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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.

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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.

Mary Shapiro Head Shot.jpgThere's been a lot of press about the importance of personal branding lately.  "You've probably heard the old adage around how to get a job or promotion:  it's all about who you know.  But that's only half the story.  It's also what they know about you.  That's your reputation.  That's also your brand, says Mary Shapiro, Professor of Practice at the School of Management (SOM). She points out the power a person's reputation can have.  It determines who gets the job, who gets promoted, who gets a "yes" to a special request, and who keeps their job and who gets downsized. 

Professor Shapiro will address the Simmons community as part of the CEC March Career events and Senior Series. She explains that her topic, Your Personal Brand: Your Reputation, Your Future "will help you think about the brand or reputation you want to have in the 'marketplace' of life."  Participants will through a fun exercise, she says, "create what you want people to think of when they think your name, and then analyze what you are currently doing to promote that brand....and what you may need to do differently going forward to be all you can be."  Her presentation, which is co-sponsored by the SGA, is open to the Simmons Community, and will be held on March 20 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm in the SOM Building, M223. 

For information on additional CEC March Career Events, including Senior Mock Interview Day on March 19, Senior Lunch and Learn, co-sponsored with the Class of 2014 Council on March 24, and the Spring Career and Internship Fair on March 26, visit the Events Page on the CEC website.  

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I attended a fall Career Symposium at Babson College on "What Employers Want From College Graduates" and want to share what I learned and highlight some key points.

The first speaker, Abigail Davenport, VP of Hart Research spoke of a survey her organization had conducted with 318 executives at private sector and non-profit organizations. Following were the key findings:

  • Innovation is a priority. Critical thinking, and a broad skill set are viewed as key for meeting the complex challenges of the workplace
  • Employers recognize the importance of a liberal arts education.  More than half agree that long-term career success requires BOTH specific knowledge AND a broad range of skills (aka, "academics plus")
  • Employers endorse education practices that involve students in the application of knowledge and skills to real-world settings such as internships and field placement

The second speaker, Debra Humphreys, VP of Policy and Public Engagement at the Association of American Colleges and Universities spoke on the topic of "Preparing Liberally Educated Professionals for Success in the Global Economy."  She asked critical questions on the topic of professional success and how students define post-graduate success.

The reasons that students give for pursuing a college degree:

  1. Get a better job
  2. Learn more about things of interest
  3. Train for a specific career
  4. Gain a general education and appreciation of ideas

Debra also addressed the topic of seeking long-term success and sited the Gallup Organization's research on well-being.  Over the past fifty years, Gallup has conducted research where they have uncovered five common elements of well-being that go beyond country and culture that include career, social, financial, physical, and community well-being.  They found that career well-being is the most important predictor of overall well-being.  Their research raises questions of how to measure longer term outcomes that go beyond salary as the measure of "success' to the value of helping students explore and discover what they like and do best, and of course, find a good job.  Career well-being is already central to our work in the CEC as our 5 Step Career Development Plan is a start in providing students with the knowledge, skills and resources to discover what they like and do best in order to make informed, effective decisions for lifelong career management.

Other key points that struck me:

"The premium of lifelong learning just keeps going up...the world is changing even faster.  Learning how to love learning is becoming more important - and the importance of static knowledge is going down... Students have to have knowledge and how to use it- know AND do. All learning should revolve around projects."   -- David Rattray, Sr. Director, Education and Workforce Development, LA Chamber of Commerce

Employers place more weight on experience, particularly internships and employment during school vs. academic credential and college major when evaluating candidates.   -- The Role of Higher Education in Career Development: Employer Perceptions (Marketplace and Chronicle of Higher Education, December, 2012)

Employers endorse the following high-impact educational practices with potential to help graduates succeed:

  • Research and evidence-based analysis
  • Senior projects
  • Internships and community-based work
  • Collaborative research

The good news is that Simmons has much of what employers want with a need to connect current best practices and build new ones as our differentiator in higher education.  We know that the value of a liberal arts education includes the skills employers seek today and also the skills for success in life.  We know that we have strong departmentally based experiential learning opportunities built into the Independent Learning requirement with internships, field experience and practice-based research and through Service Learning and Study Abroad.  We know that we are a student-centered professional learning community that reaches students early through the First-Year Experience and through integration of career preparation within departments and offices and through alumni mentoring programs.  We also know that professional preparation is an integral part of our liberal arts education and is central to the Simmons history, mission and strategy.

