Friday, November 28, 2008

Tips To Handle Employment Gaps

by Nathan Newberger

This career article by Nathan Newberger gives job seekers some important pointers on handle gaps in their work history.

Being unemployed is a difficult and stressful situation. To make matters even worse, the fact that you may not currently have a job can prevent you from finding a job. It is unfair, but true. Having gaps in your employment history are often an immediate turn off for recruiters and interviewers; however, with a little bit of creativity, you can make those gaps disappear.

This month's newsletter explains the 4 steps to handling gaps in your employment history. Don't let being out of work keep you out of work.

These following four methods will be covered:

1. Find Real Gaps
2. Fill In Gaps
3. Dodge Resume Gaps
4. Mention Major Gaps


The first mistake many people make is to assume the worst when it comes to being out of work. Not having a job does not mean you have an employment gap. There are many legitimate reasons for not working. These reasons can be addressed directly without any worry.

The most common explanations of unemployment that should NOT be considered employment gaps are:
  • Attending school
  • Having/taking care of children
  • Personal health problems
  • Serious Illness in the Family
  • Being between jobs for a short period of time (less than 6 months)
If your bout with unemployment does not fall into one of the categories listed above, you most likely have an official gap in your employment history. Even at this point, you do not necessarily have to let a potential employer know about this gap.

By keeping busy while you are between jobs, you can turn a would-be gap into a learning experience. Consider using the following tactics to fill those gaps:
  • Take a class related to your profession. Being in school accounts for your time off, and employers like to see people bettering themselves through education.
  • Look for freelance or consulting projects. These jobs are not permanent, but they do ensure that you keep up-to-date with your skills. You can put this type of work on your resume as if it were any other kind of job.
  • Volunteer for an organization. Getting paid would be ideal, but future employers are concerned with your work experience. To a recruiter, a volunteering position can be just as good as a paying job.
  • Read trade journals. Though this method may not be something you put on your resume, it will help you stay current with the industry. Conveying the newest information possible in an interview shows that you have not lost your knowledge of the business.
Not everyone will be able to find a creative way to fill the gaps in their employment history. If you find yourself in this situation, it is no longer an issue of proving your time was occupied. Instead, you should focus on the fact that you are still skilled and qualified.

However, most resumes focus on time by addressing experiences chronologically. Consider using the following suggestions to draw attention away from your time between jobs:
  • Don't distinguish between paid and unpaid work on your resume. This way you can have a seemingly continuous string of jobs, even if you volunteered for the sake avoiding an employment gap.
  • Use only years (not months) when listing work dates on your resume. This can discretely cover several months of unemployment.
  • Summarize what you did while you did not have a job. It may seem awkward to put this kind of information directly on your resume, but it is more important to let recruiters know you used your time wisely.
  • Use a functional resume. Unlike the traditional chronological resume, a functional resume puts less emphasis on the timing of work experiences. Instead, a functional resume emphasizes skills, which employers care more about.
The last important step in handling employment gaps is deciding when to discuss them. Unless you can completely hide the gap, a recruiter will eventually spot it. If you are prepared to address the issue, you can avoid a potential disaster.

There are basically 2 schools of thought on this issue: address an employment gap in your cover letter or address it in the interview. Neither approach is wrong; neither approach is right. It is a matter of personal taste. Just consider these points before deciding, which approach you use:
  • In a cover letter, make your explanation very brief. A one or two-sentence long explanation is enough. Details are not important.
  • If a gap occurred a long time ago, don't bother mentioning it in a cover letter. Employers are concerned with your recent work, not something that happened 10 years ago.
  • In an interview, still keep your explanation brief. The only reason to go into deeper detail is if you gained valuable experiences during your employment gap.
  • No matter what, END ON A POSITIVE NOTE. Whether you address the gap in a cover letter or an interview, state that you are ready and excited to get back to work.
Hopefully, these steps will give you ideas on how to handle your own employment gaps. It's a difficult task to do, but it is also one of the most valuable. Having employment gaps shouldn't keep you from finding a job, but only you can stop the cycle from repeating itself. This article can be read online and shared with others directly at:

This article can be read online and shared with others directly at:

Nathan Newberger,
Managing Editor
"Helping You Find More Jobs Faster"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Choosing A New Career Path

By Sue Campbell

Jane Doe faced weekday mornings (especially on Mondays) with real regret. She sat at her kitchen table until the very last moment, wishing it were still the weekend, before driving her car to work. She was grateful for every red light that delayed her trip. She'd pull into the office parking lot, feel her jaw clench, and mentally count the hours until she could return to her car to leave again. She felt as if she'd been sentenced to punishment with no hope of reprieve. There was no early release program for good behavior, no great perks or pats on the back for earnest efforts, and no hope of financial advancement that might allow her some hope of getting out of a miserable situation. She had bills to pay. She had people at home depending on her. She'd remind herself of all these things as she parked her car and turned off the ignition. She'd will herself out of her car, walk up to the front door, and face another day at a job she didn't enjoy. She'd always allow herself one last moment to wonder, "Where has the challenge gone? Why doesn't anyone appreciate me? I wish I could do something different" before she'd open the office door to start another day

