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How to Talk About Weaknesses in a Job Interview
Posted on: February 20th, 2019

Whether you’re interviewing for your first out-of-college, entry-level position or a more experienced leadership role, you’ll find one topic of questioning remains the same and can be a challenge to answer no matter your experience level. And that topic is about your weaknesses. Successfully answering this question can distinguish you from your competitors and help you land the job. But be careful, interviewers can trick you and pose this question in several ways.

From keeping it positive and honest to having the ability to identify weaknesses and share how you’re addressing them and self-correcting when possible, Avenica’s own Jacqueline Wolfson, vice president, Eastern region, provides some great advice for tackling this question for an article in which she was recently interviewed about this topic. Read the article currently posted on Tribune Content Agency.

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or upload your resume to be considered for an open position with one of our amazing clients.

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Use This Resume Template to Get the Job
Posted on: January 24th, 2019

Okay, we admit it, creating a resume isn’t anyone’s idea of a fun time. Actually, it’s the worst. Trying to summarize your entire professional life story–all you’re good at, all your career goals and aspirations, and all your achievements and accomplishments–all on one page sounds difficult, and that’s because it is. Crafting the perfect resume is all about telling the right story so a hiring decision maker can quickly determine if you’ll be a good fit for the job. As cliche as it sounds, first impressions are extremely important. And when it comes to resumes, it can make or break your chances of even being considered for an interview. No pressure, right?

We go through hundreds of resumes every day and can spot the good, the bad, and the ugly from a mile away, so we’re going to make it easy on you. Use this resume template, enter in our own info, personalize as needed. You’re welcome.

Here’s why it works:

 It’s simple.

Keeping your resume formatted in a simple format is extremely important. Many companies use automated resume filtering systems that don’t always properly render design elements, certain fonts, and formatting. While the design might look great on your computer, it might look completely different on their side. It’s best to use a Word .docx file and have a backup in PDF format. Also, keeping it to one page is advised–especially in the entry-level space; any more pages and you can guarantee it won’t get read all the way through.

It’s clear.

No beating around the bush here. Everything you need in a perfect resume is clearly stated. There’s a clear hierarchy of information that isn’t confusing or difficult to read and gives the hiring manager everything they need to know. Also, it’s important that your bullets be phrased in a way that describes your achievements, rather than just a list of your tasks. We’ve included a couple action verbs to start you off, but here’s a solid list you can use as well. It might seem kind of hard if you have little experience and are entry-level, but here’s an example of how you can make a regular task look more polished.

Before: Assisted customers by answering questions
After: Built strong customer relationships by providing excellent customer service to up to 50 customers a day.


It’s professional.

This template is just simply that; it’s what’s going to make you look like a superstar candidate. Hiring managers are looking for a clean and intentional design with consistent formatting that says, “I know what I’m doing.” It’s not too often you get to say that when you’re just graduating college, so relish in this moment. You got this!

Now, all you have to do is use this to apply.

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or upload your resume to be considered for an open position with one of our amazing clients.

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Don’t Ghost Employers, Do This Instead
Posted on: December 24th, 2018
Ghosting.

Everyone’s been doing this for…forever, but now that there’s a new, funny, trendy name attached to it, it’s become a “thing” now. Disappearing suddenly, without contact, without warning, as if you up and died…and are now a ghost. In the professional world, this usually happens after an employer reaches out to connect with a candidate after receiving a job application. While this could be seen as acceptable in the dating world, where there might not be any real consequences and a new date populates within a swipe of a finger, this could really backfire for you in your professional life.

For those of you actively on the job hunt, it might sound crazy to throw away an opportunity, but in a strong job economy or with positions that a candidate might find less desirable, this happens a lot. And for the same reasons it happens in the dating world; it’s easier and less uncomfortable…for one side. The problem? Well for recruiters like us who are working with clients to fill positions every day, it’s quite frustrating. But for candidates like you, it could hurt your professional reputation.

Perhaps you’re one of the lucky college graduates who applied for several positions and received back more than one response from interested employers. That’s great! But before you go ghosting on any of them because you like one opportunity the best, consider the possible outcomes and our suggestions for how to handle:

Outcome 1:

You don’t get the job you wanted. Maybe you don’t make it passed the first interview, or you make it all the way through to the last round and you lose the opportunity to another candidate. No matter where in the process you are, you’re going to wish you had a backup plan.

