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A Practice Interview Gives Job Seekers a Leg Up

So you didn’t do a practice interview before the first round job interview and the employer was impressed enough to call you back for a second interview.  You can also do a practice interview, otherwise known as a mock interview, if you make it past the first round and really want to turn up your presentation for the second or even third round job interview.

Best Reaspractice interviewons to Do a Practice Interview

One of the cool things about doing a practice interview is that you get to walk through job interview conversations, not just in your head, but in real life.  You get immediate, real-time feedback on your interview responses which helps you improve on your responses in a very dynamic way.

A practice interview can teach us how to sync our responses with the information that was already included on a resume.  During the practice interview process we can hopefully get a better  sense of which of our stories about achievement might have the best impact in the job interview.  As part of a good practice interview, we will also get the opportunity to develop the list of questions we want to ask the recruiter in the real interview.

If I am helping a job seeker with a practice interview, I always ask them to share the job announcement with me.  This way  I can tailor my questions based on what the recruiter is probably going to be looking for in an applicant for that specific position.  If you are doing a practice interview in the career center on your campus, ask the career coach if you can send the job posting ahead of time.  This way the career coach gets to prepare specific questions appropriate to the job and not just generic interview questions.

Finally, if you are not able to work with the career center on your college campus, seek out other professionals such as career coaches, interview coaches and human resources professionals.  I do practice interviews on the How to Interview Like  a P.R.O. technique that I developed years ago.  Other interview coaches use the Behavioral Interview approach.  Regardless of which method the interview coach will use with you,  your interview performance will definitely improve after a practice interview.

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25 Twitter Pages Diverse Students Should Follow

25 Twitter Pages Diverse Students Should FollowWhen the Twitter social media platform began a few years ago, people couldn’t imagine how relevant 140 characters could be.  Many thought it wouldn’t last. Well it has.   Twitter has grown to be a favorite for millions sharing and communicating about every possible subject you can imagine.  Like most Twitter users, we have carved out our little corner of Twitter where we meet, greet and tweet on issues related to workplace diversity, professional development, career advice and work success. My audience is primarily African American college students, emerging and experienced professionals and entrepreneurs.  Basically, if you are about life success through career success,  job search, education, college life, human resources, leadership, industry and professional branding  – our Twitter page is a resource.   Although there are hundreds, if not thousands of Twitter pages where career experts dole out free advice, insight and information, there are many diverse college students that don’t know where to go for career success ti[s.  To help, we assembled this 2015 List of 25 Twitter Pages Diverse Students Should Follow.

Why these 25 Twitter Pages Diverse Students Should Follow?

Why, in my opinion, are these 25 Twitter pages diverse students should follow?

*They include images of a diverse workforce.
*No issue seems off limits.
*They share honest advice my students and emerging professionals need to hear.
*They stay current (a biggie for me).
*The advice shared is in line with one of the 5 Points in the Career Development Model that I believe works.

Of course we would love for you to follow us @HBCUCareerCntr where we primarily serve the diverse community of students, employees, families and alumni of America’s 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. As usual, my lists are never in a particular order, because they are all equally valuable.

  • @UndercoverRec – Undercover Recruiters is a recruitment and career blog.
  • @WetFeet_Career – Career information about employers and market trends.
  • @GreatResumes – Resume writer Jessica Hernandez shares tons of resume tips.
  • @womenworking – Women Working is an online career and lifestyle magazine
  • @networkingman14 – Art of Networking shares advice on networking and personal branding.
  • @BCWNetwork – Black Career Women Network is a professional network for women.
  • @NBMBAAhq – National Black MBA Association offers business and grad school tips and resources.
  • @eddiefrancis – Eddie Francis bridges the gap between your Greek life and professional life.
  • @Truaccess – Tru Pettigrew is all about inspiring and empowering millennials.
  • @DailyMuse – The Muse is all about seeking and finding that dream career.
  • @ChelseaKrost – Radio show host gives personal branding advice for millennials.
  • @OutforWorkOrg  – Educating LGBT students and allies on workplace issues.
  • @HeyDrWilson – Dr. Caleph Wilson speaks on STEM careers and resources.
  • @BOSS-eMag – Publisher of an educational, entrepreneurial magazine for minority youth.
  • @AlisonDoyle – Workplace, career and job search guru with immense credibility among career professionals.
  • @DiversityInc – Leading resource on workplace diversity management.
  • @FastCompany – Awesome resource for what’s hot, what’s current and the future of business.
  • @LevoLeague – Career advice for designing a life you will love.
  • @TorinEllis – Torin is a recruiter who shares tips on job search strategies.
  • @NatUrbanLeague – Excellent resource committed to empowering African Americans
  • @BlackEnterprise – Promoting initiatives related to careers and business ownership
  • @CareerSultan – US Navy Veteran who supports the career and job search goals of other Vets.
  • @Glassdoor – Their mantra is simple: Get Hired; Love your Job.  Salary, interview, industry information.
  • @NSBE – You don’t have to be a STEM student to get career advice from the National Society of Black Engineers
  • @BlackEOEJournal – Working hard to help corporate America develop a more diverse workforce

