Eleven Tips from a Corporate Recruiter

Helpful Tips. Magnifying Glass on Old Paper.

My professional development plan includes attending monthly meetings of the professional organization, Career Planning & Adult Development (CPAD). I enjoy attending these early morning meetings the first Friday of the month and connecting with colleagues in the career development field. Last month’s CPAD speaker was a corporate recruiter who shared information on the hiring process from her perspective. Here is a summary of her advice for job seekers:

  • Focus on the requirements of the position and the company. Compare your resume to the job description, and show how you are an excellent fit.
  • Include your geographical location on your resume.
  • Include a cover letter that states the position of interest.
  • Referrals are “golden” so if you know someone at the organization, let them know you are applying for the position and ask for a recommendation.
  • LinkedIn and Indeed.com are [my] most common sources for applicants.
  • Check your “Junk” email. Important emails can go into your “Junk” folder, and by the time you see them, it may be too late.
  • Respond quickly, ideally within 4 hours; 24 hours is too long.
  • Every interaction with the recruiter is important.
  • Be prepared to verbally articulate how you are a good fit and your interest in the position.
  • Check back no more than once per week; email is best with a brief statement reminding the recruiter of your interest and your qualifications.
  • See the recruiter as a partner in the process.

Keep in mind that hiring managers expect recruiters to send them highly qualified candidates who fit the requirements of the job and culture of the organization, so the more you can show how you are an excellent fit, the higher the odds that your application will result in an interview.

For more information on career management and job search strategies, view Career Services’ Quick Start videos at http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/careerservices/quickstartvideos

Written by Denise Pranke, Senior Career Services Advisor

Denise

Creative Networking Strategies for Landing a Field Experience Site

Jennifer Wisneski, a Walden PhD in Psychology ̶ Clinical Psychology student, landed a Field Experience site by connecting with a potential site supervisor through LinkedIn.  She is our guest blogger for this post.

jennifer

Jennifer Wisneski

 

The Challenge of Finding a Practicum

As I completed my coursework for the Clinical Psychology PhD program and started working on my dissertation, I knew it was time to explore field experience requirements.  I started researching potential sites one year prior to securing a practicum and faced several challenges along the way.  In my small town, I found very few sites with a full-time psychologist to provide supervision.  Most psychologists I contacted worked in private practice or were close to retirement, neither willing to take on a student.  Other sites made it difficult to get past the clerical staff to speak directly to the psychology department.

With the increased need for mental health services, it was incredibly surprising to exhaust my list of prospective sites in a few short months.  I reached out to the Field Experience department at Walden, and they directed me to a website which manages a database of internships and allows students to apply for multiple opportunities.  To utilize the database search, I needed to create a profile and upload my resume.  After working for the same employer for the past nine years, I realized my resume was outdated.  I decided to contact Career Services for help.


3 Helpful Tips from Career Services

During my initial phone call with Career Services, I received a brief overview of available services and learned what to expect from career advising appointments.   The knowledge my career advisor managed to pack into the 45-minute session was well worth every minute!  Specifically, I gained the following three tips from my career advisor to help me in my Field Experience search:

  • First, I received many suggestions on how to improve my CV by using strong action words, being specific about my experience, and strengthening my accomplishments to showcase my level of professionalism in the human services field.
  • Second, my career advisor suggested I build a profile on LinkedIn. I was unsure about using LinkedIn, but I was willing to try anything to network while searching for a practicum site.  My career advisor taught me how to search for people in my field of interest using LinkedIn, which helped me make connections with potential site supervisors.
  • Third, I learned how to set up a career portfolio that I could bring with me to interviews. I developed a portfolio to showcase my accomplishments, professional interests, and samples of my work.

A Surprise Call from a New LinkedIn Connection

It was incredible how quickly opportunities opened up after a few sessions working with Career Services.  After I updated my CV and set up my LinkedIn profile, I started to connect with local professionals in the mental health field.  To my amazement, within days of establishing my profile, I received a phone call from one of my new contacts on LinkedIn.  She had just started in her role as Chief Psychologist at a local psychiatric hospital that week.  I had been trying to set up a practicum at this site for over a year with no success.  She told me the summary of my qualifications on my CV caught her attention.  Within two weeks, I met with her for an interview.  Referencing my portfolio during the interview made the process stress-free, and I secured the practicum position during the interview.