The Jane Doe in this story might be the receptionist at a busy medical office, or she might be the doctor. She might be the Division Manager for the number one seller of the number one brand of superior cogs. She might be the waitress at your favorite restaurant, or the CEO of prosperous company. She might hold any job, make any salary amount, be any age you imagine, and still be miserable. No matter what job circumstances you might envision Jane in, the fact is she feels stuck, with no way out.

When Jane initially considered changing her career path, her first thought was actually a self-imposed wall. "I can't do this, because. . ." Fill in the blank . . . Jane could find lots of reasons why she couldn't do something to change her career. Sometimes it's easier and less frightening to build walls instead of creating or recognizing possibilities. Jane considered her obstacles. She considered that maybe she was too old to make a change now. She thought that she shouldn't because she'd already invested a lot of money in an education in a different direction. She thought she couldn't because she had bills to pay, dependents to care for, and obligations to meet. Jane assumed she could never change her current career path, because she'd done "this work" for so long she couldn't imagine anyone hiring her to do something different.

The world is full of people who've followed their dreams, instead of building walls. Some of these people followed different dreams at different points in their lives, as their desires and interests changed. They didn't possess magic powers, weren't smarter than Jane, didn't have connections in high places, but they did have something Jane may have forgotten she possessed ~ they had a belief that, with time, with thought, with determination, and with help, they could make their particular dreams come true. Jane finally came to a point in her life where she was ready to realize this too, that she could change her life. And that was the first step, she BELIEVED in herself.

What comes after "believing?" Exploring the possibilities. Jane needed to have some goal in mind in order to learn how to move closer to it, so she began to explore the possibilities. She kept in mind that, for the moment, she would recognize no obstacles. In order to successfully explore, she had to believe that every door was open wide to her. She could do any job she wanted. She stopped worrying about what she was "qualified" to do, because that would've impeded her efforts. Believing in herself meant believing that all things were possible. So, she began to wonder, "What kind of job would make me excited to leave for work on Monday mornings?"

Jane began her exploration by finding out what kinds of jobs were currently "out there." She started with newspaper and Internet classified ads. Here, she not only discovered various job titles (and what positions were currently being sought to fill), but she also learned some of the hiring criteria and responsibilities that went along with these jobs. She kept in mind that she wasn't looking for jobs for which she currently qualified, but just exploring the possibilities. She noted what types of jobs captured her attention, which sounded interesting, challenging, or fun to her. She wrote these job titles down on her "explore" list. Then she wrote down what it was about each of these jobs that interested her.

Next, Jane looked for career possibilities in her local Yellow Pages phone book. She flipped through the pages, looked at various companies, and the services or products provided, and found job descriptions she had never considered before.

Jane took her list of job titles, and the reasons why they sounded interesting to her, to her local public library. She found the librarian and told him that she was investigating job titles, and wanted more information. The librarian directed her to various reference guides and books on careers, most notably the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Occupational Outlook Handbook gave her information regarding what the different jobs entailed, what the work environments were like, what criteria she needed to meet for employment, and what kind of salary ranges she could expect. As she read through the various job descriptions, she found that some of the job titles on her explore list didn't really fit her interests, after all, so she crossed those off. At the same time, she located other positions that were more appealing to her than she would have imagined from the job titles alone, so she added those to her list. As her list grew, she again paid particular attention to what it was about each of these jobs that captured her interest. She thought about why she might enjoy them. She considered what natural skills and interests she already possessed that could be applied to these positions. She envisioned herself in one of these jobs, and felt her excitement grow.

With her list of possibilities to think about, Jane began an exploration within herself. She took the time to consider what was important to her in matters of: work environment, work function, and levels of responsibility that she was willing to manage or accept. She considered issues, such as, "Do I prefer working alone, or in a team?" "Do I prefer to work with few functions and little change, or do I want variety?" "Do I like quiet environments, or are active ones better for me?" "Do I aspire for a leadership role, or do I want to support the leadership?" "Do I enjoy creative work?" These issues were important to her happiness and success within the positions she might someday accept, and helped her to better judge her choices in her explore list ~ how these possible career selections measured up to her real interests and needs. She also explored personal issues, and considered what she was already good at. For example, Jane was very good at working with numbers, but didn't particularly enjoy this aspect of her work. This meant she probably wouldn't be satisfied with a position involving numbers, even though she was proficient at this type of work. She considered other personal issues, such as, "Would I be willing to relocate for a job?" "Would I be willing to travel, and how much?" Choosing a sales position, for example, might require more traveling than she wanted to do, or might be too disruptive to her obligations at home. She decided which issues were non-negotiable for her and which issues were more flexible. In knowing herself and what was important to her, she avoided positions that might, years down the road, leave her once again feeling stuck. She used this knowledge to further narrow down her list to those positions that offered her the greatest potential for growth and long term happiness.

