The 1 Thing You MUST Do This Year at College

27 08 2013

The 1 Thing You MUST Do This Year at College

Ah, the fall semester.  Summer is quickly on its way out, with throngs of students returning to campus, some stepping on that hallowed ground for the very first time.  Four years (or five…six…) will go by faster than you could ever imagine.  There will be parties, term papers and an incredible amount of last-minute cramming for that important final exam.  Then one day, you’ll finish your degree, walk across the stage, shake hands with the Dean or university President, and graciously leave the stage with proof of all your hard work rolled up tightly in a scroll that fits in your hand.

NOW WHAT??  Welcome to the real world.  Your first loan payment will be due in a matter of months.  You studied, kept your head down, your grades up and maintained the image of a typical college student.  You made it this far – congratulations!  Now, the question that EVERYONE has been asking since the day you chose your major…”what are you going to do with your degree?”

Sound familiar?  I bet I have your attention now, huh?  After years and years of listening to college students, professors, career experts, corporate recruiters and executives, a college student’s success largely depends on ONE thing.  Yes, I said ONE.  This isn’t a Top 10 list or Fab 5.  There is ONE thing you can do NOW, regardless of your student status, that will help launch you into the right career after college.  It’s amazingly simple.  Ready?

Discover how you can actually use what you’re learning in the real world…

…and then use that knowledge to make the real world better. 

That’s it.  Some background:

In college, I studied Journalism, Music, Leadership and eventually majored in Communication with a Broadcasting emphasis.  I wanted to be on the radio.  And, I was for several years, reporting from remote locations, manning the sound board for high school and college football and basketball, hosting my own information call-in show titled “Law Line,” and even serving as morning drive-time DJ and General Manager of the station.  I learned a lot.  Some of the things I learned were that the industry was very difficult to break into since it was so fun.  People just didn’t leave their jobs (or move up.)  There was NO corporate ladder to climb!  So, I moved on…

Here’s the thing: I use my background in Communication and Leadership every day.  Whether it’s written, verbal or nonverbal, my experience in the field has helped me succeed in my career.  As the drive-time DJ, I was making people laugh, entertaining them with silly bits, sound effects and dumb interviews.  That was about it.  Now, I actually get to use the knowledge I possess to help other people succeed so they can make the world better.  I get to help people find their culture fit, understand their potential and coach them to go out and get it!

What I’m telling you is that whatever you study in college won’t help you unless you put it to use.  Don’t count on the perfect job to come along so you can do it.  Create the opportunity.  Find the need, pursue the solution.  Make the world better using your skills and knowledge gained from your college experience.





No Job Offers? Maybe You’re Scaring Recruiters Away

20 08 2013

worker-scared-networkingIt seems that many in the ranks of the unemployed… are unemployed for a reason.

One of three reasons, to be exact.

Their failure to find work is often because they fall into one of three job seeker personality types: the Ego, the Victim and the Stalker… each of which scare away hiring managers and recruiters – and drive them toward safer candidates that will fit better within their culture.

Thankfully, with a modest effort, these job seeker types can change:

The Ego

The Ego personality is typically a person who writes checks his resume can’t cash.

The Ego may come from a very good school… but have no real experience. Maybe they’ve been so propped up by their helicopter parents that the idea of “entry-level” doesn’t work for them.

Perhaps they’re a workforce veteran that has been downsized after climbing the ranks of management and now just can’t deal with the thought of sliding backward. Maybe they obtained a certain status within their industry and developed an elitist attitude (along with high demands from employers).

For certain, the “Ego” doesn’t seem to realize their vision of themselves, and where they should be, was an economic lifetime ago – and they can’t let go.

If you are an Ego job seeker personality type:

Take a step back. Apply a more humanistic approach to your job search, and a certain degree of humility, by volunteering within your community. By working selflessly with others, you’ll regain a sense of balance – and will then be able to focus on what is important to you, including a sense of contribution (rather than letting your view of what you should be, define you).

The Victim

Almost the polar opposite of the Ego, is the Victim. He can’t find a job, has little confidence – and tells the world that his situation is not his fault.

The typical Victim has built a fortress around himself. He’s submitted dozens, perhaps hundreds, of online applications and perhaps has been on several interviews. That effort hasn’t resulted in a single job offer, however. So, despite continuing to actively job search, he has no expectation of receiving an offer anytime soon.

The most telling sign of a Victim: he blames everyone and everything else for his current situation – the economy, his city, his old boss or company, maybe even his spouse or family.

If you are a Victim job seeker personality type:

Try something different! Take your job search in a different direction. Recognize that what you’ve been doing is not working. Also realize that no one wants to hire someone who constantly complains, makes excuses and blames others. Instead, they want someone who will fit their company culture and add to a pleasant, positive working environment.

Network more. Blog. Join the career-related chats on Twitter. Enlist the services of a professional career counselor or coach. And until you find some self-confidence… celebrate every little victory: a new lead, speaking to an influential contact, a new internship – anything to help you get out of victim mode.

The Stalker

The Stalker is one who is so eager (read: desperate) that she leaves all common sense behind.

