And the Hits Keep On Comin’…

10 02 2016


February 10, 2016. This date might not have much significance to you, but it has great meaning to me. You see, today is my official blogging anniversary. Six years ago, I decided to take a hobby and shape into what you know as Campus to Career. I was sitting in the airport, bound for Singapore to participate in Enactus World Cup (then known as SIFE), an event that brought together real-life world-changers from over 40 countries. I figured it was time to get serious about this or give up altogether. I’m glad I got serious.

I’ve been fortunate to share my point of view on career advice, collaborate with some of the best in the business, and help young people succeed in their careers all over the world. Campus to Career has made several “top career advice” lists and we’ve been humbled by each and every one.

But, here’s the thing: NONE of this would have happened without YOUR support. Seriously. YOU make this little career advice blog such an incredible source of information. There are some particular individuals I’d like to call out with a personal thank you. They are:

Family – Mom, dad, siblings, cousins, my amazing wife…THANK YOU. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without your support, influence and swift kick in the butt from time to time!

Friends – I’m happy to say that there are simply too many to name here, but again, THANK YOU. Your support has meant the world to me.

Teachers – From my kindergarten teacher to my speech & debate coach to a few very special college professors…thanks for helping me find my way.

Mentors – Can I just say all of the above? Whether they’ve been official mentors or unofficial, they’ve been instrumental in my success, guiding me, listening, and offering perspective – in my career and in life.

Peers – Thank you for leading by example. There are millions of career advice experts, bloggers and “gurus” out there. I’ve been very fortunate to connect with many of you over the years and not only is Campus to Career stronger and better because of it, I’m a better person thanks to your openness and support to help make this world a better place. Many of the “hits” mentioned in the title of this post are because we collaborated to provide unique content to Campus to Career readers! (Thank you.)

Hits like these:

Here’s to 6 awesome years of partnership. I’m looking forward to many more!

COMING SOON: A new Campus to Career website design! We’re looking for volunteers to help us design a new logo. Interested? Email your pitch and sample to If selected, we’ll credit you for the work when the new site launches!

Career Advice from a Groundhog

2 02 2016

Each year, Americans celebrate Groundhog Day on February 2.  That’s right.  For the past 129 years, we’ve had a day celebrating a rodent.  Punxsutawney Phil is a legend.  He has his own website and Twitter feed.  They even made a movie about it starring Bill Murray alongside the furry fella.  Every February 2, people from all over the country wait to see if he sees his shadow.  You see, Phil is something of a amateur weatherman…some may even call him a prophet.  If he sees his shadow, legend has it that there will be six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t see his shadow, we’ll have an early spring.  As fun as it sounds, we all know that the first day of spring is March 20 or 21 depending on the year and it’s almost EXACTLY six weeks from February 2.  Shh…don’t tell Phil.

The reason I started this article with the Groundhog Day history is that February 2 is also National Job Shadowing Day.  Championed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and many other organizations, National Job Shadowing Day provides job seekers and youth a unique look into different industries and careers within those industries.  It’s a great way to learn from others in the role, gain perspective from their experience, and get a true feel for that particular job, company and industry without the pressures of an actual interview.

Please note: While it’s not an actual interview, I would highly recommend you being just as professional as if it were!  You never know where this experience could take you.

In the job search, shadowing can be very beneficial.  Even if you’re gainfully employed, it’s a great way to learn more about what makes the company work.  I’d like to cover both sides: Job seekers and employers.  Below are two key points for each.  It’s not an all-inclusive list, so if you have other suggestions, please include them in the comment section.

Job Seekers

Spend “A Day In the Life”. Job shadowing is a perfect way to spend a day in the life of someone, learning from their experiences and truly stepping into their shoes.  Ask someone in a position you’re interested in to spend a day or half-day with them.  If they consent to the full day, ask for the experience to be as authentic as possible.  If that means your day begins at 4:00AM in a distribution center, then go with it.  It’s really the best way to get a feel for the opportunity while not actually working for that company or officially interviewing.

Make the connection. Get the person’s contact information and ask if you can stay in touch with them throughout your job search and beyond.  Don’t just view job shadowing as a one-way street.  Believe it or not, the person you’re shadowing is probably learning just as much as you are!  Offer your perspective and insight on processes and business practices.  Ask a lot of thought-out questions.  Do your research, though.  Don’t ask questions like “what does your company do”.  Instead, ask questions like “how do you market a certain product” or “what do you like most/least about your job”.  People love to talk about themselves!  Asking the right questions will help you gain insightful perspective into the industry, company and position.


