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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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OK, Class of 2014. You've been out of college for (gulp) over a month now. You walked across that stage on May 9. Why, you're yesterday's news! And you still don't have a job or even the faintest clue what to do next. So what's the first thing you should do? 

Don't panic! Believe it or not, history is on your side. As shown in this infographic with outcomes data from the Simmons Class of 2012 Employment Survey, while only 36% of students had their jobs by graduation, fully 60% of those in full-time jobs were in them by three months out, and 82% were employed within six months of graduation. The latest data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers for this year's graduates is trending in the same direction. 

There is more good news for you fortunate Simmons grads. We know that 40% of your predecessors found their jobs through the most tried and true method --- networking -- and when they landed at their first destination, 90% of them were in a position related to their major.

Lucky you: the rebounding job market is also on your side. Not too long ago the US unemployment rate was over 10% and jobs were hard to come by, especially entry-level positions. But this year, as previously reported in this space, the market is in your favor and the hiring outlook for new college grads is up. Companies across a range of industry segments are growing and seeking new talent again.    

The job market in New England, where over 80% of you choose to stay year after year, is also looking stronger. While the national unemployment rate is improving and was last reported at 6.3%, Massachusetts is looking even better at 5.6%, the the lowest monthly rate in six years and the first time since July, 2008 that it's been under 6 percent.

We also know, however, that mounting a job search takes time - on average, six months from initial steps to landing a position. So those employed Simmons new grads who went before you were probably getting underway with their search by now.   

Even if you are throttling back and taking some time off this summer after you busted your you-know-what for four years, you can still harness the power of the Career Education Center to aid in your next steps. The CEC website is packed with helpful tips and information to get you started, including the wealth of career guides maintained by the experts in Beatley Library. There are over 60 of them, most of them discipline-focused, and numerous others on helpful topics such as "Job Hunting Online."  

So, whether you're Bio or Comm, English or Poli Sci, Nursing or Psych, there is an online guide for you. And once you've poked around in there and found some items of interest you might want to think about connecting with a career coach in the CEC. Even if you are not local and cannot meet face-to-face you can set up a phone appointment. Heck, we've already Skyped with a Simmons grad on the other side of the world this spring!

You'll also want to check out another recent blog entry from one of our CEC coaches with ten tips for new grads.  

Once you commit and take those initial steps and get a plan going, then start to reach out to target companies and begin to network your way in, pretty soon it will be you negotiating with an employer, getting to yes, and getting that coveted handshake. And when you've landed, you can share the good news with us in this year's first destinations survey - e-mail the CEC and we will send you a link to the survey.  

We're here all summer long -- for you. Let us know when you're ready to get going.

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  

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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
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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

Top ten career tips

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Recently I was a guest at the School of Management Spring Networking Dinner. Along with the other faculty and staff present I was asked to stand up and offer a career tip, one piece of advice to the assembled undergraduates, of whom there were probably 75 or so.

I offered my comments but it got me thinking afterward. I was not really prepared to offer just one piece of advice, and I realized I had never really stopped to condense my thinking in response to this question. Next time, I said to myself, I'll be ready.  
 
So what follows here, after a bit of reflection, are my "Top Ten" career tips: 

Know thyself - There is much wisdom in this ancient Greek aphorism, often attributed to Socrates. A true knowledge of self is the necessary foundation upon which one's career lies. If you are not aware of what you are good at, what you like and don't like, your strengths and your weakeness, you can be pulled in any number of directions, which can lead to less than optimal work experiences. In the CEC you will hear us talk about VIPS - your Values, Interests, Personality, and Skills. Knowing these, knowing yourself, can act as a sure compass to help guide you in the right direction "out there" in the real world. 

Do what you love (with caveats) - Be honest with yourself about your talent level and whether the market will pay you for what you have to offer. Many of us may know what we love to do, but do we have the ability for it? How painful is it to watch those candidates on American Idol who love to sing and desperately want to be a star, but, sadly, have no singing talent? Even if you do have the ability, ask yourself if there is a market for it. Can you do this work and live in the manner you would like? If you are not sure, do more research, ask questions, and find out.
 
Experience is the best teacher - A phrase not written by me but oh so true. The more experience you have -- the more jobs, volunteer work, and different activities you engage in in and out of school -- the more you will come to know about yourself and the opportunities available to you out there. Listen to the feedback the world gives you and come to know what you like and where you can potentially thrive. A corollary here is that even a bad experience can have a positive outcome. If life deals you a lemon, make lemonade: "That internship was horrible! Now I know I don't want to do that for the rest of my life!"

