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Posted May 10, 2016 by

How to select a career mentor

When you graduate from college, you lose daily, immediate access to some of your greatest mentors and teachers—faculty members, advisors, and career services professionals who have guided you through some of the best and most formative years of your life. When starting your first entry-level, full-time job, it’s important to begin seeking out a career mentor.

This five-minute video, created by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, will help you select a quality career mentor.


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

There are at least two types of mentors you need to find, ideally, when you begin your first full-time, entry-level job. The first type of mentor you need to find is a workplace mentor. This mentor works for the same company or organization but has at least a few years of experience under her belt. She probably works for the same team or within the same division and can provide you with guidance related to company policies and procedures, the ins and outs about how to make coffee in the breakroom, and other important tips about surviving on a daily basis within your organization.

This video and article will help you select the other—and more important—type of mentor: a career mentor. A career mentor is a lifelong mentor; your career mentor has years of experience, preferably decades of experience, and works in your “dream career field.” A career mentor will provide career guidance and mentorship over the course of your career journey. When selecting a career mentor, be picky. You should spend at least a few months observing professionals and contemplating “fit” before asking someone to serve as your career mentor.

Here are a few tips to aid you in selecting your career mentor.

1. Look for elevator people.

Elevator people are defined as people who bring you up, while basement people bring you down. This trait is especially important in mentors. When you’re asking someone for advice and guidance, you don’t want to leave every conversation feeling controlled, manipulated, deflated, or picked apart. Not only does that type of relationship sound very unhealthy, but it’s also completely unproductive. Seek out a career mentor who lifts others up. Is the mentor you’re considering territorial with her ideas? Does she appear jealous when you discuss something you’re working on that’s exciting to you? Move on and consider option B.

2. Go for the “gel.”

Can you completely relax when talking to your career mentor? This doesn’t mean you need to think of your career mentor as a peer; she’s not. You should have a great amount of respect for your career mentor.  Competent communication is defined as communication that is both effective and appropriate. Of course you want to interact with your mentor with an appropriate level of respect; you won’t talk to your mentor about the party you hosted Saturday night or your conflict with your boyfriend. You discuss those matters with your personal friends.

But it is crucial to select a career mentor you “gel” with. Can you be honest about your career goals, or do you feel intimidated to discuss the future? Are you afraid your career mentor will laugh at your dreams? When you make mistakes at work (and don’t worry—every new entry-level employee makes mistakes), do you feel comfortable confessing those mistakes to your career mentor and seeking advice about how to overcome them? If not, you probably need to consider seeking out a new career mentor.

3. Find a great listener.

Motivational speakers may seem inspiring when you meet them, but remember when seeking a career mentor, you must find someone who can listen as much as she talks. You’re going to come up against obstacles over the course of your career journey, and it’s important that your career mentor listen well (without placing judgment). Only excellent listeners can offer excellent feedback and suggestions. Great career mentoring relationships tend to look alike—be sure yours matches up.

4. Reflect on your feelings.

Always reflect on your feelings after spending time with potential career mentors. Weigh pros and cons, make lists, and attempt to make a clear-headed decision before selecting a career mentor, certainly. But at the end of the day, relationships like this must be based at least partly on gut instinct. After going to lunch with your career mentor, do you feel better or worse? When you have a phone conversation, do you feel more positive or disheartened? Do you feel more motivated to go back to work and to try to reach your goals, or do you feel like taking the day off after talking to your mentor?

5. Don’t discount your feelings before you make the final decision about asking someone to serve as your mentor.

Lastly, when you decide to ask someone to serve as your career mentor, be gracious and grateful. Your career mentor is doing you a huge favor and will likely invest hours—if not days—of her life in yours. Mine has.

For more advice about starting your first full-time job off right, read our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted April 30, 2016 by

3 employment options for recent grads

Graduation male student with different careers to choose courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Tom Wang/Shutterstock.com

Considering the economy and technology are on the upswing, many recent grads start their careers while studying at college. And we are not talking about part-time at the campus café; college students often have jobs that bring them valuable professional experience, and ensure a tangible level of income. So when graduation day comes, college students are not a bunch of scared rookies but professionals with decent backgrounds in their fields. Nevertheless, there is still a question: what form of employment is worth the effort? Startups and freelancing look more attractive, yet they conceal many tricky pitfalls. As for good old full-time employment, it needs serious reshaping and improvement to attract young professionals. There are at least three employment options for recent grads, but which option is best?

