Resume writing and career advice
job search tips/workplace trends
Featuring career experts, recruiters, hiring managers and decision makers who help you get hired
While the idea of entering the workforce post-college this May is incredibly daunting for the nearly 3 million young adults graduating with associate or bachelor’s degrees across the nation, the current economic growth in the United States should put these worries at ease, according to the latest from outplacement consultancy firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The overall prospects for college grads are on par with last year, according to the National Association of College Graduates’ 2017 Job Outlook. Just over 98 percent (98.3) of employers plan to hire bachelor’s-degree earners in 2017 compared to 98.2 percent last year.
Those with business degrees are most in demand, according to the survey. Nearly 78 percent of employers plan to hire business-degree holders, while 70 percent want those holding engineering degrees. Another 54.2 percent will hire graduates in the computer and information sciences field.
While women continue to earn more college degrees than men year-over-year, the most in-demand degrees are in male-dominated programs. According to an analysis of 2012 education data from the National Center for Education Statistics by Randall Olson, less than 20 percent of bachelor’s degree-holders in computer and engineering fields were women. Just over 40 percent of bachelor’s in business were women.
“Companies benefit from having a diverse workforce, and many employers want a gender-equal workforce. Encouraging women to enter and thrive in these fields will have an enormous, positive impact on the workplace,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
College graduates in the computer and information technology sector are experiencing the highest rate of employment, according to 2015 data from NACE, with 76 percent. The class of 2015 has an employment rate of 58.4 percent, compared to the 55.4 percent of 2014 college graduates who found full-time employment.
“The fastest growing industries in the United States this year are in construction and IT, but that does not mean that other industries are not hiring. Relocating may make it easier for college graduates to find jobs, as certain cities are currently booming with growth. Beyond the typical metropolitan centers like, Los Angeles and New York, we found smaller cities, like Denver are experiencing a job growth as well,” said Challenger.
Bachelor’s degrees are not only beneficial to recent college graduates. Older college graduates face much lower levels of unemployment when compared to those who did not finish high school, only finished high school, or only finished part of college. The unemployment rate for college graduates age 25 and over was a mere 2.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number held steady with the January 2016 unemployment number, suggesting that new college grads have the potential to have an equally successful hiring year.
"Every spring we see a number of surveys and projections about the job market for students and recent graduates," says Steven Rothberg, Founder of College Recruiter, named the top job search site for college students and recent grads by Recruiter.com, and recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a top place for students and grads to find internships. "It makes sense because more students graduate in the spring than at any other time in the year, although it is no longer the case that most college and university students graduate in the spring. It is now a mere plurality as most students graduate at other times of the year."
Job outlook surveys and projections tend to focus on the percentage of students and recent graduates who have found employment and sometimes dig in a little deeper to look at the percentage who have found employment within their chosen career fields, adds Rothberg. Yet few look at the compensation that these mostly young adults are receiving.
"What we're hearing from candidates and employers is encouraging," says Rothberg. "A wage of at least $15 per hour is now deemed to be the minimum that candidates feel they should receive, and even many employers agree that they should be paying at least that much. Few would argue that those with a college education should be satisfied to receive a paycheck regardless of the wage, and few would argue that students should be happy to have an internship even if it is unpaid. There is little doubt that the slow but relatively steady improvement in the labor market since early 2009 is finally having the effect of putting upward pressure on wages."
Although this is a great time to get into the job market, competition is fierce. When it comes to applying for jobs, applicants need to stand out.
One way to stand out is by having a complete resume. Resumes allow employers to see how skills gained in college and through internship experience can transition to the work force. Make sure to show off unique experiences, including study abroad, volunteer activities, and student leadership positions, and do not be afraid to emphasize accomplishments.
“The most important thing grads can do to find their first post-college position is network. Not only do they need to utilize networking connections they made throughout college, including professors, mentors, employers, and students, but they should be building new contacts as well. Grads could do this by reaching out to employees via social networking sites like LinkedIn or setting up informal meetings and informational interviews with target companies,” said Challenger.
