• Ask Matt: Recent college grads shouldn’t let helicopter parents hinder their job search

    October 12, 2016 by
    Helicopter parents in the job search; Tips for recent college grads

    Photo from StockUnlimited.com

    Dear Matt: I’m responsible for hiring entry-level employees for a large company, and I am amazed at how many recent college grads have their parents reaching out to us on behalf of their children – they even show up at interviews! I thought helicopter parents were only involved at the youth and high school level. But we’re now seeing it in the business world. Can you remind your readers and all recent college grads that parental involvement shouldn’t take place in the workplace?

    Matt: By one definition, a helicopter parent is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are also prevalent at the youth and high school level, often hovering over their children and every decision involving those children at youth or high school activities, in school, or with friends.

    And now, helicopter parents are invading the workplace. Yikes! It’s true.

    “Believe it or not, recruiters and hiring managers are seeing a surprising influx of parental involvement in the job search, recruiting, and interviewing process,” says Brandi Britton, district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. “As a staffing firm, we’ve heard our share of helicopter parent stories and experienced some unique situations with moms and dads ourselves.”

    Today’s working parent can be a great resource for that recent college grad seeking job search advice, or with connecting them to members of their professional network. But they shouldn’t accompany their child to job interviews, contact employers on behalf of their child, or listen in on speaker phone or Skype/Facetime during the interview. Those are all things that are happening today and all things recent college grads should be sure to avoid to land that first job, or move forward in their career.

    According to a survey of 608 senior managers by Office Team, 35 percent of senior managers interviewed said they find it annoying when helicopter parents are involved in their kids’ search for work. Another one-third (34 percent) of respondents prefer mom and dad stay out of the job hunt, but would let it slide. Only 29 percent said this parental guidance is not a problem.

    The reasons for mom and dad getting involved are simple, says Britton: Recent college grads may not have as much job search experience and therefore turn to their parents for guidance.

    “The job search process can be extremely challenging and daunting,” says Britton. “Parental support and advice throughout the process can help you stay positive and on track.”


    “Although most parents mean well with their efforts, they need to know where to draw the line to avoid hurting their son or daughter’s chances of securing a job,” says Britton

    Managers were also asked to recount the most unusual or surprising behavior they’ve heard of or seen from helicopter parents of job seekers. Here are some of their responses:

    • “The candidate opened his laptop and had his mother Skype in for the interview.”
    • “A woman brought a cake to try to convince us to hire her daughter.”
    • “One parent asked if she could do the interview for her child because he had somewhere else to be.”
    • “A father asked us to pay his son a higher salary.”
    • “One mom knocked on the office door during an interview and asked if she could sit in.”
    • “Parents have arrived with their child’s resume and tried to convince us to hire him or her.”
    • “A job seeker was texting his parent the questions I was asking during the interview and waiting for a response.”
    • “Once a father called us pretending he was from the candidate’s previous company and offered praise for his son.”
    • “Parents have followed up to ask how their child’s interview went.”
    • “A father started filling out a job application on behalf of his kid.”
    • “I had one mother call and set up an interview for her son.”
    • “Moms and dads have called to ask why their child didn’t get hired.”

    When it comes to parental involvement in the job search, Britton provided the five biggest mistakes college grads make when involving parents in the job search:

    1. Parents should avoid direct contact with potential employers. They should not participate in interviews or call, email or visit companies on behalf of their children.
    2. Job seekers should be the ones filling out the applications and submitting resumes, not their parents.
    3. Helicopter parents should steer clear of involvement in following up after their child has applied or interviewed for a position.
    4. Having your mom or dad try to bribe a potential employer is a definite no-no. In our survey, one woman brought a cake to a company to try to convince them to hire her daughter.
    5. Parents shouldn’t be involved in job offer discussions, such as negotiating salary or benefits.

    “Parents should absolutely not be included in their children’s job interviews,” says Britton. “The meeting is meant to be a discussion involving only the interviewer(s) and job candidate. “Parents participating in interviews can distract from the goal of making sure it’s a fit for the applicant and employer. The employer is evaluating whether to hire the applicant — not his or her parent.”

