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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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The Gig Economy: How Entry-Level Job Seekers Can Side-Hustle Their Way to a Career
Posted on: March 29th, 2018

These days, it seems everyone’s got a side hustle. Maybe it’s a freelance gig, contract work or the ever-popular Uber, Lyft or BiteSquad driving opportunities. It seems the gig economy is here to stay.

With millions of Americans (more than 150 million by 2020, according to Intuit) working as private contractors in a variety of fields, it can be an attractive proposition for entry-level college graduates seeking a paycheck while on the job hunt. However, there are a few important considerations that will help young job seekers balance the need to make a buck with their long-term career ambitions.

Here are a few tips for entry-level college graduates to contemplate before jumping head-first into the gig economy:

Stay focused on your future career

With cash in hand and a flexible schedule, it may be tempting for job seekers to slow their career search momentum. Creating and maintaining a solid job search strategy is essential for making the most of gig economy work while still keeping a future career top-of-mind. A smart approach would be to devote a specific amount of time each day or week – in proportion to the time spent working – to job hunting, résumé polishing, networking and interview practice.

Choose gig work that fits your career ambitions

In addition to income, an added benefit of gig work for entry-level job seekers is the potential to build work skills, which can then be marketed in pursuit of a long-term career. Consider taking on gigs that will be most useful for specific career paths. For example, someone seeking an account management position would do well to choose a gig that builds customer service skills. A job seeker trying to break into an entry-level creative position, such as graphic design or copywriting, should sign up for contractor “matching” services like Fiverr and Upwork.

Be ready to transition to full-time work

Don’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to gig work. Underemployment – college graduates working in positions that don’t require a degree – is at an all-time high, largely because graduates are simply happy to be getting paid. But it’s not a sustainable path for future career achievement, and entry-level job seekers working gig positions should always be ready to ditch “easy money” for more lucrative long-term opportunities.

Contract gigs can be very useful for job-seeking college graduates by providing valuable work experience while generating income. As long as the gig economy remains a means to an end, not an end in itself, an entry-level career will still be attainable. In fact, working a steady gig can be a great way to demonstrate dedication, self-direction and resourcefulness to prospective employers.

So, go ahead, Class of 2018 – don’t be afraid to “get your gig on!”

Looking 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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How to make the most of your final semester
Posted on: January 29th, 2018

As a college senior beginning your final semester and maybe yet to find (or start looking for) your first post-college job, it can be difficult to decide which opportunities to pursue. By staying mindful of the resources around you, you’ll be able to make the most out of your remaining months as a student, and head into your job search prepared and optimistic. Here are three tips to ensure you’re getting all you can out of your final semester. (more…)

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Adapting to a changing job market
Posted on: January 3rd, 2018

changing job market

The job market today is vastly different from what it was 20 years ago, and graduating students today are having much different job-searching experiences than that of their parents or even older siblings. With new opportunities and resources come new challenges, and there are a number of ways students and entry-level college graduate job seekers can be prepared for job searching in the current market.

Build on Technical Skills

While many organizations value and look for soft-skills that would make candidates a good fit for their team, they are increasingly evaluating technical skills and experiences that could help applicants stand out from their peers. Regardless of one’s degree, job-seekers can look for opportunities to pursue certifications, classes or proficiencies with tools or technology to offer value in a concrete way. For example, a quick Google search will provide a wide variety of self-administered Excel training courses – both paid and free – that can help hone skills and allow you to add “proficient in Excel” to your resume with confidence.

Expand Your Search

With the prevalence of online job boards, job-seekers have an efficient way to access many jobs in a central spot. However, with vast numbers of applicants it can sometimes be challenging to set yourself apart and get the opportunity for an in-person conversation. Additionally, not all companies will use these tools. Job-seekers should always leverage the power of their own networks, both traditionally and through the use of social media to “get to know” the companies that they might be interested in working for. Many forward-thinking companies will use blogs, YouTube, Facebook and other platforms to share opportunities with their followers and vet potential candidates.

Understand the Market

Today, there are dozens of industries that weren’t even a concept 20 years ago. Some industries are growing, some are mature but seeking fresh talent, and some are evolving or expanding with new types of jobs. It’s important for job-seekers to stay open and educated about what needs exist within various industries and to pursue companies or job types that meet those particular needs. While a company or industry may not look interesting from the outset, candidates might be surprised to find enjoyment or fulfillment in the role, especially in an industry that’s heating up.

Though a lot has changed, some things have remained the same. Humility, strong work ethic, and a hunger for learning and development continue to be traits that hiring managers seek. Though new tools and technologies will continue to prove helpful in connecting candidates with potential employers, there will never be a quick fix. Due-diligence, strong networking skills and a service-minded mentality are always a valuable approach when looking for new positions.

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Networking Through the Holidays
Posted on: November 13th, 2017

For a lot of college students and young professionals, networking can sound like an overwhelming idea. When we imagine being thrown into a room full of strangers who we have little to no connection with, it can feel intimidating and even cringe-worthy. But it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, it can be as easy as shifting your approach to the parties and events that you’re already going to. As we near the busy and festive holiday season, here are three ways to turn your existing events and relationship into new opportunities.

1. Change your perspective

Whether you’re at a family holiday event, over a friend’s house for dinner, or even waiting in line at the coffee shop, anywhere can be an opportunity to network. Rather than focusing purely on small talk, strike up a casual but career-oriented conversation with the person next to you. Even if the individual isn’t directly in your line of work – we’re all a few degrees of separation from the next opportunity.

2. Get curious

In your conversations with aunts and uncles, neighbors and family friends – tap into your curiosity and get to know them even better from a work perspective. Find out what they do for a living, what they like about their job, how their business or industry works and what various job titles do. Even outside of understanding their specific career path, spend time getting to know them as a person. Remember than networking is different than job searching. Be a good conversationalist and stay open minded about getting to know how the world works in a variety of settings. You may learn a lot about careers in industries you may have never considered before.

3. Get referrals

Most people enjoy helping others make connections. Don’t be afraid to ask people if they know anyone that you could grab coffee or lunch with. Try to leave each meeting or interaction with a name or two that you can follow-up with after. And don’t forget to thank people for their time! Handwritten notes, even in the form of Holiday cards, are still a great way build and maintain relationships.

Networking can be surprisingly simple and fun – and can be done even in the most unlikely places. Stay open and interested in the world and people around you and you’ll be off to a great start.

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Job Search Success: 10 Strategies for December Grads
Posted on: December 28th, 2016

Congratulations to the many fresh graduates receiving their diplomas as a member of the December graduating class of 2016! Their reward is an early start to their job search in hopes of finding the right entry-level position to begin their career. However, for many college graduates, uncertainty is what sets in first upon graduation. Many recent grads coming out of school these days are either unsure about where their skills may fit in the workplace or they simply don’t know what kinds of positions are out there for them.

GradStaff CEO Bob LaBombard was recently featured in an article by College Recruiter that focuses on job search strategies for December grads. These tips can help new grads find their way in their job search by providing ways for graduates to set themselves up for success early on in their job search. From starting out with some self reflection to setting up information interviews, GradStaff’s CEO shares his best 10 tips for December grads to gain early momentum in their job search. To read the full article, please follow the link HERE.

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