From College News - Faced with unemployment, many adults return to college seeking further education.
The Charlotte Observer reports that the recession and widespread unemployment have driven many adults to return to college.
Rather than seeking their GED or vocational training, which are hallmarks of the typical “adult student”, many are graduates with undergraduate and professional degrees who were caught off-guard when even the most stable companies and corporations began laying off employees at the start of the recession.
In addition to the increasing number of adult students, administrators are seeing a rise in the number students taking on full course loads. They attribute the increase of full-time students to the high unemployment figures. After all, there’s more time to dedicate to studies, as well as a desire to complete courses and receive a degree in a shorter period of time.
Although many are seeking further education as a means of revitalizing, or possibly revamping, their careers, it remains to be seen whether these students are faring better in this tough job market than their degree-less counterparts.
By Janelle Vreeland
From College News - Faced with unemployment, many adults return to college seeking further education.
From College News - They have high hopes, but college grads are focusing on money, learning opportunities and market success in potential employers.
It may be time for the Millennial generation’s alleged bad reputation to be discarded. Our alleged lack of work ethic and dependency on our parents has been the subject of scorn in the past, but according to Business Week it seems that, with each graduating class, we’re becoming a more realistic and practical group.
As Business Week reports, a survey conducted by Universum USA focusing on graduating college students has found that the recent recession and tough job market have caused grads to take a more serious look at their futures.
From the answers given by the 56,900 students surveyed, a common theme emerged: the companies grads would most like to work for ”have lots of market success, and students seek employers that either offer learning opportunities, cool products or services, or an environment that will allow them to flourish.”
The top five ideal companies with these traits, according to students, are Google Inc., Walt Disney Co., the FBI, Apple Inc. and Ernst & Young. Grads, however, realize that these companies are the ideal, rather than the realistic, employers, and the survey found that most are concerned with finding a job, rather than the perfect job.
Although financial stability was thought more desirable this year than in past years, college grads’ idealistic attitudes are still very present. Witness the abundance of companies on the list who aim to change the world, including The Peace Corps and Teach for America. Values, a green consciousness and a global perspective were all also cited as being key traits of a desirable company.
What about you? Are you the practical realist job-hunter, or are you the idealist who refuses to settle for anything other than your dream job? Are the traits you look for in a potential employer in stark contrast to the ones listed by the survey? Share your thoughts with us!
By Janelle Vreeland
From College News - How to protect your professional reputation as more businesses use social networking to check out applicants.
As graduation rapidly approaches, students have been frantically searching for work after college. And while they’ve likely bought a new, more professional wardrobe for upcoming interviews, such a move isn’t the only necessarily course of post-grad action. More and more colleges are now suggesting that students also give their social networking pages a second look as well
As The Valley Vanguard, the student paper for Saginaw Valley State University, reports, employers now use sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to learn more about their applicants, since those sites have made it very easy for friends—and employers—to find one another.
So, how can you keep your professional reputation intact without losing your connection to the online world?
1. Check your privacy settings
By examining your settings often, you give yourself complete control over who can view your profile and how much they can see. The settings are easy to change and make it easy for your friends to read what you have to say without the rest of the world having the same ability.
2. Protect your tweets
In choosing this privacy option, you remove yourself and your tweets from the public timeline. It also prevents others from retweeting your posts for others to see. In addition, you have the ability to approve who follows you, giving you the heads up whenever someone you don’t know shows interest in you.
3. Change your status
If your status boasts about your still hungover state, deleting it would be a good idea. Like your tweets, your status will affect the image you present. Although changing your status to “is really hoping she gets the job”, while a little cheesy, might not be a bad idea.
4. Use a nickname
Some nicknames won’t be enough to keep people from finding you (ex. going by “Rob” instead of “Robert"), but by using a nickname on your profile, or a pseudonym on Twitter, it makes it more difficult for employers, and those annoying former high school classmates, to find you.
5. Change your profile picture
Even if you change your privacy settings, you’ll probably want to keep your profile picture public so that new friends and acquaintances can find you easily. So, instead of hiding your picture or taking it down completely, just make sure your picture shows you at your best, rather than passed out on a couch surrounded by empty cans of Natty Light.
By following these simple tips, you’ll gain peace of mind and an advantage in the post-college job search world. Just remember us when you land that dream job making the big bucks, okay?