    Employers usually appreciate candidates who are assertive, but when a parent is clearly handholding or answering questions for their child, it sends the message that the individual lacks initiative and independence, adds Britton.

    Does this automatically eliminate a candidate?

    “Not all employers will automatically take a candidate out of contention if his or her parents become too involved in the job search, but chances are that most hiring managers would be put off by this type of behavior,” says Britton. “Parents who become overly involved in their children’s job searches can cause more harm than good because employers may question the applicant’s abilities and maturity.”

    Professionals need to take ownership of their careers – they’re responsible for applying to and ultimately landing positions. So how can parents assist recent college grads in the job search? Britton offered these additional tips on how parents can assist recent college grads in the job search:

    1. Uncovering hidden job opportunities: Family members and others in your network can be great sources for advice and help you uncover hidden job opportunities.
    2. Job search and interview preparation: It’s perfectly fine to tap your parents for behind-the-scenes assistance, such as reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews or offering networking contacts.
    3. Access to professional contacts: Parents or those in their network can provide access to contacts at companies or alert you to opportunities.
    4. Resume and cover letter review: Have your mom or dad review your resume and cover letter to ensure they’re error-free and clearly showcase the most important information.
    5. Mock interview assistance: Prepare for interviews by practicing responses to common (and tricky) questions with your parents. They can also provide constructive criticism regarding your answers and delivery.
    6. Decision-making: Juggling a few offers? Children may want to get their parents’ opinions when weighing potential opportunities. But ultimately, it’s the job seekers decision, not the parents.

    “Parents want the best for their kids, but being overly involved in a child’s job search can cause more harm than good,” says Britton. “It’s a positive for mom and dad to help behind the scenes by reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews and offering networking contacts. However, ultimately, companies seek employees who display self-sufficiency and maturity.”

    Want more tips and advice on how to successfully navigate the job search? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

    Matt Krumrie

    Matt Krumrie

    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.

  • Are you wasting millions on your on-campus recruiting approach? It’s possible.

    September 21, 2016 by
    Ted Bauer

    Ted Bauer is a contributing author to College Recruiter

    By Ted Bauer, contributing author to College Recruiter

    This headline from October 2015 in Harvard Business Review says it all: “Firms are wasting millions recruiting on only a few college campuses.”

    We’ve seen this for years, especially among the EPS companies across investment banks, management consulting firms, and law firms. There are “target” campuses and then there’s “everyone else.” While you might get some amazingly high-quality people (good!), overall the process has a lot of waste, financially and in terms of potential burnout for your recruiting team.

    There’s a better way. Ever seen the stat that it took 35 years to construct the federal highway system, but Facebook reached 500 million users in six years? It’s an obvious stat, sure — but it speaks to the amazing power of digital to both connect and scale.

    No matter how you approach digital vs. in-person, your goal should be to maximize your ROI from your college recruiting efforts. To do that, you might need to move around some budget buckets: less on-campus and more interactive/digital/social/job board work.


  • 10 tips for college grads who complete an internship without a job offer

    September 06, 2016 by
    Person pointing at job search

    Person pointing at job search. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Many recent college graduates head into a summer internship hoping they secure full-time employment with that company once the internship is completed. But, for a variety of reasons, it doesn’t always work out that way.

    Now what? How do recent college graduates and entry-level job seekers move forward in the job search when they don’t secure a full-time job from an internship?

    With confidence, because they just gained the invaluable on-the-job training employers covet.

    Because, for recent college graduates, the number one goal of any internship should be to gain work experience in a professional business setting, 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.

    While larger companies tend use their internship programs as a way to evaluate interns for employment in a subsequent year, small and medium employers are more likely to hire interns to accomplish specific goals, like completing a well-defined project or to cover staff for the summer vacation season, says LaBombard. Not getting hired full-time is in no way indicative of an interns performance on the job.

    “Either way, internships are a great way for students to apply their skills in meaningful work, and learn how to receive feedback and apply coaching tips from supervisors,” says LaBombard. “Even if an internship does not result in a full-time job offer, the experience should help interns better define their value proposition to employers by gaining a more focused appreciation for the core skills they possess, and how they have been successfully applied in the workplace.”

    So what should job seekers who completed an internship without a full-time job do next? Start by registering 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.

