• Realistic expectations: Master these 7 traits to become ready for a move to management

    January 17, 2017 by

     

    Some employees, ready or not, are promoted into management roles as a reward for succeeding in their previous job. Others, through education and professional training, get hired into management roles. No matter one’s road to a management job, there is no one-size-fits-all guide that determines when one is really ready to be a manager.

    “Unfortunately you can’t teach management in 10 minutes,” says Jayne Heggen, President of Heggen Group, a management consulting firm.

    But whether one is a first-time manager, new manager, or seeking a career in management, there are certain skills, traits, and attributes that all good managers have. Mastering these traits can help all managers succeed in a leadership role. Here are seven traits managers must master to successfully prove they are ready to move into a management role:

    1. Be willing to change: Many new managers get promoted because they are good at doing a job, says Heggen. Realize that what worked as an individual contributor won’t necessarily work now. “New managers need to understand their own tendencies and learn when they need to change their management style based on the person and the situation,” says Heggen. Adjust and adapt based on individual and team characteristics.

    2. Understand mistakes will happen: Mistakes will happen and that’s okay, says Karen Young, the award-winning founder and President of HR Resolutions, a full-service human resources management company. “What’s important is how the mistake is handled,” says Young. “Are you prepared to accept ownership of your mistake? Are you prepared to go to your boss and say this happened, caused by you or your staff member, and this is how we are addressing it? It’s important to create a safe environment for your employees – one in which they feel comfortable coming to you with mistakes.”

    3. Conflict identification and resolution: The ability to identify and head off conflict is an important trait new managers need to develop, says Liz Sophia, Senior VP of Marketing for Hodges-Mace, an employee benefits technology and communications company. “New managers tend to shy away from conflict and are more passive aggressive in dealing with employee issues,” says Sophia. A good manager will identify issues upfront and work quickly to resolve them. Conflict resolution is best done in person when available. If not, via phone. Don’t use email or text to solve issues/problems.

    4. Hold employees accountable: A manager must hold employees accountable, says Young. That means team members must understand expectations, and follow through on those expectations. As a manager, you’ll have to correct mistakes along the way. When doing so, remember to praise publicly, and constructively criticize privately. “Fixing another’s mistakes is often easier and quicker if you do it, but you, as the manager, have accomplished nothing by doing that,” says Young. Learn how to manage without cramping the style of team members.

    5. Learn how to manage up: Managing up is a manner in which a manager works with their boss to effectively get the training, support and resources needed for the position and department. For example, if you want to add a full-time employee into the department, do not go and say “we’re sooooo busy, everyone’s stressed, no one can get their job done.” That’s what the whiny manager does, says Young. Instead, back up requests with proof. Saying something like: “if we added an additional employee, we would save $X.XX in overtime, employee A would be able to begin to make outbound calls to generate more business; employee B would be available then to assist me with Project C.” Always make a business case.

    6. Lead by example: You have to be willing to lead by example, says Sophia. If there is no policy around working from home, yet you tend to work from home yourself, it sets the wrong tone for your employees. If you overreact and treat other team members poorly, others may follow that lead. You also have to be mature enough to handle confidential information and not leak it or use it to strengthen your position. Managers set the tone and positive attitude/image of the team/department. Don’t portray negativity or hostility.

    7. Strong communication skills: This seems like a no-brainer, but just because one is a manager doesn’t mean they are a skilled communicator. “Knowing how to communicate with different audiences is key,” says Sophia. Communication also includes, tone, body language and non-verbal communication cues. Understand how these affect people’s view of how you are communicating with them. A smile can ease tension, and make one feel more relaxed. A frown, or scowl, can intimidate. These non-verbal cues can change the message greatly.

    Mastering these additional skills are also key to proving one is ready to become a manager, says Sophia:

    • Be humble and accept input from others.
    • Be willing to admit your mistakes, but learn from them and don’t repeat.
    • Give your team and peers proper credit for their ideas/contributions. A simple hand-written thank you note goes a long way.
    • Know that you don’t have to be perfect in all areas, but make sure that you have folks on your team who compliment your weaknesses.
    • Acknowledge your areas for opportunity/growth and nurture them – invest in yourself professionally.

    Becoming a good manager takes time, practice, and the ability to continually learn and adapt. Mastering these seven traits is a good start for the aspiring, or newly hired manager wondering if they are ready to manage.

