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Friday, June 27, 2014

Snag Your Dream Job: Five To-Do’s for Networking Success

As I shared in my recent post Schwabbie’s Networking Tips that Work, about 50% of job opportunities are unadvertised and best found through professional networking – a remarkable number that leads me to ask: If you’re looking for your next gig, can you afford to “not” network? Here I’ll outline for you how to find a networking event that’s right for you and how to make the most of it by following my five easy tips for making professional connections.

If you shudder at the thought of introducing yourself to a roomful of people you’ve never met, remember that the connection that leads to your Dream Job might be in that room and it’s your mission to find them! But first let’s talk about how to get in the room…

Locating networking events in your industry is as easy as running a simple Internet search for “networking (insert city here)” or by researching websites such as,, and Linkedin. Alumni groups are also great places to network since attendees share common bonds in their alma mater, area of study, or job industry, and many schools have easy-to-find alumni pages with event calendars, so consider that as well.

Once you’ve identified your networking goals, spend some time developing your plan of attack – how you will introduce yourself, share your goals, and connect with others that are willing to promote you to their network. Then follow these tips and watch your professional network grow:
  1. Prepare your “elevator speech.” Attendees will likely be meeting a lot of professionals in a short time, and you want them to remember you!  Create a 30-second personal introduction telling new connections your name, what your career goals are, and a fun memorable fact about yourself. Then, ask your new friend and potential business connection to share their story.
  2. Set a goal for the event. Challenge yourself to leave with at least five network connections in your industry, 10 business cards, or an appointment to meet up for coffee.  Setting and reaching even small networking goals can feel like a big win – especially if networking is normally out of your comfort zone.
  3. Don’t count anyone out. Networking is not just about whom you know, it’s about who they know – and they may be linked to the job recruiter or manager who hires you into your next Dream Job.
  4. Do what you say you will do. If you offer to make a professional connection for someone, follow through on it. Strong business networks can make even a large city seem small, and your personal reputation depends on the relationships you build in the community. Helping others reach their career goals will not only make you feel good and well connected, but will also compel others to reciprocate!
  5. Stick with it. If one professional meet up is not a success, don’t give up.  Sure, you could make “the” connection at your first event, but building strong relationships takes time and networking is a long-term process.  Even if you land a job at a great company, continue to attend events to build your personal network of promoters, recruiters, and friends 
Networking is an important element of job hunting, but focusing on finding that one perfect connection can lead to exhaustion. Instead, enjoy the process of meeting fellow professionals and be open to wherever it leads you. With planning, perseverance and patience, you might just find your Dream Job.
Want to learn more about networking? Check out my earlier posts in the Snag Your Dream Job Series: Work a Job Fair Like a Pro, and Schwabbie’s Networking Tips that Work.
About the author: Shannon Grimes is a Phoenix-based talent attraction manager for Schwab whose work focuses on connecting with job seekers at networking events, information sessions and career fairs.

Article reposted with permission from the author.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Snag Your Dream Job: A Recruiter’s Top 10 Tips to Work a Job Fair

About the Snag Your Dream Job series: Call me biased, but I think Charles Schwab hires great employees.  The quality of our employees and candidates owes some credit to a robust, well thought out talent acquisition strategy.  We wanted to share our knowledge and perspective on how job candidates can make themselves stand out from the crowd, practical advice that is relevant across any industry, role or rank.

