Career Olympics: Who’s YOUR Coach?

31 07 2012

The 2012 Olympics kicked off last week in London with an amazing beginning that included Queen Elizabeth jumping from a helicopter (accompanied by Daniel Craig aka James Bond) and parachuting in to the arena. Danny Boyle created excitement around the representation of the country’s history, highlighting its rise in uncertain times in an opening ceremony that will be remembered for years to come. As the parade of champions began, we witnessed athletes from over 200 nations come together in an unprecedented display of humanity. No matter what the situation in their home country, economic or political climate, each athlete represented the best of the best with overwhelming pride and passion.

In one of Michael Phelps’ interviews before the games began, he was asked what it was like starting this year on top, being the contender to make history as he went for the most gold medals. He stated, “I didn’t start the year on top. I started at the bottom and had to earn my way to London.” That got me thinking about something. We all have to work to succeed. Some work a little, most work a LOT.

Successful people have many things in common with Olympic athletes. Aside from goal-setting, determination, drive and dedication, athletes have a coach. Yes, you heard right. Here’s the question: who’s your coach? Here are a few reasons why a coach helps us succeed:

They push you to the limit…and then push more. A coach pushes you harder than you’ll push yourself. 110%? Even though 110% is technically impossible, a coach makes it happen. They’re the ones that are there on the good days, the bad days and every day in between.

A coach keeps you accountable. They’re there when you set your goals. Accountability is tough when you’re trying to do something by yourself. Tempted to veer off the path? Call your coach for a pep talk. Need a little motivation? Call your coach. Need to vent? You get the picture.

Eye on the prize. A coach keeps you focused on your goals. If you have a coach, they’ll make sure you get the job done. Correctly. The first time. Keeping their eye on the prize, they keep you focused. If you want to achieve something, tell a friend/family member/coach. Like I mentioned earlier, they’ll keep you accountable. They won’t forget (even when you wished they would.)

A coach can be a number of different people. For me, my coaches are my friends, my wife and other family members. They keep me moving forward, listen when times are tough and are helping shape me into the successful person I aspire to be. Me? I’m forever grateful for this and look for ways to pay it forward, helping others. I hope that some of the advice here at Campus to Career or via social media through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn has helped you along your path to success.

To wrap things up, I’ll ask again: Who’s YOUR coach?

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Miss Guest Blog-a-Palooza last week? Click here to view all 5 guest posts on resumes, cover letters, how to savvy up your professional profile, how to use Evernote for the job search and more!

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You Don’t Like My Resume? But Why??

27 07 2012

By Ana Thames

Most of us send a resume to many employers at the same time; the surprising thing is that hardly one employer replies among all of them!  After being rejected, a person’s first reaction would be something like, “what? You don’t like my resume? But why??”

Firstly, you have to calm yourself down. You will not be able carefully analyze what went wrong. The only thing that is wrong is probably wrong with the resume. The recruiters have rejected the resume outright. So, carefully analyze it and make amends. However, do not press the panic button if the resume has been rejected once or twice.  Unless it is being consistently rejected, there is absolutely no need panic!

If rejections have become the norm, then you need to take a closer look into your resume.  Something may be seriously wrong if it is receiving rejections on a regular basis. Sometimes, there aren’t many major problems, just a few things that are wrong that are causing all the problems. One simple mistake that we can point out is formatting errors. Many candidates even fail to thoroughly read their own resume. This puts them at the risk of making silly errors. Check that the font size and format of the resume is consistent. Keep all the data aligned to the left side as this is the universally accepted pattern. Font size is also important. Font size can vary throughout your resume.  Here’s a tip: Use a bolder size for important information.

Next, check for spelling and grammatical errors. Recruiters tend to reject resumes that have improper spelling and grammar. It is one of the most common mistakes on resumes.  Have a third person look at the resume – they’ll likely spot such errors. Once these are corrected, there will be a lesser chance that your resume will be rejected.

It is quite common that people send resumes to the wrong addresses or for the completely wrong profile. This is one of the major reasons why many resumes get rejected. Be sure to keep your resume updated.

Editor’s note: The lesson here?  Prepare, proofread, keep calm and carry on.  Don’t get discouraged if your resume has been rejected.  It will probably happen!  Instead, learn from the rejection, make your resume stronger by listing accomplishments, ensuring that it’s error-free, and providing evidence of results

About the author: Ana Thames is a career counselor and loves writing. It’s her hobby and passion. You can view career tips with resume samples and interview tips here.





