Monday, November 30, 2009

Trends Post #4: Small Employers.. who they are, how to find them

"Small employers are the backbone of the college labor market and they expect to increase hiring over the next 10 months," says Dr. Phil Gardner in his Recruiting Trends report.

I gave you a brief description of who is hiring in the last post. SMALL EMPLOYERS. So how do you find jobs at these somewhat elusive organizations?

First, here is where you won't find jobs with small employers (and why):
  • Career Fairs: due to their small number of employees, being away from the office and spending a day at a career fair to hire one person is not a good use of their time.

  • On Campus Interviews: really, same reason as above.

  • Anywhere it costs to post a job: newspapers, for-profit job boards (Monster, Career builder, etc.) why... you can probably figure that out for yourself. MU Career Manager does not charge employers making it easier for all employers to attract MU students!

Now, here are some first steps in finding jobs with SMALL EMPLOYERS:

  • If you're not connected, then you're not going to like this but NETWORKING is the key. This doesn't mean that if your uncle or sister or neighbor isn't "in-the-know" then you are out-of-luck. Anyone can be connected. The trick is knowing HOW to capitalize on those connections.

  • Having a Linkedin account isn't enough; you have to know how to use it. Read this, Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job. It's ancient in Internet-time but I think it is still relevant.

  • You will first have to FIND the small employers. The Career Services Center has lists and lists of the biggest XYZs but that won't help you in this search. Instead, use one of our great resources, Reference USA. You can search for organizations by size, industry, and location which is exactly what parameters you need in this economy.

Who cares whether or not the small organizations you are pursuing actually have jobs posted! Either way, do the following:

  • Make a list of organizations based on industry (think outside the box... would a manufacturing company hire a communications major? They might if they needed publicity! or had customers! or were in the news!), size (<500), location(remember, you can go ANYWHERE!)

  • Research at least 20 of them. Since they are small they may not have their own web pages (don't judge, give them a break!, maybe offer your web-skills) so you will have to research using resources such as Vault (accessed through out career gateway) and by searching media sites for news about the org.

  • Use your connections to see if someone you know knows someone who works at one of your targeted orgs. CONTACT THEM!

  • Develop a targeted cover letter (or email message...using complete sentences)

  • Talk to them about how your skills will help them do something better. Be specific.

Okay, that's a lot for now. I'll go into more details on HOW TO DO THIS tomorrow on my next post.

Until then... enjoy this quote by Ronald Reagan which is still true today...

Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.

THINK small!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trends Post #3: Who is hiring?

Companies who are more likely to increase hiring are organizations:
  • With 500 or less employees AND
  • In the Non-profit, manufacturing, and retail sectors AND
  • Recruiting across the entire US or South Central, Southwest, and Northwest regions AND
  • Those using social media, internship programs, and direct contact with faculty

Let's talk about expectations and compromise.

Could you find your dream job after graduation? Possibly; if you create it yourself (see post #2). Most likely you will have to make some compromises regarding your career. Don't think you are the only one who has ever had to do this. Compromise is part of life (and relationships but that's another blog!).

What you can do:

  • Be open to small organizations, many of which you may have never heard.
  • Be open to location. You can always go back home. Your twenties are a good time to explore the region, the country, and the planet. If Texas has a 6% increase in jobs... then get out your cowboy boots and head south!
  • Be open to job openings that fit your skills but may not require your exact major or the career you pictured for yourself. Do you think I grew up wanting to be a career counselor? But now I wouldn't trade it for any other career.

You do have a choice... either sit back and wait for something to fall into your lap (unlikely and rather a bit boring) or get out there and find something by BEING OPEN!

Ride 'em cowboy!


Social Media and the Workplace

Society has responded in various ways to the changing times with social media both positively and negatively. With today’s social media crazed teens, schools have gone to the extent of banning cell phones from the classroom, and banning Internet sites they deem inappropriate.

Oftentimes text-messaging and Internet surfing in the workplace are frowned upon, and those against the new social media trend argue that social networking at work hampers business productivity.

The article The Greatest Generation (of Networkers), written by Jeffrey Zaslow, poses a new look at the social media craze of today’s youth.

Rather than engaging in long phone conversations much like older generations, today’s youth have gained beneficial qualities through the use of the Internet and sending short messages via text-messaging.