“Once college grads start attending face-to-face meetings and going on interviews, they need to have stories emphasizing accomplishments, as well as team-working and problem-solving skills.
“Perhaps you led a team on a class project or developed a strategy at work that made the office more efficient. You may have developed new skills through volunteer activities, such as fund-raising or event planning. Grads need to think through their college careers to prepare stories for hiring managers,” said Challenger.
The best job interview questions to ask employers
Dress for success: An entry-level job seeker’s guide to interview outfits
Why your resume isn’t getting noticed – and how to fix it
Hidden benefits of an internship gone bad
I recently reviewed a resume that won a best resume award from a career publishing firm. I was eager to review this resume, to see if I could learn something new, to apply to the resumes I write.
I clicked on the sample link and couldn’t believe it. It was so busy, I didn’t know what this person was trying to do, or really, where to read or look to learn more about them. I sent it two recruiters – they voiced the same opinion. “This is way too busy,” one said. “This would go in the ‘maybe’ pile,” said another.
A resume shouldn’t include a career history, and it shouldn’t be so busy it is hard to read. Providing too much information is actually a negative.
That and more, is discussed below, as Henry Goldbeck, President of Goldbeck Recruiting, provides 5 common mistakes job seekers make when writing a resume:
1. Less is more: Candidates often write too much narrative instead of short meaningful concise sentences or bullet points. Employers or recruiters look at hundreds of resumes; make it easy and clear for them to see what you want them to see. On average hiring managers only look at your resume for about 30 seconds before deciding whether you fit the job qualifications. “Capture their attention so they read on,” says Goldbeck.
2. Avoiding simple information: Too many people do not answer the three basic questions we want answered when looking at a resume: 1 Your chronological work history. 2. What exactly did you do 3. What did you accomplish, preferably quantified. “It’s frustrating to read a resume and not understand what the individual did in his/her positions,” said Goldbeck. Also, include your city/location so recruiters or employers know where you live (this can be important in some cases).
3. Lack of quantifiable achievements: Achievements such as % increases in sales, % decrease in costs, improvements in quality, waiting time, customer satisfaction, deadlines, deliveries, are easy to read and understand and let the employer know that the candidate accomplished something and quantified it. It also shows you are results-oriented.
4. Lack of customization: Candidates who do not customize their resumes enough for the specific positions they are applying for make it easy for hiring managers to exclude them. With the ease of online research, you can customize each resume you send out, at least with the name of company and position being applied for on the resume itself.
5. Lack of Focus: Make sure to emphasize and repeat the most important points in the resume. What do you want this employer/recruiter to know about you? Dale Carnegie said about public speaking, “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.” Do the same with your resume. Use the introduction, the bullet points under each position and every opportunity to tell them what you want them to know about you. Outline your strategic advantages in regards to being a candidate for this position. Think of the person reading this resume; it is 6:30 p.m., their eyes are tired of looking at the screen, they want to go home and have a glass of wine but they want to finish up the digital pile of resumes, hoping for a winner to fill this position and get it off their desk. They are going to look at the resumes, but not read them. So, make it easy for them to see if you are a fit or not. Make it obvious and clear.
For more career advice, resume tips and job search information, check out Talent at Work, the HR, recruiting and career blog of Goldbeck Recruiting.
If you find yourself making these common mistakes, it may be time to hire a professional to write your resume.
Nurse, Financial Advisor and Info Security Analyst Among Best Careers for Veterans
In its new report, CareerCast has identified eight of the best civilian careers for veterans, including RN, Financial Advisor, Info Security Analyst and Operations Research Assistant."There are many benefits to hiring veterans," says Kyle Kensing, Online Content Editor, CareerCast. "The discipline, teamwork and leadership qualities emphasized in the military directly translate to the civilian workforce. Skills gained during military service are in high-demand."