    Next, consider these tips from Bill Driscoll, district president for Accountemps, and Tel Ganesan, Board Chairman of Kyyba, Inc., a global IT, engineering and professional staff augmentation company, and Managing Partner of Kyyba Ventures. Both have experience working with recent college graduates who have completed internship programs. They help answer the question:

    My internship is over, now what:

    1. Be flexible: College graduates looking to land their first jobs need to be flexible, proactive and creative. Consider volunteer assignments or temporary work as a way to continue to gain additional experience and build your skill set, says Driscoll.

    2. Network: Online and off. Many companies don’t advertise open positions, so networking plays an important role in finding out about hidden job opportunities. “Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job, whether in-person at industry association events, or using professional networking websites,” says Driscoll. “You’d be surprised at who might be able to help.”

    3. Use college career center/alumni resources: College career centers usually welcome recent grads and can help in your job search. You also might be able to connect with other alumni who can provide advice. These resources are often underutilized by recent college grads who don’t go back to their college/alumni career center seeking assistance. They are ready to help you – even now that you graduated. Learn more about how to use your college career center in the job search.

    4. Don’t overlook your online image: Applicants need to actively monitor and maintain their professional reputations online. Keep a clean online profile. Future employers are watching.

    5. Initiate contact: Research companies you would like to work for and ask for an informational interview to learn more about the organization. “It also can help employers get to know you so you’re top of mind when that company has a vacant position,” says Driscoll.

    6. Meet with a recruiter: Staffing executives can be your eyes and ears in the job market. Recruiters also provide useful feedback on your resume and interview skills, and help you locate full-time and temporary jobs.

    7. Ask for references: Before your last day, ask your manager, and/or co-workers if they will be references. Professional references can sometimes hold more value than a supervisor from a work study program, or college professor (but those are both viable references if need be).

    8. Update your cover letter and resume: Did you track your achievements and successes at the internship? Be sure to update this information on your resume and put it at the top of your resume, right under education. “Highlight any unique activities you partook in that may set you apart from the competition,” says Ganesan. Include project work and results, being a part of a team, technical/computer skills learned/used, and any other success story.

    9. Apply for more than a handful of ideal jobs: Set target companies or jobs, but be flexible in your search. “Consider numerous possibilities, especially when you’re just starting off,” says Ganesan.

    10. Use your social network: Use your social media network, as well as family and friends, to find a personal connection at particular companies. “That individual may be able to assist in securing an interview or simply provide advice and insight into the organization,” says Ganesan.

    Don’t view the completion of an internship without a job as the end. View it as a new start, and a new beginning to a job search that is now backed by real world internship experience – something every employer craves.

    For more tips on how to secure a job after your internship is completed, and other job search and career advice, visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedInTwitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

  • Biggest networking mistake you can make

    August 26, 2016 by
    Asking photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    For many college students and recent graduates, networking is likely to be part of their job searches. Their success or failure when interacting with recruiters and hiring managers will depend on their approach. While securing internships or entry-level jobs is a priority, college students and recent grads don’t want to come off as too aggressive when asking about career opportunities. Job seekers should not assume that just because they are eager to work that employers will automatically tell them about job opportunities, including those in the hidden job market.

    When networking, students and graduates can inform professionals about who they are and what interests they have. At the same time, they can ask questions to learn more about potential employers and what they have to offer. Marc Prosser, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business, discusses a key mistake to avoid when networking and shares helpful tips for a better experience.

    “The biggest networking mistake is asking people if they know of any open jobs. It’s good to be aggressive and show you’re looking for work. But why should anyone recommend you, especially if they don’t know you or your work ethic?

    The best way to network is showing curiosity about what people do. Ask them and tell them you’d like to learn more about their profession; establish an interest in them. They may recommend you and say “This person is interested in…and may be good for the position.” Asking employers if they’re hiring won’t be as effective as “Hey, what do you do?” Avoid that mistake and you’ll be better at networking.”

    Want to improve your networking skills? Visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Marc Prosser, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business

    Marc Prosser, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business

    Marc Prosser is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business, a site that provides reviews and articles for small business owners. Prior to starting Fit Small Business, Marc was the CMO of FXCM for 10 years. He joined as FXCM’s first employee and grew the company to more than 700 employees.

