Back to blog homepage

Recently in Faculty & Staff Category

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.

 

dollars-19782_640.jpg

With the school year almost underway, many of you are likely looking for an on-campus job opportunity, either to add some money to your bank account or to fulfill the work-study component of your financial aid award.

Simmons College offers an online job board, CA$H, where you can search for on-campus jobs, both those open to all students and those specifically reserved for students with work-study awards. Also listed on the site are off-campus opportunities to earn your work-study award at local not-for-profit organizations, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

To get started on CA$H, you will need to get access to your user name and password. We directly upload student profiles to the system, so to activate your profile, click on "Forgot Your Password?" under the Student section on the CA$H launch page. Enter your user name (which will be "lastnamefirstinitial" or the first eight letters of your last name if your last name is eight letters or longer) and an email with a reset password will be sent to your Simmons email address. Use your default user name and the reset password to log into your CA$H profile. Be sure to update and add to your profile information! You can also add a resume to your profile and submit it directly to potential on-campus employers through CA$H.

Once on CA$H, you'll be able to search either General Employment (open to all Simmons students) or Work-Study job opportunities. Please be sure to read the descriptions of the jobs you are interested in, and follow the application instructions for that specific job. Each job has to be applied to separately and may have different application requirements.

For more details on CA$H, please visit the CA$H student resource page. Having trouble finding an on-campus or work-study job? Please contact the Career Education Center at 617-521-2488 or careers@simmons.edu to set up a time to speak with a career coach about any aspect of careers or the job search.

Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay

AW Photo - Small.jpg

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.

 

Jill Abramson-Wake Forest Commencement 2014.jpg

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  

New grads-caps in air.530x298.jpg

It's that time of year, when college seniors robe up and cross the stage to receive a handshake and a sheepskin. All of them are proud and excited but many of them are also apprehensive about the real world and their employment prospects.

Well, some very positive news on the job market has come out recently, which should help ease the anxiety of this year's crop of graduates. The Department of Labor  just released figures for the month of April at the end of last week, and the national unemployment rate fell to 6.3% (from 6.7% in March), the lowest it has been in over five years, since before the big meltdown of the Great Recession in September, 2008. (This happens to coincide almost exactly with my time as Associate Director of Employer Relations here at Simmons, so this is welcome news indeed.)

Also in April, employers in the US added 288,000 jobs, the most for a single month in the past two years. "Not only is job growth continuing, but it is accelerating,'' said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at the accounting and consulting firm CohnReznick. Read the full article from Friday's Boston Globe.

​And the beat goes on. The Massachusetts unemployment rate for March, the latest month for which figures are available, was also at 6.3%. See the dramatic ups and downs of the employment market over the last ten years in this infographic depciting both the state and national unemployment rates that accompanies the Globe article.

And. . .the beat goes on! As the National Association of Colleges and Employers (aka, NACE) reports in their April 16 press release on the hiring outlook for new college grads, "employers plan to hire 8.6% more Class of 2014 graduates than they hired from the Class of 2013." This data comes from the spring update of their hiring outlook survey with employers nationwide.
 
The story was picked up by CNBC which also ran an article on the improved employment outlook for college grads on its website.
 
Click through the links above to to get more detail in the stories and the breakdown by industry.
 
So take heart, graduates!  And remember: you only need one job to get you going. So get that resume and cover letter polished up along with your elevator pitch and get out there and take advantage of the upswing in the market. You can do it. And congratulations on your degree! 
 
 
Photo: Courtesy CNBC/Thomas Barwick/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Nonverbals.jpg

So often our non-verbal speech is louder than our spoken words.  A few years ago, after listening to a presentation I was making, a well-repected consultant at Simmons offered me feedback I have never forgotten. He commended me on how well prepared I was on the topic, but noted that my welcoming comments had failed to capture the audience because they had not been accompanied by a warm smile and a sufficient show of enthusiasm for what I was about to share. In other words, my non-verbals had not validated my spoken message. 

Preparation is an important component in helping to build your self-confidence, but mindful attention to your non-verbal speech and body language, is equally as important in getting your message across. This becomes critical when you are called upon to market yourself in networking situations, interviews or job negotiations.  You might spend a great deal of time carefully crafting words to send just the right message.  However, your non-verbals can either convince the listener or undermine what you say.  

