Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A New School Year

Beginning classes fall semester is almost like celebrating New Year’s Day. It represents a fresh start. A chance to continue on a successful path or a chance to do better. Here are six suggestions, based on employer recommendations for college students.
  • Make good grades. An employer needs to have ways to evaluate your potential when considering you for a position with their organization. For a college student or new grad, companies look at grade point average as an indication of your potential value to them as an employee.
  • Join professional or on campus organizations and be involved. The ability to work on teams, as well as leadership experience, are also big with employers.
  • Communications skills. . .I can’t emphasize enough. The ability to speak effectively with one, or a group, of people is crucial to success in the workplace. As is the capability to write professional correspondence and emails. Do your best and get the most from preparing and delivering presentations and written assignments.
  • Reach out to your classmates. The guy who sits next to you in Introduction to Business may work for an organization you would like to work for in the future. This is called networking.
  • Get to know your instructors. Employers often get in touch with faculty to learn about students they might be interested in hiring.
  • Meet with Career Services. Their goal is to help you with anything career related. They are connected to employers and make it their job to pass on information and advice to you.
A new year. A new start. Make it a good one.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Small Employers - What's the Big Deal?

When looking for a job, your may automatically think of large employers – the big guys. In your own best interest, maybe you also want to take consider smaller organizations.
According to the Small Business Administrations Office of Advocacy, small businesses make up 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms. 63 percent of the net new jobs created between 1993 and mid-2013 were with small businesses. Over ½ of the workers in America own or work for small businesses. Small business creates two out of every three new jobs across the United States
On a local note, according to the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce, approximately 97% of the establishments in our county have fewer than 100 employees.
Other than the fact there are so many, why might you want to consider working for a small employer?
I met recently to discuss that question with Sam Oglesby, a former colleague at a large manufacturing company here in Wichita. Since the time he and I worked together, Sam started and operated a small business providing accounting services for small to mid-sized companies. He recently sold his ownership in that business to take a position as Chief Financial Officer for Westar Foods which is a large Hardee's franchisee.  Having worked for both large and small companies, Sam shared his perspective regarding  working for a small organization.
There is less specialization. You may “wear many hats”.  Which allows you to learn – and demonstrate a variety of skills and attitudes. 
Working for a small organization can offer opportunities you might never have in a corporate environment. You may be connected directly to the owner. He can see your talents, initiative and dedication first hand. In Sam’s words, "in a small company, people really know when you do the right things."
Sam also offered some “words of wisdom” in working for smaller organizations.
In small businesses, there is “no hiding”. You take personal ownership for your actions and decisions.
There may not be opportunities for training and development within a small company. Therefore, it is important to develop yourself outside the four walls of the business.
There are distinct advantages to working for large and small organizations. You owe it to yourself to consider both.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Application for Employment - On-Campus Jobs Fair

If you come to the On-Campus Job Fair, Thursday, July 17, 2014, in the RSC, 2nd floor, you will want to come prepared to complete job applications. You may want to read through this information in order to save yourself stress on the date of the event.
 • You will need to provide your name, address, email address, phone number, social security number, eligibility to work in the U.S., and if you have been convicted of a felony within the past five years. 
 • Bring information regarding past employment including name, address, phone number of employer; your first and last date of work; your job title; your supervisor’s name and title; your rate of pay at start and termination; your reason for terminating. You will probably be expected to provide this information for your last three jobs.
 • You will also need information regarding your education. Come prepared to provide name and location of schools you attended; degrees/certifications/programs of study completed; graduation or completion date. The application may also ask for skills and qualifications including licenses, training, awards.
 • You will be expected to provide the name, job title, organization, address, email and phone number for three references. Be sure you ask these people if they are agreeable to being a reference for you before you give their information on your application. 
 • The application may also ask for your availability: when you could start the job and the days/hours you are available to work.  
 • Fill out the application neatly, completely and accurately. Make sure the name of the office with whom you are applying appears on the application form so you know where to return the application. WSU offices and departments will give different application instructions. Follow these instructions. Proofread your application before you turn it in. It would be a good idea to bring a pen with erasable ink and an eraser in order to most neatly make any corrections. Use blue or black ink. 
When you sign an employment application, you verify that all information you included is accurate and truthful. I cannot stress this point too strongly. Employers terminate employees for falsification of information on employment applications.
It is your responsibility to return the application(s) you complete to the appropriate office(s). Try to do so during the fair, but if this is not feasible, return to the appropriate office (not Career Services) as soon as possible, if not during the fair. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How to Use Social Media to Your Advantage in Your Job Search

