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Mamaroneck Business Helps Recent College Grads Chase Down First Jobs

Nadine Bilotta of Mamaroneck-based Complete Candidate works with a recent grad on his employment search. Photo Credit: Contributed
Nancy Thomas of Complete Candidate talks with a recent college grad about her job search. Photo Credit: Contributed
Nadine Bilotta, left, and Nancy Thomas started Complete Candidate, a Mamaroneck-based business that helps recent college grads with their job search. Photo Credit: Contributed

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- College degrees prepare students for their first professional jobs. Nadine Bilotta’s and Nancy Thomas’ Mamaroneck-based business helps students land those jobs.

Bilotta and Thomas, who worked as recruiters for 15 years, launched Complete Candidate in May after two years of preparations. Bilotta and Thomas give college grads everything they need to start their job search, including where to look, packaging their talents, cover letters, resumes, voice mail etiquette and more.

In group seminars or in individual meetings, Bilotta and Thomas give grads a detailed, customized approach to finding their first job.

“Many kids we knew didn’t know where to begin; they didn’t know where to look or how to present themselves,’’ Thomas said. “There are just so many variables when searching for a job. And the hard part is that most kids don’t think they need any help in this process.”

Most students coming out of colleges are sharper than previous generations. But for all of their computer literacy and research skills, many of them are completely lost when it comes to finding employment. Many of them are even content to let the process play out and hope an opportunity comes along.

“Finding a job is a full-time job,’’ Thomas said. “The millennials are not wired to push and follow up. Conscientious professionalism and diligent follow-up do not come naturally to them.”

Students can receive resume fine-tuning, communication coaching, interview preparation, post-interview debriefing and ongoing coaching. They also receive counseling on self-discovery so that they don’t apply for and accept jobs that do not suit their personality and skills.

Bilotta and Thomas said many college students even apply to the wrong businesses. They acquire skills in college that many employers would find valuable, and sometimes students don’t even know they have them.

“There are often jobs they don’t even think about,’’ Bilotta said. “We help them identify what their skills are. That really helps us narrow down on the job types. We teach them how to manipulate searches so that it opens up their options.”

Bilotta said when students get interviews, they forget to ask questions. “They walk out not knowing much about the environment,’’ she said. “Then they get there and they’re miserable.”

Another common mistake is failing to research the business beforehand. Thomas said students frequently wait to the last minute -- “They’ll say, ‘There’s an app for that,’’’ she said -- and look up information on YouTube. “That won’t work,’’ she said. “You have to commit yourself.”

“They just don’t prepare,’’ Bilotta added. “Hiring managers are so savvy. They see everything, from what you’re wearing, how your hair looks, what shoes you’re wearing, to how much they know about the job. They have to vigorously research and know what is going on in that industry. We’ll give them guidelines of things to ask, so that they can steer the discussion to work in their favor by asking strategic questions.”

Colleges offer assistance, but most students have to wait for weeks to get a 15-minute appointment with a career counselor who might have hundreds of students. At any given time, Bilotta and Thomas are offering individual coaching and training to a handful of students, so the attention they receive is specific for each person.

Bilotta and Thomas said the business has had early success stories. “Those are the best phone calls,’’ Thomas said. “Many times it’s the same kid who says on the first phone call, ‘I don’t know, it seems so hard.’ We help them get all through that. They only need one job. It’s like preparing for a test. You just have to do the work.”

For more on Complete Candidate, click here.

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