What students face today is to become career-ready in a rapidly changing work world.  This means that they need to be more actively engaged in their career development from day one.  Ultimately, they need to learn how to translate the meaning of their education.  This includes articulating the skills and value they can bring to an employer as they begin their career, and later as they manage and advance their career over the course of a lifetime.

Andrea Wolf is Director of the Simmons Career Education Center.

 

Majors don't determine careers!

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Did you know that that Jon Stewart majored in psychology?  Mick Jagger majored in economics?  Elizabeth Warren  majored in audiology and speech pathology?  

Teaching and nursing majors are directly related to career options, but most majors are not.  It's unlikely that the major you choose will dictate your career or narrow your career choices for the future. First and second year students change majors frequently, and many times back into a choice.  Often there is a lurking aprehension that they have picked the wrong major and messed up their chances for a good career.  

Keep in mind that more than anything, employers are looking for soft skills, rather than specific knowledge. These transferable qualities and skills, such as, problem solving, critical thinking, team-building and sensitivity to others, can be developed in any major. The important thing is that you really enjoy what you are learning and that your natural abilities align with your major. 

What about your first job?  It might be "related" to your major, but many times is not . The reality is that your first job is not a "do or die" matter, but rather a jumping off point for future exploration and discovery. Most graduates don't really start to figure out their direction until they are employed and even then it may take more than one job to figure out where there is a good fit for their interests and skills.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average job tenure of 25 to 34 year olds in 2012 was 3.2 years .  Keep in mind that it's very common for professionals to change careers a number of times. There will likely be many bends in the road as you navigate your career path, and unlikely opportunties will arise.  Your primary goal should be to position yourself to start your first job after college where there is a good fit with your interersts and strengths, and an opportunity to grow. 

For ideas on the wide range of options you have with any major, review What Can I do With this Major? on the CEC website.  It is a helpful resource that provides detailed employment information for over 75 different majors, including potential areas of employment, types of employers and occupations, and strategies to pursue to obtain those jobs.  And there are many more options.  Majors don't determine careers!  Contact the CEC to set up an appointment with a career coach.  We're here to help!

 

 

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When should I start looking for a job?  That question seems to be on the minds of senior students coming into the CEC lately.  Given the challenging economy, it's only natural to be little worried about future job prospects.   The answer to the question of when to begin is ... it depends.     It depends on the industry, the employer, the type of job, and of course it depends on the senior student - where she is in the job search process.  Considering all that is involved in a job search, here are five reasons why seniors should get started on their job search now:

 

1. It takes time to decide your career direction and discover job possibilities that are a good match for you.
While some students can articulate exactly the kind of job they are pursuing, others have only a vague idea of their direction. Effective career decision making requires self assessment, career research and exploration, doing informational interviews, and managing your time as a student to accomplish all this.  Meeting with a career coach is a good way to get started. 

2. It takes time to develop your written marketing materials - your resume and cover letter.
Once you have decided on specific job possibilities, it's time to convert your one size fits all resume to one which is has a more targeted approach.  Your cover letter will also need to be tailored to match your skills and experience to that desired position.   Get some great tips about marketing your volunteer, internships, study abroad and campus leadership activities by watching the video,  Back to Basics:Marketing Your Total College Experience to Today's Employers .

3. It takes time to develop a network.
The basis of networking is building relationships.  It begins with having conversations with people you know to ask them for AIR - advice, information, referrals or connections to other people.  Since 60% of employment opportunities are located through networking, it's important to learn how to do so effectively in informal ways and the more formal informational interview. Learn how to Optimize Your Networking.