She applies for the same job 16 times in three weeks. And/or after the interview… calls, emails and tweets so often she either scares, or annoys the hell out of, the recruiter. Through her actions, and perhaps despite the perfect resume and work experience, she comes off more like Glenn Close in ‘Fatal Attraction’ than she does the perfect team member. The Stalker rarely gets a first chance, and never gets a second.

No one wants to hire a stalker.

If you are a Stalker job seeker personality type:

Relax and resist. By “relax” I mean STOP letting your desperation show. And by “resist” I mean you must resist all temptation to turn into an overbearing, relentless candidate whom no one wants to hire. For a detailed “how-to” on effective (non-stalker) communication with a recruiter, see “Job Seekers: No One Ever Hires…a Stalker“.

With so many candidates competing with you for that dream job, be sure you don’t become a recruiter’s worst nightmare: the Ego, the Victim or the Stalker. If your job search is stalled, thoroughly review these three personality types and evaluate yourself honestly: do you fit into one of these categories?

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For this post, Campus to Career thanks our friends at YouTern!  Check out their blog, The Savvy Intern, for some really great career tips. (Psst! They’re also one of our 13 Super Experts to Follow on Twitter in 2013…just sayin’.)

mark-babbitt

About the author:  A passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, YouTern CEO Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in Forbes, Fortune, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, and Under30CEO.com regarding internships, emerging talent and the current job market – and was recently honored to be named to GenJuice’s “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” list.





Why You REALLY Need to Apply Online

13 08 2013

kitty

We’ve all heard it from recruiters all over the world.  When you meet them, whether at the career fair, networking function, or through sites like LinkedIn, they almost all have the same response:  “You’ll need to go to companyabc.com/careers to apply for the position of interest.”  I can hear the Debbie Downer “wah-wah” now.  It’s disheartening.  After all, you thought the five minutes you spent with the recruiter forged an unbreakable bound.  You’re family now, right?  Wrong.  You still need to apply online.

I had the opportunity to meet with some very smart recruiters from one of the nation’s top investment firms recently and they shared their insight with me around this subject.  Here’s what I learned:

Digital beats paper…every time.  Most still accept paper résumés, so please for the love of all that is good in the world, don’t forget to bring plenty of copies with you.  But, that’s only the first step.  Companies want you to apply to the job requisition (or “req”) so that your information can be shared with everyone relevant to the hiring process.  How much faith do you have that your paper résumé will reach the office, the sourcers, and then the hiring manager?  People lose things.  Don’t let your résumé get lost in the bottom of their bag, the heap on their desk or any of the million places in between.

PRO TIP: Does it feel like you’re sending your application off into a black hole?  Be sure to follow up with the recruiter once you’ve applied (this is why you get their business card) and ask if you need to submit anything else.  Then, give them a couple of weeks.  Follow up with a nice check-in.  Remind them who you are, how you met (ie: career fair at UCLA) and ask for next steps.  Request to connect with them on LinkedIn.

Rules and regulations.  Recruiters don’t just want you to apply online, most need you to do so in order to be compliant with OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs) regulations.  That means if the company is a government contractor (you’d be surprised) they cannot legally consider you as an applicant until you complete the online process.  So, giving them your résumé isn’t enough.

The changing workforce.  With the particular company that I spoke with, recruiters were spread out across the country.  None of them actually worked at the corporate office.  If one of them received a great resume at a career fair in California (and didn’t apply online) then it’s up to the recruiter to manually share the candidate’s résumé with the other recruiters.  Sometimes this happens, but most times, the résumé gets lost in the shuffle.  Would you want to put your entire future in the hands of ONE person?  I’m not sure I would.  Applying online allows the recruiters all across the nation to view your information.  You might not be a fit for California, but could be a perfect match for a position in Florida!  That’s just one example.

Side note: If you’re an Enactus United States student or alumni, there are hundreds of jobs posted right now with Fortune 500 companies on the Enactus US Career Marketplace.  Most allow you to complete application process through our system, so it’s super-easy!  Login or register today by clicking here then upload your résumé  Need a little résumé help? Check out Résumé Builder! Just another great resource provided by Enactus Career Services. (*Available exclusively to Enactus US students and alumni.)

So, now when someone asks you kindly to apply online, you’ll know WHY and hopefully you’ll follow their advice.

Have additional insight on online applications and why they’re important?  Please weigh in by leaving a comment.  This is YOUR forum.  We can learn from each other.  As always, thanks for reading!





Prepare to ROCK the New Interview

6 08 2013

keep-calm-and-rock-your-interview

Things change.  Companies adopt new ways of interviewing their potential employees.  This has become very apparent in recent history with the implementation of technology.  I’m not saying that you won’t be called in for a face to face interview just like your parents and their parents…I’m just saying that it’s becoming less likely that an in-person interview will happen first.

The new interview consists of all sorts of things like video, case studies, and group interaction.  I had the opportunity recently to speak with a recruiter from a multinational organization who shared that their company sometimes brings in candidates to work on a teambuilding activity.  While it seems fun and lighthearted for the participants, the recruiters are actually assessing them on their leadership skills.  Yes, the traditional interview looks a little different these days.

