Early Career Candidates

What is an Early Career Candidate?

Did you recently graduate college with a bachelor’s degree?

Are you looking for a way to grow professionally where your work is an investment in your career?

Are you trying to get your foot in the door with a great organization but have little office experience?

If you answered Yes to any of the above questions this is you!

How do I know this?

I was an Early Career Candidate too!

I recently started working at Mary Kraft Staffing this past summer. Prior to joining the MK team, I worked at a start up company in the Human Resources department at an entry level position. I was shocked that they paid me so little, I could barely afford my rent! Little did I know, the experience I gained in my first job out of college well exceeded the value of any salary.  It was such a successful experience for me that I decided to market candidates like myself to other companies looking to grow and mold individuals that are interested in staying for the long run! Call or email us TODAY to begin your professional career or hire an early career professional.

Mark Bridge, HR Specialist – Commercial Team

Early Career Candidates: Temp, Temp to Hire, and Direct Hire

Mark Bridge



Monday, November 3, 2014

Finding a Mentor

 Did you have someone you looked up to in high school? Someone who showed you the ropes; taught you the ins and outs of the social hierarchies, which classes to take, and the spots to hang out. They geared you up for what to expect, and led you in the right direction.

In college, I’m sure you had a similar relationship with someone. It could have been an acquaintance from your hometown, a friend of a friend, or a “big brother” or “big sister” in a sorority or fraternity. Whoever this person was, they were a vital part of this transition into your next chapter.

I’m sure you are now looking back and identifying these people and realizing how important they were to you at that time. Do you still have someone in your life like this now? You should! These people are just as important to guide you toward your next step down your career path. These people are called our mentors.

Who should your mentor be?

1) Someone you Trust
You want to be confiding in someone you can be honest with. Someone                you can tell your fears and your dreams to who you aren’t worried about                judging you.
2) Someone you Value
Obviously we want to mirror the ideals and doings of someone we value,              and look up to. This person will be your mentor because in some ways,                you want to be like them.
3) Someone who has succeeded.
This person doesn’t need to be the president of a company, or someone                 has reached their ultimate career goal. But they should be someone who               you see as successful at their current place in life.

So find a mentor who you trust, value, and who you see as successful. Build and maintain this relationship. Use them for career advice. They’ve been there before, and they can empathize with your struggles. Being an early career candidate is tough, your mentors are there to help!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Importance of Networking

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work”, – Robert Kiyosaki.

You’ve heard it before, “it’s all about who you know”. As an early career candidate, we don’t graduate from college with a rolodex of professionals with job leads. It’s up to us to get out there and meet new people who will hopefully, lead us to job opportunities. Networking is one of the most important aspects of job hunting.

Making connections with those who may not see the world exactly as we do allows us to expand our knowledge, and ultimately our networks. Networking means getting outside of your comfort zone and your inner circle of friends. Talking to people you don’t know well will trigger new ideas and job leads.

Mark Granovetter, a sociologist and Stanford Professor did a study on a group of people in Boston who had recently started new jobs. He wanted to see how their networks fostered their social mobility. In the completion of his study, Granovetter determined it wasn’t peoples closest friends that helped them with jobs leads. “Rather, more than three-quarters of new jobs had come from leads from contacts who were seen only ‘occasionally’ or ‘rarely’.”

As humans, we have a natural tendency to stick by those we are most comfortable with. But as research shows, those acquaintances we are not so close to or comfortable with are those people we need to be reaching out to. Dr. Ivan Misner explains, “Networking is more about ‘farming’ than it is about ‘hunting’. It’s about cultivating relationships.” As early career candidates we need to get out there and build a foundation of personal resources. Broadening our network is the key to establishing a professional connection. Remember, it’s all about who you know.

Simple steps to take to start networking ….

  1. Reconnect with an old friend over coffee – it might lead to something!
  2. Ask a friend to connect you with someone they know that you could have an informational interview with. Find out what they do for work, what they like about it, etc.
  3. Attend a Networking Event!