You are the product - In my role at Simmons, representing the college to the world of employment, Simmons is my brand, the five schools and academic majors are my product lines, and each and every individual student is my product. In the world of work, this is how you need to see yourself, and if you are the product, then you need to learn how to market yourself. In your elevator pitch, resume, portfolio, personal presentation -- these are all components of your self-markering mix. And remember to sell your total package, not just your major and GPA but all your experiences outside the classroom as well, leadership, service, study abroad, travel, summer experiences - all provide transferable skills and demonstrate qualities that appeal to those who will want to bring you on board in the workplace.

We all have two jobs now - In the pre-industrial era eveyone had a defined job. You started out as an apprentice, worked your way up, and stuck at the same work your entire life. In the industrial era and later in the 20th century corporate era, large organizations emerged and were more likely to hire you on and manage your career across your entire working life, till retirement, a handshake, and the gold watch. Those days are pretty much gone. The workplace has changed. Today's workers can expect a lifetime of transitions in their work, much more the norm than before, not just between jobs but between careers as well. While it may seem daunting, it is also liberating -- now you are in charge, the master of your own fate. You can go where you want and do what you want to do. But only you can manage yourself. Only you can look out for #1. Thus, we all have two jobs now: the job you are currently in, and managing your career.  

Be open to opportunities - While you can have a career plan and a path in mind, unexpected things (aka, life) happen. You meet somebody on a train and they wind up offering you a job (true story). Be open to opportunities as they arise. Then, with your evolving knowledge of self and base of experience, evaluate each one. Is it a good fit for me? Think two steps ahead: where can I go after that? Does it lead where I want to go? Career theorist John Krumboltz calls these opportunities "happenstance", the unexpected twists and turns that can have a profound impact not just on your work but your life. Be ready for them.   

Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated - This remark was delivered by a keynote speaker at a large HR conference I attended a number of years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. Despite your best efforts and hard work, despite their having hired you in the first place, you may find that after some time in an organization you are seen only for what you are doing, not what you could do. You become part of the woodwork, taken for granted, not recognized any longer nor your true value appreciated. But you want to grow and prove that you can offer more, have ideas, have energy that is not being tapped. Then you have to do something about it, create or find a better siutation. Explore both internal and external opportunities. Helen Keller phrased it this way: "One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar".

Maintain your network - When you are first starting out in your career, networking may seem like a foreign and daunting concept - how do I do "networking" and do I even have a network? You will also think of networking as something that benefits you, a tool that can help lead to job and internship possibliites, or provide a connection in a new city if you decide to relocate. But as you spend more time in the workforce, you will realize that you become part of other people's networks, too, and that you can be just as valuable to them. The message here is that networking is a two-way street: yes, you can be helped, and you always want to be sure to show your appreciation and keep your network informed and up to date. But you can also reciprocate, be an aid to others, and then you are a member of a truly valuable network.  

Seek a higher purpose - I will echo the evening's keynote speaker, Mary Finlay, Professor of Practice in the SOM and former Partners Healthcare CIO. While there is a necessity to manage your own career and meet certain financial and other personal exigencies, if your work is solely for yourself you will burn out and become disillusioned very quickly. Simmons' core purpose of "Transformative learning that links passion with lifelong purpose" is not a hollow phrase. Working for a larger purpose, something that provides lasting benefits and is of value to others, provides a deeper and sustaining motivation. Being engaged in something larger than yourself can get you up in the morning and keep you going, not just for days and weeks but months and years. Taking an even broader view, the world faces many complex challenges in multiple arenas, some on a truly massive scale and of an unprecedented nature. We need all the dedicated talent we can get to face these challenges.    

It's a marathon, not a sprint - For most, the first several years out of college are a time of continued exploration and learning, albeit in the worplace versus the classroom. You will try on different occupational roles and see what fits (see "Know thyself" and "Experience is the best teacher"). Some of your peers may seem to have it all together (usually they don't) and some may actually have a clear and defined path early on, what I call the "lucky few." But most use the defining decade of the twenties to sort things out before eventually finding their path. You do not have to have everything figured out all at once. Be patient. Let things unfold, and learn as you go. As American poet Walt Whitman said: "All truths wait in all things / They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it."

