Archive for the ‘First Job’ Category

Part of the appeal of an internship is the opportunity to parlay it into something bigger and better. For some students, an internship is a necessity for a class, earning an advanced degree or finding a job in the industry. For other students, it’s a way to network and get your foot in the door of  a company. The latter group often hopes their time as interns also serves as an extended audition for the company that could become a job. I’d imagine any student, especially now, would like to have a job lined up before graduation rolls around–if not sooner.

Dr. Joanne G. Sujansky, CSP, and Dr. Jan Ferri-Reed have written a new book that can help you out. It’s titled The Millennials: Why Companies Are Losing Billions in Turnover to This Generation-And What to Do about It. Millennials, also known as Generation Y-ers, are up against some stiff competition from other job seekers of all ages, and Sujansky and Ferri-Reed have some tips for interns looking to make the most of their stints.

Some of these tips might work for you, some might not. Once you know your company’s culture and your boss’s work style, work with them to bolster your credentials and become a better worker. Here are what Sujansky and Ferri-Reed suggest:

Find opportunities to expand your experience when interning (offer to help in other areas if you have completed your assignments, tactfully make recommendations or give suggestions when you see an opportunity to improve or enhance something, volunteer to do “extra” duties, etc.)

Keep a daily journal to reflect your activities and accomplishments for each day

Ask for feedback  – formal reviews on what you have done well and what you can enhance

Conduct more research on the company – find out how the company makes money and indicate how you may be able to make a further contribution

Find someone that you respect, observe how he/she does business, ask for advice or feedback from that person on what you can do to make a stronger impact

Ask colleagues for others in the organization that may want to meet you and to know about your skills – or others who may be interested in providing you with career advice

Capture your accomplishments by updating your resume

If you’re currently interning or have had experienced in this field, share your thoughts with us! Have you seen any of these tips work for someone?


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I suspect most of us who were born in the 1980s and even into the 1990s grew up with the assumption that getting a degree would make our lives easier. And, on a whole, I think it’s true. For many careers, you need at least a bachelor’s degree just to get an interview.

But our parents and grandparents grew up in a world where a degree was somewhat a rare commodity and college graduates seemed almost untouchable in the job market. Now, with more people earning degrees and the recession giving everyone a kick in the pants, no one’s immune to tough times. I’ve seen it happening to friends and the friends of colleagues. And I’m sure you’ve witnessed it, if not experienced it firsthand.

I ran across this article in the Gaston Gazette that talked about the hardships Teaching Fellows are facing. Several Fellows are finding themselves without the jobs they had envisioned by the time graduation rolled around.

Manning said that teaching fellows were conditioned their freshmen year that a job would be ready and waiting when they graduated.

“It’s not looking good,” Manning said. “I don’t think it’s just teaching fellows.”

Manning said she’s debating applying to teach in South Carolina, though she knows she’ll have to repay her scholarship with interest if she doesn’t fulfill her required years of teaching.

“I’d rather have a job than not have one at all,” Manning said. “It’s a scary thought. I’m trying to be positive.”

I’m not posting this to scare you, because the point of this blog isn’t about gloom and doom.  Instead, it’s to remind everyone that regardless of the economy and your situation, you should always be thinking about alternatives. Nothing’s set in stone. These schools had the best intentions when they brought on this Fellows, and most employers in today’s economy had the same positive outlooks. The economy’s tanking messed up everyone’s plans, and there was little they could do about it.

Here are some things to think about:

  • If your current plan doesn’t work out, where else could you get a similar job?
  • What else would you like to do?
  • Do you want to stay in this city or would you be willing or prefer to move somewhere else?
  • What are the financial repercussions of changing your career objectives?
  • Are you contractually obligated to fulfill any duties as part of your current job?

Simple questions, but something to keep in mind when you’re mapping your future.

Source: Gaston Gazette

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Finally, a few more CBCampus Ambassadors share their advice for next year’s graduating class:

mike-s1Mike:  So, for the graduating class of 2010, I would say that when you are deciding what you want to do for a career make sure that it is something you care about and feel like you can be happy. This is the most important thing and the best advice I could offer. I cannot imagine being stuck in a career that you are miserable in but you are just doing it because of the money.

