18 Quick Tips for the Busy Job Seeker

29 11 2011

Have you found that there’s just not enough time in the day to do everything you need to do?  Finding yourself trying to juggle too much?  Even when you’re looking for a job, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of time to focus on YOU.  I was inspired last week by a Twitter friend at Syracuse University (@tracytilly) to submit 18 different tweets focused on the job search.  Other participated as well.  Search “#search18” on Twitter.  When I started, I thought there would be no way I’d get to 18.  Wrong.  I could have gone a lot farther.  Who knew?

To help you in your job search (and keep it simple,) here are 18 quick tips for the busy job seeker:

  1. Have a plan, create your strategy.  It’s not “one-size fits all.”
  2. Do the research on the jobs/company/culture.  Google it.
  3. Follow the directions (if you’re clearly not qualified, don’t apply.)
  4. Network with friends.
  5. Network with peers.
  6. Tell your family, then network.
  7. Use the resources available through your Career Center.
  8. Job shadow.
  9. Schedule information interviews
  10. Read trade publications and learn about the industry
  11. Blog about your expertise (add value)
  12. Use Twitter – follow recruiters, participate in chats, network – I recommend #careerchat and #jobhuntchat to get you started.
  13. Use LinkedIn – follow companies, connect with recruiters, join & participate in groups.  Don’t know how?  Learn here.
  14. Use Facebook – check out BeKnown or Branchout
  15. Be persistent, but kind.
  16. Take some “you” time to relax and refocus so there’s no burnout.
  17. Follow up. EVERY TIME.
  18. Pay it forward.

Are we following each other on Twitter?  I’ve found the platform to be very useful for information sharing, conversation, and networking.  Don’t worry – I won’t auto-DM you or send you spam.  Check out @kbaumann and see if you like the tweet stream.  If you do, please follow.  If you don’t – no hard feelings, but I’d appreciate it if you’d mention Campus to Career to them as a resource.  It’s FREE.  Who doesn’t like free?  🙂

As always, thanks for reading.  Have a great week!


Resume Writing Tips for December Graduates

22 11 2011

Special note:  The views, opinions or strategies expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of Campus to Career.  I bring you this resource as just one of the many resources available to you, but am not endorsing the services of the guest blogger.  

Please use your best common sense when soliciting resume and career advice!

Guest post by Darlene Zambruski, Managing Editor, ResumeEdge and JobInterviewEdge

Attention December graduates: it’s time to put together a winning application packet that will help you stand out in today’s competitive job market.

You’re unique, because you’re graduating at a less common time than many of your peers. May is the traditional month for graduation, so you’re roughly five months ahead of schedule. This may allow you to get a jump on the job market. Plus, you’re job searching at a time when many companies are planning their budgets for the coming year, which means they may be looking at what new jobs they can add.

Take advantage of your position. Craft a resume that will truly stand out from the crowd. How can you do this? Follow our handy resume writing tips below.

Five Resume Writing Tips You Don’t Want to Forget:

  1. Keep it clean. The layout of your resume matters. If it’s complicated or unorganized, employers aren’t going to spend time deciphering it. They will just throw it away. Use a simple, clean format that clearly highlights your skills and how they benefit the employer. Keep spacing and margins uniform, and use consistent font and sizing across the board.
  2. Customize your skill set. Make sure the skills you outline are specific enough to clearly match those the employer is looking for. Instead of using general descriptions like “computer skills, management abilities,” get more specific by saying “proficient in operating programs x, y, and z” or “managed x number of accounts.”
  3. Quanitfy, quantify, quantify. When giving descriptions of duties you completed at past positions, quantify the results of your actions as often as possible. How great was your client’s increase in ROI year over year? How many people did you manage or train? How much did you raise for that fundraising event?
  4. Focus on the benefits. No matter how proud you are of your accomplishments, an employer simply doesn’t care unless they can see how it will benefit them. Don’t just list everything you’ve done. Make sure you show how your skills and past experiences will provide value to the company you want to work for.
  5. Create targeted content. As you apply to jobs, make certain the content of your resume and cover letter are unique. Don’t create cookie cutter documents for submission to hundreds of companies. Make each company notice that your application packet is specifically targeted to the position they are offering.

