• Build your leadership skills as an entry-level employee: Interview with Cy Wakeman

    April 13, 2018 by

     

    As an entry-level employee who wants to grow professionally, you hear constantly that you must build your leadership skills. What does that even mean, and how do you know you’re building the right leadership skills? I interviewed Cy Wakeman, an international speaker on leadership and management, and President and Founder of Cy Wakeman, Inc. She has a fantastic and authentic philosophy of leadership, and I’ve shared major takeaways from our interview below, including what not to learn from your manager, how to request and handle feedback, and tips for women.  Continue Reading

  • 4 winning resume tips for recent graduates

    August 01, 2016 by
    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.

  • 5 ways juniors can take advantage of career services

    July 19, 2016 by

    It’s finally your junior year of college. You’re more than halfway finished with your undergraduate courses. Woohoo!

    You can certainly breathe a sigh of relief and feel a sense of accomplishment, but you have some serious career-related tasks to accomplish this year. Most college students don’t simply land a great job after graduating. It’s a step-by-step process which requires you to do your part in collaboration with your career services office on campus. As Patricia Niemann, Career Development Consultant, puts it, “career development is the bridge that you will travel from your educational environment to future career opportunities.”

    This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, lists six ways juniors in college can take advantage of career services to get ahead in the job search game.


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

    1. Ensure that you’ve written a super solid resume and cover letter.

    Now is the time to edit and update your resume with the help of your career services office on campus and to create a basic cover letter if you didn’t do so during your sophomore year. Career services will be glad to help you do this. Most career services offices even host special resume workshops and events, or you can set up a one-on-one resume appointment. No matter what approach you take, get it done. Don’t wait until the day before a job or internship interview. Creating or editing a resume takes time, even for a professional.

     

    2. Gain work experience in your field of study.

    It doesn’t matter if the experience is paid or unpaid. It doesn’t matter if you work five or 20 hours per week. It simply matters that you gain work experience in your field of study or as closely related to your field of study as possible. Are you majoring in criminal justice? Contact your local police department to ask about opportunities there. Is there a battered women’s shelter or sexual assault center in your area? Perhaps you could serve as a volunteer victim’s advocate. The possibilities are endless, but you have to take initiative. Working with career services is priceless. It’s the job of a career services professional to keep in touch with local employers and to serve as a liaison with organizations like these. Let your career services professionals work as advocates for you. Why do all the hard work yourself if you don’t have to? Don’t overlook sites like CollegeRecruiter.com, either. We can help. When you register, you tell us what you’re looking for, and we send you new job postings related only to your search criteria.

     

    3. Up your networking game.

    During your first and second years of college, it might have been enough to simply keep your social media sites clean of inappropriate content and to occasionally add new contacts. That’s not going to cut it your last two years of undergraduate study.

    Start reaching out to alumni and chatting with employers via discussion boards online. Dedicate at least 30 minutes to these activities per week. Up your game online, and you’ll be surprised how many connections you’ll gain and what types of opportunities may surface as a result. Each time you attend an event with employers present, retain business cards and invite those employers (recruiters, hiring managers, and others) to connect with you on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other professional networking sites. If they don’t accept your invitations, don’t take it personally. If they do connect with you, send a personal message thanking them for adding you. Don’t harass employers online or send annoying messages, but don’t be afraid to like their posts or comment on content they share in a thoughtful and insightful manner.

     

    4. Acquire better soft skills.

    Ask career services professionals for opportunities to improve your soft skills. Seek feedback from your career services staff on where your strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of soft skills. Are you great at communicating in writing but poor at communicating face-to-face? You might need to practice interview questions with a career services member before conducting on-campus interviews with employers. Are you a strong leader but not so great at teamwork? Find ways to get involved in organizations requiring you to collaborate with others on campus.

     

    5. Take grad school entrance practice exams.

    If you plan on attending graduate school after you graduate from college, it’s a good idea to take practice exams for the GRE, MCAT, and other entrance exams for graduate schools during your junior year. Most of these are offered at no cost and can be found online. Career services offices often offer assistance in pointing students to these exams or to study guides on many campuses.

