3 Tips to Maximizing the College Experience for your Career

Helpful tips

You survived your first year in college, now what? Universities often focus programs and services to first-year students that help them get ready for the transition from high school to college. Then you become a sophomore and you see fewer programs targeting the second-year experience. These tips will help you stay on track and make your college experience more meaningful:

  1. Get to know the professors in your major. Yeah, yeah, yeah – how am I supposed to do this? Easy. Identify who they are, their areas of research, the classes they teach, and their office hours. Most of this information can be found on the college website. Professors are people just like you and they, too, were students. Once you learn about who these faculty are and their accomplishments, make an appointment to meet with them. If you can get 15-30 minutes of their time, ask them about their areas of expertise, their passions, and their career paths. At the end of the meeting, ask them for the top three things you can do to be successful in life. Yes, life, not college. Their answers will get to the heart of their most valuable life lessons which you can apply to all facets of life. Follow up your meeting with a thank you note and check in every now and then to let them know what you are learning. Faculty appreciate the relationships they develop with students and they often seek students to share opportunities.
  2. Gain experience. Get an on-campus job, an internship, or a volunteer gig. Attend on- and off-campus events. Join a club, a team, or a committee. Don’t wait until you are a senior to get experience. Getting involved early can help you develop professional skills, résumé-worthy experience, a professional network, and a better idea of what you want to do in life. Nervous about doing this alone? Ask a classmate to attend an event with you or introduce yourself to a student leader and ask him or her to show you around.
  3. Get help. After completing your first year, you have a better idea of what you need to develop personally and professionally. Check out the services your school provides. Maybe you need a tutor, career services, personal counseling, or financial advice. Your tuition covers the cost of these services, so use them! Successful people know what they need help with and seek it out. Be a successful person.

 

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5 Helpful Tips For Your Job Interview

So you’ve sent out a ton of resumes and applied for more jobs that you can count.  If you’re lucky enough to land an interview, you want to be prepared for it.  Here are some helpful tips to remember for your interview.

Dressing for the Interview

No matter what the attire is for the job you’re applying for, dressing professionally and conservatively for the interview is the safest way to go.

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For Men

  • Two-piece dark colored suit
    • Appropriate colors: black, blue, gray
    • Solid or very light conservative stripes
    • Suit jackets are offered in single- or double-breasted
  • Crisp white or blue tailored shirt
  • Conservative tie that reaches mid belt
  • Dark blue, black, gray or brown socks
    • Match your suit – never wear white socks
    • Polished shoes that match the color of your belt

For Women

  • Two-piece dark colored pants or knee-length skirt suit
    • Wear neutral colored panty hose or dark tights if wearing a skirt
  • Crisp white or blue blouse, tailored shirt, or shell with conservative neckline
  • Polished closed-toe shoes with a low to moderate heel
    • Try to avoid shoes with very high heels

Research

Make sure you’ve reviewed the job description along with researching the organization, product lines, and competitors.  Review the company website, LinkedIn, and industry publications.  Keep up to date with new products or services as well as current events and news on the company’s blog.  For example, HubSpot’s blog provides marketing information that many of their customers would find valuable and utilize within their industry.

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Practice

Practice with your friends, using common interview questions..  Think of examples and scenarios from previous jobs or internships that can illustrate your experience, skills, and strengths to the person interviewing you.

Ask Questions

You will be asked a lot of questions about your resume, experience, and goals during the interview.  You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

The interview is an opportunity for you and the employer to find out more about each other, and if this will be a good fit.  Here are some examples of questions you should ask and some you should not ask:

Ask

  • Can you describe an average workday here?
  • What kind of opportunities do you have for growth?
  • What are the most important characteristics or qualities that you are looking for in the person who fills this position?
  • How would you describe the company culture?

Don’t Ask

  • What’s the salary for this position?
  • What does your company do?
  • How quickly can I be promoted?
  • Who did you vote for?

Follow Up

Always, always, always follow up on the interview and send a thank you note.  This is one of the most crucial elements to an interview and sometimes the most forgotten.  Hiring managers interview many applicants and you want to thank them for their time and the opportunity to interview.

The best way to send a thank you note is via email and within 24 hours of the interview while you’re still fresh in the interviewer’s mind.  Something brief that thanks them for their time, recapping a particular subject or topic during the interview, and reconfirming next steps or the interview timeline if it was discussed.

 

Questions?  Comments?  Do you have any tips for job interviews?

 

Gaining Job Experience Without a Job

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One common question that we get when meeting with students is, “How am I supposed to get a job without experience, when every company requires that I have experience in my field?”  It’s a frustrating dilemma that can discourage people from finding that perfect job.

