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Posted August 01, 2016 by

4 winning resume tips for recent graduates

Businessman passing document to businesswoman photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

You don’t like getting spam, do you? Well, neither do hiring managers. It may be quick and efficient to upload your resume on popular job sites and send employers the same robo-resume, but hiring managers view these generic, mass mailings as spam. They can spot one-size-fits-all resumes in a nano-second and quickly discard them.

Here are four tips from hiring managers featured in the book, Graduate to a Great Career, on how to create a winning resume:

1. Add a short profile statement and your key selling points at the top “above the fold”

Realize your resume is an ad for branding yourself. Like a newspaper, an ad, or web page, the most important “real estate” is in the top half of your resume. Branding resumes begin with a profile or qualifications statement, a couple of crisp sentences that define your value. A strong profile statement is critical for recent graduates. You don’t have an impressive job title and career history yet, so you’ll need to specify your career focus and value proposition in your profile statement. In fact, many hiring managers told me a big problem with new graduate resumes is it can be hard to determine what entry-level job the new grad is looking for, especially if the grad doesn’t have a career-specific major like accounting or computer science. A profile headline like “Seeking an entry-level positioning” is too generic and doesn’t convey your career path. Remember, it’s your job to convey your career identity, not the hiring manager’s. For example, a recent grad named Erin who was a psychology major pursuing a career in marketing began her profile with the headline, “Aspiring marketing assistant: Psychology grad with pulse on the consumer mindset,” followed by a few bullets outlining her focus, strengths, and marketing credentials through two internships.

2. Expand your skill set to take advantage of new market opportunities

Be willing to take advantage of where the momentum is in the marketplace. During her job search for marketing jobs, Erin, our aspiring marketer mentioned above, noticed big retailers were advertising entry-level jobs and internships in merchandising, an area related to marketing that involves selecting products and evaluating sales performance. She decided to expand her job search and pursue both career paths: merchandising and marketing. Because there were a lot of merchandising internships online, she snagged a three-month, part-time internship at a large global retailer. But Erin needed a different elevator pitch and resume to apply for full-time merchandising jobs, and now with her internship, she had a story to tell. She had a hands-on role in compiling trend and competitive analysis reports, which gave her specific marketable skills. Here is Erin’s new profile statement for her merchandising resume, “Merchandising assistant with strong analytic, merchandising, and marketing skills.” She included new skills such as “completed Excel reports for accurate demand forecasting that resulted in a 10% improvement in accurate buying.” Before long, Erin was offered a merchandising job at a top global retailer.

3. Play to keywords and how the resume robots screen resumes.

The first “person” your resume has to impress is not likely to be a human being but a computer. Due to the volume of resumes that large and medium-sized companies receive, most companies use ATS (applicant tracking systems). Most ATS’s are not kind to new grads since they are programmed to check for a strong keyword match. Since most recent grads have limited experience, they don’t score high on an ATS (Only 25% of resumes make it past the resume robots). If you do have a strong skills match with a job posting, take the time to use the same exact words in your resume so the resume robots pick them out. Your resume can also be discarded if you format it incorrectly. Keep the layout simple with commonly used section titles like profile, work experience, education, etc.

4. Emphasize skills, experience, and results in the “Action + Numbers = Results” format.

Employers now give twice as much importance to specific skills and work experience as academic courses and grades. How do you make your abilities and skills stand out when you’re a new grad with limited work experience? It might take more effort than for an experienced job seeker, but you have more experience and accomplishments than you realize. Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished in internships, school projects, volunteer activities, part-time jobs, and the like. Then, follow this formula to create a powerful results bullet:

Action + Numbers = Results

Did [A] + as measured by [N] = with these results [R]

Here are a few examples of how college students and recent grads have created marketable results bullets out of internships and part-time jobs:

• Raised $55,000 in first month calling alumni for university capital
campaign; the top student performer all four weeks.

• As a brand ambassador interning at X Company, challenged to increase
website traffic, wrote ten blog posts that generated over 240 responses,
and helped boost sales.

• Prepared detailed Excel reports and pitches for business development
group at fast-growing technology company that
increased response rate by 15%.

The key to a successful resume and job search is to go for quality over quantity. You need to invest a little more time to create a resume that is right for each job, but it will pay off. Your efforts will be rewarded, and you’ll be on your way to an interview in no time.