Please contact us, if you think we have overlooked any Twitter pages you have found particularly helpful with career advice for diverse students.

Posted in Career and Industry Awareness, Employment Trends, First Year on the Job, Life at Work, Niche Job Board | Comments Off on 25 Twitter Pages Diverse Students Should Follow

Company Perks for Employees to Stay

company perks

company perks for employees

What company perks for employees, would make you love your employer even more?  Career Builder asked this in a recent survey and here were the things that 3900 employees said were important to them.

Things that were most important to workers:

  • Salary mattered – 88%
  • Flexible schedule – 59 %
  • Being able to make a difference – 48 %
  • Having a certain title – 45%
  • Challenging work – 35 %
  • Ability to work from home – 33 %
  • Academic reimbursement – 18 %
  • Having an office – 17 %
  • Company car – 14 %

Wish List of Company Perks for Employees

26% percent of workers said that offering special perks is an effective good way to improve employee retention.

  • Half-day Fridays – 40 %
  • On-site fitness center – 20 %
  • Ability to wear jeans – 18 %
  • Daily catered lunches – 17 %
  • Massages – 16 %
  • Nap room – 12%
  • Rides to and from work – 12 %
  • Snack cart that comes around the office – 8 %
  • Private restroom – 7 %
  • On-site daycare – 6 %

What ultimately entices workers to stay with a company?

70 percent of workers reported that increasing salaries is the best way to boost employee retention while 58 % pointed to better benefits. Of course we knew it had to be about compensation.  What other company perks for employees really make people stay?

  • Provide flexible schedules – 51 %
  • Increase employee recognition (awards, cash prizes, company trips) – 50 %
  • Ask employees what they want and put feedback into action – 48 %
  • Increase training and learning opportunities – 35 %
  • Hire additional workers to ease workloads – 22 %
  • Provide academic reimbursement – 22 %
  • Carve out specific career paths and promote more – 21 %
  • Institute a more casual dress code – 14%

Check out the full article from Career Builder here.

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Put your Best Foot Forward in Temp Jobs

temp jobsThe National Employment Law Project reports that temporary workers fill 2.5% of all jobs in the US.  Millions of new college grads, people reentering the workforce or those making career transitions will often have to spend some time in temp jobs.  No matter how long the assignment, temp jobs are an opportunity to put your best foot forward and be an impressive employee.

Be a Team Player and Get Along With Other People

The National Association of Colleges and Employers surveys employers annually to find out which skills employers seek from new hires. Teamwork and the ability to work well with others consistently shows up on that list. Be prepared to demonstrate this ability on resumes, in the interview and in temp jobs.

Be Respectful

Showing respect for supervisors, co-workers and customers is a good workplace habit whether or not you are working in temp jobs. If there are workplace issues, consult with the staffing agency or your supervisor rather than be disrespectful to colleagues.

Be Able to Manage Time

When working temp jobs, every hour counts.   If you are late, not only are you losing potential wages, you are limiting the time you have to learn.  New grads especially need to know that the workplace is far more time sensitive than campus. There are not many opportunities to turn in late work or show up late. If you are working temp jobs, you may not get a second chance to make a first impression.

Be Dependable and Show up as Scheduled

Employers rely on temp workers to help their businesses. Temps and supervisors can collaborate on work schedules ahead of time and employers expect temp workers to show up as promised.  Not only will you annoy the recruiter who helped you find the job, you’ll destroy any chance of turning the temp job into a permanent opportunity.

Be Willing to Go Above and Beyond

To have success in temp jobs, workers should demonstrate a willingness to go above and beyond expectations.

