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Hiring an Intern

Have you considered the benefits of hiring an Intern?  Real-world experience for a student is invaluable to their future—and incredibly beneficial to your company!  An internship can be part-time or full-time, long- or short-term, and at any time during the year.  Many employers think that internships are primarily beneficial to students. However, the benefits to your company are equally important:

  • Interns bring in new perspectives on organizational issues: Interns are not stuck in the “This is the way we’ve always done it” mentality. They can bring fresh, new ideas to your company. Interns are good at questioning processes and can often see a different way of doing things that an existing manager might not.
  • Young professionals are familiar with new technology: Social media, computer programs, smart phones, and iPads; new technology is a piece of cake for young professionals. Even if you are a young entrepreneur, you can always use a hand from a fellow Gen Y tech-savvy professional who is up to date on the newest tech trends.
  • An Internship allows a trial period that could lead to something more: Your company gets the opportunity to screen and work with potential entry-level employees prior to making a full-time commitment. Moreover, if the Intern becomes part of your team they have already screened your company and received on-the-job training, reducing your training outlay and risk of turnover.
  • Interns can help you meet important project or task deadlines: There are always projects or tasks that you need help with or are struggling to complete. Utilizing an Intern offers you an eager helper to meet your most pressing deadlines.
  • Interns are productive, courteous and trying to make an impression: Your company can capitalize on the convenience and flexibility of hiring additional staff during peak seasons, without the issues that often come along with short-term hiring.
  • Your company can gain brand advocates and free advertising: The best marketing tool is social media. You can expand your company’s online presence in an organic way as the Intern posts online about their favorable experience with your company.
  • Hiring an Intern can develop your existing team: Junior-level managers within your organization can gain supervisory experience by working with Interns. By screening Interns, your company can grow its pool of qualified candidates for future recruiting needs.

Hiring an Intern is a great opportunity for your team, and for the future graduate! Aclivity has teamed up Colorado Universities to identify and recruit developing talent in the Accounting and Finance fields. We would be happy to leverage our connections to help you find the right Intern!

Get the Most Out of Your Career

Get the Most Out of Your Career

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2017

Do you enjoy your job? Are you living up to your potential? Can you answer yes to these questions on most days? You’re going to have good days and bad days at work. Every job has some elements that are less pleasing than others; the goal is to have many more enjoyable than disagreeable days. Here are 8 steps you can take to maximize your career potential.

  1. Make sure you are in the right job. Do you enjoy what you do? If yes, great, if no, then determine what you’d rather be doing and what it takes to get that job. Perhaps you took this job under financial pressures or as a stop gap. Then don’t lose sight of your dreams and values. Get back on track and go for your dreams.
  2. Always have an up-to-date resume and an exit strategy. Be prepared to make a move when an opportunity presents itself or if a change in business jeopardizes or eliminates your job.
  3. Continue to learn new skills and technologies. Explore educational opportunities that will make you more valuable and attractive to employers.
  4. Take on new challenges. Volunteer for the projects that your peers avoid.
  5. Become a valuable resource. Be the subject matter expert that everyone goes to. Mentor and coach new hires and struggling associates.
  6. Continue to challenge yourself. Always have a goal you are striving for and a plan to achieve it. Once you achieve that goal, set another goal and begin working toward it.
  7. Invest in yourself. Attend conferences. Meet new people. Expand your influence.
  8. Always give a little more than what’s expected. Go the extra mile in all that you do.

Energize Your Job Search

Energize Your Job Search

            By Roberta Gamza, JCTC, JST, CEIP, Founder, CAREER INK (www.careerink.com)

Entering the job market is a daunting task, and even more so in today’s volatile economy. It is easy to get frustrated, angry and lose confidence as your job search yields little or no results. The following tips will help you stay on task, keep your spirits high, and maintain confidence.

  • Expect your job search to take at least four months depending on the economic climate in your target industry, profession, and location.
  • With so many highly qualified candidates for so few jobs, luck and timing will play a big part in the process.
  • If you’re frustrated by a long unfruitful search, step back and breathe deeply. Do something fun or ego boosting and regroup. Now, evaluate your job search actions and resources.
  • Are you approaching your job search as you would a work project? Do you have clear goals, an action plan, and measurements?
  • Be clear and focused on the position you are seeking. An “I’ll take anything” strategy will work against you. Determine what positions you are qualified for and enjoy the most. Build a resume for each position.
  • Identify and prioritize the companies you would like to work for and study them. Follow the hidden job market. Check local business journals and newspapers for announcements that will impact the local economy.
  • If you are getting interviews from your resume, your resume works. If you are interviewing but not getting offers, then your interviewing skills need help. Seek professional help for your resume or interviewing skills if they are not working. Consider the cost of professional help an investment in your future. The sooner you are back to work, the sooner the investment pays off.
  • Schedule your action plan. Allow time for research, correspondence, networking, and follow-up. Track your actions and results. Keep copies of your correspondence. Make notes about the outcome of your networking activities.
  • Network! Network! Network! Be prepared to network and network often! It’s not only who you know but who knows you! Networking is the number one method for finding work. About 85% of all jobs are filled by networking while only 4% are filled through the Internet. Contact everyone you know and find out who they know in your target companies.
  • If you’re networking, have a great résumé, and a solid strategy, but are not getting results, you are not alone. There are many reasons beyond your control for no response:
    • The posting was an effort to test the market. No real position exits now.
    • There is an inside candidate and the company must post the job according to policy.
    • The funding for the position is under review or has been revoked.
    • Re-organization or downsizing eliminated the position.
    • The competition revealed many qualified candidates with the exact skill set required.

Remain confident. Looking for work is a full-time job. Schedule your day. Allow time for enjoyment. Stay focused on what you do well. Don’t let frustration or desperation take over and steer you off course. Approach your search just as you would any work project. Set realistic expectations and reasonable schedules. Be patient, but persistent. It will pay off.

Is A Coverletter Right for You?

Is A Coverletter Right for You?

Shenia Ivey, Ivey Concepts & Solutions LLC (www.ivey-solutions.com) | © 2017

When We Are Applying for Jobs the Question is Coverletter or No Coverletter?

The internet has allowed us to apply to many jobs and get responses much quicker than years ago.  Some employers request a coverletter and when one is requested, yes you absolutely need to spend some time to research the following areas and write the coverletter in a manner in which it is personal to not only the position, but also to describing you and your fit into the organization.

Coverletter Do’s

  • Address the coverletter to the hiring manager
  • If you choose you may opt out of attaching a coverletter, unless mandated
  • Personalize how you will make a difference in the organization if hired
  • Adjust the coverletter according to the job description
  • Close the coverletter by giving a date and time to loop back to the hiring manager
  • Use the same formatting on your coverletters as your resume’

Coverletter Don’ts 

  • Address the coverletter “Dear Hiring Manager”
    • The internet is an excellent resource to identify the hiring manager by name
    • Use social media applications, such as Linkedin.com to determine an internal company connection
  • Allow the coverletter to be a complete regurgitation of your resume
  • Treat the coverletter with disrespect when you do attach it, it does have power when done right.
  • Use multiple fonts in a coverletter
  • Leave off the organization’s address (do your due diligence)
    • Once again use the internet to research the company
    • Many times larger organizations have multiple office spaces

There are those who believe in coverletters and if this is you then you need to utilize it for all for the bang and if you do not believe they hold all of the power that they could possibly do to catapult you into the position of your dreams then do not send one unless it its mandatory.    Those that are successful with coverletters are those that truly believe in the power of the coverletter.

Get the Most Out of Your Career

Get the Most Out of Your Career

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2017

 

Do you enjoy your job? Are you living up to your potential? Can you answer yes to these questions on most days? You’re going to have good days and bad days at work. Every job has some elements that are less pleasing than others; the goal is to have many more enjoyable than disagreeable days. Here are 8 steps you can take to maximize your career potential.

