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Millennials.. A new approach? February 25, 2008

Posted by Amanda in Cheesy Whiskers, The Job Maze.
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I happened to be meandering across Adage today when I came across this article.  Every one of these points struck a chord with me.  I could either relate them to people I know from college or to myself.  I specifically related with these:

1. ELIMINATE AMBIGUITY.

Millennials are experts at calculating what it takes to meet expectations. Once locked in, they have a GPS-like approach to navigating toward the goal. I have learned that the flip side of this laser-like focus is a lack of patience for any hint that the rules are being changed midstream.

LESSON: Set clear goals and timelines — and resist modifying them. Once the syllabus is printed, I never change it.

….

4. MAKE IT WORTHWHILE.

Students are sick of busy work and exercises; they long to do something “real” and meaningful. What’s more, they are convinced they are ready for it. Whenever possible, I incorporate real-world consulting problems and clients into class assignments. Many students have told me years later that those were among the most meaningful experiences they had in their college careers.

LESSON: Assign the tough problems, not just the ones you think they can handle.

For those of you who are managers, what strategies do YOU use to relate with the younger work force?

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For my fellow Bloggers January 18, 2008

Posted by Amanda in The Job Maze.
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I saw this today and it made me laugh… HARD!

Act Like a Professional

Contrary to popular beliefs, very few people are actually able to blog for money. WordPress actually does not allow it, unless you pay for their “professional” hosting. However, I have found that blogging provides a great example of writing skills. I can actually credit my blog for helping me land a job! It provided me with a way to show examples of my work without having to carry around a bulky portfolio.

Have you blogged today?

On the Brink… June 23, 2007

Posted by Amanda in The Job Maze.
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Did you ever have that moment as a kid where you’re at the local swimming pool and you decide you want to jump off the tallest springboard? So you pull on your arm floaties and march up to the long line of older kids waiting their turn. You’re so impatient to get to the front of the line. When it’s finally your turn you climb all the way to the top as quick as you can. Then, when you’re standing on the very edge of the board, you freeze. The magnitude of what you’re about to do finally hits you and you are so scared to take that final step off the edge…

Well that little kid right now is me. And no, I’m no longer seized by fear when jumping into the pool, but it is my last semester of college. And the waters below are not the crystal blue color of the pool, but the turbulent seas of the job market. I’ve had it all planned out for years. Just work hard and do well in school and then at the end, when college is over, there will be a wonderful job waiting. A place where everyone can’t wait to go to work every day and love what they do. The fact that it is well paying is just icing on the cake.

But it’s not that easy. There’s no guarantee on getting a job. Finding one that’s liked or even loved is even rarer. And yes, we live in the great United States where everyone should be able to succeed as long as they work hard. But it doesn’t always work like that. We’re in an age where personality tests and computer based resume screeners tell companies if they should hire us or not. And even if you do everything right that you can think to do, you may not even get an interview.

It’s a long ways down… Both exhilarating and terrifying…

Following Up on the Interview September 8, 2006

Posted by Amanda in The Job Maze.
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Send a Thank You Letter. Yes, it may seemed oldfashioned and that no one cares anymore. But they do. It is common courtesy to send a thank you letter and it could be considered rude if you do not.

Because sending a letter IS so common, you should not rely on that alone. An article from the Career Journal says:

It’s Time to Call

Five to seven days after mailing your letter, place a follow-up call with the explanation that you want to make sure the interviewer received your note.

Undoubtedly, you’ll be told that your letter arrived and was read. What’s important, though, is that while your competition is still hoping to hear back from the company, you’re talking with the person who will make the hiring decision. This gives you the opportunity to deepen your relationship and move ahead of other applicants by engaging the manager in a stimulating conversation.

Good subjects to discuss on the phone include any aspect of the position that remain unclear. You could revisit an important issue from your interview or elaborate on a key point. You also might ask an insightful question about the job, the manager’s department or the company. If you heard of a significant business development, ask about its effect on the organization.”

Interview Tips For the College Graduate September 7, 2006

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So you went to the career fair and they now want to have an interview with you. What you should NOT do:

Fumbling the Interview
Common mistakes job candidates make during interviews, based on a recent global recruiter survey. (
Link to this article here)

  • Talking too much
  • Lack of knowledge about company or position
  • Over-inflated ego
  • Appearing overly confident
  • Inquiring about compensation too early in the process
  • Unkempt appearance

And now here is what you SHOULD do, if you really want the job.

Arrive early. Not on time and definitely not late. You want to be about 5-15 minutes early. NO MORE than 15 minutes. If you are that early, it becomes an inconvenience to the interviewer. I usually shoot for about 10 minutes on the dot.

Do not Chew Gum. This one seems like a no-brain-er, but it really distracts from your polish when you’re chomping away at that piece of juicy fruit.

Listen carefully. If you look distracted and bored during your interview, it does not give them a good impression of how you will react to customers. Since you are trying to sell yourself to the interviewer, show interest in what they are talking about. Listen actively and try to pick up on key points about the business.