Prepare & Participate. I would highly encourage businesses large and small to participate in the job shadow opportunities available.  It’s a great way to showcase your company, your knowledge, and your culture.  But don’t just jump in without a little preparation.  I’m not saying that you should create a canned speech about Company XYZ, but it’s good to have some consistency across the board.  Have a plan.   During the job shadowing, walk the person through the industry, your company, and your job specifically.  Give them the real “play by play”, but don’t bog everyone down with the mundane details.  We don’t need a minute-by-minute breakdown of what you do, but rather need a high-level overview.  Think of the opportunity as a one day internship.

Educate, Inform, and Involve. This goes hand in hand with the previous point of prepare and participate.  Job shadowing should be about three things: Education, Information, and Involvement.  Keep the experience interactive, providing a good education about the opportunity, information about your company and the culture, and involve the person job shadowing in the process.  This isn’t a lecture – it’s a conversation.  Have questions of your own.  Know what you want to achieve.  Is it about Branding?  Networking or mentorship?  Recruiting?  Know what you want to get from the process and be prepared to give at least just as much.

Now, I know you’re thinking, “Kirk, Groundhog Day falls on a Saturday this year.”  National Job Shadow Day shouldn’t be the only day you participate.  It’s a year round activity!  Get on the phone, reach out via email, Skype, etc. and ask if you can spend some time with a local employer for a job shadowing opportunity.  If you can’t get in on February 2, consider the entire month of February as Job Shadowing Month.  The key is actually reaching out and asking.  Many companies don’t have a formal job shadowing program, but  if you ask, they may be willing to accommodate you in some capacity.

My last thought before leaving you to the rest of your week:  Don’t let conformity stop you.  Just because this hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  Just ask.  The worst answer you’ll get is “no”.  If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.  Also, don’t let this begin and end in February.  Job shadowing is relevant every day of the year!

Don’t be like Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day. When the alarm goes off, get up, get ready and get after it!

What are your thoughts?  Have you tried job shadowing before?  Employers: do you have something set up to address the opportunity for job seekers and current employees?  Please let me know!  Leave a comment below.

As always, thanks for reading.  And as I would imagine Punxsutawney Phil would say, “BE the shadow!”

This post was originally written in 2011, but it’s still relevant. I’ve taken the liberty to dust it off, update it, and share with you again this year.  Happy Groundhog Day!

Resume Wars: Dark Side or Light?

12 01 2016

By now, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the new Star Wars movie. If you haven’t, don’t worry – this post doesn’t contain spoilers. I came across this unique article on the subject and wanted to share it with you. Have you ever thought about what Lord Vader’s resume would look like? Well, search no more! Check out this fun post from our friends over at EnhanceCV. Enjoy!


In a galaxy far, far away, resumes were drastically changing over time.

From a simple, blank piece of paper filled with your experiences, to a beautifully designed, fancy hologram, describing you not only as an employee but as an individual, as well.

In the light of the upcoming Star Wars movies, our team decided to create Anakin Skywalker’s resume before turning to the dark side, and after becoming Darth Vader. See how our format works, and how it shows more than just your work experience, disregarding whether you’re a Jedi or a Sith!


Before turning to the dark side, Anakin Skywalker was an exemplary Jedi. He studied at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, and after graduation, crafted his own light from three crystals on the planet Ilum. After becoming a full-fledged Jedi, his career seemed bright – having won numerous battles, stopping the invasion of Naboo, and becoming the Counsellor’s personal representative. Everything changed, however, once he started having visions his wife’s failed childbirth, leading him to rebel against the Jedi and eventually turning into Darth Vader.

Download Anakin Skywalker Resume

Vader was the opposite of everything Anakin Skywalker represented. He’d committed countless atrocities, from murdering most of the Jedi, to blowing up an entire planet.

At the end of the series, however, Darth Vader did end up finding redemption: saving his son’s life, and bringing down the emperor – thus finally fulfilling his destiny.


Download Darth Vader Resume

For more action-packed resumes, check Enhance CV’s Facebook page here.

Icons by:
Stephen Plaster / Luis Prado / Alex Auda Samora / Christelle Mozzati / Yorlmar Campos / Anthony Rees / Wayne Tyler Sall / Becca / Hayashi Fumihiro / Chris Kerr / Juan Pablo Bravo

****We thank Nick Greene for this post from a galaxy far, far away!!****

Read the original post here. 

