Five important things you need to know for your last semester of college

During your final months in class you’re focused on finishing strong academically, but if a post-college career is something you’re after come summertime, then putting in the work during your last semester can really make the difference in having a job lined up, or spending months searching for one while the job market becomes saturated with fresh graduates. The job market in 2018 is fiercely competitive, so we wanted to provide some suggestions on things you should keep in mind during your last semester of college. Four months to graduation? Read on.

Put in the netWORK

The importance of networking is constantly shoved in our faces – nothing new here. Statistics prove that networking is how most people find new jobs. In fact, the reason I’m working for CA is because a former classmate forwarded the role to the careers office on campus. Because I had a great relationship with the career counselors, it was sent to me and the connection was made. My former classmate put in a good word for me, and I’m happy to be at CA two years later. Staying connected is not all about attending formal networking events and career fairs. Although those are great, making meaningful connections with classmates and campus staff goes a long way when looking for a job after graduation.

Go on every interview

Companies are using innovative and more challenging practices for interviewing candidates, so it’s important to understand how to search and interview for jobs in 2018. Going on every interview might be common sense to many, but it wasn’t for me at the time. During my last semester, I was given the opportunity to interview for a content role and the company wanted me to produce writing samples in the tone of a “discerning mother.” I couldn’t help but feel that my writing style was the farthest thing from a discerning mother, and there was no way I could complete this assignment, so I declined the interview. Looking back, I’m regretful of this decision and honestly wish I could be tasked with this assignment again! I might not have been a good fit for this role, but gaining interview experience and working on assignments that mirror ones in the real world is incredibly valuable. My advice would be to go on every interview that comes your way, even if you feel like failure is inevitable.

Take your professors out for coffee

If anything, to thank your professors for the classroom experience, but I also found it insightful to talk with my professors about their backgrounds and how they found their careers. Some of these conversations made me feel that I was already entirely behind in life professionally, but learning that someone with a PhD struggled to find their place in the workforce for years was reassuring. Personal stories are relative, so take them with a grain of salt.

Apply to as many jobs you think is reasonable, then apply to 5 more

At one point in my job search, I thought that I should start keeping track of all the jobs I was applying to. In a two-month period, I had applied to around 150 jobs. To some this might seem like a lot, and to others it’s nothing. My point here is that if you’re being too finicky on which jobs you’re applying to, you’re limiting your odds and missing out on interviewing practice. Interviewing is a skill, and just as with any other, you must practice to hone in on that skill.

Don’t quit your part-time job

Sometimes students feel that they need to quit their current job during their last semester to devote all their time to school work and job search. In my opinion, unless you’re in a fulltime role that’s truly taking up all your time, you should keep your part-time job. It’s hard to determine how long your job search will take, and if you haven’t lined up a new job by the time graduation rolls around, you’ll probably appreciate the part-time income.

Finally, savor the time with your friends. Camaraderie among college friends is special. Inevitably friend groups will disperse, but you will always share some of the fondest memories of your lives. Cheers to your last semester!

My college crew

If you’re interested in exploring careers with CA, search here or create a custom job alert to get notifications on sales roles that match your search.

Want to learn more about #LifeAtCA? Follow the hashtag and LifeAtCA on Instagram to see employee pictures from around the world.

Jesse Santa Cruz

Marketing Specialist, Talent Acquisition

Connect with me on LinkedIn 

2018 resume refresh: top tips from the latest research

Refresh your resume for 2018

Updating our goals for the new year is a time-honored tradition, and if career success is on your 2018 agenda, a resume refresh should be on your resolution list. The job market is changing fast, and whether you’re actively seeking a new role or aiming for a promotion, you’ll want to sharpen your professional presence and digital footprint to keep up with today’s demands. We’ve polled our own recruiters and dug into some new scholarly research to compile the top three tips for upgrading not just your resume, but your professional clout, networks and personal pitch.

