LinkedIn: Let’s Get Personal

11 08 2014

make all connections meme

Every week, I receive (and send) connection requests through LinkedIn. What continues to surprise me is the fact that the large majority of those who wish to connect fail to personalize the message. Now, let me explain first that I’m not too caught up with this since there are so many new smartphone and tablet apps that simply don’t let the user provide any personalization, thus the “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” standard messaging.

If you could hit the “easy” button and fire away simple connection requests without personalization, would you do it? Some say yes, but what are your results? Why are you really connecting?

Here’s the better question: What if you took 20 seconds to craft a quick note to provide the person you’re reaching out to with a frame of reference?

Put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving the connection request. For all intents and purposes, let’s just say they’re a recruiter for the most awesome company in the world and you want to work for them. You meet the recruiter at an event, perhaps a career fair. You exchange information and later go to LinkedIn to do a little research.

That little blue “connect” button is calling your name. Heck, LinkedIn even does most of the work for you. Instead of sending the boilerplate “I’d like to connect” blah-blah, you choose to stand out. Your connection request goes something like this:

Hi Kirk,

It was nice to meet you at the career fair today in San Francisco. Cool that you’re also a Cal grad! I’ve already applied online as directed to your awesome company. In the meantime, I’d like to connect with you here on LinkedIn. Let’s keep in touch!

Joe Smith

Now, if you were a recruiter and received tons of the basic boilerplate connection requests, wouldn’t this stand out to you?? It’s that simple.

What inspired me to write this post? These three great connection requests I received this week:

photo 1


photo 2

photo 3

Did I connect? You bet. Thanks for the added thought in your request!

Here are some other really great posts on LinkedIn:

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Awesome? by Career Sherpa

If You’re Not Linked In, You May Be Left Out

College Students: Are You Linked In? by Emily Bennington

Want to connect? You know what you have to do… :)

Career Change? What You Need To Know Before Making The Transition

30 07 2014


Circumstance in life evolve all the time. Some of these changes in life create an opportunity or need to change careers. This isn’t something that should be done impulsively, but should be heavily contemplated and considered. Here are some things to consider before actually making the change.

Change to What?

It goes without saying that the most important thing to consider is what type of career you want to consider. It’s important to never give up an existing job or career without a solid direction in which to head. It’s just a matter of deciding factors such as what you need, love doing, and where your talents lay.

Why is the Change Wanted Or Needed?

In order to prevent impulsive decision making, it is important for you to know why you are desiring of a career change. Do you feel stuck in your position? Do you wish to make a bigger difference and take on more responsibilities? There are many valid reasons to change careers, but sometimes, you may just be burned out or frustrated. A good vacation can resolve those feelings instead of a complete change of career.

What Are Your Life-Long Goals?

Every decision in your day should be part of a life long plan. The last thing you need to do is make a career change that is not consistent with long term goals. Why would you start a new career in the Midwest if you really want to live on the coast? Take a look at long term goals to narrow in on a career that fits for you.

The Cost of Change

Any type of move or change in life usually has a financial cost involved. For a career change, that cost may come in several forms. You may need to relocate and incur moving and relocation costs. Also, career changes may require pay cuts as some industries have different pay scales that other do. More training and education may also be required to get the job you want.

What Does the Prospective Industry Offer?

Before deciding on a new career, you must be certain about the future prospects of a new career. You would not want to consider employment as a copy writer with a newspaper when most news is being absorbed by customers online. Writing for online articles or blogs may be the direction you want to pursue. Know what the industry has to offer and be willing to make changes as needed.

Will Additional Education Be Required?

A new career may require additional education. As an example, someone employed in commercial real estate can find an interest in business. If this is the case, the degree they have may be transferable. For someone interested in something more specific like civil engineering, without an engineering degree, opportunities for employment are slimmer. A professional with a master’s degree in civil engineering has even more options for work and salary.

Career changes can be useful in revitalizing your life and your career. It is important to carefully consider the options and ramifications before actually initiating the change. Most people change careers several times in their life. It is important to make it count.

Informational credit to Ohio University, which offers a master’s degree in civil engineering. For more information, visit


****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Anita Ginsburg!!****

Anita G.About the author: Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about education, business and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

How to Find Your Alumni Mentor

15 07 2014

The word Mentor in magazine letters on a notice board

Seventy percent of jobs are found through networking, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Whether you’re searching for an internship or trying to land your first job, your network is your best resource for finding opportunities.

A great way to amp up your networking efforts? Take advantage of your alumni networks and enlist an alumni mentor. Alumni are an excellent resource during your job search because you already have a common interest established — you both graduated from the same school. And an alumni mentor can serve as a resource during your job search and a guide to your industry.