12 Top Career & Leadership Experts to Follow in 2016

7 01 2016

c2c 2016Happy New Year!  For me, 2015 got off to a rocky start, but all in all, it was a good year.  Want to make 2016 an awesome year?  Twitter and LinkedIn are amazing resources for personal and professional development.  As a job seeker or someone who simply wants to improve themselves, the right influencers provide excellent advice, insight, best practices, inspiration and motivation to help you achieve your goals. This started out as a top ten list, but I couldn’t leave it at just ten resources.

So, I present to you:

Campus to Career’s 12 Top Career & Leadership Experts to Follow in 2016 (in alpha order):

Brittany Hodak (@BrittanyHodak) Brittany and I go way back…all the way to our humble beginnings in SmallTown, Oklahoma. Okay, that isn’t actually the name of the town (it’s Roland) but you get my point. Brittany is one of the most driven, passionate and gutsy people I know and her career success is a true reflection of her tenacity. She’s the Co-Founder of ZinePak,  blogs for Forbes, has been named to Ad Age’s 40 Under 40 list, and she even swims with sharks.

Doug Conant (@dougconant) You might recognize the name. Doug has been one of my unofficial mentors throughout my career. He’s is one of the most inspirational business professionals I’ve ever met. Oh, and he’s also the former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, leading with head, heart and hands. Read his book, TouchPoints.  I guarantee that you’ll find some excellent tips on how to be a better leader. Doug writes for LinkedIn as an Influencer regularly. Check out his posts here. He wrote a fantastic post recently on his site regarding 2016 Leadership Resolutions. Highly recommended.

Ed Han (@ed_han) Ed shares great content to help you succeed in your career. Personally, I enjoy his LinkedIn #tipoftheday. Ed contributes to, considers himself a job seeker ally and provides good value to your Twitter stream.

Hannah Morgan (@careersherpa) She’s the guide for lifetime career navigation.  I love how Hannah shares so much of her own content, while complementing it with great articles and nuggets from other experts.  It’s the humble gesture that counts!

Jacob Share (@jacobshare) Jacob is a job search expert, professional blogger, creative thinker, and community builder with a sense of humor. He likes to help people. I like that. One of the ways he does that is by compiling incredible one-stop lists like the Top Job Search Articles of 2015 and 1500 Hot Twitter Job Search Feeds. Check ’em out.

Jeff Haden (@jeff_haden)  This guy is awesome.  As a LinkedIn Influencer, he’s providing some amazing advice in ways that we can relate to everyday life.  His posts are fun and very meaningful.  Check him out here.

Meghan Biro (@MeghanMBiro) She’s Founder & CEO of @TalentCulture, Host of #TChat (Wednesdays  7-8pm ET) and a regular contributor to Forbes.  Meghan is always sharing great information and like many on this list, she keeps social media social.  Follow her and tweet hello!

Rich Grant (@RichCareer) Rich is co-host of #CareerServChat, the popular Twitter forum for Career Services professionals.  He has some great articles on his blog and pays it forward, sharing useful content from other experts.

Sarah Landrum (@SarahLandrum) If the name sounds familiar, it may be because Sarah is a featured writer here at Campus to Career. Her articles are fantastic and bring a unique perspective to our readers. Adding her to our small team was one of the best things we did in 2015! Check out Sarah’s 6 Tips on Getting More From LinkedIn. She’s also the Founder of Punched Clocks. You can learn more about Sarah in this fun interview.

Steve Browne (@sbrownehr) Steve is a self-professed HR radical putting the human touch back into Human Resources. This guy GETS IT. Not only is he super-social (go ahead, tweet him), he’s one of the most inclusive, thoughtful people I’ve ever interacted with in my career. He also blogs at Everyday People, managing to find the extraordinary in everyone.

Steve Levy (@levyrecruits) He keeps it real, holding nothing back.  He’s a regular contributor to chats like #InternPro and #jobhuntchat.  Follow him for some of the best, frank career advice you’ve ever received.

YouTern (@YouTern)  Check out the blog, The Savvy Intern, for TONS of great articles to help you succeed.  YouTern and Campus to Career have partnered to bring you the best of both worlds. Look for more good stuff in 2016. BONUS: Follow Mark Babbitt and Dave Ellis.

Me (@kbaumann) (I know…seems selfish…we’ll call it “enlightened self-interest). I’d be honored if you followed me and liked Campus to Career on Facebook.  Research has proven that it’s silly to expect results if you don’t make the request.  So, I’m asking!  Let’s make 2016 awesome together.

