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Social media for the job search

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According to NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers), the percentage of graduating seniors using social media in their job search has grown from 37% in 2010 to 58% in 2014.  social-network-job-search.png

So you may be wondering, how do I use social media, professionally, in my job search? A great way to start is to begin following companies via your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Follow companies to learn more about their company culture, to see the latest job postings and to stay up-to-date with relevant industry news and information.  

For example, Lexington Public Schools (@LexingtonPSHR) and Fidelity (@Fidelityjobs) tweet all of their job listings. Follow them to see new opportunities.  

Need to research an organization before an interview? LinkedIn is a great place to see relevant articles that companies or industries of interest are posting. Once you join a LinkedIn group, you can also subscribe to email updates on discussions that may be informative for your job search. Don't forget to join the Simmons College LinkedIn group where you can connect with current students, alumnae/i, faculty and staff.

#UseHashtags

We all know what hashtags are and enjoy using them for things like #throwbackthursday or #motivationalmonday, but you can use hashtags in your job search too. Let's say you are looking for a job in the Boston area. Go to your search box in Twitter and search #jobsearch, #Boston. This lets you pull up any tweets that were "filed" under these two categories. Too general of a search? Get more specific, use #nursingjobs or #PRjobs.  You can also use hashtags to get information about events. Try #networking #Boston (see result below). Check out more #hashtag ideas here.

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Privacy Issues and Final Tips

When you begin to use your personal social media accounts for job searching, you need to ensure your accounts are professionally appropriate. If not, think about creating a separate account that is professional and geared towards your personal brand and field of interest.  

Be sensitive to the dates of tweets. If you start searching a hashtag for a job category and the only tweets that come up are from over a year ago, consider searching a different hashtag.

Still have questions about creating a social media account, or using it for #jobsearching? Make an appointment with a career coach to discuss the best strategy for your job search. Follow us on Twitter (@SimmonsCEC) and like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/SimmonsCEC) to see new job and internship postings, career tips, upcoming events and more. Subscribe to our YouTube channel (YouTube.com/SimmonsCEC) to hear from students who have used CEC services, and watch our webinars to help you prepare for interviews. Check back often for more videos and webinars! 

 

Even just hearing the word Networking may conjure scary images of a room full of strangers, all eyes on you, waiting for you to make the first move.

Step 1: disregard this initial reaction and think more along the lines of a quick conversation, or an opportunity to learn more about someone else and the work that they do. Networking has many benefits for students, young professionals and experienced professionals alike.  It can be a starting point to explore a field or career path of interest or to connect with professionals to begin your internship search.  

Networking is key for developing professionally, staying connected to individuals throughout your career and exploring the hidden job market which accounts for up to 80% of jobs!  

Networking-at-the-workplace.jpgBy understanding what scares you the most about networking and then determining how to overcome your fears, you will soon be well on your way to building and maintaining a professional network of people to stay in touch with upon graduation and beyond.  

Networking can be as casual as talking to your aunt's best friend at a birthday celebration, who happens to work at a company you are interested in, or as formal as a job and internship fair. Networking occurs everywhere and at any point during your day where you may converse with others.  

Maybe you step into an elevator with an employer who is visiting campus for the day and you start a conversation about an alumna you know, that previously worked with them. This initial introduction could turn into a follow-up phone conversation, which turns into an in-person interview and then, voilá, a job offer.

The following list offers advice for preparing yourself for networking, and building and maintaining successful connections.

  1. Start Early! Even if you are not considering doing an internship or beginning your job search this semester, attend an employer information session and start talking to potential employers to build your network. 

  2. Reframe Networking! Devora Zack, in her book Networking for People Who Hate Networkingdiscusses the idea of "reframing networking as an opportunity to create meaningful connections, requiring skills such as listening, focus, and depth".

  3. Use open-ended questions to facilitate the conversation.

  4. At networking events, approach groups of threes versus pairs.  This allows you to join the conversation without interrupting.

  5. Practice your elevator "pitch", (a great way to introduce yourself), by following this easy to use format: Student Elevator Pitch

  6. Know when the conversation is coming to an end and make sure to ask for a business card!  Once you have left the conversation, jot down some key points that you discussed during your chat and this will help you with following-up!

  7. Follow-up is key, connect with new contacts on LinkedIn or send a follow-up email.  

  8. Join professional associations within your field and attend local conferences to meet colleagues.  Volunteer to help event coordinators at a conference and in turn meet new people.

  9. Apply for internships or summer jobs in your field of interest.  Working with people is the best way to start networking, and the best part is that they can share their networks with you.  

  10. Set up informational interviews.  Learn more about informational interviewing here

Additional Resources:

Photo: courtesy of Ongkor

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With the fall and start-up of classes once again it is also the beginning of a new season of campus events. Among these are several opportunities for students to learn about potential careers in a number of different fields, from experts in those fields who have been there/done that.     

