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Posted June 25, 2016 by

The #1 student job search mistake

As an Associate Career Services Director for the University of Michigan and the CEO of Break into Tech, I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of students during the job search while trying to launch their careers. And it’s an area I’m particularly proud to support, having leveraged my own student experience to land roles at Apple, LinkedIn, and startups.

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

But the one thing that shocks me time and again is that 95% of students make the same mistake when it comes to landing a job. And no, it’s not a bad resume, or a poorly written cover letter or even weak interview skills. Instead, it’s that most basic trait:

Humility.

Yes, humility.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Huh? How hard could it be to act humble?”

But here’s the real deal. That same confidence is a handicap. Because it blinds students to just how hard it is to stay humble in a world where everyone always has to be on, to constantly present their best self.

As evidence, allow me to submit my experience as a Michigan alum working at LinkedIn:

  • Every single day during application season, I’d received at least one email from a current student who wanted to work in Silicon Valley
  • Usually, those emails started out: “Dear Jeremy, I’m XXX and I’d really like to work at LinkedIn…”
  • Eventually I’d get on the phone with these students, and they’d spend the first 15 minutes of the call telling me about themselves, and the last 15 minutes asking me if I could help them get a job.
  • Then, I’d never hear from them again.

On the other hand, about 2-3 times a year, the sequence would go very differently:

  • I’d get an email from a student well before application season that said: “Dear Jeremy, As a a Michigan student, I was so excited to come across your profile today. I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to find someone who’s walked your path. I know you must be really busy, but would you ever have a few minutes to share your story with me?”
  • When I got on the phone with them, we’d spend 15 minutes talking about my experience, followed by 15 minutes of them asking me for my advice about really tricky career questions.
  • Then they’d follow-up the next month to wish me a happy holiday or update me on campus. And they’d continue to do that each month with cool articles they found or little tidbits of school news.
  • Then, only when application season finally rolled around, would they ever ask for support during the application process.

And sure enough, about 2-3 times a year, I’d write an internal recommendation for a student, basically guaranteeing them an interview.

Now, any guesses which students I went to bat for?

Hopefully that illuminates two things about the job search:

BUT

  • You’ve got to network in the right way – the humble way.

Which means no:

  • Waiting until application season to reach out – you need to build relationships in advance; not at the last second.
  • Focusing all the attention on yourself – you need to build a real relationship; not just a transaction.
  • One shot networking – you need to build a relationship over time, not in a single phone call. This aids your job search.

So consider yourself warned. Yes, humility is critical to your job search success. But don’t assume it’s going to be easy. Instead, make it a priority and work hard at it. And then you can avoid the biggest mistake that’s trapped so many others!

Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

Need more help networking and figuring out how to build great relationships on your way to finding a great entry-level job? College Recruiter can help. Keep reading our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Jeremy Schifeling is the Founder + Chief Nerd at Break into Tech, a site for anyone who wants to land an awesome tech job, no matter their background. Get a free guide to the seven ultimate secrets that took Jeremy from school to Silicon Valley!

Posted May 06, 2016 by

Working for a startup after college

Startup business people working at modern office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

dotshock/Shutterstock.com

Everyone is nervous heading into their last year of college (except for those going to grad school, that is). It’s time recent graduates prove to themselves, and probably to their parents, that all of this was worth it; they can get entry-level jobs, get out on their own, support themselves, and start on a career path. It is probably their family’s hope that grads will conduct their job search seriously, and look at companies/organizations that promise a bright future. They’ve attended their first job fair, passed out their resumes, spoken with corporate recruiters, and some seemed interested. But something doesn’t “feel” right in their gut. There’s no excitement about all of this.

As recent graduates reflect on why they lack excitement, their minds go to the concept of a “corporate” environment with everyone playing their roles, a pretty large bureaucracy, policies, set work hours; “a single cog in a very large machine you will be,” as Yoda would say. Then there’s the office politics grads studied about in those business courses. Somehow, it doesn’t seem right. They’re thinking about their future success, which doesn’t include what the “big boys” offer. Recent grads need to look elsewhere.

Graduates need to consider working for a startup. Now their parents and some of their friends might think they’re a bit nuts. There’s no job security, as 50% of all startups fail within five years, and then where will they be? Mom may be wringing her hands. However, this isn’t their parents’ world anymore, and there are large advantages to taking this path right now in their lives when they have no obligations other than to themselves.