There it is, folks.  Campus to Career’s 12 Top Career & Leadership Experts to Follow in 2016.  Well, technically…13. :) When you follow them, take a look at who they follow and interact with.  This list wasn’t a top 100 for a reason.  You know who you want to follow and each person has unique needs and preferences.  Each person on this list is full of knowledge, shares that knowledge with the world and has a mission of helping others succeed.  That’s what we’re all about here at Campus to Career.

That being said….if you could add TWO people to the list, who would it be??  Please leave your recommendations (along with their Twitter username) in the comments below!  As always, thanks for reading.  Best wishes in 2016!

Like posts like this?  Click the “subscribe” button at the top right of your screen to get at least 51 more posts like this throughout the year.  They’re delivered directly to your inbox!

How To Get The Skills You’ll Need After Graduation

5 01 2016


Photo by Alex Jones

College is supposed to prepare you for the real world, so you can find a job and contribute to society. But that’s a big responsibility to expect universities to do on their own. While a 2015 report by Hart Research Associates found that 64 percent of employers feel colleges could improve graduates chances of career success, by helping them learn both field-specific and broad skills, it’s important for students to also find ways to develop these skills.

Communication skills, being able to manage and complete a long-term project, and experience working with a team, are some of the big skill sets graduates seem to be missing. It might seem impossible, but you can gain these experiences while balancing a full course load.

Many people would say that internships are the only way to go. But there are other options. Here are three skills you’ll need after graduation and how you can master them before entering the job market:

Communication skills

Written and verbal communication skills are important in both the classroom and the office. You’d think that what you learn about writing reports or giving presentations in college would, therefore, translate to your career — but it doesn’t.

The way scholars communicate is very different from how professionals do. Taking classes that focus solely on written and verbal communication gives you the chance to study and learn the differences. These types of courses have you read and listen to examples of communications and analyze what makes them effective in various settings.

Learning about all the different ways to express yourself will give you a diverse toolbox to pull from once you have a job. It’ll help you communicate appropriately with clients and coworkers, and allow you to produce quality project reports and presentations.

Experience working on long-term projects

A 2015 survey from Gallup found that graduates that had taken part in a project that lasted for more than a semester were 1.8 times more engaged in the workplace, something employers value highly.

Unfortunately, unless you complete an honors thesis, most projects you do in college only take a week to a month. Then you turn it in, get a grade, and move on. In the workplace, projects are multifaceted and ongoing, constantly undergoing changes at every stage. They require different organizational and management skills.

If your classes don’t offer you the chance to work on a long-term project, try joining a club. Whether it’s fundraising events, performances, or other types of enterprises, clubs balance multiple long-term projects at one time, just like companies do.

Research the different types of clubs your university has and what they do. Then get involved. Whether you jump in on an event that’s already being organized or you start planning a fundraiser from the beginning, juggling all the tasks involved will give you the experience employers are looking for.

Ability to work with a team

If you need to gain professional experience working with a team, try starting a business with a group of friends. Work together to find ways to get your business going, manage the finances, and solve problems along the way. This will teach you how to brainstorm with others and resolve disputes that may arise.

Keep the idea small, so it doesn’t interfere with your coursework. And remember that this is a project, not your life’s work. Come up with a start and end date for the business, so that possible employers realize your business was about gaining experience, not an endeavor that failed.

What other skills will you need after graduation and how can you get them?

****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Val Matta!!****

Val Matta

About 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 on LinkedIn.

Positive Attitude Decoded – 4 Keys to Fit in at Work

1 12 2015


Guest post by Zaheen Nanji

My first day on the job I noticed all my co-workers were male! Being in the field of public health inspections, I didn’t know what to expect in an office environment or even relating to operators in the field. It was nerve-wrecking.

I started doubting my capability and yet another part of me wanted to be accepted. My self-talk was going in two different directions – one of doubt and one of ‘I know it all’, but I took up neither. Instead, I became curious and I started fitting right in, and my colleagues commented on my positive attitude.

You’ve heard people say, “Have a positive attitude,” but what does that mean? When I researched resiliency for my book, I found that psychologists define attitude as a learned tendency to evaluate things a certain way. When resilient individuals approach a difficult situation, they have a tendency of being curious and optimistic, thereby diminishing fear.