With the Pre-Law Forum now behind us, next up is tonight's opportunity to Explore Careers in Foreign Service at the fall's inaugural Warburg Panel event, "A World in Crisis: Diplomacy Today & Careers in Foreign Service." This event will bring three former and one current US Ambassador to campus to address these two topics. The program runs from 6-8 pm in the LKP Conference Center. Representatives from the State Dept. will be on hand to field your questions. Refreshments served. Read an interview in the "300 The Fenway" blog with Warburg Professor and panel moderator Ambassador (ret.) Mark Bellamy.  

Other upcoming career exploration events include the following:

  • 10/8/14, Explore Careers in Teaching - Alumnae Panel - Come meet and learn from former Simmons Education students who are now  teaching. Enjoy some pizza while you learn about life in the classroom and the Simmons BA + Master's degree programs in SPED, Secondary Education, Elementary, or ESL.
  • 10/16/14, Peace Corps Campus Visit Day - We are thrilled to welcome RPCV (Returning Peace Corps Volunteer) Katrina Deutsch for a day on the Simmons campus, when she is here expressly to meet you! She will host an Info Table from 11-1 in the Fens Lower Level Lobby, drop-in hours from 2-3:30 pm (Common Grounds), and an Info Session from 4-5 pm (Career Resource Center, M-106). Learn how to apply and sign up for this life-changing experience that will allow you to both see and serve the world.

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  • 10/22/14, Explore Careers in Communications - CCCOB Communications & Marketing Careers Information Exchange - Last year over 180 students attended this event, produced annually by the six College Career Centers of Boston: Boston College, Boston University, Emerson, Emmanuel, Simmons, and Suffolk. This year the event will be held at Suffolk from 5:30-7:30 pm. Representatives from more than a dozen companies in these two fields will be present for this round table event, including Allen & Gerritsen, Cengage Learning, Fleishman Hillard, Mullen, NESN, WBUR, WHDH, and many more.           
  • 11/6/14, Explore Careers in Financial Services - Fidelity Investments Info Session - Join us in the Career Resource Center (M-106) as we host representatives from Fidelity Investments from 5-6:30 pm. They will provide an overview of the company and industry as well as a description of internship and entry-level opportunities with the Boston-based firm, a national leader in investments and mutual funds.       

Want more? Watch the Career Education Center website Events calendar and Facebook and Twitter pages for event updates and new listings. Don't miss these opportunities to learn from and network with employers. We hope to see you at one or more of these special programs! 

There is no one right career for you

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creative_career_path_crop380w.jpg"There is no one right career for you."  That statement may be comforting to someone who is having difficulty deciding on one of several career options, but it may sound like heresy to another student whose self-assessment report of her values, interests, personality preferences and skills, has confirmed her choice of a teaching career. 

The latter confirmation of the student's career choice was based on the Trait-Factor (criteria matching) theory of career development; however, no valid and reliable assessment instrument predicts one specific outcome.  That same student taking a closer look at the assessment results would see a longer list of career possibilities based on those trait factors.   

If that same student confidently and happily pursues her ambition to become a teacher, graduates with her MAT, pursues and lands a teaching position in an excellent school system, where will she be in five years? The obvious answer might be that she will be honing her skills as a teacher, but there's no guarantee.  Predicting where a person will be in five years in any career is like predicting what the weather will be in five years time. 

Careers, like the weather, are subject to influences that we cannot predict or control. Consider that any career can be influenced by the economy, evolving job requirements, local environment, politics, personal health, as well as family responsibilities, to name a few.  These influences are also changing all the time.  Seemingly small chance events can significantly affect career direction. 

What then is a strategy for career decision-making in a complex, changing and unpredictable world?

Chaos!  The Chaos Theory of Careers recognizes that change is inevitable and encourages us to understand and thrive on change. Rather than be frightened of uncertainty, we can open ourselves to exploring with a positive attitude, take risks and pursue curiosity in our career development. We can then use the trait knowledge of ourselves and the patterns in our career narrative to see more possibilities throughout our lives, whenever our circumstances change.  With this approach we embrace change as an opportunity to make our own luck, while developing our career adaptability and resilience.  

"There is no one right career for you.  We change and opportunities in the labor market change and that means we can never say there is one right career-merely that there are some careers that are seemingly more attractive or viable."  Dr. Jim Bright, Co-author, Chaos Theory of Careers.

Do you need help with career decision-making?  Make an appointment with a career coach and begin to explore the possibilities.

Photo: Courtesy of ArtBistro

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Statistics show that it's not uncommon for new college graduates to spend several months on their initial job search before they land somewhere. And in fact over the past few years those months have even stretched into years for some new grads and long periods of temporary employment, post-graduate internships, and contract roles.