Ready for the Next Career Step

Having an updated CV, portfolio, and LinkedIn profile has allowed me to expand my professional network in many ways.  I interviewed with three other sites for practicum and now I have several sites to consider for internship.  This process has also improved my confidence and interviewing skills, and expanded my professional network.  In addition to establishing a plan to finish my field experience and graduate in 2018, I have a great outlook to the start of my professional career!

Written by Jennifer Wisneski, PhD in Psychology-Clinical Psychology student, Walden University. 

jennifer

Nine Tips from a Higher Education Faculty Recruiter

Helpful Tips. Magnifying Glass on Old Paper.

If your career goal is to teach in higher education, we have advice for you directly from Andrea, a Senior Faculty Recruiter for Walden University. She has spent countless hours reviewing applications and searching for talented instructors to fill faculty positions.

Here is her advice:

  1. Apply for positions that match your academic credentials, experience, and career goals.
  2. Watch college or university websites for open positions. They often post on their own website before posting on the large job boards.
  3. Seek out programs that are growing or institutions adding new programs, for example, the recent growth in Nurse Practitioner programs.
  4. Keep in mind that an institution can often receive up to 150 applications for one open position depending on the requirements and candidate pool. To get an interview, you need to show that not only are you qualified but that you are one of the best-qualified applicants.
  5. Update your LinkedIn profile. Use keywords relevant to your field and experience. LinkedIn is the go-to tool for recruiters to search for talent.
  6. Have a clear, concise, and well-organized curriculum vita (CV). Use a traditional format with:
    • A short tailored summary showcasing your professional and research focus.
    • Your education section at or near the top of the document.
    • Your experience in chronological order with your most recent experience first.
    • Keywords relevant to your field; recruiters use applicant tracking systems to search large numbers of CVs for keywords related to the education, knowledge, experience, and skills required for a position.
    • Publications and professional presentations if you have them; these sections are important and will help you stand out from other applicants.
  7. Use the college or university’s applicant tracking system to apply and to check the status of your application. It is ok to reach out through email with questions or to let an internal contact know that you submitted an application, but keep emails to a minimum.
  8. Prepare for the interview well in advance.
    • The initial phone interview is intended to screen applicants for a fit with the organization’s culture and to check that the compensation is in line with the applicant’s expectations.
    • Prepare to give a short sample classroom presentation via video, Skype, or live as part of the interview process.
    • Prepare to discuss your academic and professional experience; include examples.
    • Share your enthusiasm for teaching.
  9. Be patient, the process can take months.

We thank Andrea for sharing her advice!

You can find more information about finding a position in higher education at Career Services Doctoral Resources  and view higher education job postings at Higher Education/Online Learning Job Opportunities page

Written by Denise Pranke, Senior Career Services Advisor

denise

Tips on How to Impress a Field Experience Site

Are you a psychology, social work, or counseling student seeking a Field Experience site?  Wondering how to stand out from other applicants? sunshadesMitra is a PhD in Psychology–Clinical Psychology student who landed a practicum site at a Catholic school in California.  She is now working under supervision with adolescent girls who experience behavioral and mental health challenges.

How did Mitra maximize her chances of landing an interview?

Mitra started gearing up for her practicum search in February of 2016.  She contacted Career Services and worked extensively to update her CV and cover letter.  During this process, Mitra learned how to accentuate her skills, identify her target site’s needs, and determine the precise qualities potential sites were looking for in an intern.  These insights helped her communicate relevant skills and knowledge areas to employers.

Mitra then contacted her Field Experience Coordinator for a list of sites where other Walden students had completed internships or practica.  She also researched her local area, used job search aggregates and niche job banks, and referred to the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) website.  While visiting the California Psychological Association (CPA)’s job bank, she located lists of potential sites and shared leads with other Walden students living in California.  She found her current practicum through CPA and submitted an application.  After two months, she received a phone call inviting her to visit the site and complete additional paperwork.  Shortly after her visit, she was contacted for a face-to-face interview.

