Top Ten Strategies for Freshmen & Sophomores

by Bob Orndorf / National Association of Colleges & Employers

 

You control your career destiny! Just going to class and picking up your diploma after four years doesn't cut it. You need to become active on and off campus.  Becoming marketable to employers or graduate schools is a four-year job. Here are the top 10 things you can do during college to make yourself marketable at job-search time. In fact, if you do all 10 of these, you'll be unstoppable:

 

1. Keep your grades up—Employers and graduate schools want candidates with good grades. That will probably never change. Doing well academically not only proves that you have a knowledge base, but indicates a strong work ethic—a trait that employers value.

 

2. Identify your interests, skills, values, and personal characteristics—The first step to clarifying your career goals is to go through a process of self-assessment. Visit your career center and take advantage of the self-assessment instruments.

 

3. Actively explore career options—You owe it to yourself to find a career that enriches your life, not one that brings you down. Actively exploring careers means talking with professionals in occupations of interest and observing professionals on the job. Your career center probably has alumni and other volunteers who are willing to talk to you about their careers. Also, attend any career expos, career fairs, and career speaker panels that are offered.

 

4. Become active in extracurricular activities and clubs—Active involvement in activities and clubs on campus is highly valued by employers and graduate schools. Joining a club is fine, but becoming active within that club is what matters most. Become a leader, hold an office, or coordinate an event. You will develop your skills in leadership and teamwork—skills that recruiters covet!

 

5. Get involved in community service—It's important that you begin to understand and appreciate the importance of giving back to your community, and that you live in a larger community than your college or hometown. Typically, students look at community service as a chore. After they've served, however, it's usually one of the most rewarding experiences they've had! Recruiters love to see that you've volunteered to help in your community.

 

 

6. Develop your computer skills—Take advantage of the computer courses and workshops your college offers. You can also learn a lot by just experimenting with different software packages on your own. Finally, you should learn how to develop your own web page or web-based portfolio. There are many web-design software tools that make it real easy to develop your own web page! Contact your college's information technology office to see how to get started.

 

7. Develop your writing skills—Over and over, company and graduate school recruiters complain about the lack of writing skills among college graduates. Don't avoid classes that are writing intensive. Work at developing your writing skills. If there is a writing center on campus, have them take a look at your papers from time to time. Remember, the first impression you give to recruiters is typically your cover letter or personal statement.

 

8. Complete at least one internship in your chosen career field—More and more, internships are the springboards to employment and getting into graduate programs. Many recruiters say that when they need to fill entry-level jobs, they will only hire previous interns. In addition to making yourself more marketable, internships also are a great way to explore careers and determine whether or not certain careers are for you. When you work for a company as an intern for three to four months, you get a really good feel for whether the field (and company) is one in which you want to work day in and day out!

 

9. Gain an appreciation of diversity through study abroad, foreign languages, and courses—We are now, more than ever, working within a global work force. For you to be successful at work and in your life, you must stretch yourself, and learn about people and cultures different than yours. Take advantage of the wonderful study-abroad opportunities and the courses relating to diversity. This is your time to travel! Most people find it harder to take time to travel as they begin their careers and start families.

 

10. Use your career center all four years—Your college career center can help you throughout your entire college career. Here is just a sampling of what your career center can help you do:

 

--Choose your major and career direction,

--Explore career options,

--Obtain an internship,

--Write a resume and cover letter,

--Develop your interviewing skills,

--Identify your skills, interests, and values,

--Develop a job-search or graduate school plan,

--Connect you with prospective employers (career fairs, on-campus recruiting, and more) and

--Connect you with alumni mentors.

 

Remember, you control your career destiny. Don't wait until your senior year to start realizing your goals. Your career train is on the move. Jump on board now so you can reach your destination!

 


Info Links

On-Line Resources

 

Résumé Writing Kit

Mind Tools: Essential Skills for an Excellent Career

Career Info Net: Career Resource Library

Career Hub: Free Advice From Career Experts

World of Work Map

Career TV
US Department of Labor
Career Tube          

My Plan                               

Career Overview            

My Majors                          

Career One Stop             

The Career Project 

 


Getting Serious About Your Career

by Michael Lebeau / BSC Career Services

 

1. Plan Ahead

Many of us stumble into a career doing less research than when we make a major purchase. When buying a car, most of us do research, compare prices, shop around, and talk to people. Our careers last longer than most vehicles. We owe it to ourselves to devote time and effort to choosing a career or making a career change. One way to do this is through the career development process.