Technology has revolutionized the job search process, but the value of connecting in person with an influencer or decision maker from a potential employer has only become more valuable.  As a talent attraction manager for Schwab, I attend up to five career events every week and know what attracts a recruiter’s attention.  First impressions can make or break your chance to snag a job, so we’ve developed a list of top 10 tips to make a strong impression at job fairs.
Before the event: Prepare!
  1. Do your research: Most career fairs provide a list of participating companies, hiring managers, and job recruiters.  For those that interest you, do your homework to learn about their company culture, current openings, business strategy, and financial performance.
  2. Dress your best: Wear professional attire to dress up, but what is considered professional varies across geographies.  I live in Arizona and do not expect to see suits at a job fair when it’s 110 degrees outside; however, in my hometown of Chicago a suit is status quo.
  3. Bring hard copies: Bring clean copies of your resume and cover letter.  Don’t worry about professional references; most employers will not look at references until they make a hiring decision.
At the event: Maximize!
  1. Time it right:  I have seen more than 200 people lined up before the doors open at some job fair events.  This is the worst time to show up.  It is loud and crowded, and recruiters are trying to talk to many job candidates at once.  This means you will have little – if any – 1:1 time with the recruiter.  Show up during the last couple hours of the job fair, when it will be less crowded and professional recruiters have more time to give you focused attention. But don’t show up so late that recruiters are tired and have started to pack up.
  2. Perfect your approach: Never say to a recruiter you will do “anything.”  Instead, share your career goals and job skills.  If you know about the company or employer, mention something that attracted your interest. Otherwise, ask about the goals of the organization and what they are looking for.
  3. Don’t vent: Whether you applied and didn’t hear back from an exciting company, or are frustrated in general with the job search process, put on rose-colored glasses for the event.  Recruiters expect candidates to be on their best behavior, and if your best behavior includes a negative attitude a recruiter will not put you in front of a hiring manager.
  4. Know when it’s not for you:  If one company doesn’t have any job openings that fit your career goals, move on. Don’t try to sell yourself for an opportunity that you aren’t qualified for – that won’t turn out well for anyone. Ask where to learn about future job openings and what type of positions would fit your experience and skill set.
  5. Play by their rules: Many companies are regulated in how they administer the hiring process, so recruiters may not be able to accept a paper resume or offer salary information.  Instead, ask about next steps, whether the recruiter is willing to talk to you after the job fair, and how they prefer to be contacted.
After the event: Activate!
  1. Apply: Submit applications for the jobs you are interested in and qualified for. If you have the recruiter’s contact information, ask them to connect you with the decision maker (many companies have multiple recruiters, so the one you met may not be connected to the hiring manager filling the job you want).
  2. Network: Send LinkedIn connection requests to the recruiters you met at the event.  They may be able to introduce you to recruiters at other companies of interest to you, and many recruiters share job openings on LinkedInThe more professional connections you make the greater chance of landing your dream job.
With a little pre-work, a plan of attack and strong follow up, attending a job fair can be an effective way to find your next job or career.  Share your perspective – what’s worked well for you at job fairs, and what advice would you share with job seekers?
 Up next: Check back for the next installment in the Snag Your Dream Job series that will focus on career networking.

About the author: Shannon Grimes is a Phoenix-based talent attraction manager for Schwab, and her work focuses on connecting with job seekers at networking events, information sessions and career fairs.

Article reposted with permission from the author.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Snag Your Dream Job: Getting a Job Using LinkedIn

In my recent blog Snag Your Dream Job: Searching for “The One” I covered how leveraging your connections – both real and virtual – needs to be a key piece of any career search strategy.   There are many ways to do this, but in the recruiting world, LinkedIn is king. The site was launched in May of 2003 and with its 11th birthday on the horizon, membership continues to climb with 277 million users displaying their professional profiles. So can you really get a job using LinkedIn? Can you make it easy for recruiters to find you among those millions of users? Are they even looking?

The answer is yes.  Take it from me – I first learned of my current role because of a post on LinkedIn!  Here’s how to get noticed…

Build your profile. Include key words that recruiters might look for in your summary and experience section, and be sure to list every relevant certification and license. A professional head shot is also very important.  LinkedIn is a recruiter’s virtual first impression of you, so avoid photos where you are dressed more casually than you would for the job you want.  Also avoid having pets, friends, or a distracting background in your photos unless it pertains to your line of work. If you can afford one, hire a photographer for a professional head shot, or ask a friend to take a close up of you when you look your best.

Build your network. Many users are connected to former colleagues and friends, but that’s just the start of a strong network.  Use the people search feature to connect with at least one recruiter or hiring manager at each company on your target list so that you have a built-in connection to your dream employer.  Users can also join up to 50 groups (communities built around everything from common skill sets to alma mater). Max out your allowance! Many users accept connection requests from those who share group membership with them. Send at least two connection requests every day Monday-Friday.  One to someone you know and one to someone you’d like to know!

Share content. LinkedIn is not a spectator sport; you have to get in the game. Once you have your profile and network strengthened, share content relevant to your connections.  Perhaps you noticed a post for an exciting opportunity in IT at a company on your target list – but IT is not your field. “Share” or   “like” the recruiter’s post to allow your network to see it.  I click on the profile of every person that “shares” or “likes” my posts, and I know many other recruiters do the same, making this another great way to get your profile noticed. Follow each one of your target companies on LinkedIn via the company search feature.  When you see an interesting post from your target employer – read it and then share it!