4. It takes time to master interviewing.
Fortunately interviewing is a skill you can learn. Preparing and practicing for interviews will insure you will handle them well.  Have you prepared a verbal marketing piece and can answer the question, Tell me about yourself?  Do you know how to answer behavioral interview questions? Can you confidently discuss salary?    Take time to read Prepare to Interview and consider doing a practice interview with a career coach.

5. Employers have their own time table.
Some industries recruit in the fall and some entry level programs have early application deadlines.  Campus recruiting for finance, accounting, consulting and management training programs begins in the fall.  New grad nurse residency programs have early spring deadlines for applicants.

No matter where you are in the job search process the Career Education Center can help.  Check out our Job Search Check List to see what should be on your to-do list.

 

 

Photo: courtesy of Consumer Credit.com

Simmons Grad in Workplace- Jacqueline Doherty '11.JPGGood news for Simmons grads on the job front: things are looking up!

For the first time since 2008, new Simmons bachelor's graduates are faring better in the employment market than the class before them.   

Key results

The results for the Class of 2012 Employment Survey, released by the CEC in September, show that 86% of new grads were employed full-time or in graduate school full-time (or both) within one year of graduation, a dramatic increase from last year's 79% full-time rate.   

And there is more good news from this year's report. A solid 90% of those graduates employed full-time are in a field related or somewhat related to their major. Also encouraging is that the average reported salary is $45,800, well up from last year's $41,530 and exceeding the national average for all 2012 graduates of $44,259 as reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.            

Where do they work?

With Nursing and Biology the top two undergraduate majors, it comes as no surprise that the largest field of employment for new Simmons graduates is health care, attracting 47% of the class. Another 8% went into Business & Finance as well as into Education, 7% into Government, 6% into Communications, and 4% each into Human & Social Services, Sciences, and Technology.   

Top employers, defined as those employing more than one Simmons graduate full-time from the class, include Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, among others. Other employers include Digitas, EMC, Forrester Research, Google, Horizons for Homeless Children, MIT, Travelers Insurance, WGBH, and many more, clear evidence that Simmons grads can go in any direction with their newly minted degrees.

Networking remained the most effective method for new graduates to find a job, with 40% landing their first position in this fashion. While Internet job sites helped 27% get their first jobs, this year 20% of new grads reported obtaining their first position via an internship or clinical placement, up significantly from previous years.      

Like those before them, these new Simmons grads like to stick close to their alma mater. Eighty-three percent of those working full-time are employed in New England, with over two-thirds (70%) remaining in Massachusetts.

Further education

As for those enrolling directly in graduate programs -- 22% of the class  -- top school choices were Simmons, Bentley, and BU, with Brandeis, Columbia, Cornell (veterinary medicine), Emerson, Morehouse (medicine), New England School of Law, NYU, Suffolk (law), Tufts (dental) and many others also represented. 

The survey, conducted annually by the CEC with the May cohort of BA/BS graduates, garnered a 63 percent response rate this past spring. A copy of the Summary Results along with those from previous years is posted on the CEC website.

The take-away

So what does all this mean for current Simmons students? It means that as a Simmons grad you can pretty much do anything and go anywhere! But the key to success is to use your time at Simmons wisely to prepare yourself for the transition from college to career. You want to have a clear picture of your skills, your abilities, and your interests and be able to professionally present them to employers. You also want to explore the options available to you in the workplace and, through research and internships and other experiences, do your best to define where you might best fit. Our four-year STEPS plan can help guide you along this path.

Remember, along with your faculty advisor and others at Simmons, the CEC is here to help - that's what we do! To learn more about what we have to offer, spend a little time here on the CEC website. If you want to take it a step further, you can always set up a time to meet with a career coach.

Then, one day soon, you and your classmates will be joining the proud Simmons graduates who have gone before you and reporting your own success in the workplace! 

