Career Kickoff Series

If you’re a young professional, you’ve come to the right place! Here is a collection for all the new grads and young workers ready to kick off their careers. We have gathered a group of resources to help set yourself up for success if you’re new to the job market. We have job search advice, interview tips, resume must-haves, networking suggestions, and much more!

How To Get Your Foot In The Door With Your Dream Company

How To Get Your Foot In The Door With Your Dream Company

Everyone has a company that you dream of working for. Maybe they even inspired your entire career choice! And of course, rather than continue admiring them from afar, you’d like to get your foot in the door and make your dream job a reality. But where do you start? Begin by following these three steps. (Spoiler alert: you’ll want to get really friendly with LinkedIn!)

Learn everything there is to know

While “doing research” may seem obvious, we want you to take it much deeper than a brief skim of their “About Us” page. Follow them on social media, and do a deep dive into their previous posts. Keep an eye out for posts that allude to their company culture. Note key employees who are consistently featured. You may even be able to pick up on projects or causes that are particularly important to you! All of these things are important to store in your memory bank for networking conversations or interviews.

Find college alumni to connect with

College bonds typically run pretty strong, even if you’ve never met fellow alumni. It gives you a great conversation starter and highlights commonalities between strangers. Head to your dream company on LinkedIn. Follow the prompt to “see all employees on LinkedIn.” Once the search populates, you can filter further by schools. This will give you a list of any fellow alumni who currently work there. Send a warm connection request citing your alma mater and interest in learning more about their employer.

Don’t be afraid to send a cold email

It can be intimidating to reach out to a company without a prior introduction. However, if they have no current openings and you don’t have any existing connections there, how else would they know you’re interested? You never know if your message will reach someone at just the right time! Keep it simple and express your admiration and interest in the company and eventually working there.

“Hi {Company Name} Team,

My name is Kate, and I’ve always admired {Company Name} and your dedication to {cause.} I recently graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Journalism, and I would love to be a part of your incredible mission. I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and get my resume in your hands in case there should ever be an opening that fits my skills. I look forward to building a relationship in the future!”

While it may seem overwhelming at first, pursuing your dream company is actually a great way to build your network and grow your confidence. And besides, you’ll never know until you try!

Interested in more career advice? Subscribe to our Career Kickoff newsletter tailored specifically to those of you in the beginning stages of growing your career.

digital toolkit

Upgrade Your Digital Toolkit

With COVID-19 forcing the majority of professionals to work remotely, the workplace has become much more digitally focused. The digital trends that are directly stemming from the Coronavirus outbreak include a 40 percent spike in e-commercenearly a third of Americans currently working from home, and a mindblowing 70 percent increase in internet usage! As a result, hiring is more digitalized than ever before. This trend is introducing remote hiring, video interviews, and more! Our society is embracing these technologies as millions are working remotely, and this trend will likely not cease. Now, more than ever, it’s time to spruce up your digital arsenal. Here are four ways to upgrade your digital toolkit to launch your job search.

A Quality LinkedIn

With the increase in online hiring and job searching, it is essential that your LinkedIn is accurate, clean, and professional. This is often your first impression for potential employers, so make sure that your profile picture is professional, your experience is accurate, and your skills are neatly displayed on your profile.

A Personal Website/Portfolio

Having a personal website or online portfolio will set you above your competition. It’s like a digital resume that shows off more of your personality and skills, while also showing off examples of your work. This is an excellent way to illustrate your skills and convince a hiring manager to hire YOU! Utilize any of the free website creation platforms like Wix, GoDaddy, or Squarespace to quickly and easily build an online portfolio or personal website.

Digital Skills

Along with this digital shift emerge a few essential skills you must hone. Some skills you can gain through online resources, like your local library or online tutorials. Other skills, you can only build through actual field experience. Overall, in this digital world, digital skills are no longer a plus; they are an expectation. Take some time during quarantine to increase your digital literacy and readiness. Take a free course in web development or learn the basics of Photoshop to add some useful skill sets to your digital toolkit.

Video chat capabilities

Video chat has become the new norm for how we meet and interact; it makes us feel like we are actually getting that human connection we are accustomed to. With that being said, your laptop, phone, or tablet must have a video chat function. You can utilize apps like Facetime, Zoom, Skype, or any other face-to-face technology. Video interviewing is becoming normalized, so you’ll need these capabilities to foster those meaningful conversations! And if you don’t have any of these technologies, be sure you have a friend or family member that is nice enough to allow you to borrow for any upcoming video interviews!