Manage your personal brand

Job seekers should treat their public social media profiles like a company manages its brand1. Maximum visibility will result from best practices such as using strong keywords, professional images and engaging summaries.

Social media is disrupting the recruiting process, as candidates and recruiters connect and build long-term relationships online and skip the middle men, such as job boards1.  Online networks provide ongoing relationships through the power of connection, messaging, big data and forum discussion. While LinkedIn is the largest professional networking platform1, platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are becoming more frequent sources for recruiters looking for top talent. Most CA Technologies recruiters have Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, where you can connect with them and see regular job openings and other CA career updates in their posts. You can find them easily with a quick search for #BringWhatYouBring on your favorite social network.

Don’t limit your connections on professional networks such as LinkedIn to people you have worked or gone to school with. It’s wise to search for others with similar skillsets and recruiting professionals at the companies on your target employer list.  Pro tip: recruiting professionals have various titles that do not include the term “recruiter” – “talent acquisition,” “headhunter” and “sourcer” are all common versions of titles you should value in your professional network.

Connections are most valuable when you maintain and nurture them through discussion. Regularly sharing interesting thoughts on industry news and collaborating with others in your area of expertise will demonstrate a passion for your work and keep you top of mind for your connections. And don’t just share; add your thoughts and expertise to spark a conversation. If you enjoy writing, a LinkedIn article is an easy way to publish long-form thoughts on succeeding in your line of work. The point is to craft a strength-based narrative and authentically communicate your career identity. According to data expert Rachel Cohen and career counselor Rebecca L. Toporek, successful career narratives can be achieved through both positive and negative stories and experiences, which can shape strengths and assets2. Identify your career narrative by attaching your real-life successes and lessons to hot topics on your timeline.

Learn the key to keywords

Be sure to identify active, clear keywords to feature in your resume. Building a solid keyword list to describe your work value can be key to standing out and confidently communicating in interviews, cover letters and profile summaries. According to master resume writers, you can build a strong list of keywords by thinking through five distinct categories3:

  • Hard skills and factual data

Include words that demonstrate key skills that apply directly to your tactical work, such as “media buying,” “programming” or “web design,” but don’t forget the specifics like “HTML,” “Java” or “data analysis.” These keywords should be featured in your skill tags on your LinkedIn profile as well.

  • Soft skills and attributes

Think of how you work with others, and try to be more distinct than “team player.” Terms such as “networking,” “time management,” “critical thinking” and “conflict resolution” will stand out and clearly communicate those qualities that are difficult to display in a portfolio.

  • Employment details

Give specifics on the types of projects, products or services you’ve worked with. “Agile project management,” “DBaaS sales” or “gamification development” are more specific and intriguing than the same terms without descriptive adjectives. Additionally, list attributes of the industries of your professional experience. “Retail,” “transportation” or “finance” can go a long way in establishing yourself as a strong match for a role that prefers that background.

  • Education and training credentials

Give your schooling or certifications a plug wherever possible. You may have been an IT support technician for 10 years, but if you don’t have “A+” somewhere in your online profiles and in your resume, you risk getting missed on automated searches and algorithms that match talented people to open jobs.

  • General information

Are you passionate about a cause, volunteer in your community or have an interesting hobby? Sprinkle some of that personality into your online profile summary to stand out amongst your peers.

Don’t just list skills, show them

You’ve probably been asked to show ROI on something in your professional career, and the same principal applies to “showing your work” on your resume and in your online profiles. There are two key ways to do this.

First, on a resume, you should add a few stats that show the results of the efforts you’ve listed under each title. Whenever possible, those stats should include a business result. If you managed a team, what specific steps did you take to develop them and what percentage of your total headcount were promoted? If you were responsible for ordering supplies, what did you do to improve that process and what percentage of your budget was saved as a result? Data is everything; be concise and specific about your impact.

Second, when it comes to your public online profiles, include links to case studies, blogs, Slideshares, images, gits, or videos displaying your work. If you don’t currently have any relevant professional content like this, you may want to consider compiling a portfolio for this purpose.

