is.

    According to a recent Paysa study, younger workers, or those with only 0-2 years of experience, are 42 percent likely to be underpaid. The same Paysa data also found that women in markets across the U.S. are 45 percent likely to be under-compensated while their male counterparts are only 38 percent likely to be under-compensated. Paysa is a Palo Alto, California-based company that uses proprietary artificial intelligence technology and machine learning algorithms to analyze millions of data points, including compensation information, to help employees understand their market salary.

    But the reasons for these gender salary discrepancies vary based on a number of factors, however, says Chris Bolte, CEO of Paysa. In many cases inexperienced job seekers – including female recent college grads:

    • Do not know what their value is at that company
    • Do not know how to have a conversation about salary with the hiring manager
    • Are uncomfortable/afraid negotiating for more money due to any number of factors, including being new to the workplace, concerned the offer will be revoked, or because they are interviewing with an intimidating manager.

    But there is one glaring difference between young men and women, according to Sylvia RJ Scott, Founder of Girls’ C.E.O. Connection™ (Girl’s Creating Enterprising Organizations), a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to engaging and equipping females as entrepreneurs. In February Scott spoke to a group of young women who were members of the Theta Beta chapter of the Delta Delta Delta sorority at Colorado University Boulder. She discussed the topic of salary negotiation with the group, all juniors and seniors, and will be sharing a salary negotiation reminder checklist before they graduate this spring. Scott says female college grads are often too timid or afraid to boast about their academic, athletic, internship, or related work experiences when negotiating salary during an entry-level job interview.

    Their male counterparts? Not so much…

    “Males are not afraid to promote their accomplishments,” says Scott. “Women need to do the same. Be confident without being arrogant.”

    During an interview, females should focus on explaining how internship, club experiences, or extracurricular activities are relevant to the job, says Scott. Providing employers/interviewers with examples about what was accomplished in those experiences that can be transferred to the real world is key.

    “Know what you bring to the table from other experiences in college,” says Scott. “Be prepared to express to the employer how this background fits the job description. Do not hold back on tooting your own horn.”

    But keep in mind – most entry-level positions have a set salary, leaving little room for negotiation, says Deb LaMere, Vice President of Employee Experience, Ceridian.

    “Gaining a realistic expectation of entry-level salary amounts within similar industries, or the range for entry-level positions – through research and due-diligence – is a first step to determining what a reasonable salary might be and whether or not one has a strong case to negotiate further,” says LaMere.

    As women embark on the entry-level job search, they should be prepared to advocate for themselves.

    “Define your goals and ensure you have a solid understanding of your current capabilities in comparison to the role you are seeking,” says Linda Taylor, HR Manager at FedEx. “When negotiating or advocating for yourself, be confident that your voice is important. Whether it’s your gender, education, or skills, tap into your unique point of view and showcase how you can help the company succeed.”

    When you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to express your ideas or have the confidence to ask for what you want, says Taylor. But women should search for employers who celebrate differences and encourage all team members to be themselves.

    “Push yourself to be confident by practicing with little steps that can pave the way to big victories,” says Taylor. “Raise your hand in a big lecture class, ask a question at your first meeting, or conduct proactive research to see how your job offer compares to similar roles at other organizations. As you prepare for a first job, make a commitment to think and act like you would in the role you’re seeking, and stick to this mindset during the interview and negotiation stages.”

    Data driven discussion should drive salary negotiations
    So how do female college grads overcome obstacles to a fair entry-level salary? Start with research.

    Figure out what others like you are making at that company. Paysa offers tools that help job seekers understand what they should be paid at a specific company. Job seekers can also use salary calculators like the one College Recruiter offers.

    “Having a respectful, data-driven discussion with the recruiter or hiring manager that highlights your desire to take the job, but also starts the negotiating process, is important,” says Bolte.

    Highlight positives of position
    During the interview/negotiation, job seekers should cover key points and focus on positives by:

    • Expressing that the job with the company is an awesome opportunity.
    • Expressing how the company mission and values fit your goals.
    • Expressing that you see great learning and growth opportunity and are ready to make an impact/difference.

    Present your salary talking points – based on data

    Then, when discussing salary, tell the recruiter/employer the following:

    • That you want to be sure to get a competitive market compensation package.
    • That you’ve been conducting research, talked to other recruiters, companies, and professionals in the same industry/type of position, and “it seems that your offer is not as competitive as it needs to be. Specifically, it appears to be approximately <20% – insert real number from research> under market.
    • “What can you do to close that gap?”
    • Wait and listen…..

    “At this point, the recruiter or hiring manager may ask you what it will take to close the deal, so to speak,” says Bolte. “I would recommend going back to whatever the broad number is you learned from your research.”