Make a connection. Try to find some common points between you and the interviewer. Try to relate to them. Making a connection with the interviewer will put both of you more at ease and leave them with a better feeling about you. Personality is a plus to help set you apart.

Ask questions. It is important to always have a few questions to ask the interviewer. First to show interest in the company and second to show you’ve been paying attention to what they have been saying. Here are a few sample questions you could ask:

– Why is this position available?
– What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this job?
– What are some of the objectives to be accomplished by this position?
– What are the long term objectives for this position?
– What are some of the more difficult problems in this position?
– What type of support does this position receive in terms of people, finances. etc?
– How would objectives, deadlines, and methods of measurement be determined? How much input would I have?
– What advancement opportunities are available and in what time frame?

Call to Action. Always ask when you can expect to hear back from the company regarding this position. It’s important to set a time-frame so that you know when to follow up. I’ll cover how to follow up in my next post

Top 10 Tips for Attending Career and Job Fairs September 6, 2006

Posted by Amanda in The Job Maze.
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Top 10 Tips for Attending Career and Job Fairs
1. Have a pen/pencil and paper available for notes.

2. Bring resumes and a folder or portfolio to hold your materials. [Business cards are also good to have.]

3. Take the time to find out what companies will be represented before the day of the career fair.

4. Research information about the participating companies and organizations prior to approaching the recruiters. Use the Internet, news sources and career fair materials to learn about the companies’ booths you plan to visit. You can impress a recruiter by knowing about his or her company and can discuss its current situation.

5. Use time wisely. Determine where employers are located and in what order to visit them. Focus on three companies that you are truly interested in.

6. Broaden your focus and include many types of employers. For instance, you may not have considered working for a hospital, but hospitals recruit and hire professionals in many different fields (e.g., management, information systems, or health care).

7. Be aware of time demands on employers. Do not monopolize an employer’s time. Ask specific questions and offer to follow up after the fair, as appropriate.

8. Be direct. Introduce yourself, including your name and career
interests. If you are job-seeking, state the type of position in which you are interested. If you are gathering information, let employers know that you are only interested in materials and information. Remember to use good eye contact and a firm handshake. Career fairs are the perfect place to use your elevator speech.

9. Make sure you learn from the recruiter employment and/or hiring trends, skills necessary for different jobs, current openings, salary, benefits, training, and other information about the organization. Also make sure you know whom to contact for follow-up discussions.

10. Ask the employer for the next steps in the recruitment process
and try to obtain the recruiter’s business card for follow-up discussions/correspondence.

Source: Compiled by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Top Ten Tips for Attending Career and Job Fairs, http://www.careers.com

Getting Noticed September 5, 2006

Posted by Amanda in The Job Maze.
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Marketing Headhunter has been on my blog list for some time now, as Harry Joiner posts many informative articles which could be adapted to suit College Grads (if you’re a marketing major, or just looking for a job period, I encourage you to read some of his advice). One of his recent articles really caught my eye. How do you reach hiring managers when their gatekeepers are good at their jobs? Common advice is to send them an email directly. However, not all of them have their emails in an easily accessible. Here’s what Harry suggests:

So: If you want to send an email directly to your hiring manager, try visiting Whois Search and entering the URL of the firm you wish to solicit. After entering a special onscreen code, note the format of the email address of the firm’s Webmaster. Try sending an email to your contact using that format. See example. This trick is especially effective for Hoover’s users, who can lookup the names of the firm’s officers and copy multiple recipients in on the same email.

I encourage you to read the rest of the article here. After talking with Harry a little bit he added this opinion:

I think this tactic is especially differentiating for college grads. if you try this and it works — then you know your values are confluent with the hiring company’s. If they frown on this kind of unconventional, noise-busting personal marketing, then that’s useful to know as well.

So to all you College grads, don’t be afraid to take a few risks. It takes effort to break through the clutter.

What do you think…. August 3, 2006

Posted by Amanda in The Job Maze.
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My Human Resource Management Professor brought this up in class, and I found it extremely interesting, so I asked her for a copy of the article. Called the “Seven common misconceptions about human resource practices: Research findings versus practitioner beliefs” by Sara L. Hynes, Kenneth G. Blown, and Amy E. Colbert

Recent research suggests that HR practices can have considerable impact on both individual and organizational performance. These findings strongly suggest that not knowing this HR research can be costly to organizations. In this article, we pinpoint areas where HR practitioners seem to be most unaware of research findings related to effective HR practices, based on responses by a large sample of HR managers. The seven questions that exhibited the greatest disagreement between current research findings and respondents’ beliefs are explored, along with their management implications and suggestions for implementing the findings.

There are seven major findings mentioned in this article, but the six I found most interesting are below. You might write down whether you think each one is true or false. You just may be surprised 🙂

 

1. On average, conscientiousness is a better predictor of employee performance than intelligence.

2. Companies that screen job applicants for values have higher performance than those that screen for intelligence.

3. Integrity tests do not work well in practice because so many people lie on them.

 

4. Encouraging employees to practice in decision making is more effective for improving organizational performance than setting performance goals.

5. Most errors in performance appraisals can be eliminated by providing training that describes the kinds of errors managers tend to make and suggesting ways to avoid them.

