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!

Virtual Internship

How to Make Your Virtual Internship A Success

Starting a new internship is an exciting opportunity for many students to gain invaluable experiences and boost their post-graduate job prospects. However, virtual internships are becoming the new norm as students tackle this upcoming semester from the safety of their homes. An internship gives you a chance to gain some real-world experience in an industry that attracts your attention. Now, this experience may be different from your parents’ house or an apartment, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to make a strong impression in hopes of securing a job offer upon graduation. Here is how to make your virtual internship a success.

Connect with your new colleagues

Besides gaining work experience and putting your education to the test, one of the most important aspects of an internship is building your professional network. Establishing connections with your colleagues can have a lasting impact on your career and help take your job prospects to new heights. However, building these relationships can be more challenging with a virtual internship. As a result, you have to be more proactive about reaching out to people with your new employer.

Start reaching out to your new colleagues and introducing yourself. Send them a brief email giving them a quick background on you and your responsibilities in your virtual internship. Additionally, connect with your co-workers on LinkedIn. Pro tip: don’t just add them as a connection; send them a personalized InMail introducing yourself and express your excitement to work with that person. Building these connections early on will help make your virtual internship a success from the get-go.

Always ask for clarification

When working on an assignment or a project, it’s natural to have questions or be unsure about something. Never just assume what you should be doing. It’s much easier to ask for clarification when you get the assignment than to only assume something and finish it incorrectly. You want to put your best foot forward and complete your tasks correctly and on time. So, ask questions whenever necessary to ensure you are producing your best work! The end result will be better for everyone.

Don’t miss a deadline

It’s crucial to be conscious of all your deadlines. When assigned a task, ask for a due date if you do not receive one. Some companies will use scheduling software or calendar reminders to map out due dates. At other companies, you may have to be more self-reliant about your due dates. Get a calendar or a whiteboard and keep track of all your current tasks and due dates. This process will help you ensure that you are never late turning in a project or missing a deadline completely. In an office environment, you have more direct supervision with your deadlines. With a virtual internship, you have more independence, and thus, need to keep a closer eye on your calendar!

Are you looking to secure a virtual internship?

Are you looking to secure a virtual internship during the pandemic? It can be a little challenging to find one in today’s climate successfully. Lucky for you, we have collected a few tips to help you gain a virtual internship and receive valuable experience from home!

virtual

Virtual Internship

How to Secure A Virtual Internship This Fall

It is hard to believe that universities across the country are already welcoming their students back. Some are returning to campus while most students are taking on their Fall 2020 semester or quarter from their homes’ safety. The pandemic has impacted more than the college experience and classroom setting – it has totally changed the landscape for students looking for internships. With more companies embracing remote work, students will likely have to look for an internship opportunity that they can obtain from home. If you are stuck in this boat, here are some helpful tips to secure a virtual internship this fall.

Don’t forget about your school’s career center

Even if you are starting this semester from home, your school’s career center is still available. Obviously, you may not be able just to walk in and ask for help from a career coach. Most universities are pivoting to offer the same experience and resources remotely. Visit your career center’s webpage on the university or colleges’ website and take advantage of the resources available to you.

These coaches can help you craft the perfect resume, assist with interview prep, and even help you secure virtual internships. Many local companies or organizations with strong alumni ties frequently post internship opportunities on your school’s student job board. So, just because you are tackling this semester from home, your school is still offering professional career advice and sharing job opportunities.

Partner with local businesses or non-profits

If you are struggling to find a more traditional virtual internship, you can partner with a local business or non-profit. There are thousands of local businesses and non-profits struggling right not due to our current economic climate that would love a helping hand. Make a list of potential organizations you think you can impact and offer your talents. Whether you are a proficient writer, social media enthusiast, or web developer, reach out and see if they need assistance. Consequently, there are dozens of ways you can impact a local organization with your talents from your home. Plus, you will be working with a real organization and be making a positive impact. So, it’s a win-win situation for everyone and a fantastic resume booster for you.

Tap into your school’s alumni network

Almost every university has a strong alumni network or program that you can tap into for virtual internship opportunities. LinkedIn or Facebook Groups are frequently a popular home for these networks. Reach out to alumni from your school and start networking. You might be surprised by how many beneficial connections you can build and job opportunities you can discover. Connect with specific alumnus within industries that interest you. Moreover, you can post in these groups and express your interest in virtually helping an organization. Utilizing your alumni network is an excellent way to secure a virtual internship and possibly even a job offer in the future!

Help! I Don't Know What I Want To Do For A Career

Help! I Don’t Know What To Do For A Career

Growing up, we have all been asked the astronomically hard question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Not only is it difficult to answer this question as a young professional, but most adults don’t even have an answer! With that being said, it is perfectly normal to house uncertainties of where you want your career path to end up or even where you should start. When you feel that existential dread creeping in, try implementing these four steps to determine the direction you should take.   