     

    Lastly, and this is a bonus tip: don’t just attend the career fair your junior year of college.

    The career fair is a great event—and a must—but challenge yourself to attend at least two other events sponsored by career services as well. Ask your career services office which events are most important on your campus. Is it the etiquette dinner, on-campus interviews, mock interviews, or other key events? Each campus has its own key events, so don’t assume you know which matter most without asking.

    Want more help finding ways to guarantee career success? Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

     

  • 3 tips for getting the most out of part-time jobs

    July 18, 2016 by
    Retail, portrait, clipboard photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    As a college student, it can often feel like your part time job is purely for bringing in the cash you need to splash on your expenses and social activities. This, however, is not necessarily the case. The experience gained from working a part time job can be invaluable towards assisting with your selection of a future career, as well as contributing to landing your first full-time entry-level job later down the track.

    1. On-the-job experience

    As far as choosing a career goes, you may have already decided. Obviously you’ve enrolled in a college degree, and now it’s just a matter of time before you land your dream job and get started, right? Well, actually, using your choice of part time work to gain particular experience that will assist with your career selection is a good start. Sometimes when you gain on-the-job work experience in a particular field, you may actually change your mind about thinking it’s the perfect career for you.

    Part time jobs can be tricky to land, but if you are presented with choice, why not select one that’s closest to the type of job you’ll work once you’ve completed your degree? For example, work as a veterinary assistant while studying to become a vet. Use this opportunity to test the waters and see if you feel comfortable working in a similar environment in which you’ll soon be qualified.

    2. Future benefits

    As well as using your part time job as an opportunity to test if you enjoy a particular type of work, you can also leverage it to land yourself your first ‘real’ job sooner. The work experience you gain during college will be included on the resume you submit for prospective full-time jobs once qualified. An empty resume won’t impress a prospective employer, nor will having one that fails to contain any outstanding information.

    Separate yourself from future competition by using time worked in your part-time job to earn credit for future job applications. Accomplishments such as taking on higher duties, greater responsibility, winning awards, and being promoted will all look fantastic on your resume. Ask your manager if you can take on new work so you have the opportunity to learn different job skills and gain broader exposure to the work environment. You could also assist with designing a strategy to save the business money or increasing the level of customer satisfaction, for example.

    3. Expand your network

    Holding down a part-time job will also help you to expand your professional network. You’ll create connections and relationships with people that may be able to assist you with finding work at a later date. Your manager may be willing to provide a reference for you, or your colleague may recommend you to their employer at such time as they gain full-time work.

    Working hard now will pay off in the future, as you present a resume and work experience that demonstrates your commitment to work and your enthusiasm to achieve beyond minimum expectations.

    Searching for a part-time job? Visit College Recruiter and follow our blog. Also, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Joe Flanagan, Senior Resume Consultant at Velvet Jobs

    Joe Flanagan, Senior Outplacement Consultant at Velvet Jobs

    Joe Flanagan is the Senior Outplacement Consultant at Velvet Jobs, offering outplacement services and a search facility for job seekers of all ages and industries. His expertise include resume writing, job search tips and hiring issues. When he’s not trying to improve the unemployment rate you can find him traveling the world and learning new languages.
  • How to get a dream job even without experience

    June 20, 2016 by
    Dream, job, way photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    It’s intensely frustrating. You spend years getting further education, you work your butt off, you rack up extra debt, and afterwards no doors will open because ‘you lack experience’ or because university ‘didn’t teach you the skills you need.’ But how can you get experience if nobody will give you a job?

    Well fear not; there are actually ways to get that dream job after all, and that’s without first working 10 years at some entry-level position trying to make your mark. It just means working hard right now and showing everybody that you’ve got the mojo to pull it off.
    So are you ready to get noticed? Here’s what you’ve got to do.

    Do the time

    Despite what many young people think, the world doesn’t owe them anything. That means your dream job is not going to get thrown into your lap. If you want it, you’ve got to look for it, hunt for it, and when you found it, battle to get it. So make sure you don’t sit back and wait for something to happen.