Although some argue that social networking at work reduces office efficiency, this article expresses how social networking enhances people’s social skills and ability to succeed in the workplace in areas such as connecting with the right people, having the ability to optimize, prioritize and gain easy access to information.

Some believe this generation has been blessed with the gift of multitasking and having the ability to stay connected- but how much is too much?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trends Post #2: What Employers Want


And no they don't mean your ability to do the downward facing dog!

Employers are seeking candidates across all majors who can slide into a variety of positions as needed or can adapt quickly to changing conditions; a mix of technical and soft skills.

Companies are repositioning themselves for more Internet business and seek candidates with acumen in this area.
  • Web 2.0 is BIG BIG BIG.
  • Employers are just beginning to tap into this marketing tool.
  • I know YOU know how to tweet, blog, post, etc.... let employers know too.

What you can do:
  • Include your social media skills on your resume. List examples of appropriate, entrepreneurial-like uses of social media.
  • Think in terms of how organizations might better use these tools to spread the word, to make money, to find more customers...
  • Got a great business idea? Pitch it to everyone you know. Ask them who they might know who might be interested.
  • Here is a great example and inspiration...

A Walking Advertisement: Jacksonville, Fla., Man Makes a Living Wearing T-Shirts for Marketing Company that Takes Advantage of Social Media

Tweet tweet! Laura

Want to Volunteer Abroad?

Many people, college students included, dream about the opportunity to spend time abroad doing great service work. The problem is, most of the time it never develops further than just that, a dream. But what about for those students that do aspire to go overseas and devote their time to a cause? Recently we had the chance to sit in on a presentation by Zahara Heckscher, who has spent the last 20+ years of her life volunteering overseas. She was able to provide a number of quick tips for making a volunteer experience materialize. Here are her 10 main tips:

1. Do it.

There are always reasons why not to do something; commit to going abroad and half the battle is finished.

2. Study your motives and expectations.

As good as your intentions might be, you will not singlehandedly save the world. Figure out what specific goals you want to accomplish and set out to do so.

3. Do your homework.

The more advance knowledge you have about the area, the programs available, and the experience, the better prepared you will be to make a positive impact.

4. Don't rule anything out.

You might not find the perfect experience right away, but you could find an organization that really needs your assistance, a place in which you can make that impact you desire.

5. Volunteer before you go.

You're going to be able to offer so much more if you have volunteering experience here in the States. It doesn't matter where you volunteer, just get used to the environment.

6. Plan for your return.

You'll be getting a great experience; think about how you can take that experience and spread the word about it once you're back in the United States.

7. Study the language.

It's always easier to help when you can communicate, right?

8. Expect to make mistakes.

No one is perfect. Simply try to minimize the big mistakes and work to rectify the small ones that do come about.

9. Keep a journal

You'll want to remember your experiences and how you got them so that you can share with future volunteers.

10. Get your shots and take care of your health.

Make sure you have all the required immunizations necessary. If you are planning on going to less developed nations, bring extra medicine to help fight off illness while you are there. You can't be effective if you aren't functional!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Trends Post #1: The college market has hit bottom!

The college market has hit bottom! Companies expect to hire an average of 30 individuals per company; this is a limited number of jobs. The competition is fierce! The talent wars will continue as employers elevate the performance expected of new entrants.

What you can do: Make a plan!
  • Create your career goal. Whether you are seeking an internship, full-time job, or plan to go to graduate/professional school... you need a career goal. As i often say, in areas of dating and career, the "I'll take anything" approach NEVER WORKS!
  • Know your skills. Why would anyone want to hire you? Make a list of at least 10 skills that you think employers seek. Need help? Click here.
  • Become an expert in YOU! Being able to sell yourself and your skills in an interview is one of the most important skills you can have. Be ready to let everybody know whay they should hire you!

Recruiting Trends Conference: 2010 Employment Outlook

Marquette University’s Class of 2010 Employment Outlook
The 2009-2010 Recruiting Trends Report

Each year members of the Marquette University Career Services staff attend the annual Recruiting Trends Conference in Chicago. This conference features the research of Dr. Phil Gardner, a nationally known economist from Michigan State University. Dr. Gardner’s Recruiting Trends report describes the opportunities and challenges faced by 2010 college graduates based on a recent national survey of 2500 diverse employers. The college labor market is a reflection of the overall state of the economy and as such we anticipate another challenging spring semester.

Every day for the next two weeks I will blog, tweet, and post highlights from the Recruiting Trends Report Summary.