10 Skills Employers Look for from New Graduates

Below you’ll find the top 10 most sought-after attributes that hiring managers want from the class of 2020. So if you’re on the hunt for an entry-level job.

1. Problem-solving skills

Nine in 10 employers (91.2%) want to see new college graduates tout excellent problem-solving skills. Many hiring managers use behavioral interview questions—phrases such as “tell me about a time when” or “give me an example of”—to assess a job candidate’s problem-solving ability. Thus, you’ll want to prepare anecdotes that paint you as a solution finder.

You don’t need job experience to provide proof that you’re a problem solver, says Los Angeles-based career coach Nancy Karas. “Think about times where you were proactive, innovative, or highly responsive to a challenge,” like that time you helped solve a customer complaint while working at the campus coffee shop, Karas says. Even better: Show that you took the initiative to identify a problem and then solved it.

2. Ability to work in a team

It goes without saying that nobody likes the employee who wants to hog the spotlight. But unlike your career as a student, where you’re really the only one who can make or break your success, the workplace depends on teams of people to get the job done. No surprise, then, that 86.3% of hiring managers want to know you can collaborate well with lots of different personalities.

You’ll need to learn how to delegate, take direction, value differences of opinion, and play to your and your co-workers’ strengths and weaknesses. “Being a team player is all about being reliable and trustworthy,” says career coach Denise Dudley, author of Work it! Get in, Get Noticed, Get Promoted.

3. Strong work ethic

You need to be committed to your job responsibilities and understand that performing your role is more than just means to a paycheck—after all, a company stands for something beyond business and so should you. That’s why 80.4% of hiring managers want to see new hires demonstrate a strong work ethic. Show up on time, be engaged in your work, and act with integrity.

4. Analytical skills

One in eight hiring managers (79.4%) want to hire entry-level workers who possess analytical skills, meaning they’re searching for critical thinkers—people who know how to gather and evaluate information and then make good decisions based on that intel.

5. Written communication skills

Good communication is always going to be among the top skills employers look for. The survey found that 77.5% of managers feel writing proficiency is the most desirable hard skill among recent college graduates. Therefore, submitting a well-crafted cover letter is crucial.

You’ll want to highlight experiences on your resume that demonstrate your writing skills. If you volunteered to be the scribe for a group project in college, for example, include that on your resume, advises Dawn Bugni, a professional resume writer in Atkinson, North Carolina. And depending on the nature of the industry—marketing, communications, or journalism to name a few—you might also submit writing samples with your application. “A writing portfolio speaks for itself,” Bugni says.

6. Leadership skills

It’s a tall order: 72.5% of hiring managers want potential hires with great leadership skills. Believe it or not, there are ways you can show possible employers that you have leadership potential before you even enter the workforce.

If you held a leadership role in college (e.g., president of the French club), highlight it on your resume. If you emerged as the informal leader on a group project, talk about the experience during the job interview.

Also, get letters of recommendation from former internship managers that speak to your leadership skills. “Glowing references can solidify a job offer,” says Stefanie Wichansky, CEO at Randolph, New Jersey, management consulting and staffing firm Professional Resource Partners.

7. Verbal communication skills

Seven in 10 hiring managers (69.6%) surveyed said good verbal communication skills are a must-have for new grads. Communication skills set the tone for how people perceive you and help you build relationships with co-workers.

Verbal communication prowess is best demonstrated during job interviews. Presenting answers to interview questions clearly goes a long way. You should also ask job interviewers open-ended questions to show that you’re engaged.

8. Initiative

Tied with verbal communication skills, 69.6% of hiring managers reported they want newly minted college graduates who know how to take initiative. This is where the maxim “Show them, don’t just tell them” applies. In the experience section of your resume, cite an example of a time when you deal with a difficult situation in a direct way or a time when being proactive enabled you to head off a problem.

9. Detail-oriented

According to the survey, 67.6% of managers are looking for new grads that have meticulous attention to detail. As a result, make sure your resume is impeccable, free of typos and grammatical errors, and organized with the use of clear, concise, and effective language. As Monster’s resume expert Kim Isaacs puts it: “You want your resume to be as perfect as humanly possible.”

10. Technical skills

Many industries, not just jobs in the technology sector, call for professionals with technical abilities. Case in point: 65.7% of hiring managers said new grads should possess technical skills. Describe how you’re applied your technical skills in the past. For instance, if your resume lists that you have Java experience, it should also describe how utilized the program on a particular project in college.