If you’re looking for more resources to bolster your digital toolkit as you commence your job search, check out our Career Kickoff Series. We have tons of helpful tips and advice to help you with this next phase of your career!

college grad toolkit

The College Grad Toolkit

Graduating college is a monumental step that’s full of exciting and daunting unknowns. If you’ve chosen to enter the professional workforce after school, there are some things that you absolutely need to have in your toolkit if you want to secure a job after college, or simply, give off a more professional vibe. Here are six things you must have in your college grad toolkit to successfully kickoff your career.

Easy Means of Contact

Have your phone and email visible and available! Make sure you have an easy way for recruiters, hiring managers, and potential references to communicate with you. Your contact information must be front and center on your resume as well as in the signature of every email. Also, make sure you have a professional email. Now that you’re graduating college, it’s time to stop using that cute email address you made in middle school.

A Fantastic Resume

Crafting a perfect resume has such an important role in landing the job you want. Your resume should include all the resume essentials, like your contact information, hard and soft skills, work experience, education, and certifications! Once you’ve edited and reviewed your post-college resume, show it to someone you trust to gather even more feedback! Getting extra eyes on a resume will always get you a step closer to an outstanding perfect resume.

An Excellent LinkedIn

Update your LinkedIn to show that you are now a college grad! Then start making connections with students you went to school with, professors you learned a lot from, and others that have connections with your university. But don’t stop there! Start connecting and making conversations with professionals in your field or someone that has your dream job.

However, before you start making those connections, check off some other post-grad LinkedIn essentials like:

  • Uploading a great profile picture
  • Receive endorsements from your peers
  • Adding valid and applicable skills
  • A great summary of who you are

At-The-Ready References

Contrary to popular belief, references do matter. In research done by TLNT, they found that 21% of hiring managers remove candidates from the running after they speak with their professional references. This means that your references must be legit and always on deck. So, speak to your professors, bosses, or coaches about leaving you a good reference, if needed.

Cleaned-Up Social Media

Start cleaning up your social media accounts! More than half of hiring managers check out your social media as an act of screening you for a job. Additionally, if they find a red flag, you could be immediately dismissed for a job. Double-check that there’s nothing from college on your social media that may hinder your chances of landing a job. This might include a provocative photo, profanity, or speaking poorly of others online. If this content exists on any of your social media accounts either delete it or adjust your privacy settings.

Professional Outfit

You need at least one professional outfit that you can wear to interviews. Dress to impress your potential employers, no matter what industry you’re entering. For more tips on what to wear to an interview, check out our  ‘How to Dress for Your Next Interview’ blog.

Graduating from college is an exciting time and may look different than expected due to the coronavirus. However, this college grad toolkit will hopefully help guide you through these next stages of your career. And if you’re looking for more assistance, JSG has compiled a group of resources to help you successfully kickoff your career. Check it out!

Industries Hiring During the Pandemic

Five Industries Hiring New Grads During the Pandemic

The Coronavirus is affecting everyone, from how we work to how we play. Yet, for new grads, it’s transforming even more than that; it’s changing the next exciting post-college chapter. The pandemic has delayed and abruptly canceled post-graduation trips, senior year events, athletic seasons, and, on top of all of that, it has changed the job search. Some companies are still hiring while others are on a hiring-freeze, so landing a job right out of college may be more complicated than it appeared to be at the beginning of the year.

While the post-graduation unknown can get you down, the most important thing to do is not panic. You are not alone; students everywhere are facing the same adversity as you. But, if you want a job right out of college, you might have to alter your career path slightly. Plenty of job opportunities still exist, and while it might not be exactly what you thought you’d be doing, it’s a great way to gain invaluable experience, hone some new skills, make a living, and get your foot in the door. So many industries are still hiring, and some are even kicking their hiring up a notch. Here are five industries that are hiring new grads during the pandemic.

Information Technology

It’s no surprise that IT is hiring right now. The information technology space, including software engineering, hardware engineering, and tech support, are hiring like crazy with the increased reliance on remote work. During the pandemic, many companies have been struggling to convert and support the technological needs of their remote teams. As a result, thousands of employers are adding IT Professionals to their teams.

E-Commerce

Online shopping and shipping/delivery companies are more prominent now than ever, with millions of Americans staying home in quarantine. E-commerce sites are booming as more shoppers purchase everyday items online to safely remain at home. In fact, transaction volume has seen a 74 percent increase! This growth expects to continue throughout the pandemic in all aspects of e-commerce, from home products to groceries. And as a result of exploding online sales, fulfillment and delivery jobs are soaring. For example, Amazon is looking to hire of 175,000 new workers globally to keep up with demand.