Check your news feed. Many jobs posted on LinkedIn can be found via the Jobs tab, but posting there costs money, so those jobs are just a small fraction of what is shared.  Recruiters post hot jobs in their status fields as well as in group discussions.  Keep an eye on your LinkedIn digest emails to see what’s been posted to your groups. I set up a rule in my mailbox so all my digest emails go to one folder to avoid them filling up my inbox and I read them later.

Engage with recruiters. When you find your dream job on LinkedIn, connect with the poster.  Ask them if they are the right person to follow up with and how to best express your interest. Most recruiters are open to new connections, but they like to see that you have been paying attention! Schwab Sr. Talent Advisor Donnie Collins says,  “I always appreciate when a job seeker takes the time to connect on LinkedIn about a post, but it really stands out to me when a prospective candidate mentions that they have made the connection because they noticed I frequently post the type of role they are interested in and can explain why that job caught their eye.” Reach out to recruiters – they’re on LinkedIn to find strong candidates like you. Just be sure that you’ve done your research and know a little bit about the recruiter, the role, and the company.

While there are many ways to search for a career, building a strong network on LinkedIn and genuinely interacting with your connections is an efficient way to access millions of people, one of whom might just be the connection to your dream job!

For more information and tips on how to Snag Your Dream Job, check out these other posts in the series: A Recruiter’s Top Ten Tips to Work a Job Fair, Schwabbies’ Networking Tips That Work, Five To-Do’s for Networking Success, Want to Ace the Interview? Be a Know-It-All, Is My Resume in a Black Hole?, How to Snag Your Dream Summer Internships, and A Dream Job Rejection Letter Doesn’t Mean It’s Over.

About the author: Shannon Grimes is a Phoenix-based talent attraction manager for Schwab, and her work focuses on connecting with job seekers at networking events, information sessions and career fairs.

Reposted with permission from the author.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Network Your Way to Employment

Most college students do not realize ‘finding’ an appropriate career before graduation is a job. Some students believe they will magically get hired simply by completing their degree requirements and walking across the stage to receive their diploma. Let me repeat…finding an appropriate career is a job and you will need to put time, effort and energy into this process.

Students who work with Career Services multiple semesters prior to graduation are more likely to receive on-campus interviews and job offers. Students who wait until the week of graduation to come into Career Services for the ‘first’ time have put themselves at a disadvantage finding employment.

The key to this process is to start early—this means you should be proactive instead of reactive in your job search. Identify networking opportunities (Information Session, EXPOs, Practice Interviews, etc.) to attend so you can meet with employers recruiting UCF students/alumni. Create a Top 10 List of employers you are interested in and then research the companies to understand what they do. This provides you a chance to determine if the culture of the organization fits you.

Look for ways to network with HR/Hiring managers from companies on your Top 10 list. LinkedIn is a valuable tool that can help you network your way to employment. You can search LinkedIn for ‘people’ and/or ‘companies’. Try to locate someone who will be able to help you network within the organization (example: UCF Alum). Make sure you provide a little information about yourself; who you are, what’s your degree, when do you graduate, what would you like from them (job shadow, interview, information).

Don’t forget to network with faculty members as most have industry experience and contacts that may prove beneficial to your job search.

You can network your way to employment by taking charge of the job search process. Stop by Career Services to discover additional ways to stand out to employers.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

First Year on the Job

The first year on the job for recent graduates can be a very rewarding and challenging time. You will want to treat this critical time as a ‘launching’ point for your transition from being a college student to a young professional. Professional etiquette and proper ‘on-boarding’ within the organization are key elements for first year success.

Understand Organizational Culture

Identify the expected ways of interacting within the organization. It is important to understand the policies, formal processes and communication modes of the organization. This includes the proper dress and appearance for a normal workday and also for casual days (Casual Friday).

Positive Work Behaviors

Review the employee handbook to get oriented to proper workplace behavior. The wear of appropriate office attire that represents your workgroup or department is essential. Maintain your professional demeanor at after-hours events (happy hour, holiday parties, and sporting events). Display to your coworkers you are ready to learn and have a strong work ethic. Demonstrate teamwork by helping your colleagues on projects and other work assignments. Make sure you are respectful of the time of others by being punctual for meetings and other activities.