Source: Monster.com

20 Things Job Seekers Can Do During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on businesses large and small. From hospitality groups to financial firms to tech companies, businesses paused to figure out what comes next.

What does this mean for job seekers? Can you still find a post-military job when unemployment claims are skyrocketing and furloughs are becoming commonplace?

Yes, many companies are hiring. While recruiting, interviewing and onboarding are mostly done remotely now, there are still people finding jobs, getting promoted and growing their careers.

Whether you’re getting ready to transition out of the military or you’re in the job market currently, here are 20 things you could be doing to secure your next position:

Strategy

  1. Clarify your personal brand. Who are you, what do you want, and what can you offer? You need to be an expert on you, so spend the time to understand your brand and goals.
  2. Consider your values. What is your moral compass, and what are your non-negotiables? What do YOU stand for, and how will you move through your values to create value for others? Write down your values.
  3. Decide what will be your career path. Are you looking for a job or a career? What path have you laid out, starting with the first position and including any education you may need to arrive at your desired career? Map this out.
  4. Understand your ideal employer. Who are they, what do they want, and what value do they seek? Write down what you believe this employer needs from ideal employees.

Networking

  1. Who do you need to knowAre you connected to people with the influence, information and ability to endorse you to your ideal employer? Make a list of people you need to connect with.
  2. What do you want them to know about you/feel about you? Make lists of your goals regarding perception: What should your networking contacts know about you to best empower them to serve you?
  3. What do you need from them — information, introductions, referrals? Each person in your network can provide a different value to you. Write down, next to their name, how you believe they can serve you.
  4. How can you help them? Are you returning value, gratitude and referrals? Offer to write a recommendation on their LinkedIn profile, send a personalized thank you note, or introduce them to someone of value to them.

LinkedIn

  1. Connect on LinkedIn with people you’ve identified you need to know. Personalize the connection request and indicate how or why you believe a connection would be mutually beneficial.
  2. Initiate the conversation on LinkedIn. Personalize the message and perhaps suggest a phone call to learn more about their business.
  3. Review your LinkedIn contacts. Remove those who might reflect negatively on you because of their posts, comments or reputation.
  4. Solicit endorsements and recommendations to your profile. Send a personalized note to the contact you’re requesting the recommendation from. Offer specific keywords and phrases you’d like them to use, to strengthen your positioning and reputation.

Resume and Cover Letter

  1. Update your resume. Reflect any new certifications, knowledge or credentials.
  2. Check your keywords. Ensure specific, targeted keywords are used throughout your resume and cover letter, and are consistently promoted on your social media as well.
  3. Customize your resume to every open position you apply to. It takes time, and it’s worth it. Show the employer specifically how you are the candidate they seek.
  4. Look at the formatting of your resume. Is it clean and professional or overly designed? Can a reader find the information they need quickly or is it packed with irrelevant information that you could delete to streamline it?

Career

  1. Learn new skills by taking online courses to expand your certifications and credentials. Consider LinkedIn Learning courses that support your skills and experience and give you insight about the civilian sector.
  2. Assess the goals you initially set when you started your transition. Do you still want a management position or has that changed? Are new opportunities — given the job market — interesting to you? Write those down.
  3. Deploy a feedback survey to evaluate your current reputation. With your growth goals in mind, how much work do you have to do on your reputation to achieve your ideal career?
  4. Find a mentor. Now might be an ideal time to find someone who can coach you, guide you and offer support as you search for your next career move.

The job market certainly looks different in May 2020 than it did in February. But that can also reveal tremendous opportunities for job seekers willing to do the work and get creative in how they position themselves to employers!

Want to Know More About Veteran Jobs?

Be sure to get the latest news about post-military careers as well as critical info about veteran jobs and all the benefits of service. Subscribe to Military.com and receive customized updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Source: Military.com

5 Tips for Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Life

1. Connect with other veterans in your community. They will have learned lessons and have guidance more valuable than a brochure.

2. Ask for assistance before it’s too late. When Plan A doesn’t pan out, be prepared to execute a Plan B and ask for help pulling yourself out of the hole.