    Are you a new manager looking for more management tips and advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Ask Matt: 5 tips for new managers who are now managing friends

    January 12, 2017 by

    Dear Matt: I really like my current job and company. But what I like most is the team I work with. We are all close and get along well. We are also good friends outside of work, and do a lot socially. However, I recently received a promotion, and am now the manager of these co-workers who are also my friends. I went from being part of the team, to leading the team. And now, I have to conduct weekly meetings with them, performance reviews, approve their days off, and face the fact I also suddenly know their salaries. It’s created an awkward situation for me in and outside of work.  Do you have any tips for a new manager who is now also managing friends?

    Matt: It’s exciting to be promoted, but when you’re now supervising former peers that are also friends, there’s an added complexity to the situation. Here’s how to handle both the professional and personal relationships when you suddenly find yourself managing your friends:

    1. Schedule group and individual meetings
    To address these changes and challenges, schedule a group meeting, and one-on-one individual meetings with your team, says Arlene Vernon, an HR consultant who provides management training for first-time managers, small business owners, and corporate clients.

    Set guidelines and expectations from the start.

    “Be prepared for these discussions – do not wing the meetings, as it will look like you’re not taking your new job as supervisor seriously,” says Vernon. “Use the group meeting to set the tone for future meetings and general ground rules for attendance and participation.”

    Analyze what was and wasn’t working under the previous supervisor, and decide what to keep and what to tweak. “Don’t bash the previous supervisor, just introduce the enhancements as part of your style,” says Vernon.

    Then schedule a one-on-one meeting with direct reports. This is the most important step in this new relationship.

    “This helps establish your new supervisory relationship with each individual,” says Vernon. “Some of your former peers may be thrilled that you got this new position – others may not.”

    So approach each discussion, taking into consideration each person’s feelings.

    Sample one-on-one discussion items may include:

    • How you plan to supervise – pointing out where you can be hands off and where you may need to be more hands on.
    • How often you want to meet.
    • The best ways to communicate with you (in person, email, text).
    • The strengths you recognize in the individual and how you want to best utilize those strengths.

    “The first discussion is not the time to point out the individuals’ weaknesses and how you want to see them improve,” says Vernon. “This meeting is to set the stage for a successful partnering with each person considering your new role.”

    2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
    Chances are, your friends are truly happy for you and will be supportive and understanding that you have this new role. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes for fear of disappointing friends, says B. Max Dubroff, an HR Consultant at Einfluss, LLC, an HR advisory firm, in Albuquerque, NM. Dubroff has led teams from 2 to 570 people in a wide variety of industries throughout his career, leading those businesses to many best of workplace lists.

    “The promotion is a sign of confidence that you can learn to manage and lead well,” says Dubroff. “All manager-leaders make mistakes and are imperfect; the ones who hide their errors or feign perfection are less effective as leaders because they miss out on the lessons of leadership. Manager-leaders who show integrity and embrace their errors will earn credibility, their network of friends will provide feedback and perspective, and their progress will be even greater. Capitalize on the open communication, because in the long run that is what is going to be more important.”

    The promotion is also a sign that any awkwardness is your challenge to solve. Tap into the experience of your boss and fellow managers, but in the end, solve it yourself. Also, if you find yourself saying or doing things that you would not respect about your own boss, don’t say/do them; they undermine your integrity.

    3. Transitioning from friend to boss
    The elephant in the room, of course, is how you handle transitioning from friend to boss. Some people can handle this dual role effectively and others cannot. That goes both ways – from the boss and the employee perspective. So it’s important to discuss this reality with each employee up front and early on.

    “Discuss the importance of maintaining a solid relationship with the person along with the recognition that you cannot show favoritism for your friends – that you will be treating everyone as equally as possible,” says Vernon.

    Set ground rules for not discussing co-workers or work after hours, during work. Vernon also recommends discussing confidentiality.

    “It’s likely you have confidential and/or personal information about your friends that shouldn’t be considered from a boss-employee perspective and the same applies to what private information they have about you,” says Vernon. “These can be difficult discussions, but it’s vital to set communication standards, personal/professional boundaries, and to recognize that while at work, you’re committed to taking your leadership responsibilities seriously.”

    4. How to address the relationship in social situations
    But even though becoming a supervisor of colleagues who were formally peers does present a somewhat awkward social scenario, it doesn’t mean friendships and social relationships have to end, says Elliot D. Lasson, Professor of the Practice and I/O Psychology Graduate Program Director at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County at Shady Grove. In fact, aside from the one-on-one conversations to be open about the changing relationship, Lasson suggests maintaining the same type of social relationship off of the job.