Public and private sector efforts to recruit and employ veterans have paid major dividends in lowering the unemployment rate for veterans. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2016 that of the approximately 21.2 million men and women with military experience, an unemployment rate that hovered near 10 percent just seven years ago has been cut almost in half.
The Veterans Opportunity to Work Act was designed for the Department of Labor to match veterans with career paths based on their responsibilities while in service. Private-sector companies are also launching their own hiring initiatives to match veteran job seekers with open positions.
Growing emphasis on technological skills in the military translate well to a growing market for IT professionals. Information Security is an area of growing importance in both military and government matters. Veterans who work specifically in IT security during their service can effectively translate their skills into government positions of the same nature.
Another area of emphasis in military service is healthcare. Nursing positions are also in-demand for enlisted personnel, and many states allow veterans with experience as nurses in the military to apply that experience to civilian certification.
For those veterans looking to use their civilian careers to make a positive impact for others in the military, careers in management and finance offer great opportunities. Businesses tailoring their outreach to the veteran community are increasingly turning to veterans for Management Consultant and Operations Research Analyst positions.
Financial Advisor is the No. 1 most in-demand field in the CareerCast Veteran Network job database. Veterans with a background in mathematics and finance can work directly with military families to help them protect their investments and savings.
The improved employment landscape for veterans isn't merely a boon to one section of the workforce. Veterans bring skills that greatly benefit employers, making them prime candidates in a variety of fields.
The best jobs for veterans were selected from the 200 professions covered in the Jobs Rated report as a good match based on their responsibilities and skills gained while in service.
*Wages and projected growth outlooks through 2024 are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Read the full report
CareerCast.com, created by Adicio, is a job search portal that offers extensive local, niche and national job listings from across North America; job-hunting, career-management and HR-focused editorial content; and videos and blogs; and provides recruiters with the ability to post jobs directly to more than 800 niche career sites. CareerCast.com also compiles the Jobs Rated Report (www.jobsrated.com), where 200 jobs across North America are ranked based on detailed analysis of specific careers factors.
March Madness is here. And as the pool of 68 college basketball teams prepare for the NCAA Tournament, IMPACT Group, a career services, talent development and outplacement services firm, provides these career tips for job seekers looking to advance to the Final Four of their job search:
1. Selection Sunday: You can’t make it to the championship if you aren’t asked to play. Secure your spot in the tournament by optimizing your résumé for an applicant tracking system (ATS). Hundreds of candidates will be eliminated before the action even starts. These sophisticated systems will parse through your information to determine your track record, strength of competencies, and RPI – résumé and performance impressiveness. Getting through the system is key for your entrance into The Big Dance.
2. Fast Break: Outsmart your opponents by preparing a targeted game plan for interview day. Thirty-second elevator pitch, company and industry research, and achievement stories – each of these are key plays to help you make a fast break for the basket while leaving your rivals in the back-court wondering where the job went.
3. Steal: With an assist from your dedicated career coach, steal the interviewers’ attention by taking advantage of interview training and technique guides to polish your skills, enhance your communication style, and ensure you are ready for full-court press. Diligently practice your answers to potential interview questions to avoid a five-second violation or double dribble during the interview.
4. Buzzer Beater: Even if you feel you’re falling behind, there’s still time to make the buzzer-beating shot. Focus on promoting your value to key decision makers and remember to follow up after the interview to remind the hiring manager of your unique strengths and abilities. The game isn’t over until it’s over, so play your heart out until the last second.
IMPACT Group is a global career coaching firm. To get career assistance contact IMPACT Group to
speak with a career coach.
For new college graduates, creating a winning resume can be a huge hurdle, especially since many first-time job seekers lack real-world experience. The good news is that when hiring managers are looking at entry-level job candidates, they’re looking for talent not necessarily proven work performance.
Still, taking the first step toward writing a resume with substance can be tricky—and as hiring continues to increase, job seekers will face stiff competition this year.
To help you get over your anxiety, consider the following tips and you will be well on your way to creating a top shape resume that can help land that great first job.