Supercharge Your Networking and Job Searching with Evernote

26 07 2012

By Ashlee McCullen

Having been through several grueling job searches, I’ve found one of the most tedious and time consuming aspects is simply keeping everything straight.

Rather than fumble with a nightmare of folders, Word files, and contacts entries to organize myself, I’ve turned to notes service Evernote. With Evernote, I can track my progress applying to jobs and make notes on jobs in one place.

Plus, the service syncs between devices and is available in many platforms. I’ve used it on Windows, PC, and several Android phones from T-Mobile.

Here are some techniques I use. Feel free to alter them or let me know if you have any “pro tips.”

The meat of it: Job Search Notes

For each job posting (including “hidden” jobs) that catches my eye, I’ll create a note for it. This note then serves as a one-stop-shop for this particular position.

  • Note Tile: I use the same syntax for each job. Date created in 00/00/0000 format, job title, and company name. This way, I can quickly view jobs according to how long ago I found them, and act accordingly.
  • To Do List/Progress: For all progress made, I will include the date of the action. This is vital for gauging when to do any follow up actions or giving up. Plus, when you’re applying to dozens of jobs, it can be harder than you’d imagine to remember which online applications you’ve already filled out.
  • Contact Info: Include the usual stuff like addresses and phone numbers, plus any names of employees you know or will be contacting.
  • Job Information: I paste the URL of the job posting ,and possibly some or all of its text (Tip: Use text-only paste to avoid formatting headaches). I emphasize being able to see the original posting so you can use its keywords in your application.
  • Personal Notes/Observations: What I write here is fodder for answering “why do you want to work here,” for explaining what I can bring to the job and for developing intelligent questions.
  • Phone Interview Notes/Questions to Ask: This one is closely related to the above.
  • Files: Personally, I keep my files in a Dropbox folder, but you may find it more convenient to keep relevant files attached to the job search note.

Keeping track of it all

I recommend using at least two folders to organize your job application notes. I’ve used a “Job Postings” folder for grabbing info the moment I find a job, and an “Applications in Process” folder for jobs I’m committed to applying for.

When you give up on a particular job (ie you haven’t heard back in a few weeks), you can trash the note or place it in an “Archives” folder. Either way, it’s out of the way.

Final Thoughts

I highly recommend installing the Windows or Mac client and learning how to use it efficiently. Creating check lists and formatting text into more readable bullet lists is far less tedious when you know Evernote’s keyboard shortcuts.

About the author: Ashlee McCullen is a staff writer for Apron Addicts, a website about kitchen fashion and home style. She also writes about mobile technology and self-improvement.





5 Things Every Young Professional Should Know Before Hitting 30

25 07 2012

By Zach Buckley

Face it. You’ve had three decades already. Granted, the first two were spent growing up. Then you went to school to pursue a degree and now you’re out in the real world and have been for some time, haven’t you? And what do you have to show for it? We’re not speaking of possessions or success in starting a family. Rather, what important life lessons have you learned? What skills have you achieved and how socially—and professionally—comfortable are you with certain tasks? Here’s a list of some of the things you should know before you hit the big three-oh.

What You Should Know Before You’re 30

  • How to Live Within a Budget

Not only does this skill determine how much money you might have in savings, at your youngish age and in this economy, having money equals more opportunities and flexibility. If your company changes hands and your job conditions deteriorate, whether or not you have adequate savings determines whether you have to keep your job or if you can explore different options.

  • How to Ask for a Raise

Despite the economic downturn, the stale employment rate and every other excuse your boss might raise against you making this formal request, asking for a raise needs to be something you’re familiar with and have the preparation and ammunition, so to speak, to prove your worth.

  • How to Discern Between Office Casual and Indiscretion

All companies have different cultures and all offices can be said to have varying degrees of formality as part of their subculture. Where this border lies often depends upon the office manager, his or her youth, your boss’s self-confidence or any number of factors. The derivation of the degree of formality is less important than your ability to recognize and remain within its confines without working like a prisoner. (See Suggestion #1)

  • Your Wardrobe for the Next Work Day

You are not 21 anymore. It isn’t “cute and boyish” for you to wear an egg-stained tie with your suit or a Saturday night date skirt because you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home last night. Seriously folks, some people have been doing one simple thing since grade school and it hasn’t failed them yet: Lay out your planned wardrobe the night before. You’ll have time to spot any flaws and make an alternate plan. What you won’t do is look like those adults in the Subway commercials sound.