Flexibility and continuous learning

Most start-ups do not have “pigeon-hole” jobs. They will demand everyone pitch in when and where it is needed. Graduates may have a “job title,” but that will not mean a great deal. They’ll have a skill others may not, but they will be required to learn everyone’s job and everyone will be required to learn some of their job. This environment means continuous learning.

What’s the other great thing? Grads will be forced out of their “comfort zone” into exciting challenges; things can change on a dime, and they will need to change with them. If graduates really enjoy risks and challenges, they’ll love it.

Discover new talents

With all of the emphasis on pitching in, group decision-making, and problem-solving, recent grads may find they have creative talents and current skills they never knew or nurtured. They will be far more well-rounded in what they know and what they can do.

Learn how to budget

Pay is generally not the best for those who join startups. In fact, no one joins a startup for the salary. Graduates will often have to continue living like poor students, but they know how to do it. They’ll stretch those dollars, shop at thrift stores, and eat Ramen noodles sometimes. So what? Grads will also learn how to budget and be frugal.

Business people cheering with arms raised courtesy of Shutterstock.com

pikselstock/Shutterstock.com

Work with passionate people

Enthusiasm is contagious, and that is one of the great things about startups. Everyone comes to work excited about the day and their projects. Everyone shares in each other’s successes (and pumps each other up when there are failures). Grads, too, will be excited about getting up every morning and getting to work; many people in the corporate world would love to have that feeling.

Learn entrepreneurship

Forecasters predict small businesses will be more a wave of the future than large corporations. Why? First, corporations continue to expand globally and set up headquarters in other countries. Second, people no longer trust large corporations like they used to. These giants have taken big tumbles in recent years and no longer provide job security to their employees. It is the small business that is trending now. Working for a startup gives employees valuable experience in becoming small business owners at some point, if they should choose to head in that direction.

Push through failure

Most startups have their failures. The good ones with resilient employees move forward, learning from the failure but never losing the enthusiasm for what they are doing. It’s good to experience failure when young; it is a wonderful teacher. If that startup goes “belly up,” think of all the lessons employees have learned in the meantime.

Potentially invest or be given a stake

A lot of startups value their original people, and founders will give those people a stake in the company. Many people became millionaires because they started out with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg. Having a stake in a company at a young age is a great thing.

Love the Culture

Flexible hours are a big plus. Value is not based upon the number of hours worked. It is based on what employees produce. They may work several 18 hour-long days, only to sleep in late for several days after that and only put in four hours or so.

Dress is a big factor for many job seekers. If they love a jeans and flip-flop environment, taking their dogs to work, letting their hair grow, or sporting a tattoo, they will find the startup environment is where they want to be.

Choosing the right startup

Startups come in all different stages of development. Choosing one should be based on job seekers’ level of risk tolerance, their investigation of the founder(s), and their passions for the product(s) or services being developed. Nothing is carved in stone; if one idea doesn’t work out, there are many others to try.

Need career advice as a recent graduate? Go to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Rick Riddle, guest writer

Rick Riddle, guest writer

Rick Riddle is passionate about the self-development process and wants to share his experience with more people via his articles. He believes self-sufficiency and discipline lead to great results. Follow him on Twitter.

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 February 18, 2016 by

Using LinkedIn to recruit college students

Recruiters should watch out for hiring trends in college recruiting in 2016. One trend is connecting with college students on LinkedIn. By engaging with potential candidates sooner rather than later, small companies will have a chance to compete with large companies for the best talent. Dennis Theodorou, Executive Search Expert and Vice President of Operations at JMJ Phillip Executive Search, discusses this trend as it relates to his company and others.

Linkedin website home page with images courtesy of Shutterstock.com

JuliusKielaitis/Shutterstock.com

“One major tip we are giving clients and something we have been actively doing in the last two years is connecting with candidates on LinkedIn prior to their graduation, as early as one to two years before graduation. At that point in their careers, our companies and other companies often setup pre-interviews or bring candidates onsite for mixers or for “learn what we do” type-of days, offering a unique, hands-on, real world experience.

A big issue small and medium-sized companies need to accommodate is all the large corporations are picking up a good portion of the graduating class before these smaller companies ever get a shot. As a smaller company, we have had to become more aggressive for our internal hiring and for our clients to gain an edge and earn the attention of top talent. If recruiters and hiring managers cannot get recent graduates or college upperclassmen interested in their companies way before graduation, it’s likely they will lose these candidates due to high profile startups and large Fortune 1000’s hitting campuses with presentation days – nearly automatically placing them lower on students’ interest and priority scale before even having a chance.