    “If socialized together off the clock before the promotion, there is no reason why that should not continue,” says Lasson.

    His reason is simple.

    “Life and transitions happen,” he says. “The same way that you would include someone who has retired or left for another company beforehand, you should continue to maintain those same social circles. Part of professional maturity is to adapt to new roles and reporting relationships. If there is any anticipated anxiety about the modified role, that should probably be preemptively broached during the one-one-one meeting by the supervisor.”

    There could be another added benefit: Your friends may work harder for you because they respect you outside of work. Now you just have to earn their respect as a manager. They also be more willing to bring up issues, concerns, or ideas – positive and negative – because they feel a closer connection to you.

    5. Understand things will change
    Keep in mind though, that despite attempts to salvage personal and professional relationships, managers must ultimately realize that some personal relationships fall apart when one person is now the supervisor.  Whether or not that occurs is unique to each relationship.

    Through it all, make sure that you’re consistent in how you interact, oversee, communicate with, and lead all your employees.

    “As a manager-leader, you have a responsibility to manage any perceptions of favoritism to the best of your ability,” says Dubroff. “The tough part about this is others may attribute favoritism, even if you know facts that demonstrate otherwise. Since your facts are not going to change their perceptions, the only control you have is through your actions.”

    Vernon agrees.

    “Everyone is watching to see how you begin your supervisory position and whether they can trust you in that role – to do your job well, be their voice for upper management and treat employees fairly and equitably,” says Vernon.

    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.

  • Middle management: How new managers gain company wide trust and respect

    January 10, 2017 by

     

    For many first-time managers, it can be hard to gain professional respect from a more experienced management team and other senior leaders. It can be discouraging to attend leadership meetings, management training, or be involved in the decision-making process and feel like you don’t have a voice.

    Gaining trust as a manager can take time, but it doesn’t mean new managers need to wait, or feel like they have to gain approval from more experienced leaders to start building trust, and credibility within an organization. While the first goal should be to lead your new team and be the best manager you can be, it’s never too early to focus on how to become a manager who can influence others within the organization.

    Be accountable

    To gain that trust, respect, and a strong reputation, start by being accountable, says Greg Bustin, author of Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture. Bustin has dedicated his career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of companies on this crucial topic of accountability. During the last six years, he has interviewed and surveyed more than 5,000 executives around the world – from companies that include, but are not limited to, Marriott, Container Store, Ernst & Young, Sony, Herman Miller, Nucor, and Southwest Airlines – to understand how high-performing corporations successfully create and sustain a culture of purpose, trust, and fulfillment.

    “Lack of accountability is the single greatest obstacle facing even the most experienced leaders,” says Bustin. “It saps morale, drains profits, and disenfranchises employees—and can shift your team into crisis mode on a daily basis.”

    Bustin also created the highly popular best and worst in workplace accountability survey, and offers these five tips for new managers looking to make an impact in the organization:

    Continue Reading

  • How to thrive in your new job when a bad manager cramps your style

    January 05, 2017 by

     

    Congratulations on landing that first job out of college. The hard work has paid off.

    Now welcome to the real world. A world where bad managers can quickly turn fun, exciting new jobs into a recent college grad’s worst nightmare.

    “Getting a job one loves is a wonderful accomplishment for recent college graduates,” says Laura Poisson, President of ClearRock, Inc., a Boston-based career transition, outplacement, leadership development, and executive coaching firm. “However, having to deal with a bad manager can make that new job a nightmare. It is often hard, especially for a younger person or someone who is new to a company, to determine the best way to deal with a difficult boss.”

    LaSalle Network, a national staffing and recruiting firm, recently published a survey of more than 1,000 people on their experiences with bad bosses. The survey findings showed that 84% of respondents have had a bad boss, and 43% of respondents quit the company because of the bad boss. In addition, the survey found that 59% of respondents would have stayed if given the opportunity to report to someone else. According to the survey, these were the main characteristics that respondents attributed to bad bosses:

    • Only notices negatives, never the positives (56%)
    • Are narcissistic; only care about themselves, not their staff (45%)
    • Clueless; never know what is going on and/or are forgetful (44%)
    • Absent; they are never there (31%)

    If you have a manager that’s cramping your style, think things through before approaching your manager, HR, or other co-workers. Why?