3. You’re not alone. You’re not the first to struggle with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and you’re not the first to struggle with home life. Know that there are people who understand and can help sort it out. Often, when veterans transition, they view it as if they are the only ones traveling this road or the first blazing the trail. That’s not the case

4. If you’re a veteran, act like one. That means accepting responsibility, being on time, holding yourself accountable, having integrity and not acting entitled.

5. Work as hard as you did while you were in the service each and every day. It doesn’t matter what you decide to do when you get out; if you keep the drive, you will be OK.

Source: Chris Stout, Army Veteran and Co-Founder of the Veterans Community Project

Take Time to Write and Solicit LinkedIn Recommendations

Today, it might feel like transition has slowed down. You may have approached your separation with excitement and enthusiasm, but suddenly find that the civilian sector stopped abruptly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interviews aren’t scheduled as quickly, offers aren’t made as quickly, and you have time on your hands. Now is a great time to write LinkedIn recommendations for people in your network, and to ask for some from your close contacts.

Why Recommendations?

Recommendations on LinkedIn carry weight and influence. They are written by someone with a LinkedIn profile (so the viewer can check out the author’s credentials) and, if done correctly, recommendations can speak to your value, skills and experience in ways you can’t.

When you write your LinkedIn profile, you know you must promote your accomplishments. This is not the time to be obscure and subtle when highlighting your value. If you’ve done great things and are capable of creating tremendous value for your employer, you can share that on LinkedIn. You’ll list your job experiences, point to the results of your actions, and share the many ways you serve your communities through volunteerism.

But how do you say what a great person you are? How do you let potential employers know that you’re someone who’s overcome obstacles in life? Either would be difficult to say about yourself. This is where recommendations come in. A focused and well-crafted recommendation can say things about you that would be awkward to say about yourself.

How to Write a Recommendation

When writing a recommendation for someone else, start by asking whether there are any topics, qualities or skills they would like you to highlight. Hopefully, they have a personal brand strategy with specific keywords they are promoting on their profile. Use those.

Make sure you speak only about what you know. Don’t feel you have to stretch beyond your knowledge and comfort. For instance, if you’re asked to write a recommendation that points to skills you haven’t witnessed or claims to have experienced their character in ways you haven’t, you open yourself up to risk that could harm your credibility. When in doubt, leave it out.

Note the value of your recommendation to them and their future success. For instance, I am in the branding and marketing business. If I write a recommendation for a graphic designer, it would carry a lot of weight, since I’m an expert in the field. That carries a lot of responsibility for me to be sure I’m careful about who I recommend publicly.

Similarly, say you were to write a recommendation for a soldier you served with, one who is transitioning to a career in graphic arts. You know them to be resilient, focused and patient because of the context from the Army. Are you qualified to speak about their creativity, imagination and computer skills unless you have experienced those as well?

How to Ask for a Recommendation

Asking for a recommendation on LinkedIn can feel like asking someone to tell others that you’re nice/cool/fun/worthy. But LinkedIn recommendations are not popularity gestures, they are strategic brand builders.

Ask for a recommendation from someone you trust, who’s seen your work or experienced your value. Then, offer to assist them in crafting the recommendation. You might suggest the keywords they could include that are most meaningful to you or the area of focus you are striving for.

Do you want the recommendation to speak to your past (what you did in the military) or what they believe you’ll contribute in the future? Do you seek a recommendation that speaks to your character and integrity or one that highlights your unique skills and talents? When you drive the formation of the recommendation, you are controlling the narrative around how you’ll be presented.

When time permits, LinkedIn recommendations are great to give and get. Be sure to periodically reorder them on your profile so the most relevant ones are on top, not just the most recent. This means you are being strategic about how your LinkedIn profile communicates your value.

Source: Military.com

How the Veterans Beneifts Administration is Connecting with Veterans During COVID 19

Things have changed a bit since then. The COVID-19 pandemic has grounded the man who oversees the administration of veterans benefits—including the GI Bill®. But that hasn’t stopped him from connecting with veterans. It’s just changed the way he’s doing it.

I chatted with Lawrence by phone, and he talked about the weekly whiteboard sessions he’s doing on social media, how he’s connected with nearly a quarter of a million veterans by phone in seven states through Tele-Town Halls, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way this critical pillar of the VA does business. His responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

HOW HAS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC CHANGED THE VBA’S DAILY OPERATIONS?

Lawrence: It’s had a significant effect on how we do business. We’re still open for business, but it is different, and so probably north of 95% of our employees are now teleworking. And this was actually planned. We have a big telework capability, and VA’s Office of Information Technology has really upped the bandwidth, so we’re doing quite well with that.