Be an Effective Communicator

Temp workers should develop and use their strong interpersonal and communication skills on the job.  Although college students exist in a “sound-bite” and text messaging world, they should learn that a different type of communication is required in the workplace.

Be Visible

Hiding from work is not an option even in a temp job. Supervisors do not want to search for workers who are trying to avoid assignments.  Some temp jobs can offer great visibility from company leadership and decision-makers.  If you are trying to convert the opportunity to a permanent hire, you have to be visible.

Be Willing to Learn and Be Open to Criticism

Temp workers should keep their supervisors informed of the work they are doing and ask for feedback on their performance. Ask for clarifications of instructions and ask for help when it is needed. Employers much prefer working with people who ask for clarification rather than make costly product mistakes or, even worse, jeopardize their own personal safety or the safety of others.

Be Confident and Ask for Additional Assignments or Training

As new skills are mastered, employers are very open to changing the roles of workers in temp jobs if it will enhance overall business productivity.

If you have done good work in a temp job, you might be able to secure longer term assignments, permanent jobs, good networking connections and even be able to ask for reference letters at the end of a temp job assignment.

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Posted in Career Advice, Career Events, Choosing a Career, Diversity Recruiting, Employment Trends, First Year on the Job, Internships, Job Search Tips, Life After College, Millennials at Work, New Grad, Niche Job Board, On campus interviews, Professional Development, Selling Your Brand, What Employers Want | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Put your Best Foot Forward in Temp Jobs

College Admissions Staff Looking at Social Media

admissions staff looking at social mediaNew York Times article shared that college admissions staff looking at social media as they evaluate candidates.  In a survey of college admissions professionals, 35% of respondents said they had visited the social media pages of college applicants.  Only 16% of the admissions staff said they found information that actually hurt the applicant.  This isn’t great news, but it’s better than it was the year before, when more than 30% said they had found information of social media pages that disqualified candidates.

What college admissions staff say

In the article, Morehouse College Director of Admissions, Darryl Isom, said how shocked his staff was a few years ago when they realized that email addresses for applicants “made sexual innuendos while others invoked gangster rap songs or drug use.”

Branding your college negatively with social media

I happen to know this first hand because I often, in my own timeline on Twitter, have been shocked by what students say, show and discuss.  I check the #HBCU hashtag often and have been surprised to see students not only using inappropriate language and photos, but doing so while mentioning the names of their colleges and universities.  I can tell you that I have DM’ed quite a few students and so far they have all responded positively.  Many have thanked me for helping them and cleaned up their profiles, bios and TL.  Thank heavens I haven’t had any negative responses.

Teach students to use social media

Many students just don’t know that employers and college admissions staff looking at social media.  Once they know, most will take action.

My job is to keep reminding them to make wiser decisions about social media use.

Read the full article here – Toning Down the Tweets Just in Case Colleges Pry

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Vanishing Jobs and Disappearing Companies

vanishing jobsIf you think today’s college students are too young to know about vanishing jobs and disappearing companies; think again.  Consider companies like Blockbuster and West Coast Videos, both former game and video rental stores.

Even my 23 year-old son remembers our Friday evening rituals of picking up pizza and a video.  Neither company exists today.

Vanishing Jobs

Both companies were replaced by new business models and technology that spurred growth of companies like Netflix and Redbox.  When Blockbuster finally closed 300 stores in the spring of 2013, they laid off 3000 employees.  This is an important trend and one that college grads today need to know about.  In some cases, it’s not the entire company that disappears.  It could be just a prominent product. For example, 21,000 jobs vanished when General Motors discontinued their production of the Pontiac.  A car, which at one time, with a gem in their fleet.

How to Stay Ahead of Disappearing Companies

How can you guard your career against this trend?  No plan is fool proof, but here are some practices you might want to consider before your job or career vanishes too.

1. Constantly scan the internal and external environment to see what is impacting your company.  Read the annual report.  Know what drives costs in your company and what drives profits.
2. Don’t just look at your company, look at other companies in your industry and look for trickle down impact. For example if auto companies are discontinuing products what are the possible ripple effects for other companies? Will auto dealers and auto insurers be impacted?  Will suppliers?
3. Pay attention to what is happening with your company’s vendors and customers.  Is demand growing or shrinking for your products and services?
4. Read national and regional reports on growing or declining occupations.
5. Learn new things. While you are in college, think about second majors and minors that could enhance your skills.  Enroll in short term certificate programs to keep your skills relevant.

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