Summer 2013 - Make it a Good One!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013 16:00 by gmiller

It’s finals time, making the likelihood of you reading this in the midst of studying, writing, presenting, panicking, celebrating, sleeping, or any other finals week activity, slim to none.  It’s ok.  We understand.  But we also hope that once you do settle into your summer vacation, you’ll take some time to catch up and make it a commitment to include career planning in your schedule for the next few months.

A few easy things to get you started:

  • Re-read (or read for the first time) the blog postings from this past year.  It’s been our goal to introduce the CareerSpots videos and other great resources by incorporating them into these weekly topics.
  • Acquaint yourself with our Career TIP Sheets for advice on resumes, cover letters, internships, graduate school planning, interviewing, networking, and more.
  • Browse the Career Services Resources for Students website for information on job searching, career planning, online assessment tools, and exploring majors and careers.  **I highly recommend the What Can I Do With This Major site to help make connections between majors and careers, view strategies to help you work toward a career goal, and access professional association websites and other career information.

 A few more things to work on:

  • Some of you may be interning this summer with organizations that have learning goals built in for you and projects in which you will be developing your skills and abilities.  Great!  For others, you may be returning to a summer job or planning to seek work that will simply allow you to earn some spending money.  In either case, find ways in which you can offer more to your employer.  Develop your skills by tackling a new project, show some initiative by suggesting a different process, and demonstrate your commitment and professionalism by following through on your work and being a reliable employee.  Be sure you write your accomplishments down – it’s much easier to remember them as they occur than months (or years) later when you’re updating your resume.
  • If you aren’t planning to work, look for ways to make connections.  Network with alumni through Career Connections (housed in your JobCenter account); ask to shadow professionals in your area; attend professional association meetings; volunteer in organizations that interest you.
  • If nothing else, draft (or update) your resume and work on filling in your JobCenter profile and exploring this vast career management system.

Frankly, I could go on and on.  There are many steps, big and small, to achieve in your career development process.  The Office of Career Services is open throughout the summer to guide and assist you.  Let us know how we can help!

Career Services Staff
Sharon Givler, Director
Gwen Miller, Associate Director
Susan Donmoyer, Assistant

Phone:  717-867-6560
Email: careerservices@lvc.edu
Summer hours: Monday through Friday; 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

On-Line Video Interviewing

Wednesday, 24 April 2013 10:50 by gmiller

In this technology-rich era, it’s no surprise that many companies are incorporating it into their hiring practices through the use of on-line video interviewing.  On-line video interviewing may take the place of telephone screening, or could be used throughout the first round(s) of interviewing. Why?  Because it is convenient and can save the company time and money if initial interviews are conducted on-line versus bringing candidates on site.

On-line video interviews may be through SKYPE or other similar applications, in which candidates and interviewers are both “live,” or company’s may use technology that allows an interviewer to pre-record questions that candidates may respond to within a designated time period.  Either way, video interviewing requires preparation and practice if you want to present yourself as well as you would in person.

The CareerSpots video – On-Line Video Interviews – suggests the following tips:

  • Do a test call with friends or family. 
  • Check for technical problems ahead of time
  • Dress as though you are conducting a face-to-face interview
  • Make sure your space is tidy and clutter free with nothing distracting in the background
  • Eliminate interruptions by informing others that you will be conducting an interview
  • Plug your computer in so your battery doesn’t die during the interview
  • Check lighting to ensure interviewers will see you clearly
  • Frame your shot – make sure the camera focuses on your face
  • Look directly into the camera lens – it’s the same as making eye contact
  • Be enthusiastic!

Most importantly, practice, practice, practice!

Juggling Job Offers

Wednesday, 17 April 2013 08:40 by gmiller

It’s so easy for students to become caught up in the job search/interviewing process that it can come as a surprise when it’s time to evaluate whether or not a job that has been offered is a good fit.  Trying to juggle multiple job offers to determine which is best can be even more of a stressor.

If you find yourself in this dilemma, first take a look at the CareerSpots video – Juggling Job Offers – for advice on how to make your decision and remain professional.

The National Association for Colleges and Employers also offers a great article with accompanying rating sheet for students to use when evaluating multiple job offers.  An excerpt from the article explains:

There is no perfect formula for making your decision, but one of the best ways to begin is by making a list of all of the features that are important to you in your first job. These may include such items as the type of work you’ll be doing, the organization’s reputation/prestige, training program, salary, specific benefits, location of job, opportunity for advancement, work environment, opportunity for free time (evenings and weekends), opportunity for travel, colleagues with whom you’ll be working, and so forth. Add every possible item you can think of to your list.”  Continue reading
HERE.

LinkedIn Job Search Checklist

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 09:25 by gmiller

Serendipity – making fortunate discoveries by accident.