I know that I like certain areas and I am interested in other but I have not found the job that I could honestly say that I would love to do for the rest of my life. I mean no one ever told me that it was not all about how much your salary is or the benefits package. I feel like I have never really looked past the immediate gratification so I would advise the next class to look to a more fulfilling career.

cbnickNicholas: I guess that is what is good about college, is that everything you do or don’t do is a learning experience, the best thing you can do is to put yourself on the line to succeed or fail and then really reflect on your experience and try to learn from your mistakes.  The best advice I can give you is to try because if I promise you, you won’t want to look back and regret or imaging what could have happened if I just tried doing this.  The last and most important tip I can give you, is to have fun and live life, because the real world is coming just around the corner!

Andrew: Looking back over my four years, I wish I had made more of an effort to establish acbandrew consistent contact with my career center. I visited once during my freshman year, but at that point in my life, a career seemed far off. Since then, I have just recently started visiting again. The opportunities these centers provide to their students are endless and if properly utilized, can get you on the right path to any career you can aspire to have. It is crucial to start your career search as early as possible so that you can explore every opportunity your school may have for you.

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Dun-dun-dun-dun-da-dun-da-dun-da-dun-dun. <–That’s my “Pomp and Circumstance” transcription.

It’s that time of year when finals are starting and seniors are thinking, “Oooooh, geez, what did I spend the last four years of my life doing?” That’s natural, of course. Don’t we always feel unprepared for big events in our lives? It’s the cold feet before the wedding or the last-minute panic before you become a parent.

Although you’re likely to get a boat load of advice from your parents, extended family, and strangers, we thought you might prefer to hear what graduating seniors are going through. Thus, we asked some CBCampus Ambassadors to share their wisdom as they near the big day. After all, you’re 12 months from being in the exact situation they’re in. Here’s what Natalie wants you to know:

cbnatalieAs graduation looms closer and closer, I can’t help but reflect on my last four years.  And whether you’re ready or not, Class of 2010, soon you’ll be in my shoes asking yourself the same questions I’m asking myself: Why didn’t I get just one more internship? Why isn’t my GPA higher?  Why did I major in this?  How am I going to get a job in this economy?

Well, lucky for you, there’s another year until you graduate and I’d like to offer some advice.  Please note that I’m scared to graduate, too, and have yet to land a job.  However, here goes nothing:

Make your résumé now, even if you don’t need it yet.  The earlier you start, the longer you give yourself to critique it.  Take it to the career center and say “I have one year to make this perfect.  What else do I need to do to make it stand out?”  They might recommend volunteer work, another internship, etc.  Do it now so you’re not trying to do too many things your last quarter.

Don’t be a slacker!  Go to the library. If I had went to the library as much my freshman and sophomore years as I do now, I’d be in much better shape. It’s easy to get burnt out with heavy school loads, but cramming is, always was, and will always be a bad idea. I was always under the impression that GPA doesn’t matter. It does!  It’s an easy way for recruiting managers to discount your résumé right off the bat.

Start taking morning classes. Waking up early is hard, but most post-grad jobs will be in the 8-5 range.  Get used to it now so you’re more productive at work.  (Being more productive may lead to an earlier raise!)

Start researching companies you are interested in working for now.  It’s possible they have a really awesome internship program that you don’t know about.  Get your foot in the door early.  Try contacting their HR person to see what you can do the next year to stand out from their other applicants.  (It might be something that takes time, like learning certain computer software.)

Don’t flip out. Employers may have a sixth sense for desperation.  Make sure you give each company you’re interested in the attention it deserves.  Know everything on their website so you can sound informed and prepared for your interview. Work is a mutual relationship: they need you, but you probably need them even more.  Let them know you’re applying to their company because you could see yourself working there and really making a positive difference, not because you need a job… ANY job.

Relax.  You can always go to grad school.

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On Monday, CBCampus Ambassador Molly talked about her thoughts on starting salaries. Today we continue that discussion with some thoughts from other ambassadors.

kristina-pKristina’s expectations:
Since I’ll be graduating, to enter into an entry-level position, I’m hoping and assuming my salary will be somewhere near $30,000 a year.  Of what I have heard, this is a general amount to be searching for, especially for someone with a communications degree. During the harsh economic times, this is more than I could ask for.

