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Simple Job Search Strategy Anyone Can Master

job search strategyI am a firm believer that our lives are a grand summary of very simple processes.

This core belief is at the very heart of the career advice I have shared with people for the last 15 years.  Essentially, I have helped people discover what’s important to them guard and protect what they discover make connections with other people around their values.

In fact, I was on a panel the other day and someone asked me what I felt were the key components of an effective job search strategy.  It gave me a chance to share with the group this very simple 3-step process that I know gets results.

Job Search Strategy Step #1 – Self Evaluation

At the International Career Development conference many years ago, I had a brief conversation with Richard Bolles, author of the job seeker’s What Color is your ParachuteI was new to the field of career development and eager to learn from someone as well respected as Bolles.  His advice for me was pretty simple – Help people discover and act on the important things.  That’s what you are doing when you begin your job search strategy with the self evaluation process.  During this step, spend the time to understand your V.I.S.A – Values, Interests, Skills and Abilities.   Believe me, honest self-evaluation is key to developing an effective job search strategy.

Job Search Strategy Step #2 – Image management!

Honest self evaluation to identify values, interests, skills and abilities preceeds image management in this 3-step job search strategy.  You can’t manage or sell what you don’t know.   Without knowing who you are and what you have to offer, documents like resumes and cover letters can be just lists of jobs with dates.  Whatever you have discovered about yourself during self exploration, you must guard and protect through image management.  Make sure you look on paper and your reputation remains stellar online.

Job Search Strategy Step #3 – Put YOU out there

As effective as the Internet and social networking have been in revolutionizing the job search, job seekers must include actively networking and meeting people face to face at career events like job fairs, meet-ups or local job clubs. This step in the job search strategy includes doing company research, preparing for career events and learning how to follow up. It also involves knowing how to put the best YOU forward in a job interview.

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New Grads Share Favorite Job Benefits

new gradsNew grad survey reveals which employee benefits graduates really wanted this year.  The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed over 40,000 college seniors which included just over 10,000 graduating seniors to find out which employee benefits were making a difference for new grads as they evaluated.

The times sure have changed

It appears that times have changed since a few years ago, the same survey revealed that almost half of the graduating seniors listed 100% paid medical as the number one desire.

It turns out that vacation, tuition reimbursement and potentially future salary increases are the benefits new grads wanted this year.

  • More than two weeks vacation – 10%
  • Tuition Reimbursement for advanced education – 9.2%
  • Promises of annual salary increases – 9.2%
  • Company match for 401(k) – 8.6%
  • 100% employer-paid medical insurance – 7.3%
  • Casual dress policy – 7.2%
  • Dental insurance – 7.2%
  • On-site fitness center 6.8%
  • Bonus/commission plan – 6.3%
  • Frequent performance reviews – 6.1%

Read the full list of employee benefits desired by new grads this year.


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How to Network on Campus During Homecoming

Homecoming networkingYes – I know homecoming is all about the game, the parties, the overnight guests, the tailgating etc.  But why not really use the time to cultivate some professional relationships too?  In fact, if you check out my TL on Twitter, you will see that fall homecoming is probably one of the main topics of conversation for HBCU students.  For students in their senior year or who are planning internships next summer, homecoming is the time to begin the conversation.

For years, I’ve been branding homecoming season as the fall kick-off for job search or internship search.  Most college students don’t know it, but big employers focus their recruiting for new grads and summer interns the fall before they need them.  So if you are graduating in the Class of 2015, it means the Fall of 2014 is when major employers are seeking to fill their new career hire slots for the following year.  This is when you should start to look for these opportunities.  Ask the career center staff on your campus.  They know.

So this fall, while you are thinking about homecoming, I want you to think about how to network on campus with the alumni.

How to Network on Campus

1. Cardinal rule of networking is – Givers Gain. It’s not just about what people can do for you. It’s also how you can help them.  When you meet alumni, ask about how you can help their company get exposure on your campus.  Invite them to speak with your campus club, connect them with the career center or connect them with a faculty member.

2. Sign up to be a volunteer with the Homecoming committee.  I can guarantee you that they need more help than they have.  Not coulda ill volunteering help you build your resume with volunteer work, you might get to meet some influential alumni.

3. Keep your giving circle large as you network on campus. Don’t restrict yourself to only your brothers or your sorors.  Use homecoming to meet and interact with more people beyond your small group.

4. As your plans to network on campus  yield some results, remember to follow up with people in a timely manner.   Maintaining your connections will take time. Don’t engage if you won’t follow up.

5. Have your 30-second elevator speech ready to go.  This is a quick way to communicate  who YOU are and what you are about.  Develop and practice your little 30-second commercial about yourself.  You will use it throughout the job search process a lot.  Sample – “Hi. My name is xxxx, I’m a junior here studying xxx and planning to xxx.  I’m the social chair for (name your group) and we are hosting xxx.  When did you graduate?”

6. When you network on campus; network up AND down. What do I mean by that? Don’t assume all the great contacts you make, will be people who are senior professionals to you.  Look also to peers who might be in different majors from you with whom you can buddy-up to share job announcements or job leads.

