Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Advantages of Being a Young Job Seeker

News regarding the current recession can seem pretty scary, particularly to college students and recent graduates. We haven't even gotten our foot in the door while experienced workers are being laid off left and right. However, there are a few major advantages that young candidates have in a tight job market.

The first major advantage young workers have is that we cost employers less money. When companies are trying to cut costs, candidates with lower salary expectations are a plus. Older workers already have higher salaries and have gotten accustomed to bonuses and other perks. They also cost their employers more in terms of benefits, such as health insurance.

Another big advantage for young workers is that we are more willing to travel and usually open to moving for a job. And since many of us don't yet have spouses or children, we are usually able to work longer hours and take on more responsibilities than our older co-workers.

Finally, young workers are familiar with technology. Certainly many older workers are very tech-savvy, but today's college graduates have been raised around computers and have probably taken several computer courses while in school. We understand that technology is constantly changing and that computer skills are essential in almost any occupation.

If you are a recent graduate, don't be discouraged by the headlines. Just be aware it may take longer to find a job and you may need to compromise a little. Gaining experience is the focus for the first couple of years out of school, so be open to moving to where the jobs are more plentiful or working at a less prestigious organization.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors: History

Who majors in history? Future business executives, lawyers, politicians, and writers. With a history degree, you are not limited to a particular occupation or field. Many history majors go on to obtain a doctorate, business or law degree. If you aren't sure about graduate school (or want to take a break from school), but still want a history-related job, consider the following careers:

1. Librarian Although many librarian positions require a degree in library science, many smaller libraries will accept a bachelor's degree in any subject. Knowledge of history would be a great advantage for a librarian since many people visit libraries in order to conduct historical research. My hometown librarian was also the town historian . Whenever I was writing a paper and needed to research the area's history, he was the person to consult. Librarians must have good interpersonal skills and patience because they interact with visitors of all ages. Average annual salary: $50,970.*

2. Curator Curators acquire items for exhibit collections, develop database systems used for record keeping, conduct research, supervise museum staff, and negotiate the sale or loan of items. They promote the institutions for which they work by attending community events, educating the public, and organizing tours. Budgetary guidelines and institutional policies are also part of a curator's responsibilities. Most curators work for museums, universities, or local government. Demand for curators is expected to grow much faster than average through 2016. Average annual salary: $46,000.*

3. Archivist Archivists appraise, acquire, preserve, and classify historical documents. They may conduct research related to documents and provide assistance to other researchers needing to use these documents. To make access to records easier, they copy them to other formats, design classification systems, and maintain computer databases. Demand for archivists is expected to grow faster than average through 2016. Average annual salary: $43,110.*

4. Museum technician/conservator Museum technicians assemble exhibits, clean items, and arrange artifacts for display. They may specialize in a certain type of artifact, such as books or paintings. Additional responsibilities include giving tours, supervising volunteer workers, and determining repair needs. Demand is expected to grow faster than average through 2016. Average annual salary: $35,350.*

*For more details about the each job, including responsibilities, values, skills, and projected growth, visit O*Net.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors: English

English majors have skills that employers highly value: critical thinking, communication and reading comprehension. People with English degrees can be found in a wide variety of industries and occupations. Some careers for English majors to consider:

1. Copy Writer
Copy writers create advertising copy and promotional materials. They collaborate with clients, marketing executives, and salespeople in order to obtain necessary information about a product or service. Their work might appear on product packaging, internet advertisements, bulletin boards, or in brochures. Average annual salary : $50, 660.*

2. Personnel Recruiter Recruiters identify qualified candidates and match them to employers who need their particular skills. They work with hiring managers to find appropriate candidates for openings within a company and keep applicants informed during the hiring process. Communication and interpersonal skills are essential as recruiters must maintain positive relationships with both job seekers and the companies for which they recruit. Demand for recruiters is expected to increase faster than average through 2016, according to O*Net Online. Average annual salary: $44,380.*

3. Technical Writer Technical writers create instruction and operations manuals for various types of equipment and machinery. They must be well versed in relevant technical terminology and operating procedures, and may need to consult with engineers and other professionals. Technical writers may also help with drawing sketches or selecting appropriate photographs for manuals. Demand for technical writers is expected to increase faster than average over the next eight years. Average salary: $60,390*

