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September 2013 Archives

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Many students take on part-time employment opportunities and paid internships while in college to help pay for tuition and necessities, and also to have some extra cash on-hand for the weekends. While money may be the primary motivation in these types of employment opportunities, all student employment roles (not just internships) can also help college students build the skills and experience they will need to succeed in the working world.

U.S. News & World Report, as part of their annual college issue, has recently published a couple of articles on getting the most out of working while in college (yes, there is more to those magazine issues than just college rankings).  These include a list of the top resume-building student employment jobs and tips on getting the most out of your internship

To find out more about student employment opportunities while at Simmons, check out our web pages on CA$H for on-campus and work-study employment, and CareerLink for off-campus part-time and internship opportunities (CareerLink is also our online job board for full-time job opportunities). You can also meet with a career coach to find out more about how to get the most out of your current student employment opportunty, and to find out how your experiences in that role can help improve your chances at obtaining full-time work in your field of choice after you graduate.  There is more to life (including work) than just money, and getting the most out of your work now will pay divendends (both financial and non-financial) in the years to come.

Photo Source: Reel Oldies

Got skills?

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Got skills?  Then make sure you know what they are and, even more importantly, can articulate them clearly.  If you don't tell an employer what you can offer, they won't know!  Be prepared for the interview question,  "What are your greatest strengths?"  When networking, let others know where you shine. They will be better able to help you if they are aware of your strengths and your accomplishments.   People like to help others who they perceive as competent and successful and will tell others how great you are.  Even relatives and friends who know you socially may not have an understanding of your professional skills but may be able to help you achieve your professional goals.  

Often, one of the first questions that a career coach asks when she sees a student or an alum is "What are your key skills?"  In response to that question,  it's not unusual for a coach to receive a blank look, a reddening face, or the comments, "It's hard to talk about my skills," "I don't want to brag!" or "I haven't thought about that."  So much depends on it, so take some time to reflect on what you have to offer an employer.  Following are four helpful ways for identifying your strengths.  

  1. Reflect on your accomplishments and ask yourself what skills were necessary to get the postitive results you obtained.  
  2. Ask supervisors, co-workers, family and friends, to give you feedback on what they see as some of your skills.  It is human nature to note what others do well, but fail to say so directly.
  3. Review former job or internship evaluations, and, recall verbal feedback that you have received on the job.  
  4. Take advantage of an excellent resource on the CEC's  website to help you identify or confirm your skill sets.  Career Driver, an online interactive self-assessment  will help you identify your natural strengths and transferable skills.  Being able to articulate these is critical for career planning, creating a resume and interviewing effectively.  Afterall, it's your skills and strengths that employers are looking for and are taking into account when making their hiring decision. The assessment takes about 25 minutes to complete and includes a print-out that with an array of career possibilities.

If you are interested in discovering more about yourself, check out the additional self-assessment tools featured on the CEC website "Career Toolkit." Type Focus,  which is also online, helps you understand your personality style and natural temperament for greater self-awareness to make informed career decisions.   There are also resources to identify your interests, values, accomplishments and the people who influence your decision-making.  

Keep track of your accomplishments!

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the-secret-to-getting-a-raise-or-promotion-L-PQXacH-175x130.jpegStarting a new job or internship this fall?  Put "keep track of my accomplishments" on your to-do list.  This record keeping will pay off when it comes time for a performance review and you can easily document your contributions.  You'll also have the information you need to update your resume, or prepare for an interview when you're in a job search.

Wondering what constitutes an accomplishment?  Review your job responsibilities or daily tasks and consider what you have successfully achieved that day or week.  Then determine the impact of that action. What added value or positive outcome did it have?  Use the C A R method to get started:

What was the Challenge (task, problem or opportunity) that I had?   As an RA I was responsible for planning programs to help new students connect to Simmons.

What Action did I take?  I planned and led several fun programs to help students get to know each other and learn more about the university.

What was the Result (added value, positive outcome or benefit)?   Students expressed how much better connected they felt to other floor residents and to the school by the end of the fall term.

Using that information, write a statement that reflects your accomplishment:  Planned and facilitated social programs for 25 first year students, successfully fostering a sense of community.                                                                                                                                                    

What's the best way to keep track of your accomplishments?  That's up to you.   For some, maintaining an old school manila folder where you keep work samples, thank you notes etc. works well.  For others, keeping a spreadsheet, journal, daily calendar or online portfolio is a better approach.  You might also consider using a free app like WorkSmart and track your accomplishments using your smart phone.  No matter what system you  use, the important thing is - to do it!

Additional information about writing accomplishments can be found on the Write a Resume page of the Career Toolkit.

 

 

 PHOTO: Courtesy lifehacker.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW-Cropped Head Shot.jpgAre you excited to begin your journey at Simmons, but feel unsure of choosing a major or career path? You are not alone.  Nationwide, 80% of college-bound students still haven't decided on a major, and 50 percent of those that have chosen will switch majors two to three times throughout their college experience, according to Fitz Grupe, founder of MyMajors.com.

As an entering student, you are faced with many new, immediate decisions, and "career" may not be foremost on your mind.  Yet, you do need to plan ahead for graduation and a career. After all, college is one of the biggest investments both financially and personally in your life, so freshman year is not too early to start. I want you to know that Simmons is a student-learning community that provides you with strong academics combined with career preparation which can give you a leg up in today's market. 

As a first step in planning for your career, I am inviting you to visit the CEC and tap into the many services and resources that we have to offer. The CEC uses the STEPS Career Development Plan that helps you acquire knowledge of yourself, career paths and future opportunities. Take advantage of our personalized career coaching, skill-building workshops, employer and recruiting events that all focus on increasing your career readiness and success.

My advice to incoming First-Years:

  • Discover and explore your interests through volunteering, joining student organizations/groups as you will learn more about yourself by strengthening and developing new skills from communication to leadership
  • Be proactive and do the research to find a career you will really enjoy by reading the Career Guides at Beatley Library on "What Can I Do With this Major?" 
  • Keep a wide lens around the variety of jobs and employers by taking advantage of the multiple employer and career events on campus
  • Identify internship opportunities that will strengthen your knowledge and skills in a field of interest and utilize CareerLink, and for work-study jobs go to the CA$H job board
  • Make connections with people as networking is the best way to learn about careers, find an internship or job
  • Seek the advice you need to prepare, plan and implement your goals through advising and individualized career coaching
  • Remember that you are responsible for your own future, so take charge, explore beyond the classroom and seek opportunities at Simmons to get to know the world of work

And, don't wait until your Senior Year to get to know the CEC. Whether you are clear or unclear on what you want, those who start early are better prepared for successful careers.

Learn more in the Undergraduate section of our website.

 

Andrea Wolf is the Director of the Simmons Career Education Center.