Oftentimes, women in particular do not own and convey the inherent power that they have through non-verbal communication.  Research has shown that men generally take up more space than women and thus often gain a power advantage.  In the context of a job search, confidence is a key to creating your own space and thereby gaining credibility. This concept is so important that career coaches have been known to advise clients to "bluff" confidence even when the person is unsure of herself.  

Certainly, your posture affects you as well as other people.  It's hard to feel "in charge" if you have your knees together, your elbows close to your sides, and are leaning forward!  Practicing the "Power Pose" before an important meeting, interview or negotiating session gives you a real boost. Try it! Spread your feet to shoulder width, put your hands on your hips, stand very tall and look up to the sky. Hold this pose for two minutes. Taking more space makes you appear and feel more relaxed and confident. It isn't just the quality of your answers during an interview that will impact the outcome.  It's also your non-verbal messages that will go a long way toward persuading an employer to hire you!

AW Photo - Small.jpg

 

Bon voyage and best of luck! Following are fifteen pieces of real world advice I want to share with you as you transition from college to career:

 

 

1.  Go for it! Don't delay the job search after graduation as you may not realize that it takes several months, so if you haven't  already started, start now.

2. Know yourself. Know your passion, strengths, aspirations and what you want out of life.  You are in charge of your career. Know there are many ways to express your passion in a career and there are multiple paths.

3. Know the organization. Do your homework and research the organization to understand the culture and what the employer seeks.

4. Build relationships. Find professionals in your industry and seek their advice and guidance by asking good questions.  You can learn how they got a foot in the door and how they grew their career.  They may also have other contacts for you.

5. How you present yourself is key to your success. Share your story that demonstrates your interests, experiences, accomplishments and special qualities.

6. Let go of limiting beliefs and take risks. Have a positive outlook as that will impact everything. You may need to take some risks and from them you will always learn something whether you succeed or fail.

7. Not all advice is good advice. Your parents and friends may have good intentions, but know that in a changing economy, the job search process has changed.  Seek advice from professionals and career experts who have a pulse on the job market.

8. Apply for jobs that are a good fit. Don't jump at the first job offer if you are not excited about it.  You may feel pressure to take the first job you are offered in order to pay the bills, but research shows that you won't last long.  When you are motivated by a job, you end up accomplishing more and feeling more satisfied.

9. Create a strong online profile. Polish your LinkedIn profle as today more recruiters are sourcing for candidates online.  Make sure to show your strengths and what is unique about you.

10. Have perserverance in the job search.  If you are not chosen for a job, look at it as a learning experience and understand that the hiring process is complex and not an even playing field.  Ask yourself if you are presenting your best self in the interview.  If so, accept the loss and move forward.

11. Your attitude, energy and outlook matter.  Be aware of yourself and demonstrate with enthusiasm  the strengths you bring to the table. Also, stay on top of market trends and what employers seek in job candidates.

12. Exhibit a professional demeanor: Dress professionally and be aware of basic manners. Stand out from the crowd by being polished and polite.

13. Manage your expectations. Although you may be ready to leap to a higher position, accept the fact that you may need to take the necessary steps to position yourself for the future.  The more you do to master your job, make a contribution and prove yourself, the greater are the opportunities to grow your career.

14. Your first job is a starting point.  Your first job is not about making a decision for the rest of your life, but see it as a jumping off point towards your future.

15. A career is not a straight, but windy path. Discover what you like and do well that aligns with your values and this will serve you well throughout your life.

Andrea Wolf is Director of Simmons Career Education Center

Woman on computer Afro 2.jpgMake your resume stand out from the crowd by following these 10 tips!

  1. Be clear on what your job search objective is so that you can tailor your resume to the job.  A "one size fits all" resume is less effective.
  2. Treat your resume as a marketing piece, not just a list of your "job duties." Spot light your strengths  and accomplishments
  3. Use bulleted sentences of one to three lines so the reader can quickly scan your resume and see your main points. 
  4. Order your bullets by importance to the employer to ensure that those most interesting will be spotted when your resume is scanned quickly.
  5. Use strong action verbs to begin each bullet, such as, analyzed, led, trained, and planned. Avoid weak verbs. such as, worked, oversaw, handled and helped.
  6. Quantify when possible, as #'s,$'s and %'s jump from the page. Indicate scope. Instead of "Taught students social skills," use "Taught a group of 10 students."
  7. Use "key words" from the job posting in your bullets, so they are easy to spot. 
  8. Focus on job skills that support your objective. Leave off irrelevant information so the reader focuses on what is relevant.
  9. Make your resume easy to read:  one or two pages in length; 11 or 12 point font, such as, Aerial or Times New Roman; margins between a half and one inch. 
  10. Ask two friends to review your resume to ensure there are no errors or anything confusing to the reader.

