The College Job Search Season is Here – Are you Linking In?

Late winter/early spring is a busy time for college students – first rounds of exams coupled with the start of the annual job search process.

Take advantage of career fairs, company networking events, and panels of speakers at club meetings as they all provide great opportunities to meet people and collect business cards. Be sure to have a small notebook with you to jot down names and companies in case they didn’t hand out cards.

After each event, make yourself memorable AND build your network by asking to connect with each person you met on LinkedIn.  Personalize your message, mention the event, and thank them for their time. Keep it short and sweet.

Using LinkedIn, you’ll get access to EVERY person’s professional network that accepts your request.  Think about that – given that the average LinkedIn user has over 300 connections.

Top 10 Hot Jobs for New College Grads

As we all know, new college grads continue to have a much higher unemployment and underemployment rate than the rest of the population. Given this reality, it helps to understand what careers are in demand and will continue to be in the years to come.

The University of California, San Diego just conducted their 5th annual study, “Hot Careers for College Graduates.”  For this report, they looked at current employment numbers, projected growth over 10 years, median annual salary, and workplace characteristics. Not surprising, jobs in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math) lead the pack.

1. Software Developer — Systems Software

2. Software Developers — Applications

3. Market Research Analyst/Marketing Specialist

4. Accountant/Auditor

5. Network/Computer Systems Administrator

6. Elementary School Teacher

7. Computer Systems Analyst

8. Management Analyst

9. Public Relations Specialist

10. Insurance Sales Agent


Salary Negotiation – Do It, You Are Worth It

As a girl growing up amidst the corn fields of southern Indiana, I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to have a father who “talked business” with me until much later in life. We would discuss company profits, the challenges of the manufacturing sector, and the importance of a good education along with many other topics. We would also discuss the value of people.

When my offer letter arrived from my “dream” company (Intel) prior to my graduation from Purdue, I shouted with joy and was ready to sign the bottom line after a quick glance over the details. My father, so proud of his newly minted college graduate, was excited as well, but wanted to walk through the entire document with me.  Afterward he said, “I suggest you negotiate your salary and your start date since you are moving across the country for this job.”

Needless to say, I shocked my manager as I asked for more money (and got it) and requested a later start date (and got that too). This was the beginning of many salary negotiations throughout my career.

The sad reality is that most people never negotiate a thing as it relates to a job offer.

Per a recent Fast Company article, 49% of job candidates take their initial offer. The result is an income loss of over $600K during a 40 year career.  Studies also show women negotiate less often than men.

After helping a colleague negotiate her package for a new job just last week, I suggest the following:

  1. Evaluate your entire compensation package, don’t just look at the salary (401K, vacation time, healthcare benefits, bonuses, etc. are all important factors)
  2. Research and know the salary ranges of jobs in your industry and city for comparison (knowledge is power)
  3. Take the emotion of out it – this is a business deal
  4. Be honest with yourself in terms of what’s the most important to you right now (Tuition reimbursement may be a top priority right out of college while great health benefits may be a priority when starting a family)
  5. Take into consideration the title – especially if further along in your career as this too can be negotiated


Recruiters Using Social Media – The Increase in Importance May Surprise You

I understand as a business owner how important social media is to my company in terms of hiring as I review online profiles and LinkedIn recommendations on a routine basis. I also know how critical a robust online presence is as recruiters reach out to me directly regarding opportunities or to connect with me to ask if I know qualified candidates for an open position.

Based on the infographic by, 92% of companies are using social media for hiring and they are not just using LinkedIn.  Believe these numbers as they are only going to increase, beef up your profiles, and give employers a reason to seek you out or confirm their first impressions.



News You Can Use – Weekly Update

By Friday, almost everyone I know is ready for a break (including me). I longingly look to each  weekend as they provide open time for me to pursue one of my passions – reading.

To make it easier to get a snapshot of what’s happening, I’ll provide a summary of curated  articles as they relate to hiring tips, career advice, personal branding, and employment trends each Friday.

Here Goes for Week 1:

Career Advice

Career Advice from Commencement Addresses

Hiring Trends

Best 100 Jobs for 2013:

Internship and Job Search Help

Job Search Tips:

Social Media News

LinkedIn Lowers Age Limit from 18 to 14:

Let me know if there’s other topics you want covered.

Have a great weekend – happy reading


Job Hunting During College – It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint

Just like most things in life, the internship and job hunting process in college should be viewed and experienced as a journey, not a sprint.

Sadly, the reality is that most college students put off building their “foundation” until senior year, which translates to more work and stress on top of what’s already a jam-packed time of higher level classes, projects, interview prep, and interviews mixed with last parties, events, and trips with friends.

Add to that the pressure by parents who have invested upwards of six figures on higher education while spending next to nothing on career planning, resume and interview prep, and reputation management auditing, and you have a recipe for friction and frustration. Students need their parents to be their biggest supporters and cheerleaders, not their job search managers.

