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December 2013 Archives

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Winter break is upon us and at last it's time for a few weeks of R & R.  You deserve it! Definitely recharge for the coming semester, but consider setting aside a block of time to get a jump on your job or internship search. You will have the opportunity to "focus" on your search without the pull of multiple demands once you are back on campus.   You will be glad you planned ahead once the crunch of the spring semester rolls around.  

Don't make it complicated. Start by reviewing "Manage your Job Search" or "Pursue an Internship" in the CEC Career Toolkit to get things rolling.  Following the CEC STEPS Career Development Plan, choose some of these simple activities to weave into your time off. 

Assessment: Get to know yourself

  1. Make a list of your strengths and accomplishments
  2. Ask family and friends what they see as your key strengths.  Review written evaluations
  3. Take SkillScan's Career Driver online to learn more about your skill sets and TypeFocus to explore your personality preferences

Exploration:  Research career opportunities

  1. Jump online to do some company research.  Go to the  Careers Research Guides to Careers on the library website and click on "Careers by Discipline" for resources
  2. Review some job postings to see who is looking for your skills
  3. Network!  Build new connections and reconnect with old ones.  Don't overlook family gatherings
  4. Set up some informational interviews to learn about your potential career path/industry.  It's slow now in most offices, so professionals will be especially willing to meet
  5. Research YOU by Googling your name.  Would potential employers be impressed?
  6. Check out "What Can I Do with this Major"

Preparation:  Develop marketing tools and refine career goals

  1. Take some time to revisit and update your resume and review cover letter guidelines
  2. Prepare and practice your "elevator speech" or two-minute "infomercial" to market yourself verbally when networking
  3. Review "Prepare for an Interview" and develop answers to the most common interview questions
  4. Plan your job search strategy and set goals and timelines for the upcoming semester
  5. Set up an appointment with a career coach after the first of the year.  The CEC reopens January 2

Implement:  Develop and implement your job search

  1. Search for jobs and internships on CareerLink, Simmons job posting board
  2. Look for internships that other students have done by going to Simmons' Peer Internship Network
  3. Apply for internships or jobs                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Putting the time in over winter break will give you a head start that will set you up for success in your search, while making your spring semester less stressful!  Enjoy your break and happy holidays!

Learn to market yourself

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hireme.jpgLearn to market yourself? That's a traditional piece of job search advice that students are apt to hear, but what exactly does it mean?  And how do you go about doing that?

When you hear the words "market yourself" in regards to a job search, the words "self-promotion" or "selling" may initially come to mind, along with a feeling of dread about having to do it.  But a better marketing approach can be found in the words of Peter Drucker, the legendary management consultant who said, "The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself." 

How do you apply this definition of marketing to a job search?  By understanding your customer well - determining what skills and experience employers (your customers) want.  Then, let those skills and desired experience "sell themselves" in the intentional writing of your resume and cover letter, and the thoughtful discussion of yourself in networking meetings and interviews.

How do you determine what skills and experience employers want in new hires?  Fortunately, they like to tell you.

According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities LEAP study (Liberal Education and America's Promise) employers value candidates who can think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems, as well as demonstrate ethical judgement and intercultural skills.  They also endorse student involvement in "active, effortful work" -  practices including internships, senior projects and community engagement.  In addition, NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) publishes an annual survey of 10 skills job seekers need, outlined in an earlier blog, that include such skills as the ability to work on a team, problem solving and organizational abilities.

Happily most students have had these experiences and developed these skills through their academics, extracurricular activities, internships, fieldwork, volunteering, jobs, sports and study abroad.   However, just listing your degree, coursework, activities and job responsibilities on your resume will not market you.  That approach will not give you the credit you need.  You need a strategy to effectively present the skills you have acquired through your college experience in your resume and cover letters, and discuss them in interviews. 

Want to learn how to translate your total college experience to effectively market yourself?  Watch Back to Basics, Marketing Your Total College Experience to Today's Employers, a webinar taught by Don Asher, America's job search guru, and one of the many resources on the CEC's Career Toolkit.

 

 

Photo: Courtesy of The Motherhood.com


 

Thankful

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Over this past Thanksgiving weekend, all of us at the Career Education Center had some time to think about what we have been thankful for this past semester.  Some of the things that came to mind about our work here at Simmons College include:

- The over 600 students and alumnae who have come to our offices or participated in one of our workshops/presentations/events this semester to learn more about resumes, interviewing, job search strategies, career planning, and our office's resources.

- The nearly 40 employers who have come on campus this semester to meet with Simmons students.

- The over 850 jobs posted to our online job board to CareerLink.

- The vast wealth of resources, including career videos, sample resumes, and job boards that are available to our students through our website and the Beatley Library's career guides.

- The over 200 individuals who have Liked our Facebook page.

- Our 6 Student Employees - Kelsey, Candace, Kirsten, Emlyn, Camille, and Alexandra are the best!

- Getting to come to work every day surrounded by so many wonderful students, faculty members, and fellow staff members.

We at the CEC hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend, and are looking forward to these last few weeks of the Fall semester and 2013.  We are here for your career and professional preparation needs right through exams, so stop by and let us know how we can work with you!

Photo Source: iGourmet