Catherine Kaputa, guest writer

Catherine Kaputa, guest writer

Catherine Kaputa is a Personal Brand Strategist, Speaker, and Author of the newly-released book, Graduate to a Great Career: How Smart Students, New Graduates, and Young Professionals Can Launch Brand You. (April 2016. graduatetoagreatcareer.com). She is the author of two best-selling books, You Are a Brand and Breakthrough Branding for entrepreneurs. She is the Founder of SelfBrand (selfbrand.com). Speaking clients include Google, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Intel, Citi, Merck, Northwestern University, New York University, and University of Illinois.

Posted April 29, 2016 by

20 ways to rock your resume

Resume with pen on table closeup courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Casper1774 Studio/Shutterstock.com

Another week without attention paid to your resume. You are applying for jobs that match your education and skills; you have a nicely formatted document; and you have outlined your work experience very well with bolded headings and bullet points like you were told to do. You’re qualified but just can’t manage to get that call for an interview. Could there be that many people more qualified than you? Maybe not. There may be some flaws in your resume you have not realized.

Here are 20 tips that can improve your resume.

Make sure you are emphasizing results, not responsibilities

It’s a common error; job seekers are trying very hard to list all of their responsibilities for each position. Their thinking, of course, is the more responsibilities, the more qualified they will be. What is more important to employers is the results, what job seekers have actually accomplished.

Take a look at the responsibilities you have listed for each position. Can you list any quantifiable results? Did your re-organization save the department $50,000 a year? Sometimes, you may think results will be hard to provide. For example, perhaps you took over a department that had no baseline data to work with to show improvement. And maybe the improvement was qualitative rather than quantitative. Take employee morale, for instance. You know you improved it when you took over that department. But how was the improvement measured? Maybe there was much lower turnover or maybe the rate of absenteeism dropped significantly. These are important figures to have. Never leave a position without gathering figures that support your results.

A lot of space was spent on this item. Why? Because it is the one thing employers say is usually missing from a resume.

Target skills/background for each position

This is the primary reason why you need to tweak each resume for every job opening. If you have background in training, administration, HR, and sales/sales management, and are applying for jobs that focus on one of those, then focus your resume in that direction. Spend far more space on that focus area than on others. Generic resumes don’t really work anymore.

Re-visit keywords for each position

Change out your keywords based upon two things: the job description and the company’s website. Sometimes, reading through the company’s home page and the “about us” page will give you more keywords to include. And keywords that relate to the position should be placed as close to the top of the resume as possible and included in your cover letter.

Include a summary section

A statement of your career goals at the beginning of your resume is not advisable. Companies don’t care about your goals; they care about what you “bring to the table.” Switch that out for a short summary of your skills and experience that relate to the position, with four to five sentences only.

Use standard software

Microsoft Word or a PDF version of your resume should be the only programs used to submit resumes. Scanning will probably not recognize any other programs, and you will never know your resume was unreadable.

Business woman unhappy with resumes of applicants and throwing them on the table courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Milles Studio/Shutterstock.com

Aim for one page

Edit, edit, edit. Take out anything superfluous, reduce sentences to phrases, and remove some of your contact information. Employers don’t need your address and don’t include references unless specifically asked to do so. If you are able to edit the resume to one page, that is ideal. But NEVER go beyond two pages unless you are preparing a CV.

Do not lie

Not about anything. Of course, you want to try to avoid resume mistakes, and of course you want to present yourself in the best light. Exaggerating or giving yourself a job title you did not actually have are big risks. These things can be discovered when references and/or social media are reviewed. Focus on your skills and qualifications completely but honestly.

Use action verbs

They are so much stronger. If you don’t know the difference, here is an example:

1. Responsible for implementing budget reduction by 10% without loss of productivity

2. Reduced budget by 10% without loss of productivity

The second phrase is strong and active. (P.S.: Never use “I”)

Visual appeal is a must

You’ve seen enough resume templates to understand what visual appeal is. The best font now is probably Arial, 12-14 point. The reason for this is there’s good, natural spacing between lines that are not complete and enough white space between bulleted points. Your final resume should have sub-headings in bold (e.g., each position), and a larger font to separate sections of the document. The goal is to make it scannable, not just by a computer program (applicant tracking systems), but by humans, too. No one wants to search for your information.

Be clear about job titles

So long as you are not exaggerating, use a job title that will make clear what you did at a previous organization. Sometimes, organizations have internal titles that mean nothing on the outside. So, if you were a “Level II Tech Support,” change that out to “Systems Analyst,” if that was what your position really entailed.

Be really brief

Do not use full sentences unless you are crafting a CV (These are prose documents). Brief phrases only, please. Remember – scannable.

