10 Ways Top Candidates Set Themselves Apart

10 01 2017

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Let’s face it, if you were hired for a job based on your resume alone, there would be no need to interview. But because no one is hired solely as a result of their work experience and/or accomplishments, interviews are a necessary evil. The face-to-face meeting does, however, offer an opportunity to go beyond the resume and set yourself apart from other equally qualified candidates.

So, how do you leverage the interview to rise above the rest? It all comes down to communication. A recent study declared verbal communication the top skill employers value in recent college grads. Being well-spoken is the best way for candidates at every level, in every industry, to gain an edge over their competition.

Here are a few more specifics:

Make your excitement about the opportunity obvious

Companies want to hire people who are eager to work for them, so express enthusiasm while you’re answering interview questions. Oddly enough, candidates don’t always realize that they aren’t fully expressing their interest. More often than we want to admit, recruiters get the following feedback from clients, “I like this candidate but s/he didn’t really seem excited about the position.”  Ouch, that stings and is definitely hard to recover from. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Wouldn’t you pick the candidate who showed more interest and excitement about the opportunity, assuming all the skills were there?

Don’t make the interviewer dig for answers

Solid candidates recognize what the interviewer is trying to uncover based on the line of questioning and respond accordingly. This means they don’t just say, “oh I have great organizational skills,” but they actually offer unprompted examples of how they organize their priorities and how their organizational skills positively impacted the outcome of a certain project.

Leave the generic responses at home

Great candidates usually have a unique point of view and thoughtful answers to questions asked. Don’t be afraid to gather your thoughts in front of the interviewer before responding to a question, rather than rushing to give the generic answer that the interviewer has probably heard a hundred times.

Convey flexibility

It’s wonderful to be committed to a five-year plan or to have clear, professional goal in mind. But you don’t want to come across as rigid, especially since your specific goals may limit you from opportunities and or direction that only become apparent with a new position.

Command the convo regarding your previous experience

When responding to questions, you are either in control of the answer, or the answer is like a runaway train. Candidates with excellent communication skills talk about their past experience in precise terms with specificity. Prior to an interview, brush up on the details of your work history and the progression of your career so that you can talk about any aspect with ease, and use it to your advantage when needed.

Hear what Atrium Recruiters have to say about standing out in a job interview.

Quantify your value

If you have numbers to back up your experience, use them. Whether it’s dollars saved or earned for a company, time-saving efficiencies you introduced or other quantifiable successes, be sure to articulate them during the interview process. #humblebrag

Show that you can take initiative

Effectively communicate that you’re they type of employee who takes initiative. Even at the entry-level, companies hire individuals who will evolve into leaders. Convey this during the interview by providing an example of a project where you self-started or went above and beyond.

Talk about being growth-oriented, without talking about future positions

Great candidates are able to express a desire to grow within a position for their own betterment and to add to their own skill set, not necessarily to climb the ranks. 

Be genuine in your delivery and comfortable in your own skin

An interview can put people on edge and make them tense. Although easier said than done, be yourself. It’s critical that you come across as genuine and authentic in order to build rapport with the interviewer. If you do this well, the interviewer will come away with an idea of what it would be like to have you on his/her team.

Keep the conversation fluid

Make the interview enjoyable for the interviewer! Ask questions that engage the interviewer and facilitate back and forth dialogue.

****For this fantastic post, Campus to Career thanks our friends at Atrium Staffing!!****





5 College Activities to Build Skills for Your Career

20 12 2016

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Making the move from college to starting your career can be an exciting or stressful time for fresh graduates, depending on their preparation, chosen field, and a whole host of factors that are outside anyone’s control. In a market where some are saying a bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma in terms of the minimum requirement to get a job, smart college students are developing relevant skills to separate themselves from the pack.

Here are 5 activities you can do while in college that will help you develop valuable skills to boost your resume and improve your job prospects after graduation.

Join career path-related societies – If you have an idea of what you might like to do after you graduate, join a related society on campus. For example, if you want to be a paramedic, you could get involved with the campus emergency services while in college. Aside from learning and applying some of the real skills you may use later, you’ll also develop valuable contacts and networks that may serve you well later. There are societies or organizations in most universities covering the major areas of study, including law societies, engineering societies, and more.

