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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 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 13, 2016 by

Finding social media’s place in recruiting strategy

Social media strategy courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Verticalarray/Shutterstock.com

While many recruiters use social media to find quality job candidates, recruiting this way may not be ideal. Employers may want to consider pursuing other options, including banner advertising, email campaigns, and other interactive media solutions. One other option is to utilize the company website and internal referrals from existing employees (at least to begin with). Andrew Buhrmann, CEO of Vettd, explains why companies should look within before branching out on social media for their next employees.

“Vettd has conducted market research on social recruiting. We learned the best method for recruiters to find their next hires actually starts with the company website, not social networks.

While social and professional networks are the future, our current research tells us they are causing companies to regress in their hiring process. That means they are betting a ton of money on a losing horse.

By working with existing employees and their networks, they present higher value and more worthwhile candidate leads and referrals. Recruiters are able to validate the candidate’s experience internally first, before proceeding with an online check of the candidate’s social presence. This dual pronged approach brings recruiters better candidates at the top of the consideration stack versus recruiting socially first and discovering later the person someone knows of isn’t really anyone they really know well.”

For more advice on recruiting with social media, contact College Recruiter for assistance. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

Andrew Buhrmann, CEO of Vettd

Andrew Buhrmann, CEO of Vettd

Andrew Buhrmann founded Vettd in the fall of 2014. Vettd is his second Seattle startup, and he was previously Co-Founder at Balance Financial, which was acquired by TaxACT. Andrew is an active, outdoor enthusiast who loves to spend his free time skiing, running, cycling, and cooking for his family and friends. He and his wife, Jennifer, are expecting their first child this summer, which will be the 9th grandchild of his parents. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a degree in economics.

Posted February 26, 2016 by

Focusing on branding in college recruiting

In recruiting college students, recruiters should focus on employer branding. An employer brand represents what a company stands for; it’s why or why not job seekers will work for a business. Brian Easter, Co-Founder of Nebo Agency, explains how his company recruits college students with care and dedication.

Photo of Brian Easter

Brian Easter, Co-Founder of Nebo Agency

“Nebo’s success has been a direct result of our human-centered approach to doing business. It’s because we respect users we’re able to craft successful, long-term strategies for clients over short-term gains; it’s because we love and value clients we build lasting relationships with them; and it’s because we see culture as our competitive advantage we’ve been able to fill the Nebo ranks with the industry’s best people.

As such, we fiercely defend our culture by standing up for our employees at all times. We will fire and have fired clients on the spot when they question the value of our employees’ hard work. Like we’ve always said, Nebo was started to repair a broken industry, and it’s a goal we have in mind at every step.

We’d put the growth opportunities at Nebo against any other agency. More than half of our management positions are staffed by people who started as interns or in entry-level positions. We promote from within to maintain our culture, and we think it’s important to reward good work. We hire people who have potential to grow with the agency, meaning they are passionate, intelligent, have integrity, and want to make the world a better place. We hire people who have a greater mission. Nebo promotes based on merit and does not withhold promotions to make new employees “pay their dues.”

This manner of care and dedication to our employees translates to how we recruit and attract college students to Nebo. We are actively involved with a number of southeastern colleges, particularly the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, in part because of their vicinities to our Atlanta office, but also because we are an office divided with proud Bulldawg and Jacket grads. Throughout the year, we attend career fairs, advertising, marketing, and PR organizational events, as well as host agency tours.

Whenever we plan an appearance at a college event, we don’t settle for just distributing basic fliers. We want our presence to reflect our unique culture at Nebo. Whether that means a contest guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar, giving away a drone or scholarship money to someone with the most compelling tweet, or personalizing t-shirts to embrace each school, we want students to know we are as excited to be there as they are. We always strive to provide every student with a remarkable experience with the Nebo brand.

Every year, Nebo receives thousands of resumes with a large majority from current college students, so we like to think our approach to engaging college students is working. We’ve made it our mission to create a place where the industry’s top talent comes together to help clients make the world a better place.”