Outcome 2:

You got the job you wanted but realized after being on the job for a while that it’s not the right fit for you. Either you don’t like the work, or you don’t feel like a fit with the company or team. You’re going to wish you had a backup plan

Recommended Solution:

Like a lot of people do in dating, you can play the field—especially in the interviewing stage. You don’t have to give up all your other options just because Ms./Mr. Right asks you on for an interview. And besides, how are you going to know they are “the one” so early on? Sure, you might not get any of the jobs, but at least you have a higher chance at landing something if you pursue multiple opportunities. In either scenario, it’s always best to have a fallback plan should your top choice not work out.

And hey, you’re never going to know if it could be a match if you don’t try to get to know them, right? You could be surprised and get a really great offer from the backup, or maybe you’ll end up liking the company culture, professional development opportunities, or career track more. It’s much easier to have a respectful, honest breakup than it is to grovel and ask for forgiveness and a second chance. This is especially true if you get the job but it doesn’t meet expectations and you find yourself back out there looking for another opportunity to swipe right on…or is it left? I always forget.

Try sending this email instead:

Dear (Hiring Manger’s Name):

Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview with you and learn more about the role and company. After some careful consideration, I don’t think this role at this time, is the right fit for me. I hope to keep in contact and would like the opportunity to work with you in the future.

Again, thank you for the consideration.

Of course you can personalize this email to tailor your specific situation and engagements with the interviewer, but this is a great starting template. The hiring manager/recruiter will know not to continue trying to reach out to you and will be glad you’ve saved them the time and effort. It’s just always better to know, ya know? Plus, if for any reason, you find yourself looking for a different opportunity—maybe it’s pretty immediate after it not working out with your first option, but maybe it’s after a year or two and you’re looking for a higher-level position—you’re going to be glad you didn’t go “full Casper” and burn that bridge.

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or upload your resume to be considered for an open position with one of our amazing clients.

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It’s Just Your Major, Not Your Destiny
Posted on: May 30th, 2018


 
“What are you going to do with THAT degree?”

From the time college students declare a major, the second-guessing begins. For months, you’ve been badgered to pick a major, only to have your choice questioned again and again.

Now that graduation is approaching, perhaps you’re having doubts and thinking: “What if I can’t get a job with this degree?”

Don’t worry – your major isn’t your destiny. It’s only a beginning.

Many college students see a degree as an end in itself: a validation of certain skills, depending on a specialized field of study. This mindset has led students down an awkward path to the professional world. A chemistry major thinks she needs to work in a lab to make her degree worthwhile. A liberal arts major thinks he must get an advanced degree to make his education complete. But in today’s entry-level job market, the greatest need isn’t specialization, it’s adaptability.

Avenica works closely with employers and has a keen understanding of hiring market needs. What we’re hearing from hiring companies is that they want thinkers, hard-workers, problem-solvers and team-players, all qualities that are well-developed among Bachelor’s Degree-holders in many different disciplines. We help grads think outside of their majors when considering a future career and often surprise job-seekers by uncovering great careers they didn’t even consider (or know existed).

Here’s a few examples of how different types of degrees can be applied to a variety of high-demand positions that are hiring at the entry level:

Majors Common Transferable Skills Career Opportunities
Social sciences Interpersonal communications, organization, teamwork Human resources,
Customer service,
Investment management
Hard sciences Problem-solving, inquisitiveness, data-oriented Digital marketing,
Consulting,
Financial analyst
Business and finance Analytical, problem-solving, entrepreneurial Account management,
Actuarial analyst,
Project management
Fine arts Creativity, adaptability, big-picture thinking Claims processing,
Real estate planning,
Advertising

No matter what degree you hold, there are multiple opportunities for you to make your mark professionally and find a future career that suits both your skills and your desires. History graduates can go on to become lawyers, consultants and journalists. Music majors can make excellent accountants and financial analysts. Sociology students can be adept at customer service, and marketing. The breadth of career options for today’s grads is limited only by a student’s drive and ambition.

A degree is only the beginning of your career journey. Where the path takes you – whether it’s down a well-traveled road or a trail you blaze yourself – is your decision alone. Your major does not need to be your destiny.

Looking for a place to start your future career journey? Join the Avenica network and put our proprietary, candidate-focused model to work for you.

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Avenica CEO Brian Weed talks with WCCO on 2018 Grad Career Prospects
Posted on: May 21st, 2018

You’ve passed your finals, walked across the stage, and thrown your cap in the air. But now what? Brian Weed, Avenica’s CEO spoke with WCCO’s Heather Brown and Jason DeRusha on life after commencement and starting a career. Watch the video, then let’s chat about your future career!

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Procrastinating on your job search? Here are some tips to get started.  
Posted on: May 17th, 2018

With spring commencement just a few days or weeks away, soon-to-be college graduates who have yet to line up a job are probably feeling the heat from parents and advisors, encouraging them to start looking for a post-graduation job. But between studying for finals, saying goodbye to college friends, and preparing for commencement, how can college students in their final year keep their eyes on the prize?