 

Career development is an ongoing, lifelong process.  It is an active process.  We must be the driving force behind the process, gathering information, setting goals, and making decisions.  Career development is an introspective process of self-assessment and reflection.  And it is a time-consuming process that requires proactive thinking and advance planning.  Career development is a holistic process, which integrates our changing needs, wants, relationships, and situations with the ever-changing world of work

 

2. Assess Yourself

If you’ve been thinking about your career path and are seeking some sense of focus and direction, you can begin by answering the first and most important question, “who am I?”   Knowing the answer to this question and having a deep understanding of who we are helps us in our career planning. We can use this information to evaluate possible careers or career changes, look for opportunities, and find greater satisfaction in other areas of our lives as well.

 

Typically, the process starts with self-assessment. Understanding who you really are is critical to effective career planning.  Breaking the process down can be helpful:

 

Interests  -  What interests do I have?  What do I enjoy doing?  What do I have a passion for?  What excites me?  What activities do I enjoy doing that I don’t realize the passage of time while I am engaged in it?

 

Skills  -  What skills do I possess?  What are my talents and abilities?  What is it I can do that I do better than others? 

 

Values  -  What are my values?  What things do I believe in?  What motivates me to work?  What things in life do I consider to be important?  What gives me a sense of purpose?

 

 

3. Explore Your Options

Once you have done some self-assessment, you can move to researching and exploring your options in the world of work. You’ll need to gather detailed information and learn about various careers. 

 

This exploration may include on-line and library research and other activities that allow you to learn about various occupations.  It may also include talking to people in the field through informal discussions, information interviews, job shadowing, and mentoring.

 

Your objective is to match your personality traits with appropriate vocational settings.  What careers align best with your interests, skills, and values?

 

4. Get Focused

From your self-assessment and exploration you should have a clearer idea of what you are looking for.  Now is the time to establish your direction and set some goals. Where do your interests, skills, and values intersect?  Where do your talents and the needs of the world cross?  What do you want to do with your life?  What do you want to work towards?  What do you want to accomplish?  What is your mission?  What is your purpose in life?  What will you gain satisfaction from doing?  What is your calling?

 

Setting your goal includes identifying specific action steps that will move you forward.  Your stated goals might include your area of interest or specialty, your functional area, your choice of an industry, your choice of a location, region, or market, and the names of companies or organizations.

 

5. Take Action

Sometimes people get stuck looking for the “perfect” action step. Remember that any step forward is an accomplishment.  In the action phase, you begin making choices about the activities you want to commit to.  Based on your goal, you can select the appropriate academic major, coursework, clubs and organizations, extracurricular activities, community service projects, part-time jobs, and internships.  Any activity or project that will get you closer to your goal is a good use your time.  Involvement in these activities increases your experience, skills, and credibility.

 

In this phase of the process you might want to begin thinking about strategies.  It would be wise to begin working on such critical elements as resume writing, cover letter writing, interview preparation, job search strategies, networking techniques, prospecting techniques, and job market information.  

 

Because this process is a cycle, after taking action you should re-assess how your plan is going. You may need to alter your goals a bit. Perhaps you stumble across a different occupational path that appears to be a better fit for you. Use this information to ensure your path is taking you where you really want to go.

 


 

Career Insight

 

21st Century Career Success
Reality Checks for Career Planning
What is a Career?
Career vs. Job
Paradigm Shift: Job Search vs. Career Management

Career Planning Guide: A to Z
Career Exploration

Myths About Choosing a Career

 

 


 

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko
By Daniel Pink

 

Meet Johnny Bunko. He’s probably a lot like you. He did what everybody (parents, teachers, counselors) told him to do. But now, stuck at a dead-end job, he’s begun to suspect that what he thought he knew is just plain wrong. One bizarre night, Johnny meets Diana, the unlikeliest career advisor he’s ever seen. Part Cameron Diaz, part Barbara Eden, she reveals to Johnny the six essential lessons for thriving in the world of work and having a satisfying, productive career.

1.  There is no plan  -  The economy changes too fast for your career to have a plan.  See the big picture.  Be flexible.  To ready to adapt to changing circumstances and situations.  Explore and try things out.  Ask lots of questions.
 

2.  Think strengths, not weaknesses  -  Find your advantages. Think of a time when everything was going right and you were at your supreme best. What were you doing, where were you, who were you with? What words describe you at that moment? These are some of your strengths! When you are operating at your peak, doing something you love, chances are you are using all your strengths. That’s why you are able to operate with so much energy and focus.

 

3.  It’s not about you  -  Serving others serves you best. It’s about making a contribution that’s bigger than one person, for the greater good of others. Most successful people improve their own lives by improving others’ lives. They help their customer solve its problem. They give their client something it didn’t know it was missing.

 

4.  Persistence trumps talent  -  Keep showing up. Many successful people say it was their determination to achieve a goal that gave them the courage to jump at an opportunity or take a risk that brought them closer to their goal. Sometimes just sticking to it and putting one foot in front of the other is what is needed to get you through those times of doubt.