Grocery Stores

Grocery stores were deemed an essential business during quarantine, and they definitely need a helping hand. These stores around the world have experienced a massive increase in hiring. Large companies have claimed they are hiring more than 800,000 employees during this time, and that’s not even taking into account local stores and other large companies that have not released numbers. This is an excellent opportunity to get some experience to gain substantial customer service experience in high-pressure situations.

Online Learning/ Tutoring

If you are receiving an education degree, this might be an excellent opportunity to expand your skills to the online market. Getting a job at an online learning studio or tutoring company will make a difference while students are unable to attend school. Shifting your career path toward online tutoring during this time illustrates your passion for teaching and helping others, even during times of agony.

Healthcare

Healthcare is one of the largest industries hiring during the pandemic. These professionals are absolutely essential to combating this crisis. Forbes claims that “healthcare-related workers are in the most demand with the highest level of job openings on the professional networking platform.” Moreover, the job in the highest demand right now is a registered nurse (RN), according to Glassdoor. So, if you are graduating from med school or a nursing program, now is a great time to be thrown into the field because you will get once in a lifetime healthcare experience while doing your part to help others during COVID-19.

Put your skills to good use

There are dozens of industries hiring during the pandemic, more than you may think. Being a new grad in this situation can be tough to navigate, but the route of your career path is not always straight and may experience quite a few bumps and turns. If you remain flexible and patient, you will come out of this pandemic more hirable than before. You can gain skills employers are looking for, like adaptability; so, hone some of these skills by utilizing your talent in unexpected industries.

Here’s How To Write A Great Entry-Level Cover Letter

Here’s How To Write A Great Entry-Level Cover Letter

While some may believe the practice of writing cover letters is outdated, many employers are still requesting them. And as if it’s not challenging enough to write a full page about yourself to a prospective employer, how in the world are you supposed to do it with little to no experience? Just because you may be newer to the workforce, doesn’t mean you can’t write a great cover letter. In fact, it could be just the thing to set you apart from the competition and help you land the job.

Express Your Interest In The Company & Position

First and foremost, a cover letter is an ideal place to share your passion and excitement about the job you are applying to. Yes, this does mean you need to customize each and every cover letter you submit! It also means you need to do your due diligence on the company.

What is it about this job listing that initially caught your eye? Explain in detail to the hiring manager why you’re here. Furthermore, when you began to look deeper into the organization, did you see anything that multiplied your interest? For example, maybe the company volunteers once a quarter at the local animal shelter, and that is something you are passionate about. Be sure to include a sentence about your shared values.

Draw On Your Background

Just because you don’t have a wealth of professional experience in this field does not mean that you don’t have relevant talking points in your background! Think about the skills and knowledge you’ve amassed over the years. You’ve probably learned valuable lessons from being involved in athletics or volunteer programs. Did you have an internship in college? Even if it wasn’t in the same field to which you are applying, you surely gained insights that will prove beneficial to your career.

Paint A Picture For the Hiring Manager

Last, but most importantly, paint a vivid picture of why you’re an excellent fit for this position. Allow the hiring manager to imagine you as part of their team. Explain how you would contribute; share the traits that you possess that will allow you to succeed in this role. The better they can picture you on their team, the more likely they’ll be to make you an offer!

Don’t let cover letters intimidate you. While they may seem excessive, they can actually be a great opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective company! Are you interested in more advice on how to establish and grow your career? Check out our Career Kickoff Series or subscribe to our newsletter to get brand new advice delivered straight to your inbox once a month!

How To Leverage Your Athletic Background To Land A Job

How To Leverage Your Athletic Background To Land A Job

Most athletes know that sports are about so much more than winning. When you participate in athletics, you acquire essential life skills and build relationships that last a lifetime. Being an athlete is part of who you are long after you are actively involved in a sport. However, have you ever considered how it can help you land a job? These are three areas in which having an athletic background can actually give you a huge advantage:

Networking

Your athletic background is a great way to meet people that can help advance your career. Often, it allows you to find common ground when connecting with others. You can network with professionals that played sports in college, whether that’s the same sport or different. Additionally, you can find an even deeper connection if you both played sports for the same university. Typically, in this situation, people will feel a deeper level of familiarity and relatability because they understand what it’s like to compete for the same team. They have been in your shoes, literally and figuratively! Find these networks by exploring the large number of groups on LinkedIn and Facebook that are made just for former and current athletes.  