  1. Make sure you are in the right job. Do you enjoy what you do? If yes, great, if no, then determine what you’d rather be doing and what it takes to get that job. Perhaps you took this job under financial pressures or as a stop gap. Then don’t lose sight of your dreams and values. Get back on track and go for your dreams.
  2. Always have an up-to-date resume and an exit strategy. Be prepared to make a move when an opportunity presents itself or if a change in business jeopardizes or eliminates your job.
  3. Continue to learn new skills and technologies. Explore educational opportunities that will make you more valuable and attractive to employers.
  4. Take on new challenges. Volunteer for the projects that your peers avoid.
  5. Become a valuable resource. Be the subject matter expert that everyone goes to. Mentor and coach new hires and struggling associates in your career field.
  6. Continue to challenge yourself. Always have a goal you are striving for and a plan to achieve it. Once you achieve that goal, set another goal and begin working toward it.
  7. Invest in yourself. Attend conferences. Meet new people. Expand your influence.
  8. Always give a little more than what’s expected. Go the extra mile in all that you do.

You Have an Interview, Now the Question is How Should You Dress?

You Have an Interview, Now the Question is How Should You Dress?

Shenia Ivey MBA, CPC, Ivey Concepts & Solutions (www.ivey-solutions.com) | © 2017

 

What you wear to the interview will demonstrate how serious you are about the position.  It does not matter if this is the recruiter, hiring manager, or the CEO that has called you in for the initial interview  it is your immediate job to get off to a great start.  Here are some key elements that will not let you down.

  • Be on time
  • Be prepared
  • Take notes
  • Ask Questions
  • Have done your homework about the company
  • Know how you are going to be instrumental
  • Dress professionally

Just because the employer set an interview does not mean you have the job in the bag.  Remember you never get a second chance to make that first impression. So now you need to impress the decision maker with what you know, and basically you should treat your interview as if it is an audition.  What are you auditioning for you might ask? The interview or job audition is usually to determine if you are a good fit for the culture of the organization, the office, the team or all the above.  It could be the first of many, so take a deep breath and be yourself.

  • Do Not over dress.
  • Do Not wear jeans.
  • Do Not wear flip flops.
  • Do not wear shorts.
  • Do Not wear anything with holes in it.
  • Do Not wear tennis shoes or sneakers.
  • Do Not wear tank tops.
  • Do Not wear anything too revealing.
  • Do Not wear strong cologne or perfume as it may offend the decision maker.

Have you ever heard the saying “Dress for the position you want, not the position you have?”

Keep in mind that being called in for an interview is wonderful and gives the decision maker a great deal of power and being successful in the outcome of an interview requires that you feel confident with yourself. Confidence is portrayed in a number of methods, knowledge, communication skills, and appearance.  Allow your confidence to give you back some of the power.

  • Do choose attire that is clean.
  • Do choose slacks that are not too tight.
  • Do choose a dress or skirt that is of appropriate length.
  • Do choose wrinkle free clothing.
  • Do choose a nice shirt (possibly a button down collared shirt).
  • Do choose closed-toe shoes.
  • Do wear appropriate make-up.
  • Do manicure nails and or facial hair.
  • Do try to cover up body parts that have been tattooed.

Women do not have to wear a dress to an interview, however a nice pair of slacks that fit appropriately will do.  Do not wear anything too low cut or revealing as you do not want to offend anyone.  If you have body piercings or tattoos you may want to keep them covered (if possible) until you understand the climate of the organization.  Men: a tie is not always necessary; however, it does provide the professional look that most corporations are looking towards.

Keep in mind that you may be given leverage to wear more casual attire once hired and tattoos or body piercings may not be against company dress code.  What we are talking about is how you should dress for is the interview.  It is about the initial impression you are sending to your potential new company when asking them to embark on a journey with you.

 

 

How to Write Your First Resume

How to Write Your First Resume

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2017

Hot Not to Lose the Job

Congratulations Graduate!  You’ve earned that degree; now is the time to put it to work and land your first job. You’re going to need a resume!

Sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. The goal of a resume is to generate interest and interviews, so your resume must position you as a valuable candidate. As a new grad, you may feel you lack the experience necessary to do that, but you have more experience than you think.

Resume writing must start with a goal and that goal is to land a desirable job with a desirable employer, not just any job with any employer. Make a list of companies and positions that are of interest. Then look for job postings that align with your choices. Carefully examine those postings and look for keywords. Keywords are the words applicant tracking systems are going to use to filter online applicants; they are industry buzzwords and terminology, the names of applications and tools you use in performing the job, action verbs, and hard skills you need to perform the job. Job postings are loaded with keywords and your resume needs to contain about 70% of the keywords the hiring manager selected to pass the filter. Now that you have your targeted employers and positions, you can work on your resume content strategy. Resumes are future-focused marketing documents intended to position you as the best candidate for the job. They must contain content that is meaningful and relevant to the hiring manager and demonstrate your potential to learn and perform. To gather content, take a fresh look at your classes and class projects, extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences, and jobs, even the menial jobs you’ve held. There’s a lot more there than you think.

There are 3 resume sections that are a must for new grads: Education and Relevant Coursework, Work Experience (paid and unpaid), and Extracurricular Activities.

Education and Relevant Coursework

  • Course work and projects often simulate real world work and can add valuable experience to the resume just like internships and fellowships.
  • Academic or project competitions can highlight your contributions, teamwork, and accomplishments.
  • Participation in special academic programs and international studies speak highly of you.

Work Experience

  • Summer jobs demonstrate dependability, trustworthiness, accomplishment, and growth in responsibility.
  • On-campus and off-campus jobs while attending classes demonstrate time management, organization, and prioritization skills while revealing your motivation and determination.
  • Internships

Extracurricular Activities

  • Volunteer roles, working with community charities and fundraisers can show everything from leadership, commitment, and problem solving skills to passion and kindness.
  • Roles and responsibilities in fraternities, sororities, as well as student clubs and organizations show your commitment, initiative, and often teamwork and/or leadership qualities. If you’ve planned and led a special event, you have experience in project planning, logistics, leadership, and fiscal management.

Be sure to write powerfully and concisely; use active tense. Allow sufficient time for this part of the process. It takes much more time to write tight, concise, and targeted content. Be prepared to write and rewrite a few iterations of your resume. Remember format is equally as important as content. You must make it easy for the reader to consume this content, so forget gimmicks, slick fonts, and brightly colored paper unless you are a graphic artist. Stick to tried and true, common fonts and use plenty of white space and bold judiciously. Don’t use templates unless you want to look like everyone else. Most importantly, never determine length before you have your content. You resume may fit on one page, but don’t try to cram it onto one page. If your content demands more than one page, go to two pages. Just be sure all content is meaningful and relevant to the position you seek.

Networking for Students

Networking for Students

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” The saying is true. Ask any senior executive, politician or community leader which single skill or habit helped them excel in their career. An overwhelming majority will respond with one word: Networking.

Developing relationships with a network of other people provides you with professional and personal opportunities—and connects you to people who need what you have to offer. Students who take the time to create a network of connections during college can jump start their careers, finding opportunities for development through recruiters linked to their personal network.

What is Networking?

Networking is all about making personal connections; creating long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with individuals in a web of interconnected people. Your network might include friends, professors or students in your classes, co-workers or professional mentors. You can network anywhere, anytime—in your personal or professional life, on the ski slopes or golf course, at school or cocktail parties. Your network will provide references for you, and points of reference for you as you grow, learn and develop your career.

Why Network?