4. Editor Editors revise books and articles before publication. Not only do they check for grammatical and punctuation errors, but they also rewrite content to enhance clarity and verify facts and statistics. Other duties include generating story ideas, assigning topics to writers, and layout design. An editor may work for a newspaper, textbook publishing company, website, magazine, or other organization. Demand is greatest for editors with web experience. Average salary : $48,320.*

5. News Reporter /Correspondent Reporters report news stories for newspapers, magazines, websites, or broadcast. They may conduct extensive research and interview a variety of individuals in order to gather necessary information. Reporters must work well under pressure and have excellent investigative skills. Average annual salary: $34,690.*

*ONet Online

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors: Psychology

Many college students choose majors in the liberal arts and sciences, but have trouble determining what careers they can pursue once they graduate. Law school and teaching are common routes for many liberal arts majors, but you may not feel that those careers are right for you based on your interests and personality. It may require more flexibility and creativity, but finding a career is possible with a liberal arts degree. I'll be writing a series of posts detailing jobs for different liberal arts majors.

The first major I'll focus on, psychology, is second only to business as the most popular major for college students in the United States.

1. Human resources manager - Human resources managers perform a variety of duties. They usually are in charge of identifying vacancies, recruiting candidates, screening applicants, and conducting interviews. They mediate disputes among employees and work to ensure positive relations within the organization. Another important responsibility of human resources managers involves managing worker compensation and benefits programs to ensure that they are competitive and that they comply with legal requirements. In addition, they advise management on organizational policies such as equal opportunity employment and represent the organization during hearings or investigations related to personnel issues. Several years of work experience in human resources, such as working as an assistant to the manager, are usually required. Average annual salary is $84,440*.

2. Social services manager - Social services managers oversee community services and communicate with organizations to ensure that community needs are met. They organize staff and volunteers, maintain records, and determine community needs by conducting research. Demand is expected to increase much faster than average and the average annual salary is $54,530*.

3. School and vocational counselor - School counselors help students choose coursework, plan their careers, and deal with personal problems that might interfere with their academic performance. They also meet with parents to discuss behavior issues and academic performance. In addition to counseling, they may also be responsible for helping with standardized testing and helping students with college applications. Excellent organizational skills are necessary due to the detailed paperwork that must be completed. Demand for counselors is expected to increase over the next several years. A master's degree in counseling or psychology is usually required. Average annual salary is $49,450*.

4. Mental health counselor - Mental health counselors work with patients in groups or individually and help them with a variety of mental and behavioral issues including drug addiction and depression. They must help develop treatment plans, communicate with other health professionals and keep accurate records. Demand for mental health counselors is expected to increase much faster than average over the next five years. A master's degree is usually required and average annual salary is $36,000*.

*Source: O*Net

My next post will focus on jobs for English majors.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Creating a Job Search File

When looking for a job, it can be hard to keep track of all the positions you've applied for and all the other information related to a job search. You don't want to receive a call about a possible job and forget that you even applied. Therefore, I recommend keeping an organized file that includes all the information you need about your current job search. I personally use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of information related to my job search. I have worksheets for companies I would like to work for, recruiting firms to contact when I'm closer to graduating, and positions for which I've applied.

Some suggestions for what to include in your job search file:

1. Jobs you've applied to with information such as company name, job title, date applied, and contact information. You can put a check when you receive a reply.

2. Interviews you have been on including questions that were asked (to practice for future interviews), contacts you made, and when you should hear back.

3. Contact list including job title and company.

4. Reference list of your former co-workers, supervisors, team members, and professors that have agreed to serve as references.

5. Company list including industry, location, and key information (history, recent news, financial performance, and organizational structure).

6. Job boards that you have registered at, usernames, passwords, and what information you have included in your portfolio/profile.

It may seem like extra work to create a job search file, but being organized in your job search will keep you accountable and will ease some of the stress related to job hunting. If you have any suggestions for what other information might be helpful to keep track of in a job search, please comment.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Six Interest Areas and How They Can Help You Choose a Career

An interest area is a way of categorizing careers based on where and how you like to work. Your values and personality will influence your interest areas. Because this categorization combines important factors, it can be very useful when choosing a career.