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.

As Co-Founder of Nebo, Brian Easter brings international experience to his role along with a proven track record of helping organizations reach their digital marketing objectives. Under his leadership, Nebo has enjoyed 12 straight years of growth, has never laid a single employee off, and has won over 100 digital awards in just the past years alone.

Posted February 01, 2016 by

In the job search, all experience matters

Babysitting experience with woman holding puppy and watching little girl

antoniodiaz/Shutterstock.com

When college students begin the job search process, they often feel defeated before they begin if they believe they have no real work experience, but that is never true. All have some knowledge and skills, and they are all transferable. For example, the only job a student may have had was babysitting, so a student may feel that won’t help them land an internship. It is true that others may have more experience, but there are transferable skills acquired from babysitting such as being organized and responsible. If the same family hired you over and over again, that demonstrates that you performed well.

Classroom-related experience is also of value to recruiters and hiring managers. While some candidates applying for the job may have done similar work before for pay, employers will also value the work you’ve completed for a grade so be sure to include academic projects on your resume related to the job opening. Remember to list what you’ve learned in the classroom under the “experience” heading on your resume. Even if you weren’t paid for the time, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t valuable and that you didn’t work just as hard as someone else who acquired similar skills.

 

Need more tips related to transferable skills, gaining work experience, and your job search? Follow our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube for career tips and job search motivation.

At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent grad deserves a great career. We work to create a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and grads to excellent entry-level jobs.

 

Posted December 07, 2015 by

Value, experience, and cultural fit as reasons for hiring students early

Employers have their own criteria when searching for quality candidates. For example, candidates potentially adding value to a company will interest employers. Experience can also factor into hiring decisions. The more experience candidates have, the better their chances of landing new jobs. Fitting into the company culture is important too because employers need to know that prospective employees reflect a positive image of their companies. Value, experience, and cultural fit are three reasons for hiring students early. (more…)

Posted October 08, 2015 by

3 action steps for achieving a more diverse workplace

Achieving a diverse workforce demands employers are open to it. They must not only be active in diversity but think of it in terms of the job candidate and building a business.

To help explore these issues, College Recruiter recently hosted a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29, at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco.

College Recruiter has been publishing the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. Consider taking these three action steps to achieving a more diverse workplace, suggested by CEO/Founder of UsersThink, John Turner. (more…)

Posted September 18, 2015 by

What’s the difference between diversity and inclusion?

 

We hear the words diversity and inclusion often and might think they are one and the same. While they do go together, diversity and inclusion each have their own meanings. Understanding the difference helps job seekers decide the type of company to work for and helps employers build a more open-minded culture. In today’s article, Joan Kingsley discusses what is the difference between diversity and inclusion. (more…)

Posted August 06, 2015 by

The Millennial Makeover Part 7: Employers, Know Your Role

portrait of happy boss looking at camera in working environment

Portrait of happy boss looking at camera in working environment. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When it comes to today’s workforce, there is no doubt that millennials are creating an atmosphere of change in the workplace.  So, who are millennials?  This group was born between 1980 and the year 2000, and reflect a generation with their own career goals, attitudes, and oh yes, their understanding of how to use technology.  For employers to take their companies to the next level, they will need to find ways to recruit and retain millennials, also known as Generation Y. (more…)

Posted July 16, 2015 by

The Millennial Makeover Part 4: What Attracts Them to Your Company

Millennial Employees words on a worker or staff member on an organizational chart to illustrate finding and hiring young people

Millennial Employees words on a worker or staff member on an organizational chart to illustrate finding and hiring young people. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When it comes to today’s workforce, there is no doubt that millennials are creating an atmosphere of change in the workplace.  So, who are millennials?  This group was born between 1980 and the year 2000, and reflect a generation with their own career goals, attitudes, and oh yes, their understanding of how to use technology.  For employers to take their companies to the next level, they will need to find ways to recruit and retain millennials, also known as Generation Y. (more…)