  • Recruiters’ failure to follow-up hurts networking

    August 22, 2016 by
    Emotional stress, frustration, telephone photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Attending networking events on college campuses is a great way for recruiters and hiring managers to interact with and build relationships with college students. By engaging in conversations with college students, recruiters and hiring managers can find potential candidates for entry-level jobs, internships, or other career opportunities. It is also important to keep in mind that networking is a two-way street. While it is important for students to follow-up with recruiters, recruiters should do the same.

    One mistake some recruiters make is not following up during the hiring process. This can not only create a less impressive candidate experience but can also a company or organization’s reputation. Kevin Fallon, Director of Career Services at Salisbury University (Maryland), discusses the negative effect left on college students when recruiters do not follow up during the hiring process.

    “The single biggest mistake we often see recruiters and hiring managers make during the hiring process is a lack of follow-up or follow-through. College students will come to us and say ‘I never heard back from (recruiter) at (name of company) – Should I follow up with them?’ This lack of following through on communicating with students is damaging to an organization’s brand, and it leaves them with an unfavorable view of the organization. It especially does when you consider the contact management software available today.”

    For more advice on networking, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Kevin Fallon, Director of Career Services at Salisbury University

    Kevin Fallon, Director of Career Services at Salisbury University

    Kevin Fallon serves as the Director of Career Services at Salisbury University (Maryland), where he leads the delivery of career and professional development services to more than 8,000 students enrolled in, as well as alumni from 42 undergraduate and 14 graduate programs in business, education, science and technology, and the liberal arts. Prior to joining Salisbury, Fallon’s 22-year career included talent acquisition and talent development leadership roles with global Fortune organizations such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Accenture, and Bank of America, as well as university career services leadership roles with the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland College Park and Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

  • Networking isn’t all about you

    August 19, 2016 by
    Business photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    How do you handle networking opportunities? Is it a one-way or a two-way street? The mistake you can easily make is that networking is all about you. Because you’re so focused on landing an internship or an entry-level job, no one else seems to matter. Having that perspective is a mistake.

    Networking is about communicating with professionals or other job seekers and building relationships with them. If you’re not just talking but taking the time to listen to someone else, you can learn valuable information to benefit your career. Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, explains why networking isn’t all about you and offers good networking tips.

    “We live in a culture obsessed with personal branding, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The problem occurs when the only thing professionals focus on is themselves. Don’t attend networking events to tell your story alone; focus on listening, as well. After all, networking should be a dialogue, not a monologue.

    It all comes down to authenticity. Are you joining professional groups and meeting people to only serve your career and to be the loudest, most talkative person in the room? If so, you will get nowhere fast.

    Show a genuine interest in meeting new people, sharing ideas, asking questions, and developing strong relationships. Nobody wants to associate with selfish, egotistical blowhards who try controlling every conversation.

    Being authentic also requires gratitude. Many young professionals forget to thank whoever takes time to talk to them. Express how much you appreciate each person’s time and energy. This leaves them with a positive impression of you and solves another common networking mistake, which is failing to follow-up.

    Most people assume their contacts will seek them out on their own. Don’t leave it to chance. Instead, be proactive, and connect online and schedule follow ups with a simple email or a request for a lunch meeting. Take charge, be humble, and maintain a level of professionalism.”

    Find more networking advice on our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

    Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

    Michael Moradian is the Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, an honor society that recognizes academic achievement and provides valuable resources and tools to its members. Connect with Michael and HonorSociety.org on Twitter at @HonorSocietyorg.

  • Why building great relationships with career services benefits employers

    August 18, 2016 by
    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Employers and career services offices/college campuses each play important roles in the lives of college students and recent graduates. Employers can provide entry-level jobs and internship opportunities to students and graduates; the former can be their first real jobs and the latter offer them valuable work experience preparing them for those first real jobs. Career services offices and campuses guide college students not just academically but professionally also. Career services professionals can help with various parts of the job search such as writing resumes and cover letters, interview preparation, and networking. While recruiters are partners for employers in finding young, top talent to fill job openings, they are often not the only ones.

