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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.

 

search jobs.jpgGraduating without a job offer is not unusual; recent college graduates typically take some time to make the transition into the labor market.  In 2014 the trend continues, with less than 20% of college graduates reporting they had a job lined up, according to a survey by After College.com, a job matching service for recent grads.  Even as the economy steadily improves, the job market remains quite challenging.  

Here are ten tips for grads who don't have a job by graduation:    

     1. Remember that you actually do have a job - finding one! Finding a job is a full time job so approach it that way.  Create your job search project plan and get up every morning and work at it full time. Identify the kind of job (s) you want to pursue, research employers, set networking appointments etc. Then hold yourself accountable at the end of the day. What worked? What could you do better? Make necessary changes and work your plan every day.  Review the Job Search Checklist and other information on Manage Your Job Search for ideas to get started.

    2. Enlist a job search buddy and build in accountability. Check out this previous blog for ideas.

    3. Spend less time responding to posted positions and more time uncovering the "unpublished jobs" -  the jobs that are filled by employers before they need to be publicized. Employers often use staff promotions, employee referrals and networking to fill a position without posting it. Since 70 % of all jobs are found through networking (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), shouldn't at least 50% of your time be spent that way?

    4. Develop effective marketing tools.  Be sure your resume and cover letter highlight the skills and experience most relevant to the job.  Analyze the job description to be sure you are using language and key words that demonstrate a match.  If you're getting calls from employers for interviews, your marketing tools are working.

    5. Take a temp job.  You'll meet new people to add to your network, and could develop relationships with employers that could lead to a permanent job offer.  Some employers purposely hire employees on a temporary basis, which serves as a probation period, before committing to full time employment.      

    6. Build your online brand by creating a complete profile on LinkedIn. According to a recent survey by Jobvite, a social recruiting system, 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and vet candidates.      

    7. Join a local job search support group. Most members are professionals with experience and connections.  They will be happy to share advice, information and referrals with someone at the beginning of her career.  Check your local library or newspaper for an upcoming meeting.

    8. Volunteer part-time at a non-profit whose mission you support. It's a great way to network and build new skills. It can help you stay positive, but don't let your volunteer job interfere with a job search.

    9. Stay optimistic and don't give up.  The average new graduate takes six months to find a job. Expect there to be some rejection during the process. To keep motivated, reward yourself for your commitment to your goals and your persistence in working your job search plan. You have no control over the job market, or the economy but you do control your job search.      

10. Make an appointment at the Career Education Center and use our Career Toolkit.  As an alum, you can continue to use our services and online resources  and we're glad to help!

Photo compliments of mbahighway.com

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As we all know we are in the thick of Commencement season. Podium wisdom is being dispensed left and right over the course of these several weeks by distinguished elders, typically accomplished adults who have been there, done that and are sharing their hard earned life truths.    

But wait a minute - here's a distinguished elder who just got fired from her job, in a very public way, from a very presitigious and visible role. What would she have to tell us? 

I am talking, of course, about Jill Abramson, the former Executive Editor of the New York Times who was dismissed by Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. just prior to her scheduled appearance as Commencement speaker at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

As Abramson told the assembled graduates and their families and friends, "What's next for me? I don't know. So I'm in exactly the same boat as many of you!'' Abramson also averred that "like you, I am a little scared, but also excited." 

Now, have you ever wondered why they call it "Commencement" when it is the very LAST thing you do in your entire college experience?  Why it is called a beginning when it is quite obviously an ending?

Well, because it is the beginning, the beginning of the rest of your life! And as Abramson learned and related, life doesn't quit, no matter what age or how accomplished or how celebrated you are. It keeps happening, keeps coming at you.

Unlike some of the other colleges that rescinded their Commencement speakers' invitations this season, Wake Forest kept their promise and followed through with Abramson, even though she had just been knocked off her high perch. Astute university President Nathan Hatch asked her to speak about the importance of resilience, and she did, quoting her father who, Abramson said, was less interested in how his daughters' dealt with their successes than how they dealt with their setbacks. That's when you have to "show what you are made of", Abramson's father told his children.

'''And now I'm talking to anyone who's been dumped," said Abramson, "not gotten the job you really wanted, or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school -- you know the sting of losing or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.''

Despite having recently swallowed such a bitter pill, Abramson was upbeat and told the audience that it was "the honor of my life to lead the newsroom" of the New York Times. That's keeping things in perspective.

I recommend that you take 11 minutes out of your life and watch Abramson's speech. And as you make your way on life's not-always-so-straight path, remember her advice. Things will not always go as planned or to your liking. And at those times, you will need to bounce back, to get up off the mat, to "show what you are made of." To paraphrase Abramson and her father, when life deals you a lemon, make lemonade.  

Photo: Courtesy Boston Globe / Jason Miczek / Reuters