In addition to following these tips, it’s a good idea to look at high-quality sample resumes to get an idea of what others in your industry are putting in their application documents. Resume examples are great for helping you determine what formatting you like best and how well your skill set matches up against the competition.

Putting together a winning resume takes some time, but these resume writing tips will help ensure that your document lands on the desks of the employers you want to work for most.

About Darlene: Darlene has been the managing editor of ResumeEdge since its inception in 2004, and the managing editor of JobInterviewEdge since it was launched in March 2010. She has authored 10,000+ resumes/cover letters/CVs for clients at every career stage, from entry-level to CEOs, and in every industry. In addition to being a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and industry SME, she is also a multi-published novelist in the contemporary and historical lines for Kensington Publishing in New York and is co-owner, with a New York agent, of The JP Literary Agency. She has worked in Story Direction for Hanna-Barbera Productions, Hollywood, California (with work broadcast on CBS-TV); as a freelance writer for Prentice Hall Publications; as an editor for The Reporter, an award-winning Midwestern newspaper; and as the public relations director for The Petite Corporation, marketing its literary talent.  Find out more at http://www.resumeedge.com.

Accountability: Getting Personal

15 11 2011

Hi there!  Welcome back to Campus to Career.  If this is your first visit, take a look around.  There are a LOT of great articles (not just written by me) regarding the job search, your career, social media and leadership.  Check out the Job Search Success Guide (click the link in the header) for some of the best articles rated by people just like you.

Over the past weeks, I’ve been breaking down corporate culture.  To be more specific, I’ve been breaking down my company’s culture.  You see, we’re not all that different from any other company.  Our culture and each person who is part of our organization truly align.  It’s not about some slick language that we threw together on our website, some PowerPoint slides and a few signs around the office.  Our culture reflects our core values and, is essentially who we are.  Click on the titles below for a quick link back to the previous articles on culture.

We Work With Passion

We Are Performance Driven

Here’s the next one in line:  We Accept Personal Accountability.

“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.“ –  Moliere

What does the word accountability mean to you? 

  • Take initiative and accept responsibility for ensuring our work adds value to the organization

I love the last part of that sentence.  Does your work add value to the organization?  Like I mentioned in We Work With Passion, what you’re doing does matter.  If you don’t know why you’re compiling that report or creating that spreadsheet, take some time and ask your supervisor why it’s necessary.  “Just because” isn’t a good answer.  Don’t settle for that.  Know that your work does add value to the organization.  If it isn’t, re-evaluate what you’re doing.  You may need to be more innovative or scrap the process altogether.  Take initiative.  Accept responsibility for your work.  Add value.

  • Committed to excellence and the continual development of our professional capabilities

Change is the only constant.  Be committed to your own excellence.  Be the best you can be.  Keep up with change and get ahead of the curve.  You owe it to yourself!  What if Steve Jobs thought the first Macintosh computer (remember, the ones with the green screen? I may be dating myself here…) was as good as it got?  Sure, that worked in the 80’s and early 90’s, but that technology would have been surpassed by another company soon.  Instead, Apple has reinvented itself, created innovated and relevant products (and a culture of their own) and continues to stay out in front of change – in fact, they’re leading the charge!  Continue to develop yourself professionally.  Never stop learning.  Never stop innovating.