Here are some career-planning “dos and don’ts” for the Class of 2018:

Start with an objective assessment of you. By now, most seniors preparing to graduate have done some thinking about post-college career plans. But paying a last-minute visit to career services or scanning job postings weeks before graduation may result in continued uncertainty and frustration. The best approach? Start with a complete and objective assessment of your full set of talents, skills and interests, based on academic and extracurricular experiences.  Marrying this assessment of your underlying skills with your interests can yield a more focused list of career options, which will translate to a more effective job search.

Don’t settle for a job when you can start a career. There’s a tremendous amount of pressure for entry-level college graduates to simply “get a job” to pay the bills. While this may be unavoidable, it’s unwise to sacrifice your career ambitions in pursuit of any job at any cost. A smarter approach is to look for “transitional” work in your desired field or an adjacent industry, which can satisfy your need for a paycheck while providing invaluable experience for your future career. For example, if account management is where you want to end up, then customer service positions can be a great starting point.

Ask for help early and often. If you feel like you’re behind the eight-ball, don’t despair: there are an abundance of resources at your disposal. First, start with parents, parents’ friends, advisors and even friends’ parents. Grow your personal network and leverage those connections to make inroads with prospective employers. Ask for advice on your résumé, cover letters and targeted industries or job leads. Don’t be afraid to ask for introductions to people outside of your network – most will be eager to help.

Think outside the job search boards. The Internet can make job searches seem like a rote exercise: punch in some keywords, scroll through a few listings, find a job and upload your résumé. It seems simple, but it’s a highly ineffective “shotgun” approach that does not account for passion, interest, transferable skill or cultural fit. Rather than going it alone, career-bound seniors should consider all options, including third-party recruiting services that specialize in entry-level hiring. These solutions take the individual into account rather than relying solely on algorithms and applicant tracking variables. Third-party recruiters may also have access to positions that are not advertised publicly, giving you a better shot at the right career opportunity.

Stay positive, even if prospects seem slim. The right fit for you is out there somewhere. It takes patience and perseverance to find the perfect opportunity, but you should resist the temptation to sell yourself short, and you should never compromise for the sake of simply landing a job. Employers want energetic and engaged entry-level team members who are passionate about the company’s mission. If you are not enthusiastic about an opportunity, it will show during the interview process and ultimately, if you land the job, will make you more likely to jump ship. Stick to your strategy: you and the right opportunity will find each-other.

Learn more about how Avenica can help you find your future career.

 

 

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Beyond Career Services: Additional Resources for Entry-Level Job Seekers
Posted on: May 14th, 2018

career help, entry level job

As a graduating college student counting down the last of your college days, there’s still time to leave campus armed with a solid job search strategy. The college career services office is a valuable resource and a great place to begin your journey, but many entry-level job seekers don’t look beyond career services, missing an abundance of third-party assistance in the process.

Unfortunately, many future graduates don’t even make it to career services. Avenica research shows that nearly 35 percent of candidates surveyed had never set foot in their campus career services office, while another 71 percent indicated they had only visited the office two or fewer times.

Getting help on campus should be a first step, not an end in itself. Before heading to career services, here are a few questions to consider asking:

  • What opportunities are you seeing for people with my degree?
  • How can I best market my extracurricular work and achievements?
  • Can you help identify any gaps in my résumé?
  • Can you connect me with mentors or assist me with networking?

Most career services professionals on campus are well-connected to alumni, local employers and additional third-party resources to help grads get a jump on career planning. However, it’s important to remember that they rarely have everything students need for an effective job search, particularly as students leave campus after graduation. Many of the best opportunities for entry-level hiring exist with small and mid-sized companies, which often do not recruit on campus or have strong relationships with career services. With an increasing demand for labor ­– particularly at the entry level – employers of all sizes need a more efficient pipeline to talent.

Campus career offices often rely on a relatively narrow network of connections to large employers that primarily recruit for local positions and seek specialized hires, such as information technology, business and engineering. For liberal arts grads, career services professionals often don’t know which jobs are a fit for English, history, political science or other liberal arts majors. This at a time that liberal arts degrees are again in high demand from many employers seeking sharp problem-solving skills, a breadth of general knowledge and an understanding of how to bring “soft skills” to bear in the business world.