A brief description of the interest areas:

1. Conventional


Conventional people like organization, structure, and stability. They prefer work that requires attention to detail and routine.
  • conventional personality traits: honest, dependable and conscientious
  • good jobs for conventional types: accountant, actuary, budget analyst, receptionist, bookkeeper, medical records technician, legal secretary, insurance underwriter, office clerk, pharmacy technician

2. Investigative

Investigative types enjoy solving complex problems and appreciate abstract ideas. Science, math, and engineering are areas in which investigative types usually excel.
  • investigative personality traits: curious, rational, intelligent and independent
  • good jobs for investigative types: software engineer, actuary, financial analyst, economist, physician, chemist, physicist, medical scientist, computer systems analyst

3. Social

Social types value relationships and gravitate towards the "helping" professions such as nursing, counseling and teaching. They enjoy working with people and communicating.
  • social personality traits: patient, friendly, generous and supportive
  • good jobs for social types: registered nurse, dental hygienist, physical therapist, teacher, home health aide, social worker, school counselor, police officer, occupational therapist

4. Artistic


Creativity expression is highly valued by artistic types. They prefer work that does not follow a clear set of rules or regulations.
  • artistic personality traits: idealistic, sensitive and unconventional
  • good jobs for artistic types: architect, editor, art director, producer, graphic designer, copy writer, musician, photographer, librarian; drama, art or music teacher

5. Realistic


Realistic types enjoy working outdoors and prefer work that is hands-on. They like using machinery or tools and would probably not enjoy most office jobs.
  • realistic personality traits: practical, athletic, stable and hard-working
  • good jobs for realistic types: electrician, plumber, truck driver, civil engineer, welder, firefighter, pilot, radiologic technician

6. Enterprising

Enterprising types like to start and carry out projects. They don't mind taking risks and are well-suited for leadership roles.
  • enterprising personality traits: persuasive, confident, decisive and ambitious
  • good jobs for enterprising types: lawyer, sales representative, manager, recruiter, education administrator, business owner, controller

How do you use an interest area to choose a career? First, realize that you will probably have a primary interest area and a secondary interest area. You should focus on the two or three interest areas that best fit you. Most careers will combine two or three interest areas, so choosing a career based on your interest areas isn't always simple. Ideally, you will identify the careers that combine your primary and secondary areas. I recommend the book 50 Best Jobs for Your Personality by Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin, which includes a test that will determine your interest areas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Health Care Careers You May Not Have Considered

Even if you don't want to be a doctor or a nurse, you shouldn't overlook the health care industry when planning your career. With an aging population, this is a fast-growing field where you are almost guaranteed a job. Consider the following (less obvious) careers in health care:

1. Audiologist

Audiologists evaluate hearing, diagnose hearing disorders, and fit patients with hearing aids. They may also provide auditory training and perform research. Patience is an important characteristic for an audiologist to have because you will be working with elderly patients and children. In addition, you may work with other professionals (speech pathologists, physicians, etc.) to plan a patient's treatment. An undergraduate degree in communication sciences/disorders will provide the necessary coursework for admittance to an audiology graduate program. A clinical doctoral degree is becoming the standard requirement for audiologists. See The American Academy of Audiology's website for more information.

2. Optometrist

Optometrists diagnose and treat diseases and conditions related to the eye. They perform vision tests and prescribe corrective lenses. Although optometrists do not perform surgery, they may prescribe medication to treat eye conditions if state law allows. Those wishing to obtain a doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree will need to take a variety science courses as undergraduates in order to be admitted to one of the sixteen optometry schools in the United States. The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry provides information about optometry education.

3. Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists provide rehabilitative therapy to emotionally, mentally, and physically disabled patients. Therapy involves learning daily living skills that helps patients lead productive and independent lives. They may also help patients compensate for a permanent loss of function. Occupational therapists work in schools, hospitals, nursing care facilities, and clinics. A master's degree is required in order to practice. See the American Occupational Therapy Association for more details.

4. Radiologic Technologist

Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations and administer radiation therapy. This not only requires knowledge of anatomy, proper patient positioning, and safety protocols, but also an empathetic and caring nature. See the American Society of Radiologic Technologists for more information about the profession and education requirements.

5. Medical Laboratory Technologist

Medical Laboratory Technologists (also known as clinical laboratory technologists) perform laboratory tests for diagnosis and treatment of diseases. They analyze blood, urine, and other bodily fluids, looking for abnormalities. Laboratory technologists also analyze blood samples to test for blood type and compatibility for transfusion, among other things. If you are interested in science, enjoy working with laboratory equipment, and have an investigative personality type, this may be a good career choice for you. See the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science for more information.