Step One: Breathe 

First of all, slow down and take a moment to breathe. You don’t need to answer this life-defining question right now. Keep in mind, your life may look completely different five years down the road. Everyone’s path is different. Some people are born knowing their career destiny, while others spend their whole life on a journey to find it. It’s called a ‘career path’ for a reason. Paths are not linear, and they aren’t supposed to be. Life is full of unexpected changes that you cannot anticipate, and you can change your career in as little as 5 seconds!  

Step Two: Answer The Important Questions 

What Are You Passionate About?  

Discovering your passion is obvious for some and murky for others. If this question is too broad, ask yourself – what do you spend your free time doing? For example, spending time outside, playing in the stock market, completing DIY projects, or a wide variety of other passions. If these activities bring you joy, try to find a career field that incorporates them. As a result, you will do your job much better if you care about it. A study from the University of Southern California found that loving what you do boosts productivity and enhances performance. 

What Does Your Dream Job Look Like? 

Then, try to envision your absolute dream job. Are you out in the field all day? Would you like to spend all day interacting with clients? How do you feel about working remotely? Are you tapping into your creative side or spending the day crunching numbers? Even if your dream job may seem out of reach now, answering these questions will point you in the right direction. 

Step Three: Conduct Important Research 

Now, it’s time to get to work and start doing some research. What type of job will put you on the path towards your ideal lifestyle while simultaneously incorporating your passions and values? Spend some time looking into the entry-level jobs that can lead to your dream job in the future. Next, search for people on LinkedIn who have those jobs right now. Send a connection request and let them know you’re interested in learning more about their career path. Not only will this give you some great insight, but it may also help you get your foot in the door.

Step Four: Develop Necessary Skills 

Start building skills that apply to your passions. Through your research and conversations, you’ll pick up on skills that will be beneficial in your ideal career path. Start by taking online courses, or even just reading articles related to your desired industry. 

Overall, discovering your passion and finding your career path can be challenging. However, if you look closely, it might be right in front of you. Analyze what you spend your free time doing and follow that fire. This will lead you to a happier, more successful career, and in that same realm, a better employee. Everybody wins!  

entry-level jobs

The Most In-Demand Entry-Level Jobs in 2020

At the end of this academic year, approximately 6 million American students will be graduating from high school, community colleges, and undergraduate programs. These students will be graduating in a labor market that is looking a little murky right now. It can be discouraging to be graduating right now, with over 43 million Americans out of work and collecting unemployment benefits. However, don’t let all the negativity and bad news shoot down your hopes of securing a great job opportunity. There are tons of employers still looking for great candidates just like you to get to work. Here are some of the most in-demand entry-level jobs needed in today’s job market.

The industries hiring right now

Some industries have been hit harder than others with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. However, some industries are ramping up their hiring during these challenging economic times. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Grad’s Guide to Getting Hired, these are the top industries hiring right now:

  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Recreation and Travel
  • Software and IT Services

Healthcare is one of the most resilient industries out there. So, regardless of the current economic conditions, healthcare professionals are in high demand. And this isn’t necessarily nurses or doctors – healthcare organizations need all kinds of workers, such as business analysts, safety professionals, marketers, and product managers, to name a few.

Online retail and transportation/logistics are seeing an uptick in hiring as people are staying home and doing more online shopping than ever before. Moreover, Software and IT services are seeing a massive demand for their products and services as employees work hard from their homes. Video conferencing and other communication tools are skyrocketing right now as we all try to work remotely and remain productive. And finally, recreation and travel are putting people to work to ensure visitors of parks and other recreational activities are keeping visitors safe.

Entry-level jobs in high demand

Now that we know where the hottest jobs are, here is a brief list of some of the most in-demand entry-level jobs:

  • Material Handler
    • Top skills needed: forklift operation, shipping, receiving, order picking
  • Food Service Worker
    • Top skills needed: food prep, customer service, time management
  • Developer
    • Top skills needed: HTML, CSS, Big Data, Git
  • Technician
    • Top skills needed: Electrical troubleshooting, EPA, HVAC
  • Customer Service Specialist
    • Top skills needed: Data entry, time management, customer service
  • Software Engineer
    • Top skills needed: Java, Spring Framework, Hibernate
  • Product Manager
    • Top skills needed: product development, product management, product strategy

These are just a few jobs that are in high demand, according to LinkedIn. Also, these jobs don’t necessarily require any prior experience. Now, these jobs or career paths may not be what you expected when preparing to graduate. Nonetheless, these positions are in high demand and are excellent areas to kick off your career.

Career kickoff resources tailored to you

So, if you are looking for more career advice, take a moment to visit our Career Kickoff series of helpful resources. We have gathered a collection of information, tips, and strategies to help you secure a job, even in today’s challenging climate.

Video: The most in-demand entry-level jobs

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!

Video: Here’s your college grad toolkit

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.