Top College Career Tips – Freshman to Senior Year

28 08 2012

How do I prepare myself for a career while I’m in college? How do I position myself to get ahead? You may be asking yourself these questions. Well, you came to the right place! Campus to Career has some great tips straight from some of the best recruiters and career services professionals in the industry. Here are some great pieces of advice for your first year on campus:

Freshman Year
As a college Freshman, you may find yourself feeling completely lost, overwhelmed by the excitement of the freedom college allows and the newly acquired sense of responsibility. There’s the impending doom of choosing your college major (which will no doubt be changed at least once or twice) and reality that hits home when you find yourself rolling quarters for laundry. Unless you’re lucky enough to have mom do the laundry when you come home for the weekend (all good things come to an end). There are hundreds of activities, clubs, organizations, fraternities and sororities to choose from. All of this hits you in the face as soon as mom and dad drop you off, say their goodbyes and drive off into the sunset.

A common misconception: Freshmen have no business attending career fairs. WRONG. Here are some things that you could be doing during your first year in college that will position you for success:

  • Research – Research different industries and the opportunities each provides for a college graduate. This is a great way to better understand industries like Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), and Insurance for example.
  • Interview – Interview your peers and faculty advisors. Ask them how they got to where they are today and if they could share pointers with you. People love to talk about themselves – especially when they are helping someone.
  • Job Shadow – You’re still a little too young (academically) to be considered for most internships, but that shouldn’t stop you. Lots of companies will allow you to “job shadow” with someone, whether it’s for a day, a week, or sometimes longer. February 2 is National Job Shadowing Day (also Groundhog Day – coincidence?) Don’t wait until then to get something scheduled. Take advantage of it and get your appointment secured!
  • Resume – Just because you’re a Freshman doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a resume (or at least one started). Even if your jobs up to this point include waiting tables, tending bar, or asking “how may I help you,” it all adds to experience. Chances are, you’ve worked on a team, displayed communication skills, and even served as a leader on a project. Use it. Experience is experience. The resume should be updated at least on a yearly basis.

Not a freshman? Starting year two? Click below for specific career tips for each year in college!

Sophomore Year

Junior Year

Senior Year

Enjoy college, have fun, and make connections!

Next week on Campus to Career: I’ll be announcing something pretty exciting. Check back often to find out what!


Train Like an Olympian

21 08 2012

The summer Olympics have come to an end and television has returned to regular scheduled programs.  Some of us have been waiting for that particular sentence for the past two weeks.  Some of us….well, we’re curled up in a corner in the fetal position mumbling about the good old days and shouting “GOLD!!” randomly throughout the day.  I’m just kidding (or AM I?)

Watching all the different games got me thinking about how each athlete trains like crazy to qualify and then compete like the ancient Greeks.  As I thought a little more, I realized that there’s an important career lesson in all of this.  Here’s what I found:

They train like OlympiansEvery day is a training day.  Rest is just as important as days filled with activity.  Olympic athletes have a plan, stick to the plan, and know that each day they’re getting closer to their ultimate goal.  Are you making strides to your ultimate career goal?  Do you have a plan to support it?

They set the bar high.  Watching events like the high-jump made me realize that each athlete’s goal wasn’t just to make it to the summer games.  The goal was to win and to win with honor.   And you know what?  Setting the bar high isn’t enough.  After the athlete cleared the bar, they set it even higher!  Are you adjusting your career goals in this manner?  Aim for the stars!

They have the right people on their teams.  From their athletic coaches to friends, from parents to their healthy competition, Olympians build the right team for them.  Why?  Training isn’t just physical.  It can also be emotional, mental and spiritual.  Having the right support in each area can make a person quite the force to be reckoned with!  Are you building your own Dream Team in life? 

Those are just a few observations.   To wrap things up, I have two questions for you:

  1. What was your favorite summer Olympic sport?
  2. What other career lessons can you glean from the games?

My favorite sports were Track & Field.  I’m currently training for my own marathon on November 4, so the women’s and men’s Olympic marathon was amazing to watch.  Other events that had me fascinated this summer were swimming, water polo (wow – what a sport) and gymnastics.  It was so cool to watch so many people’s dreams become a reality.  Congratulations to all who participated.  It was amazing to see so many nations come together.  Each athlete trained hard and they were definitely an inspiration to me!

I’m serious about my two questions above.  I’d love to hear from you.  Reply below in the comments or tweet @kbaumann.  As always, thanks for reading.  Have a great week!