Once Jane had developed a list of possible career paths, she began to feel somewhat overwhelmed by the work she still had yet to do. It was exciting to consider changing from an unhappy career path to a brighter career future, but it felt daunting, too. To reinforce her belief that achieving her goals was possible, she kept one simple truth in mind: CHANGE TAKES TIME. Nothing was going to happen instantaneously, and she couldn't let time discourage her. Instead, she decided that she'd enjoy the journey and let others help her. She gave herself credit, too, because she was already on her way to recognizing the possibilities and creating a new career future, instead of building walls.

Every goal has at least one path leading to it, often several. Jane began to think of how she could discover these paths. First, she talked to people currently doing the type of work she wanted to do, and learned how they got there. This sounds scarier than it really is. . . most people enjoy talking about themselves and are willing, often glad, to share their experiences with others. She also talked to the people who hire the people doing the type of work she wanted to do. She asked these hiring managers what skills and experiences they look for in candidates they hire. She also asked them if they could recommend "steppingstone" positions she could take now that would help her to build skills and experiences she'd need for her future career goals.

Jane also talked to college counselors, career experts, and located members of an industry related professional association. Through these contacts, Jane gained a network of professionals who were interested in her commitment to her future, and were willing to help her.

With all this information, Jane also knew she could depend on her own powers of brainstorming to think of ways she could gain the skills and experiences she needed to reach her goal. She knew what skills she currently possessed, and she knew what skills she needed to gain. This allowed her to ascertain steppingstone jobs that she could accept now. She thought of jobs that would allow her to use what she already knew (for the benefit of a company or organization that might hire her) but would also give her an opportunity to add, build, or learn skills that she'd need for her future career plans. She was concerned that she couldn't afford (financially) to leave her current job, and worried that a temporary decrease in salary in a steppingstone job might create too great of a burden on her resources and financial obligations. So, she considered gaining the skills she needed through part-time work or by offering her services to volunteer, charity, or other non-profit organizations. In this way, she could offer her services for a few hours a week in exchange for an opportunity to learn new skills or expand on the skills she already had. She also considered an apprenticeship position, learning the ropes (even without pay) along side a good mentor, shortening the path to her final destination in this manner. Because she'd selected goals that were fulfilling, exciting, fun, and challenging to her, she knew this learning process would be enjoyable, too. She also realized that it could give her an early opportunity to learn whether this type of work did, or *didn't* measure up to her expectations.

Today, Jane Doe finds herself eager to head for work, even on Monday mornings. She hasn't reached her ultimate goal yet, but she's much closer to it. She's doing work she enjoys, learning new skills, and feeling a sense of real accomplishment. She's had to cut some corners to make the temporary decrease in salary cover her bills, but she's never been happier. Her new coworkers share her interests and appreciate her efforts. Her employer says she has a lot of promise, and is glad she's on his team. Doing what she loves, she knows her success has no limits. Now she encourages others to identify and pursue their goals. She's frequently overheard telling her friends, family, and acquaintances, "You just need to believe in yourself."

Good luck with your job search!
Sue Campbell


Monday, November 24, 2008

10 Best College Majors for Your Personality


10 Best College Majors for Your Personality is a reference book for career experts, counselors, advisors, and coaches. A guidebook for teachers, parents, and students.

The book is a complete package – assessment, college majors, and careers.

In the Introduction, read –

  • Why Personality Is Useful for Choosing a Major
  • Factors to Consider When You Choose a Major
  • Overview of the RIASEC Personality Types

Next, complete the What’s Your Personality Type to discover your Holland Code: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

College Major descriptions review the following valuable detailed information –

  • College major title
  • Personality types/ CIP Codes
  • Major concentrations
  • Typical high school/ college courses
  • Career overview
  • Job earnings & growth
  • English/ Math skill level requirements
  • Related jobs

Extensive lists show the interrelationship between Holland Codes and college majors –

  • 10 best majors overall for each personality type

  • 5 majors with the best income potential, job-growth, and job-opening potential
  • Best majors for part-time or self-employed workers
  • Best majors according to different levels of education
  • Best majors according to verbal and math skill levels

There are other helpful details.

This 10 Best College Majors book is a MUST-READ!

Creating A Personal Career Map

by Nathan Newberger

This career article by Nathan Newberger gives job seekers some important guidelines on creating a career map.