The job search process can be intimidating, but finding the right job without experience is not impossible.  Here are a few tips to gaining job experience before you land a job.

Internships

Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door with any company.  50% of NYIT interns are offered full-time positions upon graduation.  Whether the internship is paid or unpaid, interns have the opportunity to show their skills and establish a foundation for their career.

For companies, offering internships is a great way to evaluate potential employees at little (or no) cost.  It allows them to familiarize young talent with their business, services, and organization while determining if they want to offer them full-time positions.

The Vault is a notable resource for finding some of the best internships out there.  They surveyed current and former interns about their internship experience and were able to produce the Vault’s 50 Best Internships for 2017 report last year.

Volunteering

As a volunteer, you would be working without being paid and…wait, so what’s the difference between an intern and a volunteer?

An internship can be something you choose to do to develop the skills and experience in a specific profession.  As a volunteer, you can also do that, but it’s more about contributing to a cause.  For example, you may volunteer your skills as a graphic designer with a non-profit organization but may also be asked to help with  an event or with conducting outreach.  Volunteers typically help out wherever they are needed even if it is outside of their specified role.

Volunteering is still valuable and relevant experience that can provide you with great networking opportunities, even if the organization is not directly related to your industry.   Idealist is a great resource for searching nonprofit and volunteering opportunities.

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Networking

Networking is one of the most important skills in finding career opportunities.  In 2016, Lou Adler, CEO of a consulting and training firm specializing in hiring, conducted a survey that revealed 85% of all jobs are filled via networking.

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That figure is significant and emphasizes how critical effective networking can be, especially when you consider how much time is spent on searching for jobs, applying, and interviewing.

Students often ask, “Where and how can I improve my network?”  Networking goes beyond asking for someone’s business card.  It’s about making connections and building relationships.

You can build your network by:

  • Participating in conferences and speaking with industry experts
  • Attending special events and industry functions
  • Joining professional organizations via LinkedIn
  • Sharing ideas with friends and peers

Networking is free, takes hard work and communication, and enables you to build a community that can lead to future opportunities.

Freelancing

Consider giving yourself experience by working on your own. Freelancing is great for a variety of reasons.  It allows you to earn money while you seek full-time employment, and you can always continue freelancing for extra money once you find full-time employment.

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So where do you start?

First, decide on what viable skills you have, whether it’s in your field of study or a talent outside of your major area of focus.

Second, compile a portfolio or basic website to market your skills.

Third, start looking for clients.

But isn’t that the same as finding an internship or volunteer work?

The answer is yes and no.  You may have to work for little or no money in order to gain this experience and build your client base.  But remember, experience is the most important thing. As your portfolio expands, you’ll be able to pitch your freelance services at your desired rate based on experience and client testimonials.

 

 

 

 

 

I Keep Getting Rejected!

Looking for a job can be a full-time job in and of itself.  You spend a great deal of time on the search process, applying, and interviewing.

Glassdoor produced a guide that looked at 50 HR and Recruiting Stats that detailed what drives job seekers and employers during the application and offer process, and how difficult it can be to find that perfect match.

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According to their research, there is about a 2% chance one will get a call to interview for a corporate job opening.

It’s hard enough to get an interview sometimes, let alone an offer.  What do you do if you keep coming up short and are unable to land interviews or get offers for your dream job?

Get Feedback

It’s important to learn from each interview and experience.  In some cases, you may already know what the problem was if you had a bad interview, if you were nervous, or if you stumbled on a few questions.

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If you don’t know what the issue is, you can follow-up and ask the interviewer for feedback.  The feedback (positive and negative) can be helpful in your preparation for the next opportunity.  The interviewer may be able to provide feedback on your answers to their questions, if you have the right experience for the positions you’re applying for, or if you lack some form of technical skills.  Whatever the reason is, if you know what the issue is, there is an opportunity to adjust and prepare for the next interview.

Keep Calm & Network

The job market is often a numbers game when it comes to applying and getting interviews.  You may have years of experience along with a great education, but the phone isn’t ringing.  Most employers and recruiters are reviewing dozens of resumes on a daily basis.

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In order to separate yourself from the pack, take advantage of opportunities to put yourself face–to-face with people in the industry.   Attend industry networking functions where you can meet prospective employers or professionals who can put you in contact with hiring managers.

Uncubed holds career events that emphasize building a community for people to learn, interact, and exchange ideas.

Networking doesn’t end once you leave an event.  It continues with the sharing of ideas and information with other job seekers, fellow classmates, and other professionals you may meet.  By expanding your network, you can increase your job opportunities.

