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Words of Advice For New Graduates

If you’re one of the thousands of new graduates who have claimed their diplomas and set their sights on life after college this spring, job hunting is more than likely at the top of your priority list. As you polish your resume and take those first halting steps toward creating a LinkedIn profile, you probably have certain expectations around what your first real career job will look like.

I’m here to shatter those.

The first job you land out of college doesn’t matter. It matters that you find work, of course, but the nature of the work isn’t of particular consequence at this stage in your life. Here’s why:

Your degree likely won’t be necessary.

The subject you spent four years studying may have absolutely no bearing on what you end up doing immediately after graduation. While 88% of the Class of 2016 expected to land a job in their field of study, only 65% of their peers who completed their education in 2014 and 2015 report that they have been able to do so in the time since they graduated. As is consistent with recent labor market trends, it’s possible that you’ll end up underemployed (working in a job that doesn’t require a college degree, working fewer hours than you want), as 51% of 2015 grads reported in that same survey reported they are. Starting your working life in a career-focused role is becoming the exception to the rule. A stint at Starbucks or the mall while you work on networking and next steps isn’t a black mark to signal a post-graduation slacker, it’s now the new normal. Take whatever comfort you can in that.

You’ll switch jobs and careers many times.

Research projects that you’ll hop jobs at least four times in your first post-college decade. In some cases, you’ll be switching careers entirely. If you kept up the same pace for the 30 working years after that, you’d add another 12 roles to your resume. Your career will be a long one (probably longer then you even anticipate) and how you began it will eventually become a speck in the rearview mirror that you’ll think of with the same sense of vague nostalgia reserved for your high school prom date or a particularly pretentious Comparative Lit professor.

Unless you’re waltzing into a red-hot job market with a highly-coveted degree (hello, software engineering prodigies in Silicon Valley), your entry-level role likely won’t be one that allows you to make a unique contribution to the company. To a certain degree, project assistants, account associates, admin assistants and junior whatevers are interchangeable. The hiring manager knows this and you’ll soon come to know this too. Beyond a paycheck, what your generic first job offers is the opportunity to understand what being part of a team day in and day out is like, to improve your ability to read people, to absorb the norms of a given workplace and figure out if they’re ones you can live with. You can do that just as well at Company A as Company B.

While you may have visions of a dream job dancing in your head, don’t let  unrealistic expectations keep you on the sidelines of the labor market waiting for the perfect opportunity to come your way. For better or worse, your first post-college  job is a learning experience and the best learning is hands-on.

Article by Maureen Henderson, Contributor, Forbes

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You Have 6 Seconds to Grab the Attention of a Recruiter!

You Have 6 Seconds to Grab a Recruiter’s Attention—Here’s How to Do It

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Arrive at every interview armed with these 6 company facts

As a hiring manager, I was part of a collaborative interview process that usually involved a variety of team members. When we evaluated candidates after a round of interviews, the main question we asked was, “Do they really want this job?”

What was interesting, but maybe not that surprising, was that how well a candidate did was predicated upon how well she had prepared for the interview. In fact, one person on my team immediately eliminated any prospective person who asked a question that could be found with very little effort on the company’s site, lamenting, “He didn’t even do anyresearch before he came in!”

If you want to be on the short list, you need to make it clear that you took the time to learn about the company—beyond what you can find out via a quick Google search. Of course, you’ll want to be equipped with the basics: how many employees the company has (if this can be found online), industry rank (depending on the industry), and the latest annual revenue numbers (which may take some digging but probably not an extensive amount).

But you’ll stand out even more if you can further demonstrate your knowledge about the organization. Being armed with beyond-the-basics information really will give you a competitive advantage.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. What and Who the Company Is

You certainly want to be clear on who makes up the organization and what its place in the market is. Know major products, company leaders, and competitors (and how to pronounce their names). Know where the company is based, and, if applicable, the number of locations it has in the region, country, or world.

As you discuss your potential role in the organization, you’ll be able to ask questions about how, or if, you’ll get to work with teams in other locations. Hopefully, you’ll also have an opportunity to discuss how inter-departmental information would impact your team in terms of both challenges and opportunities.

2. What’s Happening in the Industry

There’s so much information to be gleaned from an employer’s website, and you definitely don’t want to overlook that wealth of material, but you also don’t want to stop there. Be prepared with knowledge and an awareness of what’s happening in the industry at large.

A simple Google search on “trends in [name of field]” will give you an indication of ongoing, relevant ideas concerning the industry.

Imagine how informed you’ll sound when you drop a question about how the growth of cloud computing and the emergence of SaaS-based solutions is affecting the employer’s hardware business. Try to come up with a few such thoughts that show you know your stuff.

3. The Business Strategy

An employer will hire you because you have the ability to help the company win in the marketplace. To that end, you’ll want to go into the interview with a clear idea of the business strategy—or, at least, as clear an idea as you can obtain as an outsider. During the interview, you can try to make connections that show you have a grasp of the overall plan.

