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Business Skills New Grads Need

customer serviceEmployers shared concerns about business skills new grads need in recent CareerBuilder and CareerRookie.com survey.   The survey pointed to 6 business skills area where new grads show a lack of preparation.

Employers share the business skills new grads need

Below is a list of the business skills new grads need and the percentage of employers who feel that new grads need more training in these areas:

Customer service (41 %)

Public relations/communications (22 %)

Business development (21 %)

Sales (21 %)

General office functions (20 %)

Information Technology (18 %)

Knowing employers have concerns about a lack of business skills in these areas should help new grads think ahead about how to demonstrate knowledge in these areas.  Any job seeker preparing to launch a job search should definitely have resume and job interview strategy to demonstrate experience in these areas.

Read the full article here.

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Employers Have Concerns About New Grads at Work

african american femaleRecent CareerBuilder and CareerRookie.com survey gave some insights into how employers feel about new grads at work.  The survey found that 57 % of employers actually planned to hire new college graduates.  Most surveyed employers believe that most new grads at work are very prepared and ready to be there.  However, there are many employers expressing concerns about new grads at work and why many are not prepared.

Why are new grads at work not prepared?

So why do some employers feel that new grads are not up to task in the workplace?  The summary of results below are revealing.

· New grads place emphasis on book learning instead of real world learning – 53 %

· New grads lack blend of technical skills and soft skills – 35 %

· Entry level roles are growing more complex – 26 %

· Not enough focus on internships/apprenticeships – 16 %

· Technology is changing too quickly for academics to keep up – 16 %

· Not enough students are graduating with the degrees employers need– 10 %

What does this mean for college students?

The time to be thinking about what employers are going to be looking for from new grads, is not after commencement.  Although it is something I urge even college freshman to think about, it is definitely something that should be a priority for college juniors, college seniors and new graduates.  The more you know about what employers are looking for from new grads at work, the more you will be able to take steps to prepare to meet those needs.

Read the full article here.

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Job Interview Tips for New Grads

male female HBCU gradsMore than 3 million new grads will pick up college degrees this spring.  Only about a quarter (24%) of these new grads are heading to grad school.  Some new grads will travel and explore, but most of these new grads are heading into the job market.  One of the biggest job search hurdles will be the job interview.  Therefore I assembled this reading list of job interview tips for new grads at The HBCU Career Center.

Before the Job Interview

Do your research – Expand your Career and Industry awareness.  One of the biggest complaints from recruiters? New grads who come to the job interview knowing nothing about their company.

Do mock interview at your campus career center.  Even if your career center doesn’t mention mock interviews on their website, ask anyway.

Online behavior can kill your career! Cleaning up your digital dirt must be a part of your job search strategy.

Make a list of questions you will ask in the job interview.  Write down your job interview questions so you don’t forget them during the interview.

How new grads should dress for job interview success.  Bottom line is that new grads in the job interview should dress a little on the conservative side.

Learn job search terminology and about the types of job interviews.  Knowing the types of job interviews the recruiter could use, will help you prepare.

During the Job Interview

I have used this job interview technique with new grads for years.  Could it work for you.  Learn about how to Interview Like a P.R.O.

Should I ask questions in the Job Interview? The answer is a resounding YES!

Could you answer these interesting job interview questions?  Glassdoor.com compiled this great list of job interview questions actually used by companies.  They will get your brain moving.

8 Tips for Job Interviewing after Graduation

How College Grads Turn Recruiters off in the Job Interview.  The last thing you want is to inadvertently turn off a recruiter because of a bad habit you displayed in the job interview.  Don’t be the perfect candidate who doesn’t get a call back.

Research what skills employers want from new grads.  If you know what these things are, you can prepare your best stories for the job interview.

You might have to explain a low GPA at the job interview.   How would you do it?

Don’t think you have anything to share? New grads should talk about projects in the job interview.

After the Job Interview

Be ready for the second round job interview

Write a Thank-You letter after the job interview

New grads should know that their job interview skills have a direct relationship to how long it will take them to land a job.  Spend the time doing the research and improving skills before, during and after the job interview.

Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook!

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10 Job Search Mistakes New Grads Make

Job Search MistakesEverybody makes job search mistakes.  However, many of the job search mistakes new grads make can be avoided with a little bit of research and preparation.   The following ten job search mistakes are easy to fix.  If you believe you are not making job search progress then you need to pay immediate attention to this list of job search mistakes.

Bad resumes and cover letters. This is a no brainer.  AOL jobs says that 61% of resumes have typos and errors.  There are so many resume samples and cover letter samples available for free on the internet, there is no excuse to have a bad resume or cover letter.  Find a layout you like, write your résumé and take it to the career center on campus for a critique.

Digital dirt everywhere. Too many new grads forget to clean up their digital dirt online.  Twitter bios and timelines, Facebook pages etc. should all be stripped of any negative information that could cause a recruiter to dismiss you as a candidate.  New grads who make this mistake often don’t know what they are doing to drive recruiters away.

Not speaking of outcomes. New grads sometimes forget that they need to do more than talk about their degree Or their college major. Skills, experience, internships, accomplishments, leadership and career goals should be part of the conversation.