    There may be things you don’t realize, but that matter. For example, consider this:

    Continue Reading

  • Key managerial skills recent college grads should master to be successful

    January 03, 2017 by

     

    To become a manager, one must show an employer they possess a wide variety of skills. Leadership skills are crucial. So is the ability to communicate, handle adversity, and deal with diverse personalities and skill sets.

    A first-time manager must also develop strong critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills to be successful, says Sylvia R.J. Scott, Founder of Girls’ C.E.O. Connection™ (Girl’s Creating Enterprising Organizations), a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to engaging and equipping high school girls as entrepreneurs. They also must show the company can trust them, which is why they were hired as a manager.

    “A manager is the one with the ability to plan, direct and coordinate the operations of a business, division, department or operations,” says Scott. “To be a first-time manager as a recent graduate shows the company trusts the person and believes in his or hers capabilities and ability to help grow the company.”

    In February Scott is speaking to a group of college women, primarily seniors, at the University of Colorado, about what it takes for first-time managers to succeed. She will focus on these eight skills, traits and attributes of a successful first-time manager:

    1. Know and understand your company culture.
    2. Know the parameters of your particular position. That includes how much leeway you have on decision making.
    3. Ask questions and get clarity even if you think you understand. As a manager you don’t have time for you and/or your staff to make mistakes.
    4. Expect the best-not perfection from your staff. Praise them when it is appropriate. If there are issues face them immediately.
    5. Learn each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Play on their strengths, not their weaknesses.
    6. Control your emotions, tongue, and actions. Avoid gossip, even after hours or with colleagues. Take a break if someone is pushing your buttons. Watch the tone of your emails when responding to challenges, and watch the tone of your voice.
    7. Always use proper English, grammar and spelling when writing any type of communication, even an email. They need to be as clearly written as any other business communication.
    8. Find a mentor within the company and then one outside your company that knows the ropes of being a manager and what is needed to excel.

    Continue Reading

  • Ready to climb the ladder in 2017? Here are 10 things recent college grads should do

    December 29, 2016 by

     

    No matter where one is at in their career, there are always things one can do to learn more, become more valuable, advance in their career, and become a go-to employer that people rely on.

    While you may not be where you want to be in your career now, it doesn’t mean you can’t get there in the future. One thing recent college graduates quickly find out is that, even though they finally secured that first job, there is still much work to be done to continue to advance in one’s career and climb the career ladder.

    So, what can you do in the next year to advance your career? Start by taking small steps that can lead to big improvements and changes. Do that by following these 10 things recent college grads should do to climb the career ladder in 2017:

