I Think I Can – The Power of Positive Thinking as Interviews Begin for College Students

I admit it…I love Pinterest.

I enjoy seeing the creativity of others, pinning another DIY project on my board that probably will never get started, and adding to my must read book list. My favorite though, is finding, reflecting on, and keeping inspirational quotes, posters, and artwork for reference.

As the interview season begins for college seniors, may we as parents stay positive, supportive, and reinforce the best attributes and strengths of our children.

This great poster I found on Etsy by Jill McDonald is a perfect reminder!



Great Read for Parents and Students Alike – Daring Greatly

I don’t know about you, but when I think about interviews – vulnerability comes to mind.

That’s probably why interviewing is considered one of life’s stressful activities as you open yourself up to judgment, comparison, and subjective evaluation.

The definition of vulnerability is: the state of being vulnerable or exposed; “his vulnerability to litigation”; “his exposure to ridicule”

In Brene Brown’s blockbuster book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, she encourages each of us to understand vulnerability, embrace it, and use it to lead authentic and courageous lives.

This book is based on twelve years of research, her TED talk has been viewed over 10 million times, and many CEO’s of corporate America have invited her to talk to their employees about the topic of vulnerability.  I sure wish I would’ve had this resource as a college student!

Do yourself a favor – read it and have your high school or college student do the same.

It’s a great foundation for discussing passions and careers. Hopefully it will reduce the stress level during the interview process as well.

Let me know what you think.


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 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danny-rubin/16-best-pieces-of-career-_b_3312999.html

Hiring Trends

Best 100 Jobs for 2013: http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/the-100-best-jobs

Internship and Job Search Help

Job Search Tips: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2013/05/06/10-key-job-search-tips-for-new-graduates

Social Media News

LinkedIn Lowers Age Limit from 18 to 14: http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeanders/2013/08/19/precocious-14-year-olds-can-join-linkedin-size-up-colleges/

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.


The Virtual Interview – The New Reality for College Recruiting

Interviews are stressful enough, but now college students must navigate new online recruiting tools to sell themselves to recruiters and hiring managers.

Due to decreased HR and travel budgets, ease of use, and time savings, many companies are turning to video conferencing tools to screen potential hires before moving to traditional face-to-face interviews in later hiring rounds.  In fact, video interviewing has increased 49% since 2011.

As this infographic from PGi shows, understanding best practices as it relates to video interviewing and body language is critical to interview success.

A few additional tips:

  • Be sure to test the technology before the interview
  • Check the lighting
  • Remove posters or memorabilia on the wall that may be offensive
  • Practice, practice, and practice!



Social Networks – Changing the Way Recruiters Search for Qualified Candidates

We all know that LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the Big 3 when it comes to the number of people using these platforms.  In fact, LinkedIn just hit a major milestone – over 200 million users.

What most people don’t know is how these social networking sites are dramatically changing the way recruiters search for and hire qualified candidates.  College students are social media savvy, but most haven’t leveraged these platforms with the sole focus of getting an internship or job. They need to NOW.

In this infographic:

  • 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn
  • 66% use Facebook to recruit candidates
  • 54% use Twitter to search for candidates

The benefits for recruiters are many:

  • Students are less likely to be dishonest regarding jobs, titles, and performance since all profiles are public
  • Key words to search for the “best candidate” can be used versus only looking at those who apply
  • Online recommendations provide a fairly accurate snapshot of the candidate as the author’s name and company are made public

With online recruiting increasing every year, it’s critical that every college student have a positive presence on the Big 3 social networking sites. If you’re not on LinkedIn, you don’t exist in the eyes of company recruiters.


LinkedIn: Revolutionizing The World of Recruiting

by obizmedia.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.



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 Hoovers.com to get high level company information and their competitors
  3. Go to news.google.com and enter the company name to get the latest articles and press information on the target company
  4. Check LinkedIn.com 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


8 Tips for Your Resume to Stand Out From the Crowd

Even in this digital world, a quality resume is still essential to your job search. And in a competitive market, it’s important to stand out from other job seekers. Once you have the basics covered —your resume has a clean look, it’s passed your grammar and spell check, and clearly presents your skills and experience, it’s time to incorporate some of these tips to take it to the next level.

  • Include Key Words – check the company website and LinkedIn profiles of others with similar job titles and job descriptions to ensure you’re including the right words. HR systems use key words to filter out resumes before a person even reviews applicant resumes, so this is a crucial first step.
  • Take a Targeted Approach – Focus on an industry or a specific type of job so your resume tells a rich story that will resonate with the audience
  • Add Social Media Profiles – Since resumes should be 1 page, including your LinkedIn profile is very helpful to recruiters as they can learn more about you.  Of course, this assumes that your LinkedIn profile is as professional and current as your resume!
  • Include Hyperlinks to Relevant Work – This is a great way to stand out if you have marketing materials you’ve created or a presentation on a relevant topic that you’d like to share.  Only include hyperlinks in resumes that are emailed as it will be marked as spam in most HR databases.
  • Send It to the Right Person – In addition to sending your resume to the address noted, do a little research on LinkedIn or Google to see if you can also find the hiring manager’s email address or contacts within the company that are a part of your network.  You can never have too many connections!
  • Create a Digital Friendly Version – Many HR systems do not like bullets, boldface type, indentions, unusual fonts, etc.  Have one beautiful copy you use for emails and in-person interviews and a digital version you upload to HR databases.
  • Make it Relevant – Tell employers what they want to know about you, not what you want to tell them about you.
  • Include Your Passions – Make it authentic as this differentiates you from other applicants.