Friday, November 21, 2008

More Teenagers Consulting Professional Career Counselors

I recently read this article from MSNBC which talks about the trend of high-school teenagers visiting professional career planners. I think this is an excellent idea and wish I had consulted a career planner before I entered college. Even my high school guidance counselor did not offer help with career planning and the career counselors I consulted at my university read off the Occupational Outlook Handbook website, which I could have done myself at home.


Some may object to the practice of career counseling for teens, but counselors do not give one career that you must pursue. Instead, they offer many suggestions based on one’s interests, personality, and skills. They also talk with the client about their goals, values and desires. Testing doesn’t limit a person, it only gives suggestions to consider. With a few ideas in mind, students can then determine which field is best after they have taken a variety of courses and talked with professionals in the careers they may wish to pursue.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What is Your Ideal Work Environment?

Where you work is just as important as the career field you choose when it comes to career satisfaction. For example, I prefer to work in a small company and I'm willing to take a smaller salary if it means working in a comfortable environment. When choosing your ideal work environment, consider the following factors:

Large vs. Small
A large company can probably offer a larger salary and more impressive benefits. However, you may prefer a smaller setting where you feel more connected to your coworkers and more invested in the success of the business.

Formal vs. Casual
Formal environments often require business attire and implement many rules and regulations. Casual environments are more flexible about attire, work hours, and other factors.

Fast-paced vs. Laid-back
If you work well under pressure, then a fast-paced environment might be right for you. However, some people need a calm setting in order to do their best work.

Traditional vs. Innovative
A traditional company will have set procedures and standards of operation while creativity will be highly valued in an innovative company.

There are many factors to consider when assessing work environment. Your coworkers and supervisors will have a major impact on your happiness at work. Get to know what you want in a work environment before you look for jobs. Then, target companies that are likely to be a good fit for you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Passion and Your Career

The Career Encouragement Blog recently featured a great post about the problem with passion. The article makes some valid points and I'm glad someone finally gave realistic advice about passion and career. I often read about how to make a career out of one's passion and how your career should be your passion. This is great if you are exceptionally talent and lucky, or if you just happen to be passionate about a very in-demand field.

Unfortunately, most of us cannot make a living off of our passions. For one reason, their are several others trying to make a living doing the same thing and the ratio of applicants to job openings is too large. If you want to try your luck and don't mind the uncertainty, go for it. If you want job security and a steady income, try to find a career that fits your personality and values. As I've mentioned before, your career should interest you at least a little, but it doesn't have to be your number one interest and it doesn't have to be your passion.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Day in the Life

I recently found a great site (http://www.vault.com/nr/ht_list.jsp?ht_type=1) that gives a detailed accounts of what it's like to work in various professions. There are a variety of occupations included, from Alaskan fisherman to research scientist. If you are researching careers, this is a great place to start.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Employers Want in an Entry-Level Candidate

After interviewing with a variety of organizations, I have noticed a few trends in the interview questions and am now familiar with what employers want to see in a job candidate.

1. Volunteer Work Ideally, you'll find a regular volunteer activity that you can continue throughout your college career. Examples include tutoring, working at an animal shelter, and volunteering at a food bank. In addition, you should also try to participate other events such as fund raisers that occur less frequently.

2. Leadership Roles Interviewers frequently ask about leadership experience. Serving as a club officer or in another leadership capacity will prepare you for interviews and will set you apart from other candidates.

3. Teamwork Almost all jobs today involve teamwork. Job interviewers will likely ask you if you work well in teams, and will want proof that you have handled yourself well in a group situation.

4. Internships/Job Shadowing Interviewers want to know that you are familiar with the industry or type of job you are applying for. As a recent graduate, you will set yourself apart if you have some experience already. If you are unable to find an internship, ask someone in your chosen profession if you can shadow them to get a feel for the job and to see if it is something you would enjoy.

One of my questions for my last interviewer was what characteristics her ideal candidate would have. She told me that the ideal candidate would be well-rounded and would be able to balance several responsibilities at one time. Participating in student organizations, part-time jobs, and volunteer work will demonstrate your ability to handle many responsibilities and will show potential employers of your diverse skills.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Four Self-Improvement Books for Your Career and Your Life

I've read many self-help books, but only a few have stayed with me long after reading the book. The following four books have proven most useful and memorable to me.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

If you are a chronic worrier or suffer from anxiety, this book will offer practical advice about overcoming your worries. My favorite aspect of the book is the stories about real people that overcame their worries to achieve success and happiness.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Establishing and maintaining good relationships is probably the most important factor in having a happy and successful life. The advice found in How to Win Friends and Influence People boils down to treating others as you would want to be treated.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen Covey

The seven habits Covey mentions are not just important for business leaders, but also for students, job-seekers, and all employees. You’ll also find advice on time management and effective leadership

What Color is Your Parachute?
by Richard Nelson Bolles

What makes this book a classic is its unconventional career planning and job search advice. While reading the book, you'll create a diagram that pulls together everything you want in a job. Keep this with you as you plan your career and search for a job.