Whether you are unemployed or have an unfulfilling job, you probably suffer from an ailment that plagues many people: career disorientation. You are not where you want to be professionally.Somewhere along the road to professional happiness you veered off course and lost your way. If you are driving and become lost, a map is a handy tool to help get back on course. A career map is just as useful in curing career disorientation.

This article describes how to develop your own personal career map. Once you know the path you want to take, it is much easier to get where you want to go.

These four key elements will be covered:

1. Finding The Big Picture
2. Do Some Research
3. Start Marketing Yourself
4. Plan For The Unexpected

To create a career map, you must be able to take a step back and examine your position. More often than not, you may need to take many steps before the big picture becomes visible. The whole purpose of a career map is to create a path to your end goal. Being able to envision the entire path is crucial.

As you step back to examine your situation, ask yourself these questions:

  • How far into the future do you want to plan? One year? Five years? Ten years?
  • What job characteristics are most important to you? Location? Salary? Room for Promotion?
  • Is there flexibility for unexpected detours? You never know when a spouse will find a job in another city or when a new boss will make your current job unbearable.

Planning should not be a stationary act. A vital part of effective career mapping is gathering information. After all, you cannot fully prepare for a journey unless you have a detailed understanding of the places you want to go. Determining the path you want to take for the next few years requires a lot of legwork. You must identify the specific actions you need to take on the road to success and fulfillment.

There are numerous methods to obtain all the information necessary for creating a sound career map. Some of the most popular choices include:

  • Reading trade magazines and professional industry analysis.
  • Interviewing industry experts.
  • Finding a mentor that is already successful in the job you hope aspire to be in one day.

As you examine your path to success, you must determine how to get yourself on that path. This means you need to be in contact with the companies and/or industries you see in your future. As you already know, landing the job you want is not an easy task. That is why marketing is an essential part of career mapping.

Above all else, a self-marketing strategy for career mapping should address these three issues:

  • Market Identification: Just like a business must decide on the customers to whom it will sell its product, you must decide on the companies and industries to which you will sell yourself. Be specific, having only a general idea will leave you unfocused. Make a list of specifics so you can properly allocate your time and effort.
  • Strength/Weakness Identification: When a business sells its product, it does not just to tell you the product's name. Advertisements emphasize the advantages of a product. You need emphasize your strengths and downplay your weaknesses as you market yourself. Have your closest friends and colleagues help you compile a list of your positive and negative characteristics.
  • Mission Statement: It may seem trivial to actual develop a mission statement for yourself, but they perform a very valuable function. Creating a mission statement requires you to concisely explain your goals. In doing this, you remove frivolous details and better focus yourself.

Often times, as a person develops their career map he or she realizes that they are far off course. This perfectly normal, but it also means that getting on the right road will require a change of direction.

What the future holds is always a mystery. Drastically changing your life can only complicate things. A very important concern to have is your financial stability. A career map is only valuable when it is realistic, so it should address any of your financial concerns. As you plan for the future, ensure you have a financial plan to tackle the worst-case scenario. With each step along the way, you career map should answer the question "Can I afford to continue on?" And the answer must be yes.


Planning before you act allows you to make focused moves. Once you've plotted your course, you must act without hesitation. Don't forget to check your career map regularly to ensure you have not veered off course. Make forecasts and continue to plan. When the job market is rough; the people that do well are those that have a strong idea of where they are trying to go. Remember, driving is a lot easier when you keep your eyes on the road. Happy planning!

This article can be read online and shared with others directly at:

Nathan Newberger,
Managing Editor
"Helping You Find More Jobs Faster"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thank You! Make an impact in 5 minutes

Why do fewer than 10% of all candidates blow off the easiest way to stand out? It's so simple…the thank you note. Yet so few takeadvantage of writing a simple thank you…so it's a huge advantage to those who do.

Why write a Thank You note? Here's 5 reasons:

1. Thank Yous remind the hiring manager who you are
2. Thank Yous show the hiring manager that you REALLY want the job
3. Thank Yous give you an opportunity to highlight why you canuniquely solve the hiring managers' problem
4. Thank Yous show the hiring manager that you are polite, and starts
your relationship out on the right foot
5. And the obvious reason – 90% of applicants don't write Thank You notes

Even if you think you blew the interview, write a thank you. Why? The person who aced the interview might be priced out of the company's budget, or might take a different job.

Even if you don't want the job, write a thank you. Why? Hiringmanagers talk…if you've impressed the interviewer, the hiring manager may refer you to one of his network.

Thank You Strategies – Email, or Letter?

At a minimum, send an email, with the advantage of speed, it can be read that night.

A mailed printed letter is the least effective – at best it arrives days after the interview.

If you're set on mailing, do it right…send a hand written letter on nice stationery card stock.

To maximize your effect, send both. You get the advantage of email's speed, but nothing conveys personality like a hand written thank you. Hand written notes show you've taken the time in today's time crunched world to be personal, and handwritten notes come from the heart – they are believable. Better yet, you get to remind the hiring manager who you are - twice. Almost no one uses this tactic, so you REALLY stand out.