For more resume pointers, you may visit the "Write a Resume" section in the CEC Career Toolkit, check out the CEC Career Spots video on Make Your Resume Pop and set an appointment to meet with a Career Coach.

CareerFair-Close-up.jpg

We're in the heart of career fair season here on the Simmons campus, and the next big event is coming up on Wednesday, March 26: the annual Spring Career & Internship Fair.

This year over 40 employers have registered to attend, representing a range of industries that align with Simmons' academic programs and student interests. A sampling of exhibitors includes:

  • Accufile
  • Autism Bridges
  • Boston Neighborhood Network TV
  • The Bridge of Central Massachusetts
  • Bright Horizons
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Boston  
  • Forbes House Museum
  • Gateways Community Services
  • Horizons for Homeless Children
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Mullen
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • Peace Corps
  • Pearson Education
  • Prudential Financial
  • Radio Disney
  • South Bay Mental Health Center
  • State Street Corporation
  • WGBH

. . .and many more!

Come meet dozens of leading employers and discuss with them your interest in an internship or full-time job. On your to-do list:   

Check out the Spring Career & Internship Fair page to learn more about each of the attending employers and watch a couple of short videos to get you prepped for the event.

You'll also want to check out the other upcoming CEC events for seniors (Mock Inteviews and Lunch and Learn) and all students (Your Personal Brand presentation) on the CEC events page.     

Questions? Let us know. And see you there!

AW-Cropped Head Shot.jpgI recently had the opportunity with the support of our Provost to participate in an accreditation program on Emotional Intelligence sponsored by the Hay Group and designed by world expert, Daniel Goleman. The training program was for coaching professionals to help their clients become more effective as leaders by using the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory tool.

I first learned about EI after being inspired by Daniel Goleman's ground breaking booked called "Working with Emotional Intelligence," which provides case examples that link success in business leadership with emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Goleman defines Emotional Intelligence as:

" Recognizing our own feelings and those of others, motivating ourselves, managing emotions well in ourselves and our relationships."

Although many people thought this was a management fad, EI has endured because the qualities to help strengthen leadership effectiveness are even more important for today's changing workplace.

Daniel Goleman together with Richard Boyatsis conducted decades of global research on what differentiates outstanding performance.  Because they found that 80-90% of the characteristics were emotional and social in nature, they developed the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI).  Their view was that while abilities and personality traits are fairly fixed, that behavioral competencies can be developed to improve personal effectiveness, develop leaders and create more effective organizations.

They defined a competency as a measurable characteristic beyond knowledge and skills that is necessary for top performance. It included the following:

4 Competency Clusters:

Self-awareness: Recognizing and understanding our own emotions, abilities, strengths and weaknesses

Self-management: Effectively managing ourselves: emotional self-control, motivating ourselves

Social-awareness: Recognizing and understanding the emotions of others: empathy, organizational awareness

Relationship-management: Applying emotional understanding in our dealings with others: influence, inspirational leadership, coach and mentor, conflict management, teamwork


In my work as Director of the Career Education Center and as a career management coach, assessment is a critical first step in the coaching process.  In the CEC, Assessment is the first step in our developmental model and includes identifying a student's values, interests, personality and strengths with use tools such as the MBTI and Career Driver to uncover strengths and ingredients of a good career fit. In our academic programs at Simmons, we know that students develop knowledge and skills in the classroom with opportunities to apply them through experiential learning opportunities.  Yet, we also know that employers today are seeking even more-- academics plus.  Many are the behavioral competencies of Emotional Intelligence that can make a difference in a person's career and leadership success.

Can EI be learned?

Yes, these behavioral competencies can be taught and developed over time with self-awareness as the core foundation of personal development and effectiveness.  Students can learn how to recognize, evaluate, and improve their behaviors by incorporating feedback and through continued practice.  By increasing self-awareness, students can better manage their independent and group learning, and ultimately their employability.

With a focus on leadership, I believe that Simmons can build on its inherent strengths and to teach and be known for developing knowledge, skills and the EI competencies for successful personal, career and leadership development.

Andrea Wolf is Director of the Simmons Career Education Center.