    The company will likely get back to you with:

    • An adjusted compensation package the is somewhere between their original offer and your ask.
    • Your full ask.
    • A statement saying that their original offer is the best they can do.

    Confidence is key
    “These conversations with managers can seem intimidating/scary but they don’t’ have to be,” says Bolte. But it takes research, dedication and practice to succeed. “Go get it done,” adds Bolte.

    Be realistic
    When a recent college grad (regardless of gender) is starting out in their career, they may think – through lack of experience – that they should be making more than what’s being offered. But remember, that first job, or entry-level job, is a starting point, says LaMere. If there is room to negotiate on salary on an entry-level position, be reasonable and sensible.  It is important not to price oneself out of the market.

    During an interview, when a potential employer asks what would be an ideal salary, a good answer would be: “I would like to learn more about the position first,” putting the onus on the potential employer to be the first to name a number. Once a salary number is on the table, use Bolte’s advice above to approach the topic. Once a final offer is presented, don’t be afraid to take a day or two to think through the position and the opportunities that it offers, beyond just the pay, says LaMere.

    “While salary negotiations may be daunting for some new grads, as long as they do their homework about the job and pay range, are reasonable in their expectations and prepare themselves for the process, they will ultimately achieve the success they are seeking – both from an entry-level learning experience to start their career, and their salary compensation, for their efforts,” says LaMere.

    Additional salary negotiation and job interview preparation tips for female recent college grads

    Like any aspect of the job search, being able to successfully talk about salary, or negotiate salary comes from preparation. Scott offers these salary negotiation tips for female college grads:

    • Reach out to alumni from your school, sorority, or industry-related clubs who have previously held similar entry-level jobs and ask for advice or tips.
    • Get advice from a college career center counselor, many who have resources or experience helping college students and recent college grads with salary negotiations. They also may have contacts within their network who can help.
    • Get advice from female instructors and adjunct professors who know or still work in the industry.
    • Understand cost of living factors: Location and cost of living may play a factor in the salary offered. An entry-level job in San Francisco or New York City may pay more than a job in Biloxi, Mississippi, for example. But make sure whatever salary is offered is relative to the cost of living pending on location.

    Female college grads need to know their worth going into the interview/negotiation and show it. Do so by following these tips, from Scott:

    • Walk in with confidence, dress professionally no matter what the position. This is true even if the company is known to dress casual.
    • Practice in front of a mirror and watch the body language. Ask someone to role play as the person doing the negotiation. Try to find a female that has gone through the process, and get her feedback.
    • Be prepared to discuss what else can be negotiated to increase the compensation package if it does not meet expectations/research. Does the company have a tuition reimbursement package, flexible work schedules, more vacation time? It’s worth asking.

    Want more salary negotiation and job search advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Ask Matt: The best job interview questions to ask employers

    April 13, 2017 by

     

    Dear Matt: Do you have any interview tips? I always read about how important it is for recent college grads to ask the right interview questions during a job interview, but, I never know what job interview questions to ask. Can you provide a list of these interview questions and what employers want recent college grads and entry-level job seekers to ask?

    Matt: I will say this, I wish I had a list of job interview questions to ask when I was interviewing for entry-level jobs. Because it certainly would have not only helped me ask the right interview questions, it would have also helped with interview preparation, and confidence.

    Good news! There is a great, extended list of the best job interview questions to ask employers listed below, featuring outstanding advice from recruiters from corporate America, and career management leaders from two of the top business schools in the country.

    The reality is, if you are confident, and prepared, going into an interview, you can relax, be yourself, and shine.

    But many job seekers, especially recent college grads, are shy or timid when going into those first job interviews. I was one of them, and looking back at those early interviews, I never did ask the right questions, because I wasn’t prepared to ask the right questions. That makes a huge difference in how employers view you, and your potential to succeed in the job and fit in with the team.

    “Not asking questions can signal lack of interest, and a missed opportunity to sell yourself,” says Susie Clarke, director of Undergraduate Career Services at Indiana’s Kelley School of Business. “It is important to remember that an interview is a two way street and they expect you will have questions, so show them you are prepared and interested in their position.”

    Corinne M. Snell, Ed.D., the Assistant Dean of Student Professional Development at Fox School of Business at Temple University, agrees. Prior to her current role, Snell worked in corporate America, working in college relations roles for Campbell’s Soup Company, Siemens Health Services, and Lutron Electronics.

    “A certain level of spontaneity is expected in any job interview, but candidates should have a list of questions prepared in advance,” said Snell. “The worst thing one can do is indicate he/she has no questions or say something like, “Um, I think we already covered everything.”

    One of the biggest things a college student or recent graduate needs to remember is that just as much as the recruiter or hiring manager is interviewing them, they are also interviewing the potential employer, says Justin Bischoff, Talent Acquisition Advisor at Buffalo Wild Wings, a casual dining restaurant and sports bar franchise.