7. Ask the career center on campus, what activities they are planning that will incorporate the number of alumni who will be on campus during homecoming weekend.  Many alumni are more than willing to participate.  If they have nothing planned, they you and your campus group should plan an event that will allow your members to network on campus with returning alumni.

8. If you are going to be embarking on a job search or internship search, it shouldn’t be the first thing you say. However, don’t be shy about requesting follow up conversations.

9. Ask people how they would like for you to follow up. It makes no sense to call them if Twitter is where they want to meet.

10. Brush up on your social networking skills. if you have ever been at a conference or an event like homecoming, you know that groups come together really quickly when people are wired and connected. Don’t get left out.

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5 Big Workplace Skills Employers Want

what employers want

Types of Interviews

Employers usually are not shy about saying what workplace skills they need to see in the new graduates they hire.  In an article published in the Deseret Morning News, Wendy Leonard said, “Colleges and universities dump a lot of graduates into the work force, and yet some in the work force still need additional, specialized training to perform well in the jobs they choose.”

Why do students need to learn these workplace skills in addition to their college degree?  The reason is simple.  Most employers feel that students should know that earning a college degree involves more than just getting good grads in the classroom. Yes – employers care about your major coursework but they also care about some other skills which many HBCU college students and grads are struggling to master.

Workplace Skills Employers Seek

Here are some of the skills you will want to work on while you are in college. They are skills employers want from graduates.  Employers tend to choose candidates who can demonstrate some amount of mastery of the following skills in the job interview process.

-team building skills
-leadership or supervisory skills
-customer service and client relations skills
-interpersonal skills
-project management skills

Your college career center staff can show you how to translate some of your college experiences, class work and projects into these skills employers want. Having these skills can really enhance your first year on the job experience.

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Hiring Managers Discover Resume Lies

resume lies can catch up with youCareer Builder survey results show that 58% of hiring managers discover resume lies that job seekers include in application materials.  I remind job seekers all the time that we write our resumes everyday.  In other words, what ends up on our resumes, is what we actually do.  If we didn’t do it then we can’t claim it.  Resume lies include stretching the truth by misrepresenting job duties, tweaking job titles or fixing dates of employment.

Most Common Resume Lies

Apparently, based on the survey, some of the resume lies are what we might call little indiscretions that we try to slip past employers.  Apparently, the most common resumes lies that hiring managers spot are as follows.

  • Embellished skill set – 57 %
  • Embellished responsibilities – 55 %
  • Dates of employment – 42 %
  • Job title – 34 %
  • Academic degree – 33 %
  • Companies worked for – 26 %
  • Accolades/awards – 18 %

Which Industries Attract Resume Lies

According to the survey, employers seem to find resume lies on resumes for jobs of all types, levels and industries.  However, some industries report a higher rate of resume lies than others. Below are the rates that recruiters seem to catch resume lies based on industry.

  • Financial Services – 73 %
  • Leisure and Hospitality – 71 %
  • Information Technology – 63 %
  • Health Care (More than 50 employees) – 63 %
  • Retail – 59 %

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Read full article here.

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New Scholarships for HBCU Students to Study in China

HBCU students get scholarships to study in China1,000 Students To Receive A Free Ride to China: Will You Be One?

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Chinese Government and the HBCU Pilot Network Leadership Team solidifying the creation of 1,000 opportunities for HBCU students to receive full scholarships to study in China. That’s right – FULL SCHOLARSHIPS – including room and board.  The number of scholarships for HBCU students to study in China will increase over the next 3 years.

Who is offering the scholarships?

The scholarships offered through the HBCU-Chinese University Collaboration Network will be offered between 2014 and 2017.  Beginning with an initial agreement of 25 Chinese Universities and 25 HBCU’s, students will be able to study in China for periods of 4 weeks and up to 2 years. Eventually, the partnership collaborations will increase to include as many as 50 Chinese Universities and 50 HBCU’s.

This announcement of these new scholarships for HBCU students to study in China comes at a critical time as the relevancy of HBCU’s has recently been called into question. This move not only acknowledges the credibility of HBCU’s and their students and graduates, but also reinforces the value of a global education and cultural immersion.

What can students study abroad in China?

Details of the disciplines and courses of study offered have not been released yet.  However, with China being a top contender (next to the U.S.) as the world’s leading economic power, the likelihood of there being an opportunity in your area of interest is high.

Learn more about the scholarships to study abroad in China

So, when you arrive back on campus at the start of the fall semester, be sure you visit your school’s study abroad office for details.  If your school doesn’t have a study abroad office, contact the office of your HBCU President, it is guaranteed he or she will know about the HBCU Chinese Collaboration Network. And, if your school isn’t included in the partnership just yet, don’t fret!  Take the initiative to advocate for it to be included. You never know where your efforts will land you! (Who knows, maybe China!)

For more information, visit the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

J.Renay Loper, Speaker and Writer about Studying AbroadJ.Renay Loper is a global education professional writer and speaker based in New York City. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or send questions on studying abroad to us at thehbcucareercenter@yahoo.com and we will make sure Ms. Loper gets your questions.

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