Tag Archive for job search

Life is a Sport

From intramural athletics to extracurricular activities to group case study classes and in-class team projects, it seems that everywhere you turn, you’re asked to interact with other students. The truth is, more than ever, life is a team sport. Whether it be in college or the world of work, teamwork is current trend. Given this, recruiters today are looking for candidates with Group Skills for their organizations. It’s one of the Winning Characteristics upon which interviewers make hiring decisions, so you’ll want to be able to prove to them that you are strong in this area.

Extracurriculars are an excellent way to develop and sharpen your Group Skills. They almost always involve teams of students working together over a number of months to complete large, complex projects. The key here is that if you’re going to develop and be able to demonstrate that you have Group Skills, you’ll need to go a step beyond just joining the organization. You’re going to have to actually get involved after you do.
Fortunately, if you pick an activity that you’re genuinely interested in, from theater to student government, you’ll enjoy the experience rather than considering it work. You’ll learn from the interaction with the more experienced members who will be managing the projects. And, if you do a good job, you’ll earn the respect of others in the group, giving yourself the opportunity to take a leadership role in the organization. Leadership is another of the Winning Characteristics.

So, get involved and get a head start toward getting the job you want.

New Semester’s Resolutions

So you are back for another semester.  You have made your New Year’s Resolutions to exercise more, eat less late night pizza, get together with old friends more often, and call your mom at least once a week.  But what resolutions are you making that will help you toward your college success?  The book Making College Count contains great tips and tricks to help you through a new semester, so get the book today!  (It also makes a great high school graduation gift for your friends about to join you as collegians.)  But until your book comes in, here are some resolutions you can make to help you on your journey to college success. Read more

Winter Break

You have finally finished exams and your holiday shopping, and you are on your way home for great food and relaxation. In fact, you could be categorized as a professional at this. You catch up on all the sleep you missed throughout the semester, you get together with high school friends, you watch tons of TV shows and movies, and read your favorite magazines. But your winter break needs to be much more than this! Here are some additional things you should be doing over the break:

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College Success Through Internships

If you think that interns only work in hospitals, you may be missing out on one of the greatest opportunities open to college students.

Internships are available in many fields, from computer science to botany. Some are paid positions; others pay only in experience. Some earn course credit; others do not. Some fall in the school year; others in summer. Some lead to permanent positions after graduation; others do not. Regardless of the particulars, internships provide hands-on experience in real world applications of what you study in class.

Many people think that the most important reason to take an internship is to build a resume. That is a great reason, but far from the only (or the best) one. An internship is a two-way test drive. The employer provides you experience and evaluates your abilities. You provide your talents and evaluate the career.

The chance to work in a field before entering the interview market represents a huge advantage. Two or three years studying law enforcement will teach you a lot about the criminal justice system, but a couple months as a clerk in a sheriff’s office will provide a much more vivid picture of a career as a police officer.

Internships teach a very valuable lesson: theory and practice aren’t always identical. For instance, after an internship in a software company, you may decide you’re more interested in selling than in writing code.

Internships offer tremendous experience. For that reason access to them is highly competitive. If you have any interest in an internship, learn everything you can about the application and selection process well in advance. Apply early and follow up on your applications. And if no internships are offered in your field, consider creating your own. Find an employer that would take you on for a semester, and take the idea to your department head. It can’t hurt.

Your internship might be just what you need to boost your college success!

A 4.0 Just Isn’t Enough

Wouldn’t life be great if you could just get a 4.0? You’d graduate with honors and find a long line of recruiters waiting to hire you for your dream job at a dream salary. A 4.0 is a ticket to Easy Street.

Or is it? Anyone who thinks that a 4.0 is enough to get a great job is in for a rude awakening in the interview process. Yes, academic achievement says a lot about intelligence, logic, effort, and organizational skills, all of which are attractive qualities. But recruiters are looking for much more. The best candidates for almost any job display broad range of “Winning Characteristics” including those above and Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Group Skills, and Communication skills. Candidates who have used their college years to build this critical skill set, in addition to getting good grades, have a significant advantage in the job market.

Even in more technical fields such as engineering, accounting, and architecture, employers look for well-rounded employees who can work well with clients and co-workers, take charge of complex projects and produce results. Let’s face it, you won’t see a job ad like this: “looking for a candidate who will sit quietly at a desk, take notes, and complete reading and written assignments, study alone, and correctly answer written questions every six weeks.”

Don’t miss the point here. Good grades are important in the job market. A consistent C student will have difficulty getting interviews while a 3.3 student with a 3.6 in his or her major will get quite a few. But once an interview starts, attention will quickly turn to extracurricular involvement, leadership, and work experiences. A 4.0 is a tremendous achievement, but slightly lower grades coupled with internship experience, a solid list of extracurricular activities and good communication skills will probably be more attractive to a manager with an important job opening.

