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Posted January 01, 2016 by

Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan

Most college students make a list and check it twice before leaving campus during finals week. Catch up on countless hours of missed sleep during fall semester? Check. Hang out with hometown friends and reminisce about old times? Check. Curl up in Dad’s crusty old recliner and watch every episode of “The Big Bang Theory” aired since 2007? Check.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

There may be other items that make the list but rank lower in priority because, let’s face it, they’re simply not as fun to complete—obtain seasonal employment, complete the FAFSA online for the upcoming academic year, fill out grad school applications, stop by the local architect’s office to ask about a summer internship opportunity, etc. The list could literally go on FOR-EV-ER, as The Sandlot’s Squints puts it.

Realistically, many students head back to campus in January without having completed the lower-ranking, future-focused tasks. This doesn’t seem like a big deal in January; the entire spring semester lies before you like a blank notebook. Sounds simple, right?

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

But a blank piece of paper gets you nowhere in terms of a future career or internship (and certainly generates little cash flow). And most people, not just college students, tend to put off today what can be done tomorrow. Unfortunately, employers and recruiters don’t feel your procrastination pain. They only care if you’re the smartest and best if you’ve actually applied on time and filled their needs for openings.

While you still have time and aren’t stressed by the pressure of spring courses, pour a cup of coffee, prepare to brainstorm, and draft a simple 4-step blueprint for action.

1. Accept your limitations and lower your expectations. This might sound like odd advice, but it will keep you from dropping the career-planning ball altogether. Most of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought; this causes us to set ridiculously high expectations and goals (AKA perfectionism). It’s been said that it’s unrealistic to plan more than 90 days out, so don’t do it. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you’ve begun. Eat that elephant one bite at a time.

2.Identify a few (3 to 5) key career-related goals that matter to you. These goals need to be directly related to obtaining an entry-level job after graduation or an internship during the summer of 2016. Perhaps you’re not interested in an internship but are interested in obtaining part-time employment during the summer that relates to your academic major or minor. Regardless, you might need help with this step. Who can help?

a) 
College Recruiter’s blog. Keep reading this month and follow our blog (via email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn). During January, you’ll read about nothing but information related to helping college students plan for and obtain entry-level jobs after graduation and internships during the summer.   b) Your career services office on campus.

Let’s pretend your goal is to work for Target Corporation in entry-level management near Houston, Texas, and  you plan to graduate in May 2016. This is a pretty specific goal (which is good—the more narrow your focus, the easier it is to set goals and action steps).

Some career-related goals might be:

  • Develop a more polished resume (your current resume was drafted when applying for college three years ago and hasn’t been updated since) and learn how to write a great cover letter.
  • Improve phone/online interview skills since you live three states away from Texas and will most likely interview over the phone or online.
  • Learn how to convey your “campus life” experiences as transferable skills during interviews since you’ve only held one part-time job and feel insecure about your lack of real-world experience.

(Spoiler alert: Stay tuned to our blog this month to learn about all this and more.)

3. Define action steps necessary to help you attain your 3-5 goals. This step’s crucial; goals are simply idealistic dreams unless you take steps to realize them.

Let’s stick with our hypothetical you who hopes to work in entry-level management for Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, after graduating in May 2016. Here are some suggested action steps:

  • Update existing resume with part-time job, volunteer experience, campus involvement, and coursework relevant to future employment.
  • Submit resume to College Recruiter’s free resume review service (yep, FREE) and to campus career services office.
  • Follow College Recruiter’s blog this month for posts related to interview skills. Search College Recruiter’s blog for past articles and webinars related to interview skills.
  • Attend mock interviews and career fairs on campus—these are free and afford you valuable practice.
  • Work on revising your resume to reflect transferable skills and to reframe the way you think about your own skills, too.
  • Search for job openings with Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, on College Recruiter’s website after registering. Registering first is important because College Recruiter sends you new postings (saving you time and effort).

4. Get busy. Blueprints look impressive hanging on the wall, but they’re much more impressive when framed inside the buildings built by the very architects who drafted them in the first place.