Networking might be initially daunting, but you will find compatible personalities in your networking whether you are shy or outgoing. Consider a few good reasons for networking:

  • Personal relationships enable you/your organization to stand out, rise above the noise and remain at the forefront of others’ minds
  • Relationships are a catalyst for success
  • People do business with (or hire) those they like and trust
  • If you offer others your experience, knowledge and connections, you can help them succeed
  • Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization
  • Networking will undoubtedly provide you with opportunities to learn, share and grow
  • Networking could quite possibly open the door to your next career move
  • Networking goes hand in hand with recruiting. When it’s time to find a job, your network can help you find opportunities you’re well-suited to
  • Networking with accounting societies provides many opportunities for recruiting, including the opportunity to intern during your college years.
  • Every year companies send their top recruiters to colleges to start identifying future employees to court for positions within their company. If you have built strong connections, odds will be good that a member of your network (who is connected to the recruiter’s network) will speak up for you when recruiters ask for recommendations.

Networking: A True Story

A senior-level accountant lost his position during a corporate restructuring and did not want to relocate. He received company-paid outplacement counseling and spent the next few months following the standard process of researching opportunities, making calls, scheduling interviews, tracking listings on online job boards, and sending resumes to employers. This process led to a few new leads every week, but none that were such a perfect match that his interviews brought job offers.

On his way home one Friday afternoon (after another unsuccessful interview) the accountant pulled into his local gas station. The station owner struck up a conversation with the accountant and asked, “How are things going?” Instead of giving a thoughtless reply like, “I’m fine”, the accountant answered honestly. He explained that he had lost his job a few months before and was not having any luck finding a new position close enough to home. The station owner asked what he did, and when the owner learned that this customer was an accountant said, “My sister was telling me last weekend that her company is having a hard time finding a new accountant, and she’s just a few miles from here.”

The accountant had a job interview a few days later. An offer followed within a week. He accepted.

Where Can I Go to Network?

Many professional associations offer networking events, which connect you with a circle of contacts in a particular field or area of interest.

  • You can get information on local networking events from various industry organizations. The accounting organizations below provide networking forums:
    • The Colorado Society of CPA’s: cocpa.org
    • The local chapters of Institute of Internal Auditors iia.org
    • The Institute of Management Accountants: imanet.org
  • Look into student accounting societies such as Beta Alpha Psi
  • Talk to your professors; they can help you make connections with people in varying circles of influence
  • Try a student membership for the Colorado Society of CPA’s: cocpa.org. They can connect you with a mentor that can help you chart your career path and recommend networking opportunities

Tips for Networking Events

When you attend networking events, you are opening the door to making many acquaintances that could grow to become part of your network. It can be a little intimidating to attend social events focused on making personal connections, but you can set yourself up for success by considering the ideas below:

  • The purpose of a networking event is solely to meet potential business contacts and to have them meet you. Go in with an open mindset and be willing to share yourself in a professional, authentic way.
  • Hold your drink in your left hand, because the right hand is the one you will be using to shake hands. A cold and clammy hand does not make a good impression!
  • Put your nametag on your right shoulder. This way, while you are shaking hands, your contact can focus on your name.
  • Do not be afraid to mingle, introduce yourself to strangers and shake hands. That is how people strike up new connections!
  • Searching for conversation ideas?
    • Offer to introduce people, and share a few details about each person during the introduction: “Edgar, this is Mary. Mary is an auditor at CompanyX and a chess champion. Mary, this is Edgar. Edgar is a CFO at CompanyY and a great golfer.”
    • Share your opinions about a great book you have just read or movie you have seen.
    • Ask people to tell you about themselves. Many people like to have an open invitation to choose what they will tell you about their life and experience. They may give you an answer to a question you did not think of asking!
  • Remember to have fun! Networking isn’t just about finding a job, promoting your company or keeping your name “out there.” At the core, it’s really about making personal connections.
  • Don’t forget to stay connected! In a world of text messaging and e-mails it’s easier than ever for people to stay in touch. Distance breaks networks down, so be sure to reach out to your contacts frequently to let them know you are there.

Networking is an important skill in every stage of your career. You can benefit from connections made through your network, and you can help others by making connections for them. Next time you’re looking for new opportunity, put your (or our!) network to work!

Do you want help learning the art of networking?  We offer candidate coaching!

Call us! We’re here to help!

Never Look for a Job Again

Never Look for a Job Again

Wouldn’t it be nice to never look for a job again? We’ve all known people who seem to get all the breaks. They often get offers for highly coveted positions the rest of us didn’t even know about. Ever wonder how they do it? Why is it that recruiters call them first?

The answer is simple, these people have become very attractive passive candidates, the recognized experts in their field, the people you go to for the answers, the ones you believe can solve your problems. These are the people companies want to hire and recruiters want in their prized database.

So how did they become so attractive? They capitalize on their strengths, are always authentic, outperform their job descriptions and peers, and build strong networks and enduring relationships they can call when needed. They provide extra value to the company; they plan and manage their business and career and don’t waste time, energy, or resources. They become so good at what they do that they don’t have to look for jobs, jobs find them. They may not be looking for work, but are open to the right opportunity when presented with it.

If you start with these 5 steps and continue them throughout your career, opportunities will come your way.

  1. Know your strengths and drivers and use them. If you match your abilities, natural aptitudes, and values with the right work environment, the result will be workplace success and satisfaction. When you work outside your strengths, you dread going to work. You are going to have more negative encounters at work and you will probably treat customers or co-workers poorly. You’re likely to complain about the company, achieve less, and have fewer creative ideas. When you work within your strengths, you’ll build energy and excitement, increase your productivity, and feel good about your work and yourself. You will do good work; success and satisfaction will naturally follow.
  2. Exhibit leadership qualities: initiative, influence, collaboration, and communication. Leaders volunteer and show initiative; they formulate and implement strategies; solve problems; respond to threats and adapt to change. Leaders support innovation and collaborate across boundaries. They engage and inspire employees, co-workers, and even customers. Leaders set or influence goals and readily accept responsibility for outcomes, good or bad.
  3. Find meaningful work that builds career value. Meaningful work is the intersection of your strengths, drivers, and values with company goals. When these things come together, there will be no stopping you. If you’re not experiencing career value, ask yourself why. Are you in the right position? Is something stopping you? Can you negotiate it into your job or do you need to find another job?
  4. Commit to lifelong learning and invest in your career. Change is the one constant we face. What is the minimum investment required to stay meaningful and relevant in your field? What is required to make you a thought leader? Join professional associations, read trade publications, attend conferences and online training. Find a mentor or adviser. If your employer doesn’t invest in your development, don’t let that stop you. It is your career; your investment will ultimately pay off in a better job with a better employer.
  5. Build powerful connections and communicate frequently with stakeholders who have a vested interest in your efforts. Having a robust network and connections builds professional credibility, keeps you relevant, can eliminate obstacles, and create opportunities. Make yourself visible, but not annoying. Communicate business benefits and results; be sure to share the spotlight and credit contributors.

Highly attractive passive candidates always practice these 5 steps; they are second nature to them. With a little practice, you can become an attractive passive candidate that hiring managers and recruiters seek out for their opportunities. Wouldn’t it be nice to never look for a job again?

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2016

When to Call a Professional Resume Writer

When to Call a Professional Resume Writer

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2016

It’s time to call in a professional when:

  • YOU REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANT THE POSITION!
  • You don’t have the knowledge, desire, or time to write your resume or LinkedIn profile.
  • You’re frustrated and confused by all conflicting advice you’ve received and found on your own.
  • You’ve spent hours upon hours on your resume or LinkedIn profile and you are still not happy.
  • Your resume hasn’t produced any responses or interviews.
  • You have employment gaps or an eclectic career history.

Do you have the knowledge, desire, and time to write your resume or LinkedIn profile?

So, what does it take to create a professional quality resume or LinkedIn profile?

Knowledge: Resume and LinkedIn profile writing is much more than sitting down to write your career history. It is presenting your career history in a powerful, concise, and compelling way that captivates employers by predicting future performance.