1. Determine your career goals
While it sounds daunting, relax: you don’t need to map out a 30 to 40-year plan, but you do need to assess your ambitions. If you’re focused on income, jobs such as a petroleum engineer, marketing manager, or air traffic controller all boast six-figure salaries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, and they don’t require you to go to medical or law school.
Granted, the size of the paycheck may not be the most important factor to you. In fact, 65 percent of millennials said they took their first job because they saw an opportunity for personal development, while only 21 percent based their decision on salary, a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found. Therefore, you need to decide where your priorities are, and then find a job that aligns with them.
You’ll also want to assess prospective industries for job growth by using the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, which tracks projected growth rate of over 300 occupations. By the way, if you aspire to be a wind turbine service technician or an occupational or physical therapy assistant, you are in luck as they topped the Bureau’s list of the fastest-growing jobs.
2. Build a master resume
Your resume needs to highlight your strength and what makes you a vital hire to prospective employers. So, if you haven’t done so already, create a list of your core skills, achievements, and experience to date. This list will help guide you through the resume writing process.
Because every job opening is unique, you’ll want to create a distinct resume for each job application. To conserve time, build a “master resume” which is a template that contains all your work history, accomplishments, and skills. Once established, use it as the basis to draw from when crafting your job-specific resume.
However, remember to beef it up by highlighting what makes you a vital hire to prospective employers. So if you haven’t already, create a list of your core skills, achievements, and experience to date. This list will help guide you through the resume writing process and will help make that master resume sing.
3. Don’t only focus on professional experience
When you’re an entry-level job seeker, it’s expected that you won’t have a ton of work experience under your belt. However, hiring managers still want to see that you’ve had some hands-on involvement. Therefore, including volunteer work and, of course, internships on your resume can help you demonstrate not only your abilities but also your drive.
Similarly, it’s okay to include relevant college course work on your resume—at least when you’re starting out. If you’re applying for a marketing job for example, specifying that you took a class on consumer behavior may make you more attractive to prospective employers.
4. Show that you’re a team player
Today, more than ever, employers are focused on creating collaborative workplaces. In fact, about 70 percent of American employees are now working in open-plan offices, according to the International Facility Management Association. Furthermore, 83 percent of employers recently surveyed said that teamwork is a top priority when assessing entry-level job candidates.
With this in mind, make sure your resume conveys that you’re a team player. This can be accomplished by stating on your resume that you worked on a team project either in a college or during an internship and explain how you contributed to the group’s success using metrics i.e. “led a group of four fellow interns in a six-week assignment completed for $10,000 below budget.”
Bonus Tip: Highlight hard skills--not soft skills
Many job seekers—rookies in particular—waste space on their resume listing soft skills like leadership, problem solving, and adaptability. The problem is soft skills are subjective, meaning hiring managers can’t really tell that you possess them simply by reading your resume. Instead, use the skills section of your resume to showcase hard skills or certifications that make you more marketable. Depending on the industry, these might include proficiency in Excel, knowledge of HTML, or being fluent in a second language. Then let your soft skills shine during the job interview.
Sell yourself instantly
While research varies, some studies have found that hiring managers spend as little as six seconds before deciding whether an applicant might be a good fit for the job. Hence, the top third of your resume needs to immediately convey your unique selling points. This section should be a two- to three sentence “wow” statement. A good example: “Results-driven advertising professional with internship experience at Nestle, Google, and Intel.” Finding a job is never easy, and this is especially true for new job seekers. However, by following the above tips, you will be well on your way to securing your next big opportunity and, more importantly, to starting on your own career path.
About the Author:
James Clift is CEO of VisualCV, the largest resume and portfolio creation platform with over 1 million members in dozens of countries worldwide. For more information visit Visual CV or follow the company Visit Visual CV on Twitter at @visualcv.
About Matt Krumrie
In addition to writing resumes, Krumrie has published over 2,000 career and job search articles for CollegeRecruiter,