Applicable Skills 

Participating in athletics requires many of the same skills that apply to the professional world. There is a great deal of cross over between the soft skills of athletes and the soft skills that hiring managers are looking for in candidates. Some applicable workplace skills that are acquired by being an athlete include:  

  • Dedication
  • Time Management
  • Grit
  • Commitment
  • Discipline
  • Collaboration 
  • Drive

Discussion Points

Due to your athletic background, you are bound to have plenty of stories of failure and success. These anecdotes can be a great way to demonstrate your growth and education. Focus on examples of your leadership and team-building skills when thinking of sports-related stories you can leverage to answer any interview question. Arrive at your interview armed with examples of persevering against all the odds, performance under pressure, and long-term commitments to which you stayed true. 

Your athletic experience can be a great selling point for you as a candidate.  Utilize your background and lessons learned to connect with hiring managers, impress during your interview, and show your true self throughout the hiring process.

secure a job

Graduating During the Pandemic? Here’s How to Secure A Job

Two months ago, everything was looking pretty rosy for all the soon-to-be grads. However, there is a lot of uncertainty about the labor market for all college seniors looking for jobs. In fact, 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week. There is a lot of negative news out there, and that can be discouraging for all your college students looking to transition into their first real job out of school.

Don’t let all the negativity get to you. Yes, employers are still hiring, and there are opportunities out there. It’s crucial now more than ever to ensure you’re ready to take the next steps in your career. Here’s how to secure a job during (and after) the COVID-19 outbreak.

Spruce up your LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful job search and networking tool. You probably have an account, but are you maximizing this social platform’s full potential? First off, add a professional headshot to your profile. Having a professional photo makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others. If you don’t have a good headshot, grab a collared shirt, pick a nice background, and have a friend take a picture of you from the chest up. Sounds pretty easy, right?

Be sure to build up your network by reaching out to your classmates, professors, and alumnus from your school. This is a great way to enhance your network and see what opportunities are out there. Make sure you’re also following companies and industry professionals you admire to stay in touch with what’s happening in your industry. Oh! And most importantly, there are millions of great job opportunities posted right onto LinkedIn’s platform. If you really want to secure a job right outside of school, utilize LinkedIn.

Acquire some new skills

The majority of seniors are finishing up their final semester of school online. As a result, you may find a little extra time on your hands. This is a perfect opportunity to acquire some new skills that will make you more marketable. There are dozens of online resources (both free and paid) that you can complete to learn something new and make yourself stand out from your competition. For example, LinkedIn Premium gives you access to thousands of online courses to hone new skills. You can learn anything from Adobe Premiere Pro to HTML with easy-to-watch videos and course documents to follow along. And the best part? There is a free trial! What do you have to lose? In 30 days, you can quickly learn several skills to add to your resume and make your job applications shine!

Spice up your resume

If you really want to land a post-college job, you need to craft an excellent resume. Your resume is often your first impression with a hiring manager or HR professional. Therefore, you must have a resume that looks and sounds great if you want to impress a prospective employer. Here is a solid overview of how to build a great resume from JSG.

Keep calm and keep applying

Graduating from college is a massive step in your life and the first step of your professional career.  Trying to secure a job can be overwhelming, especially during a viral outbreak that has thrown your world upside down. All I can suggest is to keep calm and keep applying. These are uncertain times for everyone, but everything will be okay in the long-run. Good luck, and remember never to give up! There are opportunities out there; you just need to find them!

Taking A Gap Year? Here’s How To Explain It To Employers

Taking A Gap Year? Here’s How To Explain It To Employers

It’s a very popular choice for new grads to take a year off after graduating. Whether you use that time to travel, help out family members, or just to figure out what your next step should be, it’s a perfectly fine choice to make. However, it is something you’ll need to explain to your future employers. Don’t be worried, though! With the right framing, a gap year can actually be a great asset to have in your arsenal. Just follow these three guidelines throughout the hiring process to explain (and even sell) your gap year to future employers.

Be Honest

The most important thing you can do when addressing your gap year is to be upfront and honest about it. From the start of your application – make sure to acknowledge it anywhere you can. Note it on your resume, explain further in your cover letter, and head to your interview prepared. Most hiring managers will ask about it during an interview, so be sure to craft a thoughtful answer that sells your gap year as an advantage instead of a disadvantage.

Use It To Your Advantage

So, how do you sell a gap year as an advantage? You’d be surprised at the value hiring managers may place on the experiences you had during your gap year. Some positions have hundreds of applicants, and a diverse skill set and background can be a great way to set you apart. Hopefully, you collected a few impressive accomplishments or life lessons throughout your time away. List those out and how they contributed to your maturity and world experience.