Both the resume and LinkedIn profile require a strategy to position you as the most qualified candidate. The content must be meaningful and relevant to the position and use the language of the job you seek. This kind of writing uses a combination of technical writing, marketing, and sales skills. And simultaneously you need to optimize the resume for applicant tracking systems with keywords, language, and formatting that ensure your resume is not rejected by a computer and your LinkedIn profile is found by recruiters and hiring managers.

Desire: Do you really want to write your resume and LinkedIn profile? Are you excited about it and really looking forward to doing it this weekend? Or, is it that you just can’t put it off any longer and now it’s become a chore like cleaning out the garage? You set aside 4 hours on Saturday morning and come what may, you are getting it done! If that’s the case, you lost sight of the goal. The goal isn’t to get a resume written, the goal is to land that new position. The resume and LinkedIn profile are tools to help you win the job.

Time: Are you a writer? Does it excite you to find the perfect word to convey the exact meaning? Do you frequently look for alternative words in a dictionary or thesaurus? It takes much more time to write tight, concise, and targeted content than longer content. As the saying goes, if I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter. Are you willing to put in hours needed to tighten and perfect the content?

How about Microsoft Word? Are you an expert or merely proficient in Word? Can you format a visually appealing document? Do you know how to support your message with formatting? Do you know when and how to use emphasis, tables, and graphics? That’s where technical writing skills come into play. Are you aware of good resume writing practices?

Impact on your livelihood, potential income, and job satisfaction!

It takes specialized knowledge, precise skills, a deliberate strategy, and commitment to excellence to create a powerful and compelling resume. Your resume and LinkedIn profile are your calling card and brochure. They enable your network to be your champion when opportunities arise.

These powerful documents have a direct impact on your livelihood, potential income, and job satisfaction. Do you really want to rely on well-meaning amateurs for these critical documents? Maybe, it is time to consider a professional resume and LinkedIn writer who spent years honing their knowledge and skills, developing their intrinsic writing talents, and is committed to excellence in their field.

A professionally written resume is an investment, not an expense. The most expensive resume you will ever have is the one that does not get responses.

Written By: Roberta Gamiza (www.career.ink)

 

Why Isn’t My Resume Getting Responses?

Why Isn’t My Resume Getting Responses?

So, you’ve got a great resume and a solid job search strategy. You’ve networked with everyone you know. You’re still not getting much response or those great opportunities you were hoping for still elude you. What’s happening?

There are some good reasons that a great resume may not get a response:

  • The posting was an effort to gather resumes early and test the market. No real position exits now.
  • There is an inside candidate and the company must post the job per policy.
  • The funding for the position is under review or has been revoked.
  • Re-organization or downsizing eliminated the position.
  • Competition revealed many qualified candidates with the exact skill set required. It’s a matter of numbers.
  • The hiring manager is so swamped, he feels he cannot stop long enough to hire anyone.

These reasons are all beyond your control and have nothing to do with you.

However, there are two reasons that are completely in your control.

  • You are qualified, but your resume doesn’t show it.
  • You are not qualified for the position.

You may need a reality check and an objective review of your resume. Despite your best efforts, if you are not getting responses from employers for positions you are fully qualified for, the most likely reason is your resume does not demonstrate your qualifications and value. If you suspect this is the case, have your resume reviewed by a professional resume writer.

The last reason for no response that is in your control is you are simply not qualified for the position. Be realistic when you apply for a job. You know if you’re qualified or not. Don’t let yourself fall into the desperation trap of applying for anything hoping something will come through. You are only doing yourself a disservice and damaging your credibility with employers.

Written by: Roberta Gamza (www.careerink.com)

Top 10 Tips for Writing a Great Resume

Top 10 Tips for Writing a Great Resume

Does your resume grab the attention and hit home with employers? Does it generate responses? A resume is not just a history of your career, a listing of jobs you held and tasks you performed. It’s a future-oriented marketing piece positioning you as the most qualified candidate for a position. To do that, the content must be based on the position you are seeking, not just the ones you held. The content needs to be meaningful and relevant to the employer. It must demonstrate initiative, problem solving, and value to previous employers.

Know what’s important to the employer. Begin with a strong focused introduction. Concisely summarize responsibilities and focus on your accomplishments. Be very strategic; paint the right picture with your words. Use formatting to enhance readability and drive your message home. Write tight; trim and polish at least three times. Take these 10 tips to heart when preparing your resume.

  1. Get into the right mindset. Overcome procrastination and don’t lose sight of the real goal. It may seem like your goal is to write your resume, but your real goal is to capture the employer’s attention and land a job.
  2. Start fresh. Get rid of old resume baggage. Keep your eye on the job you are seeking. Approach your resume with today’s perspective.
  3. Assume the employer’s perspective. It’s not the story you want to tell, but the story the employer wants to hear. Demonstrate you can solve problems, save money, and make money.
  4. Don’t tell me, sell me! Job hunting is a sales job. Your resume is a sales tool, marketing brochure, and calling card. In sales features attract, but benefits sell. Load your resume with benefits. Articulate your value, previous contributions, and successes.
  5. Use industry keywords liberally and appropriately. Don’t just dump them in the resume, use them in context throughout the resume.
  6. Capture attention with a combination style that includes an introduction, career history, short job descriptions, bulleted accomplishments, education/professional development, specialized training, credentials, and certifications as well as affiliations, memberships, and community involvement.
  7. Distinguish responsibilities from accomplishments. Responsibilities are the tasks they hired you to do; anyone with your same title has the same responsibilities. Accomplishments tell us how well you performed those tasks and how valuable you were to your employer. Accomplishments are unique to you. They differentiate you from other candidates.

Avoid weak responsibilities; they do more harm than good. Ineffective resumes include long laundry lists of bulleted responsibilities. They tend to be passive, uninspiring, and make you look like every other candidate. (i.e., troubleshoot networking components, install, configure, and maintain computer equipment). Do not just repeat your job description.

Use strong responsibilities that paint a robust picture of what you did. (i.e., Service Manager. Managed a 7-member team repairing an average of 390 warranty and non-warranty repair orders per month.)

  1. Make accomplishments strong. Maximize the most powerful content on your resume. Quantify or explain the impact of your work on the organization. Frame your results with context. State how you improved or streamlined something, mentored someone, avoided a crisis, helped a customer, increased productivity, saved money, and so on. (i.e., Consistently beat annual profit target of $1.5M by at least 2X. Delivered 20% of company’s total 2015 revenue with 15% profit margin.)
  2. Avoid standard templates that make you look like every other candidate and follow good resume writing practices. Be generous with white space; select a common font; vary sentence structure and employ parallel construction; use emphasis sparingly; be consistent in capitalization, punctuation, spelling, type, and line spacing.
  3. Edit, proof, and polish at least twice, then walk away and look it over with fresh eyes in a day or so.
Written by: Roberta Gamza (www.careerink.com)

Really Different or Rarely Different?

Really Different or Rarely Different?

I hate labels such as “Millennials” – a term first coined by Strauss & Howe in their book Generations.

My wife asked me to write an article on Millennials in the Workplace. The general definition of Millennials seems to be those born between 1980 and 2000. Now, I am in the habit of doing (almost) everything my wife asks of me, but why me? I doubt I have anything more to add to the myriad of opinions out there. Everyone has a position on the topic, and none of the research is conclusive. I have spent the last week having an internal debate in my head and thinking of reasons why I should not do this. I can’t justify turning down my wife…

So here are my Generation X (generally born between 1960 and 1980) observations, solely within the workplace.

This is based upon what I have observed, what I feel etc., not scientific conclusions, just my biased non-researched views. So there, you can’t challenge me for this article. And, by the way, what qualifies me as remotely capable of writing down my views? Probably because I have three Millennials as kids and that I work with about 30 of them at Wazee Digital every day.