Not networking enough.  In a digital economy, some job seekers believe that posting a resume on a job board is all they need to do in a job search.  Not true.  New grads must have an online job search strategy, but they must also have an “on-land” strategy.  Move away from the computer and meet actual people At job fairs, community events etc.

No follow up.  Whether it’s with a job lead, a networking contact or a personal referral, new grads struggle in the job search without consistent effort and follow up.  Time is of the essence.  It is important for new grads to act with a sense of urgency.  Follow up on leads within 24 hours.

Poor interview performance.  If new grads are failing in the job search because of poor interview performance, a mock interview could be the answer.  Practise interviews will help new grads develop their ability to answer questions and stay confident in the job interview. Remember my 3 C’s of Interviewing: grew excellent COMMUNICATION skills to speak with CONFIDENCE about your COMPETENCIES.

Not using the college career center.  National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that 72% of graduating seniors who plan to enter the workforce use the campus career center.  I know from my personal experience in career centers, that the percentage of students of color using the campus career center before graduation is about 35%.  Greater use of the campus career center, will definitely yield greater job search success.

Don’t know what employers want.  This is a big job search roadblock for new grads and yet it is one of the easiest issues to address.  Just read this list of the skills employers want from graduates and make them the focus of your resume and your interview.

Lack of research.  This is biggest complaint that employers would make about new grads they interview on campus.  Too many new grads do absolutely no research on the job, the company or the industry.  

No mentors or career advisors.  Personal mentors and career advisors play a critical role in a successful new grad job search.  These are the professionals who help new grads answer questions about the job search process and evaluate job opportunities.

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7 Ways to Shine in Your Summer Internship

Summer internship

Summer internship

Kudos to you for doing the hard work to land a summer internship. Before you head to your internship, pay close attention to these 7 ways to shine in your summer internship experience this year. If you do the right things to shine and be outstanding in your internship, there can be several potentially great outcomes. Of course, you could learn a lot about real work but you could also build a professional network, identify a mentor, leave with letters of recommendation for a job well done or even get the ultimate prize – a job offer or the opportunity to return as an intern.  This year the National Association of Colleges and Employers report that 60 % of interns got a job offer from their internship employer.  All of these things are possible if you make the choice to really shine in the internship.

To stand out and really excel in your internship consider the following tips.

  1. Take your internship seriously and treat it like it’s a real job. Sometimes interns forget that these opportunities, like campus jobs, are real work that offer non-trivial real work assignments. Employers expect real input. Read – Campus Jobs are Real Jobs Too.
  2. Let your manager see you already as an employee. Don’t think of yourself as ‘just” an intern. Follow company guidelines and demonstrate your value, even if in small, but obvious ways. Pay attention to company culture, dress code and company policies while putting ideas on the table if possible.
  3. Use your initiative to ask for new assignments and to work on project teams. Remember, employers know you are there to learn, but they also expect you to contribute.  Pulling your own weight is definitely one way to shine in your summer internship
  4. Do your best work during your internship. Ask questions to clarify assignments and work longer hours if necessary to come up to speed and get your work completed on time.
  5. Demonstrate your willingness to learn new things and set stretch goals for yourself. Use the internship to understand the business priorities for the organization.
  6. The summer internship is a great way to build a professional network of people in your preferred industry.  Make connections, meet people and do informational interviews to learn about career paths from people who are doing what you want to do.
  7. Open a LinkedIn account and virtually connect with the professionals you meet. This way you can maintain these contacts well after the internship ends. It also ensures others see you as an emerging professional with interests and goals.

As your summer internship winds down, don’t be shy to ask about entry-level jobs if you are interested. If you shine in your internship, don’t be surprised if the employer approaches you with a potential job offer. Summer internships can be a tremendous opportunity to get a foot in the door, but only if interns know how to really shine during the experience.

Original article written for Yahoo Voices

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Skills Employers Want From Graduates

what employers look for in new graduatesIt’s that time again! Millions of new college graduates will walk the stage at graduation.  Many will be anxious about making the big transition from college campus to business campus.  Some will be wondering whether or not they have the skills employers want from  graduates.

Most new grads delay the job search until after commencement

Some new graduates will have their new jobs lined up before graduation.  Most new graduates, however, will not even have started the job search process by the time commencement rolls around.  In fact, most new graduates will leave college to join the ranks of the unemployed; college diploma in one hand and college debt in the other.  Once the job search begins in earnest new graduates will begin to ask themselves questions like – Am I prepared? what do I know? What skills do employers want from graduates? Do I have those skills?   To know what skills employers want from graduates we look to the annual employer survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.  Here, employers rate the skills they want from graduates on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5=extremely important.

Do you have these skills employers want from graduates?

  • Ability to work in a team structure – 4.55
  • Ability to make decisions and solve problems – 4.50
  • Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work – 4.48
  • Ability to verbally communicate both inside and outside the organization – 4.48
  • Ability to obtain and process information – 4.37
  • Ability to analyze quantitative data – 4.25
  • Technical knowledge related to the job – 4.01
  • Proficiency with computer software programs – 3.94
  • Create and/or edit written reports – 3.62
  • Ability to sell and influence others – 3.54

Make sure your resume reflects these 10 skills employers want from graduates.  Also use this list during interview prepartion.  Being able to speak to what employers want is a wise job search strategy.

Read more about What Employers Seek From New Graduates?

Read the full Job Outlook NACE report here!



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