Developing an action plan is tough brain work—but the real work kicks in when you crawl out of the comfy recliner (even though you have three more days of winter break) and begin implementing your plan.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The payoff may not be immediate, but pretty soon you’ll see results—the empty page will fill with a pretty cool image you created by simply connecting the dots by taking action all semester.

 

Posted November 04, 2015 by

Numbers that matter most in your job search

The numbers that matter most in your job search, part three of a webinar series by Amanda Augustine, provides college students, graduates, and entry-level job seekers with powerful statistics, facts, and figures to help them develop an effective job-search strategy.

This three-part webinar series features Amanda Augustine (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jobsearchamanda), Career Management Expert who helps recent college graduates and accomplished professionals reach their full career potential. The webinar is moderated by Andrea McEwen-Henderson (https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreamcewen), former National Account Manager for College Recruiter.

Key takeaways:

  • Make sure what employers read about you online is consistent with whom they meet in person and read about on your resume. Take steps to secure your personal online accounts and flesh out your professional profiles.
  • Research a company thoroughly so you have a good sense of company culture before setting foot in the interview room.
  • If you find a job online you’re interested in, apply sooner rather than later. In the world of job seeking, early applicants are more likely to land jobs.
  • Don’t apply to a job without first checking to see if you know someone who works or used to work at that company. An employee referral can make all the difference in your job search.
  • Your resume only gets six seconds to make the right impression with a potential employer. Make sure your resume is crafted to capture attention.
  • Never rely on only one source for job leads—diversify.

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

Questions:

  1. How do I “secure” my personal brand?

If you are posting information for your personal brand and not for your professional brand, use separate profile photos. Use separate screen names as well; this way, your personal profile will not appear in searches conducted using your legal or professional name.

  1. Networking seems to be important for the job search. How can I expand my network?

Everyone has a network already, whether they realize it or not. Begin by cultivating the network you already have. Do an advanced search on LinkedIn, for example. When you’re ready to expand, take advantage of opportunities to connect with people with similar interests.

  1. What are some ways I can learn about a company’s company culture?

Job seeking and dating are very similar. Think about ways you might scope out a first date! Peruse company websites, “about us” sections, and social media sites. There’s a huge transparency trend today in many companies’ cultures; use this to your advantage as a job applicant.

  1. How do I make sure my resume passes the 6­-second test?

When crafting your resume, don’t just write a recipe. Think about tailoring your resume to the specific job you’re applying for, considering which specific skills are applicable to that position.

Amanda Augustine is a Career Management Expert who helps recent college graduates and accomplished professionals reach their full career potential. Her goal is to get professionals into the right jobs sooner through personalized job search and career guidance. Amanda offers consulting, speaking engagements, and training sessions to all professionals ready to advance their careers. Follow Amanda on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JobSearchAmanda, on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jobsearchamanda, at http://www.jobsearchamanda.com/, or on The Ladders.com at http://www.TheLadders.com/AskAmanda.

Posted April 11, 2014 by

Don’t Have the Experience Required to Get Jobs for Recent College Graduates? 4 Tips to Learn from People Who Were in Your Shoes

If you are feeling down about not having the experience required to get jobs for recent college graduates, the following post has four tips from people who also didn’t have this experience at one time.

An Army combat engineer turned advertising executive. A banking executive turned career counselor. A mother of 12, now a communications writer. An Intel engineer turned comedian. These are not your typical career changes. Here are the inspiring stories and creative strategies these people used to transition into a job they love — without related work experience or education

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Posted April 04, 2014 by

Do You Have Transferrable Skills that Qualify You for Recent College Graduate Jobs?

When searching for recent college graduate jobs, think about your transferrable skills that make you qualified for these positions.  In the following post, learn more about these skills that you might not think you have, and how they can enhance your job search.

Some days, looking for a new job can be pretty brutal. How are you supposed to be capable of all these skills? Managing, delegating, working in a team, taking direction, giving feedback, writing, editing, filming, networking, prioritizing, knowing seven softwares and eight social media platforms — it’s too much. What’s an up-

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