    Building great relationships with career service offices and campuses is a smart move for employers, recruiters, and hiring managers. If companies know the type of job candidates they need, and colleges have them, then it’s a win-win for both sides. Employers gain access to communicate directly with qualified candidates, and career services offices and campuses connect college students and recent graduates with internship and job opportunities. Deborah Pratt, Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development at Whittier College, highlights her school’s relationship with Peace Corps.

    “There are several employers who come to mind that have built great working relationships with Whittier College’s Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD), but the stand-out employer for the CCPD team is the Peace Corps.

    Peace Corps has a terrific talent acquisition approach which appeals to students and emerging professionals. Nick Leichliter and Tiffany Tai, the Peace Corps recruiters assigned to Whittier College, partnered with us to design customized on-campus recruiting sessions. The Peace Corps recruiting sessions included two employer meet-and-greet roundtables, coffee talks, one hiking session (with a Peace Corps dog), and two classroom presentations. Nick and Tiffany also provided one-on-one coaching to Whittier College students offering our students tips to succeed with the intensive Peace Corps application process. Peace Corps extra efforts paid off, and the organization received a record amount of resumes and attention at the annual Career and Internship Fair.

    Our partnership with Peace Corps continues to deepen. The CCPD’s goal for this year is to establish the Peace Corps Prep certificate under the auspices of the Whittier College Early Talent Identification Program.”

    Deborah Pratt, Assistant Dean of Whittier College's Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development

    Deborah Pratt, Assistant Dean of Whittier College’s Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development

    Employers, want more advice on recruiting? Reach out to College Recruiter for help and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Assistant Dean Deborah Pratt leads a dynamic team of career development professionals at Whittier College’s Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development. In this role, she drives the strategic vision and blueprint for the college to transition from a traditional career services business operation to a four-year career development college-wide approach and program.

  • Absence of genuine networking discourages job seekers

    August 16, 2016 by
    Business photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    As recruiters and hiring managers search for top talent, it is important they understand how to approach potential job candidates. Employers should think about treating candidates the way they would want to be treated when searching for internships or entry-level jobs. Recruiters and hiring managers can’t assume just because they arrive on college campuses that they will make connections. Taking time to speak with college students who attend networking events shows sincere interest in them and create a favorable impression of an employer. Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, explains the importance of connecting with candidates in a genuine manner.

    “Networking is a way to build professional relationships on a personal level. But many recruiters fail to connect with potential candidates in a meaningful way. Communication is the most important tool in a recruiter’s toolkit. If you can’t explain expectations and describe opportunities in a clear, straightforward way, candidates will go elsewhere. Job seekers aren’t interested in vague, unclear information. They want to know if an opportunity is right for them so help them see if they can fit into the role.

    It’s easy to spot common offenders when you’re at networking events. Keep an eye out for card spammers, people who throw their business cards around attempting to reach as many people as possible in a short amount of time. This is not just unprofessional; it’s also offensive.

    You can’t build relationships by skimming the surface and trying to get your information in as many pockets as possible. Why would I want to build a trusting relationship with you when you can’t seem to take the time to fully engage with me?

    Instead, start a conversation and express a genuine interest in connecting. Being inauthentic and focusing only on the result is off-putting. Don’t force anything; sometimes, there just isn’t a fit. Express what you can offer and how you can help potential candidates.

    Follow-up if you sense some interest, but don’t be pushy. There is a human side to business, and talented candidates appreciate when they are treated as a person, not a commodity.”

    Want more networking tips? Make your way to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

    Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

    Michael Moradian is the Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, an honor society that recognizes academic achievement and provides valuable resources and tools to its members. Connect with Michael and HonorSociety.org on Twitter at @HonorSocietyorg.

  • Common networking mistakes to avoid

    August 09, 2016 by
    Dishonesty, moral dilemma, liar photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    As college students and recent graduates enter the workforce, they will likely meet people who can assist them with their job searches. When these opportunities arise, job seekers be prepared to take advantage of them. While some job seekers may not be the most outgoing in terms of personality, they can still be effective when networking. However, if students and grads don’t understand how to network, they can hurt their chances of building important relationships that can advance their careers. So as job seekers attend networking events, they must be mindful of what not to do. Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University, highlights common networking mistakes to avoid.