Perfect grammar and spelling

Don’t rely only on grammar and spell-check programs. They will not recognize incorrect numbers or words that are wrong but are still words. And, in some instances misspellings will not be caught either. If you are really good in this area, read your resume backwards, and you will catch misspellings; read it forward line-by-line. If you are not highly skilled, get someone who is.

Avoid gimmicks

Having your resume hand-delivered by FedEx or courier is not appreciated, and, in fact, is a bit of a turnoff. Just don’t do it. Submit your resume according to the instructions on the job posting.

Graphics should fit the company culture

It is more acceptable today to use some color and graphics than in the past, but these resumes are best suited for younger, more progressive organizations. Tailor color and graphics based upon the culture of the company. If you are not sure, check the website. As a general rule, banks, financial, and educational/scientific institutions are conservative; tech and marketing companies are more progressive. For creative positions, graphics are certainly suitable.

Never state salary

Never include past salaries in your work experience. And absolutely never include your salary or benefit requirements for a new position. Epic fail if you do.

Don’t address negatives

If you were fired or laid off, never state this in your resume. That is the stuff for discussion during an interview. And don’t lie about it either; be as honest as possible, and never “trash” a former boss or company.

Add links

Long before submitting resumes, it will be important to have a professional online presence. Include the link to your LinkedIn profile and, if warranted, a website with a portfolio of your work and/or accomplishments. If you have been a guest blogger on relevant sites, provide links to those posts too.

Update consistently

It is often advised when you start a new position, you begin updating your resume. This is because you want to be sure to remember all of your accomplishments if and when you decide to make another career move, or if, for any reason, your employment is terminated (companies do close). Keep your resume updated all the time.

No tag lines

Lines such as “References available upon request,” are not necessary and just take up space. Leave them out. If you are asked for references or links to things during an interview, you can provide them at that time.

Do not abbreviate

The only abbreviation you can use is “U.S.” Otherwise, spell everything out. Even abbreviations for schools attended may not be known by employers. The rule for acronyms is the same; spell them out.

This article provides a good checklist for job seekers, whether they are crafting their first resumes ever or if they are veterans with several previous resumes under their belts. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a difference.

Need assistance with your resume for your job search? Get a free resume critique on College Recruiter. Also, come to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

Kerry Creaswood is a young and ambitious writer from Savannah, Georgia. She is fond of various forms of art and thinks everything we can imagine is real. To find more about Kerry, check her Twitter.

Posted February 11, 2016 by

Multitasking doesn’t matter to recruiters

In college recruiting, employers don’t value multitasking as one of the skills at the top of their list. While multitasking may demonstrate effort, it does not necessarily produce the best results. Many students list multitasking on their resumes because multitasking is a popular soft skill candidates have been taught to list on their resumes. The bottom line is recruiters want to hire candidates who produce results.

Anne Grinols, Assistant Dean for Faculty Development and College Initiatives at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, asserts that employers care more about hiring candidates who have outlined their accomplishments in detail on their resumes over candidates who have simply listed lots of popular soft skills at the top of their resumes.

Photo of Anne Grinols

Anne Grinols, Assistant Dean for Faculty Development and College Initiatives at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business

“Job candidates who say they can multitask think they are saying they can accomplish more than others because they can focus on more than one thing at once. However, multitasking can also be seen as a negative. I think this is because efforts to multitask have had unfortunate results: poor outcomes and burnout of those trying to do it for extended periods of time.

In the real world, most of the time, results count more than the process to achieve them. A good process is more likely to result in consistent, good results; so process matters. But it matters precisely because of the results, not on its own account.

Employers are more interested in outcomes than efforts. Multitasking refers to the latter. I would not use the term ‘multitasking’ on my resume. Instead, I would indicate expertise in multiple areas, timely production and excellence in outcomes.”

Looking for more resume tips? Visit College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Anne Grinols serves as Assistant Dean for Faculty Development and College Initiatives in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. She teaches in Baylor’s full-time and online MBA programs. Her research areas include interpersonal communication, ethics, and online education. As assistant dean, she supports faculty development in teaching and research, and has a leadership role in the ethics initiatives in the business school. Before coming to Baylor in January 2004, Grinols was director of management communication for the University of Illinois Business School, where she taught management communication and critical thinking for business from 1996-2003 and oversaw the MBA Communication Center.