    Instead, pursue every channel to get the job you want, be it social media, friends of the family, career counseling at university or the classifieds in the local newspaper (some people actually still use those). And apply to everything that sounds close to what you want. Even if you don’t end up wanting it, the experience from going to the interview can be just what you need to wow your future employers when you do land the right interview.

    Develop your soft skills

    One of the biggest problems employers have with fresh graduates is that they don’t have the soft skills necessary to actually get anywhere in the workplace. By soft skills I mean teamwork, communication, writing and problem-solving skills. An even bigger problem? Graduates think they’re actually very good at those things and therefore don’t take the time to become better at them. Don’t be like everybody else; accept that you’ve still got a lot to learn, then go out of your way to learn soft skills!

    Be confident but not arrogant

    There is another good reason besides soft skills that many people don’t like hiring recent graduates – and that’s because recent graduates often have a much higher estimation of what they’re capable of than what they’re actually capable of. They come swaggering into the workplace believing that they’ll show these business people a thing or two about how it’s done.

    The thing is, often they don’t know how it’s done. They’ve got too little work experience and often too much idealism. They’ve got a lot to learn but think too highly of themselves to realize this is so.

    Don’t be that person. Be respectful, accept that you’re still at the beginning of your life and that experience is valuable, but make it clear to your future employer that you’re smart enough to know what you know and driven enough to learn what you don’t. That will impress them.

    Prepare for the interview

    There are some tricky questions interviewers can’t ask you, and if you haven’t prepared then they may stump you. So take time to prepare. Not only that, but make sure you know the names of the people you’re going to interview with, as well as whatever basic facts you can find online. People will be impressed if you are well-informed. It shows that you care, that you’re a good researcher, that you’re proactive and that you’re willing to invest effort to get what you want.

    Show off your expertise

    If you want the dream job, you’ve got to show that your skill set is much greater than your limited CV gives you credit for. So you’ve got to show off your expertise. This can be done in multiple ways–by getting an endorsement from somebody who matters in the industry or one of your professors, for instance, but probably the best way is to actually start working in the field. So either start freelancing while you’re still in college, or otherwise start blogging and build up a reputation as somebody who knows what they’re talking about.

    Be passionate

    Read books and articles in your field, understand theory as best you can, know who the players are, and when you get around to writing your cover letter, show them how much you care. Now don’t be a gushing ninny. You’ve got to be professional, but you still have to demonstrate to them that even though you don’t have as much experience as everybody else in the field, you’ve got more than enough passion to make up for it.

    Be a protagonist

    You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions or your lack thereof. It won’t be easy to jump the cue. It will, in fact, take a lot of hard work, so you’ve got to prepare for that. That said, it is possible so long as you take the time to be do what you’ve got to do and show that you’re a cut above the rest.

    And if it goes wrong, own it, learn what you can from it and get back up again. Then push on. That’s the only way it’s going to work. You’ve got to be the hero of your own story, because otherwise you’re the victim. And who hires the victim?

    Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

    Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

    Jonathan Emmen is a student and an inspired blogger from Copenhagen. His passion is writing, and he finds inspiration in traveling, books, and movies. You can follow him on @JonnyEmmen or you can also follow him on Kinja.

  • Basing your job search on company growth

    May 13, 2016 by
    Four college graduates in graduation gowns standing close to each other and making selfie courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    g-stockstudio/Shutterstock.com

    College students preparing to enter the workforce must consider jobs based on information that extends beyond the description of available positions, including company growth. By considering the characteristics of prospective employers, job seekers can make decisions that can improve their chances of having long, successful careers.

    For many college graduates, getting involved with a growing enterprise represents an opportunity to share the benefits of company growth. Employers that currently experience growth and expect it to continue in the future often promote employees from within to fill vacant positions. The move controls recruiting and hiring costs, and gives employees opportunities for professional growth.

