Back to blog homepage

Recently in Undergrads Category

There is no one right career for you

| No Comments

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?

| No Comments

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!

dollars-19782_640.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay

Help wanted.jpg

Statistics show that it's not uncommon for new college graduates to spend several months on their initial job search before they land somewhere. And in fact over the past few years those months have even stretched into years for some new grads and long periods of temporary employment, post-graduate internships, and contract roles.

But this year, for the fotunate graduates of the Class of 2014, the situation is looking brighter. The recent and sustained upturn in the employment market, both at the national and state levels, is in favor of these new grads seeking full-time employment for the first time. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs In June and another 209,000 jobs in July, with an unemployment rate of  6.2%. The Wall Street Journal reports that job openings in the U.S. hit a 13-year high, at 4.7 million openings. If you need a job -- just one job! --  that's a good sign.

But let's get a llttle closer to home. After all, we know from our annual "first destinations" employment surveys conducted right here in the Career Education Center that new Simmons grads tend to stick close to their alma mater, with, on average, 80-85% employed in New England after they graduate, a whopping 70-75% in Massachusetts alone.   

Here the news is good as well, actually even better than the national picture. The latest report from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development show that in July the Massachuetts unemployment rate was, at 5.6%, below the national rate. The Commonwealth also added 13,800 jobs during the same month.

Of equal significance is where the jobs were created - in which industry sectors. According to the Boston Globe, "Professional and business services, which includes technology, scientific research, and consulting firms, led July's employment gains, adding 5,000 jobs. . . Also adding jobs were education and health services (up 3,800). . .and financial services (up 1,000)."

So, you bright new Simmons grads from the Class of 2014, armed with your sheepksins, determinaton, a firm handshake, and a smile on your face, things are looking better for you than your most recent predecessors. With employers hiring, looking for you, now's the time to get out there and make it happen. And if you feel the need to tune up your resume or revisit your job search strategy with a coach, then give the CEC a call or set up an appointment with a career coach. We're here for you all summer.

AW Photo - Small.jpg

Today increasing numbers of job seekers are using a mobile device in their job search.  Career Builder reports that almost one-third of site traffic each month comes from mobile devices.  According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, "Companies and recruiting experts believe mobile recruiting will help them engage candidates such as young workers who may not have computers at home but are glued to their smartphones."

This development has arisen with the trends of social networking, cloud computing and use of QR codes.  International Data Corp predicts that in 2015 there will be more consumers in the US accessing the Internet via mobile devices vs. PC's.

Did you know that 63% of Americans access LinkedIn and Facebook on their mobile devices according to Nielsen, a market research firm? Because more people are hearing of job openings on their phone, there is a growing increase in mobile job searching and applications.

An example is  a new application called The Ladders.  It delivers job opportunities directly to mobile devices which offers job seekers a fast approach to connect with employers.  The Ladders.com launched in June and said that more than 100,000 people downloaded their app within the first week. The app allows users to click a thumbs-up icon for a specific job of interest which immediately signals an alert to employers.

You can use Beatley Library's new Mobile Apps for Job Hunting Guide to learn more about using your mobile device to find a job and discover some of the most recommended applications.

 

Andrea Wolf is Director of the Simmons Career Education Center.

 

allied_health4.jpg

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.

Intern-HerCampus.jpg

'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

research2.jpg

Whether you're an undergraduate deciding on a career direction or a new grad contemplating enrolling in graduate school, an important and practical step in the process is to do some market research to make an informed decision. Be sure to research and find the answers to these two questions: 

  • What does the job market look like for that particular career?
  • What are my chances of finding employment in that field?

The good news is that most liberal arts majors have many options, so if your research reveals a particular career path is not showing much growth in jobs, you can choose another option.  For example, a degree in English can prepare you for entry level positions in a variety of industries -  education, publishing,  business, and public relations to name a few. 

Within those industries, there are numerous areas and employers for whom you could work. If you decide on publishing, will it be in editing, circulation, sales, production, marketing, advertising, promotion or administration? And for what segment of the publishing industry will you work? Will it be trade publications, newspapers, university press, educational publishing, magazines, independent publishers, or alternative media?

Because there are so many choices, it's important to do market research so you will know the job market trends in that particular field. In addition, research provides information about the skills and experience you need to develop to make you an attractive candidate. 

Most majors in liberal arts are also good preparation for careers that need advanced professional training like law or higher education.  Doing market research can confirm the availability of jobs after graduate school and alert you to both the potential of a challenging job search and/or the possibility of relocation to where there is more demand for the specialty.

Where can you go to find information about which industries, functions and locations have the best outlook for employment?   Here are two good sources:    

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the OOH is considered the source of occupational information. You'll find  information  about nearly 1,000 occupations, including the nature of the work, working conditions, training and educational requirements, career advancement, and job outlook over the next ten years, earnings potential, and more.

O*NET - Also created and maintained for the U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET provides comprehensive information about thousands of professions, with detailed descriptions of job responsibilities, required skills, preferred interests, general work styles and environments, and more.       

Additional links to other online resources are available on the Beatley Library Career Guide on Career Exploration.

Photo: Courtesy of reumetarget.com

new_hire picture for blog post 11.9.12.jpg

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.