How did Mitra impress her practicum site?

Working with Career Services helped Mitra learn how to present herself with confidence during an interview, share stories of her accomplishments, and communicate the quality of her Walden education.  She impressed her interviewer by taking the time to research the site –its mission, client population, challenges, and employees.  She built a connection with her interviewer by focusing on a common interest – the prevention of human trafficking.  Since this site had not worked with Walden students before, Mitra shared talking points about Walden’s social change mission, global student population, academic residency requirements, projects and assignments, and the field experience process.  She made such a positive impression that her interviewer asked whether she could recommend other Walden students to their site!  Needless to say, her interviewer was very impressed with Mitra’s academic program, knowledge of psychology, and commitment to social change.  After Mitra returned home, she immediately followed up with a thank you letter and, shortly afterward, received an email hiring her for the position.  Mitra is looking forward to a challenging, yet rewarding, practicum experience.  We wish her luck on her journey!

Are you gearing up for a Field Experience search?  Visit Career Services’ Field Experience webinars page to gain insights for a productive search.

Seeking to build your Walden network?  Learn about upcoming Career Connections events.

 Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services

Dina

Preparation and a LinkedIn Connection Led to a Successful Job Search

Marianna, a Master of Public Health alumna, is convinced that both connections and preparation make the difference in a job search.

Building Connections

During her search for her practicum, she connected with the local Director of Emergency Management through LinkedIn. After communicating online, they met offline at a local coffee shop to further discuss her education and career goals. With his guidance and mentorship, she obtained a practicum at the Department of State Health Services.

After completing her master’s degree, Marianna started to apply for jobs in her field.  She “went over the job description with a fine tooth comb.”  She highlighted all of the qualifications and then matched them with her skills. Daily, she checked the job postings at her state’s Department of Health Services (her target organization and where she completed her practicum), but her applications didn’t result in an interview. While reflecting on what she could do differently, she realized that she needed to reach out to the connections she built through her practicum.

She reconnected with the Director of Emergency Management and with the Department of State Health Services internship coordinator whom she met during her practicum.  They both stepped in to help. She applied for a position as a Training Specialist III for the Cancer Registry Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch of the Department of State Health Services. This time, she got an interview!

Preparation

Preparation was crucial during the interview. The interview involved a written test of 20 questions about the Cancer Registry, including questions about training methodology for adult learners. Following the written test, she was asked to verbally answer the same questions.  Next, they gave her the Cancer Registry manual and one hour to create a PowerPoint presentation and a flyer on the steps to record medical information and how to use the medical records software.  Marianna remained focused. She put her extensive preparation and her Walden education to work.  She reminded herself that she had created so many presentations during her master’s program that she could do this. She impressed the interview panel with her presentation and flyer.  A month and a half later she received the offer and accepted. She has an exciting job in her field!

Marianna shared the following advice:

  • Preparation is key, thoroughly research the organization
  • Google any unknown terms in the job description
  • Make sure that you meet the majority of the qualifications
  • Prepare to give examples of how you meet the required qualifications
  • Last, but not least, forge online and offline relationships in your field

We thank Marianna for sharing her story!

For more information on job search strategies, view the Career Services Job Search Support series in the Job Search/Career Management archived webinars.

Written by Career Advisor, Denise Pranke

Writing Dynamic Cover Letters

Female hands typing on laptop keyboard

As I read a recent Writing Center blog post by Amber Cook about engaging your audience through “reading the room,” I thought about making the shift from writing academic papers to writing a one-page cover letter that engages your audience ― the hiring manager.
Start by putting yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager

Your goal as the hiring manager is to find the strongest candidate with the best skills, abilities, talent, and personality to solve specific problems. To fill an open position, you have about 50 applications to go through. With only about 15 seconds to glance at each resume and cover letter, you quickly search for key qualifications. It is a process of elimination.

From the 50 applications, you determine that 25 are qualified, but you are only going to invite six candidates for an interview. How do you narrow your pool down to six?