To learn more about networking and mastering the transition from college to the working world, we recommend the book, “The Defining Decade”, by Meg Jay.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top Interview FAILS of 2013

Last year a survey of hiring managers was conducted to find out what the biggest and most common interview mistakes made were. The results, as you can imagine, are both hilarious and a little sad! The national survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive from November 6 to December 2, 2013, and included a representative sample of 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes. Here are there results, as put together by CareerBuilder:

When asked to share the most outrageous mistakes candidates made during a job interview, employers gave the following real-life examples:

  • Applicant warned the interviewer that she “took too much valium” and didn’t think her interview was indicative of her personality
  • Applicant acted out a Star Trek role
  • Applicant answered a phone call for an interview with a competitor
  • Applicant arrived in a jogging suit because he was going running after the interview
  • Applicant asked for a hug
  • Applicant attempted to secretly record the interview
  • Applicant brought personal photo albums
  • Applicant called himself his own personal hero
  • Applicant checked Facebook during the interview
  • Applicant crashed her car into the building
  • Applicant popped out his teeth when discussing dental benefits
  • Applicant kept her iPod headphones on during the interview
  • Applicant set fire to the interviewer’s newspaper while reading it when the interviewer said “impress me”
  • Applicant said that he questioned his daughter’s paternity
  • Applicant wanted to know the name and phone number of the receptionist because he really liked her

Our own HR Specialists had a few to add from their own experiences:

  • Applicant talked about her EEO law suite against her last employer
  • Applicant talked about being arrested for solicitation / prostitution (had one of each)
  • Applicant admitted he hadn’t gone to bed the night before, because he was out clubbing.
  • Applicant admitted he wasn’t interested in the job he was recruited for and came in hoping I’d have something else to offer

Do you have any more interview blunders to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Prove Your Best Skills During an Interview

Whether you are just starting out in the job search or you are a seasoned interview pro, being prepared is always key! Being prepared means making sure that you know how to market your best skills and talents to showcase why you are the best candidate for the position. Here are a few tips on how to do just that!

Use stories of your accomplishments to illustrate your skills. This is the best way to show off your skill sets.  Do you have great customer service skills? Tell a story about how you dealt with an unruly customer without losing your cool.

Include your best work in your portfolio. When building your portfolio, it’s important to include your very best work to help you market your strongest skills. It’s also a good idea to include examples that support some of the accomplishment stories you’ll share during the interview. This way, you’ll be able to provide the interviewer with tangible examples of your work.

Never underestimate your abilities. The best way to be confident during an interview is to make sure you include skills in your resume and cover letter that you can translate into accomplishments. Remember, if you are prepared with your examples you will be confident in explaining how they relate to your strongest skills – and confidence is always key during an interview!

Don’t forget to sell your soft skills, too! Soft skills are the qualities you possess that could set you apart from other candidates. Qualities like being a good listener, being very organized, or a strong leader are all soft skills that can transfer from job to job and can be just as important when employers are considering more than one candidate with similar job backgrounds

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Best and Worst Colors to Wear to an Interview

CareerBuilder recently conducted a survey where they asked more than 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals about what they associate with candidates when the candidate wears a certain color to a job interview. According to this survey, 23 percent of people surveyed agreed that blue was the best color to wear for an interview. The second best color is black, while the worst color is orange, according to this study.

The study also found that certain colors correlate to a person’s specific qualities. Those colors and their attributes are:

Black – Leadership

Blue – Team Player

Gray – Logical/Analytical

White – Organized

Brown – Dependable

Red – Power

Green, Yellow, Orange or Purple – Creative

So if you are interviewing with a company this is looking for a real “team player”, you could consider wearing blue; or white if they are looking for someone who is very organized. It can’t hurt to keep this information in mind when picking out your next interview outfit!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5 Social Skills Technology is Destroying

These are the top five social skills that are diminishing, especially in younger professionals, due to the almost constant use of technology.

Eye contact. One thing that staring at a screen for the majority of our days has taken from us is the ability to know what, or who, to focus on when holding an actual conversation. Being able to hold eye contact during an interview is so important, it can be one of the things that make or break your entire interview process. Being able to sustain eye contact well, and know when it’s appropriate, is a vital social tool.