So work hard to get good grades. But also put effort toward other activities and work experience to make the most of your college experience.

The Placement Place

 

A few words for the underclassmen who think it’s too early to start preparing for the job search: It’s Never Too Early!

 

But wait, you say, I’ve barely decided on a major and now I’m supposed to start thinking about a job that’s a couple years away?! No, sophomore year is not the time to conduct the job search. But it is the perfect time to start preparing for that big event.

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Ads You’ll Never See for Jobs After College

JOB ADVERTISEMENTS YOU’LL NEVER SEE FOR JOBS AFTER COLLEGE

Wanted: One-Dimensional Student. Successful applicant will sit in uncomfortable desk and take notes. Compensation based entirely on monthly essay exams and pop quizzes.

Wanted: Computer Pro. Must have over 500 hours playing Call of Duty in the last year. PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox experience also desired, but not required.

Wanted: Intramural Sports Star. Must be able to fit at least seven intramural events into every week, even if academics must be sacrificed. Applicant to provide all necessary equipment.

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Jam Your Way to Jobs After College

JAM YOUR WAY TO JOBS AFTER COLLEGE

Here’s an unconventional way to improve your prospects in the job market: start a band. Maybe your parents think it’s just a bunch of terrible noise, but forming Tofu Deluxe or Crooked Smile Dentist can be a great way for you to demonstrate your value to potential employers.

You don’t have to be the next Lady Gaga to make this work for you. The idea here is to make the most of the non-music aspects of forming and managing your own band. Putting together even a third-rate band takes a great deal of Effort, Organization, and Entrepreneurship. These are all “Winning Characteristics” employers will appreciate, even if they prefer Beck over Green Day. Read more

The Group Scoop

 

It’s sort of a dirty trick. You spend 15-20 years in school before you start a full-time career. In that time you are generally evaluated as an individual. To a large extent, your academic experience is a solo act.

 

Then you graduate and take a job where everything you do is a team effort. Committees, group presentations, cross-functional work groups, quality teams. It never ends!

 

Your paycheck may even be based on how well your team performs. After all those years of running your own show as a student, you’re expected to be the ultimate team player.

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Interview Attire Part 2-Women

 

Just as dressing the part is important in the workplace, it is also very important in the interview. Err on the side of caution and wear a suit instead of more casual attire. You never know what a potential employer will want to see!

 

  • Women: Just as I advised men to wear a power suit, the same holds true for women. This is probably not the time to pull out something with crazy patterns and colors. Understand the difference between a work suit and a pageant suit. And for your interview, wear a work suit.

 

  • Many women struggle with whether they should wear a skirt or pants. Really, it depends on the geographic region. Pants or skirt are usually fine anywhere, but sometimes in the South and Midwest skirts are preferred. The best thing to do is ask someone you know from the area or someone who successfully interviewed there recently because it can vary from place to place and position to position.

 

  • If you choose to wear a skirt, then you will also have to determine whether you should wear pantyhose/stockings. Again, preferences vary from place to place. For a more conservative area or position, you should probably consider hose. People probably won’t fault you for wearing them, but might fault you if you don’t. Again, ask around to find out.

 

  • Before you go to your interview, try on your suit. Were you a couple of sizes smaller when you bought it and now the buttons are struggling? Do the sleeves come down to your knuckles? If so, consider getting your suit tailored or getting a new, better fitting suit. Also, sit down. Does your skirt ride up a bit too high? Can you see things you shouldn’t? Does your shirt come un-tucked when you sit? Be sure your skirt is not too short when you are standing either. Generally it should be knee length.

 

  • Shoes, are of course, important. This is not the time to bring out the shoes you would wear to the bar or club. This is the time for pumps. And don’t get the really high ones either. Again, go for conservative. Open toe is a no no, too. And no weird colors, either.

 

  • The shirt you wear under your suit jacket should be appropriate, too. Make sure it is not too low cut, tight or too loud. Traditionally a solid or light print is best.

 

  • You may want to go easy on the perfume. You never know who will be allergic to the scent or who just won’t like it. Don’t let the way you smell get in the way of your otherwise wonderful interview.

 

  • Be sure your hair is nice. Don’t just carelessly put it in a ponytail. Put some effort in doing your hair, but don’t do some prom do either.

 

  • Observe the “5″ rule when it comes to jewelry. One ring + one watch + one necklace + two earrings (one in each ear). Sure, some places may be less conservative than this, but when in doubt, only wear five pieces of jewelry.

 

This concludes the advice on what to wear to help translate your college success into interview success by dressing appropriately for your interview. Add your own advice in the comments section!