#TBT…4 Surefire Ways to Optimize Your Career Center

Val Matta, CareerShift

Think of your career centers as hidden gold mines: Although they’re there at your disposal, few college students are aware of their advantages. A National Association of College and Employers (NACE) survey showed only 36 percent of students frequently take advantage of career center services. What’s more: 27 percent of graduating  seniors who plan on entering the workforce do not make use of their college career centers services. So while many students and young professionals may be aware of their career centers, not all use it as much as they could.

What are some ways to optimize your career center, especially during the job search? Check out these tips:

Find an advisor who understands you

First things first: You have to find a career center advisor who gets you. This is important for a few reasons. First, an advisor who understands your major, your personality, and your career path will be able to steer you in the right direction more efficiently. In addition, when you feel comfortable around these kinds of advisors, you’ll likely be inclined to seek and later take their advice.

Tip: Before you meet with an advisor, research their history and professional background. Then, try to see if your professional interests and values align with theirs, ensuring you find the right match.

Get resume help

About 71.3 percent of those who use career centers take advantage of resume services. Think about it: You have experts at your disposal ready and willing to optimize your application materials. In particular, your resume is usually what a hiring manager or recruiter sees first, so it needs to be at its best.

Tip: The best way to get resume help from a career center to come as prepared as possible. Have a rough draft ready to go, even if you know it may be edited. That way, there’s a solid foundation for you and the advisor to go through.

Practice, practice, practice

The NACE survey also indicated that about 42.8 percent of career services users go there for mock interview sessions. This is great way to learn and understand the best interview methods, such as how to answer questions appropriately or the best ways to follow-up. You may also learn how to dress professionally or how to conduct your body language in a way that shows you’re professional, enthusiastic and eager to get the job.

Tip: Don’t be nervous! Your career center advisor is there to help you. Ask for feedback on what you’re doing right and what you need to improve upon. This way, you’ll get the bad out of the way and be able to emphasize the good.

Find those hidden opportunities

After all your proactive work is complete, it’s time to utilize your career center’s best asset: Hidden job opportunities. Eighty percent of open jobs are never advertised, which means members of your network, including your career center, may be aware of jobs you would never see listed. So it’s vital that you use this resource to your advantage.

Tip: Be sure to jump on those hidden internship and job opportunities. Just because they aren’t advertised, it doesn’t mean others haven’t gotten wind — they may be applying for the positions as well. In addition, if your advisor has a connection or can give you a reference, you may have an easier time getting into the organization.

Visiting your career center is an absolute necessity, whether you just started school or are about to graduate. Be sure to take advantage of this resource and use it to its full potential.

This article was originally published at http://www.businessinsider.com/4-surefire-ways-to-optimize-your-career-center-2013-6 and may be re-published with permission from the author.

 

#TBT…Approaching Employers at Career Fair Events: An Employer Perspective

by Sandi Ohman, Senior Program Manager, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

As career professionals we strive to educate students on how to be successful in all steps of the career process.  We know they don’t always implement this advice – that is evident at the events!  However, when a recruiter or hiring manager shares the same advice with students they tend to take it to heart.

Recently, we reached out to several employers that typically attend the Industry/Career Expo at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, asking for their perspective on students at such an event.  We wanted to know what they look for when students approach their booth.  When determining who they want to interview further, we asked the employers to share some of the basic questions they ask students at the booth.  The response was good and the feedback was somewhat expected and traditional with some exceptions.

The top areas that stood out with employers and made impressions were the following:

  • Knowledge about the company and knows a few specific facts
  • Knows what they want to do for that specific company, or at least have an idea
  • Has the ability to carry on a conversation with the recruiter – so good, or even average, communication skills
  • A good introduction
  • Awareness of strengths and interests
  • A true passion for their career interest
  • A good attitude and shows confidence – whether real or faked
  • Prepared – research, resume, note pad to take notes
  • Well-groomed and dressed appropriately for the event, a good handshake, make eye contact and smile
  • Strong academics

A few tips employers shared that are not as traditional, but still good to consider:

  • Take the initiative to contact previous interns to find out about the positions and company as part of their  preparation
  • Held a job or been involved in extracurricular activities that are related to their major
  • The student doesn’t have to wear a suit and tie, but should still be well groomed and neat.  The clothes should be a complement to the person and what they would bring to the company.

When asked about the questions they ask students, a.k.a. the screening process, the responses were again expected:

  • Where do you want to be geographically? (Especially important for companies far away from the university’s location)
  • What are the skills/knowledge areas you bring to the company?
  • Tell me about your background and experiences?  (Ensures relevance to what the company is looking for in  candidates)
  • Walk me through your resume. (Testing their ability to engage in a conversation about themselves, hitting points like achievements and passion)
  • Why XYZ company? (Especially important at a career event when there are many companies to talk to, often times very similar in function.  This also helps determine motivation)
  • What brought you to ABC university?
  • What type of position are you seeking?  How does your education and experiences relate to this area?
  • Tell me about a project or class that you’ve been involved in, that has prepared for this type of position.
  • What are you not interested in doing professionally?
  • Where do you see yourself professionally, over the next __ years?
  • What are your favorite classes/professor and why?
  • What is your dream job?
  • Why should we select you?