  • How to Respond to Criticism

The only people I know who respond well to criticism are dead. It takes practice, tact and a lot of skill to master. If you know it’s coming, you’re liable to already be on the defensive and ready to take offense at the person’s first greeting. If it comes as a complete surprise, it’s hard to stand slack-jawed and near tears as you endure an “attack” on something on which you worked so hard. By 30, it should come as no surprise to you that almost everything will be criticized in some way (including perfection). Some of it may be personal, some of the objections may be valid and some pointers may be helpful. Be ready and open to the helpful and valid suggestions. Try not to physically attack the person making the made-up personal criticism. (See Suggestion #1)

Ask Your Mentor and Co-Workers What Their Lists Might Be

These to-do tasks before you are 30 years old are both general and personal. Most every successful young professional at this age is going to be practicing this skill on some level. They might have chosen five different tasks, however, those being the most difficult for them to integrate into their professional, adult life.

About the author: Zach Buckley is a freelance writer based in the Midwest. He enjoys exploring developing trends in education, technology and culture.  When he isn’t reading or writing blogs, he enjoys sampling good music and good food. Follow him on Twitter! @Zach_buckley





Top 10 Tips for Writing Eye-Catching Cover Letters

24 07 2012

By Sandy Dsouza

Are you having a hard time drafting a persuasive cover letter for your resume?  If you answered yes, here are 10 tips which will help you to triumph in your quest for winning your most desired job interview.

The cover letter seems to be a minor factor for most applicants, but has to ability to make a major impact on the recruiter, making room for attaining prosperity in your profession. A few years ago, applicants applying for jobs put very little value in cover letters. They failed to determine the worth of drafting a cover letter for a resume which I feel is very important in any process of job application. This was one of the factors that I believe was responsible for the failure of the applicants to gain success in their respective job interviews.

Here are the top 10 cover letter tips:

  • Know the objective of the cover letter. It is very important to get acquainted with the objective and motive behind creating the cover letter. A good cover letter can be drafted for a number of reasons. It may be drafted for the purpose of posing your response towards the job posted by the organization. It may even be a blind application that is usually drafted in anticipation of an employment vacancy.
  • Research the organization. Researching the organization is an essential component in the process. One needs to gain information about the current trends, needs, business requirements, culture, and the business obstacles faced by the organization. This can always be used as a handy tool for depicting your strength and ability to find apt solutions for the organization and prove your worth over other candidates.
  • Prepare a rough sketch of the cover letter. It is always a beneficial practice to start with a rough sketch or template for your cover letter. It prepares a good foundation for your cover letter which helps you to build a unique and employer friendly cover letter. You can gather the important points that need to be added before actually initiating to draft the cover letter. Then, you have a better idea in mind as you begin to format your text.
  • Enter complete and accurate information. A cover letter should always include precise and complete information. This information could be the date, name, address, and contact details of both the addresser and addressee. It could also be the information about the job profile such as your qualifications, credentials, and work experiences. Incorrect and inaccurate information can cause the employer to lose faith in you and decrease your prospects.
  • Focus on your qualifications and skills. The cover letter should give the recruiter what they want. You need to know the requirements of the expectations of the job and add the qualifications, abilities, skills, and other credentials that are pertinent to the needs of the job. You can also include your accomplishments and awards you might have won in your academic years and past employment organizations. You can tell the employer how your skills and capabilities are different from other candidates in the competition.
  • Maintain a positive flow in the cover letter. Most recruiters like to read the cover letters that are written in an optimistic flow of language. The candidate should ensure that he does not mention any such thing in the letter that will impose a negative effect on the reader. The best way to do it is to add enthusiastic and motivating words that will make a mark of your profile in the mind of your future employer.
  • Eradicate errors from the cover letter. An ideal cover letter has no room for errors. The most common type of mistakes that occur in the cover letter are typing and spelling errors. Grammatical errors and improper sentence structure are other types of mistake found in cover letters. Such errors in the document can lose the curiosity of the reader.
  • Proofread the cover letter. One of the most significant steps for ensuring a winning cover letter is to proofread it before sending it to the prospective employer. It is a good practice to make sure that your document is free of errors.
  • Thank the reader.  Ending your cover letter with a good note is as important as giving an enthusiastic start to your document. The candidate needs to show his gratitude and appreciate the reader for having read the letter. It gives way to depict your professional attitude and sincerity towards the job.
  • Present the cover letter. The cover letter should be presented in a neat and well organized manner. It should be formatted in such a way that the reader finds it easy to read and understand the document. It must be impressive enough to compel the reader.

