Tag Archive for jobs after college

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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Making Finals Week a Competitive Advantage

Two weeks a year. They can be the difference between success and failure in college.

Twice a year, for one week at the end of each semester, you have to opportunity to make a dramatic impact on your G.P.A. Unfortunately, all too often, the “impact” is in the wrong direction and an entire semester of hard work suddenly seems like a tremendous waste of time. Read more

If it’s news, it’s for you

You need more to read. That’s right, the thousand pages per week your instructors lay on you isn’t enough.

Some of the most valuable reading you can do doesn’t appear on any of your syllabi. You’ll find it instead on the local newsstand. Being conversant in the news of the day can be a big advantage when you interview for internships or full-time jobs. It is a way to show your college success both inside and outside the classroom.  Interviewers will be impressed with someone who knows what’s going on in a particular industry, and the world in general.

Say you’re interviewing for a job as the manager of a clothing store. When you ask if recent economic upheavals in Asia have affected the cost and availability of merchandise, you’ll stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, not being in touch with the news can be a major minus on the interview score sheet. If a real estate recruiter says, “Pretty incredible interest rate situation we’re in, huh?” you’d better have some idea whether rates are high or low these days (they’re low).

You don’t have time to read more than one or two periodicals, so be choosy. For general interest fields such as journalism or public service, consider the New York Times. Business students can’t go wrong with reading the Wall Street Journal a couple times a week. If you’re headed to a more specialized field, such as education, venture to the library to read journals in your field. Don’t forget the internet is a great source of news. Many publishers offer on-line versions of their papers and magazines, often at no charge.

And for the reading-adverse, there’s always the national news on TV. Better yet, National Public Radio is one of the truly premier sources for news. It covers business, politics, and international news extremely well, plus it hits social issues in more depth than almost any other media. Your campus station may even broadcast NPR news in the morning or evening. If so, take advantage of it.

So download a podcast, pick up a paper, or tune in to the evening news on TV. Wherever you find your news, absorb as much as you can—it can lead to success in college and beyond.

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.

It’s Not All Talk

Show College Success Through Written Communication Skills

 

Almost anyone pursuing a career will tell you that communication skills are important. No problem. You can talk to anyone. You can talk all day and all night and never get tired. So you’re all set, right?

Yes, the ability to communicate by talking is extremely important. It’s hard to conceive of a job where one never speaks. Many jobs are very talk-intensive, of course. To be sure, Communication Skills are one of the Winning Characteristics that all employers look for in job candidates. Read more

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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