You are tired of seeing generic cover letters with over-used phrases such as “hard worker,” “proven ability,” “team player,”  “excellent communication skills,” and “track record of success” with no evidence of why these statements are true, so you eliminate those applications. You are also tired of reading unorganized paragraphs and seeing spelling and grammatical errors, so applications with those are out.

You are finally down to six candidates to invite for an interview. How did these six candidates craft their cover letters to get your attention?

Successful candidates followed these strategies:

  1.   Construct the cover letter as a marketing document tailored to the job description and qualifications. If the qualifications include excellent communication skills, give an example of your excellent communication skills such as, “I rewrote the safety procedures manual and included a hands-on training component for all new hires. The improvements led to a 30% reduction in accidents over a six-month period.”
  1.  Showcase unique skills, abilities, enthusiasm, and education. Don’t only say, “I am a motivated professional.” Almost everyone can say that. Instead, describe what motivates and excites you–for example, “My experience working with individuals with HIV motivated me to pursue my degree in public health so I can contribute to the prevention of HIV.”
  1.   Paint a picture; tell a concise story with examples about who you are as a professional and your accomplishments. Use strong results-oriented language.  For example, “In my current role as an administrative assistant, I led a team to streamline the process for tracking employee hours. The new process reduced the tracking time from 40 hours per month to 30 hours. Our results inspired other departments to make similar changes.”
  1.   Organize your one-page letter with an introduction, a body, and a closing.
  1.   Use the language of your profession and maintain a professional tone.

First impressions are important. A well-written cover letter will showcase your communication skills, professionalism, and accomplishments and will open doors to valuable career opportunities.

For more information on writing cover letters, check out the Career Services Center video and resources below:

Video: Marketing Your Qualifications Through Resumes and Cover Letters–Presentation slides, handout, and transcript

Optimal Resume system sample cover letters and templates

Tips on tailoring your cover letter

Writing Center resources:
WriteCast podcast episode on “How Academic Writing Helps You Beyond Academia” and Amber Cook’s post on reading the room.
A version of this post also appeared on the Writing Center Blog.

Denise Pranke, Career Services Advisor
Denise Pranke

Double Transitions: From Dentistry in India to Public Health in the U.S.

Parveen is a Master in Public Health student who contacted Career Services for assistance with a practicum search.  For seven years, she served as an Associate Dentist in India where she performed dental procedures and educated children and families on hygiene.  Moving to the U.S. prompted her to transition into a new public health career.   How did Parveen engage in a proactive practicum search and generate interest in her skills?

She took the following steps to build her qualifications and land the right opportunity:

  • Contacted her Field Experience Coordinator who educated her on the Field Experience process and referred her to Career Services.
  • Worked with a Career Services Advisor to develop a skills-driven, professional resume that highlighted her transferable skills from Dentistry, emphasized her education and volunteer experience, and presented her greatest strengths.
  • Reviewed Field Experience resume samples through OptimalResume, watched Marketing Yourself for Public Health Practicum Opportunities, and gained interviewing skills through the Quick Start video, Interviewing Strategies.
  • Contacted five potential sites, including two sites she located through LinkedIn.
  • Volunteered at a domestic violence center to gain recent experience in the U.S.
  • Practiced interviewing skills with a Career Services Advisor to build confidence and communicate her brand.
  • Received offers from two competitive practicum sites: American Health Association (AHA) and Dental Health Education (DHE).   She decided to complete her practicum at AHA, but did not want to lose her connection with DHE.  She asked to volunteer at DHE a few hours a week outside of her practicum.

Parveen commented on her Walden experience:

“Before contacting Career Services, I was totally clueless [about how to begin] the process. Preparing a resume and writing a statement of purpose for each site was very stressful. Contacting Ms. Janine (Field Experience Coordinator) was a good initiative that I have taken as she referred me to Career Services. I learned great tips and strategies to build and improve my resume, and [boost] my confidence in reaching out to sites. I am 100% sure that I could not have done it without the help of Walden Career Services and their resources. Thanks for helping me and for following up with my progress.”

We wish Parveen the very best as she continues to build experience in the public health field, strengthen her connections with potential employers, and contribute to her community!

Written by Associate Director of Career Services, Dina Bergren