Here are some tips to kick off your search for your alumni mentor:

1. Search your university’s career website

Nearly every college or university has a career website that contains a database of employers and alumni. For example, colleges and universities such as American University, University of Michigan, and UCLA have alumni mentoring programs within their career websites that connect college students and job seekers with alumni.

You can search your school’s career site based on career interests and industries. This can lead you to connections with alumni working in similar fields as you.

2. Use LinkedIn to your advantage

LinkedIn is another awesome resource for finding an alumni mentor. Most universities have an alumni group established for students. In addition, you can probably find specific alumni groups depending on your major, industry, or geographical area.

For example, if you’re a graduate of your marketing program, look for alumni groups within this department on LinkedIn. Chances are you’ll find a LinkedIn group specifically for marketing alumni of your college or professional organizations related to your major.

3. Send networking emails

After you’ve done some research and located a few professionals you’d like to contact about mentorship, it’s time to send some emails.

When writing networking emails, be genuine, concise, and considerate with your message. Remember, some of these individuals are very busy, so you want to write an email that gets read.

In your email, explain how you’re an alum of the same school with a degree in a similar career path. After you establish the connection, explain that you’d like to ask a few questions about their experience.

4. Schedule a meeting

During your conversations with alumni, make sure to request to meet in-person or chat over the phone. This is your opportunity to pick the alum’s brain and establish a genuine connection.

Once you’re ready to chat with an alum of your program, here are some good questions to ask:

  • What do you like/dislike about your job and why?
  • How did you decide this was the right field for you?
  • How did you get noticed by employers during your entry-level job search?
  • What are some related jobs I should research?

Finding an alumni mentor is one of the best things you can do for your career. Not only is this person a great resource for advice and tips, but they can also be easily located. Hopefully these tips will help you find you an alumni who can take your career to the next level.

Do you have an alumni mentor? How did you develop the relationship?

val-mattaAbout the author: Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift onLinkedIn.


10 Ways to Use Social Media to Land Your Dream Job

4 07 2014

Social Media ComicSocial media is one of the most life-changing developments of the 21st century. It has impacted almost every aspect of our lives, including the way we connect, socialize, entertain, seek knowledge, promote personal and corporate brands, and seek jobs. Gone are the days when our job search was limited to scouring “help wanted” ads in newspapers and other print media, visiting placement agencies and applying through job sites.

Today, companies have developed an ecosystem around social media, which is central to their corporate branding and marketing activities. Manpower requirements are also met through social networking, which is comparatively hassle-free and less time-consuming. For example, if a company is looking for an efficient marketing manager or vice president for its organizational growth, then it is more likely to contact people working at similar companies in its social network.

Hiring managers often review individual profiles on professional networks such as LinkedIn before actually initiating the process of organized headhunting. The time wasted in screening heaps of resumes is minimized to a great extent, and what they get are genuine leads for the open position.

To stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting your dream job through social media, you should follow these ten steps:

1. Keep your personal and professional accounts separate
Don’t make the common mistake of having one social networking account for both your job-hunting and socializing with family and friends. Keep a separate public account to network with potential employers and keep your personal account private, shared only with the close friends. Prospective employers are likely to snoop into your Facebook profile, and if it is not maintained professionally, it can work against you.

2. Shout out loud if you are looking for job
If you’re looking for a job, you should inform your friends and followers through your status updates on Facebook and Twitter. So, in case a friend of yours gets the inside scoop of a new opening in his company, he can in turn inform you before it goes public. Similarly, you can also change your LinkedIn profile headline to signal that you’re looking for a change. It will instantly inform your connections that you’re searching for a suitable opening.

3. Create an impressive LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is the biggest global social network for professionals and it has the biggest database of companies, organizations and individuals. So, it’s important to create a professional LinkedIn profile to network with people in your target industry. Your LinkedIn profile is highly visible on search engines such as Google, which is a major advantage.

4. Use advanced features on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has many advanced features that can be used to make your profile highly visible globally. For example, you can add work samples, images of certifications, professional videos, recommendations and many other things. Apart from that, you can also benefit from LinkedIn job groups and the “Jobs” column. Get involved in different groups according to your interests and work profile, and share your knowledge with others for personal branding. Share your blogs in different LinkedIn groups, which will establish yourself as an authority in your field and could also attract hiring managers.

5. Make use of Twitter search
Twitter has many advanced features and powerful search capabilities. You can use hashtags to find people with similar interests. This way, you can multiply your social network beyond national boundaries.

6. Link to your social profiles on your resume
You can use the hyperlinks of your LinkedIn, Twitter and “” profile on your resume just below your name. It will not only make your resume look professional and social media-friendly, but will also help prospective hiring managers to know more about you, especially about your accomplishments and skills, which you can’t always mention in the limited space of your resume.