This morning on my way to work, as happens pretty frequently on Wednesday mornings, I had my weekly brainstorming session in my vehicle about what to write for a blog entry today.  Those sessions often begin with “what haven’t I written about recently” followed by “is that subject something that I can make interesting on this particular morning” and finally progresses toward sentence stems and the framework for a few paragraphs.  Quite frankly, this morning I drew a blank.  My creative wheels just weren’t turning.

But, when I got to work, I opened my email and was greeted with a notice from the Career Services Professionals LinkedIn group that I am a member of.  Within the first sentence, a link to a recently published “LinkedIn Job Search Checklist” caught my eye.  I opened it and…yes!  I could use it as a blog (along with this rather lengthy insight into my blog-writing process)! My failed brainstorming was a moot point.  This was glorious.  This was serendipity.

The November 28, 2012 posting – Why Be LinkedIn – introduced the professional social media forum and provided tips to help students and recent graduates create a profile and utilize the site effectively.  At the risk of repeating too much of that blog, I would like to call your attention once again to the video guides on: What is LinkedIn, Build your Professional Brand, Find your Career Passion, Build a Professional Network, Turn Relationships into Opportunities, and Researching & Prepping for Interviews.

A
s a complement to those videos, take a look at the Job Search Checklist.  I liked it, so I hope you will too.  But, don’t wait until the last minute to begin building your profile – it’s unlikely that a job will land in your lap without quite a bit of effort, networking, and searching.  After all, even though serendipity came through for me this morning, it probably isn’t a reliable job search method.

The Salary Question

Wednesday, 3 April 2013 14:44 by gmiller

Are you, as the candidate, supposed to bring up the subject of compensation during the interview process?  If so, when?  Although things will certainly be different for each employer, the general rule is that salary shouldn’t be discussed during the first interview.  And, whenever possible, let the employer bring the subject up first.

More importantly than worrying about when you should discuss it should instead be how you plan to discuss it when the time comes.  You should always do your homework prior to any interview so that you are prepared.  According to the CareerSpots video – The Salary Question – there are two sets of numbers that candidates need to know: the minimum salary that you need to make for your own financial obligations, and the average salary range for the type of position that you’re interviewing for.

That first number needs to be something realistic and well thought out; the second can be determined by researching salary information on similar positions for individuals with your level of experience and knowledge.  Don’t forget that geographic location is also a huge factor!  Understanding both of these numbers will help you to plan out a thoughtful response to the salary question.

How do you determine a salary range? The CareerSpots video offers several websites that may be helpful, including www.salary.com, www.salaryexpert.com, and www.payscale.com.  It also suggests the Bureau of Labor Statistics at www.bls.gov for tons of information, as well as professional organizations, business magazines, and online job boards for general salary information.

Another great resource, accessible through Career Services’ Resources for Students webpage is the NACE Salary Calculator Center.   The Salary Calculator’s User Guide and FAQ page indicates that “the program will reference your input information against the average salary values in our databases, and provide you with your personalized job salary data. The salary data provided to you is derived from salary survey data and compensation surveys.”

There are plenty of resources out there to help – be sure to investigate this before you ever talk with the interviewer – you don’t want to be caught off guard and unable to answer the salary question!

Professional Associations

Wednesday, 27 March 2013 15:25 by gmiller

I’ve posted about the importance of networking, informational interviewing, and researching industries and specific companies – all in hopes of encouraging students to become as informed as possible about their career development. *Take a look at past posts on networking HERE.* 

Another great way to be engaged in your field is to become familiar with corresponding professional associations.  A professional association is an organization seeking to further a particular profession and the interests of individuals engaged in that industry.  In a past Career Corner newsletter, we asked faculty to offer insight on the value of these organizations for students, as well as several tips for uncovering ones that interest you.  Click HERE for the newsletter.

In addition, our brilliant office assistant recently pointed out to me that an alphabetical listing of Professional Associations (over 500 included) can be found through The Campus Career Coach resource of JobCenter.
Each of the websites included has some form of career center, job board, or other resources to assist prospective and current professionals in their fields connect with job, internship and scholarship opportunities.  Log into your JobCenter account, click on The Campus Career Coach icon in the left hand navigation column, and then select the Professional Associations tab from the horizontal list at the top.



The Job Outlook for the College Class of 2013

Wednesday, 20 March 2013 13:42 by gmiller

The National Association of Colleges and Employers releases an annual report for students on the job outlook for the upcoming college class.  Based on a survey conducted from July 25 – September 10, 2012, 244 organizations provided input about their hiring plans and other employment-related issues in order to project the market for new college graduates for the current class and to assess a variety of conditions that may influence that market. 