But this year, for the fotunate graduates of the Class of 2014, the situation is looking brighter. The recent and sustained upturn in the employment market, both at the national and state levels, is in favor of these new grads seeking full-time employment for the first time. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs In June and another 209,000 jobs in July, with an unemployment rate of  6.2%. The Wall Street Journal reports that job openings in the U.S. hit a 13-year high, at 4.7 million openings. If you need a job -- just one job! --  that's a good sign.

But let's get a llttle closer to home. After all, we know from our annual "first destinations" employment surveys conducted right here in the Career Education Center that new Simmons grads tend to stick close to their alma mater, with, on average, 80-85% employed in New England after they graduate, a whopping 70-75% in Massachusetts alone.   

Here the news is good as well, actually even better than the national picture. The latest report from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development show that in July the Massachuetts unemployment rate was, at 5.6%, below the national rate. The Commonwealth also added 13,800 jobs during the same month.

Of equal significance is where the jobs were created - in which industry sectors. According to the Boston Globe, "Professional and business services, which includes technology, scientific research, and consulting firms, led July's employment gains, adding 5,000 jobs. . . Also adding jobs were education and health services (up 3,800). . .and financial services (up 1,000)."

So, you bright new Simmons grads from the Class of 2014, armed with your sheepksins, determinaton, a firm handshake, and a smile on your face, things are looking better for you than your most recent predecessors. With employers hiring, looking for you, now's the time to get out there and make it happen. And if you feel the need to tune up your resume or revisit your job search strategy with a coach, then give the CEC a call or set up an appointment with a career coach. We're here for you all summer.

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Today increasing numbers of job seekers are using a mobile device in their job search.  Career Builder reports that almost one-third of site traffic each month comes from mobile devices.  According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, "Companies and recruiting experts believe mobile recruiting will help them engage candidates such as young workers who may not have computers at home but are glued to their smartphones."

This development has arisen with the trends of social networking, cloud computing and use of QR codes.  International Data Corp predicts that in 2015 there will be more consumers in the US accessing the Internet via mobile devices vs. PC's.

Did you know that 63% of Americans access LinkedIn and Facebook on their mobile devices according to Nielsen, a market research firm? Because more people are hearing of job openings on their phone, there is a growing increase in mobile job searching and applications.

An example is  a new application called The Ladders.  It delivers job opportunities directly to mobile devices which offers job seekers a fast approach to connect with employers.  The Ladders.com launched in June and said that more than 100,000 people downloaded their app within the first week. The app allows users to click a thumbs-up icon for a specific job of interest which immediately signals an alert to employers.

You can use Beatley Library's new Mobile Apps for Job Hunting Guide to learn more about using your mobile device to find a job and discover some of the most recommended applications.

 

Andrea Wolf is Director of the Simmons Career Education Center.

 

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US News & World Report, best known for their annual college rankings, has recently released a list of the 100 best jobs.  Rankings of any kind are dependent on the criteria used, and often open to debate, especially in an area so personal as choice of occupation.  In this case, US News compared professions based on criteria they determined mattered most: number of expected openings, advancement opportunities, career satisfaction and salary.

The ranking supports trends that have become more evident over the past decade, as the top 10 occupations are in either the technology or health care sectors. However, it's interesting to see how other occupations were ranked, and view the information covered about that job based on the aforementioned criteria.  Job market and job satisfaction information can be very helpful in career decision making.

Under each occupation you will find an overall review of the work and job outlook, information about training or education requirements, as well as reviews and advice from real people who work in that field.  In addition, salary information, stress level and flexibility of this occupation are noted.  Finally, there is a link to these specific job openings in your geographic area, a job board powered by Indeed.com.

In case you're wondering, the # 1 ranked occupation is software developer and # 100 is painter.  Find out about the other 98 rankings by checking out The 100 Best Jobs!

Additional resources concerning occupations and the job market can be found on Explore Majors & Careers on the Career Toolkit.

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'Tis the season of the summer internship. On the commuter rail every day I see new and unfamiliar faces, young professionals in the making, many of them undertaking their first workplace experiences.

But questions arise for these workers: what to wear to the office? What is and isn't proper behavior? How do you know what to ask for, and when? How do you relate to your supervisor? And 1,001 other questions.

Hence this handy collection of resources, which includes articles, photos, and videos that can help resolve some of these vexing issues for workplace newbies. Here they are:​

Enough about how you look. While appearance and first impressions certainly matter, what about the substance of your internship experience?  What are you going to put into it, and what are you supposed to get out of it?