7. Stay informed
Keep yourself updated with the latest industry news and insights through social platforms and discussions; this will help significantly during interviews. For example, LinkedIn discussions are a great way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening around the globe in your industry.

8. Promote yourself through
This site will help you promote yourself through your professional profiles, blogs, videos, links, bios and maps.

9. Download job search apps on your smart phone
Apps like CareerBuilder, Monster and Indeed will deliver job openings directly to your smart phone, so that you can be among the first to respond.

10. Seek jobs through networks such as TweetMyJobs
Take advantage of prominent mobile and social job distribution networks such as TweetMyJobs to speed up your job search.

****For this guest post, Campus to Career thanks Aditya Singhal!!****

About the author: Aditya Singhal is the co-founder of, which is a leading online tutoring resource for college students. Adi and his team are currently creating a courseware platform for MBA students. They are also launching later this year an eBay style marketplace for assignments. Adi gives back to society by contributing a portion of the company’s revenue toward the education of poor students in India.

Big Advice from a Tiny Tot

24 06 2014

olivia many facesMy wife and I recently became parents for the first time and boy, have we already learned a lot from tiny baby Baumann!  Someone once said that “normal is just a setting on the washing machine” and as new parents, we’re realizing how true that really is.  Life will never be the same. As we adjust to the “new normal,” I’ve learned a few lessons from our very wise (and very beautiful) baby girl.  It’s good advice across the board, not just for those seeking career insights.

What career advice can we learn from babies?

Get enough sleep.  Sleep is important – both for the baby and for the parent. Get it when you can. A well-rested baby is a happy baby. A well-rested parent is less likely to resemble the walking dead…which means you’ll be happy too. Most adults don’t actually get enough sleep and their productivity, relationships and overall happiness suffers. Now, there are trade-offs – you’ll need to make some sacrifices, but in the long run, they’re totally worth it. (TIP: 20-30 minute power naps can save your life. I’m still getting the hang of this concept.)

Smile, even if it is just gas. Nobody likes a grumpy Gus. A fussy baby can make you want tear your hair out and scream. Attitudes are contagious. On the other side, a smiling baby can make your entire day, week, month or even year. Smile – it does matter. Even if that smile isn’t 100% natural, a little effort goes a long way. Smile when you’re talking on the phone. Smile when you see someone in the hallway, in the elevator, etc. Smile and spread your happiness. (Editor’s note: Our baby girl’s favorite song? Happy by Pharrell. Coincidence? I think not.)

Cry for help. Babies are pretty dang good at this. They’re completely helpless, yet they have many ways of telling you what they need: a diaper change, food, or a good burping. They have distinct cries (or asks), whimpers or squeals to let you know how to respond. It’s a guessing game at first, but in the end, we learn how to identify their cues and respond appropriately. As a professional, when was the last time you asked for help? Do you ask for want you want?

Have a sense of wonder. Everything is new, bright and shiny. Babies see the world unbiased. I like to think that they see the good in everything. Babies don’t have preconceived notions about anything because they have no experience. For the most part, this is a good thing. As a professional, keeping a sense of wonder and a healthy curiosity about things will help you see the bigger picture. You won’t be held back by the “what-if’s” or “that won’t work because” thinking. As you tackle situations at the office, step back and act as if you’re seeing the issue from an unbiased, new perspective. You might surprise yourself!

PARENTS – what have YOU learned from your children? Please share! Leave a comment below. Thank you!

Now, off to the next diaper change…

5 Things They Don’t Teach You About Work in College

23 05 2014


Getting a first job is something that’s a milestone for every person. Whether you’re a college graduate or started working after high school, a first job is something that is nerve-wracking and unforgettable at the same time. Not only that, this is your first experience into a world that’s totally different from school. Your assignments and exams will be replaced with tasks and deadlines, bosses are the counterparts of your school teachers, and your peers will be equivalent to people of different ages and work status. It’s a change of scenery from the campus scene that you’ve gotten used to over the past years.

High grades and great student performance are equally important. But then, school doesn’t teach you everything you need to know about life after graduation. Here are 5 examples of things they didn’t teach you in college about “the real world”.

1. How to handle your salary

That feeling when you get your first paycheck can surely give you an adrenaline rush. It’ll make you want to buy all the things you can get. But before you go haywire on buying a new pair of heels or that snazzy gadget, think twice. Your salary is only enough to keep you covered for your basic living expenses, like food, rent, and transportation allowance. In short, you have to stretch your budget to make it last until the next payday.

It’s not like you can call up mom or dad anytime and ask for an allowance. The key here is not to go broke. Responsibility in learning to handle your money can help you. Save up, take another job if you can, and be creative with your budgeting skills. Experience in handling your own money can teach you just that.