Online job boards are another popular option for entry-level job seekers, but also fall short when it comes to matching grads with a future career. Upcoming graduates get a false sense of progress when they search job boards (e.g., Indeed) and find they can easily apply to a large number of jobs. Unfortunately, it’s easy for everyone else, too, which results in hundreds of applicants per position. To cut this applicant pool to a manageable size, most employers use automated filters to screen out candidates without full-time relevant experience and/or specific technical skills, which most upcoming grads don’t have.

As the entry-level labor economy continues to grow and shift toward a model more focused on skills than experience, it’s essential for job seekers to consider all of their options for help planning a future career. With career services as a starting point, grads and soon-to-be graduates should expand their toolset to include other resources designed for the entry-level job seeker.

Niche recruiting firms like Avenica, which focuses exclusively on entry-level college graduate job seekers, bring together a nationwide network of employers and thousands of eager graduates, with the goal of creating an ideal match of skills, interests and hiring needs for lasting career success. Unlike a traditional staffing agency, Avenica takes extra time to go deeper with entry-level candidates and understand their career goals instead of simply filling open positions. As part of the process, Avenica’s specially-trained talent specialists can help grads discover career possibilities they didn’t know existed, as well as prepare candidates for interviews, provide résumé assistance and much more. And unlike other services, Avenica is a free resource that is 100 percent dedicated to finding the right fit for entry-level job seekers.

You’re entering into one of the best entry-level job markets in decades. With both on-campus and third-party resources to help, grads can take full advantage of the current climate of opportunity and find future careers that are rewarding and fulfilling. Graduates shouldn’t think of these resources as a way to bypass the hard work of preparing for a career, but they can provide a competitive advantage to those willing to listen, accept feedback and take advice from experts in the hiring field.

Looking for a place to start your future career journey? Join the Avenica network and put our proprietary, candidate-focused model to work for you.

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Avenica Partners with Daniels Fund to Offer Career Placement Services to Daniels Scholars
Posted on: April 10th, 2018

Program gives Daniels Scholars a direct pipeline to entry-level careers through Avenica

MINNEAPOLIS (April 10, 2018) – Minneapolis-based entry-level recruiting firm Avenica announced today that it is partnering with Daniels Fund, a Denver-based private charitable foundation, with the goal of placing Daniels Scholars and alumni into entry-level career-track jobs with Avenica’s national network of clients.

The Daniels Scholarship Program provides four-year college scholarships for graduating high school seniors who demonstrate exceptional character, leadership and a commitment to serving their communities. The Daniels Scholarship Program encompasses much more than just financial support. Daniels Scholars become part of a community and gain access to personalized support and professional development, with the goal of helping each scholar succeed in college and ultimately become independent, successful in a rewarding career and actively engaged in their community.

“The Daniels Scholarship Program emphasizes the same characteristics we look for in our candidates, so this partnership is a great fit,” says Avenica CEO Brian Weed. “We look forward to helping the Daniels Scholars in their career exploration and planning, and I’m confident our clients will respond very positively to this group of capable graduates.”

Effective April 2018, Daniels Scholars have direct access to participate in Avenica’s process of assisting entry-level college graduates to find their “right fit” position and employer. This service will be available to current scholars preparing to graduate from college and Daniels Scholar alumni who have graduated within the last three years.

“Daniels Scholars possess so many of the qualities employers are looking for, and the Daniels Scholarship Program is designed to help them succeed in college and beyond,” said Linda Childears, president & CEO of the Daniels Fund. “We are looking forward to partnering with Avenica to give Daniels Scholars a highly effective resource to help them launch their careers.”

Founded in 1998 as GradStaff, Avenica improves efficiency in the entry-level job market by recruiting students and entry-level college graduates from 900 colleges and universities across the U.S. and helping them identify their transferable skills and discover career interests that fit those skills. Avenica applies its matching process to pair candidates with its clients’ open entry-level opportunities, prepares them for interviews and then hires them to fill those positions. Last year, Avenica filled nearly 1,500 professional positions across all major U.S. markets.

College graduates can apply with Avenica online at www.avenica.com. Companies interested in working with Avenica to build a customized entry-level recruiting and hiring program can contact Avenica via www.avenica.com or via email at hires@avenica.com

ABOUT AVENICA

Avenica is the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level career-track positions. Using a proprietary interview process that identifies skills beyond the resume and provides career coaching, Avenica opens new possibilities for candidates. Avenica partners with companies to refine job profiles and streamline the hiring process. A personalized matching process leads to the right fit for both candidates and clients, which results in better outcomes—very high candidate conversion and retention rates—at a lower cost. Avenica serves a national client base, and places thousands of recent graduates each year from seven offices throughout the United States.

ABOUT THE DANIELS FUND

The Daniels Fund, established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program, and ethics initiative. Visit DanielsFund.org to learn more.

 

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