 

You can find many more tips on resumes, job search and interviewing in our Candidate Toolkit.

If you’re interested in exploring careers with CA, search here or create a custom job alert to get notifications on sales roles that match your search.

Want to learn more about #LifeAtCA? Follow the hashtag and LifeAtCA on Instagram to see employee pictures from around the world.

Rachel Duran
Rachel Duran

Follow me on Twitter > @TheRachelDuran

Sources

  1. Macabe, M. (2017). Social media marketing strategies for career advancement: an analysis of Linkedin. Journal of Business and Behavioral Sciences,29(1), 85-89. Retrieved January 9, 2018. ISSN: 1099-5374
  2. Toporek, R. L., & Cohen, R. F. (2017). Strength-Based Narrative Résumé Counseling: Constructing Positive Career Identities from Difficult Employment Histories. The Career Development Quarterly,65(3), 222-236. doi:10.1002/cdq.12094
  3. Enelow, W. S., W, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW, & Kursmark, L., CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW. (n.d.). The Best Keywords for Resumes, Letters and Interviews: Powerful Words and Phrases for Landing Great Jobs! (2nd Edition). Career Planning & Adult Development Journal,33(3), 55-56. Retrieved January 9, 2018. ISSN: 0736-1920

Recruiter relationships – what should they look like?

Getting an “in” with a recruiter at the company you want to work for is often the first step to landing a job. Candidates on the job market are no strangers to interviewing and hiring horror stories. Bad candidate experience leaves jobseekers sour, and with the urge to respond to recruiters similarly to the notes that Jane Ashen writes in her article, “Dear Recruiter: Everything You’ve Wanted to Say But Couldn’t.” One bad experience with a recruiter builds a bad reputation for recruiting, but it’s important to remember that recruiters are meant to act as your friendly company contact – there to make the task of transitioning to a new job smooth and less stressful.

A great recruiter is like a shepherd into the work place; they’re there to help guide job-seekers on the path to a fruitful career. In many cases, a recruiter is the first person candidates get the chance to speak with at a company. Whether you apply to a job directly, or if you’re lucky enough to have a recruiter contact you personally, you’ll want to make sure that your first encounter is memorable. Leave the recruiter curious about your background and enticed to learn more. The recruiter will likely have the initial chance to sell your story to the hiring manager before you get the chance to do so yourself, so you will want to clearly state the skills you possess that will make you successful in the role. Also make sure to give a good dose of your personality, because cultural fit is just as important as the hard skills. The recruiter has likely already looked over your resume by the time you get to speak with them, so the initial conversation is your chance to add some color to the black and white sheet of text that is your CV.

A recruiter should be dedicated to candidate experience, and will be just as invested in finding the right hire as the teams who make the ultimate decisions. The candidate acts as the customer in this transaction, and the recruiter is there to provide a service, which is a positive interview experience, whether you end up being the right fit for the team or not.

People(HR) and Recruiting team in Boulder, CO

The euphoria of receiving a job offer for the role you just interviewed for is undeniable, and getting rejected is quite the opposite sensation. While rejection almost always hurts, candidates often comment that the one thing that can really add salt to the rejection wound is never receiving any feedback from the team. Feedback takes time for a recruiter to collect, especially if the team is interviewing multiple candidates. However, a candidate should not be expected to wait long for some sort of correspondence from the recruiter or interview team. Recruiters should contact the candidate shortly after an interview to get an idea of how the candidate thought the interview went, then the recruiter should meet with the team to determine finalists and ultimately reach a hiring agreement. After an interview, it’s easy to feel that the recruiter is asking you to “hurry up and wait,” but if you’re not receiving feedback, be persistent and let the recruiter know that you’re open to any type of feedback whether it’s positive or constructive criticism. You likely won’t get feedback the next day, but if it’s been a week or two, a follow-up is completely appropriate. If the company decides to ghost you after an interview, just keep in mind that the interview practice you received will make you that much more prepared for the interview that will land you the role that’s perfect for you.