The way I think about Millennials in the Workplace is to begin by understanding what they faced when they entered the workplace. Yes, there could be all sorts of psychological factors that influenced them prior to that. However, I focus on what they faced from about 2005 to 2010 when the earliest group of them left their college and protective parent years behind and entered the workplace. Not quite losing the generational lottery, but during this short 5-year period here is what they generally saw:

  • Global Financial Crises & the Mortgage Loan debacle
  • Many of their parents unemployed and or savings depleted
  • Disastrous and costly Middle East Wars
  • Climate Change and an Environmental mess
  • Political gridlock
  • Corporate scandals
  • Resurgent China and offshoring depressing wages
  • Terrorism close to home

As I think about it, the only things Generation X have provided Millennials that provide great utility are: The Internet, the cellphone & e-commerce.

So, I totally understand why Millennials often exhibit a high degree of skepticism and distrust with Generation X. Estimates say that by 2020, nearly half of all workers in the workplace will be Millennials. I believe all workplaces have this unavoidable Millennial/Gen X combination – typically with Gen X as management and Millennial as non-management. Workplaces will have to understand these factors and challenge the traditional management/employee dynamic. For me, the cornerstone is all about inspiring the Millennials, understanding the different views and avoiding stereotypes.

While I agreed with my wife to write an article (short) not an essay (long), let me close by listing all the disparaging terms I hear about Millennials and give you my opinion as they relate to the workplace: They..

  • Have a lesser work ethic than Gen X – untrue. You are not inspiring them.
  • Want to do meaningful work – true. What’s wrong with that?
  • Have been so sheltered – why is this even relevant? If it’s true it’s the Gen X’s fault – so fix it.
  • Are overconfident – great.
  • Provide immediate candid feedback – who wants to work with folks who “suffer in silence” anyway?
  • Think communicating is texting – true. Texting and email are great for information sharing but awful for convincing or relationship building.
  • See supervisors as mentors not bosses – yes, Gen X’ers they actually want your help!
  • Are over entitled – sometimes. Probably because Gen X parents over protected them and are not finding that “air-cover” in the workplace.
  • Don’t have a defined career path – fair point. Keep encouraging and give them freedom to explore.
  • Value job satisfaction over financial rewards – correct. But the Gen X obsession with money has not worked out so well.
  • Look for a better work/life balance – correct. Why not? Travel, health, and rest are proven to provide more productive employees.
  • Don’t trust management – correct. Most Gen X management teams have not earned this trust.
  • Change jobs when the going gets tough – fair point. This is one the Millennials must own. The grass is rarely greener.
  • Don’t ascribe to Corporate Values – partially true. But most corporate values are BS anyway.
  • Rudely multi-task – yes, Millennials (and a number of Gen X’ers) you are guilty as charged. You can’t fully participate in a conversation and have one eye on your phone.
  • Have a strong BS detection antennae – correct. They sniff this out very well.
  • Have a greater sense of community purpose – correct. Companies should be part of the societies in which they live. Millennials are challenging companies to turn this from an annual report fable into a true commitment.

Hopefully my views can form part of the beginning of a generational understanding in the workplace not the end of the debate. Yet most of all, I hope that Millennials have the courage to mimic the Gen X strengths and learn from our Gen X’s many mistakes – so that they can preserve my social security benefits for years to come!

Mark A. Pougnet | COO and CFO

——————————————————

Wazee Digital

1515 Arapahoe St, Tower 3, Suite 400

Denver, CO 80202

E  mark.pougnet@wazeedigital.com

 M 720-635-5276

www.wazeedigital.com

 

Benefits of Hiring and Intern

Benefits of Hiring an Intern! 

Have you considered the benefits of hiring an Intern?  Real-world experience for a student is invaluable to their future and incredibly beneficial to your company.  An internship can be part-time or full-time long or short term any time during the year.  Think flexibility and out-of-the-box!  The traditional thought is that an internship is mostly beneficial to the student. However, the benefits to your company are equally important:

  1. Gain a new perspective on organizational issues – Interns aren’t stuck in the “this is the way we’ve always done it” mentality. They can bring fresh, new ideas to the company. Interns are good at questioning processes and can often see a different way of doing things that a manager might not.
  2. Enjoy the ease of use with technology – Social media, computer programs, smart phones, and iPads – these are a piece of cake for young professionals.  Even if you are a young entrepreneur, you can always use a hand from a fellow Gen Y tech-savvy professional who is up to date on the newest tech trends.
  3. It’s a trial period that could lead to something more – It is an opportunity to screen and work with potential entry-level employees prior to making a full-time commitment. Reduce turnover and training among entry-level employees who were former interns. If this young professional becomes part of your team they have learned on the job and saves you on hiring and training.
  4. Accomplish hard to accomplish projects and tasks – There are always projects or tasks that you need help with or are struggling to complete – why not get a helping hand that is eager to step in and are used to help meet deadlines.
  5. They are productive, courteous and trying to impress – It provides  convenience and flexibility of hiring additional staff during peak seasons
  6. Gain brand advocates and free advertising – The best marketing tool is social media and the brand awareness an intern can share online will help expand your company’s online presence.
  7. Financially favorable for the hiring organization & develops your internal team – A chance for junior-level managers within your organization to gain supervisory experience. Good “word-of-mouth” in the recruiting marketplace and an increased pool of qualified candidates to meet future recruiting needs.

Hiring an intern is a great opportunity for your team and future graduate.

We would like to help you in this process as we stay connected to the Colorado Universities and their students.

Aclivity is teaming up with a few of the major universities to help facilitate internship placement, so free to reach out to either of us so we can help facilitate the process!

Angela Roberts

Angela.Roberts@Aclivity.com

Shenia Ivey

Shenia.Ivey@Aclivity.com

Here are a few criteria I forgot to mention below.  Additionally:

  1. No third party recruiters
  2. No multilevel marketing schemes
  3. No investment required by the student and no penalties for withdrawing
  4. No commission only positions

Metropolitan State – Michelle Brown  successlinks21@aol.com

University of Colorado Denver

Internship postings are currently housed on a separate system from the job board for full- and part-time jobs.  To register an internship with the Experiential Learning Center, follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to: https://www.myinterfase.com/internlink/employer/
  2. If you are a new user, please click on the “Click here to register” link below to set up your online account with the Experiential Learning Center.
  3. Type in the first few letters of your organization’s name. If your organization is already in the system, click the appropriate box in the results list and then click “Continue.”  If your organization is not in       the system, complete the registration information and click on “Register.”
  4. Once you are registered, you can post internships by going to your dashboard, clicking on “My Postings” and then selecting “New Internship” from the drop-down menu.
  5. Input all of the information required to register the internship and then click on “Save” to agree to the Terms & Agreements and register the new internship.

Internlink has a “Pending” bin where internships are stored until a qualified professional staff member approves the posting.   If you need further assistance, please contact the Experiential Learning Center Front Desk at 303-556-6656.

University of Northern Colorado

Posting jobs and internships with UNC entails a pretty straightforward process of 1) registering your company on our site, along with yourself as a contact; and 2) posting your job and/or internship opportunities. Here’s what to do to register:

-Go to https://www.myinterfase.com/unc/employer and click “Click here to register!”

-On the following page, click “Can’t find your organization?”

-On the following page, enter all required information about Aclivity, provide your contact information where required, and click “register” when complete.

Once you’ve registered, you can go ahead and post jobs. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Return to the address I provided above, and log in using the user name and password you selected during registration.
  2. On the following page, hover your cursor over the “My Jobs” tab, and select “New Job” from the drop-down menu.
  3. The following page is a form, essentially, in which you enter information about the job or internship. Click “save” when you’re finished.
  4. UNC will not allow 1099 positions.

Please note UNC has an activation and approval process on our end, so the jobs won’t automatically go live when you’ve posted them.