2. Dealing with people and office politics

In school, you might have encountered these groups of people, like jocks, popular girls, and the strange kids. But in the office setting, these people will be replaced with the following: bosses, supervisors, and subordinates who have more work experience than you do. Years of working in a company can surely give other co-workers that air of superiority that can either be arrogant or inspiring.

In the office setting, you deal with people who may be younger or older than you. This kind of set up can pave way for office politics. Here’s some advice for you, fresh graduate: work wisely and don’t play dirty. Don’t do things that you know isn’t right just because you want to fit in with the office culture.

And if you’re worried about friends, accept the fact that not all of your office mates will be your friends. It’s a valuable lesson in learning to adapt without compromising your values.

3. Learning how to listen intently

If your student habit was pretending to listen to the teacher’s discussion, this won’t work anymore in a company setting. As an employee, you have to listen intently on what you’re being told to do. Nothing’s worse than working with an employee who doesn’t know how to listen and obey. You’ll have to do a lot of listening, from meetings to your boss’ task for you. Listen with your mind, and don’t just hear it.

4. Gaining new skills at work

Not everything will be taught to you by the book. You’ll pick up a few soft skills along the way without knowing it. Be aware of your weaknesses, and turn these into your strengths and skills.

5. Juggling work-life balance

It’s hard to balance work with your life outside of it. Don’t be a workaholic, but don’t slack off either. Have time to work hard and still enjoy life.

These five things are something to expect once you start working. Enjoy working, learn from it, and live well.

****For this great guest post, Campus to Career thanks Eliza Sullin!****

Author bio: Eliza Sullin is a college student and freelance writer for best essay au service. Working as a student taught her how to be responsible for her life and work.

Is an Apprenticeship the Stepping Stone to Your Dream Career?

13 05 2014

apprenticeshipFor many school and university leavers, an apprenticeship offers the perfect cocktail of education and experience. In fact, more and more students are opting to train on the job rather than pursue higher education to search of better job prospects, but is an apprenticeship the stepping stone to your dream career?

We take a closer look at the apprenticeship providing an essential guide to its pros and cons, applying for an apprenticeship that is right for you and what the future holds for former apprentices.

The pros and cons of an apprenticeship

The debate surrounding apprenticeship versus degree is likely to rage on for years to come, but due to the economic downturn and the rise in youth unemployment, many students are opting for an apprenticeship to achieve experience, education and a regular wage.

The benefits of an apprenticeship include:

  • Earning while you learn – whilst university students may struggle to hold down a part-time job and study, an apprenticeship allows you to get the best of both worlds
  • Gain experience – as well as combining on-the-job and classroom learning, apprentices work up to 30 hours a week, gaining the essential experience they need to help their CV stand out from the rest
  • Study without the burden of debt – Unlike university education, an apprenticeship offers a debt-free educational route. As companies receive grants to run an apprenticeship program, training is free
  • A practical approach to learning – many students favour more practical modes of study, and whilst there will be some classroom learning, the opportunity to put these skills into practice complements this particular learning style
  • Real job prospects – the education and experience gained via an apprenticeship opens the doors to a host of job opportunities.

Whilst the benefits of completing an apprenticeship are for all to see, many feel missing out on the university experience is the biggest compromise. In addition to this, competition to gain a place on your chosen apprenticeship program will be very high. The world of work can also be particularly daunting to school and university leavers and taking on an apprenticeship will mean you have to grow up fast to succeed.

Applying for an apprenticeship

Submitting an apprenticeship application has never been easier, there are various government backed organisations that help school and university leavers gain access to apprenticeship vacancies across the country. Alternatively, you can approach companies and apply to their apprenticeship program direct.

Competition for apprenticeship places is high so ensuring your application goes above and beyond will help you stay head and shoulders above your fellow applicants. Follow these simple dos and don’ts when completing your application…

  • Complete your application using as much detail as possible but remember to opt for quality, not quantity
  • As well as listing academic achievements give your prospective employer an insight into your personality on paper
  • Never create one generic application, copying and pasting may be easy but each application must be crafted to each individual vacancy
  • Check and double check your spelling and grammar to ensure you demonstrate great written communication and attention to detail
  • Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd, apprenticeship vacancies attract hundreds of applications so leave no stone unturned in your quest to be the best!

Life after an apprenticeship

According to a recent survey, around 85% of former apprentices find employment, a third of which receive a promotion within the first year! Whilst life after university has changed significantly in recent years, with a degree being no guarantee to a job, an apprenticeship provides a solid background for a long-term career.

****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Brittany Thorley!!****


About the author: Brittany Thorley is from Getting-In, an educational resource that provides the guidance students of all ages need to thrive during their time at high school, college and beyond in their career.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,466 other followers

%d bloggers like this: