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Hey, first-years and sophomores! Are you losing sleep at night over a big question looming over you: what are you going to major in?

Well, lose sleep no more. Instead let your fingers do the walking across your keyboard or screen and get familiar with an amazing career resource known as What Can I Do With This Major? (aka, WCIDWTM).

As part of the support we provide to Simmons undergraduate students, the CEC partners with selected content providers to offer career information that we feel is of value. These include CareerSpots videos, skills profiler Career Driver, and personality self-assessment TypeFocus, all accessible on our Career Tools page.

One of my favorites is What Can I Do With This Major? Coming to us from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, this rich and regularly updated web-based resource provides detailed information on 91 different academic concentrations and where they might lead in the world after college. It includes all Simmons majors such as Psychology, Graphic Design, Management, Women's Studies, and many more.

The majors are grouped into 11 broad categories "(Business," "Health and Wellness", etc.) and can be viewed that way, or they are accessible directly. Details for each major include broad "Areas" of work -- for instance, "Communications Studies" includes Business, Public Relations/Advertising, Media, Non-Profit, Goverment, Law, and Higher Education. Within each of these areas you can see potential types of employers and strategies to get there. This information is supplemented by numerous links to Professional Associations, Occupational Outlook Handbook information, and in many cases access to job boards with specific listings for the field in question.

And. . . we have just launched a brand new version of WCIDWTM. You can access it from multiple points throughout the CEC website but you can always find it in our Career Resources section on the Career Tools page.

Deciding on a major is not always an easy choice, so if after reviewing the information in WCIDWTM you feel you could benefit from a conversation with one of our career coaches, set up an appointment with a coach here.

Good luck!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Resources:

Photo: courtesy of Ongkor

While the Career Education Center (CEC) employs several full-time staff members (whose photos and bios are available on our Meet The Staff page), our office would not be able to operate as effectively in serving you if not for our student employees. These students assist with our day-to-day operations, including scheduling appointments, responding to emails, posting job opportunities to CareerLink and CA$H, and creating and posting marketing materials. 

We have seven student employees this Fall, and to help you get to know them a little better, here is some info on each of them:

Lily Dearing

SCA Headshot_Lily D.jpgLily is a first-year student, so this is her first semester working for the CEC. She is majoring in Communications. Previous to  Simmons she attended North Yarmouth Academy in Maine, and enjoys theater, dance, and volunteering.

 

Cailin Fredrickson

SCA Headshot_Cailin F.jpgCailin is a sophomore studying Public Health. She joined the CEC this past summer. Prior to this semester, she attended the University of Massachusetts - Boston. Outside of class and her work with the CEC, Cailin plays on the Simmons volleyball team.

 

Shen Gao

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Shen is a sophomore and began working at the CEC this semester. She transferred to Simmons College from the University of Massachusetts - Lowell, and is studying Biology. Shen has volunteered at both My Brother's Table and Tufts Medical Center. She also plays piano and is fluent in Mandarin.

 

Lyndlee Hayes

SCA Headshot_Lyndlee H.jpgLyndlee is a senior and is majoring in Communications: Public Relations and Marketing. She is the CEC's Marketing Assistant, responsible for designing and creating marketing materials for our events. She started working for the CEC this semester. Previously, she has worked at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH as a Marketing Intern, and at Life is Good in Boston as a Sales Associate.

Teressa Peck

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A junior majoring in Nursing, this is Teressa's first semester working at the CEC. Prior to this job, she has worked at the Veteran's Administration - Boston, The Goldenrod Restaurant (in York, ME), and the Hyde Park Mentoring Program.

 

Camille Shaw-Pigeon

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This is Camille's third semester working at the CEC. She is a junior majoring in Management, and transferred to Simmons in the Fall of 2013 from Wheaton College. Camille also works for the Simmons Admissions Office.

 

Katharine Silva

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Katharine is an Arts Administration/Music major and a first-year student. She graduated from Brookline High School this past May, and volunteers with the Samaritans Suicide Prevention Hotline. As you can see from the picture, she also plays trumpet, and has worked as a Private Trumpet Instructor.



Have a work-study award and interested in joining the ranks of the student employees above? The CEC typically has openings, posted on CA$H, at the start of the Fall and Spring semesters, as well as at the start of the summer. Keep a lookout on the job board, and apply for an opening. We look forward to hearing from you!

Avoiding a quarterlife crisis

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quarter life crisis 2.jpgThis past week a senior student mentioned to me that she thought she was having a "quarterlife crisis".   She described feeling stressed and anxious about her future.  Her career decision making process was filled with starts and stops; she thought she had come to a decision but now she was feeling uncertain and second guessing herself.   At the same time, she knew she needed to get started on a job search.  

This soon-to-be-grad is not alone.  Choosing a career path and finding a job are major sources of stress for students.  And after watching friends experience periods of unemployment or underemployment post-college, students know a job search can be challenging.