Christopher Cobb

Associate Director, Employer Relations Career Services

christopher.cobb@unco.edu

Direct Line: 970-351-2140

Main Office: 970-351-2127

Colorado State University  

Follow the instructions below to register:

  1. Go to:  https://www.myinterfase.com/cob_colostate/employer/
  2. Click on the link underneath the employer sign-in fields Click here to register!
  3. A new page will appear asking for your company information. Start by just typing the first few letters of your company name.  If we do not have your company in our system, you will need to click on the button Can’t Find your Organization?
  4. Complete all necessary fields on the form that appears.
  5. After registering, you will be taken to your homepage on the site.
  6. Go to the My Jobs drop down menu at the top of the page and select New Job
  7. You will be taken to another form similar to the one you just filled out. Enter all applicable information.
    1. We typically post jobs for one month, but for no longer than three months.
    2. There is an option Allow E-mail Referrals Through this System to which you can select “Yes” or “No.” By selecting “Yes” you allow students to upload their resumes/cover letters/references/etc. to the CareerRAM system in response to your posting. You will receive a system-generated e-mail stating that you have received a referral to this posting. Simply login to your account to retrieve their information
  8. After saving the information you just entered, your posting will go into “Pending” status. My office will activate your posting within 1-3 days.
  9. Once this is one and your position is approved, we will be able to e-mail it out to our College of Business students and Alumni.

If you have any questions feel free to contact:

Susan Schell

Sue.Schell@business.colostate.edu

Director of the Career Management Center

Colorado State University College of Business

970-491-4834 (office)

University of Colorado Boulder

Follow the instructions below to register:

  1. Go to: https://www.myinterfase.com/cuboulder/employer/
  2. If you are a new user, click on the Click here to register!
  3. A new page will appear asking for your company information. Start by just typing the first few letters of your company name.  If we do not have your company in our system, you will need to click on the button Can’t Find your Organization?
  4. Complete all necessary fields on the form and don’t forget to read the Policy Agreement at the bottom and agree to the terms.

Follow the instructions below to post a job or internship:

  1. Go to the My Jobs drop down menu at the top of the page and select New Position
  2. Enter all applicable information for your current opening, please be as detailed as possible
  3. Jobs will be posted for a maximum of 45 days. You can also “Copy” previous jobs to reopen them again if you have not gotten the position filled yet.
  4. After saving the information you just entered, your posting will go into “Pending” status. Positions are generally approved within 24-48 hours.

Please visit the CAREER BUFFS EMPLOYER GUIDE for any job posting questions or contact:

Amanda Hansen
Amanda.Hansen@colorado.edu
Assistant Director, Employer Relations
Leeds School of Business – University of Colorado Boulder
303.492.9033

Interview

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Second Interview

Congratulations! You passed the initial interview and have convinced the hiring manager that you are worthy of a second look. They have invited you back for round two!

The second interview is an ideal time for you to dig deeper into your background and provide specific examples of your experience and skills. Below is advice we have compiled from several hiring managers on the “Do’s and Don’ts” of preparing for a second interview.

Do:

  • Have a professional presence; be well groomed. You should look as sharp for the second interview as you did for the first.
  • Bring multiple copies of your resume; you may be interviewing with a new group of people.
  • Have at least 10 great questions to ask that demonstrate your curiosity. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Don’t be afraid to ask tough or challenging questions (just frame them eloquently & respectfully!)
  • If you have not already, study the company’s website, press releases, SEC filings, and competitor information. You will gain insight that can help you generate questions and demonstrate industry knowledge.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your resume and articulate your responses:
    • If you have bounced around a lot, have a good reason; but tell the truth. It’s OK to say a job was not a good fit, but never slam your prior boss or employer.
    • If you have been out of work for some time, articulate what you have been doing. Good answers are volunteer work, taking classes or attending seminars. Focusing on family time is OK, but the interviewer will need to know your skills are not stale.
  • Anticipate the interviewer’s five most obvious questions and practice your answers.
  • When questioned in the interview, answer the specific question asked. If you do not know the answer or need to think about it, be honest! Never try to make up an answer; it is fine if you need time to think!
  • Demonstrate with examples that you are a self-starter and a team player with a “can do” attitude. Remember to prepare your examples ahead of time!
  • Remember that personality and behavior are more important than technical skills. Skills can be learned, but personality determines how you learn and how you use your skills.
  • Put your networking connections to good use. Feel free to name drop, just don’t over-do it.
  • Come up with a good “close”: e.g. “How do you feel about me as a fit for this job?” or “Will you be recommending me?”
  • Follow up with a thank you email. Be sure to include each interviewer.

Don’t:

  • Ask thoughtless questions; and do not ask just one or two. This is a mutual exploration.
  • Have an incomplete resume. This can be an indicator that someone is less than forthcoming.
  • Have a sloppy resume. Typos, font inconsistencies or omissions demonstrate poor attention to detail.
  • Have a resume more than two pages in length.
  • Include references on resume unless the company has asked specifically for references. References typically come later in the interviewing process.
  • Sound anxious, get flustered by difficult questions or lose your temper.
  • Say anything about other jobs you are considering. Employers expect you to be on the market.
  • Say you have to start by a certain date. Start dates will be determined when you are offered the job.
  • Conduct the interview via phone or Skype if it is possible to be there in person.

For more ideas on how to put your best foot forward in your next interview, call us. We’re here to help!

Questions to Ask in an Interview

Questions to Ask in an Interview

Interview

Employers will make assumptions about you based on the questions you ask (or don’t ask) in an interview. If you have not thought up good questions before your interview, you might send a message that you are not prepared, have no independent thought process, or are not very interested in the opportunity. You questions will demonstrate if you have done your research on the company. Are you asking questions that you could find answers to on the web? Are you only asking questions about minor details like salary or hours? If you want to be seen as intelligent and thoughtful, you need to ask intelligent and thoughtful questions. Try the questions below in your next interview.

  • What are the biggest challenges the person in this position will face? This question shows that you do not have blinders on and you recognize that every job has difficult elements, and that you’re being thoughtful about what it will take to succeed in the position.
  • Can you describe a typical day or week of the person in this position? This question shows that you are thinking beyond just getting the job but visualizing if you would be a good fit.
  • What would a successful first year in this position look like? Asking this illustrates that you are thinking in the same terms that a manager does—about what you need to contribute to the team or company over the long-term to be considered a valuable team member. You will also sound like someone who is not seeking to do the bare minimum, but might truly excel in the role. This question will reveal the skills the manager finds most important and guide your decision about taking the job. You may discover that the job description emphasizes skills A & B and the manager actually cares most about skills C & D.
  • How would you describe the culture? If you thrive in a casual, low-key environment, and the position in a structured, aggressive environment, the job is probably not a great fit.
  • What are the strengths/personality types of the current team members? This rarely asked question will allow you to better understand the current team dynamics of your potential colleagues, as well as give you the opportunity to elaborate on how your strengths can complement the team.
  • Are there any reservations you have about my fit for the position? This is a great way to give yourself the chance to proactively address any doubts the interviewer might have about you. Far too often, this question isn’t asked, and the manager’s doubts are not shared, leaving the applicant without an opportunity to speak directly to the manager’s concerns.
  • What is your timeline for getting back to candidates about the next steps? Always wrap up with this question, so that you know what to expect next. That way, you will not be sitting around wondering when you will hear something, and you will know when it is appropriate to follow up.

It can be helpful to practice your questions in a mock interview. Contact us today to talk about the best way to present yourself in your upcoming interview. We’re here to help!

Why Should I Hire You?

“Why should I hire you?”

This question might be a lead-in to your worst interview nightmare. However, every employer wants to know why you deserve the job. Be prepared to tell your interviewer why “you” would be a great fit for the position! Better yet, present yourself in a way that provides an answer before the question is ever asked. This is a very valid question if you are to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes.

