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June 2013 Archives

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This is the time of year, post-Commencement and into the fall, when many are in job search mode. New graduates, whether at the undergrad level with a freshly minted bachelor's degree or at the graduate level with a Master's or PhD in hand, are actively seeking to put their new credentials to work. The lucky among them will be starting a new position sometime soon. 

So after the demands of the job search are behind you, the coveted offer of employment is in hand and you have successfully negotiated your arrangement, then what? What happens when you actually show up to work and finally make the switch out of job search mode and into work mode? At a new position and with a new organization? And possibly for the very first time?    

Well, there is a lot to take in, and you might benefit from some helpful hints from those who have gone before and know the turf. The critical first three months are when you establish yourself in the organization -- your work habits, your persona, and your credibility as a worker and team member. As Idealist.org says:

"Starting a new job can be overwhelming. Between meeting new colleagues, mastering new skills, and tackling new responsibilities, your first three months might leave you feeling exhausted and burned out. To help alleviate some of that stress, we've put together a First 100 Days plan that will help you avoid rookie mistakes, impress your boss, and endear yourself to your colleagues. So print out the plan below, set up some auto-reminders, and hit the ground running!"

Read the full article here and then make your own "First 100 Days" plan. Good luck to all you new hires out there, and remember, even as an alum you can always check in with us here in the CEC for any career-related issues.  

   

Photo: Courtesy Nobscot.com

We've all people-at-workplace.jpgheard stories about  employees who are miserable at work, having unknowingly wandered into a "corporate culture" that isn't a good fit. Unfortunately, dissatisfied employees aren't usually as successful, experience increased stress, and often leave the company after a short stay.  To avoid this situation, it is critical to know yourself well and understand upfront what kind of work environment would foster your best performance and generate job satisfaction.  How to Find an Organization Worth Working for outlines key questions to ask yourself to help determine what work environment would enable you to thrive.

Since the stakes are high, it's worth doing some serious research before accepting a position! Networking is a very effective approach for doing research on an organization's culture. Scheduling informational interviews with employees or past employees of organizations in which you are interested will give you an insider's point of view on what it's like to work there.

Another good sources of information is to browse the results of employee satisfaction surveys. For instance, the Boston Business Journal (BBJ) announced in May the winners in its 2013 Best Places to Work in Massachusetts Program. According to the BBJ, these are companies that "are creating a high level of workforce satisfaction and loyalty."

Although there are clues throughout the hiring process that give you a sense of whether you would be happy working at an organization, often candidates don't ask the right questions to really get a sense of the company's "culture."  Some additional  tips on how to ensure that there's workplace fit can be found in How to Tell if a Company Culture Will be a Bad Fit.  The goal is to find a company that goes "beyond the norm to create an enjoyable and meaningful work environment for their employees."

Learn more about the process of ensuring a good cultural fit at your next workplace by setting up an appointment with a CEC career coach.

Yes, you can - network!

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Recently I received a very nice thank you note from a former student in the CEC's Humanities 370 class,  a career preparation course taught by the CEC staff. A new grad, Sarah wrote that although she hadn't fully appreciated what she was learning at the time, she was now experiencing the benefit.  Indeed, the various class assignments, considered "quite a pain", were actually great preparation for conducting a real job search.  Now confidently conducting informational interviews, she saw it really was possible "to create an extensive professional network".  Sweet music to a career coach's ears!

Like others in her cohort, this new grad soon realized that an effective job search involved more than just responding to online job postings.  She remembered that networking by doing informational interviews was a more powerful approach. But without this prior learning or practice in this skill, many new grads are at a disadvantage in knowing how to get started.  Some express concern that they don't know anyone or have any contacts. 

Good news - you already have a network!   You just need some help in identifying the people who would love to talk with you.  Begin by reading, How to Identify Your Existing Network, for networking tips and insights.  Then for a step-by-step approach, including an Informational Interview Tutorial, check out Optimize Your Networking on the Career Toolkit.

Still an undergrad and want to be prepared like Sarah before you graduate?  Explore doing an internship and taking Humanities 370 in your junior or senior year!

Where the jobs are

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The CEC News blog has been reaching out to our graduating seniors in these last several posts, and with good reason. Making that first big transtion from college to career is a big one and is not always easy to navigate. But it can be done - and has been - many, many times.

Continuing with that theme, and for other young alums and career ponderers out there, we point you in the direction of this recent story from the Boston Globe Magazine about the local job market, specifically concerning four sectors of promise and growth: health care, finance and insurance, customer service, and computers and information technology.

"Finding a new job isn't easy in the best of times, but there are ways to increase the odds in your favor. Whether you're entering the workforce for the first time, trying to come back from a layoff, or just ready to make a change, be smart and start with a look at where the jobs of tomorrow will be. For those with the right credentials, these 20 picks in four relatively strong Massachusetts industries -- health care, finance, high tech, and, yes, service -- will have hired more than 100,000 new workers by the end of this decade, according to projections by the state's labor department."

Check out the full piece on BostonGlobe.com. And remember, you can always avail yourself of the Career Education Center resources and services, both elsewhere on our website and in-person - we're here for you all summer long!

PHOTO: Christopher Churchill - Courtesy BostonGlobe.com