Archive for the ‘Wisdom’ category

50 Career Tips for College Students

October 2, 2012

March 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm by Tom Denham

College teaches you how to think.  However, unless you are engaged with your campus Career Center, college teaches you virtually nothing on the subject of career development.  Think about how many courses you took in your major, and then think about how many semester-long courses you took on career development?  A rare few colleges offer, at most, one or two courses on the topic.  You spend time more time at work than in any other aspect of your life, but college teaches you barely anything on how to start, build and manage your career.  Without the Career Center, you will be left on your own to figure out what you are suppose to do with your life.  The transition is difficult because there is no syllabus for success.  Here are my 50 tips to prepare you for the realities of working.

  1. Go to the Career Center on campus at least once a semester and then every month when you are a senior.
  2. Believe in yourself, believe in something and have someone believe in you.
  3. Success comes from inside of you.
  4. In addition to your college degree, employers will want to see multiple internship experiences.  Your competition has them.
  5. Start building your resume early in your college career.  Don’t wait until you get back from spring break of your Senior year.
  6. Be nice to your faculty.  You’ll need them someday to serve as a reference for graduate school or a job.
  7. Get clarity and focus on the three types of jobs you will pursue: 1) Ideal Jobs, 2) Back-Up/Realistic Jobs, and 3) Survival Jobs.
  8. Come up with your own personal and professional definition of success and don’t let anyone else define it for you.
  9. Your first job is a period of adjustment.  It’s like being a freshman all over again.  Be patient and learn the ropes.
  10. Think of your first job as a stepping-stone that can help you get closer to your Ideal Job.
  11. Show up early and stay late.
  12. If you are self-aware, self-confident and self-disciplined you will go very far in life.
  13. Take advantage of everything that college has to offer.  Suck the life-force out of it.  If you do, you’ll have no regrets.
  14. Most jobs today are not for life.  The time to start preparing for your next job search is the day you take your new job.
  15. Eliminate poor grammar and slang from your speech.
  16. Resist the temptation to use work time to conduct personal business like email, phone calls and combing the Internet.
  17. An employer cares about how productive you are.  They don’t really care whether or not you’re professionally fulfilled.
  18. Starting at the bottom is not beneath you; it’s expected.
  19. An employer wants to know, “Can you do the job?  Are you willing to do the job?  Can we stand you when you do the job?”
  20. Don’t get sloppy with your behavior.  It can run you into trouble later on.
  21. Share your life, but don’t over-share.
  22. Stay focused and don’t get distracted by Facebook or other social media sites.  Cut your addiction to the Internet.
  23. Know when you need to work independently and know when you need to be a team player.
  24. You can never say “please” and “thank you” enough – it goes a long way.
  25. If you perpetually smile and look people in the eyes you are likely to get the same in return.
  26. Employers hire for attitude and train for knowledge.  Enthusiasm is the road to success.
  27. Clean up any “Digital Dirt” that’s on the Internet.  Your online reputation IS your reputation.  Create it, build it and protect it.
  28. Keep your commitments.  Habitually cancelling is a C.L.M., Career Limiting Move.
  29. Keep in mind that success is the first attempt after failure.  We all have made mistakes.  Don’t sweat it; just learn from them.
  30. Devote a great deal of time to practicing your interview skills.  Have a Mock Interview at your campus Career Center.
  31. You won’t reach your career goals if you let someone else drive your career.  Go from passenger to driver.
  32. If you take your career seriously, others will take you seriously.  If you care about others, others will care about you.
  33. Ask for help, but don’t suck up too much of anyone’s time.
  34. How you dress is a reflection of your self-image.  Dress for not where you are, but for where you want to be.  Be neat.
  35. Have a clear vision for your life.  Set personal and professional goals every year and develop an action plan to achieve them.
  36. It is highly likely you will go on to graduate school.  Carefully pick the right degree and program.  It’s expensive if you don’t.
  37. Network your brains out and carefully build your LinkedIn Contacts.  You will be changing jobs, and you’ll need their help.
  38. Givers Get!  It starts with you.
  39. Most communication is non-verbal.  Pay attention to what you say.  Pay closer attention to what you say when you’re not talking.
  40. Have regular meetings with your boss to discuss your progress.  This can save a lot of misunderstandings and headaches later.
  41. A person’s most basic human emotional need is to be heard.  Listening is a critically important skill in the workplace.  Talk less.
  42. Stay in your first job out of college for one year, preferably two to three.  Anything less is job hopping, and it doesn’t look good.
  43. The world is very small and increasingly interconnected.  Play nice.  Don’t burn any bridges.
  44. Don’t chase after money.  It tends to be a poor long-term motivator.  Do what you love and the money will follow.
  45. Pursue meaningful work that makes a difference.  The meaning of life is to make a difference.  Do work that you value.
  46. Build an emergency fund just in case something goes wrong at work.  Find a financial planner and start investing immediately!
  47. Set up a budget and stick to it.  Don’t get into credit card debt.  Always live below your means.
  48. Don’t wait for opportunities.  Go out and hunt for them.
  49. Where you go in life is up to you.
  50. Go be somebody.