The good news is that a sound foundation can be built early and added to throughout the college experience just like building a house.  Let’s walk through 4 years.

Freshman Year:

  • Adjust to school

  • Focus on building new friendships/relationships

  • Build social profiles and grow your network

  • Begin career research – start following companies and industries of interest

  • Visit Career Center – apply for jobs or study abroad

Sophomore Year:

  • Refine social profiles, add to your network

  • Nurture relationships with professors

  • Research and get involved in clubs, service organizations …

  • Follow industries, companies, and people of interest on social media

  • Check the Career Center early – apply for job or study abroad

  • Reach out for informational interviews – try to have a minimum of 2 few interviewss ahead of time

Junior Year:

  • Create other social profiles if needed based on major and new platforms

  • Add to your network – people (professors, managers, peers) and recommendations

  • Join additional clubs or go deeper in existing ones (leadership position)

  • Refine industries, companies, and people to follow based on career interest

  • Schedule 2-3 informational interviews throughout the year

  • Visit Career Center early and often – most critical summer for internships

Senior Year:

  • Refine social profiles, continue to grow your network

  • Search for people within the network at specific companies that may be of interest and reach out

  • Actively engage on social platforms with companies and key influencers

  • Check in with the Career Center at the beginning of the year to understand key interview timeframe, resume deadlines, etc.

  • Create stories for key interview questions and practice, practice, practice

Throughout college, in addition to the steps above:

  • Manage online and offline reputation – audit it often

  • Continuously update your resume – print and online profiles

  • Look for service opportunities where skills can be built in addition to internship opportunities


As you can see, there’s much to be done and all activities can be done early.  Get off to a quick start so senior year is as stress-free as possible.


Let’s Start Talking Careers…Earlier

It’s interesting as parents how much time and effort we spend focused on academic achievement, college exam performance, and ensuring our kid’s resume is filled with extracurricular and service activities so they get in to the “right” college. Yet we rarely, if ever, talk to our kids about their passions and dreams and how that ties to jobs and careers after college.

The good news is that contrary to what you may believe, high school and college students seek advice about careers from their parents more than friends and teachers combined.  Both the challenge and the opportunity is for parents is to get informed, as the rules have changed.  Social media profiles, online recruiting tools, and even the types of jobs that are available today didn’t exist when we began the hunt for our first job.

I’ve spent the majority of my career as an online marketing and social media strategist helping clients from Fortune 500 companies to non-profits build their brands online using social media and online communities to tell their stories. After having mentored hundreds of young people and hired/managed interns and new college graduates globally, I realized that young people can build their own brand and increase their chances for internships and jobs if they have a personal strategy, focus on building their network early, manage their online reputation, and use clubs and organizations as a place to experiment with building skill sets and peering into industry options.

We’re all in this together, as we have success if our children find success. I want Career Onward to be a valuable resource for parents and students alike.  We offer free up-to-the-minute career information as it relates to social media, online reputation management, and new recruiting tools so you and your student can talk the same language.

We also offer consulting services to work one-on-one with students to build career strategies and personal branding plans that uniquely position and showcase their skills. We’ll deliver value by holding the students accountable, giving honest feedback, and setting milestones to ensure that execution happens.

Isn’t our end goal to raise productive, empathetic, and passionate world citizens who get to use their unique set of gifts and skills to create new solutions, solve tomorrow’s problems, and impact the world in a positive way?

Let’s start talking…early and often.

Why Reputation Management is Important

Teens are impulsive and self-absorbed – they post their thoughts, photos, and videos of the latest party, music festival, or Vegas trip without a second thought.  Chances are, they never go back and read what they wrote as they are off to the next new experience.

The reality is that it’s difficult to delete content once it’s been posted to the web.

More importantly, most teens and their parents don’t ever “Google” themselves to see what their public online reputation says about them.  Even though many teens and their parents don’t know, college admissions officers and HR recruiters do know.

Last week, California became the first state to pass bold legislation that requires social media sites to remove content and provide notice to minors (under the age of 18) that the content has been removed upon request.

These “digital erasers” are a good first step, as minors should not be punished for a post, rant, or questionable photo they posted when they were 15. But, before content can be removed, someone needs to know what’s public on the web in the first place.

Do you know what social media tools your children use?  Have they done a reputation audit?  Awareness is the first step.

How to Research a Company Before You Apply – 5 Things to Do

Since it’s more difficult than ever to get past a “phone screen”, it’s important that you focus on company research well before you contact a company, apply for a job online, or sign up for a campus interview.

5 Things To Do:

  1. Visit the company website – Take a an overall tour and pay special attention to the About section to get a good understanding of the company’s mission, culture, and leadership team
  2. Check to get high level company information and their competitors
  3. Go to and enter the company name to get the latest articles and press information on the target company
  4. Check to see if you or anyone in your network is connected to a contact at your target company.  Remember, it’s critical that you are on LinkedIn and have a professional, up-to-date profile first
  5. Follow your target companies on social media so you get all the recent news