What Should You be Looking for in Future Employers

By: Ashlee FB

Many of us are currently, or will be in the very near future, applying for jobs and entering the work force.

So often students get wrapped up concentrating on enhancing their resumes, volunteering, maintaining specified GPA’s, etc., so we are able to stay ahead and land the dream job for which we’ve all worked so hard. One thing many students forget is, yes, we should be constantly improving ourselves personally and professionally, but good employers should be doing the same.

Fortunately for us, there are certain standards we can expect from employers as well. Being a business student, one class we are required to take is Organizational Behavior Management. I feel this class is essential, not just to learn how to be an effective manager, but to learn what qualities to look for in future employers as well.

Future employers

So what exactly makes an organization a “good” place to work for, and what should you be looking for in an “effective” manager?

Positive and constant communication

Communication skills have been the number one skill employers look for, for a number of years in a row; this transcends into manager positions as well. It is absolutely essential that managers know how to effectively and actively communicate with their employees. The manager is the voice for information between all areas of the organization and without this voice, goals and other organizational messages can be misconstrued. It is also important for a manager to be a good listener. Managers need to let employees voice their emotions in a safe and confidential environment. Stifled emotions can turn into resentment, diminishing workplace relationships quickly. At the same time, emotions that are not adequately dealt with can interfere with discussions, which will most likely be the main form of communication in a given work environment. Communication is the single most important area in which a manager can be proficient.

Being a good coach

An effective manager acknowledges that different people require different levels of motivation and knows exactly how to motivate each employee to do his or her best in the workplace. Managers should also know how to challenge his or her employees by communicating achievable goals and offering goal-oriented feedback regularly. Part of training coachable employees is to be a good manager as well.

Make people feel good about what they do

In an organization, it is crucial every employee feels valued in the work they do and the service they provide. A successful manager is great at identifying their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and continually applauds them when employees do their job correctly. This recognition does not go unnoticed by employees and in turn creates a positive environment for the entire organization; it is important for employees to hear this positivity from time to time. Good managers know that, generally, happy people make productive people.

Treat everyone equally

We have all had jobs where our managers review conduct/harassment rules and most of us know what is right and wrong as far as these terms go in the workplace. Treating employees equally, however, goes much further than just abiding by harassment and conduct rules. Many times, favoritism can be a large issue, and it often happens on a subconscious level. The tendency is to give more recognition to the people who do the best in their roles or to those with whom we become friends. While it is human nature to naturally gravitate towards certain people, it is important as a manager to try to subdue those feelings and be as impartial as possible.

Empowers and promotes teamwork

Although many of us have been overworked with group projects throughout a majority of our undergraduate career, teamwork is a key player in any organization and also a skill many employers look for today. It is the manager’s responsibility to teach other people how to do a good job; it is by the manager’s example that expectations are set. Manager’s are, for the most part, in their positions because you’re good at what they do, but that doesn’t mean they’re supposed to do everything. Instilling trust and confidence in the team makes for better results and happier employees.

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And It Begins…

By: Andrew

Yeah, we’re all back into the swing of things for the new semester, but when I say “it begins,” I’m really talking about the job and internship search for next summer. It may seem a bit early to be thinking about May and June, but before you know it, that job or internship you have wanted so badly will be gone. So, let’s go through what you need to do in the coming weeks to be ready for applying, interviewing, and landing that job or internship.

First, how’s that résumé look? Existent or non-existent, come see us at Career and Internship Services, where someone like me, a Peer Educator, can look over it with you and help you perfect it. On the other hand, maybe you fall into the other category, which is being without a résumé. In that case, still come to our office! We have all the resources you need to start and finish a résumé. You might be thinking, “They won’t sit there and make one with me?” If you did, you’re right, but don’t worry, we will help you as much as you need once you have a good start on your first résumé. Trust the Peer Educator staff when it comes to making your résumé look great, after all, it is through employer feedback that we create our Career Handbook examples for you to follow.

Second, whom do you want to work for? An easy answer would be, “Anyone that hires me!” Although a fine answer, let’s not be too desperate. You may not see it immediately, but there are more options out there for you than you know of. So, think about a company that you really want to be showing up to bright and early five of the seven days of the week. There are probably a few companies that may seem a bit far-fetched to get hired at, and there may be some that you feel confident to land a job or internship at. So, put a few applications into each of those two categories and see where it takes you.

Third, are you ready for that interview?

We have all probably interviewed for a job in our lives, but most of us probably have not interviewed for an internship or a full-time job. There’s a first time for everything though, so here are some ways to be as ready as possible for your first big interview:

  • Research the organization that you have gotten the chance to interview with.
  • Prepare a list of situations/experiences you have in the past that you could speak to if asked about a time you did something. For example, “Tell me about a time when you did ______.”
  • Practice answering the questions that you think you may be asked.
  • Participate in mock interviews or practice with a friend or family member.

Of course, there are more ways to become ready for an interview, but if you focus on these four, you will have yourself well prepared for your interview.

Lastly, deciding on a position. Chances are that you could end up getting multiple job or internship offers. If you apply to companies that really interest you, you may wind up having a tricky decision ahead of you. So make sure to weigh the pros and cons. Think about where you want to be down the road, not just the next year. Even if you only have one offer at the time, it is always OK to turn down an offer, because not all companies are right for all people.

If you feel like this is a lot to take in, come on down to Career and Internship Services (SCC 22) where we can answer any of your job and internship questions for you!