Jessica’s game plan:
jessica-hAs a communication and advertising major with a public relations specialization, I expect to earn $35,000-$45,000 with my educational background.  I would like to work for an advertising agency as a assistant account executive.

This range is dependent on the city I choose to live and work.  However, I expect a slightly higher range if I am lucky enough to live in a major metropolitan city.

Within five years, I would like to earn between $40,000-$75,000.  I plan on my compensation increasing as I move into account executive or management positions.

mike-s1And Mike feels his generation’s been under so much pressure, they’re not unreasonable to expect high salaries:
After working very hard for 4-6 years, you expect that big payout where you can say “All my hard work has paid off.” Now we come to hear from our teachers that “Oh your expectations are unrealistically high.” Personally I think a decent starting salary for me is about $50,000 annually with all the bells and whistles to go along with that and then in five years, I think it should be close to $80,000. You might say that is high but I think that my peers and I would agree that my salary expectations are reasonable given the pressure and stress that we have been put through.

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Choosing a major is a personal process. Each student has his or her own reason to study a particular field. Some people view college as a chance for exploration; others see it as training for a job. Of course there are more reasons, and an endless combination of points of view on the matter.

Regardless of our chief reason for college, somewhere on the list is the notion that you’ll earn back the money you spend. After all, you might love the idea of an education for the experience of it all, but you’re probably not going to shell out a small fortune for medical school if you don’t actually intend to practice medicine and cover your costs. Everyone, I assume, hopes they’ll be able to find a job upon graduation and live on that salary, at least until they get a raise.

We asked CBCampus Ambassadors how much they expect to earn when they land their first job and how it influenced their education. First to offer her thoughts is Molly:

molly-bIn May, I will graduate with a degree in Communications and a specialization in public relations. I am glad I chose to major in these areas. They are something I am interested in. But the only problem: both communications and public relation positions are not at the high end of the salary continuum. After graduation, I expect to find a career where I make $30,000-$35,000 a year. Unfortunately, this number is far lower than some of my friend’s salaries who have already graduated in different areas of concentration. For example, I have a friend who majored in finance and his starting salary was $50,000.

Although an entry-level communications/public relations position has a low starting salary, there is always room for growth. Once experience is gained in these areas, an employee will eventually be promoted and qualified to take on higher positions. It is here where these professionals can make a greater salary – six figures or higher.

So yes – I still plan on achieving my big dreams, but I am going to have to work to get there. Although a starting salary for a communications/public relations position is lower than most other concentrations, I truly enjoy working in these areas. That’s all that counts, right?

How about you all? Did money play a huge role in picking a major? Are you happy with your decision?

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When you’re putting together your application materials for college, you obsess over the essays, SAT verbal scores, and application itself. High school juniors and seniors freak out over writing-related documents–I remember all too vividly. But when we get to job hunting, we often get so wrapped up in interviewing skills and presentation that we neglect writing.  The truth is that all of these components are integral to a successful job hunt.

Kailee’s advice on how to stand out isn’t crazy or outlandish, but it’s useful. She recognizes the value of a well-chosen word and the inclusion (and exclusion) of certain information.

Most college students have a résumé listing their education, experience and activities. It fills up a standard 8 ½” x 11″ piece of paper and tells you nothing about who they are and what they want to do. When applying to jobs, that résumé gets thrown into a pile of hundreds of résumés just like it. So the question is: how do you stand out from the crowd and get your résumé to the top of that pile?

kailee-h1No matter what the position, I always start out by making sure my résumé displays how well-rounded I am. Employers want to see students that have good grades, extracurricular activities, and work experience on their résumé. Someone that has some experience in all these areas is a much better candidate than someone with a 4.0 GPA and no activities or work experience.

For each position or company, it is important to focus in on what makes you right for that particular job. From your entire history of school, activities and work experience, choose only what is most relevant to the job you are applying for. I like to have a different résumé for each type of job, so my experience matches the specific qualifications and responsibilities of that job.

When describing your experience, use action words to describe the responsibilities associated with each position. Also, do not be afraid to list specific accomplishments and awards you have earned – a résumé is the place to proudly display your hard work.

Lastly, your résumé is your first impression on an employer, so do anything you can to jump off the page and show your personality.

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