Do Your Homework: The Most Common Job Seeker Failings

14 08 2012

There is a lot of great career development content out there.  As a blogger in that space, I sometimes find myself struggling to find a new perspective on popular topics for job seekers and young professionals.  I also like to pay it forward, offering other bloggers the opportunity to provide insightful and relevant information to the Campus to Career readership.  You might remember Josh Tolan’s recent guest post, How to ‘Savvy Up’ Your Communication Skills on Your Online Job Seeker Profile, a submission for Campus to Career’s Guest Blog-a-Palooza.  That article generated quite a bit of buzz!  He’s done it again – this week, Josh brings you some advice on the most common job seeker failings.  Check it out below.  

Do Your Homework: The Most Common Job Seeker Failings

By Josh Tolan, CEO – SparkHire

Job hunting is tough business. With 8.3 percent unemployment, the field is filled to the brim with other job seekers just like yourself vying for a position. So if you’ve finally nabbed an interview at your dream company, you might feel like the battle is already won. You beat out the complicated ATS and your resume impressed recruiters. But the battle isn’t over! Now you have to impress hiring managers in your interview.

According to a survey of employers, not doing enough research and “winging” the interview are two of the top ten most common mistakes job seekers make. Whether your interview is in person or through online video, it’s essential you do your homework prior to putting on your business attire and heading out the door.

Here are some helpful tips on doing your homework to get an ‘A+’ on your interview:

Get to Know the Job Description

Before walking into your interview or firing up your webcam, you should have the job description down cold. You might have applied for a good amount of jobs before landing this interview and it’s possible you don’t quite recall the job description which caught your eye. Read and reread the job description before showing up for the interview. Make sure you can back up the posted responsibilities in the description with examples of how you are uniquely qualified to address these concerns.

Research the website

Almost every company has a website in today’s technology-driven business environment. Use this website to familiarize yourself with what the company does and the organization’s overall goals. The site might even contain recruitment videos (like this hilariously lowbudget outing from Twitter) you can watch to find out more about the company culture.

Reach out to your network

The job description and the company website are both obvious places to look for information on the company. Almost every candidate will be checking these readily available sources of information. If you want to differentiate yourself as a great candidate, it’s time to reach out to your network.

Check your connections on LinkedIn or find out if you know anyone within the company. Once you’ve found a link into the company, see if you can speak with them briefly about their working experience. This source could give you valuable insights into what the organization is like, what challenges they are facing, and what kind of candidate they are looking for.

Find what the press is saying

Up until this point all of the information you’ve received has been internal to the company. Now it’s time to start looking at some external sources. Look to the press and read the company’s coverage. Press could be anything from a magazine article, news in a trade publication, or a post on a prominent blog. This information can often show you sides of the company not present on their website.

Once you have all this information compiled and filed away in your brain, show off your work in the interview. Tailor your skills to the job description and show how you can bring value to the company. Mention a current employee you’ve spoken to and highlight something positive they said about the company which resonated with you.

When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, maybe ask about their overseas expansion you read about in an industry publication. All these tricks will show employers you are detail-oriented and willing to put in work to get what you want.

What are some ways you do your homework before a big interview? Share in the comments!


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

Leadership Lessons: The 5 W’s

7 08 2012

Leadership lessons come in all forms.  Often times, I’m inspired by leaders within my organization.  Those leaders include people that are in senior leadership roles (ie: Executives) and those that aren’t (ie: everyone else.)  Some people believe that leaders are born, others believe that a person can learn to be a leader.  I’m an advocate of the latter, but know that things like good ethics, integrity, determination, and foresight are some of the key building blocks of leadership.

So let’s get down to it – starting with the what, who, where, how and why (and when):

WHAT:  Leadership.  As I mentioned earlier, it comes in all forms.  Leadership matters, but ethical leadership matters more.  As you’re developing as a leader, be sure to keep your eye on the bigger picture and remember it’s always a good time to do the right thing.

WHO:  You.  Your support network consisting of friends, family and mentors.  It takes a mixture of all these components to make a good leader and it doesn’t happen overnight.  Invest in yourself and ask for feedback throughout your leadership journey.  Note that I said leadership “journey.”  The journey doesn’t end – keep improving yourself, benchmarking and soliciting feedback from your peers.

WHERE: Everywhere.  Leadership lessons can be found all around you.  Don’t get so caught up in yourself that you forget about others.  Remember to pay it forward and help develop others as leaders.

HOW & WHY: Have the know-how, but don’t stop there.  Knowing how to do something is one thing, but knowing why can get you so much farther.  Diane Ravitch once said, “The person who knows HOW will always have a job.  The person who knows WHY will always be his boss.”  My boss has used this quote often during team meetings.  You know what?  He has a very good point!


WHEN: Now.  Start now.  Don’t wait until you get “around to it.”  Start developing yourself as a leader now.  Reach out and find a mentor, ask questions, and read as much as you can on the topic.  Don’t forget to take a few steps back, zoom out, and find the “why” in your career.  I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.  So, what are you waiting for??  Go get ‘em!!

Any other leadership tips?  Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear from you!  As always, thanks for reading.