    Company growth ranks as one of the most important factors in the job search. Although the stability of mature companies that have stopped growing might seem attractive, they could limit career development for new college graduates. Younger companies might bring a degree of uncertainty and increased responsibilities to the table, but they also bring an opportunity for new employees to quickly grow in their profession.

    Expanding product lines

    Companies that signal growth through the expanded product lines give prospective employees reasons to believe they can grow with the enterprise. Nike, an established company, once experienced periods of growth as the company extended its brand from shoes to clothing, accessories, and electronics. College graduates who see a company expanding in a similar way can expect to gain valuable experience in business and brand development during an extensive career with the same employer. After gaining work experience with such a firm, employees can market their skills and experience to other companies that want to grow.

    Growth through acquisition

    Growing companies may choose to buy other firms as a pathway to growth. Professionals working for businesses expanding this way can find themselves at the top of the overarching corporate structure. Such a situation exposes employees to diverse business models and organizational structures, as they assimilate new firms into the company. Good performance in positions of high responsibility gives workers a path to higher pay and promotions.

    Blue Coat, a growing player in the cloud security market, provided a good example of growth through acquisition when the firm bought Elastica, a startup provider of software that can detect the inappropriate use of cloud-based applications. The company adds innovative technology to the acquiring firm, as well as the responsibility to create synergy with the combined company. Qualified job candidates might consider working for such a company because the business could continue to fuel its growth by buying other companies.

    Market expansion

    Companies with existing products that seek to grow by entering new markets need well-educated job candidates to fill positions within the growing organization. Graduates who choose to join a firm with a demonstrated pattern of market expansion can expect to have a long-term pathway to career development, as they learn how to deal with markets regionally, nationally, and globally markets. As their employer grows, workers can expect to assume new responsibilities that increase their value to the firm and possible future employers. Although many companies such as Netflix have entered different countries to pursue growth, smaller companies might grow by expanding into different regions of the same country. For example, Express Employment Professionals began as a small staffing firm in Oklahoma and has since grown by expanding into hundreds of markets around the USA.

    A study referenced by Forbes.com showed companies that promote employees from within outperform those that fill positions with external hires. College graduates willing to join a business during its early stages might at first accept a lower wage, but the increased chances of promotion within the firm can compensate for any initial loss.

    If you’re looking for more job search tips, visit the College Recruiter blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Cameron Johnson, guest writer

    Cameron Johnson, guest writer

    Cameron Johnson is a BYU Alumni and business consultant. Since graduating from college in 2013, he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international marketing conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.

  • 6 common mistakes grads make when searching for entry-level jobs

    May 09, 2016 by
    First Job word; business man touching on red tab virtual screen courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    PhuShutter/Shutterstock.com

    Recently, research from the Australian government shows how the shift from college education to full-time employment is becoming more challenging. Job prospects for young Australians are decreasing and on the other hand, recent graduates are making key mistakes when searching for entry-level jobs. Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online educators, has gathered information from a variety of recruiters to help recent graduates understand their mistakes when applying for entry-level jobs. Avoid these most common mistakes to avoid when searching for entry-level jobs.

    1. Negative attitude towards work

    Australian government research confirmed young people do not have enough of a positive attitude towards work. Recruiters recommend job seekers be more motivated and demonstrate enthusiasm to potential employers.

    According to the study, young people need to be more responsible and reliable concerning their behavior and approach to their jobs. Recruiters suggest working with a business for a while, coming in to shifts, being punctual, and showing respect to colleagues, and customers or clients.

    2. Think learning is over after college

    Recruiters ask young professionals to be more open to learning when they start their first entry-level jobs. We all need to continue learning during our professional lives to stay updated with industry changes. But when starting a new job, it is especially important to have the right attitude towards learning because everything is new; employees will need to gain knowledge of the working process in their new companies and the different procedures to complete work correctly and in a timely manner. Your first employer is giving you an excellent opportunity to learn and gain valuable experience, so absorb as much as you can.

    3. Underestimate the importance of previous work experience

    Even though job seekers are applying for their first full-time entry-level jobs, having some related work experience will give them a competitive advantage. This may be some volunteer work done while still in school or some unpaid jobs during the summer. Don’t underestimate this experience; include it on your resume and tell your interviewers about it.