Think of a leader or even a colleague whom you admire and notice how she interacts with you or with others. You’ll notice the following, and the easiest way to remember this is LIMP:

  1. Listen: She’s listening for words that indicate the person’s communication style and then communicates back using that style. Human beings receive and communicate information in four main styles, but one style is the preferred style:
    1. Visual: You learn by watching or having images. You think in pictures and like to see your way clearly so you have a long-term vision, but you tend to skip details and are impatient.
    2. Auditory: You learn by listening or talking it out. You brainstorm ideas and are detailed when explaining a project, but you get upset when interrupted.
    3. Kinesthetic: You learn by doing and feeling. You connect well with others and make decisions based on how you feel. You like keeping a balance, but you dislike too many choices.
    4. Digital: You learn by having facts and figures. You solve problems and prioritize well, but you can also be stubborn.
  2. Intention: She is listening for the person’s underlying reason. What is the other’s person intention or their underlying aim, rather than what they are saying? When you are in conflict with a client or co-worker, ask yourself, “What is he/she trying to gain out of this behaviour that is positive?” Most often when a discussion turns into an argument, the underlying aim of the person yelling is that she feels unheard, or she feels she’s lost control and wants to gain it back.
  3. Match and mirror: She subconsciously picks up the opposite person’s body language, tone of voice, and information style, and mirrors that. How one gestures, his or her body posture, and facial expressions can either build or break rapport. Recall the last time you had a live conversation with your best friend. When creating rapport, match body postures and gestures, breathing rates and voice tonality and speed.
  4. Perspective: She behaves respectfully and shows genuine interest in what’s important to the other person. To really understand the other person’s perspective, you have to figuratively step into their shoes. In short, it’s about understanding the other person rather than the other person understanding YOU.

Having a positive attitude is not just about being curious, but it’s also about leveraging your relationship skills and creating rapport that works in both directions, where you may have differing opinions, but those opinions are respected and working relationships are improved.

DSC_9199-1Edit(1)flatZaheen Nanji is a resilience champion and a business owner in Alberta, Canada.  Embracing change and fear is Zaheen’s trademark because she overcame her speech impediment, her struggles with weight and learned to live in a new country, at the age of 15, without her parents. Her book, The Resilience Reflex – 8 Keys to Transforming Barriers into Success in Life and Business, became an International Best-Seller on Amazon Kindle. Zaheen teaches people how to make resilience their first reflex using her 3-step system: Release, Re-program and Resolve. She can be reached at

The ONE Thing That Will Set You Apart

24 11 2015


What happens when you have a really bad customer service experience? You talk about it, right? You might even blog, tweet, or review the company/individual on Yelp or TripAdvisor. That experience sticks with you for a lifetime. But what about when you have a really good experience? Do you share that with the world? Some do (most don’t.)

Where the heck am I going with this and how does it relate to your job or job search?? I’ll tell you.

It all comes down to Customer Service.

Wait a minute! I bet you’re thinking something like, “I’m not in Retail or Sales. I don’t have customers.” WRONG. We all have customers! Think about it: our customers are those we serve and interact with. Outside of what you’d consider an actual “customer,” I’ll argue that customers include family, friends, coworkers and yes, even hiring managers and recruiters!

One of my unofficial mentors, Doug Conant, shared a powerful phrase in his book, TouchPoints. Are you ready for this life-changing phrase? Here goes…

“How can I help?”

That’s it. It’s simple, yet so very effective. I’ll break it down a little further. On the job or in your job search, here are three ways to excel in customer service:

Know the customer. While some people know EXACTLY what is wrong and what they’re looking for, most don’t really know. They want YOU to figure it out. How do you do this? LISTEN. Understand the customer’s challenges and needs so that you can recommend the best solution available to them. Do you know who you’re working with well enough to recommend the ideal solution? It all comes down to listening!

Be a solution seeker. When someone comes to you with an issue (which is most of customer service), how will you respond? Will you say “I don’t know” or will you do whatever you can to help the customer? Take the phrase from “I don’t know” to “I don’t know, but I’ll find an answer for you.” Their problem is your problem. Own it and help find a solution. In your career, are you seeking solutions together or pushing the problems off on someone else?

Make it easy. That’s pretty vague, but here’s what I’m getting at: figure out how you can help make their lives easier. Whether it’s eliminating a step in the process or just being the sunshine in their day when they bring a valid complaint to your desk (i.e.: don’t be the grouch in Customer Service – it doesn’t help anyone), find a way to help the customer. As a job seeker, how can you help make it easier for the recruiter or hiring manager? What challenges can your skills help solve for the company?

While it may not be easy to find the good stuff on the internet, stellar customer service is remembered. It makes a positive impression and that can help earn you a customer for life. And, it could set you apart from the competition, helping you land that job or promotion you’re shooting for!


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