    1. Find/consult with a mentor: Everyone could use a mentor – someone who can motivate, inspire and guide them in the early stages of their career. Find someone in your field, career path, or network who can be a mentor to you. Start by asking for an informational interview to learn more about their career. Then if you feel things are going in the right direction, explain your career goals and aspirations and ask if they would be interested in being a mentor. Many people would be flattered, and willing to help.
    2. Take a class: Even though you recently graduated from college, lifelong learning is essential to those who want to advance in their career. Take a class on Udemy or Coursera. Sign up for Lynda.com. Take an adult education class on a topic of interest, or register for a class – traditional or online – at a local college or university. Learning is lifelong, and getting in the habit of adding new skills throughout one’s career will pay off over time – in salary, and advancement opportunities.
    3. Do a social media audit: What does your online brand say about you? Google yourself – the next employer certainly will – what shows up? Review your social media profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, others) and check security settings and profiles and be sure they best represent you to an external audience. Seriously review comments, Tweets or photos and remove/edit anything that could hurt your professional reputation. For example, were you outspoken during the 2016 Presidential election, and perhaps commented, through Facebook, or on Twitter, about the Presidential race, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump? Those comments “live” in search engines, and others can find them. Don’t let social media comments, posts, pictures or shares damage your online brand.
    4. Consult with your campus career center: These people are here to help. Even after you graduate. Reach out to a campus career counselor for help with connecting to alumni, for job search assistance and resume writing guidance. Many people never take advantage of this opportunity. Why not reach out to a trained professional who can help?
    5. Complete a skills audit: Even if you aren’t looking for a job, search for jobs or job titles that may be of interest to you. What skills or requirements do these job applications ask for? Is there a skill (technology) or requirement lacking in your portfolio? In the year ahead, focus on how to develop or improve that skill, to become more attractive to an employer. Try and take on new projects at your current job, or find classes or training to help learn these important industry skills.
    6. Be a team player: You’re not going to be best friends with every co-worker. You’re not going to like every project or assignment. You may even sense conflict with other departments. But don’t mope, be difficult, or develop a bad attitude because of it. Why? Because someday that co-worker, manager, or person who seemed to be difficult on a project could work for a company where you want to work. What will they remember? Your negative attitude – if you let it. Be a team player at work, someone people go to for answers on projects, for assistance, and someone people can count on. Your co-workers will remember that, and will remember you if they are in a position to influence or assist you with your next job or step of your career.
    7. Update your resume: If that dream job opened up tomorrow would your resume be updated and ready for you to apply for the job? If that new networking contact asked for a resume to share with other industry contacts, would you be ready? Don’t delay. Updating your resume before you absolutely need it allows one to devote the time, attention and detail to perfect your resume. Even if you are completely happy in your career, updating one’s resume is a good way to help track new achievements and add any new skills to your resume. Better yet, updating a resume twice a year is ideal. At the end of each month write down your key successes and achievements, and at the six month mark, compile those accomplishments and update the resume. Then do it again at the end of year to make sure all is current and best represents the successes you have achieved at your job. If you don’t track it, you will forget it, and it won’t go on your resume, and your next employer will never know you did it.
    8. Attend an industry networking event: Attending networking events, or joining professional associations can open many doors. Make it a goal this year to attend at least one networking event or industry association event in your field in 2017. Why? Because networking always has been and always will be the key to climbing the career ladder.
    9. Create a backup plan: If you were fired or lost your job today, would you be ready tomorrow, both personally and professionally, for the challenge ahead? Figure out a way to save more money (perhaps through a part-time job?), be sure your resume is updated, and you would know what to do next, if suddenly without a job now.
    10. Be thankful: If you are employed, be thankful, even if you dislike the job, your manager, or career direction. Your current job, job title or situation doesn’t define you, or where you want to go. Keep adding new skills, taking on new projects, and learning. Because, the good news is, where you are now doesn’t mean it’s where you will be in six months, one year, three years and the rest of your career. Make 2017 a success by following the above tips and stay connected with College Recruiter to get job alerts, get career advice, and stay on top of trends and issues affecting both job seekers and employers.

    Follow these tips in 2017, and you could make great strides in your career development that will continue to have a positive effect not only next year, but in 2018, 2019 and throughout your career. Start now to succeed later.

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

  • 10 strategies December college graduates should follow for job search success

    December 27, 2016 by

     

    As 2016 comes to a close many college students have now handed in their final paper, taken the last exam of their collegiate careers and entered the job market. But according to a study of 503 entry-level job seekers by national career matchmaking firm GradStaff, recent college grads seem largely unaware of career opportunities and unsure of how to apply their skills in the workforce.  So what strategies can December college grads put into action now to create results that land a job? Start by following these 10 strategies for success.

    1. Develop a strong value proposition: Start by developing a strong value proposition and identifying those important soft and transferrable skills, 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.

    “These soft skills – such as critical thinking, effective communication, time management and leadership – are in high demand among prospective employers,” says LaBombard. “Grads should consider how and where they’ve applied these skills during college, whether in classes or extracurricular activities, or in non-professional jobs, including restaurant and retail service positions.”

    2. Sell what you want to do next: Next, be prepared to talk about what it is you want to do now that you are graduated.  Everyone that you know, run into, or talk to, is going to congratulate you on graduating, then ask “what’s next?” or “what do you want to do now?” The “I’ll take anything” approach is not a good option, says Kathleen I. Powell, Associate Vice President for Career Development at The College of William & Mary, and President, National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Case in point, if you tell someone you’ll take anything, it’s hard for that person to find “anything.”

    But…

    “If you tell someone you’re interested in arts management, accounting, psychology, now you’ve given that person an area to focus on and they can start thinking of contacts in their networks,” says Powell.

    3. Casual conversations can lead to opportunities: Don’t blow off those casual conversations with friends, family members – that wacky uncle just may be well-connected in an industry where you want to work and be able to point you to a job opening, a mentor, or someone with whom you can set up an informational interview. Members of your church, social networks, parents of high school friends, relatives of your significant other, when they ask “what’s next” they are generally interested – so be prepared to effectively sell your excitement of what you want to do next. That’s the only way they can possibly help you, by knowing what you truly want to do.