 

5.  Make excellent mistakes  -  Take risks, but fail forward.  Ask yourself:  When did your last mistake or failure teach you a really great lesson that you wouldn’t have learned if you’d played it safe?
 

6.  Leave an imprint  -  Do something that matters.  Years from now you'll ask yourself: Did I make a difference? Did I contribute something? Did my being here matter? Did I do something that left an imprint?

 

Johnny Bunko Trailer
Adventures of Johnny Bunko

Introduction to the Adventures of Johnny Bunko
Student Discussion Guide
Business Discussion Guide
BunkoBlog: Six Lessons
Thought Port: Johnny Bunko's Six Lessons
Dan Pink Explaining the Six Lessons

Dan Pink Learning the Six Lessons
 


 

Career Fair Success

 

Career Fairs: Making Them Work for You
Forbes Magazine: How to Make the Most of a Career Fair
Career Fair Tips: Making the Most of Your Career Fair Experience
Career Fair Advice
Employment Guide: Career Fair Tips
Recruiters Guide: Making Career Fairs Work for You

 


Six Steps for First Time Job Seekers

by Kate Lorenz / Career Builder

 

Congratulations, you've done it! You made it through college, have your degree in hand and are finally ready to make your mark. You are now in the real world and it's time to get your professional life started. If you are in the middle of this crossroad, it can be scary, exciting, confusing, overwhelming or all of the above. Following are some steps to make a successful college-to-real world transition.

1. Pinpoint Your Direction
After four (or five, or six) years of college, you are completely certain about what you want to do, right? If not, now is the time to determine what your strengths are and identify what kind of careers suit you. Are you someone who loves to be around people? Or are you happier crunching numbers or creating computer programs? Consider all of your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and interests when thinking about your career plan. Read about fields that interest you and talk to others who are doing jobs that you find interesting. Focus your direction on positions and fields that match your interests and talents.

2. Do Your Research
It is vital to learn as much as you can about the companies that interest you and to consider all of your options, says Pam Webster, a recruiting manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. She should know: Enterprise is the nation's largest recruiter of college graduates. "You should be open-minded about opportunities in companies and industries you might not have thought of before," she says. Once you have identified companies that you want to target, Webster suggests looking at their Web sites, reading news articles and talking to current employees to learn as much as you can. "You also need to look at a company's stability," she says. "Is the company going to be there for the long term?"

3. Assemble Your Toolkit
It is important to have the right tools for any task. The tools needed for a job search are a résumé, cover letter and a portfolio of your work. Take the time to develop a résumé and cover letter that clearly convey your strengths and experience. Here are a few tips to remember:

 

--Think about the type of résumé you need. A functional résumé, which highlights your abilities rather than your work history, is a good choice for first-time job seekers.

--Focus on accomplishments and results you have achieved, rather than simple descriptions of experiences.

--Use action words in your résumé and cover letter to describe your experiences, such as "initiated," "produced" and "managed."

--If you are low on practical work experience, look to your part-time work, school activities or volunteer positions. "Evaluate all of your experience and translate how it applies to any job you might apply to," Webster says.

4. Network
One of the most important tasks in any job search is networking. Take advantage of any resources you have, including your school's career placement office, friends who graduated before you and are already working, friends of your parents, former professors, and neighbors. Join professional organizations and attend professional conferences. Send e-mails to ask if your contacts know someone who can help you. Establish an account with a reputable on-line networking community (i.e. LinkedIn). Pass your résumé around and ask others to do the same. Call your contacts to see if they know someone who works for a firm you are interested in joining.

5. Play the Part
If you want to join the professional world, you need to act and look the part. Buy a business suit and wear it to all of your interviews. "Make sure your e-mail address and voice mail greeting are appropriate," Webster says. That means if your e-mail user name is "crazygirl2005," you might want to get a new account. Webster says you should also remember to be professional at home. "Be prepared for a phone call or a phone interview at any time," she says. The more you play the part of a well-trained professional, the more people will see you as a professional.

6. Don't Give Up
The real world can be a real challenge. Set realistic expectations and recognize that you will probably have to start at the bottom and work your way up. You will likely face rejection as you start looking for your first full-time job, but everyone goes through it. Just remember to be proactive, be persistent and remain confident that there is a great job out there for you!

 


 

Career Insight

 

How to Explore Your Career Options
Six Stages of Modern Career Development
Writing a Career Action Plan
Creating a Career Vision
Career Research Checklist
Career Planning for Today's College Students
How to Feel Satisfied in Your Career
Five Laws of Successful Career Search

 

 


Career Success is Within Your Reach

by Deborah Brown-Volkman

 

Are you waiting for career success? Do you believe that if you wait long enough sooner or later your dreams of success will come true?