Build Effective Relationships

Align yourself with positive individuals in your new work environment. It may be helpful to find a mentor who can help guide you during your transition from college student to young professional. This person can provide you with insight into the organizational culture and help when questions arise. Understand how each member of the team functions and how this connects to your new role. Establish short-term, intermediate and long-term goals to help gain acceptance and credibility within the workplace. Be willing to listen to enhance your understanding of the organization. Seek training opportunities to increase your professional development and growth.

Stop by Career Services for a full range of workshops and guidance to help you transition from college to the workplace.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


KnightLink is an on-line database dedicated to UCF students and alums.  The database contains part-time, full-time and internship positions students/alums can apply for directly in the system.  You can also learn about upcoming recruiting events (on-campus interviews, Information Sessions and EXPOs) at UCF. 

Through KnightLink, students can search for part-time and full-time jobs, post resumes for full-time employment, obtain employer information and access on-campus interviewing and recruiting events.

This is a FREE service for UCF students and recent graduates.

To register for KnightLink, please review the following instructions:

1. Register online at You will need to enter your NID to register. Click here if you do not know or cannot remember your NID.

2. Once you have filled out the registration form, you will receive an e-mail verification. Please click on the link in the verification e-mail to confirm your e-mail address.

3. Your account information will be reviewed and confirmed. You will receive a confirmation e-mail within 24 hours with your username and password. The e-mail will also have a document with additional information on using KnightLink.

4. After completing your profile, be sure to upload your resume. In order to make your resume visible to employers, you must select ‘Yes‘ on the "Privacy" tab of your profile. Making your resume visible does not guarantee that it will be noticed, so plan to actively search the database on a regular basis. You may also set up job search agents so new job listings meeting the criteria you select can be emailed to you.

5. As you conduct your job search you will find some employers hire third-party organizations to assist them in identifying and hiring college students.

Stop by Career Services to learn more about KnightLink and the other services available to you.


Monday, February 4, 2013

On-Campus Interviews

The UCF Career Services on-campus interview program begins 2/6/13.  You can request an interview with one of our employment partners in KnightLink.  You must have a KnightLink account in order to participate/request an interview.

You can sign-up for a KnightLink account on the Career Services webpage:

Once in KnightLink select:
- Campus Interviews I Qualify for (Under Shortcuts)
- Search available interviews and APPLY

o   NOTE:  Please ensure your ‘profile’ is complete—this will ensure you can see all the jobs and interviews you qualify for—thanks!

Contact Career Services if you have questions on your KnightLink account.

Spring 2013 Career Expo

Jump-start your job search at the University of Central Florida’s Spring 2013 Career Expo on Tuesday, February 5th.

UCF Career Services is pleased to announce the upcoming Career Expo. This event offers students an excellent opportunity to meet employers recruiting students, recent, and soon to be graduates for professional opportunities. This event is open to UCF students and alumni only.

Date: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Location: UCF Arena

For a list of participating employers visit:

Professional attire is required.

Men: professional suit, dress shirt with tie, and dress shoes with socks.

Women: professional skirt or pant suit, blouse and dress shoes with appropriate hosiery.

*Students wearing sneakers, sandals, flip flops, slides, slippers, house shoes, shorts, denims, t-shirts, or other attire deemed too casual or otherwise inappropriate will not be admitted into the event.*

Bring up-to-date resumes!

This event is sponsored by Career Services. For more information, call 407-823-2361 or e-mail You may also visit the Career Services website at

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Make 2013 your year!

This is the time to start planning in order to make 2013 the year you exceed all expectations. Start working on setting your yearly goals and determine how you will accomplish those goals. Make sure you write down your goals and review them on a regular basis. Your goals should be SMART:






Your SMART goals should drive your productivity in 2013!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Recruiting update 10/15/12 - 10/19/12

The following on-campus recruiting events are scheduled in Career Services:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Verizon, Interviews - CS

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

McGladrey & Pullen, Interviews – CS

Siemens, Interviews – CS

Ross, Interviews – CS

Moss, Krusick & Assoc., Interviews – CS

Carr,Riggs & Ingram, Interviews -CS

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

KPMG, Interviews – CS

Kohl’s, Interviews – CS

Mattress Firm, Interviews – CS

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Levin Financial, Interviews – CS

Liberty Mutual, Interviews - CS

Amerigroup Info Session -6:30-8:00 p.m., CS 115

Bloomingdales, Info Session – 5:30-6:30 p.m. – CS 121

Friday, October 19, 2012

Amerigroup, Interviews – CS

A complete list of employers (interviews and information sessions) can be viewed in KnightLink--thanks!