    4. Network, network, network: Because, it really is about networking. Recent ADP employment reports show the bulk of all new job growth – often as much as 70-80 percent in a given month – is driven by small and mid-sized businesses. “These companies often don’t have the resources to recruit on campus, and tend to rely on referrals from employees, clients, vendors and other partners to identify candidates,” says LaBombard. “As a result, personal networking is critical. All entry-level job seekers should seize opportunities to ask parents, teachers, friends, clergy and even former employers for connections in industries of interest, and they should continue engaging with professional associations, alumni groups and others for face-to-face networking opportunities.”

    LaBombard offers these additional tips:

    Continue Reading

  • Ask Matt: 8 things college seniors should do now to land a job before graduation

    December 22, 2016 by

     

    Dear Matt: I’m heading into the home stretch of my senior year of college, and have one semester left until graduation. A few classmates have already secured jobs that they will start soon after graduation. It made me realize that I too, should start the job search now. What tips do you have for college seniors who want to try and secure a job before graduation? What are those who get hired now doing to stand out and impress employers? Please share any tips and advice you can so I can start a job search and hopefully get hired before graduation! 

    Matt: The senior year can be challenging for college students. And, for many, simply graduating is a major accomplishment. But the excitement of earning a college degree can quickly fade when there is no internship or job lined up after graduating. The reality is, most college seniors graduate without a job lined up. At the same time, there are also many who do graduate with a job lined up.

    So how do they do it? What’s the secret to securing a job before graduation? What can college seniors do today to pay off tomorrow?

    First, don’t panic, says Beth Hendler-Grunt, President of Next Great Step, a company that advises college students and recent grads on how to achieve career success.

    “Your classmates may be telling you about the great job offer they secured upon graduation, and you may feel like the only one without your career figured out,” says Hendler-Grunt.

    But there’s no need to worry.

    “Most college students do not know what they are doing after they receive their diploma,” says Hendler-Grunt.

    To secure a job before graduation it’s going to take hard work, diligence, and some outside-the-box thinking.

    Start by assessing what you want to do after graduation, and then learn what you truly need to do to make it happen. Follow these tips from Hendler-Grunt:

    1. Know your core skills: You’ve accomplished a lot in four (or more) years. Now is a good time to be self-aware and consider what skills you have to offer an employer. Make a list of all of the great things you have going for you. Then narrow down the list to include where you are most competent, what you are most talented at doing, and what you really enjoy doing. These are your core skills. Understanding your core skills is important for two reasons: It makes it easier to find out what types of jobs and companies to focus on, and it helps create your elevator speech – what you tell people about your career goals and aspirations when you meet them.

    2. Update your resume: Employers are going to ask for it. Networking contacts will request it. And, it will be needed to apply for jobs. So don’t delay – update your resume now, and edit, change, adjust the resume based on the type of job or company you apply to. Seek resume writing advice and career tips from your campus career center/counselors.

    3. Attend campus career fairs: Employers come directly to you. On campus. What could be better? But one must be prepared to succeed at a campus career fair (that’s why one needs an updated resume). Follow these additional tips to succeed at a campus career fair. “This is a great way to learn about companies – even if you don’t get hired right away,” says Hendler-Grunt.

    4. Network: Seek out people in targeted roles and industries to connect with. Utilize the resources at your college career center and ask a career adviser to help connect you to alumni in the career field you would like to pursue. Try to set up informational interviews with these alumni. Use the LinkedIn Alumni Tool to find out which students graduated from your college/university. Reach out to these people. “Alumni tend to be receptive to speaking with fellow students,” says Hendler-Grunt.

    Once these steps are in place, start the job search. But do so with a plan, says Kay Krienke, Associate Manager of college IT Recruiting at Progressive Insurance. Progressive employs nearly 30,000 employees across the country and is repeatedly named a best place to work in Cleveland, Austin, Tampa, and Colorado Springs. Progressive recruiting managers review thousands of applications and interview hundreds of candidates every year, including college seniors and recent college graduates who do line up jobs before graduation.

    “Don’t apply to every open position you see, as it could raise a red flag to potential employers,” says Krienke. “This strategy suggests you don’t know what you want. Focus on the job or company best suited for you and your career goals. This will allow you to really sink your teeth into that industry and show employers that it’s what you’re passionate about. It will also make you more knowledgeable in the long run.”

    Then, follow these tips from Krienke:

    5. Do your homework – on potential employers: Get to know the companies you might be interested in working for. Visit the company website or look up news articles they have been featured in. While you’re still in school, research who leads the department you may want to work in your chosen career path at specific companies. “The more you know about each company, the better positioned you are to nail an interview if you’re given the chance,” says Krienke.