    “Ask questions about the things that matter to you,” says Bischoff. “These should be things that you feel will make you stay with an employer long term.”

    Try to keep it conversational, says Bischoff. For example, if you’re interested in sales, ask something such as “earlier in our interview you mentioned that one of the main focuses of this role is to drive sales in the restaurant, can you tell me a little more about that?”

    Asking about the culture of the organization and development programs also impresses employers, says Bischoff.

    “I am also impressed by a candidate who has done their research on the organization and the position prior to the interview,” says Bischoff. “By asking questions on matters that are truly important to you about what you have learned, you are able to showcase the time and effort you’re putting into joining the organization’s team.”

    Snell puts it bluntly, saying “Job seekers need to prepare for that moment when the employer turns the table and asks ‘what questions do you have for me?'”

    That’s what impresses today’s corporate recruiter, says Asma Anees, a Talent Advisor with Blue Cross, a Minnesota healthcare provider. She leads college relations at Blue Cross and is one of the first persons to interview/phone screen recent college grads and entry-level employees who interview with the company.

    Anees suggest job seekers break down interview questions into four categories, focusing on asking about:

    • The position/job
    • Evaluation
    • Training
    • About the company

    Anees provides these job interview question and answer tips:

    The position/job
    Job seekers who ask about the challenges of the position stand out, says Anees. Employers like candidates who want to be challenged, and who want to know about what it takes to succeed in that role. “It helps me understand their willingness to take on certain duties,” says Anees.

    Evaluation
    Anees likes it when job seekers ask job interview questions such as “What are the performance expectations or how will I be evaluated?”

    “These students have received grades for everything they do for the last however many years,” says Anees. “These Millennials want to know where they stand, and I can appreciate that. It tells me they want to perform well and be rewarded for it.”

    Training
    Good question to ask: Will there be any training or mentorship for this role? Anees says job seekers who want to pursue professional development opportunities stand out to her.

    Company
    Job seekers who are curious about the business, strategic plan, how the company makes a difference, and if the company is growing, are “all great questions,” says Anees. “It tells me they care for the well-being of the organization and their future.”

    Snell provides these sample job interview questions to ask employers:

    1. Questions related to the position:

    • What are the key qualities necessary for someone to excel in this role?
    • What are your expectations for this role during the first 30, 60 and 90 days?
    • What is the typical career path for someone in this position?

    2. Questions related to the company?

    • How would you describe the company culture (or values)?
    • What do you like best about working for this company?

    3. Questions related to the industry (these should vary from industry to industry):

    • What recent changes has the company made to product packaging?
    • How has industry consolidation affected the company?
    • How does the economy affect company sales?
    • What percentage of revenues does the company invest in R&D?
    • How is the company challenged by government regulations?

    4. Questions related to the hiring process:

    • What are the next steps in the interview process?
    • When do you expect to make a decision?

    “The likelihood of having sufficient time to ask a multitude of questions is slim, so the candidate needs to be prepared and have several questions ready,” says Snell. “Interviewing is a two-way street and employers do expect job seekers to be prepared with thoughtful, insightful questions.”

    Remember this though – thoughtful and insightful do not revolve around asking how much vacation time one gets, salary, or benefits. In time, that information will be discussed.

    Some of the best job interview questions to ask employers, says Clarke, include:

    1. Would you please tell me about yourself and your career path?
    Yes – job seekers should ask the person conducting the interview this. This will allow you to learn more about the employer, what this person likes about the company, and could create a common interest to make the follow-up connection stronger. “It is all about building relationships and showing genuine interest is important,” says Clarke.

    2. What are the reasons you stay with this company, or why did you recently join the company?
    Their response will typically tell you a lot about the work environment/culture of the company. “For many college students and recent college grads, the company culture is an important criteria when making their decision,” says Clarke.

    3. What skills or characteristics have led to your success here?
    This is an opportunity for you then to highlight your strength that relates to one of these skills if you have not already.

    4. I have learned a lot today and even more excited about this opportunity, so is there anything else I could provide or questions I can address about my ability to do this job?
    “This shows that you want the job and want to eliminate any concern that they might still have,” says Clarke.

    When the interview is near completion, and if the employer has not covered this already, Clarke says you should always ask: What are the next steps in the interview process?

    “This is important, so you know what to expect and when to follow-up if you have not heard back from them,” says Clarke.

    Asking the right questions during your interview can impact your chances of landing the job, says Bischoff.

    “When a candidate asks thought-provoking questions, it shows that they have solid communication skills, are genuinely interested in the opportunity, and are looking to make a long-term investment,” says Bischoff. Ultimately, asking the right questions makes that interview and the candidate memorable when it comes time for a hiring decision.”