Attend campus talks and networking events – Many talks will be organized by student societies or by the departments themselves, and they are great places to mingle with your peers, professors, and outsiders who attend. Get on the email lists of any department or society you are interested in to see what events are coming up.

Get involved in student government – This could be connected to the particular organization related to your area of study, or to student life at your college in general. Skills you can develop here include leadership, project and event management, and networking. If you have leadership or management aspirations, this is a good way to cut your teeth.

Check out local Meetups – Getting involved in activities off-campus is a great way to expand your network beyond your circle of peers and classmates. Sites like meetup.com hold meetups and networking events on everything under the sun. There are over 140,000 active groups worldwide, with the highest concentration of groups in the biggest cities. The main skill you’ll be developing at meetups is networking, though depending on the meetup you choose to go to, you could be learning and actively doing a wide variety of skills and activities.

Give back with community work – Giving back to the community looks great on a resume, and if you get involved with a cause that is important to you, it gives you something to talk passionately about in an interview. You can learn a wide variety of career skills, depending on the type of community work you choose, but will also develop valuable interpersonal skills like empathy and teamwork.

Editor’s note: Campus to Career recommends that you explore involvement with your local Enactus team. There are over 400 university campuses active in the Enactus United States network and 1,700+ worldwide.  Click here to learn more and find a team. 

The common theme in all of these is networking; if you find an area of interest or activity you are passionate about, the best thing you can do is get more involved and develop a related network. Success in the job hunt today is about a combination of who you know, what you know, and what kind of commitment you have to continued learning and development of new skills.

What other college activities have you found helpful in preparing you for your career? Share your ideas in the comments below!

****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Joel Curry!!****

About: Joel Curry is a Career Advisor and Resume Expert who writes for Resume Companion. He helps job seekers craft more compelling cover letters and resumes, and gives career advice to those pursuing leadership and management level positions.





5 Tips for Getting an Awesome Job at a Startup

6 12 2016

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So, you want to work for a startup? They can be exciting to work for, offer up tremendous learning opportunities, and really pay off if you’re working for the best ones.

But getting hired by the best can certainly be a challenge. This is partly because startups have bought into the old Steve Jobs “only hire A players” mentality. But they are also looking for a specific kind of talent.

I’ve both run and worked for startups for the last 10 years. I’ve hired for them and been hired. Here’s my advice for getting in the door.

1. Show them that you’ve got startup-like experience.

Having worked at a startup before will help you a lot in getting hired at a startup. But this of course can be a chicken and egg problem. If you don’t have startup experience, how do you get it?

First off, you don’t necessarily have to have worked at a startup. Look for any experiences you’ve had where expectations were high and supervision was low. Somewhere you got thrown in the deep end and had to sink or swim.

My most startup like-experience, before I actually worked at a startup, was at a restaurant. My first night working at a particular restaurant when I was young was supposed to be training.

But when one of the servers didn’t show, and the restaurant got packed, they asked me to just try waiting as many tables as I could. I had to figure it out as I went, make decisions in the absence of guidance, and do the best I could with what I had.

If you don’t have startup experience, see if you can tell them about a situation you were in that relates.

You can also show this in the way you apply. When I applied to work with Betterteam, part of my test for being hired was writing a long-form article. To make the article really stand out, I cold called and interviewed several influential people in our space, something no other candidate did.

2. Show a love for learning.

The only thing that doesn’t change at a startup is the constant changing. Your job won’t fit into the typical job description.

There’s a good chance that you’ll be doing something completely different on day 1, day 30 and day 90.

Successful startup founders know this, and they’ll be looking for people who can adapt, learn and grow with the startup. Of course, you don’t want to just tell them you’re willing to learn. Show them.

Do you study languages or play instruments in your spare time? Practice a martial art, or run a hobby website?

This is something I’ve seen among my colleagues that make it at startups – they all have multiple hobbies and skills that they’re at varying stages of developing.

3. Know where to look.

When startups post jobs, they don’t always do it on traditional job boards.

A lot of them like to use niche boards that are more likely to bring in the type of candidates they’re looking for. Here are a few you’ll want to check out.

  • Weworkremotely – as the name suggests, mostly focused on remote jobs.