About the author: Sandy Dsouza is a freelance author and blogger who has 4 years of experience in the field of writing. She is always eager to share her knowledge on various topics like resume and career development. Click here to find her blog.





How To ‘Savvy Up’ Your Communication Skills On Your Job Seeker Profile

23 07 2012

By Josh Tolan, CEO, SparkHire

I bet you have your superior communication skills listed on your resume and other job seeker profiles. How did I guess? It’s because everyone has communication skills listed on their resume or job hunting profile of choice.

Communication skills are hugely important out in the business world. In fact, most employers cite communication skills as the most important skills for a candidate to possess. You need superior communication skills to navigate the world of office politics, from your coworkers to your superiors.

However, if everyone lists strong communication skills as an asset, how do you stand out from the pack? Clearly you’ll have to go above and beyond to show you’re not just paying lip service to your ability to communicate. Recruiters and hiring managers have seen it all, so you’ll really have to think of ways to stand out from the pack.

Here are some tips on how to show you have the savvy communication skills companies need.

Social Media: There’s a reason that social media is really taking off in the business world. That’s because it’s a cheap and easy way to connect with consumers, clients, and other businesses. Now social media can and should be used as another weapon in your job hunting arsenal.

Use Twitter, Facebook and other social media to reach out to the companies you want to work for. By interacting directly with companies and hiring managers, you can prove your effective communication skills. Putting your Twitter username on a resume or profile shows that you know how to harness the newest technologies to get what you’re after.

Make a Video Resume: Video resumes are a great way to show off your communication skills the old fashioned way: in person. Except it’s not actually in person and is a much better option to get in front of your future boss. With webcams installed in most new laptops, it’s easier than ever to make a video resume. Plus video resumes show off the intangibles that don’t come across on your resume, communication skills included.

Now instead of just saying you have great communication skills, you can show it off. Since studies show that people form first impressions based 55 percent on body language, showing your professionalism in a video might be more memorable than your paper resume. Plus, your video resume is sharable, meaning you can add it to your traditional paper resume or social media profiles.

Be a Leader: Every good leader has to have good communication skills or no one would follow. There are plenty of ways to show off your leadership skills. Perhaps you have professional experience leading a team or taking point on a project. Make sure to list that on your job seeker profile.

If you’re lean on professional experience, being a leader in volunteer activities shows that you can communicate effectively. If you led a team to build a house or started a campaign to raise awareness, don’t leave that off your resume. Those activities show not just who you are, but how well you can communicate in a team environment.

Those are just some tips to “savvy up” your communication skills. Employers are looking for candidates with great qualifications, but they’re also looking for effective communicators who can grow into effective leaders.

What are some tips you have for showing off your communication skills? Share them!

Josh Tolan is the CEO of SparkHire.com, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and SparkHire.com on Facebook and Twitter.





Guest Blog-a-Palooza!

23 07 2012

I have something special in store for you this week on Campus to Career.  Thanks to an overwhelming response to a recent guest post inquiry, we’re launching our very own Guest Blog-a-Palooza!  Every day this week, you’ll find a BRAND NEW post on the site with some great job search information.  Each guest blogger brings a different perspective to help you succeed in your quest to land your ultimate dream job.

To kick things off, we’ll start with Josh Tolan, CEO of SparkHire.  His post, How To ‘Savvy Up’ Your Communication Skills On Your Job Seeker Profile, is the first of the series.  Be sure to check back every day this week to find the newest post from a variety of guest bloggers!

If you’re interested in providing a guest post for a future feature on Campus to Career, please see the guidelines by clicking “Guest Blogger Guidelines” on the toolbar above.

PS. Subscribers will be automatically notified when a post is published, so please pass this along to your network. It’s a FREE resource!

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

Click here for Monday’s post (How to ‘Savvy Up’ Your Communication Skills on Your Online Profile)  by Josh Tolan.

Click here for Tuesday’s post (Top 10 Tips to Writing Eye-Catching Cover Letters) by Sandy Dsouza.

Click here for Wednesday’s post (5 Things Every Young Professional Should Know Before Hitting 30) by Zach Buckley.

Click here for Thursday’s post (Supercharge Your Networking and Job Search with Evernote) by Ashlee McCullen.

Click here for Friday’s post (You Don’t Like My Resume? But Why??) by Ana Thames.