The Job Search Process – Where Do I Start?

A blank piece of paper can be inspiring or intimidating, a clean slate or a lack of ideas. The start of the job search process looks like a big white space to most college students and new college grads.

Before you “do something” which typically means applying to a myriad of jobs you know little or care nothing about, I encourage you to honestly evaluate and rank your personal priorities first so you can use this list as a roadmap to direct your search.

Think about and rank the importance of these factors relative to one another so you can see what’s important to you (not your roommate, sibling, or parents)

  • Money – salary range for the jobs/areas of interest
  • Geographic location – specify where you want to live
  • Mission and Value – the importance your values align with the company
  • Company – a list of companies you admire and would move anywhere for
  • Job role – you are driven by what you do every day in terms activities
  • Industry – you have an aversion or a passion for a specific industry
  • Company culture – physical location and team environment
  • Company size – start-up, mid size or Fortune 500

Once this exercise is complete, you will have learned a lot about yourself. Plus, these findings can drive your next steps.


The Value of Volunteering Off-Campus

Many college students spend a significant amount of time trying to fit in. When it comes to the job search process, the goal is the opposite. How do I stand out from the crowd?

One of the easiest and most meaningful ways is to determine where you volunteer your time and what skills you build or apply to the organization. The opportunity to contribute to an organization you truly care about is available in almost any college town.

Instead of dedicating all your time to campus organizations, explore music or art non-profits if this is your personal or professional area of interest. Volunteer to apply your marketing or fundraising skills to a pet shelter or food bank or improve your foreign language skills teaching computer classes at a local refugee center.

Your passion will shine through in your interviews and your authentic stories will be different and memorable to recruiters. Be different, step off campus and lend your valuable skills to a well –deserving non-profit. I’m sure you will reap more benefits than they do.


Are You Considering Growth when Choosing a Career Path?

Not since the Industrial Revolution has there been so much disruption in the global labor market. The share economy (uber, Airbnb…) didn’t exist 10 years ago. Driverless vehicles, consumer space flight, and new artificial intelligence and virtual reality applications will forever change careers in many diverse industries including law and medicine.

Historically, the top earning potential for women has peaked at 39, 48 years old for men. In this time of massive disruption, it’s important to target roles and industries that are forecasted to grow so you are not forced re-invent yourself due to a lack of job growth or job loss in your highest financial performing years.

Check out these 10 career fields that are forecasted to grow:

Balance Your Hard Skills with In-Demand Soft Skills

Employers will be the first to admit that effective soft skills in combination with proven hard skills are the key to success. This is especially true for students pursuing internships and entry level positions post graduation as most jobs will require team and project based work.

I get asked often, what are soft skills and which ones do employers care about?

Soft skills are harder to measure and are sometimes referred to as someone’s Emotional Intelligence. The all involve communications skills and the ability to collaborate and get along with others.

Check out these top 10 soft skills to ensure you are building these in campus clubs, professional student organizations or part-time work.

The good news – soft skills can be learned, yet they need to be put in to practice so you can discuss examples during your interviews.

3 Tips for Tapping the Hidden Job Market

I am a witness to the reality that 60-70%+ of all jobs are not posted. As a personalized career advisor for college students and new grads, I routinely get calls from friends and colleagues asking if I can refer someone with a particular skill set.

This is also why we have our clients spend a significant amount of time reaching out to professionals at the companies and in the roles they think they want to pursue so they learn about the company culture, skills required, and activities performed before they ever apply for a job. Most importantly, our students learn what roles are best for them from the employer perspective, if they will be hiring, when, and who else they should connect with to move things forward.

Tips for tapping the hidden job market:

  1. Make a list of companies that you are interested in and use LinkedIn to identify and reach out to contacts that are currently in the role you want to explore
  2. Research alums that were in your sorority, fraternity, club or professional organizations as recent grads tend to be the most helpful (they remember how stressful the job search process really is!)
  3. Tap your neighbors and parent’s networks for contacts at companies you want to target

The advantages to this approach are many; you’re building relationships, practicing your informational interviewing skills, and learning a lot about what you do and don’t want to do in the process.