Posted October 16, 2015 by

Office organization ideas to increase productivity [infographic]

 

Students, grads and entry level employees, you need to have an organized place to do your tasks. And now is the time to get into the right habits before your health declines and you slide into a rhythm of low productivity. You don’t need to be a neat freak or wipe down every surface with bleach all day, but having a relatively organized work space does actually affect your productivity. If you’re shuffling between textbooks, laptop, tablet, cell phone, and then can’t find your bus pass when it’s time to go to class, that your mental disorganization will affect you. So it’s time to get organized. Here we offer some office organization ideas to get yourself cleaned up and working more efficiently!  (more…)

Posted May 22, 2015 by

A Graduate’s Guide to Getting Motivated

Brad McMurrey photo

Brad McMurrey

Your personal and career success are going to depend on more than what you learned in college. Having the ability to motivate yourself could be more important than any knowledge you have. Since they don’t teach this in school, here are some key motivational thoughts that might help.

1. You make your life. Consider this sentence with emphasis on each important word:

· You make your life. It’s up to you, no one else.

· You make your life. It doesn’t just happen. You have to act.

· You make your life. It’s your life that’s at stake. (more…)

Posted May 13, 2015 by

6 Steps for a SUPER Successful Salary Negotiation

Jimmy Sweeney

Jimmy Sweeney, President of CareerJimmy

Brenda’s stomach twisted. She’d never negotiated anything in her entire life. But now at age 35 she would face the topic of pay when she returned for a second interview for a job she really wanted as Medical Center Operations Director of a local medical center. She had all the job requirements: a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, experience in the field, and a diplomatic and clear communication style.

Brenda found some useful tips online to help her over the hump of speaking up for herself and pointing out her credentials, which should put her in a favorable position for the salary she wanted.

You can apply the same, regardless of the job you’re looking for. (more…)

Posted May 06, 2015 by

How to Prevent the Bug of Plagiarism in College Students?

Stop Plagiarism red sign with sun background

Stop Plagiarism red sign with sun background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Let us discuss why and how college and university going students are entangled in this concept which is discouraged and dejected by every educational facility.

Content

Plagiarism is considered totally unethical but let us be honest, how many of us have not performed this unscrupulous activity in the years of our college? Similarly, five out of every ten students perform this activity in their schools, high schools or even colleges. But what drives them towards this immoral and corrupt practice? Why do they plagiarize material when they have their own neurons working within their mind? It is their lethargy! Students do not want to compete and participate, they avoid and run from hard work and fail to develop the understanding of mental exertion. For them, success has to be achieved from the easy path with no effort and struggle. Young students, for example, in their early school or high school years take help from this concept, by totally copying and pasting the material for their own good. They do not understand that this concept is totally scandalous and not appreciated by the professionals. We can start by highlighting the negativity of plagiarism; some students do not even understand and realize what plagiarism is. For them it is just taking help from the online available articles by copying the exact words and sentences. They should be taught that repetition and replication of data without citing the correct sources is stealing. Even the college and university going students who are mature enough to understand the concept, perform the same activity, intentionally or unintentionally. That is why, a new system of checks and balance has been introduced which is known as the plagiarism detection software. Different international education related organizations have initiated the concept and this has been, since then used by various schools and colleges. Let us talk about this new resolution and its elements. (more…)

Posted March 25, 2015 by

Best Motivational Quotes to Inspire

Motivation is the fuel that can empower and propel the vehicle of human effort towards great and extraordinary results. Behind every great person is a strong motivation to achieve more every day, and to make more positive difference in the life of people with sincere efforts in their area of action. Soak in the elixirs of knowledge that flow out of these motivational quotes, and see how your days become more productive, and your energies become better channelized. The best businessmen, the greatest explorers, the most iconic politicians, and people who changed the world have worded their mantras of motivation, it’s for you to absorb the same and see the real power of genuine motivation. (more…)

Posted February 09, 2015 by

Quotes that Can Inspire Success

The smallest of keys can unlock the bulkiest and heaviest of locks; similarly, a few words rife with meaning can instigate the spark of success in a person. Quotes of success are not just cool sounding statements made by successful individuals, but are actually the meaningful gist of the experiences, success mantras, and lessons of managing challenges they gathered during their lifetime. Not only can the best success quotes be an immense source of positive energy every day, but can also prove to be the whiff of motivation that an ordinary human needs to achieve extraordinary results in life. (more…)

Posted January 06, 2015 by

10 Tips to Land a Job in Marketing

Young businesswoman explaining graph to business team

Young businesswoman explaining graph to business team. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Marketing jobs are very competitive. At times, completing an internship or having a private contact opens the door for you in marketing and hence an upper hand when you go for an interview.

You should note that, securing your dream job in this competitive market will be more complex than having a good contact. You will not only need to attend conferences for networking but you should also use social media- LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter to enhance your knowledge in marketing and corporate sponsorship.

Here are the tips that will help you break into marketing: (more…)