 

Photo: Simmons alum Jacqueline Doherty '11  at Hill Holliday

AW-Cropped Head Shot.jpgWhat a loaded topic with so many definitions including both external, cultural  definitions and internal, personal definitions.  I recently attended the Color of Success program sponsored by the Mulitcultural Affairs and Office of Student Life where Lisa Smith-McQueenie, Associate Dean, asked a panel of students for their definiton of success. I was impressed with their responses:

 

  • "Accomplishing what feels right or what you feel good about involving self-reflection and growth"
  • "Collective work"
  • "Hard work and stepping out of your comfort zone"
  • "Your own definition based on experience, learning and empowering yourself and others"
  • "Confidence in your work, goal setting, and accomplishments for something bigger and greater"

To achieve success, you must find your own personal definition like these students.  What is your defintion?

The author, Anna Quindlen says, "If success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all." I came across another author who defined success as having a positive impact on the lives of other people. I strongly resonate with that.

There is no one answer to what success is as we create our own personal definitions that have meaning to us.  This can drive our career and life choices and serve as our anchor point in making meaningful decisions throughout our lifetime.

I was struck by a recent Gallup Business Journal article and their international research on well-being that targets "career well-being" as the most important predictor of overall well-being. Their research looks at the longer term outcomes beyond salary as a measure of "success" and speaks to the value of helping students explore and discover what they like and do best in finding a good job.

In the Career Education Center, we are here to contribute to your success and encourage you to utilize our STEPS Career Development Plan. STEPS = Steps To Explore, Prepare, Succeed

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STEPS Career Development Plan here.

You  can make it your own personal action plan to guide you along your 4- year path at Simmons. Take advantage of the career coaching support, skill-building workshops, website resources and employer opportunities in front of you.

I invite you to visit the CEC and discuss what success means to you!

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

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Calling all students!

If you've ever thought about an internship, job, or career in communications or marketing, you're in luck. 

Next week, for the first time in the history of the event, Simmons College will be hosting the College Career Centers of Boston (CCCOB) annual Communications & Marketing Careers Information Exchange. The event, produced by the six-college consortium of BC, BU, Emerson, Emmanuel, Simmons, and Suffolk, will be held on Wednesday, October 30, from 5:30-7:30 pm in the Linda K. Paresky Conference Center on the 3rd floor of the MCB. 

How it works

During this career exploration event, students move to a new table every 20 minutes to learn about a new employer or industry segment of their choice.

The event is open to ALL students. While it's ideal for juniors seeking internships and seniors looking for a full-time job post-graduation, it is also an outstanding career exploration event for first-years just starting out and sophomores deciding what to major in.  

As of now 20 top employers are scheduled to attend, representing advertising, public relations, TV and radio broadcasting, publishing, journalism, social media marketing, and more, including:

  • 451 Marketing
  • American Marketing Association
  • Constant Contact
  • Da Capo Lifelong Books
  • IABC (International Association of Business Communicators)
  • Jack Morton Worldwide
  • KHJ Brand Activation,
  • Mullen
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  • Overdrive Interactive  
  • Pearson Education
  • Racepoint Group Inc.
  • Streetwise Media
  • The Fantastical
  • WBZ/CBS Radio News
  • WFXT-Fox 25
  • . . .and more!

Network with Simmons alums

We are especially excited this year as Simmons is hosting the event for the first time, so we are hoping for a HUGE turnout of Simmons students. Several Simmons alums will be returning to campus for the event as representatives of their employers, including one grad from the Class of 2013 who attended the Information Exchange last year, made contact with an agency rep at the event, was hired for a summer internship, and is now on staff with the agency full-time.

Will you be the next success story? The first step is to show up at the event on October 30 at 5:30 pm in Paresky. Dress: business casual - no jeans or sneakers (business formal also OK).

Learn more about this year's employer attendees by visting the Communications & Marketing Careers Information Exchange event page on the CEC Facebook page. 

Questions? Contact the CEC at careers@simmons.edu or 617-51-2488 or stop by the ground floor of the SOM/Academic Building.

See you on the 30th!