    6. Start expanding your network: A college campus provides an abundance of relationship opportunities that could help you find a job down the road. Professors, advisors, alumni and even other like-minded students can help open up doors in the future. And beyond that, social media now gives you a platform to find and engage with people in your industry of choice. “You never know where the next opportunity will be,” says Krienke. “Build those relationships now to plant seeds which could prove to be fruitful for your career in the future.

    7. Ask for a recommendation: Remember all those professors and advisors you built relationships with? Chances are they’re cheering for you to succeed, so don’t be afraid to call in a favor. Ask for a recommendation, it adds an extra level of credibility to your job search. They can speak to your strengths and give proven examples of your performance.

    8. Consider relocating: Students often limit their opportunities by looking for jobs only close to home or in obvious places. For example, if you’re looking for a job in tech, most people would immediately search for jobs in Silicon Valley, but why not try a smaller city that still has lots to offer? There are great tech jobs in unexpected places, like Cleveland or Colorado Springs that offer the same company benefits of a Silicon Valley organization with a more reasonable cost of living for a recent graduate.

    The bottom line is this: It takes hard work and diligence to get hired before graduation. But taking proactive steps now can pay off big come graduation. Even if you do all of this and don’t get hired before graduation, you are that much more prepared – and that much farther ahead, of thousands of other college graduates who wait until spring or summer to start the job search.

    “The job search can be long and challenging,” says Hendler-Grunt. “It is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s the ability to learn, persevere and take the lessons with you that help you move forward. You have a lot to be proud of. Just be persistent and it will pay off.”

    Hopefully with a job lined up before you graduate.

     

    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.

     

  • Four ways recent college grads benefit from completing Massive Open Online Courses

    December 15, 2016 by

    Looking for unique ways to add skills and complete classes to advance your career? Then consider completing a Massive Open Online Couse. Also known as a MOOC.

    According to Techtarget.com, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), are “free Web-based distance learning programs designed for the participation of large numbers of geographically dispersed students. A MOOC may be patterned on a college or university course or may be less structured. Although MOOCs don’t always offer academic credits, they provide education that may enable certification, employment or further studies.”

    Why should recent college grad consider completing a Massive Open Online Courses?

    Because lifelong learning is essential to career success, and that’s exactly what Massive Open Online Courses provide. Through a MOOC, college students, recent college grads, and adult learners are able to take free classes to improve their foreign language skills, add additional tech/software skills, and/or learn about machine learning or artificial intelligence. Students can complete a MOOC to complement their current major or area of study, to learn how to start their own business, or to add critical skills to a resume. There is no limit to the course topic a MOOC can cover, and there is no limit to the location of the students completing a MOOC. As MOOCs evolve, the completion of these courses are becoming more respected by employers, and some MOOC programs offer, for a small fee, certifications and badges upon completion, which bolster the credibility of these courses.

    “Taking courses online can open doors to opportunities you never thought of,” said Gelena Sachs, Director of People Operations for Udemy, the world’s largest destination for online courses. “Finding a full-time job that aligns with a major or degree, right out of college, can be the ultimate challenge for many grads. Online learning allows job seekers to further expand their skills and broaden the landscape of opportunities.”

    One Udemy student, Alexa, moved to New York after graduating to pursue her dream job of working in an art gallery, but had to take another job in the meantime to pay the bills. She took courses through Udemy to learn about marketing and transformed the job she thought she’d settled for into a different kind of opportunity she never knew she wanted.

    Here’s another example: Social media continues to transform industries, while the tools themselves continue to evolve. Social media careers are hot, and constantly evolving. According to Altimeter’s recent Social Business Survey, 41% of enterprise marketing teams say ‘social education and training to build new skills’ is a top priority. To meet this growing demand from employers, Hootsuite Academy offers online video-based training on social media skills and strategy at a great post-graduation price point: Free.

    “Even with a diploma in hand, graduates should never stop honing their skills,” says Cameron Ugernac, Senior Director of Community and Education, Hootsuite, a leading social media management platform.

    Continue Reading

  • The pros and cons of video resumes

    December 13, 2016 by

    Are you a recent college grad looking to get ahead of the competition by creating a video resume? Be cautious before thinking a video resume is the golden ticket to landing an interview, or getting a job.