A simple way to discover what’s happening in a company’s strategy is to do a search for freshly posted articles from industry sources. For example, if you Google “Nike 2016 strategy” you’ll get a rich assortment of articles that talk about what Nike’s doing differently in 2016.

One big initiative is ramping up its digital strategy. In a single, concise article I learned what that digital strategy is about, how it differentiates Nike from competitors, and how that strategy will support big revenue growth goals in 2016 and beyond.

Voila! You now have strategy information to ask about and comment on, as it relates to the role you’re discussing.

4. The Company Culture

Since being experienced and skilled are only a couple of things employers are looking for, you’ll want to go beyond demonstrating the fact that you check off those boxes. If you’re interviewing at a place that ranks its culture as a top priority, making sure you’re a good fit can be pretty essential.

A description of the company’s values and culture are typically found on its site, so take time to study it. Then, address the way that you and your personality—not just your skills—are a match.

Again, if the company cares about fostering a certain kind of culture, don’t be surprised if you get asked questions about how you’d fit in and if your work style is a match. Perhaps you’re interviewing with a company that has a strong culture around customer satisfaction. If you get a question about how you’ve gone above and beyond to make a customer happy, you’ll be able to demonstrate in your response (via a hopefully delighted customer service story) why you’re a perfect fit.

Or, maybe an employer asks what kind of work environment helps you be most productive and satisfied at work. Ideally you’ll know that their offices, designed to foster a culture of collaborative work, will be a great fit for your team-oriented style. Moreover, you’ll know that the environment and your knowledge of company values sits well with you.

5. Who the Competition Is

I had a college-student client who interviewed for an internship with a major footwear brand. In the interview, he was asked whom he saw as its three biggest competitors, and how the potential employer’s brand was better. That’s a pretty meaty interview question—but one that you can be prepared to answer!

A quick search for “biggest footwear brands,” for example, quickly results in the top brands, the home base, and the annual revenue. Since winning in the marketplace is an outcome you’ll be signing up for, being able to speak to the competitive landscape can help up your game.

6. The Reputation

Check the organization’s social media feeds for late breaking updates, and see how it responds to comments or consumers if applicable. What do you notice? Are they accommodating and responsive? Or is there a litany of complaints?

Find out what “best employer” lists a company is on. Check out reviews on Glassdoor for comments on the company and the leadership, and look for testimonials from employees, customers, business partners, and so on.

All of this information helps you get an informed sense of what the organization is like. Additionally, it gives you insight about what kudos you can offer and what clarity you might need. Citing negative social media comments can be leveraged in a positive way to highlight issues you might be able to help the employer address. If it’s a story that’s in the news cycle right now, you can also broach the topic, testing to see how much weight the online stories hold and how the organization’s responding.
One of the most powerful ways you can stand out is by being prepared with information, statistics, and insights. Being able to speak intelligently about opportunities and challenges enables you to demonstrate how you’ll help the company succeed. Trust me: It’s delightful for a hiring manager to see someone who’s really done his or her homework. Because when you do your homework, and can cite a deep knowledge of the employer’s profile, you prove yourself to be a candidate worthy of moving forward.

Article by Lea Mcloed, Leadership Coach | Job Coach | Workshop Facilitator | Author + Coach at The Muse.

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Three Ways to Increase your Chance of a Call Back

We are trained from a young age that right after we graduate high school or college, we need to find a job. We frantically throw together a resume and start applying to any company that lets us upload our profile, impatiently waiting for anyone to give us an offer. This mind-set tends to continue on for many people as they get older, especially when they find themselves in a situation where they desperately need a new job. What is the right way to go about it?

I love helping people find jobs. My family and friends know it as well; whenever anyone I know is in the market for a new position, they tend to call on me for help. My years as a Recruiter paired with my job searching experience has taught me a lot on how to streamline the process and find a new job for someone quicker. One of the most consistent struggles I hear from job seekers is that they are not getting any responses from applications that they have submitted.

While it is a tough market out there, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of hearing back:

1. Apply for more jobs. If you think you are applying for too many jobs, you aren’t. Research has shown that for every 50 jobs you apply for; you will hear back from one. I always recommend setting aside the first hour of your day to scour the job boards every morning and apply for all new and suitable (see below) positions posted. You are more likely to get a call back if you are one of the first applicants to apply rather than being the 50th person to apply after the position has posted for 20 days. You should shoot to apply for a minimum of ten new jobs per day until you start lining up consistent interviews.

Note: Make sure you keep a spreadsheet of all the positions you have applied for. Include the company name, position title, and source (i.e. what job board you found it on) so you can make sure not to duplicate your application. I like to keep a copy of the job description as well so you can quickly reference the details if you get an interview.