The term quarterlife crisis was coined by author Abby Wilner in 1997, after she graduated from college, moved back home, and couldn't figure out what to do with her life.  While much has changed since 1997, it's not unusual for seniors to begin to feel some of those QLC symptoms as they contemplate life after Simmons.   Even students whose career direction is clear, may have questions about the job search, such as when to begin or what job search strategies to employ.

How do you begin to alleviate that anxiety? First, take a deep breath and, as discussed in an earlier blog, recognize that there is no one right career for you.  

Second, remember that career decision-making is a process over time that involves many stages and is actually a series of many small decisions. And when it comes to job search, having good information leads to better results.

Third, it's always easier if you have an action plan.

With that in mind, The Career Education Center has created a Senior Job Search Timeline to help you use our website resources to set goals and manage your job search.  It can serve as an action plan for seniors, no matter where you are in the process.

If you are in a career path decision mode, it directs you to resources you can use and coaching advice to help you put a career plan in place. 

If you know what job or career you want to pursue but are wondering what to do and when, there's a month by month timeline of job search tasks to guide you, as well as links to resources to help you accomplish them.

Get started today! Download the Senior Job Search Timeline and avoid a quarterlife crisis.

 

 

 

Photo: Courtesy of Girl's Guide to Uni

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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! 

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Stress can be an everyday way of life during college: the late nights, constant deadlines, growing list of activities both in and out of class, the anticipation leading up to mid-term and final exams. This is true not only for undergraduate students attending during the "traditional" ages of 18 - 22, but also equally so (if not more so) for adult students and graduate students, who may have to balance the responsibilities of family, home maintenance, and a full-time job alongside their educational responsibilities.

On this last point I can speak from personal experience: I am currently attending graduate school part-time while also working full-time here at Simmons. I also need to devote time to my wife, house, parents, and wonderful (but at times exhausting) two-year-old son.

How does one go about handling the balance between a career and school, and the stress that comes with trying to do both at the same time? According to the article "How Successful People Deal With Stress" by author Bernard Marr, some ways to help manage stress include:

  • Practicing gratitude
  • Staying positive
  • Focusing on progress
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Following routines
  • Seeing the big picture

To this list, I would add from my own experience:

  • Enlist the support of someone (a spouse or significant other, family member, close friend) in helping take care of some of the day-to-day tasks
  • Prioritize, and be realistic about what is truly necessary and what is just nice to have
  • Make at least a little time every day to do something you enjoy beyond school and work
  • Stick to deadlines (even if they are only informal ones)
  • Get enough sleep
  • When balancing competing school and work priorities of equal importance, do the one you would like to avoid first

And lastly:

  • Don't be too hard on yourself when you forget to follow most of the advice above

After all, who has time for advice when you've got a paper due, a presentation tomorrow at work, and the little one is sick?

Photo Source: Wikipedia Entry on Occupational Stress

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

AW-Cropped Head Shot.jpgThe following post originally ran in the fall of 2013 and is back by popular demand.  - Ed.

Are 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.

 

Still need a fall internship?

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College Intern in office.jpgWelcome back!

You've had a great summer break and you're back on campus, rested and ready to go -- but wait! How about that fall internship you were supposed to research and land over the summer? For that  -370 or above class? Whoops. . .

Take heart. You're not out of luck yet. You'll need to move quickly, but you have several resources at your disposal:

First, you should meet and discuss possible resources with your faculty advisor and/or department internship director. He or she should have several suggestions to offer.

Second, you should check out the Simmons online job board, CareerLink. Last week alone we posted over 130 new listings, including full-time jobs and internships. Employers are still posting fall internship openings, knowing that students are just returning to campus now. While many are unpaid, some are paid as well. 

Third, you have access to a unique Simmons resource: the PIN, or Peer Internship Network. The PIN is the  brainchild of a recent Simmons alum who wanted to facilitate networking around internships among Simmons students who had done an internship and those seeking one. The PIN can be accessed via a tab in your CareerLink login. It is fully searchable and there are currently dozens of listiings there. Check out the places previous students have interned, then contact one of these "peer mentors" to find out more.   

Fourth, don't forget the Beatley Library Career Resource guides. There are more than 60 of them, most providing career resources in specific disciplines, one for every major and academic program here at  Simmons, eg, Biology Careers Guide, English Careers Guide, etc. Other career guides address key career topics, such as Resumes, Networking. . . and Internships! Multiple internship sources abound within each of these guides. You can also set up an appointment to meet with one of the Research Librarians who specializes on resources in your field.  

Fifth, certain websites are very useful for locating internships. InternHub posts hundreds if not thousands of opportunities from Greater Boston businesses seeking student interns. And don't forget the big aggregator websites, such as Indeed amd Simply Hired. They "scrape" websites for all available job and internship opportunities and pull them into one convenient site. Set the search filters to suit your needs - eg, "Communications" and "Boston".

Finally, you can always visit the CEC and meet with a career coach to discuss your needs and get more focus. Contact us by phone or e-mail, or visit us during drop-in hours. Whatever issues you are facing, a coach can help.

It's not too late yet, but the grains of sand are slipping through the hourglass, so act now. Good luck!

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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