Relate It To The Position

Once you have a couple of great selling points in mind, think about how you can relate them directly to this position. Did you go on a solo backpacking trip throughout Europe that required you to plan ahead to book travel, hotels, and sightseeing? That kind of foresight could really come in handy for a project manager or account executive who needs to be incredibly organized. Did you spend a year working for your family business before you decided to jump in and follow your own dreams? What skills did you acquire during that time? No matter what, there are ways you can relate almost any experience to your dream position – sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of creativity!

In the end, taking a gap year after you graduate does not have to be determinantal to your career. In fact, it could be just the thing you need to set yourself apart from other young job seekers. It’s all in how you frame it. Interested in more job search tips specifically tailored to young professionals? Sign up for our Career Kickoff newsletter!

What Hiring Managers Really Want When Hiring New Grads

What Hiring Managers Really Want When Hiring New Grads

There is a wealth of information about “how to get a job” out there. And honestly, a lot of it can feel confusing and contradictory. So we’re breaking down exactly what hiring managers are REALLY looking for when hiring new grads. (And how you can meet those requirements and then some!)

Experience

We know, how can you have experience when applying to an entry-level job?! Try and think outside the box here. Experience doesn’t have to be other jobs! Consider securing an internship or taking online courses. In some cases, you may even be able to volunteer with a company to gain experience in your field. In today’s day and age, self-education is extremely valuable. Hiring Manager’s love to see new grads taking initiative to teach themselves 

Reliability

You may have seen headlines that hint at the millennial generation being unreliable. While we acknowledge that this is a sweeping (incorrect) generalization, and certainly doesn’t apply to all young professionals, it can be a difficult stigma to shake. Find a way to prove to the hiring manager that you would be in it for the long haul. Some of our favorite strategies for accomplishing this? Do your research on the company. Go beyond their website. Read recent news articles, check out their social media. Jot down a few thoughtful, relevant talking points that only an “insider” would know. Come to an interview with a few ideas already formulated. Based on the job description and your research on the company, what are a few key things you could right off the bat if hired? Don’t be afraid to pitch an idea or develop a new strategy. These small steps can make a big impression on the Hiring Manager, showing your dedication to the position. (Before you’re even hired!)

Drive

What you lack in experience, you can make up for in ambition. When hiring new grads, employers value drive  and are on the hunt for “movers and shakers.” They want someone willing to jump in and get their hands dirty. You can often demonstrate this during an interview by answering choice questions thoughtfully. “If someone asks you to do something that is not part of your job, how would you handle it?” Respond by saying you would help out however you can, and if you can’t offer assistance, you’ll find someone who can! “That’s not in my job description,” should not even be part of your vocabulary.

Looking for more career tips for New Grads? Explore more blogs and subscribe to our Career Kickoff Newsletter!

Guide To LinkedIn

The New Grad’s Guide To LinkedIn

When you start to look for a job to kick off your career, one of the first steps is to set up your LinkedIn. Once you have your profile created and polished, you’re probably wondering what to do next. There are a few key actions you can take on the professional social media network that will really help in setting you up for long-term success. Here is our new grad’s guide to LinkedIn.

Connect With Fellow Alumnus on LinkedIn

LinkedIn makes it very easy to find and connect with people who went to your school. When they notice you have something in common, they are significantly more likely to connect! Before you send a connection request, however, be sure to write a personalized message to include as well. Here’s an example:

“Hi {NAME},

I am reaching out to connect with fellow graduates of [UNIVERSITY] in hopes of learning more about your career path and how you like working in the [INDUSTRY}. 

I look forward to connecting with you!”

Reach Out To Professionals In Your Industry

It can be extremely beneficial to establish relationships and even mentorships with people across your industry. Don’t be afraid to send LinkedIn connection requests, or to simply follow industry leaders to discover insights from their LinkedIn feed posts.

Browse Jobs on LinkedIn

You can subscribe to job alert emails that will trigger based on your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you have completed your profile to the max in order to collect the most job listings. Browse the daily emails in addition to doing active searches. You never know what you might find!

Follow Your Favorite Companies

Here’s an insider tip for you: Companies share exclusive job postings on their profiles. Job spots on LinkedIn are expensive, so not all available jobs are posted to the site. Most companies will, however, share links to their website with endless job listings no matter what!

Additionally, you can glean a lot from what companies share on LinkedIn. You can get an inside glimpse into their company culture, learn more about their mission and values, and even discover tidbits about the history of how they got where they are today. These things will come in handy when you land an interview!

Hopefully, this new grad guide to LinkedIn helps kickstart your professional networking. We wish you all the luck, and if you’re looking to begin your job search, check out our job board!