  • Know the job description: Do your homework and make sure you examine the job description point by point. Know the requirements of the position you’re applying for and how well suited you are to the position. Make notes on work you’ve done or skills you’ve grown that exactly match points on the job description. Also note skills you may need to learn to be successful in the role. Be honest with the interviewer about your limitations, but focus on your strengths. Tell the interviewer why you would be great at the job.
  • Give concrete examples: While you are looking over the job description, make notes about past projects, growth experiences or life skills that make you well suited for the position or company. Take your notes into the interview and make sure you speak to specific points that show them you’re right for the position. Employers want to know that you’ll fit into their culture and that you’ll hit the ground running.
  • Be confident in your abilities: The best interviews end with you silently asking yourself, “Why wouldn’t they hire me?” Sell your skills and experience in a confident, but non-arrogant way. You bring unique skills, knowledge and experience to the table. Remember that the interviewer is just getting to know you, so you will need to tell them (and show them!) who you are and what you will contribute to their company.
  • Dress for success: Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Strive to be someone they remember as well put together from head to toe. Even if you know the work environment is casual, go to the interview as if you are applying for a CEO position. A well-dressed person oozes confidence, professionalism and respect; all traits employers seek.

With a little practice, you can master the art of giving a good interview. ACLIVITY offers a variety of Career Services that help you get the job! Call us for coaching, resume help or interview skills training. We’re here to help!

Conducting a Successful Job Search

Thanks to the Internet, searching for a job today is vastly different than it used to be. Until fairly recently, a job seeker browsed local classified ads, found a compatible-sounding job listing, prepared an elegant résumé on bond paper, and sent it out by fax or U.S. mail. That has changed. Today, finding and landing a great job comes with the challenge of learning how to utilize the many available Internet resources to aid in your search.

Searching for a Job on Internet Job Boards
Searching for a job online has become a common, but not always fruitful, approach. With all the publicity given to Internet-based job boards and career sites, you might think that online job searching makes finding a job easy. Job board sites such as CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com list millions of jobs, but actually landing a position is much harder than just clicking your mouse and waiting for a reply; it takes perseverance and wise use of online job boards.

  • Career Builder (careerbuilder.com): CareerBuilder claims to be the nation’s largest employment network. Users can search millions of jobs by category, geographic location, keyword, industry, or job type (full-time, part-time, internship).
  • Indeed (indeed.com): One of the newest and fastest growing job search sites on the Internet, Indeed.com is a metasearch engine that uses a Google-like interface to search the Internet for open job listings.
  • Monster (monster.com): Monster.com offers access to information on millions of jobs worldwide using a search technology called 6Sense that matches applicants with the best job opportunities for their skills. Because of this cutting-edge search system, many consider Monster.com to be the Internet’s premier job site.
  • College Grad (collegegrad.com): CollegeGrad advertises itself as the “number one entry-level job site” for students and recent graduates. In addition to searching for entry-level jobs, users can also search for undergraduate and graduate degree programs to help them develop marketable skills.
  • Career Journal: Part of The Wall Street Journal; CareerJournal provides listings for high-level executive and finance positions.

Beyond the Big Internet Job Boards
Many job seekers may turn their backs on job boards but not on online job-searching tactics. Savvy candidates know to search for jobs in other ways. Some examples are:

  • Company Web Sites: Probably the best way to find a job online is at a company’s own website. Many companies now post job openings only on their own websites to avoid inundation by the volume of applicants that respond to postings via online job boards. Many job seekers find that they are more likely to obtain an interview if they post their résumés on company sites. This allows a more direct connection to decision makers, and job seekers can keep their job searches (and personal information!) more private than on job boards.
  • Professional Organization Web sites: Online job listings have proven to be the single-most popular feature of many professional organizations, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Sales Professionals, the National Association of Legal Assistants, and the Association of Information Technology Professionals. Although you pay a fee to join, the benefits of being a member of a professional association in your career field are enormous. Remember that it is never too early to start networking. If you join a professional organization while you are still in college, you will be setting yourself up for future success as you build a network of professional connections.
  • JobCentral National Labor Exchange: JobCentral is a public service website provided by the DirectEmployers Association, a nonprofit consortium of Fortune 500 and other leading U.S. corporations. Many companies now use jobcentral.com as a gateway to job listings on their own websites, which results in the advertising of millions of jobs. Best of all, this service is free and bypasses the big commercial job boards. You can search for a job description or job title, and apply directly on the website of the hiring company.
  • Local Employment Web Sites: Although many of the big job boards allow you to search for jobs geographically, many job seekers have more luck using local employment websites such as Craigslist, Cumulus Jobs and JobStar.
  • Niche Web Sites: If you want a job in a specialized field, look for a niche website, such as Dice (dice.com) for technology jobs, Advance for Health Care (www.advanceweb.com/jobs/healthcare/index.html) for jobs in the medical field, and Accountemps (www.accountemps.com) for accounting positions. Niche websites also exist for job seekers with special backgrounds or needs, such as older workers (www.workforce50.com) and veterans (www.veteranjoblistings.com).

Social Media Sites
Perhaps you already use sites such as Facebook or Twitter to communicate with family and friends. Did you know that users are-increasingly tapping into social media sites to prospect for jobs, and that recruiters use these sites to find potential employees? Linkedln is currently the top site for job seekers, with over 200 million users, including job seekers and recruiters. Other popular sites include Plaxo, TheLadders, BlueSteps and Jobster. Twitter has created a job search engine called TwitJobSearch (www.twitjobsearch.com), and many companies now post recruitment videos on YouTube. Savvy job seekers use these tools to network and to search for available positions. Of course, the most successful job seekers understand the necessity of maintaining a professional online appearance and taking the time to connect personally with recruiters.

Use Caution
Be aware of dangers associated with using Internet job boards and other employment websites. Not only could your current boss see your résumé posted online, a fraudster could use your information to steal your identity. The following tips can help you safely conduct an online job search:

  • Use reputable sites: Stick to the well-known, reputable job boards. Never use a site that makes you pay to post your résumé or a site that makes you feel uneasy.
  • Be selective: Limit the number of sites on which you post your résumé. Employers dislike “résumé spammers.”
  • Use a dedicated e-mail address: Set up a separate e-mail account with a professional-sounding e-mail address for sending and receiving emails related to your job search.
  • Limit personal information: Never include your social security or other identification numbers on your résumé. Consider omitting your home address and home phone number to protect your privacy when posting on big job boards.
  • Post privately: If given an option, choose to post your résumé privately. Doing so means that you can control who has access to your e-mail address and other contact information.
  • Count the days: Renew your résumé posting every 14 days. If you keep it up longer, it will look as if employers have no interest in you. If you have not received a response in 45 days, pull your résumé from the site and post it somewhere else.
  • Keep careful records: Keep a record of every site on which you post your résumé. At the end of your job search, remove all posted résumés.
  • Protect your references: If you post your résumé online, do not include your references. It is unethical for job seekers to post their references’ personal contact information online without the references’ knowledge.
  • Do not respond to a “blind” job posting: Respond only to job postings that include a company name and contact information. It is unfortunate that many scammers use online job boards to post fake job ads as a way to gather your personal information.

Finding the Perfect Job (For Students)
A successful job search requires an early start and a determined effort. Students with proactive personalities are the most successful in securing interviews and jobs during and after college. These successful candidates are not passive; they are driven and “make things happen.” Recruiters respond to a proactive nature. They will also consider your education, life experience, grade point averages and internships when reviewing your qualifications. Communicating what you have learned inside and outside the classroom—and connecting with other—people will continue to be critical elements in landing a great job. Traditional job search techniques, such as those below, can help you find a position that fits your interests and skills, while building your professional and personal network.