  • Honor our work and meet commitments

Do what you say you’re going to do it when you say you’ll do it.  Period.  You’d think this was a given, but in today’s world, deadlines sometimes make a “whooshing” sound as they fly by.  In fact, we’re used to deadlines being broken.  When was the last time the cable guy showed up when they said they would?  You know what I’m talking about (not just about cable guys – they have a bad rap, but it’s more than just their profession).  You scheduled an appointment for them to come to your house between the hours of noon and 5pm.  You figure, “hey – I can still keep my dinner plans.”  You’re banking on the fact that they will honor their word and meet their commitments.  What happens most of the time?  You take the afternoon off work, patiently waiting between the hours of noon and 5pm only to receive a phone call (if you’re lucky) at 4:55pm confirming that they’re on their way for your installation.  Seems outrageous, right?  Honor your word.  Meet your commitments.  Just do it.  You’ll go a lot farther in life and in your career by doing this!

  • Always do what is right, even with it is difficult

Sometimes this is easier said than actually done.  The right thing is always the right thing to do.  It’s hardly ever the easiest at first glance, but in hindsight you’ll be glad.  Integrity is the lesson here.  Do what your gut tells you.  If you have some serious red flags pop up, seek advice from your peers, family or supervisor.  Ask them what they would do in the situation.  You’ll be able to make a better decision in the end.

What do you think?  Did I miss something?  Leave a comment below.  I promise, if you leave a comment, I reply.  There are no bots for auto responses here.  🙂  Next week, I’m taking a break from talking about culture to bring you a very special post.  It’s a pop culture and a little magic in the making, but I assure you, you’ll enjoy it.  Until then, thanks for reading.  Please pass this (or any of the other articles that are relevant) along to a friend.  Pay it forward.  Thank you!!

Performance: What Drives Your Culture?

8 11 2011

Welcome back!  Culture is important.  It’s what many of you will consider when making your employment decisions.  When you’re a fit, you’re happy and that can lead to a higher level of productivity.  When you’re not a fit, you know what can happen.  We’ve all been there, right?  Last week, I introduced culture as a topic for discussion and promised to break it down for you.  Click here for a link to the original post.

The next segment is all about performance (and yes, that does relate to culture.)  Here’s how “We Are Performance Driven” breaks down:

  • Competitive and display a strong desire to be the best at what we do

Does this define you?  Competition drives innovation in everything.  Having the desire and drive to be the very best in what you do can help you in so many ways!  For one, it helps you stay ahead of your competition.  Like the US Army’s past slogan says, Be All You Can Be.  Don’t be a typical Millennial either.  We’re not all getting trophies for participating.  Compete for the trophy!

  • Set aggressive performance targets and measure our progress

Goal-setting is extremely important if you’re going to hit your target.  Like my boss says often, goal should be “inspirational, yet realistic.”  Do you know what your goals are?  What if you don’t have goals set for you?  Set them yourself!  The other piece of the puzzle is to remember to set goals that can be measured.  Being the best is a goal, but how to you measure?  Set goals like “increase sales by 30% by January 1st, 2012,” etc.   This way, you’ll know when you hit them, exceed them, or when you really need to kick it into high-gear!

  • Eliminate activities that don’t achieve results or don’t advance our strategic objectives

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.  Einstein had it right!  Yet, so many people and organizations continue to do the same thing over and over again.  For some, it works.  They survive.  For most, it doesn’t.  Why?  People and times change.  Take a look at your strategic objectives.  What is the goal?  Is what you’re doing now advancing those objectives?  Is it achieving a positive result?  If the answer is no, stop doing it!  Note: You have to know your goals/strategic objectives first to know whether or not you should stop doing something.

  • Recognize, celebrate and reward success

This is my favorite piece of the segment.  Recognizing, celebrating and rewarding success sounds simple, yet it’s far from it.  Everyone has a different rewards system.  The parking space up front might mean the world to one employee, while meaning nothing to another.  Don’t dwell on that.  Instead, focus on recognizing success with your team.  Tell them thank you.  Those two words are very powerful.  When someone goes above and beyond the call of duty, let them know you notice.  If you’re a champion for your people, they’ll be a champion for you.  It’s just good karma.

