Welcome to the CareerPrep Blog!

Tuesday, 03 November 2015 by

We all want the best for our children! As they enter adulthood this typically includes a job that pays well, is fulfilling, and rewarding. What should your child do in college to ensure they achieve this ideal? A successful career exploration process provides insight, experience, and connections that ensure your child identifies and secures a meaningful and successful career. Here’s how you can help…

Insight

Far too many students pick a career with little understanding of what it will truly entail. A recent survey of high school seniors showed that 23% chose their career based off a TV show or movie. Young adults need a real and thorough understanding of what an occupation will mean for them. Are jobs in this field prevalent in certain parts of the country/world? Does the profession exist in a variety of industries? What skills are needed and what personality types do well? What are the educational requirements, are their certifications/accreditations required, and how much time and money will that cost? What are the typical advancement opportunities? What industry or economic factors influence this profession/industry? How has the professional changed and how will it change in the coming years?

So encourage your student to do their research! There is great information online and we recommend checking out O*net (onetonline.org). Students also need to get involved with the profession through reading trade magazines, listening to podcasts, attending meet-ups, join associations, and do informational interviews. As students learn about the profession they may learn that it isn’t what they thought it would be. However, if this insight solidifies their decision than they will have great industry knowledge when it comes time to get a job.

Experience

Students must get at least one internship! We recommend students intern at least the summer between their junior and senior year. There is nothing like actual hands-on experience in the profession to help them decide if this is the right career for them. 72% of students made minor or significant changes to their major or career choice as a result of their internship experience. Plus they will also build skills that future employers are looking for and connections that will help them in their job search.

Encourage your child to take advantage of fall & winter on-campus internship job fairs as well as seek out opportunities through their career center. Companies are increasingly posting internships on traditional job boards like Indeed.com or Internqueen.com as well.

Connections

The world of work is built on who you know. If your child’s career exploration process has included the above recommendations they will have built a strong network of industry contacts. Attending meet-ups, association meetings, conducting informational interviews and internship experiences will provide a robust network of contacts. Help your student learn to build and maintain these relationships by teaching them general networking etiquette including:

  • Be responsive, return phone calls or emails within 24 hours.
  • Be friendly and professional in all communications. No emojis. No exclamation marks.
  • Be prepared to tell their story. When meeting new people they will almost certainly be asked ask about their background and why they are interested in the field, company, job, etc. Students need to be ready with a crisp answer.
  • Write a thank you email expressing their appreciation for the contact’s time. Make it personal referencing something from their discussion.
  • Connect with the person on LinkedIn after the informational interview.
  • Stay in touch! If they see a relevant event, article, or book that the person might be interested in, forwarding that on is a great way to stay in touch. Students should also periodically give the person updates on their job search or when they secure a position.

As your student develops insight, experience and connections they will develop a firm understanding of the occupation they choose as well as build the knowledge, skills and connections they need to secure a great first job out of college. Want more information on how you can support your student throughout the college years? Join us for our Help Your College Student Find a Meaningful Career” free workshop on November 6, 2017. Get more information and register at http://careerprepsite.com/events

 

 

 

How To Win The College Race

Monday, 28 August 2017 by

In the coming days and weeks millions of high school graduates will pack up and move to a college. If you, or your child, are one of these students, congratulations! Achieving this milestone required studying day and night and the pursuit of activities to help load college applications with “all the right” experiences. The race to graduation has been all consuming but don’t rest yet, you have one lap left.

Beginning Day 1, tackle your college experience with the following goals in mind: to graduate with a strong sense of self; pursue a profession reflective of your interests, skills, personality and values; and land that first full-time job – or graduate school – with confidence.

Here are 5 steps to achieve your college goals:

  1. Engage with faculty. Seek out professors and advisors and talk about more than the assignment. Talk about life, careers, etc. They chose their careers to help guide and teach young adults so take advantage!
  1. Take a variety of classes. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 80% of college students change their declared major at least once. Course corrections cost time and money, so consider all options before finalizing a decision. Take a class in anything that interests you, look for trends or themes in what you like and dislike.
  1. Join a club, attend a guest lecture, go to a TED Talk. Explore your interests. If you find a topic, profession, or social issue intriguing check it out. These experiences will lend tremendous insight into what you want to do, and you’ll begin building a network in the process.
  1. Secure internships. The best way to explore possible majors and career professions is through internships. The rewards are immeasurable! These hands-on experiences, will inform what you do and don’t want from a career, help establish a network of industry contacts and meet fantastic people.
  1. Make Friends. During the college years some of the most impactful learning comes from peers. Be open to new people, new experiences and all the growth that comes from them.

So, get to campus and make a strong finish! You will grow, transform, and lay the foundation for a rewarding career.

 

 

We are grateful that our work was recently featured in the Edina Magazine.  Check out the article at: http://edinamag.com/local-experts-prepare-students-job-search

EdinaMag Pic

Build A Better Resume

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 by

A quick “resume tips” Google search will provide thousands of suggestions on how to improve your resume to get hired. Students come to us frustrated that they send out hundreds of resumes without a single response. So, are resumes still relevant? What is their purpose?