Advice from a sampling of employers does not capture the full scope of the students’ experience at a career fair event, but it is a place to start.  Many will hear this advice, some will listen, even fewer will take it to heart and prepare accordingly.  Those that do gain the reward!

 

Five Books Every Student Should Read

Thank you NACE and Lakeisha for the great read!

The NACE Blog

Lakeisha Mathews

Lakeisha M. Mathews, Director, Career and Professional Development Center, University of Baltimore
Twitter: @RightResumes_CC
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/lakeishamathews/
Blogs from Lakeisha Matthews.

A few months ago I wrote about 10 must-read books for career professionals. Now I would like to draw attention to a few must-read books for any student who aspires to be successful, a leader, or simply to be ready for the world of work.

With information always at their fingertips, students can access tips, samples, and information on career and professional development in a split second on Google, YouTube, Pinterest, and so forth. However, many professionals can attest to the bookthat changed our lives, or the authorthat helped us mature and think differently about ourselves. Our students should be encouraged to have the same encounters with books that help them grow and mature professionally. Whether it’s a hard back, soft cover, or e-book, books…

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Words of Wisdom from Boca Raton’s CEOs, Part 2

A continuation of our blog post from last week, Words of Wisdom from CEOs:

Kelly Vons, General Manager, Boca Raton Resort & Club

  • Find out what you love to do
  • Try different things
  • Love who you are working with

Dr. Levy, Marcus Neuroscience Institute

Daily process:

  • Focus on your goal
  • Check with yourself that your goal is doing the right thing
  • Ask yourself if there is anything I could have done better today?
  • Have you treated your customer the way you would treat your mother.

Dan Kane, CEO, Modernizing Medicine

  • You can’t force change but you can be a catalyst
  • The type of people you surround yourself with will define you and your company culture
  • Like a fine wine, let things breathe
  • Have the ability to see opportunity
  • Find out what people are willing to pay for
  • Be passionate
  • If it’s not fun, do something else
  • Fail fast, succeed faster
  • Social media – you must be able to monetize

 

Words of Wisdom from CEOs, Part 1

Great tips for our Student’s and Alumni!

Burt Rapoport, Founder & CEO, Rapoport’s Restaurant Group

  • Must read: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Must watch: Shark Tank
  • Do what you say you are going to do
  • Make decisions based on your values
  • Always begin with an end in mind
  • The nicer you are to people the more successful you will be
  • Make your own luck

Andrew Duffel, President & CEO, Research Park at Florida Atlantic University

  • Know when to listen & when to talk
  • Be flexible
  • Master critical thinking
  • Everyone has something to contribute
  • Everything that gets accomplished is through relationships

Charles Deyo, CEO, Cendyn

Philosophy: I don’t want to be the best I want to be the only one doing it.

To have a sustainable business you must have recurring income.

Rick Hayduk, President, Boca Raton Resort & Club

Philosophy: Work your ass off.  Remove your ego.  Be first one in, last one out.  Be flexible.

Must read:  Good to Great

“Shoulding” All Over Yourself

Stacy Lanigan, Lynn University

Should …Should you use the word should?????

During my graduate degree one of my counseling classes had a guest speaker who was talking to us about “shoulding all over yourself.” At first I thought I heard it wrong and he said SH***** all over yourself…for those who were not paying attention, they were now! I was intrigued.

How often have I said this?

and….do some of my students think the same?

It was time for a change…”should” became my 4 letter word.

Instead, I began to replace “should” with many new phrases: I would love to, how about, what if and so many more. It is a consistent work in progress, but life is better without “should”

It has been many years since I have used the word “should”. Recently when someone new started in our office, I was reminded how “should” represents “it’s not enough,” disappointment and expectations, and the need to blog about it.

As career counselors, we have the ability to empower our students with a world of possibilities and I am thankful for the opportunity. 

Click anywhere in this post for a video on “a bad case of the shoulds.”

Stacy Lanigan

 

5 Ways Continuous Learning Will Change Your Career

Val Matta, Vice President of Business Development at CareerShift

Regardless of the type of profession you’re in, the technology, tools, and strategies you use in the workplace are constantly evolving.

Because of these rapid changes, employers desire candidates with a competitive edge. They expect candidates to be up-to-date with their skills, knowledgeable in the latest industry trends, and adaptable to any situation.

So you’re probably wondering, how does one gain this competitive advantage? Continue reading