By Janelle Vreeland
How can one student turn varied experiences into a good résumé? By emphasising the skills you've obtained.
After four busy years, Tammy is graduating. She has had an internship in her field – accounting – but mostly worked in restaurants and coffee shops.
So how can she turn her varied experiences into a good résumé?
In Business Communication: Building Critical Skills, my late co-author Kitty O. Locker and I recommend using a skills résumé (sometimes called a functional résumé) when most job experiences are outside your field of study.
In Tammy’s case, she gained terrific experience in accounting from her internship. But the skills she learned in other jobs are also useful as well.
Organization? Tammy had to keep track of orders, everything from whose iced tea was medium sweet to which salad got no bacon bits. Communication? She chatted with customers, jotted information down and passed on suggestions to her boss.
Management? She supervised two employees and cashed out registers accurately. Of course, employers want as close a match to the job as possible. Here is where Tammy can augment her work experiences with classroom ones, so long as she clarifies which are which.
She can even include skills learned from volunteer activities; in Tammy’s case, working with a literacy campaign through her sorority.
Tammy should start by deciding which skills are most important for the job. These can include several specific to accounting, as well as some “soft” business skills, like writing or general computer software knowledge.
Then, she builds her résumé around those skills, ideally using five or six bullet points with strong verbs for each. Details, especially measurable accomplishments like monthly sales totals, are important.
She lists the actual employers briefly in a separate section. She should also include standard categories like Objective, Extracurricular Activities, and References.
Later in her career, when Tammy’s skills and experiences more closely match the job she wants, she can switch to the traditional chronological résumé, where work qualifications are organized by timeline instead of skills.
Both résumés should highlight her bachelor’s degree in accounting, along with the fact that she worked her way through college and won scholarships.
In her application letter, Tammy should further reinforce connections among her skills by creating a narrative linking them.
Best of all, by using a skills résumé instead of a chronological one, Tammy will demonstrate one of the guiding principles of any business: economy. Nothing in her college work history is wasted!
By Steve Kaczmarek, Columbus State Community College
About the author:
College News presents a rundown of the best and most helpful career sites.
One of the biggest hurdles college grads face after receiving their degrees is landing that first job. Most colleges and universities offer job placement programs and career services to help students prepare for this search, but often times those aids are just not enough.
As corporations are becoming more and more paperless, especially by posting applications and job openings online, it has become essential for one to know how to navigate the internet’s employment realm.
There are a plethora of career-based Web sites out there, some which were developed with very specific demographics in mind. With the help of the site Resume Help, College News has compiled a list of some of the best and most widely used career sites on the internet in order to help give college students and grads an advantage in this competitive job market.
1. Monster.com – Probably the most recognizable site on this list. Not only does it allow users to search through one of the largest job databases on the internet, but Monster also offers additional job-hunting resources.
Users can visit the Monster’s Company Boulevard to research and compare company profiles before they apply for their job of choice. The site also offers resources to help brush up on interviewing and resume writing techniques. It’s a popular site, and for good reason.
2. Vault’s Job Board – Not only does this site boast information on over 10,000 companies, it also has features that are uniquely targeted to college students.
Vault has a section dedicated to undergraduate schools, to which current students can contribute information on their Alma Mater, graduate school programs, as well as tips and tricks to help student write the perfect admissions essay.
Users can even contribute to community discussions and seek advice from other, more experience, job hunters. That’s a resource as valuable as any in this economy.
3. Hot Jobs – Run by Yahoo!, the site requires the user to have a Yahoo! ID in order to access it.
Like most other sites it offers resume and cover letter writing services, but Hot Jobs also has a salary negotiating tool and a networking tool, which will help to get your name out there among potential employers. In addition, job searches and applied jobs can be saved to your personal account for future use.
4. Flip Dog – A sister site of Monster.com that focuses primarily on local job openings. You can search by keywords or job title and sort according to city, state, or zip code. You can also browse by category and use the site to host your resume.
It’s a nice alternative to Monster, which can seem a little overwhelming to first time users or those focusing only on local job openings.
5. Get That Gig – The site most obviously directed to young adults and college students/grads. It focuses on more creative jobs and careers, with job categories including music, outdoor and adventure, and non-profit based industries. It also has a list of featured employers and their profiles, which run that gamut from MTV, to Marvel Comics, to Sony BMG. A contemporary interpretation of conventional career sites.