You may be surprised to learn that a resume, no mater how perfectly crafted, will not get you the job. The resume’s only purpose is to get you in the door and talking to a decision maker at the company. The resume exists to tell your story in a clear, concise, and compelling way so the employer wants to learn more. Think of your resume as a marketing document: it helps tell your story, build your brand, and communicate your value. I’ve looked at tens of thousands of resumes throughout my recruiting career so here’s the inside scoop on how readability, communication style, the summary section, and content are interpreted by recruiters and hiring managers. With these tips you can build a better resume that will get you in the door and talking with a decision maker.

Readability

First and foremost, employers want to quickly review the pertinent information. A recruiter may have upwards of 100-300 applicants for one entry-level job. If that recruiter is managing 18 positions…well you can do the math. They don’t have a lot of time. So, choose a design and format that is easy to follow. It is tempting to get flashy with graphics or sections in order to make your resume stand out from the crowd. This can actually work against you if it prevents the reader from finding your qualifications. Align your design with your industry and know your audience, a resume for social media marketing will have more leeway than one for an accountant.

Use a basic but modern font like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic in a font size between 10-12. Use different types of fonts or typeface to guide the reader’s eye to your name, sections, employers, or highly applicable experience. Recruiters & hiring managers look for similarities between the work you have done and the role they are hiring for. So if you have worked for a competitor or held a position with this exact title make sure they know it at first glance.

Education should be the first section. At this stage in your career education is a vital qualification so make sure it appears at the top of your resume. After a couple of years it can move down as you glean important experiences that makes you uniquely qualified.

Communication Style

Nearly every job posting lists “strong written communication skills” as a key requirement. Your resume is demonstrating how strong, or poor, your communication skills truly are. The verbiage you chose provides insight into your communication style so be professional, clear and concise. Be descriptive using full sentences versus listing specific tasks. Use proper grammar and stay consistent on your tense. Not only do these small errors demonstrate poor communication skills they also illustrate a lack of attention to detail.

Summary Section

You’ve heard the statistics, recruiters/hiring managers spend 10-30 seconds looking over a resume to determine if the candidate is qualified. Summary sections have replaced the objective section and are the go to spot for the reader to get a quick overview of who you are and what you can bring.

Content

The most effective way to illustrate your experience is by first describing the responsibilities in 2-3 sentences, then bullet your accomplishments or specific projects. Make sure to customize these bullets to bring the most relevant experiences to the top of your list. Whenever possible quantify your experience with numbers, dollar figures, percentages, or time frames. Rather than noting that you “thereby increasing productivity” say “resulting in 25% faster run rate and 10% fewer errors”.

Key words have become increasingly important as most companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to house and access applications and resumes. Recruiters can actually search their ATS to find current or former applicants with specific skills. An ATS can also be set-up to screen out resumes that do not have specific key words and experience listed. To ensure your resume isn’t automatically eliminated from consideration, go through the job description and incorporate the description’s key words. For example, change “customer service experience” to “client service experience”, the exact words used in the job description. Also make sure your resume demonstrates the soft skills they are looking for versus just listing the key words.

The use of Applicant Tracking Systems also makes it important to have a Skills Section where you can list your technical and ancillary experience. This is where you should list any languages you speak, programming languages, or systems experience. This is also the place to list any pertinent interests, for example if you are applying to Conde Naste it is important that you highlight that you are an “avid traveler having visited 48 US States and 16 Countries”.

Include any on-campus activities, or volunteer experience that is relevant to the position or company. In addition to highlighting relevant experience it demonstrates an interest in, and commitment to, your chosen profession. Recruiters and hiring managers want to hire employees that are engaged, curious and driven and they will infer this from your extra-curricular activities.

Basics:

A few additional considerations to keep in mind are:

  • Keep it to one page. There is a general 10-year rule; meaning if you have less than 10 years of experience you should have a one-page resume. If you would like to elaborate further do so on your LinkedIn Profile. 60% of employers report checking candidate’s social media so include additional information or examples of your work.
  • Save your resume as PDF before emailing it to ensure the recipients system doesn’t change your formatting.
  • Be smart about naming your file. Not only should your file name be professional but also it should be searchable. Use something like John Smith Resume so the hiring manager or recruiter can easily find it among the various other resumes they receive.
  • Proof read, proof read again, then have others proof read! Small grammatical errors can disqualify you on the spot.

One final tip, and it may be the most important resume advice we have. Don’t rely on your resume! It is estimated that 98% of job seekers don’t make it past the original resume screening. There are a host of reasons that the recruiter or hiring manager may not even see your online application/resume. So while building a better resume will help market your candidacy you must network to get in the door. Feel free to continue to apply online but follow it up with a phone call or email to someone you know at the company. Network your way to the recruiter or team through LinkedIn. This will get you noticed and ensure your resume is seen. Then, thanks to these tips, you will clearly demonstrate that you are someone special that the recruiter/hiring manager needs to talk with. Which is just the beginning, the rest is up to you!

Need more help with your resume? Join us on Wednesday, June 21st from 1:00-3:00 pm for a Rock Your Resume workshop. You will learn what recruiters and employers look for and how to avoid common mistakes. We will teach you how to develop a resume that tells your story, emphasizes your skills and communicates your value. Register at www.careerprepsite.com/events

 

 

 

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