How to Explain a Low GPA

June 12, 2012

A GPA below 3.0 is generally considered “low.” A low GPA is not a job-killer, but it is something that you should be prepared to explain.

This brief article has some helpful tips: How to Explain a Low GPA

6 Strategies for Surviving in a Job You Hate· by Teena Rose

April 24, 2012

All of us have been there at some point. Out of necessity, you are stuck in a job that is unbearable – and as a result, you hate life. This is all-too-common in the U.S., where workers are often treated as commodities and liabilities, and get almost no real respect. Unfortunately, under current conditions few have the luxury of simply quitting, so here are several strategies for coping in a job you just can’t stomach.

Set Goals and Objectives: If there is a bright side to your situation, it’s easier to get a job if you already have one. This means that if you are in a job you hate, you’re in a better position to get something better. Set a goal every week for sending out x number of resumes and attending a networking event or job fair. Such actions will help you to see a light at the end of the tunnel (which won’t be New Jersey).

Time for One’s Self: If you are overscheduled and harassed, you’ll be making a bad thing worse. It is vital to set some time aside each day, particularly before heading into work. It’s also helpful to engage in some activity that brings a smile to your face, whether it’s reading the latest Facebook posts, treating yourself to a favorite snack, or playing your favorite music on the stereo.

Create Diversions: If possible, fill your workspace and/or your day with small diversions. For example, an inside sales representative who sometimes dislikes making “cold calls” to prospective clients might bring a joke book to work and make it a point to read something funny before picking up the phone. It made a great deal of difference when it came to talk to people.

Learn New Tricks: If you don’t have the job you want, it may be due to a lack of skills and/or knowledge. Fortunately, this is highly curable. It’s never too late to learn something new that may make you more marketable when a new and better opportunity comes along. Are $$$’s in short supply? Is free better? The Internet has a treasure-trove of free seminars and webinars to help you build your education. Also, make use of your local library. Many carry new how-to DVD’s relative to improving your personal and professional skills (i.e. coaching yourself to success, dealing with management issues, and time management).

Decompression: Failing to “blow off steam” and letting frustrations build up can be dangerous not only to yourself but to others as well. Continuous physical exercise is a great tension reliever, obviously, but also don’t overlook fun activities such as softball, bowling, and dancing. Or, a leisure walk at a local park can go a long way towards depressurizing and maintaining a positive outlook.

Keep on Keepin’ On: Anything worth doing at all is worth doing well – even if it’s something you hate. Not only will this give you a sense of accomplishment and pride in yourself, it can also help you down the road should you need a reference.

Hard time in your job search? Time to get tough with these stragety tips.

August 2, 2011

If you have been making no traction in your job search, it’s time to get serious. As this article says, make looking for a job your job until you succeed.

From http://www.youtern.com–The SavvyIntern:

1 ) Appoint a Job Search ‘Buddy’
2 ) Number of Articles to Be Read Weekly
3 ) Number of Networking Events to Be Attended Weekly
4 ) Number of Educational Events to Go to Monthly
5 ) Number of Volunteer Hours Per Month
6 ) Number of Member Organizations To Belong To
7 ) Number of Informational Interviews Per Week
8 ) Number of Friends To Talk To Per Week
9 ) Follow Up On Sent Applications
10 ) Focus Your Resume on Key Themes

Read the entire article. Good advice, great wisdom!

10 Bullet-Proof Job (and Internship) Search Strategy Tips

Job Seekers: Check Your Online Presence!!

June 28, 2011
Last weekend I was conducting a workshop on job search skills for college graduates. The audience was great… they listened, asked good questions and even laughed when I thought I was being funny. One thing became very clear: college students and recent graduates, although (very) frequent users of social media sites, do not realize the impact of what they put online.

Recent surveys have reported that over 70% of American hiring managers DO check to see what job candidates put online and job offers are rescinded if they don’t like what they see.

Specifically…

  • An email address should be a professional one and your name and cell phone number should be included in the signature line.  Be very careful what you put in an email: the “e” in email stands for evidence and everlasting.
  • Facebook accounts including the profile need to be clean!  Remove anything that a grandmother would not mind seeing. Adding the privacy settings are not enough: you need to make sure that the people you are connected to have your best interests at heart. I was just friended by someone who has over 1,600 “friends”.  I don’t know if anyone has 1,600 people they can truly trust
    in their lives.
  • On to Twitter. Do not tweet that you were late for work or that you hate your boss… it will be seen.  Do not tweet anything that will make you look less than professional.

Be sure that any blogging is done in good taste. The grandmother standard is a good one to use here as well.