It is all in the mindset

According to recent surveys, three out of five students expect they will be able to work remotely, and less than a half of 18-29 year olds employed are working full-time. It is not a crisis or an unexpected epidemic given that youth follow the elder generations; Gen Z (this is how sociologists and HR experts categorize people born in the mid to late 1990s through the 2010s) had a Millennials rise as a model to follow. The same surveys indicate about 30% of Gen Y started businesses while in college, and about 91% are considering changing their current jobs within three years. With this in mind, we can tell the younger generation has been raised in the spirit of freedom and solopreneurship, now demanding a different approach from HR departments and recruiters. Yet, the last say goes to employees, and here are things they should consider before accepting job offers and jump into their careers or solo businesses. Let’s take a look at each of the following three employment options for recent grads to consider.

Start a company

Starting your own company is rather challenging, though many examples have proven it to be successful. The idea is to push your passion into profit and convince others that your business is worth all the efforts.

Startup advantages:

– Working for yourself
– Creating great financial opportunities
– Implementing your own ideas
– Great life experience

Startup disadvantages:

– Tough competition
– Investments needed
– Lack of “job security”
– Startup is riskier and more costly

Understand that starting your own business calls for an award-winning concept necessary to enter the entrepreneurial world. Those who choose to make such a living should be patient, as niche startups are likely to bear fruit no sooner than 12 months after launch.

Freelancing

Freelancing is actually quite similar to starting your own business. On the one hand, it comes rather risky though you do not have to invest. On the other hand, you are free to follow your commitments with passion and drive.

Freelancing advantages:

– Benefit from flexible hours (Sleep until noon, if you like. No one will ever bother you unless the project deadline is approaching)
– Take control of your customers and tasks (Choose whom you are going to work with and opt for the most appealing tasks)
– Keep all the profits (You are the boss. You don’t have to split the profit or pay salaries, yet be aware of taxation and other expenses)
– Stay wherever you want (Freelancing is perfect for a travelling enthusiast)

Freelancing disadvantages:

– Lack of steady workloads (At some point, you can suffer from the lack of orders unless you’ve managed to create a solid customer base)
– Insecurity (There are numerous occasions when freelancers are not paid or become victims of fraud)
– You pay for yourself (No social package or any other benefits provided by the employer. You’re the boss, remember?)

Full-time job

The most influential thing about a full-time job is a contract and guaranteed salary in addition to employer’s benefits, a workplace provided, and more. However, the current economic situation will hardly provide you with total job and financial security, while being hopeless in enabling your professional development.

Full-time advantages:

– Steady salary (Your monthly payment is guaranteed)
– Governmental and social securities (Your contact is protected by social and economic policies)
– Constant workload (You will never witness a lack of tasks and duties)

Full-time disadvantages:

– Heavy workload (Too much work is not good for you. It results in stress and health problems in addition to a lack of personal time)
– Lack of professional development (You can stick to a routine without the slightest chance to develop your skills)
– Not enough salary (You will hardly find employees who are satisfied with their monthly salaries. Always keep in mind that every employer is eager to cut down on expenses. Salary is a key point in the list of expenses)

Each working arrangement comes with pros and cons. The best way to make up your mind is to consider every point we have discussed. No matter what you choose, get pleasure from what you are doing and never hesitate to make a crucial step and change your life for the better.

Need more advice regarding employment options? Search for jobs with College Recruiter and check out our blog. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Justine Thomas, guest writer

Justine Thomas, guest writer

Justine Thomas is a blogger and freelance writer. Her main interests are foreign languages, psychology, and fitness. Currently, she is working at educational company, Edubirdie.com, as a consulting editor.