2. Only apply to positions you are qualified for. I cannot stress the importance of this. If you feel like you are applying for dozens and dozens of jobs and aren’t hearing back from anyone, you are probably applying for jobs that you are extremely under-qualified for. Make sure to take the time to read the responsibilities and qualifications section and only apply to those where your skills and experience match the majority of what is listed. Recruiters are typically turned off by a candidate who applies to every single opening at a company regardless of experience; this tends to show you are not taking the time to read the description and aren’t very concerned about finding the right fit.

3. Proofread your resume – and have someone else do it too. A Recruiter wants to see your attention to detail and having a typo on your resume will show the exact opposite. Don’t count on Microsoft Word to proofread for you; you’ll be surprised at how many mistakes it can miss. If writing is not one of your strengths, reach out to a professional resume writer for assistance – the investment will be worth it in the end.

Article by, The Job Girl, Kerri Mills

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You Got the Interview, Now What?

Essence Recruitment and Consulting Firm Saskatoon IQ and Success

Did you know that IQ only accounts for 10% of success?

When it comes to academic achievement, intelligence is an important factor. In fact, we are often led to believe that the only way to succeed is to be blessed with an exceptional IQ. However, research has found that while intellect is a significant factor in predicting success, it is certainly not the only — or even the most important — one. Recent studies have shown that emotional intelligence is actually a greater indicator for achievement in both academia and life than intellect.

The term IQ — or intelligence quotient — was first coined by a German psychologist named William Stern in 1912. Since then, standardized intelligence tests have been used worldwide to compare the test taker’s score to the scores of other people in the same age group, resulting in a figure that determines how academically gifted they are. While IQ is still recognized as an important element of success, particularly when it comes to educational achievement, researchers and psychologists alike have discovered that EQ — more commonly known as emotional intelligence — is far more likely to lead to overall success than a high IQ or relevant experience.

According to Dr. Steve Bressert, when considering the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% (and at best 25%), while the rest depends on everything else, including EQ1. Dr. Arthur Poropat of Griffith University’s School of Applied Psychology’s research also supports Bressert’s claim; by comparing measurements of the “Big Five”personality traits2 — extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience — to college students’ grades and test scores, Poropat discovered that students with higher levels of openness and conscientiousness were four times more likely to be successful and achieve higher grades on tests.

Moving away from academia and into business, research from the Carnegie Institute of Technology3 found that 85% of financial success is generated from people skills while only 15% of financial success is due to technical knowledge. And, according to Nobel Prize winning Israeli-American psychologist Daniel Kahneman, people much prefer to do business with someone they like and trust, rather than someone they don’t3 — even if that person is offering a better product at a lower price.

Many employers are now actively seeking candidates with exceptional EQ skills, including conscientiousness and openness. This is not surprising, considering that people who are open to experience are more likely to be imaginative, sensitive to their feelings and intellectually curious, while conscientious people are disciplined, compliant and excellent at planning ahead. And these are not the only two personality traits that are deemed more important for success than intelligence.

So, for those of us who struggled in a classroom setting, and were not born with the gift of a genius level IQ, there is no need to fear. Despite there being little evidence to suggest that intelligence can be taught, personality traits, on the other hand, can be developed, strengthened and enhanced. Read our full infographic to learn more about 8 traits that will enable you to be just as — if not more — successful than any of your brainbox competitors.

Article written by Nivene, Content Marketing Analyst.

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An Introvert’s Guide to Interview Success

In my years as a career coach, I’ve found that introverted clients often have a tougher time nailing interviews. Job seeking is nerve-wracking for everyone, but the ongoing interaction and need to be always be “on” can be especially draining for introverted personalities.

The assumption that hiring managers are always looking for outgoing star employees who dazzle them with their personalities can translate into nervousness and self-doubt for job candidates who aren’t innately extroverted. But hiring managers aren’t always seeking this employee. Sometimes they need an outgoing go-getter, other times it’s an introspective thinker.

Introverts, to shine in your next interview, try these tips.

Know your strengths. Introverts are less likely to self-promote, which makes it extremely important for them to deeply understand their unique strengths. This allows you to talk objectively about your skills in a no-nonsense way. Start this task by conducting a S.W.O.T. analysis.
Practice, practice, practice. A common complaint among my introverted clients is that they have a hard time speaking eloquently on the fly. To overcome this, preparedness is key. Develop a list of potential questions an interviewer might ask and practice answers out loud until your delivery feels natural. Take this a step further by calling on a family member or friend to help you conduct mock interview sessions.

Bring a “prop.” Another technique to overcome getting tongue-tied is creating a portfolio of work to bring to your interview. Having this on hand helps you talk about your experience in an engaging way, and it’s something you can easily turn to when you’re stuck on what to say next.

Remember, interviews are a two-way street. Think about interviews as a conversation instead of an interrogation. While an interviewer is trying to understand if your skills are the right fit for their open position, it’s just as important for you to determine if a job, company and manager are a good fit for you. Keeping this in mind puts less pressure on interview and can immensely improve your performance while easing jitters.

Article by, Lisa Quast, Contributor at Forbes

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