Without a doubt, interviewing is a sensitive process, and the recruiter is an important cog in the wheel, so make the connection with them like you would a budding friendship, and they will have your back. If you’re interested in advice on questions to ask during an interview and the ones you should avoid then check out this article from Built in Colorado that features two recruiters from CA Technologies.

Search here or create a custom job alert to get notifications on roles that match your search.

Want to learn more about #LifeAtCA? Follow the hashtag and LifeAtCA on Instagram to see employee pictures from around the world.

 

Jesse Santa Cruz

Marketing Specialist, Talent Acquisition

Connect with me on LinkedIn 

How to quickly land an awesome Entry-Level job right out of college

Entry Level Job Engineer CA Technologies

Standing out in the crowd for an entry-level role is a job in itself. Here’s three ways to get an edge on the competition and level up your job search game.

Excitement and anxiety consumed my thoughts as the months leading up to my college graduation flew by. On one hand I was eager to take my last exam, submit my last paper, and start a “real” career. But on the other hand, applying, interviewing, and getting rejected from positions every week made it obvious that companies aren’t handing out entry-level jobs, and I realized that my degree alone was not going to be enough. It’s impossible to mirror your own experience with someone else’s; but with that said, having recently experienced job searching, interviewing, and starting a job right after college I thought I might have a few strings of advice that could help those who are looking to dive into workforce headfirst.

entry level

Be a bit nosey

If the importance of networking online as a means to find a job hasn’t already been shoved in your face, then let me be “that guy” and give my two-cents. When it comes to personal brand, putting yourself out there, particularly on LinkedIn, and having a personal connection to an employee at the companies you are applying to can be pivotal in landing an interview. But maybe you don’t know anyone who works at your prospect company? Here is where the nosey piece comes in- use LinkedIn to search companies and find profiles of the people who work there. You might find someone who went to the same school you did, maybe you have a mutual connection, or maybe you can just find an email address to someone you could message directly.  You don’t need this person to formally refer you for the role you are applying to, but if this connection even mentions your name to someone else on the team then you have a leg up on other candidates. After graduating, most of your peers are also in job-hunting-mode, and you shouldn’t feel like reaching out to alumni or even strangers you don’t know is an attempt of desperation. Most people understand how frustrating and discouraging job hunting can be, and are willing to help out where they can. Worst case scenario is you reach out, get ignored, and then think of different ways to get recognized by the hiring team.

entry level

Get Creative

There are plenty of ways to get creative when looking for a job, and staying on top of the latest trends could mean a quicker start date for you. Something that I really enjoy is when candidates create a landing page for their resume that is more visually appealing and robust than a paper resume. You can link to previous relevant work, and even touch on some of your more personal hobbies if it seems appropriate. You’re so more than a cluster of words typed in Times New Roman font, but employers don’t know that! Companies want to make sure that you will fit in with the company culture as well as the unique vibe of the team you are joining, so don’t be afraid to put your authentic self out there!

entry level

Know your worth, but be humble

Once you land your first job, the first few weeks might feel a lot like balancing on a tight rope. It’s important to show your eager fresh-out-of-college attitude, but it’s also important to adapt and do as they do. When I first started my job I wanted to be as helpful as possible, and I wanted my co-workers to see that I was willing to learn as much as they were willing to teach me. But I sometimes felt like a bother, and I didn’t want to annoy people. It’s easy to feel like every question you ask is a hindrance to another person’s day, or any human error you make could potentially cost you your job- both statements are false. The hiring manager saw value in you and you earned your spot, so don’t beat yourself up too bad! And on the flip side, it’s important to realize that your first job might not be a dream job. Just remember, this is a starting place, and Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day *ding*.

Of course, if you want a great opportunity to dive into the deep end and build your experience in a collaborative environment, you should check out the Associate and Rotation programs at CA Technologies in either the Americas or Europe & Middle East.