Your job is not your life - While income and how you spend your working hours are clearly central, and Gallup studies show that career well-being is the most reliable predictor of overall well-being, don't freight your job with fulfilling every aspect of your life. Other dimensions of your life  -- personal, family, physical fitness, involvement in community, activities of interest (music, rock collecting, reading, travel, whatever) -- are also important and should not be neglected. Whitman again: "Of course I contradict myself - I contain multitudes." Embrace the multitudes and pay attention to those aspects of yourself too. Or, put another way, "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy" (or Jill a dull girl).

Sometimes you need help - Have you ever seen a boxing match? When the bell rings to end the round the boxer goes back to his corner, slumps onto his stool, and gets attended to by his trainer and manager. That's what a career coach can do for you. They are in your corner. They help you take a break, step back from the action, work out a strategy, and get refreshed before you head back into the ring. While a lawyer attends to your legal needs and a doctor to your medical needs, a career advisor can help with your career needs. While at Simmons and as an alum, you can make us of the career coaching expertise on staff in the CEC.     
 
Be mindful of retirement - The "R" word may mean little or nothing to you now, but at some point, way out there on the horizon, your everyday working life will come to an end. And as the current run of Prudential TV ads is reminding us, many of us will be living far longer than previous generations, into our 90's and beyond, so we better be prepared not to outlive our retirement income. Plan now, save now, and you will thank yourself later.  

My final word on this is that there is no final word. While the foregoing are deeply held beliefs I might add another one here or there over time. And OK, for those counting there are more than ten tips here, which is the point. A career is a complex, organic, growing and evolving thing, and you can't boil it down to just ten immutable pearls of wisdom. It is an ongoing challenge, but one that Simmons grads are both prepared for and up to.

So what was the one tip I gave at the Networking Dinner? "Eisenhart's Theorem": We all have two jobs now.

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.

skype3.jpgAccording to research conducted by the Aberdeen Group, a market research company, 32 percent of companies used video interviews for recruiting last year.  Given their increased use by employers, your chances of having a video interview are greater than ever before.  While this technology has provided the expected convenience and cost savings for companies, video conferencing for job interviews has been shown to have negative consequences for both the candidate and employer.  A study from McMaster University De Groote School of Business reported that job applicants are viewed as less likeable by interviewers,  and interviewers are seen as less competent by candidates, when this technology is used .

Willie Weisener, associate professor, Human Resources, at DeGroote, and co-author of the study says, "These findings suggest that using video conferencing can adversely affect both applicant reactions and interviewer judgments.  Video conferencing places technological barriers between applicants and interviewers."   Consequently, the researchers recommend that video conferencing be used only for preliminary screening interviews.

So what do you do if you have a Skype interview with a potential employer?  How can you minimize the negative effect of that technological barrier?

First, remember that a Skype interview is still an interview.  Prepare for a Skype interview the same way you would prepare for an interview conducted in-person:

  • Research the organization, the job and the interviewer.
  • Prepare to answer typical interview questions and prepare questions to ask.
  • Analyze the job description so you can speak to how your skills and experience are a good match. For example, if the job requirements mention criteria like "organizational skills" or "collaboration with team members", be ready to give examples of how you have demonstrated these behaviors in the past.
  • Practice aloud the answers to interview questions as you would for any interview.

Then review these ten additional tips to help you prepare and overcome the technological barrier that the Skype interview presents:

  1. Create a professional Skype profile.  The first thing the interviewer will see is your Skype username and picture.

  2. Be sure your technology is working perfectly. Check the audio to be sure you can hear and be heard. Close other windows and programs on your computer.

  3. Secure a quiet private space where you'll have no interruptions and be sure your surroundings are neutral. Remove anything distracting behind you so you will be the focal point.

  4. Test the lightening in the room to ensure it doesn't appear harsh or cast a shadow on your face.

  5. Do a Skype run through with a friend who will be able to give you feedback about both technical and presentation issues.

  6.  Dress professionally as you would for an in-person interview.  It's expected, even if you feel awkward all dressed up and talking to a computer.   

  7. Look at the camera not at the screen image or you will be looking away from your interviewer.                                                                                                                                                                         

  8. Position yourself correctly so that your screen image is of your face and upper shoulders.  

  9. If you find the small image of yourself on screen distracting, cover it with a post-it note.

  10. Watch your body language: sit up straight and remember to smile appropriately to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest. 

For more information about interviewing and a list of typical questions, check out the CEC's Prepare to Interview webpage.  Then get ready for your close up by viewing this TIME video, How to Ace a Job Interview on Skype

 

 

 

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