6. If employees are asked how important pay is to them, they are likely to overestimate its true importance.

 

 

 

 

 

And here is what the study found… Apparently many of us have wrong perceptions.

1. 72% of participants agreed with this, but research shows that it is incorrect. Intelligence or General Mental Ability (GMA) is a better predictor.

2. 57% of the participants agreed with it, but The research does NOT support it. Fit is positively related with employee attitudes and length of service, while GMA predicts performance.

3. 68% agreed with the statement while it is not correct. Integrity tests are valid and work well in conjunction with GMA tests.

4. 83% agreed with the statement, while research shows that it is false, Performance improves only after goal-setting interventions.

5. 70% thought this is true, while it is not. It is hard to correct behaviors through training and strict requirements and follow up are needed.

6. 56% agreed with this statement while the evidence shows otherwise. People tend to DEFLATE the importance of pay.

Were your perceptions correct?

 

 

Travel Tips for the New Business Grad June 30, 2006

Posted by Amanda in The Job Maze.
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Travel is a part of business life these days and I’ve certainly schleped my stuff to the airport and back a few times. Here are some little gems of wisdom that I’ve found in my travels.

Pack clothes that do not wrinkle. Polyester blends, wool blends, microfibers, silk, and rayon are things to look for. Avoid 100% cotton or linen! Bring one suit and several pieces to change its look. Men can wear the same suit with varying color shirts and ties. Ladies can create several different outfits from a three piece suit and a few blouses to rotate underneath. Mix and Match to save on laundry.

Ladies, if you’re wearing pantyhose, include a small bottle of clear nail polish in your travel kit. It really is the best thing for runs. If you pop a button, most hotels have a small sewing kit. Tide to go pens work well if you’re prone to stains.

Carry on your important documents, toiletries, medications, and one change of clothes in case your luggage gets lost. Also, Keep a spare credit card somewhere safe and other than your wallet. You do not want to be stranded. I recommend that you have a card just for emergencies.

When flying never check your laptop with your luggage, even if you don’t plan on using it during flight. I’ve seen baggage handlers toss luggage from the cart to the conveyer belt. I wouldn’t trust my laptop to withstand it, and I wouldn’t recommend you try it either.

Get sturdy hard-sided luggage, with reinforced sides. Pay special attention to wheels and handles to make sure they are sturdy and well built. Also, look for luggage that is weather proof. You never know what could happen!

Take your own Ethernet cable with you. If a hotel has internet, it usually has a cable, but it could be broken or missing thanks to the last guest. Also, don’t rely on your hotel having free internet. I always stick a short one into my laptop bag.

Carry a lot of business cards and keep them somewhere accessible. You can meet a lot of people on airplanes, plus you never know if you’ll be meeting new business contacts.
Buy a small travel alarm, or you can use your cell phone. Most hotels have wakeup calls, and I use them, but you don’t want to rely on them. Always have a backup!

I hope these tips will help make your travels easier! If you have any to add, feel free to post a comment.

Sources for some of the tips: Sideroad Silicon.com

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Tips for the Graduate June 29, 2006

Posted by Amanda in The Job Maze.
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My friend Deirdre over at Peon 4 Life wrote a great post about what college graduates should expect when they’re trying to get their first job. I have several friends who’ve struggled with these realizations.

So, Mike and David there are a few here just for you!

–Obtain an internship–Either during your college years or right after graduation. Usually this will land you a job. It happened to most of my friends. If they didn’t get a job from the company they interned for, they got a good recommendation and a job somewhere else because of the experience they gained. This is crucial, this will show you have more than the average graduate that just went through college hoping to get a job after the party years are over.

–When you have your interview, send them a thank you note afterwords.– I don’t think a lot of people do this in general. This will help them remember you and notice you care about this position. Maybe even send them a little box of candy. A little bribe never hurt. It shows you have the cajones to go after what you want.

–Practice your interview–Practice what you are going to say. You don’t want to just sit there and appear uninterested or dumbfounded. Ask questions, talk conversationally, and talk about the business/field itself. Know about the place you are interviewing. Just practice on the way to the interview. Appear relaxed on the outside even if you are nervous on the inside. Never let them see you sweat.

–Don’t get discouraged–You will go on tons of interviews and probably won’t hear back from most of them. If you go on 20, you’ll be lucky to hear back from at least 5. And be lucky if they call you back for a 2nd interview. It’s a rough business and you aren’t the only one looking for their first career.

There are a few things that I would add to this post.

– Get a Head Start – Don’t wait till the end of the semester to start working on finding a job. The old adage, Early Bird Gets the worm applies here!

– Print your resume on good paper – No cheap stuff here. Although some may think it makes little difference what type of paper your resume is on, first impressions really count. If your resume is printed on cheap off-white paper, they may think you are desperate or just don’t care. A nice crisp resume with a simple elegant design will seperate your resume from the rest of your class.

– Pay attention to the details. The resume idea kinda falls under this one. The little things, like clipping your fingernails and polishing your shoes, may seem insignificant, but they add up to make a big impact on your overall impression.

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