6. SimplyHired – As SimplyHired’s catchphrase suggests, it’s “job search made simple”. This search engine searches multiple job sites at once, making your hunt less stressful and time-consuming. Much like Flipdog, SimplyHired also boasts the ability to search for and focus on local job openings.
By Janelle Vreeland
From College News - January unemployment figures decrease by .03 percent -- but 20,000 jobs were lost in first month of 2010.
Part of the reason the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been making an Inspector Clouseau-style trip down the economic staircase was because the market was anticipating bad news from the U.S Department of Labor (not helping matters was a rise in the weekly jobless reports). Well, turns out the news isn’t all bad. But it isn’t exactly good either.
According to U.S. Department of Labor’s jobs report for January 2010, unemployment fell by .03 percent, from 10 percent to 9.7 percent. Though there were 20,000 jobs lost in January, some sectors, including manufacturing, temporary job services and retail—that second one means you, college students—added jobs. The temp services added 52,000 jobs in January,which helped the number of temporary help services employment to rise to 247,000 jobs since September 2009.
Adding to the good news was the fact that the Dept. of Labor revised many numbers from previous job reports. For example, the government revised its job loss numbers in November, saying that the economy gained 64,000 jobs, instead of the previously reported 4,000. Not only that, but the number of jobs lost in December was changed from the previously reported 85,000 to 150,000—wait, what?
Furthermore, job loss numbers for August, September and October of last year were much worse than reported—as in 240,000 worse. So much for that good news then.
But luckily, the number of annoying bosses forcing you to fetch their coffee in the most passive-aggressive manner possible remains at a steady 100 percent. Yay you.
Now here some numbers, according to the report, which may be relevant to you, the college student. The number of people working part-time for economic reasons—i.e., involuntary part-time workers—fell from 9.2 million to 8.3.
By Jon Graef
College News presents: Job etiquette for any hopeful employee
Creating an interview strategy is important in today’s competitive job market. After the celebration of landing the job interview in the firs place wraps up, your research should begin.
So let’s begin with the basics. What are you going to wear?
Research the company and their policies first. Is it a relaxed, business casual kind of atmosphere? Or do they have restricted dress code policies? Or is there a uniform that you need to adhere to? These are important to keep in mind. Dressing down looks sloppy, but over-dressing demands too much attention. When in doubt, guys should stick to a suit and tie with polished shoes, and girls should stick to an appropriate length skirt paired with a blouse and pantyhose.
With the outfit prepared, it is time to brush-up on the company’s history and mission. Knowing background information about the founder of the company and his or her goals and how the current employees are carrying them out is important information for a new comer.
Not only should you be knowledgeable in regard to the company, but also in the position for which you are applying. It seems like a no-brainer, but knowing what is expected of you, and what you will be trying to achieve from 9 to 5, is a key component to any interview.
Just as in any social situation, manners and common courtesy reign supreme. Firmly shake hands upon meeting your interviewer. The fellas over at Mint.com put it this way:
“A handshake is a physical interaction. At an interview, it’s a physical interaction between strangers, making it a prime moment for etiquette. A firm handshake — in which you pump the hand once or twice with a secure, steady grip, then release — conveys affability and openness, and can create an immediate feeling of comfort between two people.”
As you are shaking your interviewer’s hand, look them in the eye and actually listen to them. Many of us shake hands but forget names all too quickly. Remembering your interviewer’s name and referencing it later will work to your advantage.
Listen carefully to your interviewer. Did they mention their love of golf? A sick pet? Take note of these little details. At the close of the interview or as a follow-up you can express concern for their ill family pet, or suggest a 7-iron that you simply cannot live without. This shows that you paid attention and are engaged in whatever your interviewer is talking about.
Most importantly, be yourself. Nothing is more annoying than someone that pretends to be knowledgeable in a subject they know absolutely nothing about. If you’re unclear about things, ask! It’s better to be inquisitive than come off as a know-it-all. Embellishments to your resume will just hurt you in the end. Just like our elementary school teachers said, honesty is always the best policy.
By Paige Maynard
From College News - Pro tip: It may involve grad school.
The best way to make a career change, whether it’s a move up the corporate ladder or onto a new career entirely, is to re-train and return to school for a graduate degree. In a recession, graduate school may seem like a way out of a bad job market. For others, it may feel like a necessity.