Isn’t this better use of your time than spending hours a day blindly applying to job postings online?

3 Tips for Successful Holiday Networking

The holidays are a time of merriment and good cheer, so it’s a great networking opportunity to meet or re-connect with extended family and friends in a low stress social setting. Your goal – articulate a 30 second pitch so you can follow-up with a nice LinkedIn note and a request for an informational meeting […]

Job Search Tips: What Companies Do You Love?

Everyone has a brand affinity or obsession with a product or company – think about your sleek water bottle, favorite cooler or new mobile app. Why not research these companies first when starting your job search process? Your passion for the product will be apparent in your communications and interviews. Do what you love!

What companies do you want to explore? We can’t wait to hear what’s on your list!



Choosing a College Major – 5 Tips to Taking a Different Approach

The stats on college majors are surprising to both students and parents alike.

  • Over 50% of students who have declared a major in college will change it at least once, many up to 3 times
  • Cost of changing a major is significant, $15,000+ due to delayed graduation and lost wages

These sobering stats demonstrate that students are unprepared and ill-informed when it comes to selecting a major.

How Did We Get Here?

Typically, students pick their college first, then their major, and finally junior or senior year, they start thinking about careers when it’s time to search for an internship or full-time employment.

How Can We Change the Outcome?

We want students to change their thinking. Instead of focusing on a college roadmap that is usually course-based to graduate, we want students to think more holistically in terms of a career roadmap. This roadmap combines academic plans with career components so students learn more about themselves and their career options before picking a major.

Just as importantly, if a student has already picked a major, it’s critical they learn what types of jobs they can do both within and outside their major so ideally, they don’t change it.

5 Things To Do Before Choosing or Switching a Major

  1. Conduct self-assessments – What do I love/hate to do? What are my gifts?
  2. Talk with Career Services to learn what assessments tests are available (Birkman, Myers/Briggs, Strong, or others) for free or at a reduced rate for students
  3. Read StrengthsFinders 2.0 and take the online assessment for only $15
  4. Research career options and growth projections with the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Occupational Outlook handbook
  5. Check out O*Net Online for specifics on job roles

The good news – there are great resources available. The key is to make the decision to invest the time. Trust me, the investment is worth it as it can save you money now and positively affect the next 30-40 years of your life.

Real Life: Career Tips

For our Real Life Career Tips series, we asked working professionals to share their wisdom and insight.


Name: Anna Grace Zuckerman

Company: MRE Consulting

Position: Business Intelligence Consultant


Q: What book do you recommend to students?

A: For anyone going into consulting: The Trusted Advisor by David Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford. It was hard to get through some parts of it, but it has made me a much stronger consultant long term.

For anyone going into Business Intelligence: Data Mining Practical Learning Tools and Techniques (7th edition). This book has some truly awe-inspiring lessons about machine learning. It’s the book that lead me to my industry.


Q: What is one skill you recommend students learn?

A: For business intelligence, Python. For IT, C#


Q: What is your favorite motto or inspirational quote?

A: “Trust, but verify” -Ronald Reagan


Q: What piece of advice do you wish someone would have given you in college?

A: Two pieces of advice: Do what you enjoy and you will never work a day in your life. Also, remember that “No.” is a complete sentence. While you should always give it your all, you cannot do it all. Don’t be afraid to say no when you can’t handle anymore work. If you say yes to everything, your work will suffer, your morale will suffer, and your employer will suffer.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Job?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from a college senior is, “How long does it take to get a job?”

The answer:  74.9 days

Within the college hiring process, there are 3 distinct cycle times:

  • Job posting to interview cycle:  38.7 days
  • Interview to offer cycle:  22.9 days
  • Offer to acceptance cycle:  13.3 days

As you can see from these results, patience REALLY is a virtue.

* Data from the 2014 National Association of Colleges and Employers Recruiting Survey