Getting References Beyond Your Boss by Therese Droste

June 22, 2011

“My previous boss is going to give me a bad reference.  I was at the company for five years but had only worked for him the last seven months.  Although I gave two weeks’ notice, I was so angry with my boss that I did not follow through and work those last two weeks.  I contacted two other managers in the company before I resigned, and they promised to give me good references, but that was before things hit the fan and I walked off the job.  The only other company I’ve ever worked at since graduating college is out of business.  Who should I use as a reference?  I don’t want to toss away five years on a job because of a lame boss who hated me.”

WHAT THE EXPERT SAYS:  Relax.  Call the managers who said they would give you good references and explain why you left before the end of your notice period.  And be honest: Tell them that you were at the end of your rope with your new boss and you thought it would be best for both of you if you left as soon as possible.  You’re not the first person to do this.  Obviously, the managers who offered references know your work record, since you were with the company for a long period before the new boss came on board.

Do some homework before you go out on interviews.  Write out everything you accomplished in the five years you spent at your old job.  Did you receive any promotions during your tenure?  Any special recognition?  Were any employees placed under your management?  It is important that you use this information and present it positively to an interviewer.

Then tackle how you will answer interview questions about why you left the company.  Diplomatically, say that although you like the job, your new boss and you had different approaches to handling problems.  Tell the interviewer you felt it was best to leave and spend your energy on finding new employment rather than spin your wheels and hope the new boss and you would find common ground to work on.

Also, step back and reassess what type of job you really want.  Although you did not get along with the new boss, your dissatisfaction with him actually could have been based on boredom that crept over you as you performed the same tasks every day over five years.  If this is the case, you need to figure out what you really want to do, and what will challenge you and hold your interest for the next few years.

If you agree that you need to explore the possibility of searching for a different type of position, then pick up What Color is Your Parachute? 2011 A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard Nelson Bolles.  This is the classic career searcher’s bible.  The exercises will help you pinpoint the type of job or career that suits your interests.

Found on http://forums.monster.com/forum.asp?forum=1911.

Dispelling the Big Myth About the Military

April 4, 2011

A recent analysis by the Education Trust shows that a substantial percentage of high school graduates do not meet the minimum academic standards to join the US Army. This statement is based on standardized test results on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

The ASVAB contains eight tests to determine the test takers basic knowledge and skills.  Those who score on the low end of this test are denied acceptance to the military, no exceptions.  Unfortunately, our nation finds itself in a situation where the military is forced to turn away a very high percentage of applicants due to low scores on the ASVAB.  Not only do these applicants not possess the knowledge and skills necessary to join the military, but it is also equally likely that they are not prepared for the civilian workforce as well.

Another reason many applicants are unqualified is the lack of physical fitness.  Our country’s obesity rate is on the rise, and it is estimated that at least nine million 17-to-24-year-olds are too fat to serve in the military.

Our country’s national security is directly related to the education of our young people.  We must provide better academic preparation and endorse healthy living in order to ensure a safe environment in the years to come.  Our global economic position is also affected by the lack of preparedness of our youth.  “If the nation is lacking in energetic and academically capable individuals working and contributing to our economy, then our country’s status on the world economic stage will be significantly diminished or compromised.”

For more information on this subject, follow the link below:

http://associationdatabase.com/aws/NCDA/pt/sd/news_article/41128/_PARENT/layout_details_cc/true

Do you have ‘horizontal’ skills? You should.

January 17, 2011

The article is on “hot careers” but what we find is that careers are constantly changing.  Anyone in the career market must be skilled in their field, but also prepared to adapt their skills to meet other needs.  Sometimes you can move ‘up’ in your field; other times it will be necessary to move sideways.  That’s where ‘horizontal’ skills preparation comes in.

Read the article! Hot jobs and how do I train for them?

I quit!! (What to say and how to say it.)

October 15, 2010

The blog has been silent for quite awhile.  Sorry about that, to anyone who is a regular reader.  Been busy training new staff, and counseling the newbie students.  Here’s an item Career Guy came across that might prove useful to some of you one of these days.  It’s an article entitled “How to write a resignation letter” and it comes from the online Wall Street Journal.  Bottom line–fewer words; less is more (Proverbs 10:19!)

What Should You Include in a Resignation Letter?

How’s your handshake?

July 18, 2010

Apparently running out of really important issues to research, the University of Manchester in northwest England has defined the perfect handshake.

“The rules for men and women are the same: right hand, a complete grip and a firm squeeze (but not too strong) in a mid-point position between yourself and the other person, a cool and dry palm, approximately three shakes, with a medium level of vigor, held for no longer than two to three seconds, with eye contact kept throughout and a good natural smile with a slow offset with, of course, an appropriate accompanying verbal statement, make up the basic constituent parts for the perfect handshake.”

A formula for the perfect handshake


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