    That’s because even in today’s digital world, success on the job hunt still often depends heavily on an old-school document, according to The Creative Group (TCG), a company that specializes in connecting interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations talent with the best companies on a project, contract-to-hire, and full-time basis.

    Nearly eight in 10 executives surveyed by TCG said they prefer receiving traditional resumes in Word or PDF format over video or infographic resumes. Some employers won’t even accept video resumes and in the TCG survey, released in May of 2016, only three percent of executives indicated they prefer video resumes over traditional resumes.

    That’s no surprise to Tom Thomson, managing partner of Sanford Rose Associates, a recruitment firm in Nashville. “The recruiters I discussed this with do not want video resumes,” says Thomson. Here is why, he says:

    • Recruiters and hiring managers see these as highly produced marketing pieces.
    • Most people are not comfortable or feel natural in front of a camera. “You may not want this to be the first impression a potential employer has of you,” says Thomson.
    • It can easily be used to discriminate against highly qualified candidates based on their appearance.

    Arlene Vernon, a Twin Cities-based HR consultant, agrees. “When you see the person on a video, there’s an increased risk of discrimination from a legal perspective, because you can see race/ethnicity before you get to hear about their skills/background.”

    Time is also a drawback of video resumes.

    “I can scan a resume to see whether I like the candidate in five to ten seconds,” says Vernon. “I don’t have time to watch a video. I might do it after seeing a resume I’m interested in, to learn more about the person, and see their presentation skills. But I don’t think the convenience of a ‘paper’ resume will disappear.”

    That being said, there are instances when a video resume may be requested, or used to help stand out from the competition, says Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group.

    “If you’re applying for a job that requires multimedia or presentation skills, a short, one minute video resume that highlights key skills and accomplishments can be effective and set you apart from the competition,” says Domeyer. “If you have creative skills, you can even put together an animated short about why you’d make a good addition to the team. That said, always have a traditional resume ready in case one is requested.”

    According to the team at SparkHire, a company that provides video interviewing, resume and technology solutions: “Video resumes are a way for candidates to go beyond traditional methods of applying, such as submitting only a resume, cover letter, and work samples. Lasting typically 60 seconds, these videos are your shot to make the best first impression to an employer. A video resume lets the employer literally see you and hear your case (via your communication skills, personality and charisma) as the best candidate for the job – all before the interview takes place.”

    When to use a video resume

    Before you make a video resume and hit the upload button, think carefully about whether it will help or hurt your chances of getting a job interview, says the experts from Robert Half Technology. Professionals in the following industries are likely to see the most success with a video resume:

    • Marketing, advertising and public relations: If you’re applying for a job that requires killer presentation skills, a video resume can help you show off your abilities and professional polish.
    • Public speaking: When applying for jobs that require a lot of public speaking — for example, in sales or training — you can use a video resume not only to introduce yourself but also to include clips of yourself in action.
    • Multimedia: For professionals who create multimedia content, a video resume can be one more way to demonstrate your editing or motion graphics skills.
    • Broadcast: Candidates for jobs as newscasters, television hosts or film professionals have long used video show reels, mailing out old-school VHS tapes of their best clips years before the Internet came along. If this is your field, consider starting your show reel with a video resume to introduce yourself.

    When to avoid video resumes

    Of course, there are times when it’s best to stick to a traditional resume, according to Robert Half Technology:

    • You’re not comfortable on camera: People who are shy may want to reconsider a video resume. One big goal of this format is to show employers your personality. If you tend to get nervous or clam up as soon as a camera turns on, you obviously won’t achieve this objective.
    • The employer asks for a standard resume: A job posting might have a very specific application process, for example, or require job candidates to paste their resumes and cover letters in an online form.
    • A video resume won’t help you sell yourself: For many job seekers, a video resume simply won’t add much value. If you’re applying for a position as an accountant, for instance, employers will probably find it easier and more convenient to review your skills and work experience on paper (or, in a PDF or Word document, to be more accurate).
    • You prefer to remain private: Even though it’s possible to make your video private, you’re still putting details of your life on the Internet, and there’s a chance your video resume gets wider distribution than you anticipated. As always, make sure that what you post is something you won’t later regret.

    There are pros and cons of video resumes. Recent college grads should be careful when creating one, and make sure it’s right for your industry or job application before sending one.

    Are you ready to take your job search to the next level? Register with College Recruiter to get the latest jobs emailed to you! And don’t forget to follow us on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and YouTube.

© 2017 CollegeRecruiter.com, LLC