Today’s interview includes that wonderful piece of technology we call the telephone…even more today.  In many cases, the first interview or interviews will be conducted over the phone or through some type of video.  Why do they do this?  It’s cost-effective, it levels the playing field, and it’s easier to bring in all the people necessary for the conversation.

Gone are the days of standard interviews.  You probably won’t be asked what your greatest weakness is (hint: if they do ask, it’s not chocolate or working too much – both very real answers from real candidates!) or what three people you’d have dinner with if you could pick them from any time in history.  Okay…maybe some of those questions are still being asked.  It just won’t come from me.  I promise.

They’re not looking for a warm body to fill the seat anymore.  Like Jim Collins said (I’m paraphrasing): “we want the right people on the bus in the right seats!”  Leaders – that’s what companies today are looking for.  They’re using the technique of behavioral interviewing to determine whether or not the candidate is a culture fit as well as a skills match.  What does a behavioral interview question look like?  See below.

Behavioral interview question: How do you handle a challenge? Give an example. 

Pssstt!  Can I tell you a secret?  They’re not asking for a generic response like this:

“Well, we had this group project in school and the person that volunteered to be the leader never showed up to do their part.  So, I stepped in, worked all night and we got an ‘A’.” 

They’re looking for a response like this (hint: use the STAR method: Specific situation, task at hand, action you took, result achieved):

“During my time as project leader for Enactus, I was faced with the challenge of empowering someone in need, using an entrepreneurial approach to find real solutions so that the individual may increase their standard of life and way of living.  This was achieved through a project called…

My team and I assessed the situation, identified the needs (give example of need) and helped teach the individual the skills necessary for them to get out of the current system.  Today, that individual has started their own business, providing for their family and even employing three other individuals who can now help their families.”

By the way, have I mentioned Enactus recently?  I work for this fantastic organization.  To sum up what we do:  We enable progress through entrepreneurial action.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be an entrepreneur or even business student to be part of the Enactus team on your college campus.  The organization is open to any college student, any major, any year in school.  For more information and to see if there’s an Enactus team on your campus, please visit www.enactusunitedstates.org.  It’s a great way to gain some serious leadership skills, project management expertise and business acumen.  Check it out.

Here’s how YOU can ROCK the new interview:

Research.  Do the research.  This is your homework.  Every employer I talk to state the lack of preparation as one of the major reasons why the candidate fails in the interview.  Do the research.  Know the company.  Use Bing, Google, everything within reach to understand the company’s history, culture, brands, headquarters and office locations (this is one area overlooked by many job seekers) and more.  You have more technology available to you than any other generation in history.  Use it to your advantage!

Outfit.  Growing up, I had a teacher that referred to dressing up as “wearing his Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes.”  Simply put, he dressed to impress.  The interview (even via phone) requires you to dress your best.  I’m not talking about high fashion necessarily, but rather a clean, IRONED business suit.  Don’t have a suit?  Borrow a jacket and tie from a friend or family member.  They’d love to help you succeed.  Click here for a great article on simple, yet successful business attire.  You don’t have to go broke to dress the part for the interview.  I mentioned that even a phone interview requires your best.  Research has found that candidates who dress the part are more confident and comfortable vs. those that don’t dress in interview appropriate attire.  It does matter.  Don’t forget to wear your smile, too!

Curiosity.  I wrote last week about this topic.  Come to the interview with curiosity.  Better yet, come with questions!  This is another one of the pain points brought to my attention by some of the best recruiters in the business.  When the time comes to ask the interviewer questions, the candidate typically falls short.  Be curious.  Ask the tough questions.  No, I’m not talking about salary or benefits.  Please NEVER ask those questions in your first interview!  Believe me, when it’s time, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to discuss these topics.  Ask questions like this: “What skills are most important to succeed in this company or this position?”  More awesome interview questions to ask here.

Kindness.  Kindness can go a long  way.  The job search can be frustrating!  Ever “bite the head off” someone just for the way they were looking at you?  Me neither… But, what I’m trying to say is that we all get it.  Life is tough.  This is your chance to be a bright spot in someone’s day, not the worst part.  It’s almost sad that I have to mention this, but it’s important to be nice.  Nice guys don’t finish last…they finish right.  Smile at people.  Be enthusiastic about the job you’re interviewing for.  Don’t take yourself so seriously.  Lighten up.  Ask people how you can help them (note: be able to actually help them…know your limits) and do it.  Kindness always comes full circle.  I promise.

Still need a few really good interview tips?  Here’s one from my friends at US News & World Report:  3 Novel Things You Must Do During Interview Prep.    Video interview coming up?  Here’s an excellent article from my friends at CAREEREALISM: Skype Interviews: What You Need to Know.  Also, check out these amazing articles from the awesome folks at YouTern: Recruiters Reveal Their 6 Toughest Interview Questions and The 5 Best Interview Tips…Ever.

Now, go out and ROCK your interview!