Take a look at
The Job Outlook for the College Class of 2013, provided as a student report through NACE, to find information on:

  • Good News – hiring is up for new grads!
  • Who’s in demand
  • Who’s hiring: a look at specific industries, specific majors
  • What employers want in a job candidate
  • How to stand out: advice from employers

Although hiring procedures and job outlook will certainly differ among companies, industries, and geographic locations, the information provided in this report can reinforce some of your preparation and job search efforts.  For those students who are not part of the class of 2013, read through anyway!  Remember, knowledge is powerAt the very least, it provides you with some great insight into what employers are currently thinking in regards to their hiring decisions.

 

Settle in and browse...the Resource Library of JobCenter

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 10:31 by gmiller

Every week, the Office of Career Services sends out a “This Week at Career Services” email to notify students of upcoming programs, workshops, and deadlines, along with offering a brief spotlight on one of our resources.  Also included is a list of a few of the jobs and internships that were posted in JobCenter the week prior.  The email serves as a constantly updated snapshot of the services available to students; if it were to include everything new and beneficial, it would be much too large for the average inbox!

This week’s blog is meant to call your attention to a section of JobCenter that offers oodles of information on companies, internship, research, or job opportunities, and graduate schools or unique opportunities.  This is only naming a few of the 30+ folders in your Resource Library – a constantly updated electronic filing system of countless resources that should be added to your career planning tool box.

Did you know….

  • The Employer folder offers over 35 sub-folders about industries and/or companies?  There is information ranging from Accounting firms to GREEN jobs to state and federal government opportunities and resources for candidates.
  • There is an Internships / Research / Shadowing folder that includes links to current and annual programs and opportunities at places such as Pfizer, Disney, The Kennedy Center, etc.  I stopped counting at 50 sub-folders, all of which offer students great resources and ideas on identifying potential opportunities of interest.
  • A Unique Opportunities folder includes information on…you guessed it, opportunities that are unique.  AmeriCorps/Vista, Peace Corps, and Teach for America;  English Nanny & Governess School; a Leadership Pennsylvania Summer Institute, and more can be found here.

These are just three of the folders found in the Resource Library, accessible through the left hand navigation column in your JobCenter account.  Take some time today to turn on your computer, settle in, and browse!

A snapshot of current folders: 

Importance of Networking

Wednesday, 27 February 2013 10:21 by gmiller

Spring break is just days away and, for many students, it’s time to close the text books, sleep, and catch up with friends and family.  It can also be the perfect time to begin articulating your goals and summer plans/pursuits with the people you know.  Although I hesitate to use the word ‘networking’ (the word seems to strike fear into the hearts of students), spring break is a great opportunity to do just that!

We’ve all heard it, and it’s true: it’s not always what you know, but who you know.   Networking is about building and maintaining professional relationships and connections, which can often start with people you already know.  Take a look at the CareerSpots video on the Importance of Networking and read through these basic tips (as provided on the downloadable tip sheet):

  • Networking is a crucial first step in the job search process.
  • EVERYONE you know is included in your network – family, relatives, friends, professors, coaches, former bosses, friend’ parents, etc.  (Don’t forget about Career Connections – the alumni mentoring database through LVC! – see this TIP Sheet for information and advice on appropriate networking and informational interviewing)
  • Making connections can product a ripple effect.  For every person you build a relationship with, that person has relationships with 20 other potential job connections, and each of those another 20, and so on…
  • Professional organizations can offer tremendous connections.  Internships with these organizations, even if unpaid, may prove invaluable further down the road.
  • People who know you can give you an extra edge in landing a job since they can tout your positive characteristics and confirm them.
  • Be patient.  Networking does not always provide immediate gratification.

So…if the key to a more successful job search lies in networking, spend a portion of your spring break thinking about who YOU know.

How many employers actually screen using social media?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 13:59 by gmiller

According to….

  • The CareerSpots video – Perils of Social Networking – 26% of employers regularly use social media sites to gain information about candidates.
  • The New York Times article - Social Media History Becomes a New Job Hurdle (July 20, 2011) – “75 percent of recruiters are required by their companies to do online research of candidates. And 70 percent of recruiters in the United States report that they have rejected candidates because of information online.”
  • Reppler.Com offers a reportJob Screening with Social Networking - that 91% of the employers who participated in their survey use social networking sites to screen prospective employers

So who is correct?  What’s the true percentage of employers who screen candidates through social media?

Who cares?!  The fact that there is any percentage of employers who look into a candidate’s online persona should be enough to convince people to use caution and common sense prior to posting information/pictures/quotes/videos/etc. on the internet.  Whether or not you agree with the practice of pre-screening in this manner does not prevent a potential employer from doing it anyway.  Although your online reputation may not be able to tell an employer if you can or cannot perform specific job responsibilities, it might give them concerns about your level of maturity and professionalism.  In the job search process, that concern may be enough to set your application aside and move on.

The typical advice is that you shouldn’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see –I suggest you up the stakes a bit on that saying and follow the rule of not posting anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.