That's why your Mom made you write Thank You notes as a kid…so you'd know how to write them as an adult.

If you'd like more information, a free 30 minute resume consultation, or some advice about your career transition, just email your resume to reCareered at, and we'll schedule a time to talk.


Phil Rosenberg
President, reCareered
Email: phil.reCareered at

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

5 Tips for Interviewing and Hiring Top Medical Sales Reps!

Author Byline: The Medical Sales Recruiter
Author Website:

The top 5 things to keep in mind when interviewing and hiring sales reps for medical sales, healthcare sales, DNA sales, medical supplies sales, clinical diagnostics sales, pharmaceutical sales, laboratory sales, biotech sales, pathology sales, or imaging sales: what to make sure you do, and how to avoid common hiring mistakes.

1. Use a results-based decision-making process. What does this mean? Look at your current reps (most importantly -look at the high performers). What are their characteristics in common? Similar backgrounds? Similar degrees? What works for them will likely be what makes a good current candidate. They will “fit.”

2. Talk to your top candidates several times. Make sure you’re getting a full picture of the candidate, not on just one really spectacular day. And, have others speak to them. See if others on your team are getting the same impression you are.

3. Watch the “tells.” If you play poker, you know about “tells.” It’s just body language and behavior. Read the book: Reading People. It’s excellent. And pay attention to things like:

–how they follow up with you after the interview

–what the thank you note looks like, how it is written, and when it came

–how the candidate dressed, and what kind of behavior you noticed

4. Use an assessment tool: DISC, Caliper, OPQ, or whatever- but use this on your current team first. It’s like the background. If you know what kind of personality characteristics make for a great sales rep in your company, look for those kinds of things in new candidates.

5. CHECK REFERENCES. I’m amazed at how some hiring managers don’t check for references or pay close attention to the ones they call. There are definite signs to look for that will give you solid clues about your candidate.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Congratulations! You have graduated from college. Now What?

The cap and gown is slowly making it’s way to the back of the closet, the out of town guests have returned home and the haze of the last semester plus the euphoria of the graduation ceremony could now be slowly wearing off. Having spent the last eight years in college career center operations, I know that many college grads, despite what you hear, have not confirmed next steps. What is a new grad to do? As you consider your options, and there are many, here are some possibilities that have borne positive results for new grads with whom I have worked over the years.

Travel with a Purpose – If you spent breaks and vacations in college, living la vida loca at exotic tropical locations like Acapulco , Jamaica or South Beach – you might want to consider this the time to travel with a purpose. Each year the number of students who choose to spend their breaks in service to our local or global communities, increases. Nonprofits like Break Away , specialize in helping college students identify alternative ways to spend their breaks during school. If you have not yet had this opportunity, now could be the time. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity and The US Peace Corps are always open to new college grads who are willing to explore citizen service.

Start a Business. If you have flirted with the idea of starting a business, now may be the time to do so. Some people cannot pursue business ownership right after college, because of the urgency of school loans or pressures from parents wanting them out of the house and independence. If this is not the situation for you, do the feasibility studies and exploratory work needed to create a great foundation. Subscribe to newsletters from and spend time working on a business plan. Seek advice from the Small Business Development Center nearest you.

Earn Licensing or certification such as CPA, CFP or Real Estate. This summer is a great time to do some additional work and earn a specialized certification or license in a specific area. Have a Communications degree and like the Real Estate industry? Work on earning a real estate license. Finished your Accounting degree and planning on taking the CPA Exam or have a degree in Finance or Risk Management? For many grads, the last thing you want to do is more studying, but this is a good time to prepare and/or earn certifications.

Take Career Assessments to find out more about who you are. In today’s world of work it is not unusual for college graduates to pursue opportunities in careers that they may not consider to be related to their majors. Keep in mind that other factors such as interests and personality could play a major role in the kind of career you choose to pursue, regardless of major. For example, what do Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas , Film Director Steven Spielberg and Football Coach Joe Paterno have in common? All three were English majors in college. Do some personal introspection through career assessments. Contact the career center at your alma mater and ask for advice on which ones could help you make a decision on your next steps.

Expand your network – This summer may be a good time to expand your professional network by joining some of the more career related online networking sites. Some examples include Linked In .and Spoke .Additionally, if you haven’t already done so, connect with your Alumni Association and join a professional association that is in someway related to your major. If, for example, you were a Marketing major, consider the American Marketing Association . You will definitely gain insight in trends and opportunities within the industry that you might not have considered.

This time post graduation should be a time of joy and also of serious self reflection. You have achieved a major milestone in your life and proven that you can set and achieve goals. That in itself should give you the courage you need to take your next steps with confidence.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Marcia Robinson and courtesy of BullsEyeResumes College Blogs. Robinson has been coaching, training, and writing on career, workplace, employment and education issues for students and career professionals for 10 years.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Can a Minor Help Your Major in College?