  • Check announcements in publications of professional organizations: If you do not have a student membership to professional organizations, ask your instructors (or librarian) to share current copies of professional journals, newsletters, and other industry resources.
  • Contact companies in which you are interested, even if you know of no current opening: Write an unsolicited letter and include your résumé. Follow up with a telephone call. Check the company’s website for employment possibilities and application procedures.
  • To learn immediately of job openings, use Twitter to follow companies that interest you.
  • Sign up for campus interviews with visiting company representatives: Campus recruiters can open your eyes to exciting companies, job locations and positions. They can also help you prepare by offering mock interviews.
  • Ask for advice from your instructors: Your teachers often have contacts and ideas for conducting and expanding your job search and growing your skills.
  • Develop your own network of contacts: Networking still accounts for most of the jobs found by candidates. Therefore, plan to spend a considerable portion of your job search developing a personal network.
  • Attend career fairs: Job fairs are invaluable in the quest to learn about specific companies and future career options. The more you know about the company and its representatives, the more comfortable you will be soliciting a position and giving a great interview.

For information on conducting a successful search for a job, creating a standout resume or performing well in your interviews, contact us. Our Career Services can help you succeed!

Seven Tips for Acing the Phone Interview

The job market is tough these days. There are so many experienced applicants, many with degrees; recruiters find themselves inundated with qualified candidates. If you are lucky enough to receive a positive response to your application, you might be selected for a phone interview. These ten or fifteen minutes are all about deciding if you are worth a recruiter’s time – and if you deserve an in-person interview. That is not much time to get your foot in the door, so it is important to use those few minutes to your advantage. Consider the tips below the next time you are scheduled for a phone interview, and show your interviewer how your experience, skills and attitude qualify you for a second interview. Once you’ve gotten the in-person interview, take a look at our tips here.

Be ready. Do not skimp on the research. Learn all you can about the company and requirements of the position you’ve applied for. Read over the job description and be ready with concise points that demonstrate that you’re the best candidate for the position. Remember that fitting within the company’s culture is critical to your success in the position. Be clear about your ability, and willingness, to fit into the culture.

Be professional. This is not just a chat. It is an opportunity. Take on that opportunity with professionalism. It might be tempting to get comfortable on your couch in your pajamas while you take the phone interview. Resist that urge. Dress as if you are going to an in-person interview, sit at a desk, and put on your “game face.”  Have your resume handy and be prepared to speak to every aspect of your career, and every transition between jobs.

Mind your energy. Put a smile in your voice and convey your enthusiasm about the job. Demonstrate through your energy and attitude that you really want the position and that you are easy to communicate with. If you sound timid, the interviewer is going to think you are timid, or not very interested in the position.

Stay focused. Do not look in a mirror while you hold the conversation – you will be focusing on yourself when you need to be focusing on the interviewer. Visualize the person you are talking to and develop a more personal connection by looking at a picture of the interviewer. Odds are good you can find an image on their LinkedIn or other social profile. Keep that picture in view and remember that you are talking to a real person. One who could impact your future.

Listen before you talk. Be sure to listen carefully to questions posed and construct your responses so they clearly answer the interviewer’s inquiries. When you are nervous, you might blurt things out or talk too much. Pause before answering questions. Demonstrate your thoughtful consideration, rather than a rush to speak. Keep your responses simple. If you are not sure that you have given the interviewer the answer they were looking for ask something like, “Is that what you were after? Would you like me to clarify that in more detail?”

Ask questions. There is always a place in an interview where the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” Never say “No” to that question. Be prepared with thoughtful questions generated from your research, and use this opportunity to show your enthusiasm or ask about specific aspects of the job. Your questions should clarify responsibilities of the job, aspects of company culture or simply demonstrate that you are serious about putting your experience to work. At this point, it is not appropriate to ask about processes, salary, benefits or start dates. Those questions come after you have secured the in-person interview. Rather than asking what the company will do for you, stay focused on what you will do for them.

Figure out what comes next. The last thing to cover in a phone interview is, “What’s next?” Ask the interviewer if there is more information you can provide, and if they can confirm what the next steps are. Should you provide references? Will there be another interview? Do not be shy about asking how to continue the process. If you are serious about the job, you will naturally be curious about what comes next. The recruiter will expect no less.

When a company offers you a phone interview, they are really giving you a window of opportunity. Prepare to do your best with that opportunity. With solid research, a professional demeanor, and clear communication about what you bring to the table, you can help the interviewer feel like you are a good use of their time. In the end, your preparation could get you what you really want; an in-person interview.

Good luck!

Handling Criticism at Work

No matter how much work experience you have, there will be times when you do not know the best way to manage an aspect of business communication, or you come up short in your role – and someone will criticize you for it. It can challenge to handle criticism, especially if you take criticism as if it is a comment on your intrinsic worth or ability to perform your job. However, if you learn to take criticism as an opportunity to improve your performance and refocus your strategies, it is less painful – and more productive. In our experience as corporate leaders, we have given out – and received – our fair share of critical feedback. We would like to share a few bits of hard-earned wisdom about handing criticism at work. Hopefully, they’ll help you take the sting out of negative comments and encourage you to be conscious of how your reaction to criticism can help, or hurt, your ability to bounce back.

Know that criticism is nothing special

When you receive negative feedback, it can sometimes make you feel like everyone around you is either infallible (or inept) – and you are the only one who being singled out. Try to take a step back when you are hit with words you did not want to hear. Remember that, throughout history, the best way to improve is to know what you could do better – and then, of course, to actually do it better.

Try to hear through the words used to criticize

The person who is criticizing you has no doubt received their own dose of criticism. Ideally, a manager’s experience with negative feedback will result in a management style that airs grievances with clear and non-aggressive communication. No matter how aggressively the criticism comes at you, try to hear through to the kernel of truth in what has been said. The conversation is about identifying areas that could use improvement. To provide a remedy, you need to be clear on exactly what you are being asked for. If you get upset, allow yourself to be steamrolled or bite your tongue, you might end the interaction without really understanding what you did (or didn’t do). If you can hear the message being conveyed, and clarify when management’s points are unclear, you can more quickly move from “what’s wrong” to “what’s next.”

Find your words and buy yourself some time to process

Your immediate response to criticism will govern your manager’s impression of your character. When you don’t know what to say, it’s best to keep it simple. A statement like, “I hear you saying… and that you want me to…because I did/didn’t…” will show that you have listened to and understand the concerns being raised. From there you can buy yourself some time to process the situation by saying something like, “I’d like to take a little time to consider how I’ll remedy this issue. Can we talk more about this…(specify a time)?”  Reacting poorly in the moment of confrontation can lead to unintended negative consequences. Give yourself a breather to process what’s been said, how you feel about your behavior and what the best course of action is while remaining professional. How will you take this lesson in stride, and demonstrate to management willingness to grow?

Acknowledge what’s true

If you have really heard the criticism leveled – and have taken time to process before responding in detail – you’ll be able to see what is actually true. Did you fail in your duties? Could you have done something differently (even if only considering it in hindsight)? Be honest about what you have, or have not, done and take ownership of your mistakes. Consider it this way: When you feel wronged, and the person who made the mistake verbalizes what they have done and takes ownership of their behavior or choices, do you feel better about the situation? More forgiving? Well, it is the same in business – you do not need long talks, tears or flowers to own up to what’s true – or to refute what’s not true. You just need honest, straightforward communication that makes it clear that you value and understand the expectations of the business relationship – and that you will endeavor to do better.

Agree on what’s next

Depending on the situation, it might be appropriate to outline improvements or changes to processes that arise from the criticism. Do you need training? What does that look like? Do you need support? What specific actions do you need to take to put that criticism to rest? If you are outlining a change in your workflow, skills or processes, run it by the manager who voiced the criticism. Make sure that the actions you intend to take actually solve the problem – and hold both sides accountable for agreements made.

 

When you see criticism as a tool you can use for your own improvement, you save yourself the pain of self-judgment and you demonstrate your ability to respond effectively to requests your managers make. In the end, how you respond to criticism – and the steps you take to remedy your actions – will show your employer that you are serious about effectively handling your responsibilities. Most importantly, learning how to handle criticism helps you feel better about the fact that you’re not perfect. Not yet.

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