Smart Job Search Tips for the Class of 2014

Smart Job Search Tips for the Class of 2014   Live Science - April 26, 2014

In the coming weeks, many of the nation's college seniors will receive their degrees. For members of the class of 2014 who aren't going on to graduate school, the next step is finding full-time employment.

In a rapidly changing job market that features post-graduation internships and freelance work more and more frequently, some new grads may feel overwhelmed thinking about their career prospects. But Monica Smith, founder and CEO of direct response marketing firm Marketsmith Inc. and data gathering platform I.Predictus, believes that an entrepreneurial approach to job hunting can set workforce newcomers on the road to success. Smith offered the following tips for new college graduates who want to apply a self-starting attitude to their careers.

1. Know where you want to go.

Start working on your personal road map right now. Ask yourself where you want to be in one year, five years and 10 years from today. Define what's important to you. Pitch your plan to anyone who will listen, and before you know it, you'll acquire the interviewing skills you need to put your plan into action.

2. Learn the art of the pivot.

Change can be scary, but it's during transformations that some of the best opportunities present themselves. Don't be afraid of a curveball: Be ready and open to new opportunities that are exciting, fun and potentially difficult.

3. Read, read and read.

The end of college should mark the beginning of a lifetime of learning. Be interesting, be informed, be current, and have a point of view that is modern and educated. Reading can help you make that happen.

4. Network with everyone

Make contacts among your parents' friends, your neighbors, your community organizations - wherever you can find working adults, network. Go out there and make the connections at any free forum you can find.

5. Tell a great story.

Storytellers make it in this world. Learn to tell a great story of how you grew up, an event that shaped your life, or even a vacation that took you to a new place. People want to hear new perspectives. They want to get a sense of your ability to articulate, and they want to know that you are interesting.

5 Tech Skills Every Job Seeker Needs   Live Science - April 27, 2014
In today's job market, it's not only IT job applicants who need tech skills. With technology quickly and constantly changing, employers everywhere are looking for tech-savvy job candidates for nontech related positions. This means that administrative, creative, sales, marketing and other non-IT job seekers are required to have relatively strong tech backgrounds and skill sets to stay competitive.

"Tech skills like basic software development, fundamental graphic design and elaborate Web publishing are no longer restricted to tech-heavy positions," said Christopher Justice, chief marketing officer at content management system (CMS) provider Magnolia. "They are now expected in a much wider range of roles." This can be seen in all types of positions, Justice said. For instance, with the massive growth of online publishing, journalists today are required to do more than write stories - they must also be able to produce them online using coding skills, he explained. Similarly, marketing teams also have to be able to juggle design tools, use HTML and create digital campaigns with their CMS, he added.

"The underlying trend here - and the common denominator in all of these positions - is the ability to work in exceptionally agile environments," Justice said. "It means that to stay competitive, candidates need to be able to adapt to new tools and trends - such as the cloud, mobile development and Big Data - before these become must-haves."

Moreover, given the rapid pace at which technology is advancing, job candidates are also expected to evolve along with it. "Candidates have to be able to learn fast, creatively think outside the box, and be ready for new tools that might traditionally not be a part of their job description," Justice said.

If you're looking for a job, here are five of the most sought-after tech skills employers are looking for.

1. Social media

"Generally speaking, no matter the role, it's valuable for people to be social media savvy. Online communities are important places to share and access information, and to engage with customers and prospects." - Xari Chartrand, human resources business partner at Halogen Software

2. Microsoft Excel

"Having well-developed technical skills is no longer just a nice little add-on for job applicants. Many employers now expect candidates to demonstrate proficiency in a variety of technical areas. Currently, one of the most sought-after tech skills is competency with Microsoft Excel, including the ability to construct and use pivot tables."

3. Mobile development

"Finding professionals with iOS, Android, Windows and Web-based app development experience has become an industry race as companies expand their mobile capabilities to help streamline processes. Candidates specializing in mobile development can be expected to be hired within days, thanks to their in-demand skill set." David Morgan, president of IT for Addison Group

4. Ability to troubleshoot

"My must-have tech skill when hiring someone really involves being able to troubleshoot your own technical issues. It also shows that you're not afraid to think critically, do some research and take initiative to find a solution on your own. And if you're not able to, at least you can tell the IT folks what you've already tried so they aren't starting from scratch. So many companies expect you to be able to work from anywhere, whether you're at the office, at a coffee shop, at home or on a business trip in Vegas. It's really important to have the ability to troubleshoot technical problems on your work equipment. Being able to problem-solve minor technical issues on your own, rather than having to burden the IT department with simple requests, is a huge plus in my eyes. Especially in small businesses and startups where there may only be one IT person, it's critical to be able to rule out common problems before escalating them.