Phone Skills. The ability to actually speak on the phone – clearly, confidently, and concisely – is becoming a thing of the past for a lot of younger people. The age of text messages, Twitter and Instagram has begun to really impair the younger generation’s ability to actually hold solid, professional conversations on the phone.

  1.  Asking questions about others, actively listening, and being able to read other peoples physical social cues, are all part of being a skilled conversationalist. The constant compulsion to look at a screen does not give those that interact with you the impression that you are invested in the present conversation. It can also make you feel more awkward and anxious when you’re forced to actually interact face to face with people. If you’re social skills are lacking to the point that you aren’t capable of holding down a decent conversation, who’s going to want to work with you, let alone hire you?

Spatial Awareness. We have all seen that person, the one who stands in the middle of the aisle talking or texting on their cell phone, completely unaware of the people trying to make their way around them. This kind of behavior can be irritating at the office as well. When you’re ultra-focused on your own technological world, it can make you less aware of the present physical world around you. Don’t be this person!

Attention Span. It can be very obvious when someone is bored, either with their work, in a meeting, or in a dialogue. Not being able to muster up some sustained interest and enthusiasm isn’t going to land you that job, promotion, or the respect of your coworkers. Not everything worthwhile can be conveyed in 140 characters or less and part of having good social skills is knowing when to focus and pay attention.

Can you think of any other social skills that have suffered due to a constant use of technology? Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Job Fair Etiquette for Stressed Out Students!

It’s hard to make a good impression when you look stressed out.

This type of event can really stress some students out, but not worry; here is a list of tips and advice to really make the most of your school’s job fair!

Some things to do and remember before a job fair:

  • Look over the list of participating companies and their open positions; make a list of the ones you are most interested in.
  • Prepare your resume for the companies and jobs that interest you.
  • Visit their websites and be able to say something positive about their latest press release or signature product.
  • If you’ll be interviewing at the fair, work on your interviewing skills by visiting with a Career Services professional and/or participating in mock interviews.
  • Develop a list of questions for the employers that interest you.
  • Wear proper job fair attire, usually a business suit.

Some things to do and remember while you are at a job fair:

  • If there is a map of the event available, look over it to find out where the businesses that you are interested in are located and create a game plan.
  • If you are pressed for time, approach your priority companies first to ensure that you will have a chance to speak to them. However, if an organization has a long line of candidates, visit other key organizations and return later. If this is your first fair and you are nervous, you might start with some of your lower priority companies to become comfortable with the process. Move onto your higher priority companies as you gain more confidence.
  • Be assertive. Approach employers, extend your hand, and introduce yourself. Be prepared to carry the conversation and ask questions.
  • Provide employers with a copy of your resume and describe how you would be a good fit for the position and the organization.
  • Collect company information for further research.
  • Ask the recruiter for their business card so you can follow-up later with a thank-you note.
  • Thank recruiters for their time.

And finally, after the job fair:

  • Write thank you notes to the recruiters that were of the most interest to you.
  • Follow-up on leads by calling the recruiter if you haven’t heard from them within two weeks.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Don’t Forget the Post-Interview Thank You Notes…

It only takes a few moments to write one! Sending a thank you note is so important. It shows that you are interested in the position AND it puts your name in front of your potential employer again. Thank you notes should be sent to each and every person that helped you along the way, not just the interviewer.

Here is a basic template to guide you in the process:

“Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

I sincerely enjoyed meeting with you yesterday and learning more about the [Position] at [Employer].

Our conversation confirmed my interest in becoming part of [Employer’s] staff. I was particularly pleased at [the prospect of being able to develop my own article ideas with the head of the bureau, and develop my multi-media skills]. I feel confident that my experiences both in the workplace and in the classroom would enable me to fill the job requirements effectively.

Please feel free to contact me if I can provide you with any further information. I look forward eagerly to hearing from you, and thank you again for the courtesy you extended to me.


Your Name

Your Contact Information (phone number, email address)”

If this note is going to be mailed, be sure to leave enough room between your closing and your typed name for your actual signature. If it is being sent as an e-mail, that room is not necessary.

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