Improve Your Skills

Technical skills can be a deciding factor when it comes to the job search process.  Some employers may not have the time or resources to train new hires on different programming languages or software that is necessary for them to do their job.

Whether you have experience with different applications and software or just want to improve your proficiency, it would be beneficial to take a class as you’re waiting for that interview or job offer.

The Muse compiled an extensive list of free classes to help boost your skills ranging from SEO training to getting a quick review of Google Docs.  This list of free online classes can be found here.

Take a Break!

You’ve applied to jobs every day.  You’ve gone on several interviews.  You’ve earned the right to take a break and recharge.  It can get pretty stagnant as you go through your daily routine of searching jobs on LinkedIn and other job boards, applying, and hearing nothing back in return.

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Relax a bit and go see that movie that just came out or catch up with a friend over lunch.  Check out the free activities in your city and go to a museum or get out and exercise.

Whatever it is, once you take a few days off and recharge, you will feel better about continuing with the job search process.

Stay positive, move on, and keep trying.  The right opportunity is not far away.

 

 

 

 

 

Developing Your Career Plan

Finding employment in any industry at any time can be a daunting task.  In order to find a rewarding career that you are passionate about, you should devise a plan to help you map it out.

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What is your career goal? 

The first and most important question that you must ask yourself, what do you want to do?  Whether it’s becoming an engineer, architect, a doctor, or a teacher, find something that inspires you.  Your family and friends may have their own opinions on the type of career you should have, but at the end of the day, you should choose a career that feels right for you.

Not sure about which career path to take? Think about the skills and interests you possess.  Are you good with numbers?  Do you have an interest in art?   If you have trouble figuring out your skills, try doing a self-assessment to evaluate your interests.

If you’re debating between a few different career options, opportunity is something to consider.  Choosing a career that has job growth could be a major factor in your decision.  You can research data collected on the job market and trends by The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

What type of training do you need for your career goal? 

Once you figure out what your career goal is, you will need to figure out the type of training you need to get there.  Can your current major provide you with the background and education necessary for this career?  Do you need additional schooling such as a graduate degree or technical training?  What type of internships or on-site training can you obtain that will prepare you for this career?

Develop your career plan

At NYIT, we help our students start thinking about what they will do after graduation during their first year.  Our Career Services office can help explore professional development resources and answer many of the questions listed in this post.  We created a career plan that guides you toward setting short-term goals while working toward your ideal career.

 

6 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Work / Life Balance

6 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Balancing the demands of your career can be a difficult task.  The best thing to do is prioritize and maintain a realistic mindset.  Here are 6 ways to maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

  1. Turn Off Your Phone

You’re constantly checking your phone for texts, emails from work, and looking at social media updates.  You reply, forward emails, comment on your friend’s Facebook page.  At some point, one swipe of the phone to check your inbox can turn into 20 minutes of browsing through Twitter and Instagram.

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One way to maintain balance is to unplug from this technology.  Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, it’ll give you some time to recharge and focus.  If you can do it for 10 minutes, try it for 20 minutes.

That text, email, or social media post can wait.

  1. Exercise

Some people find it difficult to fit exercising into their schedule (or they find an excuse not to).  However, the overwhelming evidence on the health benefits of exercise makes it an essential activity to fit into your schedule.  Here are some ways you can get out and get moving if you’re searching for ideas:

  • Join a gym. Some companies have gyms onsite or have arrangements with local gyms at a discount.  Check with your human resources department for these opportunities.
  • Join a league. This is great for anyone looking to recapture some of their team sports days or if you just want to try a new sport.  You can join with some friends or coworkers or make new friends as a free agent.  Organizations like Zogsports offer a social sports community that is popular amongst working professionals.
  • Take a class. If you’re not into the gym or joining a league, you can always take a class like yoga, boxing, or CrossFit, where you can focus on a specific type of fitness and health that is right for you.
  • Go for a run. Still arguably the most popular and easiest way to get your exercise because…
    • It doesn’t take a long. Running for about 20 minutes is usually a good daily exercise.
    • You don’t need a lot of equipment besides your running shoes.
    • You don’t need a team or other people, although it can be nice to run with friends.
    • You can do it anywhere. Run on a track, near your house, or run to and from work.
  1. Avoid Junk Food at Work

Eating healthy takes a lot of discipline and effort as you try to figure out what to eat, getting a combination of protein and vegetables, and developing good habits during meal times.

In some cases, it may be easier to just avoid junk food.  When your day is full of meetings and you need to finish that report by 5pm, it may be a challenge to eat something that isn’t fast food or a bag of chips.