  • AngelList – lots of startups post their jobs here, and many report having success with it.

  • Hacker News – lists jobs with Y Combinator startups.

  • Authentic Jobs – lists jobs for developers, designers and various other startup positions.

4. Know the tools.

When I hired at my startup, I always hated getting resumes sent to me as Word files. PDFs were a little better, but what really showed me that someone had the same sensibilities as our company was getting a Google Doc resume link sent.

I’m not saying you have to be in love with Google Docs, but it’s good to figure out what tools a startup uses, and show familiarity with them.

Other tools that are popular among startups include Slack, Basecamp, Calendly, Asana, Github, Skype and Google Hangouts.

I doubt anyone is going to pass on a great hire because they sent something as a Word doc, but using and knowing the same tools that they use is definitely a sign of cultural fit.

5. Be helpful.

Maybe you’re just not quite ready yet. You either don’t have experience that convinces someone you can function as a startup employee, or don’t have the right skills.

While you’re waiting, see if you can find a way to be helpful to the startups you’d most like to work for.

Automattic, the company responsible for WordPress.com, notes on their job page that if you’re looking to be one of their Happiness Engineers, you may have spent some time helping people out in their forums.

If you’re interested in working for a few particular startups, keep an eye on them with social media, and see if there are ways you can contribute outside the company before you come on, and get on their radar.

That’s what I’ve got! It’s a good time to be looking for startup jobs, skilled employees are hard to find in general, and the startup space is especially in need of great employees. Get out there and get that job!

****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Paul Peters!!****

pp1About: Paul Peters is content marketer and job ad writer with Betterteam. Before Betterteam he spent 6 years building an education startup, where he was was involved with many aspects of the business, including hiring and marketing. He lives in Whitefish, Montana.





4 Types of Bosses & How To Turn Them Into Your Biggest Allies

2 12 2016

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There are many types of bosses that you will run into when entering the working world. And each of them brings their own unique problems, but there are ways to turn said problems into advantages. Here are four types of bosses you might have in your life, and four ways to turn them into your diehard allies.

  1. The Hands-off Boss

For some it’s a dream, for others, it’s a nightmare, for most, it’s a mixture of both. The hands-off boss can be confusing but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage.

Enhance your communication skills

With a hands-off boss, you need to know when to ask for guidance and when to do something yourself. Learning this is key to developing your communication skills in the workplace, which is an invaluable asset to have. Knowing when to speak up and knowing when to shut up will keep you in your boss’s good books.

Show initiative

If your boss is the hands-off kind, it’s most likely that he or she wants you to come up with your own ideas and be interdependent. Show initiative in meetings, one on ones and in your day-to-day working life. You will gain a lot of skills which will only aid you as you move up the ladder.

 Become a leader

If you are on a team with a boss who keeps out of the projects, you can step into a leadership role that shows your boss you are capable of big things and help them with their job.

  1. The Micromanager

Just as some bosses like to leave you to do your job, others like to know every small detail which can be just as daunting.

Seek them out

If your boss likes to micromanage, the best way to turn them into an ally is to give them what they want. So, seek them out for advice and guidance and check to make sure they are happy before completing tasks.

Build trust

You can voice your opinion but the more you keep your distance and do as you are told the more you build trust.

  1. The BFF

The BFF doesn’t want to be your boss, they want to be your friend, and while this may sound great it can come with its own set of unique hassles but there are a few things that you can do to maintain a good relationship.

Follow their lead

If your boss wants to be your best friend, don’t shun them to avoid awkwardness as this will only enhance it. Instead, follow their lead and don’t overstep the bounds they have already put in place.

Gain a mentor

A boss that wants to be your friend will often go over and beyond to keep you happy, so use this to your advantage. Ask them to be your mentor to gain significant knowledge of your company as well as the business. Doing so will only benefit your relationship with them.

Climb the ladder

A lot of people don’t enjoy the blurred lines that accompany the best-friend-boss so if you are one of the few to embrace this you will be on the top of the list when it comes to promotions. This doesn’t mean “suck up”, just follow the above points and let it play out in your favor.

  1. The Perfectionist

You have checked your work ten times but your boss still isn’t happy because the font is not to their liking? The perfectionist boss can cause a lot of headaches, but here’s how you turn them into an ally.