 

When it comes to success, you are better off spending your time working toward being successful than losing precious moments waiting for it to happen.

 

What are the traits of successful people? They have drive and a belief in themselves. They are confident. They seem to have the Midas touch. But instead of trying to emulate the qualities that made them successful, we sometimes assume that "they must know someone." Or, "they were lucky." We forget that they worked hard to get where they are today. We didn't see their struggles. We just see the end result, and we want what they have, NOW.

 

Career success is not just for the lucky. It's for those who want it and work hard to get it. There's no mystery to the process. Follow certain steps and you will be successful. Deviate from these steps and success will take longer.

So how do you grab career success? Follow these steps:

 

1. Believe that you will succeed

Self-belief is such a crucial and sometimes overlooked element. You have to believe that success is within your reach. If you do not believe it, who will? The clients that I coach who make their career dreams come true are those who believe in their goals. How can you become a believer? Sit down with a piece of paper in front of you. Write without editing your words. Create your ideal career and life. Create a picture you can look at every day. What does your picture look like? Does it inspire you? Does it bring excitement into your mind? Belief comes from within. You just have to dig it out every once in awhile.

 

2. Get the facts

Once you are a believer, back up your beliefs with facts. Find out specifically what steps you need to take to make your picture real. This way you will be comfortable taking action. For example, let's say you want to expand into another industry. What facts do you need? Do you need more training? Is the cost of training within your reach? If you make the investment will it put more money in your pocket when you are done? Do you care about money, or are you more interested in a better quality of life? Write down your questions and get your answers. Then you will be ready to act.

 

3. Commit to your success

Successful people say "I will" versus "I'll try" or "I may someday." There is something powerful about making a commitment. First of all, the decision to be successful is made, and the back and forth is done. Second, you have focus and direction that transforms your outlook and gives you purpose. As human beings we do not always like to make commitments. We feel that we need to keep ourselves open to all opportunities because we are afraid that we may walk away from something better. Yes, you are walking away from something and that "thing" is confusion. Commitment gives you something greater. A reason to get out of bed every day.

 

4. Put a plan in place

Once you are committed, map out how you will succeed. Use the facts you gathered in step two ("Get the facts") to guide you. Break down your success plan into smaller pieces. Put these smaller pieces into your calendar. Make to-do lists. Manage your priorities and say yes only to those things that will bring you closer to success. Delegate and eliminate those tasks that take up your time. And if you get sidetracked or distracted, use your plan to get back on track.

 

5. Keep moving no matter what

There may be days when you do not want to do the work or you do not believe the effort you are putting in will be worthwhile. It's normal to feel this way. Your journey will be filled with ups and downs. Success comes to those who keep moving. It's ok to have doubts. Keep taking action anyway. Take small steps every day, no matter what. Small steps today lead to big dreams achieved tomorrow.

So what do you say? You have only one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!

 


Creating Your Interview Portfolio

 

Job Interview Prep: How to Create Your Portfolio
How to Create an Awesome Work Portfolio
Get To Work: What is a Portfolio?
Monkey See Video: Creating an Employment Portfolio
Defending Your Career & Winning the Interview with Your Career Portfolio

 


 

Career Insight


Major and Career Profiles
Goal Setting

How to Set Goals
What Do Employers Really Want?
Finding Your Career Passion

Liberal Arts Advantage

What is a Liberal Education?

Career Guide for Liberal Arts Students
Career Success for Liberal arts Majors

What Can I Do With my Liberal Arts Degree?
Marketing Your Liberal Arts Degree

 


Book List

Recommended Reading

 

How to Find the Work You Love by Laurence Boldt

Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles

The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen Covey

Zen and the Art of Making a Living by Laurence Boldt

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need by Daniel Pink

The Reinvention of Work by Matthew Fox

A Life at Work by Thomas Moore

True Work: Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do by M. Toms & J.W. Toms

The Money is the Gravy: Finding the Career That Nourishes You by John Clark

Making a Life, Making a Living by Mark Albion

Do What You Are by P.D. Tieger & B. Barron-Tieger

Ten Things Employers Want You to Learn in College by Bill Coplin

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

We Are All Self Employed by Cliff Hakim

Working by Studs Terkel

 

 


Info Links

On-Line Resources

 

Résumé Writing Kit

Mind Tools: Essential Skills for an Excellent Career

Career Info Net: Career Resource Library

Career Hub: Free Advice From Career Experts

World of Work Map

Career TV
US Department of Labor
Career Tube          

My Plan                               

Career Overview            

My Majors                          

Career One Stop             

The Career Project 

 

 

 


BSC CAREER SERVICES
241 Norton ~ (205) 226-4719 ~ mlebeau@bsc.edu