Here are a few alternatives to your junk food options at work:

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People sometimes misconstrue eating healthy to not eating at all.  You don’t have to stop eating: you can still snack and it’s often encouraged to eat smaller, lighter meals.  Cutting out junk food will lead you to feeling healthier and having more energy for the workday.

  1. Make Time for Family and Friends

Make sure you’re spending time with family and friends when you’re not at work.  We often forget about loved ones as we get caught up our professional lives.  Hang out with friends after work or on the weekend or give your parents a call to see how they’re doing.  Being able to balance your work and personal life involves bringing people into it as well.

  1. Talk to Your Coworkers

You’re with your coworkers for 40+ hours a week.  Days and weeks can feel long when the office culture and environment is cold and impersonal.  Spend some time finding out more about them.  You don’t have to be nosey or imposing, but exchanging pleasantries, asking if they had a good weekend, or the occasional lunch outing can go a long way in maintaining a positive work environment.

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  1. Create a Schedule

As you’re reading this post, one thought that probably came to your mind is, “I don’t have time for any of this.”  Creating a schedule provides the structure that is needed to balance your work and personal life.

For example, you can fit exercise in before work, during lunch, or right when you get off.  It may take a little sacrificing such as waking up early, eating your lunch at your desk, or skipping social plans after work, but it can be done.

Keeping a calendar or blocking off time for meetings at work can also be done in your personal life too.  Create a monthly schedule of events for you and your family to make sure you’re spending time or doing activities together.  Add a monthly poker game or book club meeting with friends.  After a while, the events or activities become a staple within your lifestyle that’s just as important (if not more) as any work event or meeting

 

Maintaining a healthy work/life balance can lead to a more fulfilling lifestyle and can help you to be more productive at work and be happier overall.  At the end of the day, it’s important to remember to take the time and focus on yourself and your well-being.

 

 

3 Takeaways from LinkedIn’s Article on Most Coveted Skills

 

One of the questions I often get from job seekers is, “What are employers looking for?”

Maya Pope-Chappell at LinkedIn interviewed human resources leaders at 25 of the 50 LinkedIn Top Companies in the U.S. on the top skills that they look for when hiring.  These skills range from web programming to social media marketing to data mining.

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While this information is good to know and having these skills on your resume is important; to bigger point within this article is that getting hired and being successful take more than having these skills.

  1. Create the Future

When I look at the skills that are in demand in the chart above, I think of all of the job seekers I have met that know Web programming, C/C++, and Java Development.  However, what companies want goes beyond the ability to code and program or have some other type of technical skill.  They want their employees to have the ability to think outside the box.

Apple’s iOS was not created by engineers who went to school to study iOS.  They were engineers who used their skills to create and innovate.

I’m not saying that you have to create the next Facebook in order to excel in your career, but having the ability to apply think creatively while utilizing your skills to enhance your field is the type of person that all companies want on their team.

Verizon’s chief talent and diversity officer, Magda Yrizarry, says,

“You hire people who have in the past been able to bend the curve on technology.  They may not have bent the curve on 5G (Technology that Verizon is pushing into) for example, but they were there to create earlier iterations of technologies like IoT or cybersecurity.  So you have a confidence that they are not beholden to the past, that they can create the future.”

My advice to job seekers who are looking to create that future: you learn and grow by doing.

If you are still in school, you need to find a way to get experience.  Work with your faculty on academic projects that will challenge you and allow you to take risks and grow.  Gain valuable experience through internships and volunteer work and apply what you have learned.

  1. Know the industry

Keeping up with industry trends and news is one of the challenges that universities have in educating students.  Ardine Williams of Amazon Web Services states, “It’s very difficult for a professor to build a curriculum or course that addresses the needs of tech in real time.”   

In order to excel in your field, you should be aware of the needs and demands.  Then you will be able to think, research, and find out where your skillset fits within a company and the types of industry problems you can solve.

  1. The right combination

Having the right combination of hard and soft skills is something all employers covet.  Are you able to use data in order to research and implement a business strategy?  Can you be part of a team but also lead and manage one with a vision and plan in place?

Comcast Cable EVP of HR Bill Strahan says, “What’s most in demand and the hardest to get is the combination.  It’s getting, for example, someone who is highly technical, but then has that and the leadership skills or to have that and the business strategy skills.” 

Not everything comes from a book and a lot is discovered through trial and error, but your professional growth is dependent upon refining both your hard and soft skills

For job seekers, it is essential to find the right opportunity to progress through work and experience.  Through that experience, you will be able to use your hard skills and soft skills to tackle any problem or dilemma.