But before you choose to go to graduate school and make that career change, be sure that you have a game plan. A graduate degree in a subject you do not plan to pursue further as a career is not helpful. Likewise, a graduate degree can cost a great deal of money; it is not something to be taken lightly.
There are reasons to attend graduate school, foremost among them that you need re-training to reach the next level in your career. For example, if you work in business, and want to move to a management position, an MBA is a good choice. If you are an artist and want to be an art educator, a teaching certificate will help you immensely. At its best, a graduate degree gives you the know-how and qualifications to be a professional and expert in your field.
Before You Commit
If you are pursuing a field entirely different than one you pursued in undergraduate school, do your research before applying.
Even if you have studied this field in undergrad, it is always good to pursue more experience. Find a friend in your chosen field and ask him or her for an informational interview. These are helpful because you can ask your burning questions, such as “What’s the work environment like?,” “Are you satisfied with what you do?,” or “What should I know before I go to graduate school?”
If the informational interview goes well, ask that person if you can shadow him or her. You can learn firsthand what a day in the life is like; instead of dreaming about your ideal profession, do it.
Depending on the field, you could even pursue an internship. Whatever your age or experience, an internship in your field can be good experience. It will even look good on your graduate school application, and show the admissions office that you are serious about your path.
In some fields, like medicine, internships are hard to come by. But do not be discouraged. Special programs exist; all it takes to find them is a little creativity and research. You may not be able to work next to a surgeon, but you can find a place working alongside doctors at a public policy institute.
Whatever the field, the benefits of an internship are enormous; even after you finish graduate school you will have the necessary contacts that will help you land that first job.
Back to School
Some professional or graduate schools expect you to have a grounding in certain subjects before you apply. All expect you to have finished your bachelor’s degree.
For medical school, you will need to have completed a set of pre-med courses, including biology and chemistry. These are the basic prerequisites you must have fulfilled before you apply. Even outside of medicine, it is always good advice to take a course to refresh your knowledge base before entering graduate school. It will give you a taste of what is to come, and provide good preparation for the future.
Next, you must take graduate entrance exams. This is always a difficult step but luckily there are resources. Whether you find a course, textbooks, or practice tests, there are ways to study for these tests.
You have successfully finished the research and the tests. Now it’s time for the application. Applications usually entail a personal statement, an additional essay, and recommendations from past professors or employers.
This is the time to reach out to your professors and ask them for a reference. This should not be a simple e-mail, either. A call or a visit is more appropriate.
Make sure they know everything about what you are up to, your future plans, and your reasons to go back to grad school. Too much information is always better than too little. If the professor or employer does not seem to remember you, do not feel obligated to use his or her recommendation. A good recommender is one who knows you well. (And likes you, too!)
The essays should also be up to par. They are your opportunity to lobby the admissions committee and make sure they know you have thought through this decision. Have them proofread a couple of times by a good editor. Try to go near the word limit. Remember, this is your chance—make yourself look unique, passionate, and dedicated to this decision.
What comes next could be acceptance into your graduate school of choice--in which case, congratulations! Failure is also a possibility, one you have to prepare for. Remember, like in any other endeavor in life, you have to take that rejection in stride.
There is always time to reapply next year. There are always more ways to prove your dedication, whether more internships, education, or test preparation. There are always ways to try again.
Graduate or professional school is a good next step on your way to a career change, and, whatever people tell you, is always a good idea.
Just make sure you are focused on your studies, ready for the career ahead, and focused enough to appreciate it. Also make sure you are ready; it is quite a sacrifice, in terms of money and time. Whatever the economy’s status, graduate school has to mean more to you than simply a way out. It has to be something you are passionate about.
By Jonathan Peters, Grockit SAT instructor
From College News - As the old saying goes: If you can't be in the job you love, love the job you're in.
Have you recently complained to someone about your job, just to have them tell you how lucky you should feel? Well, whoever told you to count your blessings is right. A recent study conducted earlier this month shows that 46 percent of employed Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs. But the job market hasn’t recovered yet, making finding a new place to work difficult. So how can you stay put and make the best of it? College News presents some tips to bring the love back into your job:
1. Step It Up
Everyone knows that you get out of things what you put into them. Your job should be no exception. Show some initiative at work by taking on more projects and asking your manager if there’s anything you can help out with. With recent cutbacks and layoffs, you may be asked to wear several hats and be expected to do so graciously. (There’s a reason why national productivity is the highest it’s been in six years.)