Appeal to their nature

If your boss is a perfectionist, you need to appeal to their perfectionist tendencies. When completing a project, point out something that could be a little better and watch their face light up with glee.

Sharpen your skills

Perfectionists can be annoying, but one positive of having a boss that is a perfectionist is the fact that you will comb over every small detail in your work before sending it to your boss. Knowing that the smallest thing might cause your boss an insurmountable amount of pain will make you extra careful when completing your tasks, sharpening your skills and keeping your boss happy in the process.

Whether your boss is hands-off, a perfectionist, or a micromanager, there is always something you can do to make your working life a lot easier. Take note of the tips above and put them into practice when you meet your new boss. Good luck!

****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Kate Thora!!****

About: Kate Thora is a Senior Content Specialist for Uphours, an online resource with information about businesses worldwide. Her artistic soul manifests itself also in her love for singing and dancing, especially to traditional Indian music. Follow her on Twitter @katethora1





Your 8-Bit Pay Raise Navigation Guide

15 11 2016

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Plenty of new graduates are more than happy to take a lower salary than they might have wanted to get their first foot on the career ladder. Six months down the line, once they’ve proved themselves to be a valuable addition to the company, those same graduates usually aren’t quite as happy. You might think you need to switch jobs to get a salary that you rightly deserve, but there could be a more straightforward way to get a better salary: asking for a raise.

That might sound easier said than done: asking for a raise can be scary, while actually having to negotiate can be terrifying. This guide from our friends at Adzuna reminds us that negotiation is pretty much a game, and if you follow the rules of the game you should be entitled to a high score – and a bigger paycheck.

GAME ON or GAME OVER?

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7 Recruiter’s Tips for Landing Your Dream Job

13 11 2016

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In some ways, it’s a great time to be looking for work.

The labor market is really tight, and there are more unfilled positions in the U.S. than ever. But don’t be deceived. Part of the problem is that there is a skills gap. Employers aren’t filling a lot of their open roles because they can’t find the right people for them.

Here are some tips to help you understand things from the recruiter’s perspective and convince them you’ve got the skills.

  1. You’ve Got All of 6 Seconds

That’s about how long your resume gets with a recruiter. Your cover letter is a bit closer to 0. That doesn’t mean spend less time on your resume though. Recruiters are looking to see if you’ve held the right positions, for a long enough time, to confirm you have the necessary skills.

They’re also searching for signs of sloppiness, such as misspellings, typos, grammar issues.

  • Make your postions easy to scan. Bold them and put them in bullets.
  • Read and re-read your resume. Then ask at least two more people to do the same.

More solid advice on resumes and recruiters.

  1. Match Your Resume with LinkedIn

A big turnoff for a lot of recruiters is when there’s something on LinkedIn that wasn’t on your resume. It makes it look like you’re hiding something. Make sure these square up into a coherent picture of you.

  1. Get Your Interviewer’s Attention Early, and Study Up

As long as we’re talking about LinkedIn, it’s a great tool for connecting with an interviewer early on – just add them on the network. You can also use it to learn more about them, see what you have in common and look for shared connections.

  1. First Impressions Might be the Only Ones that Matter

According to at least one study, the decision to hire someone is made within the first 15 seconds of the interview, whether the interviewer knows it or not. Here’s a quick checklist that’ll help you make a solid impression.

  • Be early. The only way to make sure you’re not late for an interview is to plan on being early. Being late means you’ve made a bad first impression before they even had a chance to see you. Make it your goal to be 30 minutes early – if something goes wrong, you’ll still be ok.
  • Take a hike. Now that you’ve arrived early, throw on some headphones with music you enjoy and take a walk around the block for a few minutes. This will help calm your nerves for the interview.
  • Check yourself. Just before the interview, stop in a restroom and make sure your hair is fine, there’s nothing in your teeth, and your clothes are squared away.
  • Take a drink. Of water! Bring your own bottle of water to sip on if your throat gets dry. For whatever reason, this seems to be a problem during interviews.
  • Give a solid handshake. Don’t break any bones, but don’t give them the dead fish handshake either.
  1. How to Rock Your Job Interview

Ok, hopefully you’ve made a good impression at this point. Now you just need to bring the job interview home. A couple pieces of advice for making it great.