    Studies are essential, but having first-hand experience shows employers that you have some practical skills and a better understanding of work responsibilities and professional work life.

    4. Failure to make a good first impression

    Whoever says his opinion is not influenced by the first impression is lying. In an interview, job seekers only have a few seconds to convince interviewers that they are the right candidates, so along with their studies, work experience, and the right attitude, their presentations during interviews will play an important role in their success in landing their first full-time jobs.

    According to the research, recent graduates often dress inappropriately for work and have untidy hair, so recruiters recommend paying special attention to appearance. Not every company’s dress code is the same, so make sure to verify details about the company culture before an interview in order to dress appropriately.

    5. Poor job search and application skills

    When looking for their first jobs, Australian young professionals are making very common mistakes, according to research. These skills improve with time and practice, but a couple pieces of advice recruiters give are: make sure each application (resume and cover letter) is tailored to the position for which you are applying, and always double check your application’s spelling and grammar. Recruiters see these types of mistakes as a lack of attention to detail and unacceptable in today’s marketplace.

    Recruiters also suggest job seekers approach employers directly after providing their resumes and personally following up with them.

    6. Unrealistic work expectations

    When applying for their first entry-level jobs after college, recent graduates need to understand they cannot “start at the top.” They have to make an effort to work their way up through the business.

    Another common mistake is to expect high compensation. This will also come with time as employees gain experience and assume more responsibilities. The nature of the work they do may not be exactly what they want initially, but as long as workers are learning and doing something they like, they are on the right path.

    Need more tips for your job search? Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Maria Onzain, guest writer

    Maria Onzain, guest writer

    Maria Onzain is a content marketing expert writing for Open Colleges about education, career, and productivity. She is passionate about all things digital, loves technology, social media, start-ups, travelling, and good food.

  • Stay-at-home mom to CEO: Transferring skills to the workplace

    May 04, 2016 by

    During one of our one-on-one meetings, Faith Rothberg, CEO of College Recruiter, laughed as I described some of my potty training woes with my toddler.

    “Just continue to lower your parenting expectations, and you’ll be fine.”

    This sage advice has saved me from numerous mommy meltdowns. Faith Rothberg is not only a wonderful workplace mentor, but she’s also a mentor for young moms as well. Faith was recently featured in an article about returning to the workplace by OptIn as well.

    Faith, a mother of three children, two of whom no longer reside at home, is a true parenting expert. She chose to stay home to care for her children after establishing her own career in the field of information technology after earning her MBA at the University of Michigan. Before earning her stay-at-home mom (SAHM) status, she worked for Ford Motor Company as a programmer, a manufacturing information technology consultant for KPMG, and for Wells Fargo as a project manager. Faith’s family photos adorn the walls of her house—even her home office—and she doesn’t hide the fact that her family comes first.

    Yet as CEO of College Recruiter, an online recruitment media company named one of the world’s top career sites by Forbes, WEDDLE’s, and Business.com, how does Faith strike a balance between work and family? How did she transition back into the workplace after staying home with her children for 13 years? How did her SAHM experience provide her with transferable skills which now benefit her as CEO?

    I recently interviewed my boss, Faith Rothberg, to ask her these very questions and more.


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

    Faith made the decision to stay home with her children after her second son was born. She admits she didn’t feel she was doing well as a mom or as a professional at this time in her life. The biggest surprise she had at this time was how hard it felt to be home every day and how many decisions she was faced with making all day long while caring for her children. She realized right away that she was building better multitasking skills, decision-making, and problem-solving skills as a parent. These are transferable skills that certainly aid her now in the workplace.

    Many stay-at-home moms struggle when deciding whether to re-enter the workplace. “I don’t know if you ever know exactly that it’s the right time. When I made the decision to come back and start in our business . . . it was really good timing for the business, and it was almost good timing for me,” Faith candidly shares.

    She admits she was worried she would not be able to be as available for her children. There was certainly an emotional component which was difficult during the transition back to work.