If that sounds like a recipe for more complaining on your part, here’s the reality: If you’re not willing to do it, there’s a bunch of people who will gladly take your job. So an increase in initiative benefits you in more than one way. Not only will you have more pride in the work you do, but your manager will recognize your change in attitude as well. Once the economy is back in order, you can cite the work you took on as a justification for a raise.
2. Build relationships
Studies show that the relationships we have at work are directly correlated to our job happiness. That doesn’t mean you should ask out the cute receptionist ASAP. Rather, just try and be more sociable in general. If your relationships with co-workers have grown stale, or you tend to keep to yourself, try inviting a few out to lunch. Maybe you can organize a friendly sports competition at work, like a volleyball tournament. Not only will you be meeting more people, but your peers will give you kudos for being an awesome social coordinator. Then, if you have gripes about how management is totally screwing up your company, you just might find yourself with a sympathetic ear.
3. Develop your career
Does your employer offer paid training or tuition reimbursement programs? If continuing education is part of your benefits package, that may be a perk you may want to take advantage of. Adding to your job skills can give you just the pep you need to breathe fresh air into your job, and it’ll also give you something to add on your resume once you’re ready for your next role--at a job you presumably enjoy.
4. Take Care of yourself
Just because you’re stressed out at work (because your job sucks) doesn’t mean you have to neglect healthy habits. Instead of grabbing a snack from the vending machine, try packing a healthy snack for yourself instead. When you’re feeling a little stressed out, go for a brisk walk to re-energize yourself. Making an effort to eat healthy and keep a balance in your life can be just what you need to get the loving feeling back into the job you once loved.
By Angelica Rodriguez
From College News - So you nailed the interview and want to start working. Wait. Before you say yes to that job, consider these important factors.
After searching all this time, and after sending so many resumes and cover letters, you’ve finally been offered a job. But before you accept that offer, and start telling all your friends about your newly found employment, you may want to think their offer over and consider a few things. Below is a list of some important factors you should think about before starting any job:
1. Get it in Writing
You’ve probably received the good news over the phone and your recruiter or hiring manager has gone over the details of the job; your title, your compensation, your vacation time, etc. But, talk is cheap, and a verbal promise is not the same as a contractual guarantee. Make sure a written offer is coming your way and that all the information you discussed is spelled out in glorious black-and-white. Otherwise? It didn’t happen.
Is the salary you’ve been offered fair and adequate for someone with your experience? If not, you may want to negotiate. When “Brian,” a grad student, got an offer at his dream finance job, he realized that the salary was a little less than expected. Brian says, “after talking it over with the hiring manger, they were able to come back with a higher salary.”
The lesson being, don’t be intimidated to negotiate a salary you think should be higher. Most managers expect some negotiation on your part. Besides, it’s better to try to get your desired salary before you start in your new role.
3. Benefits Package
Remember to include your benefits package as part of your compensation. You may have a lower salary than desired, but your employer may cover all your health costs--a very generous factor to consider.
In addition to your benefits, you’ll also have to think about your vacation time...as well as 401k, flex spending, tuition reimbursement and any other benefits you have as an employee. Recent grad “Ivana” decided to accept her current position as a Marketing Coordinator not because of the salary, but because of the full tuition reimbursement benefit that her company offers. “I didn’t even know that was something that companies did. Now I can go back to school and not worry about paying it myself,” she told College News.
4. Company Culture
What is the day-to-day atmosphere of your potential workplace? This consideration may not seem like a deal-breaker, but it can affect how you feel about your job. Maybe you’re someone who works best with structure and organization. So working in laid-back company would probably not work well for you. It always helps to get a feel of the environment before you start working. Ask to take a walk around the office and talk with employees.
5. Career Advancement
What opportunities are there in the organization for growth? in 5 years, will you be in the same place you are now? This is a huge factor to consider. Employees are into “working their way up.” No one wants to stay at the same job without an opportunity for advancement. Another thing to consider is whether employees receive training and development. Many employees attribute these types of opportunities to their own career advancement.
The last thing you want is to be in a job you wish you hadn’t taken. Evaluate all components of the offer and make sure you make the best decision for you. After all, starting a new job should be a fun experience and one you can live with everyday. Because once you accept the job, you’ll have to.
By Angelica Rodriguez
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