    “Blindly reaching out without knowing basic information about a person, the kind of details usually found through a quick Google or LinkedIn search, is a red flag signaling a bad start to the networking experience. A wishful connection will be less likely to engage if college students or prospective hires don’t bring any background knowledge to the table.

    Expecting a networking connection will “tell me what to do.” Before reaching out, know the information you want. It’s helpful to have an informal script handy. “My name is Sue Smith; I’m a business major and art history minor interested in an entry-level job working in the cosmetic industry in New York. I’m hoping to secure a summer internship. Could you share with me how you got into the industry and any suggestions or recommendations you might have?”

    Thinking the number of connections matters. Networking is about relationships, not numbers. Targeted outreach to people who share common interests makes networking effective. Two people may connect in an unlimited number of ways, such as graduating from the same school, being from the same hometown, choosing a similar academic path, or by an interest in a particular career. Whatever it is, a real connection matters.

    The first outreach is inappropriate or unprofessional. Treat networking opportunities as professional conversations. It’s easier to move from formal to casual than vice-versa. Having good manners and dressing appropriately (which is very different if you’re interested in a career in journalism versus a career on Wall Street) is critical in creating the first impression that builds your reputation.”

    Want to learn more about networking mistakes? Head to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University

    Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University

    With more than 25 years of experience in the private sector, nearly half assisting organizations with recruiting, interviewing, and hiring top talent, Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has an insider’s understanding of what employers are seeking and helping students and recent grads showcase their academic skills and personal experiences. Wake Forest’s one, university-wide employer relations team means Summers has experience with and supports the employment search for students in all academic areas, teaching and empowering them to articulate the value of their education for today’s employers.

  • Graduating in 2017? 3 job search tips you can use right now.

    August 02, 2016 by
    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Despite the soaring temperatures, the fall semester is just around the corner. If you plan to graduate in the upcoming academic year, anticipation (or apprehension) for planning your job search is probably sinking in. Commencement is a date in the distant future, and it feels reasonable to hold your job search until you can actually work full-time, right?

    In truth, now is the best time to begin planning your strategy for locating a great employer and opportunity. Following are just a few strategies to gain a jump on your job-search competitors.

    1. Begin by finishing strong.

      Chances are you are currently wrapping up a summer job, volunteer experience, or internship. Now is the ideal time to close this experience by delivering quality work. Connect with your supervisor to schedule a feedback discussion and ask if there will be full-time openings available post-graduation. Also ask if he or she will offer a strong recommendation if contacted. Networking, interning, and building strong references will significantly impact your first job search and beyond.
    2. Employers are identifying talent earlier; help them find you.Recruiting cycles have changed over the past five years. As the economy has picked up, highly skilled applicants (top talent) can be in short supply. Employers are looking for the best possible talent for the job, which is impossible if a competitor has already hired away the best candidates. For many majors, fall is the ideal time to devote the most energy to your job search. Visit your career center immediately when you return to campus for the fall. Carve out time to visit career fairs and employer information sessions to connect with as many recruiters as possible. If employers in your field are not recruiting in the fall, use this time to talk with faculty, parents, and anyone else who may be willing to make a networking introduction. Finally, attend community events, or tackle a fall volunteer project. The connections and skills gained will be valuable for your job search.
    1. Give yourself time to practice and prepare.If you participate in sports, theater, music, or writing, you have probably put in a significant amount of practice time. Similarly, consider putting some significant preparation time into your job search. Start drafting resumes, scheduling mock interviews, and researching employers as soon as possible. Your second or third interview will probably be a lot more relaxed than your first. In addition, pretty much everyone will have suggestions for your first resume draft. Start building your job search skills now.
    Mike Caldwell, Director of Business Careers and Employer Development, William & Mary

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

    Want more great job search suggestions before you really dig in and begin searching for jobs? Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube for a steady stream of tips and job postings.

    About Mike Caldwell, the author: 

    Mike Caldwell serves as the Director of Business Careers and Employer Development at the Cohen Career Center for the College of William & Mary.  He has held leadership roles in local, regional, and national college recruiting organizations including the American Association for Employment in Education and the Utah Association of Career Educators.