  • What to Expect on the First Day of Your Summer Internship - Popular wesbite HerCampus offers some great advice on starting out, and then some - meeting your fellow interns, meeting your supervisor, lunch, and more (including, yes, some dress tips as well).
  • 10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Summer Internship - Now we get to where the rubber meets the road:  what will you get out of your internship? Website Career Attraction provides insight about making the most of your internship experience.  For example, "Tip #2. Deliver - You want to make sure that you complete any assignments, whether easy or complex, by the deadlines. 'The dog ate my homework' (or its digital version) will not resonate here." 

And finally, videos. One set is from our video content partner, CareerSpots. The other video comes from fellow collegiate career office and New England neighbor, Brown University:

  • CareerSpots on Internships - Several of these 2-3 min. videos address topics such as how to handle yourself in the workplace, how to convert your internship into a FT job, etc.
  • Maximizing Your Internship Experience- This concise (running time: 5:07) and engaging video captures pretty much everything you need to know about doing an  internship and pulls it all together for you.

And don't forget all the resources at your disposal here in the CEC. You can always come by during drop-in hours or set up an appointment to speak to one of our coaches, as well as avail yourself of the resources here on our website.

To all you eager, budding young professionals out there in your summer internships, make the most of it, have fun, good luck, and see you back on campus in the fall!


Photo: Courtesy of HerCampus

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Whether you're an undergraduate deciding on a career direction or a new grad contemplating enrolling in graduate school, an important and practical step in the process is to do some market research to make an informed decision. Be sure to research and find the answers to these two questions: 

  • What does the job market look like for that particular career?
  • What are my chances of finding employment in that field?

The good news is that most liberal arts majors have many options, so if your research reveals a particular career path is not showing much growth in jobs, you can choose another option.  For example, a degree in English can prepare you for entry level positions in a variety of industries -  education, publishing,  business, and public relations to name a few. 

Within those industries, there are numerous areas and employers for whom you could work. If you decide on publishing, will it be in editing, circulation, sales, production, marketing, advertising, promotion or administration? And for what segment of the publishing industry will you work? Will it be trade publications, newspapers, university press, educational publishing, magazines, independent publishers, or alternative media?

Because there are so many choices, it's important to do market research so you will know the job market trends in that particular field. In addition, research provides information about the skills and experience you need to develop to make you an attractive candidate. 

Most majors in liberal arts are also good preparation for careers that need advanced professional training like law or higher education.  Doing market research can confirm the availability of jobs after graduate school and alert you to both the potential of a challenging job search and/or the possibility of relocation to where there is more demand for the specialty.

Where can you go to find information about which industries, functions and locations have the best outlook for employment?   Here are two good sources:    

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the OOH is considered the source of occupational information. You'll find  information  about nearly 1,000 occupations, including the nature of the work, working conditions, training and educational requirements, career advancement, and job outlook over the next ten years, earnings potential, and more.

O*NET - Also created and maintained for the U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET provides comprehensive information about thousands of professions, with detailed descriptions of job responsibilities, required skills, preferred interests, general work styles and environments, and more.       

Additional links to other online resources are available on the Beatley Library Career Guide on Career Exploration.

Photo: Courtesy of reumetarget.com

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Negotiating is a process in which two parties come to an agreement that is "mutually beneficial." It should be conversational, not adversarial.  When you have received a job offer, your future compensation and perhaps your job responsibilities are impacted by your ability to negotiate well.  Although the salary range in many entry level positions is limited, it is in your best interest to not settle for less compensation than the employer was willing to offer.  Paying attention to the following key ingredients will set the stage for a "Win-Win" outcome of your negotiations.  Your preparation should:

Inventory strengths:  Be able to articulate your key strengths and accomplishments.

Know your value added:  Ask yourself these questions, Why should they hire me? How do I stand out? Review the employer's problems that you can solve and present yourself as the "problem solver!"

Establish criteria:  Research and reflect on your own criteria about salary, benefits, job responsibilities, etc. Do market research through networking sites such as salary.com that provide labor market ranges. Ask yourself, salary you want? Salary you need? Your "walk away" bottom line. Remember: money left on the table is lost forever

Respond appropriately when an offer is made:  Once you receive the job offer, follow the guidelines below.  Be sure not to negotiate at this time!

1. Thank the employer and show your enthusiasm.

2. Clarify position responsibilities.

3. Clarify salary and benefits.

4. Request additional information, if needed.

5. Ask for offer in writing.

6. Ask for time to evaluate offer.

Prepare for negotiation session:

First, compare their offer to your requirements and determine item(s) you want to negotiate.  Second, develop the rationale:  What is your "value added?"  Not "I need the money."  Sample Problem:  Limited presence on social media compared to competition. You:  Previous experience with building organization's brand by creating Facebook and Twitter pages. Third, plan for the negotiation meeting and very importantly, practice out loud!  Thinking something through does not guarantee that you will deliver a well thought out rationale.  For more detailed information on negotiations go to Steps for Effective Negotiations on the CEC website.