Posted May 08, 2015 by

Why You May Want to Consider Earning Your Degree Online: Personal Perspective of a Doctoral Candidate

Deborah Anderson photo

Deborah Anderson

Years ago, when you stated that you were going to earn a degree online, it was not surprising to have someone respond with a question of whether or not the degree is legitimate. Or, worse yet, were you “purchasing” the degree (which obviously isn’t a degree at all).

Nowadays, it is not unusual to have online opportunities to earn a degree, from the Bachelors, to Graduate School with the Masters and even the Doctorate. There are respectable schools from the known-for-online, like University of Phoenix and Capella University, to the brick-and-mortar schools. Yes, even the state universities have arrived and have opportunities for people to go to school “online.” (more…)

Posted February 19, 2015 by

6 Steps to Beginning a Private Practice

Reception at a private clinic

Reception at a private clinic. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Completing years and years of school almost doesn’t seem worth it when you consider the fact that when you graduate you’ll be working for someone else. But that doesn’t have to be the case if you have the courage to stand on your own.

Although there are plenty of risks involved in starting your own private practice, the rewards can be tremendous. Whether you’re an ambitious recent graduate, or you’ve been in the medical field for decades, opening your own practice and becoming your own boss is a fulfilling experience.

If you’re ready to make the leap of faith, here are six steps to help you get started. (more…)

Posted February 05, 2015 by

College or Entrepreneurship: The Pros and Cons

Taylor Johnson photo

Taylor Johnson

The Millennial generation is turning out to have a high entrepreneurial drive. According to an oDesk study, 72% of Millennials want to quit their jobs and strike out on their own, and 61% of them plan to do so within two years.

Who can blame them? The New York Times reports that “for the first time in modern memory, a whole generation might not prove wealthier than the one that preceded it.”

It’s no wonder why Millennials feel compelled to strike out as entrepreneurs. They feel a keen social and class awareness (we are the 99%!), watch movies like The Social Network, and know that their jobs won’t lead them to great wealth. Millennials know that entrepreneurship may be their only route to making a comfortable amount of money. (more…)

Posted January 07, 2015 by

How to Bring More Diversity into the Workplace

Multi ethnic business group greets somebody with clapping and smiling. Focus on woman

Multi ethnic business group greets somebody with clapping and smiling. Focus on woman. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

As an employer, how much have you thought about diversity at your company?  If you have not considered it, then you are missing out on an opportunity to create a healthy mix of thoughts and ideas that could lead to increased business.  In addition, a diverse workplace shows potential employees that you embrace people being original and unique.  However, diversity should not be something that you feel forced to implement, but have a desire to do so.  If you want to achieve more diversity in your workplace, check out the following tips for your hiring process. (more…)

Posted December 29, 2014 by

From a Student to an Employee: How to handle the transition?

Anshuman Kukreti

Anshuman Kukreti

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Attending lectures, submitting projects, enduring sleepless nights during exam days, partying hard, asking for grace marks during innumerable instances and what not! Seriously, time at college was a different phase of life altogether. Having spent majority of years as a student till now, there are some changes you’ll have to adapt yourself to, while moving ahead.

Getting a job was a feat you achieved as a student. But, making a successful transition from being a student to a productive and efficient employee is the next milestone in queue. (more…)

Posted September 18, 2014 by

College Student, Before Getting Jobs, Think about Factors to Consider for Your Degree

Before getting jobs, a college student must first think about his or her degree.  In the following post, learn some factors to consider before deciding on what degree to choose.

Choosing the right degree is the first step on your career ladder. When you are deciding what area to major in, you may find yourself stressing about the wide array of options. The degree that you opt for now will help to scope your future career path. That means that the

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Posted June 16, 2014 by

Do You Want to Attend a For-Profit College or a Public College?

For high school students and other people considering a higher education, a couple of options they have include attending a for-profit college or a public college.  In the following infographic, learn the pros and cons of these types of schools. (more…)

Posted June 16, 2014 by

Online Education vs Traditional Education

As online education continues to grow, will traditional education take a back seat?  I doubt it because the campus experience in college is important for some students.  However, having the option of a more flexible and convenient way getting an education does give you something to consider.  In the following infographic, online education and traditional education go head to head. (more…)