    Faith suggests that parents who stay home with their children should remain active in their communities and at their children’s schools. Parents can volunteer in the classroom, on committees, and in non-profit organizations in order to round out their resumes to avoid major gaps with absolutely no experience.

    Faith offers three tips for stay-at-home moms considering a return to the workplace.

    1. Evaluate what you want to do.

    Often what you were doing before you had children isn’t what you want to do now (when returning to the workplace). You may have had a great paying job before having children, but now you may have different goals or objectives. Take some time and either work with a career coach or take career assessments online to reevaluate your goals. Get a career mentor and seek advice and guidance.

    1. Once you know what you want to do, update your resume.

    You’ll have a gap on your resume during the time you stayed home with your children, and you may not have professional work experience to list on your resume during this gap. Use the volunteer experience and community involvement to fill in the gaps on your resume.

    1. Network.

    Network with other children’s parents and with the spouses of those other stay-at-home parents. Network back with your former coworkers. Use LinkedIn and other social media sites. Send your resume to your contacts and friends and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    For more tips related to transferable skills, transitioning back into the workforce, and searching for jobs, visit our blog and follow us on social media at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

     

     

  • 20 ways to rock your resume

    April 29, 2016 by
    Resume with pen on table closeup courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Casper1774 Studio/Shutterstock.com

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

    Here are 20 tips that can improve your resume.

    Make sure you are emphasizing results, not responsibilities

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

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

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

    Target skills/background for each position

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

    Re-visit keywords for each position

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

    Include a summary section

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

    Use standard software

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

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

    Milles Studio/Shutterstock.com

    Aim for one page

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

    Do not lie

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

    Use action verbs

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

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

    2. Reduced budget by 10% without loss of productivity

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

    Visual appeal is a must

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

    Be clear about job titles

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

    Be really brief

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

    Perfect grammar and spelling

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

    Avoid gimmicks

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

    Graphics should fit the company culture

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

    Never state salary

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

    Don’t address negatives

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

    Add links

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

    Update consistently

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

    No tag lines

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

    Do not abbreviate

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

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

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

    Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

    Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

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

  • 3 tips for a successful situational interview

    April 18, 2016 by
    Business cartoon showing psychologist asking interviewee dog a question courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Cartoonresource/Shutterstock.com

    Have you ever had a situational interview? In situational interviews, interviewers ask candidates questions on how they might handle specific situations in the workplace; these interviews differ from behavioral interviews. When recruiters ask you behavioral questions, they ask you how you have handled situations in the past. When recruiters ask you situational questions, they want to know how you would hypothetically handle situations should they occur in the future. For students and recent grads who may lack work experience, situational questions give you a chance to shine and showcase your problem solving and critical thinking skills. These interviews also tell potential employers whether or not you’re the right cultural fit for their companies based on what you will do in the future, not what you’ve done in the past. Whether you’re a college student, recent graduate, or other job seeker, here are three tips to prepare you for a successful situational interview.

    1. See yourself in the job.

    When answering questions, answer them to explain the way you might behave in real settings in the workplace. Describe the action you would take as an employee and explain why you would take that action.

    2. Research potential employers.

    You don’t want to go into any interview without researching a potential employer. Understanding a company’s policies and company culture will give you a better idea of what it expects of employees. This can help you answer situational interview questions because you can, at least partly, base your responses on research.

    3. Avoid profanity and stay positive.

    Be careful not to use profanity during your situational interview. You may not only offend the interviewer, but you also leave a negative impression of how you might talk to co-workers. Stay positive, and keep focused on how you will help a potential employer. Never bash former employers or focus on what has gone wrong in the past. Situational interviews give you the chance to discuss what you might do differently if given the chance, so focus on being positive, hopeful, and optimistic.

    Situational interviews foreshadow what job seekers could be like in the workplace. Prepare to answer questions relevant to the job and company you’re interested in, so employers will see you as the best fit for them.

    Do you need more information on interviewing for your job search? Click on over to the College Recruiter blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.