Friday, October 31, 2008

No Experience? Try These Job Sites

Getting experience can be difficult, because even jobs described as "entry-level" often require several years of experience. The traditional job boards usually have very few entry-level positions. After looking at several job sites, I've found four that offer true entry-level opportunities and list internship opportunities, as well.

1. Experience

2. MonsterTRAK

3. College Recruiter

4. College Grad

Beware: Some of these sites have work-from-home/"business opportunity" scams so look for jobs that list a specific location.

Edit: I just found this article at Career Alley : Career and Job Resources for Recent College Grads
Any other suggestions?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Four Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Career

Choosing a career involves a lot of thought and introspection. Superficial factors such as income or prestige do not provide career satisfaction in the long-term. Important factors have to do with who you are as an individual.

1. Interests : What topics do you read about in your spare time and what classes do you enjoy in school? Your career doesn't have to be your passion, but it shouldn't bore you to tears, either.

2. Natural Skills and Abilities: If you struggled through math in school and couldn't pass no matter how much you studied, you may want to consider a career that doesn't require a great deal of mathematical ability. However, most degree programs include a variety of classes that may or may not relate to your future occupation. Don't let this discourage you from pursuing the career you want.

3. Introversion vs. Extroversion: Introverts require time alone to recharge, while extroverts thrive on social interaction. Most people are close to the middle of the spectrum and will be most happy in a career that balances time alone with social interaction.

4. Goals and rewards : What do you find rewarding? Some people desire to help others directly, while others seek independence and autonomy. Everyone derives their fulfillment in different ways.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Four Things NOT to Consider When Choosing a Career

1. Prestige. Prestige is subjective and the general public's idea of what makes a prestigious career changes with time.

2. Income. A job should provide you with enough money to live on. However, over a certain amount, income should not matter. If your job provides fulfillment, you won't need to buy extra stuff to fill the void.

3. Education Requirements. If you really know what you would like to do, don't let the education requirements hold you back. You don't want to endure 50 years of regret because you wouldn't spend a few more years in school or didn't want to take a certain class. See my previous post about education length and career choice.

4. "Best" Career Lists. These lists are based on opinion and change every year. If your chosen career is on the list, great. If it's not, don't worry, it may be next year. In any case, everyone has different ideas of what makes a good career. Your list of best careers is the only one that matters.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Length of Education and Career Choice

Many occupations require several years of school after the bachelor's degree. You should not let these additional education requirements prevent you from choosing one of these occupations if the career interests you. I'll address some reasons why length of education should not be a factor in choosing a career:

1. If you are pursuing your dream career, the time spent in school will be interesting. You will have to live like a student for a few more years, but fulfillment will come from working toward a long-term goal.

2. Most doctoral programs provide stipends. If you are entering a professional program, your salary after graduation should be enough for you to pay back the loans. In most cases, a graduate degree will provide greater income potential so money should not be a concern.

3. You will save time in the long-run, because you will not have to go back to school or spend time training for a new career.

Of course you should be sensible about tuition costs and loans, but don't focus on your age and time. Three, four or even five extra years isn't that long when it means 40 more years in a great career.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Career Planning for Introverts

On every personality test I have taken, I have scored extremely high on introversion (often 100% introverted). As an introvert, social interaction requires considerable effort and drains me. This is hard for most people to understand, since about 80% of the population is extroverted. Introversion is often seen as a negative trait and we introverts are encouraged to change. However, we will always derive our energy from within and this inherent trait cannot be changed. Instead, we should look for careers in which our introverted nature is an asset.

The ideal career for an introvert will allow for some time to recharge during the workday (preferably you will have a space of your own to think and work). Interactions will be one-on-one or in small groups. Remember that all careers require interaction with coworkers and clients, but even introverts can develop good social and communication skills with practice.