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Researching Before the Interview

By: Abby

Congratulations! You got an interview. Your resume did the trick, and you have won some face-to-face time. This is your time to shine. This is your opportunity to convince the hiring manager that you are the right candidate for the job. But how do you do that…?

RESEARCH!

It is all about being prepared. The more prepared you are, the more engaged and interested in the position you will appear. So how do you get prepared? What exactly should you be researching? And where do you find this information? Keep reading, and I will tell you!

keyboard

The following is a list of things that you should research. Not all of these will be available for every organization, but try to find as much as you can.

  • History of organization
  • Complete product line and/or services
  • Organizational structure
  • Size of organization
  • Prospects for growth or change
  • Potential new products or services
  • Annual sales growth for past five years
  • Business methods and philosophy
  • Core company values
  • Reputation
  • Competitors
  • Number of plants, stores and outlets
  • Geographical locations
  • Location of corporate headquarters
  • Type of training program(s)
  • Promotional path(s)
  • Typical career path in your field
  • Information about top management and their backgrounds
  • Corporate culture
  • Prepare answers to the generic questions: why do you want to work here, tell me about yourself, and why should I hire you
  • Know the person who is interviewing you
  • Know the interview process
  • Prepare good questions to ask the employer
  • Know what you are looking for and what you have to offer

The UMD Career Handbook says, “Recruiters expect and are impressed with candidates who research and have knowledge about their companies. A favorite question asked is, ‘Why are you interested in our organization?’ To answer the question effectively, you need to know the organization. By researching the organization, you can learn whether your goals will fit the organizational structure defined by the employer. For example, there are some employers who have a reputation for being conservative; if you know that you do not fit in with this type of environment, talking to the recruiter would be a waste of time.”

The following are options on where to find this information:

  • Employers’ websites
  • Employer profile pages on LinkedIn and other social media platforms
  • Direct contact with the organization
  • Contacts at career fairs
  • Company information presentations
  • Career Services staff, professors, family, friends, alumni
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Annual reports and employment brochures
  • Business periodicals, newspapers and directories

If you are fully prepared for an interview, you’ll feel much more confident and it will show. The employers will know that you took the time and that you care.

Now that you’re mentally prepared, get physically prepared with all of our professional dress blog posts!

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Photo source: GabrielaP93

Working with Nonprofit Organizations

By: Emily

Have you ever considered working for a nonprofit organization? Although students interested in human service professions gravitate towards nonprofits, there are prospects for a variety of majors and skill sets. Seeking an internship or volunteering with a nonprofit organization is an excellent way to gain some experience and explore what is also known as the 3rd sector. I am currently taking an Internship Prep class and am enthusiastic about seeking a formal internship this semester. While searching for possible sites, it became clear to me that I didn’t know enough about nonprofits and how they function.

So, I did some research and here’s what I learned:

What are nonprofits?

Nonprofits are focused on a mission or purpose rather than making a profit. If recognized as “public charities” they are often not required to pay taxes, but still face the challenge of sustaining themselves financially by fundraising and securing grants. If the organization makes a surplus, that profit goes into providing more services or improving the services already provided. They often work in collaboration with governmental and for-profit organizations.

How is working with a nonprofit different than working with a for-profit organization?

There are a few pros and cons to consider if you are considering seeking employment with a nonprofit:

Pros:

  • The knowledge that your work makes a difference in the lives of others.
  • Working alongside people who are passionate and enthusiastic.
  • Lack of a hierarchy: the work environment of these organizations can be more team orientated. Coworkers may feel more like family.
  • New ideas are often welcomed because flexible and creative problem solving is required for daily challenges (such as raising funds to sustain the organization).

Cons:

  • Nonprofits may lack in resources and materials.
  • May have loosely defined or ambiguous job responsibilities.
  • Can be understaffed, which can lead to burn out.
  • May pay less than a for-profit organization.

Nonprofit hints

If you’re interested in the 3rd sector, how do you get started?

Whether you’re looking for an internship, a volunteering opportunity or a job here are some helpful hints:

1. Do your research and see what’s out there. There are many qualities, which can make you attractive to nonprofit employers. Number one? Being passionate about their mission. Although internships look nice on a resume, I wouldn’t recommend pursuing one for that purpose alone. Really think about the setting and the population of people you’d like to work with. There are many resources available to you!  If you are a student at UMD come and visit us at Career & Internship Services in Solon Campus Center (the Wedge)! There are plenty of great books dedicated to this subject and provide information about a variety of nonprofits and their mission statements. You can also chat with a career counselor about your interest in working with nonprofits. The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is also a great resource to learn more about the nonprofit sector specifically in Minnesota.

2. Volunteer at an organization who has a mission you are invested in personally. Volunteers are critical to the day-to-day operation of most of these organizations. Volunteering can provide a chance to network and determine whether or not you’d like to seek internship or employment opportunities in the future. If you are a full-time student, you may be a little wary of committing too much of your time and energy into volunteering, but don’t worry! By doing a little research in advance, you can find the right amount of commitment without overloading your schedule.

3. Be persistent in your pursuit. Unless it’s an organization like the American Red Cross or YMCA, 74% of these nonprofits are small organizations and often don’t have employees assigned to Human Resources. That means, the person who is looking over your resume or volunteer application probably has lots of other stuff to do and it is easy for you to get lost in the shuffle. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately get a reply. Take initiative. Call. Visit. Inquire.

Be bold and your efforts will be rewarded!

Of Possible Interest: 

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