Some colleges and universities offer and promote minors to college students as a way to round out their college education and gain more marketable job skills. College students on campuses without minors might pick up double majors or in rare cases, a triple major.

College minors offer a secondary area of study and could be a real asset to a college graduate if the minor enhances or broadens their knowledge in a complementary field. In an article for the NY Times, Joe Cuseo, author of “Thriving in College and Beyond: Research-Based Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development," says “a minor is a hidden weapon. It can be a good marketing tool, or it can be a way to explore a second interest and still graduate in a reasonable time.”

Some of the other advantages of a picking a minor in college include:

- extra preparation at no additional cost
- less work than a double major

After working in four different colleges helping graduates and employers discover each other, so to speak, I am convinced that the job skills that employers want can be developed without a minor or a double major.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers survey employers every year to see what they look for in a new college grad.

Here is what the employers said in 2007.

(5-point-scale where 1=not important; 2=not veryimportant; 3=somewhat important; 4=very important;and 5=extremely important)

Communication skills 4.6
Strong work ethic 4.6
Teamwork skills 4.5
Initiative 4.4
Interpersonal skills 4.4
Problem-solving skills 4.4
Analytical skills 4.3
Flexibility/adaptability 4.2
Computer skills 4.1
Technical skills 4.1
Detail-oriented 4.0
Organizational skills 4.0

How do college students really build these skills and competencies employers want on campus? By being an active student who not only studies, but gets involved.

So, as you think about your college experience and whether or not to add a minor, think about how you can develop in demand job skills through:

- leadership roles in campus clubs and organizations
- volunteer work or community service
- college internship programs

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Article by, Marcia Robinson and courtesy of BullsEyeResumes. The BullsEye Career Blogs helps jobseekers, working professionals and students stay focused on their career success!

7 Deadly Sins of Resume Writing

If your resume is not getting the attention you want, maybe you are committing one of these seven deadly sins of resume writing.

Remember that recruiters and hiring managers will scan your resume for about 20-30 seconds to decide if it should be in the "keep" pile or the "no way" pile. Take 15 minutes to scan your resume and audit for these common resume writing mistakes.


This goes without saying. Do not be afraid to ask for help to proofread your resume. Ask a friend, a colleague, family member, a professor or even a prior boss to help you check for errors. There are also many online resources that offer free resume critiques and will catch errors you miss.


Remember that resumes are not supposed to necessarily chronicle everything you have ever done. The goal instead is to package your most relevant experience and skills to suit the specific position in which you are interested. Very few resumes need to go beyond two pages. If you find yourself going beyond two pages check for relevance.

Lack of clarity

Does your resume make a compelling argument, is clear, concise or to the point? Can the recruiter or hiring manager tell from your resume, what you really want? Is there an objective that focuses the resume or are you wasting words on "resume speak".

No marketing value

Do not forget that your resume is a calling card that represents your personal brand and will get into place when you can't. Professional presentation with an attractive and readable layout is important. Fonts, formats and styles should enhance not detract from the marketability of your resume.

Writing style

Avoid run-on or long sentences. Remove personalization in the form of pronouns such as 'I" or "my". Write in an objective voice. Be wary of professional resume writers who do not write in "your voice". Employers can tell the minute they speak with you on the phone.

Lies or misrepresentations

Do not lie or misrepresent your past on your resume. With today's social networking technology and employee verification processes, lies won't last.

No outcomes

What is the purpose of the resume if not to speak to your accomplishments and outstanding outcomes? Too many resumes chronicle the past, but fail to actually speak to successful outcomes.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Marcia Robinson writes, trains and coaches on career, workplace and employment issues for and BullsEye Blogs. Robinson has a BS in Human Resource Management, a Masters in Business Administration, nine years of professional experience in career center operations and 14 years of leadership experience in the Higher Education

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Strategies for a Successful Phone Interview

Many companies use the phone interview, or phone screen, to help limit the amount of candidates that come in the door. This prevents the hiring manager, as well as any support staff that would meet with potential candidates, from taking time out of their days to meet with duds. In order to succeed at these interviews, there are three things you need to know:

1. The purpose of a phone interview.
2. How to prepare for a phone interview.
3. How to conduct oneself during a phone interview.

Although few companies will bluntly state their true motive, the phone interview is simply a device for weeding out the bad candidates. These are the ones that within the first 15 seconds of the job interview, the hiring manager knows they either lack the qualifications to perform the job or the proper attitude to fit in with the team. So instead of having his or her staff schedule time to meet with someone that won't be a fit, they request that someone in human resources have a conversation to answer questions and get more information about items on the applicant's resume.