All four points relate to a person’s career.  For my HR friends, a performance-driven culture is the key to your organization’s success.  Click here for an excellent article that lays it all out.

For my readers who are job seekers or new to their career, I hope this information is helpful to you.  What does culture mean to you?  Has this article helped you?  Was it completely worthless?  I want to know – good or bad.  Please leave a comment below and let’s help as many people as possible!  As always, thanks for reading.

Workplace Culture – Breaking It Down

1 11 2011

Wikipedia defines culture as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization, or group.”  Culture is important.  Alignment with that culture can ensure effectiveness in the workplace.  But what does culture really mean?  Every employer has a slightly different version.  It all seems to revolve around integrity, collaboration, communication, etc.

Today’s generation of workers are looking for more than “just a job.”  They’re looking for culture fit – a place where their visions align and core values coincide.  Workplace satisfaction is very important for Generation Y.  Why?  We want to be part of the bigger picture.  We want to affect that picture positively.  We’re not going to sit idly by, not offering our insight and perspective.

To break down culture for you a little more (and relate it to the job search or your current career), I thought I’d share with you my company’s culture statement line by line.  My values and beliefs align closely with my company’s – that’s one of the reasons I love my job!  The overall SIFE Culture is as follows:

  • We Work With Passion
  • We Are Performance Driven
  • We Accept Personal Accountability
  • We Are Entrepreneurial In Our Approach
  • We Contribute To A Learning Environment
  • We Collaborate Towards One Vision
  • We Lead By Serving Those Around Us

Now, none of this information is top secret or confidential.  Individuals that identify with this culture make us a very effective organization.  We can do better – we all can.  As an employee, we have the opportunity to help influence this.  As an employer, we have the opportunity to learn from those that are closest to the real issues.  If we just listen to each other and learn from our failures as well as our successes, we’ll all be a little better off in the end.

So, back to the culture statement….let’s start with the first bullet and break down the subtext:

We Work With Passion

  • Highly motivated by a sense of purpose and conviction that what we do matters

Do you know how your work affects the overall organization?  The work you’re doing as you create that spreadsheet or weekly report should bring value to the company.  If you don’t know why you’re doing it, ask someone.  There’s probably a reason you never thought of, or you might find that you can improve the process!  Knowing why you do something can definitely help with motivating someone with a sense of purpose.

  • Approach our work with a spirited attitude and determination to make a difference

William James is quoted with saying, “It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect Its successful outcome.”  I couldn’t have said it better!  Approaching your work with a cheerful and determined attitude will help you get past those stumbling blocks to find solutions.  If you fit the first bullet above, you know that what you do matters.  It does make a difference!

  • Our commitment, enthusiasm, and hard work inspires others to join our efforts

Have you ever worked with someone who came in every day whistling a cheerful tune, had a smile on their face and were truly excited about the work they were doing?  I bet it affected you!  When someone has a positive and realistic attitude, it seems to rub off on others.  When you see someone doing something they’re passionate about, you can’t help but be inspired to join their efforts and to find your own passion.

You see, working with passion isn’t just about doing what you love.  It’s about your attitude and sense of purpose.  What you do matters.  If you don’t understand how, ask your supervisor or mentor.  They’ll help you see the benefit of that spreadsheet.  You might be surprised just how important your work really is!  When you’re happy and passionate about what you do, you’ll inspire others.  It’s a chain reaction and gets better and better.  How’s that for motivating?

Before you leave, I’d like to ask you to do something for me.  Pay it forward.  If you enjoy Campus to Career, please share it with your friends, colleagues, and classmates.  It’s easy to subscribe (by email or RSS) and there are new posts each Tuesday.  You can also follow @campustocareer on Twitter and find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/campustocareer.  Content is expanded on those platforms, sharing other relevant articles from the network.  It’s all about sharing!  Thanks in advance.  Have a wonderful week!