So what we keep telling folks is, ‘We’re available at the toll free number, 1-800-827-1000, or on the web at va.gov, and that we’re still open for business. Call us. Contact us.

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC CHANGED THE WAY YOU OPERATE AS A VA LEADER?

Lawrence: I’m a big believer in social media, and then of course getting out to the conferences. So you can’t do that anymore, and that’s been very frustrating because I really value that time to interact with veterans and hear what people have to say and answer questions.

So I started doing two things on social media. The first was using LinkedIn Live. This is a feature that just allows you to record and be shared in LinkedIn. So every Friday at noontime I try to do what I call a ‘Whiteboard Session – VBA in 10 Minutes,’ where I provide veterans and others the latest of what’s going on at VBA—a little bit of VA—but mostly VBA, answering some of the things you’re asking: What about this? What about that? And then providing some toll-free numbers that we have, and then also talking about the Tele-Town Halls. And sometimes, answering some of the questions that were presented in the Tele-Town Halls just to get closure because I either didn’t know the answer or wanted to go deeper into the answer. It’s an effective tool, but of course you have to be on LinkedIn.

TELE-TOWN HALLS

The Tele-Town Halls then kind of emerged out of that as a desire to do more Q&A. LinkedIn Live, I would say, is one-way communication. But the Tele-Town Halls were designed to get information to folks who maybe aren’t on LinkedIn and aren’t on the web, but also to answer questions. So, if you have a chance to listen in, it’s a pretty short communication from me, and then we take calls from veterans, family members and the like, who ask questions—how does this work? How does that work? I answer right there, and then we post the FAQs—the Frequently Asked Questions—later on social media so people can see it. So that’s been a really, really good change. So far I’ve done seven of these, and I’ve hit almost 225,000 folks on the phone, and so it’s kind of a big deal in terms of getting the word out. I like them so much I think I’ll continue doing both of these when we return to the new normal to augment or complement travel.

WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU HEAR MOST FREQUENTLY?

Lawrence: Perhaps the most repeated question is asking about spousal benefits: What will my wife get, says the husband, when I die? So I get a lot of questions about that.

We get surprisingly frustrating questions such as, ‘Will my benefits continue?’ As if somehow we would stop those benefits.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR SERVICE MEMBERS GETTING READY TO TRANSITION FROM THE MILITARY?

Lawrence: The VA’s here to help. We continue to be open for business. It’s not business as usual—it’s a little bit different. But especially if you need help with your benefits, we’re on the web at va.gov as well as the 1-800-827-1000 number. So please, please, please—we’re here to help and we know now during this time it’s particularly important.

I would remind them that while it’s probably more frustrating than it was just a couple months ago when veteran unemployment was at a record low, the fundamentals of our economy are strong, and while it will be difficult for a little while, I would expect that desire to employ veterans will rebound. It will be just a matter of time, and everybody’s going through this process in terms of how they’ve been changed regardless of the situation. So we understand.

And then the final thing is, if the social isolation and the combination of things is really causing problems and they think they or a buddy might be in crisis or just needing some attention, I would ask you to remind them of the crisis line: 1-800-273-8255. That line is manned by people ready to do interventions, whether it’s conversation or sending somebody to their homes to be dealt with. You can also do it on text—some people like that—you can text 838255. So I guess my message would be: Regardless of your situation, we’re here. You can reach us. No matter how bad it seems, it isn’t as bad as they might imagine and we’re here to help.

Here are three key VBA programs Lawrence highlighted:

Post-9/11 GI Bill®: Heralded as the best military education benefit in US history, Congress recently enacted legislation to keep benefits flowing during the COVID-19 pandemic. For information, visit va.gov or call the toll free number: 1-888-GIBILL-1

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program: Provides veterans with job training, employment accommodations, résumé development, and job seeking skills coaching. Other services may be provided to assist veterans and service members in starting their own businesses or independent living services for those who are severely disabled and unable to work in traditional employment. For information, visit the VR&E Process page.

Solid Start: Launched recently to call every newly separated service member three times during their first year out of service to discuss their transition experience, ask questions about navigating benefits, and connect with resources to ease challenges they may face. “We’re reminding everybody to please take the phone call, and let us help the veterans,” Lawrence said.

Source: GI Jobs.com