As a job seeker, understanding that this is the first round of elimination is key to your success. Take a look at your resume and look for things that someone may find questionable. These things include:

• Short stints at several companies / job hopping.
• Unexplained lapses between jobs.
• Loss of responsibly from job to job.
• Inconsistent experience.

It's often hard to critique our own resumes so you might want to enlist the help of a friend or professional recruiter. Have them take an objective look at your resume for any flaws or red flags.

Researching the company and position is equally important. Look at the listing for the job and match up your qualifications and experience with each required item. Try to come up with an example of how you meet each requirement - these will be the talking points that you'll try to work each answer during your interview towards.

Visit the company's web site and read about its products and services as well as any press releases or news items. Read the executive bios as well as any write ups regarding key staff. Create a cheat sheet with notes like you used to in college - remember that a phone interview is like an open book exam. Try to create a list of potential interview questions and practice your answers. All of this will show the person interviewing you that you've done your homework and you're interested in the position and the company.

On the day of the interview, make sure that you wake up at least 90 minutes prior to your phone call. You don't want to sound groggy to your interviewer. Also, find a nice quiet place where there will be minimal distractions so that your interviewer can hear you clearly. Avoid using a cell phone or VOIP phone if possible - the sound quality isn't so great and the reception is unpredictable.

Choose a work area that will give you instant access to all your notes and supporting information. You could use your dining room table with all of your information in the form of printed documents or you could sit at your computer with all the pertinent information in the form of open browser and word processor windows.

At the very least, you should have the following information at your fingertips:

• Your resume.
• The job description for the position you're interviewing for.
• A cheat sheet of information about the company.
• A list of potential interview questions and your answers.

Make sure you're wearing something that's comfortable and doesn't make noise when you move, especially if you're using a speakerphone (if your phone has a headset, use that instead). Many people recommend that you dress up for a phone interview because it'll put you in the right frame of mind. That advice is both bad and impractical - why would you want to be unnecessarily uncomfortable?

Phone interviews are the first the step in the interview process for many companies - especially when a large amount of candidates are applying for the job. With a little preparation and understanding, you can successful get through the first round of elimination and set yourself up for a successful in-person interview.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Author Byline: Communicating Your Way to Success
Author Website:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Exploring "Gap" Year Alternatives After Graduation

If you are graduating from college this year, you might be considering taking a break before going to grad school or starting your career. If you are, think about doing something meaningful as you explore "gap year" alternatives.

According to Wikipedia, the term, "gap year" refers to a "prolonged period (often, but not always, a year) between two life stages. This "gap year" is also known as a "year out", "year off", "deferred year", "bridging year", "overseas experience", "time off" and "time out". Taking this time off is actually very popular in Europe and Australia where young adults are encouraged to take a break after high school and before or after college. Graduates are urged to take on meaningful experiences during this time for personal exploration before moving to the next life stage of career or college.

Your graduation from college this year could offer you the same opportunity. You might be thinking about taking the time off, especially if you are not sure what your next career or higher education step should be.

The question to ponder is whether or not taking the "gap year" off a good thing for you?

The answer of course is - it depends. College graduates should weigh the pros and cons of taking this time off and the long term ramifications on future career choices.

Here are some pros for exploring "Gap Year" alternatives:

1. This break could give graduates the time needed to explore career options.
2. Students may be tired of school and might get diminishing returns from paying for classes and not doing well.
3. Graduates might be able to save some money to return to school, get an apartment or some needed transportation.
4. Traveling can help students explore geographical options and other cultures

Here are some of the cons of taking advantage of "Gap Year" alternatives:

1. Students may never want to return to college or further their education. This is quite possibly the most common reason for hesitating.
2. Once away from school, graduates lose touch with college professors and others who could encourage further education or guide career direction.

Some US colleges now understand the increasing urge that high school graduates have for the "gap year" and are now getting on board with innovative programs to meet the needs of these college students.

A recent article in the US News outlines "gap year" plans from Princeton University in New Jersey. Princeton University is planning to send 10 percent of their 2009 incoming freshman overseas for a year to work in the social services. These new college students will actually do all this cross cultural exploration before they even set foot on the Princeton campus for their freshman year.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

By: Marcia Robinson and courtesy of BullsEyeResumes College Blog ( Robinson coaches, trains, and writes on career, workplace, and education issues for students and career professionals.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why Helicopter Parents Are Important

Wikipedia defines a helicopter parent as someone who pays extremely close attention to his or her child or children, particularly while at educational institutions. The term suggests that like an actual helicopter, parents "hover" nearby, able to swoop in quickly to address, fix or handle situations.

The term is mostly used in a derogative way on college campuses, since these helicopter parents are accused of rushing in to prevent any harm or failure from befalling children, sometimes, despite protests from the children or college students they seek to protect.