Did you graduate over the weekend and are now seriously looking for work in your field of study? Keep LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in mind as job search resources. Social media can play an important role in the success of your job search.
Make sure your social media sites are employer ready. Check your information just as closely as you check your resume and cover letter. Eliminate any questionable information. In a survey conducted last year by CareerBuilder.com, more than 2000 hiring managers and human resource professionals were asked “if, how, and why” they use social media as part of their hiring process. Findings showed that two of five organizations surveyed used social media profiles to evaluate the character and personality of candidates. And, one third of employers said they have not hired potential candidates because of information they found.
The flip side of this coin is that you can use social media to your advantage, increasing your visibility to employers. Post a professional photo along with your professional profile. Ask previous managers or coworkers for recommendations. Spend time each week participating in group discussions and sharing information. Make sure your information is consistent from site to site.
Social media is another way to stand out from other candidates. Just make sure you stand out in a good way.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Transition from College to Work

Many of you will soon be tossing your black caps into the air, hanging your tassles around the rear view mirror of your car -- and transitioning from college to the professional workplace. Congratulations!
There are many things your new bosses will expect you to know. Your field of study, of course. But, also, professionalism in how you dress, speak, present yourself. They are not going to be happy if they walk by and you are talking or texting on your cell phone. Or, tweeting or facebooking. . .unless all or part of your job is social media. They want you to work while you are at work.
They will expect you to be at work on time – preferably early – and to stay until the official “quitting time – preferably a few minutes late. 
They will want you to ask questions. And, they will want you to learn whatever you need to learn to do your job well.
Bottom line: They want you to demonstrate a strong work ethic. Show commitment to your job. And, make them glad they hired you instead of that other candidate.
Do good work. . .it’s important.  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What is the one change you make today?

I just left the Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards Luncheon. I attended to network and learn about the organizations who were nominated for this year’s awards. I received much more. The speaker, Jon Rolfe, of Carlos O’Kelly’s and Applebee’s, is also the father of four kids under the age of five. His words sent me back to campus with much to think about.

Jon presented a short (not a bad thing) and thought provoking talk including poignant examples of people he knows who dedicated themselves to their careers at the expense of their personal lives. The message he left us with was “Don’t think about what you want to do; think about who you want to become.”

Doesn’t that say it all? Who do you want to become? One thing is sure – we all change. All the time. What changes do we want to purposefully make to have control over our evolving persons?

Small changes count. Shawn T. Smith, Denver Psychologist, says “Luckily, I don't need to make jarring habit changes in order to become the person I want to be. . . That question, who do I want to be in ten years, tells me all I need to know about the present moment. Instead of watching one more rerun of The Office, I'll read a few more pages of a book in the service of becoming more intelligent.”

What is one change I want to make? Today. What about you?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Don't Wait Until the Last Minute...

A student called this morning. He was frantic. He has an interview tomorrow and he’s not ready. He wanted to schedule a mock interview. We didn’t have any appointment times available. None.
That disappointed student stayed in my head. So, I want to remind you – don’t wait until the last minute. Schedule an appointment with one of our counselors early your final semester to go over your job search plan, as well as your resume, cover letter and reference page. Schedule a mock interview so you have opportunity to practice your interviewing skills before an employer calls to schedule an interview with you.
You leave too much to chance if you wait until the last minute. Employers are in control of whether or not they want to talk with you or even read your resume. But, you can be in control of presenting the best “you” possible. And, that takes some time. The clock is ticking. Don’t wait.