Some careers for introverts to consider:
  • Actuary
  • Accountant
  • Archivist
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Forensic Science Technician
  • Software Engineer
  • Statistician
  • Technical Writer
Being introverted should not stop you from pursuing the career you want. If your dream career involves working around people, you may just need more rest at the end of the day than your extroverted coworkers. Even introverts can work in social occupations if the work interests and fulfills them.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Characteristics of Successful College Students

College can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience for even the best student. What characteristics do the most successful college students have? Below are some traits and skills that will help a student have a happy and successful college experience.

1. They have good time management skills

Learning to balance school, a social life, and extracurricular activities is one of the most important things a college student can learn. The sooner a student learns this skill, the better. I recommend setting a specific place and time to study for each class. Don't procrastinate, because some things cannot be completed in one night. Review your notes immediately after every class and start studying for each test several weeks in advance.

2. They are persistent
There will be some courses that make you want to change your major, if not quit college altogether. Successful college students realize this and are able to keep their long-term goals in mind. This is particularly hard if you sailed through high school with straight A's and are being academically challenged for the first time in your life. It's easy to think you are stupid and give up. The truth is that very few people can get through college without intensive studying for many of their classes. You may even have to retake a class. Don't let it get you down. You are not a failure and it happens to more people than you think. Just learn from your mistakes and try again.

3. They talk to their professors and instructors
I've always been intimidated by teachers, especially college professors. What if they ridicule my questions? What if they brush me off? Professors can be dismissive and rude (it's happened to me several times), but that shouldn't keep you from talking to them because most are very approachable and willing to help. You just have to let hurtful comments and bad attitudes roll off of your back. It probably has nothing to do with you personally, they may just be under a lot of stress. Find the professors who are approachable and talk to them. It helps to establish relationships with your professors because they can provide a good reference or write a letter of recommendation for you when you are applying to graduate school or looking for a job.

4. They are able to enjoy this stage in life, while preparing for the next
College should be a time to have exciting experiences, to mature, and to learn things about yourself. You have the freedom that you didn't have in high school, but you don't have the responsibilities that you'll have after graduation. Have fun, make friends, study abroad, take interesting classes, and enjoy being young. However, you should also start to develop a plan about what career path you'll take. Do you want to go to graduate school? Maybe you want to find an internship or get a part-time job that will relate to your future career. Keep a current resume and update it at least once a semester. Also, save all of your papers and projects so that you can look back on what you've accomplished.

5. They get involved
While getting my first bachelor's degree, I studied, studied, studied, and ruminated over my GPA. Other students were having a good time, going to parties and participating in campus organizations. I graduated with honors, but those four years are a blur because there was nothing to break the monotony of studying and going to classes. Sure, I was a member of several honor societies and volunteered occasionally, but I didn't have fun and I certainly didn't feel like a part of something.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Resume Advice for Students

Creating a resume when you have little or no work experience is challenging, but possible. The skills you've developed and knowledge you've acquired in school can be transferred to any job. Below is a list of sections that a student or recent graduate should include on a resume.

1. Relevant Coursework

You've worked hard in your classes, so why not put them on your resume? List any classes that relate to the position for which you are applying.

2. Projects and Presentations
List the major projects or presentations you have completed. Briefly describe each project and include the grade received if it was a B or above.

3. Computer Skills
This includes software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. If you know HTML or any other programming languages, include those as well.

4. Languages
You don't have to be extremely fluent in a language in order to list it, but you should be able to conduct basic conversation with native speakers (be honest about your level of fluency on the resume).

5. Community Involvement
If you've volunteered or done any community service, be sure to include it on your resume. Tutoring volunteer work that you can do on your own and looks impressive on a resume.

6. Honors and Awards
Honors, awards, and academic scholarships you've received should be on your resume. You should also put if you were on any honor rolls (President's List, Dean's List, etc).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Great Site for Students and Career-Changers

Myplan.com is a great site for high school and college students. It offers extensive information about colleges, majors, and careers. If you're want to know what careers are best for you, are undecided about your major, or want detailed information about different colleges, I highly recommend this site. Four career assessment tests are offered by the site. The values test is free, but you have to pay for access to the skills, interests, and personality tests. However, you can retake the tests as many times as you like once you have access.

The composite ranking is my favorite feature and will be very helpful in suggesting careers that would be a good fit for you. A portfolio allows you to save information about colleges, careers, and notes you've made. Myplan.com is the best career information and assessment site I've found.