Valerie Strauss in an article for Washington Post, says helicopter parents "are needy, overanxious and sometimes plain pesky -- and schools at every level are trying to find ways to deal with them".

As schools try to deal with helicopter parents, administrators have to balance other research that shows that students with strong parental involvement do better in school. The Harvard Family Research Project found that teens, whose parents played an active role in their education, do better in school and are more likely to enroll in college.

If parental influence supports better attainment in high schools, why would that not hold true for college students? Opponents of helicopter parenting would appear to be saying that once students are safely enrolled in college, parents should immediately take a hands-off approach.

With showing a 6-year college graduation rate in the US at 56.4% in 2006 and the 2003 annual ACT survey showed that only 37.5% of two-year college students were graduating within three years, is there a role for helicopter parents?

Experience, Inc., a provider of career advice and job hunting tools for students and alumni, surveyed more than 400 college students and new graduates on their parental involvement in college life. The overwhelming majority of college students described their parents as moderately involved. Twenty five percent of students in the survey responded that their parents were "overly involved to the point that their involvement was either annoying or embarrassing." Additionally, 13% of the respondents said their parents were not involved at all.

Is it possible that parental involvement at the college level could enhance rather than hinder college student graduation rates? Should college administrators now begin to embrace rather than reject helicopter parents?

To find out if your parents are helicopter parents or if you are a helicopter parent, the College Board offers a great quick 12-question quiz that could help you as a parent gauge your current level of involvement with your children. Whether or not, one agrees or disagrees with their quiz results, I did not agree with mine, it does offer the opportunity for personal reflection and could be the foundation of a conversation between college students and parents.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Article by Marcia Robinson and courtesy of BullsEyeResumes College Blogs. Robinson has been coaching, training, and writing on career, workplace, employment and education issues for students and career professionals for 10 years.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Attract The Right Talent At The Right Time

You have to know the industry’s demands in order to attract the right talent at the right time. Certain clients will insist you keep an eye out for great talent to fit their organization. With that in mind, you can take the initiative to find these professionals and/or recent grads to fulfill your clients’ needs. As a recruiter, you have to remember the three ways to attract highly talented candidates: establish an effective strategy, recruit strong candidates, and make your clients happy with all referrals.

Establish an Effective Strategy

Your networking strategies can determine the success of your recruiting campaign. Participation in industrial committees and events can ease your company ahead of the pack.

Successful networking involves:

*Keeping in touch with each professional within your network twice per quarter.

*Making sure all candidates’ information is correct and accurate.

*Finding highly talented candidates by participating in networking events.

Recruiters continue to adjust to new technologies by implementing social network marketing and mobile marketing. With these changes in marketing channels, recruiters drive highly talented candidates to companies all over the world. Recruiters (that or who) express exceptional understanding of these verticals enjoy successful returns on their efforts. As the demand for great talent continues to rise, recruiters must remember and focus on the importance of strong candidates.

Recruit Strong Candidates

Recruiters must remember the importance of a strong candidate in order to reinforce the purpose of their positions. If your organization positions itself as a leader, your brand should follow the same suit. Professionals will come to you in search of higher paying positions or transitions from their current careers. With your help, the individual will add benefits to your clients and/or your organization. If you are unsure of what to expect, Scott Wintrip explains his points of view in the article Quality Talent vs. Warm Bodies – Finding Top Candidates In a Difficult Market [].

Make Your Clients Happy

If you keep your clients happy, your business will enjoy substantial growth. Successful recruiters focus on their clients’ and/or organizations’ needs. Their recruiting services enrich an organization’s culture through extensive research and development. Stay in touch with your most successful placements, remain visible, and more candidates will seek you for placement. Your business and/or position as a leading recruiter depend on the turnover of your placements. The best aspect of a client’s approval is there power to refer your services to other companies.

Attract the right talent at the right time by implementing these three tips: establishing an effective strategy, recruiting strong candidates, and making your clients happy. Employers love recruiters with insight and successful track records. Be a new leader within your organization and/or industry by providing outstanding referrals to enrich an organization.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Tahjia Chapman is a writer for at, the leading job board for college students searching for internships and recent graduates hunting for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

RIASEC Inventory

A Quick and Easy Assessment

RIASEC Inventory

The RIASEC Inventory
  • Uses Holland’s RIASEC coding system and latest O*NET job titles
  • Scores into six interest areas: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional
  • Quick, 4-page assessment takes only 10-15 minutes to complete

The Holland Code inventory gives individuals a fast and informative way to explore occupations based on their interests. Using the RIASEC system developed by John Holland--the most widely used occupational interest coding system available.

Use this inventory to identify their job interests.

Complete only 72 work activity statements.

Match results those interests to potential careers.

The Holland Code inventory, a quick and easy assessment, is perfect for job seekers who have little time to spend on testing and career exploration.

Use RIASEC Inventory with -