Helping recent graduates get hired…

If you are a recent college graduate, chances are that you might be struggling finding a job in this market. Even though we have seen an increase over the last two years of recent college graduates being hired, the numbers are still drastically lower then they were five years ago. So how can you can put everything you learned to use and find yourself a position in this market?
Social Media. Social Media is the answer to many things in today’s market. It can be a wonderful tool that can give you access to employers and jobs that you might not otherwise attain. Of the top three social media sites, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin, I find Linkedin to be the most valuable resource in helping recent graduates get hired (or anyone for that matter).
What steps can you take using Linkedin to get yourself hired?
  1. Research potential companies you would like to work at using Linkedin and see if you have any connections or contacts there. If so, reach out to those contacts to ask for an introduction. If you do not have any connections at a particular company, you can use Linkedin to research the names of hiring managers or people in the department you want to get in to. From there you can reach out to those individuals directly to ask for a job.
  2. Another possible way to utilize Linkedin contacts is to call those individuals at companies who are in the industry you want to get into and request to interview them for an e-book or blog you could write about the industry. This can be a very innovative way to get your foot in the door and make connections with key people in your industry. By working on a blog or book it will open doors for you to find people to speak with in your industry. This will also help to automatically set you up as an expert in your field of choice and will help you to learn more about your chosen industry.
  3. Research your competition on Linkedin and look up the job you want. Research a person’s background  who has the job you want and take note of their skills and background for ideas of other companies you may want to look at applying at. Additionally, notice the skills they list and be sure to incorporate any of those skills that you posses already into your resume or if you don’t already have those skills, ask yourself how you can go about getting those skills to make yourself more credible and employable.
These few ideas can greatly increase your effectiveness in finding your next position whether you a recent graduate or looking to jump start your career in a new field.

How does your first impression shape your interview?

In an interview, an employer comes up with an assessment about you within the first 10 seconds of when they meet you. This assessment then shapes HOW that employer interviews you. If the employer assesses you to be someone who is professional and trustworthy, then they are going to ask you questions and listen to you through the lens of someone who is trustworthy and professional.
If the employer assesses you to be someone who is unreliable and lacking composure, then the employer’s questions they ask you and how they listen to you will be colored by that judgement. So how do you make the first 10 seconds you have with an employer count?
  1. Smile + a positive attitude (leave your problems/concerns at home!). An authentic smile is the universal signal that puts people at ease and makes them comfortable with you. In addition, a positive attitude makes others want to be around you and get to know you better.
  2. A firm, but friendly handshake. Stay away from the dead-fish handshake or even worse, the bone-cruncher hand-shake. Instead, go with a firm, but warm handshake while looking the person in the eyes
  3. Use open body language. Do not cross your arms or  your legs, as this puts a barrier between you and the person you are meeting with. Also be careful of fidgeting
  4. Make sure you are dressed to impress. A few rules to follow: simple jewelry, if any or a nice watch if you are a man (NO visible body piercings [except possibly earrings] or tattoos); a conservative, pressed suit in black, grey or navy (pant or skirt suit is acceptable for women so long as you do NOT show cleavage and you DO wear a bra); very little if any cologne/perfume (too heavy of a scent can turn an employer off); a tie if you are a man; an understated purse/bag or briefcase (be careful you do not have too much in your hands as this can make you appear cluttered and disorganized)
  5. A clean, sharp hair cut or style with natural looking make-up if you are a woman. It is important that your hair is gelled, blow-dryed, or pulled back. Frizzy, unstyled or unwashed hair can leave a bad first impression by making you appear unkempt
If you follow the above 5 rules, you will be on your way to making a positive first impression.

Skills vs. Attitude

What is more important in this market: skills or attitude? 
The interesting thing I have noticed as a recruiter is that the better someone’s attitude is, the more likely they are to be hired. Noticing this fact, I surveyed numerous human resources professionals who hire job seekers through me (both temporary and permanent) about whether they would prefer someone with stronger skills or a better attitude and they unanimously answered that attitude trumped skills.
What does attitude mean? What my clients mean by having a good attitude are the following:
  1. Always be willing to pitch in and help out your peers or your bosses
  2. NEVER complain or gossip
  3. Have a pleasant demeanor, including smiling and being upbeat about things, especially when there is a problem or challenge
  4. Nothing is too big or too small a task for you to handle
  5. Never leave someone hanging on a project or assignment (ie. not following through)
If you focus on following the five areas listed above, your attitude will automatically improve and both employers and others will gravitate towards you and want to hire you.
Skill do still play an important role in some positions, but it is your Skills multiplied by your Attitude that gets you the job.
(Good Skills) X (Good Attitude) = Employment
*This also holds true for keeping a job and preventing yourself from being disposable.

Help Recruiters Help You!

In order for recruiters to be effective at placing you, we need your help. There are a few things you can do to help us get you a job:
If you are looking for a job, the following things can help recruiters help you in your search:
-Clearly communicate with your recruiter about what you want so that your recruiter doesn’t waste your time by sending you on positions that are not the right fit for you
-Clearly communicate any and all feedback, both good and bad, following any interview so that we can help negotiate and get you the job if you want it or gracefully decline if you are not interested
-Let your recruiter know well in advance if there is a potential issue with your background check such as bad credit or a DUI. It is better for a recruiter to let the client company know about an issue up front if an offer is to be made and typically if the company is alerted early enough, the issue is not a big deal as long as you are honest about it
-NEVER lie to your recruiter
-Let your recruiter know about any pre-exisiting vacations so that we can alert an employer if necessary
-Be sure you can provide a minimum of at least one reference and ideally 3-5 references that can be called. Reference letters are useless in today’s day and age. If you cannot provide a reference, you might not be able to be hired.
-Be clear with your recruiter about what your preferred hours are and if there might be any schedule conflicts with a potential job or special circumstances that you require
-Be clear with your recruiter about what your ideal salary is and what your bottom line salary is. It is a recruiter’s job to negotiate you top dollar
-Always be on time and research the company you are interviewing with in advance.
Additional things you can do to help a recruiter help you if you are unemployed. These additional things can help us place you in a temporary to hire or temporary situation:
-Let your recruiter know if and when you are available for temporary or temporary to hire assignments. Often the people who check in with us once a week are the ones who get called first for a job. Email is always preferable.
-Be extremely flexible and accommodating on the first day of any temporary or temporary to hire assignment. This includes offering to help others, asking questions, and NOT complaining about anything unless you are doing so directly with your recruiter and not the employer. Keep in mind, you are not hired until an offer is made
-Do not ever bring up benefits or salary on a temporary assignment. If an employer brings these things up with you, that is acceptable, but it is inappropriate for you to broach the subject directly with the employer
-Do not push the employer to hire you directly. This typically turns the employer off. Always communicate directly with your recruiter regarding the status of your employment
-If you are ever going to be late or out, always call your recruiter to let them know