    Dara Warn, Chief Outcomes Officer, Penn Foster Education Group, says that asking questions about how the company onboards new employees can impress employers:

    How does the company onboard new employees? Can you talk about what that process looks like?
    Why this question: By asking this question, the job candidate is demonstrating their interest in the company culture and its commitment to employees and their career path and setting them up for success from the outset. “The first several months in a new job are a key period in building the relationship between employee and employer, and the candidate wants to know that the company is a place they can grow and mature,” says Warn. “In our work with employer partners, we’ve helped design mentor programs, where new employees develop and strengthen workplace and interpersonal skills.”

    Another good question, says Warn, is asking “How does your company encourage its employees to collaborate/work as a team, and demonstrate integrity and initiative?”   
    Why this question: This question coming from a candidate demonstrates that he/she already possesses some “soft skills” that are typically learned and honed once in the workforce. This student may have graduated from an institution that offers soft skills (or “power skills”) training in the form of a standalone program and is already ahead of the curve when it comes to developing these critical work/life skills.

    Good questions will show that you have researched the position, company, and even highlight some of your strengths. “This signals to the employer that you are very interested and enthusiastic about the opportunity,” says Clarke.

    Show enthusiasm and interest when wrapping up the interview.

    “I appreciate when candidates take the last couple of minutes to reiterate their interest and why their skills and abilities would make an impact to the team,” says Anees. “Don’t forget to smile and a firm handshake.”

    Want more career and job search advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

    Matt Krumrie CollegeRecruiter.com

    Matt Krumrie is a contributing writer for CollegeRecruiter.com

    About Ask Matt on CollegeRecruiter.com
    Ask Matt is a new monthly career advice column that offers tips and advice to recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. Have a question? Need job search or career advice? Email your question to Matt Krumrie for use in a future column.

  • An entry level job seeker’s guide to interview outfits

    April 11, 2017 by

     

    The saying you only get one chance to make a first impression really holds true in today’s job market, says Melissa Wagner, Career Services Advisor for Rasmussen College. Your interview outfit is a big part of the first impression you make at a potential employer.

    “An interview is the candidate’s opportunity to sell the employer that they’re the right fit for the position,” says Wagner. “So it’s important that candidates bring their best game to the playing field.”

    Jama Thurman,  Counseling and Career Services manager at Hodges University, agrees.

    “Your interview attire and professional appearance can make or break you when meeting a prospective employer,” says Thurman. “First impressions are important.”

    While half (50%) of senior managers surveyed by OfficeTeam said employees wear less formal clothing than they did 5 years ago, and many companies are allowing workers to dress more casually in the office, you should choose apparel that’s a couple notches up for job interviews, says Brandi Britton, District President for OfficeTeam, a staffing firm specializing in placing highly skilled professionals into administrative jobs.

    “Job seekers should research the firm before the interview to get a sense of what’s appropriate to wear to the meeting,” says Britton. “This may include visiting the company to observe what current employees are wearing, tapping their network for advice, looking online for articles that discuss the company’s culture, or asking the recruiter or company’s HR representative for guidance.”

    Like the interview itself, dressing for success takes planning and preparation.

    “If you buy something new, wear it a few times before your meeting to make sure it fits well and you feel confident in it,” says Britton. “Pay attention to the less visible – but no less important – aspects of your appearance, like your shoes, socks and accessories. Make sure your outfit is free of wrinkles and stains, your hair and nails are well-groomed, and your shoes are polished.”

    Employers are not only judging how interviewees respond to questions, they also judge their professional demeanor and appearance – to make sure they are a fit for the company culture, or when meeting with clients (if applicable).

    “Do some research on the company and during an initial phone interview make sure to ask about the company culture and environment; including the dress code,” says Wagner. “As a representative of the company, your appearance is part of the full package when you’re out in the community, meeting clients, and working with customers.  And with competition for jobs tight, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Not only does your appearance help give you that professional polish that will impress the employer, but when you look and feel good, it can help give you additional confidence.”

    To help college students and recent college grads prepare appropriate interview outfits, we’ve put together this guide breaking down how to dress for job interviews within specific industries including, finance jobs, administrative jobs, creative/marketing jobs, advertising and public relations agency jobs, legal jobs, IT jobs, trucking jobs, and for internships:

    How to dress for finance job interviews
    The dress code for finance and accounting departments is becoming increasingly more casual, though still business professional, according to the professionals at Robert Half. While a full suit and tie or skirt and jacket may not be necessary for a job interview, it is often better to err on the side of overdressing. “Every company has its own culture, so it’s always a good idea to do your homework as much as you can to determine the dress code for the role and company where you are interviewing,” says Britton. The general recommendation is dress slacks or a skirt with a button-down shirt and blazer. Men should wear ties. Continue Reading