  • Be ready to talk about money. People that have done a lot of interviews, especially recruiters, will be comfortable asking you directly how much you’re expecting to get paid, and how much you made in your last job. Be honest and do your homework. Know what the market rate is for the position, and if you’re at the high end of the market, be ready to explain why.
  • Oh, but don’t talk about money too much. Answer their money questions, and leave it at that. You don’t want to give the impression that money is the only thing motivating you.
  • Do your research. You should know about industry trends and be prepared to give examples of the best people/products in your line of work.
  • Be prepared for the questions. There are common interview questions that get used over and over. Know them and have your answers in mind.
  • Be specific. Don’t just tell them you grew sales. Know the exact number you did it by, and make sure your numbers are accurate.
  1. Be open to negotiation

If the pay isn’t quite right, are there perks you’d be interested in? What about a 4 day work week? A flexible schedule? Work from home days? Extra vacation time?

Of course, you need to be sure you can live on the pay they give you, or the job won’t work out. But if you’ve got some wiggle room on the pay, you might be able to make up for it with some concessions that improve your overall lifestyle.

  1. Know What You Want

If you’re not quite sure about which role you want, keep that quiet. Candidates who aren’t quite sure what job they want don’t tend to stick around long. Recruiters and hiring managers know this, and if they get the sense that you’re undecided, they may pass.

Ok, I hope that gives you some intel you can use to land your next job. Be sure to go over that first impression checklist right before the interview so that you get past those crucial first seconds, and have a good chance at getting to an offer. Good luck!

****For this unique post, Campus to Career thanks Paul Peters!!****

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About: Paul Peters is content marketer and job ad writer with Betterteam. Before Betterteam he spent 6 years building an education startup, where he was was involved with many aspects of the business, including hiring and marketing. He lives in Whitefish, Montana.





Opening Yourself Up to Feedback

1 11 2016

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Receiving feedback at work and school is universally difficult. It’s hard not to take criticism personally when you’ve poured your time, attention and passion into something only to hear, “we need to rethink this.”

However, there are some ways to remove your personal ego when receiving feedback, allowing yourself to take an objective approach to improving your production and demeanor at work or school. Below are three techniques I’ve used that have worked for me and have actually been recognized in performance reviews.

  1. The “Common Goal” Mentality

For the majority of situations, your boss or professor isn’t giving you feedback to hurt your feelings or give you extra work. You boss is giving you feedback to create a better end product and improve your capabilities as an employee.

The trick here is removing your ego from the situation and taking a step back to think “if my manager had given somebody else the same feedback, would I disagree?”

You are all working to the common goals of creating an excellent end product and developing you as a professional. Recognize that the more feedback you can incorporate, the better your project will be and the easier you will be to manage.

  1. Recognize That You Are Not, In Fact, Perfect

You are not perfect. Nobody expects you to be. The quicker you can acknowledge your (very) human and endearing imperfections the quicker you will be able to make progress and grow in your abilities.

Whenever we have a new teammate join our department, this conversation inevitably happens:

Them: “Hey Grace, I’m so sorry to bug you but I have a question about how this process works”

Me: “Please don’t be sorry! You’re new and nobody expects you to walk in day one understanding everything. Ask me any questions you want!”

Nobody expects you to be perfect or a mind reader. If some development happens on a project you’re working on and you don’t know until your boss updates you, don’t get upset that you were left out. Thank her for updating you and ask to be looped into conversations if they affect your work.

  1. You Can Always Challenge Feedback

In life and in work, we always have a choice. We cannot control what people say about or to us, but we can control our response to it.

If a criticism or piece of feedback is hurtful, call it out. Your boss/professor may have said a flippant remark, but she doesn’t know that it hurt until you tell her.

You are the only person who knows how you truly feel and it’s your job to stick up for yourself (without getting combative or overly emotional).

Also, if you disagree with a suggestion, by all means, share an alternative option. This conversation will allow you to show your expertise and prove yourself as a trusted partner for your boss.

What techniques do you use to open yourself up to suggestions?

****For this unique post, Campus to Career thanks Grace Meiners!!****

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About the author: Grace has been working in NYC-based media companies for six years and is working to develop a blog focus on building soft skills