As employers, capture their minds early, and you will increase your odds greatly, but you have to be highly proactive.”

At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent graduate deserves a great career, and we are committed to creating a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and graduates to great careers. Let College Recruiter assist you in the recruiting process. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook for more information about the best practices in college recruiting.

Mr. Dennis Theodorou has more than 15 years of operational excellence and executive experience across multiple industries including: Executive Search, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Retail and Hospitality. Mr. Theodorou graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management from the leading supply chain management college in the world, Michigan State University. He has continued his education through graduate-level course work at Harvard University. As a development agent for Subway, he managed and led an entire region of store locations including the management of self-owned stores, franchise development, real estate, and area management. As a national expert in hiring, he has hired more than 700 employees over his entire career span and works hand-in-hand with companies to help on board top talent. Currently as Vice President of JMJ Phillip, he manages a portfolio of executive recruiting and employment service brands, spanning multiple locations and across nearly all verticals.

Posted August 05, 2015 by

Top 5 Most Effective Ways for Recent Graduates to Fund their Startup Businesses

approved small business loan application and dollar bills

Approved small business loan application and dollar bills. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you are a recent graduate and striving to setup your own startup business, there are a number of ways which can be used to collect money but you still need to be sure what kind of funding method will really suit your business type. Though, it is not a rocket science to understand available options, it is quite crucial to analyze your business from all angles to bring it on its feet. You might have a really great business idea but you should always remember that just one mistake can take you away from lots of funding opportunities and therefore, you must know what you actually need to do at this stage. Some available options for recent graduates to fund startups: (more…)

Posted August 03, 2015 by

Understand the Career Prospects after Completing an Executive MBA

Catherina Thomas

Catherina Thomas

There is no doubt that the much coveted Masters degree in Business Administration, that is, the MBA is a degree which can completely change your life, granting you access to higher rungs of the ladder, and a whole new administrative expertise to spearhead projects with. There are various different MBA courses available, one of which is the Executive MBA degree.

It is a graduate level degree, with the distinguishing factor being that one needs 3-5 years professional experience to apply for the course, and also that he would not need to quit his day job to accommodate the course into his schedule. It is a highly specialized course, targeted at managers and administrators who wish to enrich their careers. You could learn more about PGDM and other courses too, but an EMBA is one of the best options to give a boost to your career.

Career Prospects after the Executive MBA (more…)

Posted March 23, 2015 by

Opportunity for Graduates – What Jobs are in Demand, and Where

Image of happy young graduates throwing hats in the air

Image of happy young graduates throwing hats in the air. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The economy is always changing to meet demand and circumstances. Whether it’s newly developed technology or shifting demographics, more plentiful and diverse opportunities are becoming available for college graduates. Not every part of the US is kind to graduates of any discipline, of course. This article should be able to provide insight on where demand is highest for particular fields of study: (more…)

Posted December 17, 2014 by

Startups: Getting More by Spending Less

Melissa Burns

Melissa Burns

If you are a student and you want to create your own startup, you have to face many difficulties. One of them is a limited budget. Don’t worry – it will not be the worst of your problems and it is definitely not a good reason to give up on your dream. I would like to offer you five tips that will help you to manage your money well. (more…)

Posted December 17, 2014 by

7 hard jobs of great importance

Melissa Burns

Melissa Burns

Nowadays it is very popular among students to despise every kind of office work. We are obsessed with the ideas of startups and exciting jobs, tightly connected with travelling and interesting tasks. However, being an office monkey is not that bad – your fate could be much, much harder. So, whenever you start whining about hardships of the office life next time, while sitting in a comfortable office armchair and sipping from a cup of hot coffee, just think of the following list of seven jobs not a single sane person would want to have, though they are much more necessary and useful than most office positions. (more…)

Posted October 06, 2014 by

Is an MBA Necessary to Startup Your Tech Business?

If you have thought about running your own tech business without pursuing your MBA, it may not be out of the question.  There are some people you have probably heard of who’ve accomplished this task.  On the other hand, the more knowledge you get before attempting to start a company can only better prepare you.  Either way, here is an infographic to help you learn more about having your own startup. (more…)