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.

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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