Career Development Office - Blog

Why Don’t Students Network?

From the WSJ Blog:

In my 22 years as an academic and career adviser, I’ve found that the single hardest thing for students to engage in during their transition from college to career is networking.

They’ll update their resume, or ask for help with cover letters and job applications. However, most won’t extend themselves to gain information from people who may well be able to help them connect with a potential employer, learn more about a particular industry, relocate to a particular area of the country, or advise them regarding further education.

And yet, recent graduates (from the past five years) often report on the importance of networking in their post-college lives and bemoan the fact that they did not do more, or any, of it when they were in school.

Today’s college student is an extremely active social networker, but there are mostly blank looks when I discuss online directories, professional association Web sites, LinkedIn.com, or other avenues by which to connect with professionals, alumni or others for information and resources. What is the cause of this disconnect in the online generation, the one that, theoretically, is most primed to understand the power of the Internet to help them transition to life after college?

I believe there are three main reasons....

Click on link for full article

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-- Amy
permalink  [10:00 AM, May 20, 2010]
Boom Times for Young Workers, WSJ

Wall Street Journal
Boom Times for Young Workers
Cost-Cutting, Layoffs Create Opportunities to Move Up Quickly and Acquire Responsibilities

By JONNELLE MARTE
As companies adjust to operating with leaner staffs, many young professionals have been handed new responsibilities typically reserved for employees with more work experience under their belts.

Millennial workers, typically in their 20s and early 30s, are being pressured to do more for different reasons. Many companies are reducing labor costs and younger workers with less experience are cheaper than more experienced workers, says Steve Gross, a senior compensation consultant with Mercer LLC, a New York consulting firm. Some younger employees are faced with higher-level work after surviving a round of layoffs that affected higher ranking colleagues. Others are being asked to do more as companies rethink their business models in the recession. For some it's a boon to their careers, but for others, it can be a lesson in how not to get in over your head. ...

for the entire article, click on the link

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-- Amy
permalink  [10:00 AM, April 21, 2010]
Pssst: Wall Street Is Hiring Again

When it comes to employees, Wall Street is saying, "Buy, Buy, Buy," again.

After nearly two years of layoffs, investment banks and brokerages are adding to their ranks. Recruiters say this is the busiest hiring season in two years, and not just of top employees. A recent survey from financial training company 7city Learning found that 75% of all Wall Street firms planned to add more recent graduates to their ranks in the next few months than they did a year ago.

"At the end of last year there was a lot of hiring talk but firms were still reluctant," says top Wall Street recruiter Gary Goldstein of Whitney Group. "Now there is activity. Employers seem much more secure that the market is in recovery." (See the top 10 magazine covers of 2009.)

The increased hiring activity is coming at a time when a number of firms are repositioning themselves in the wake of the financial crisis. The nation's largest banks are exiting such risky businesses as derivatives and proprietary trading, and adding to their lending operations. At the same time, smaller financial firms are building up their practices to pick up the trading and underwriting businesses the larger firms are leaving behind.

That's not to say that layoffs are not still happening. Earlier this week, UBS reportedly made cuts in its wealth management division. And overall, the number of workers in the financial services business in New York State fell by 2,800 in February to 659,800. But that was after two months of gains in employment in the industry. And February's drop was much smaller than the losses the industry had a year ago.

Among experienced bankers, Goldstein says those who work with clients in the energy and healthcare sectors have the best chance of snagging a job. Many firms are betting those sectors recover first. But top to bottom, financial firms are significantly adding new staff for the first time since the fiscal crisis. Big, guaranteed paychecks are back as well.

Earlier this week, E-Trade hired Steven Freiberg to be the online broker's chief executive. Freiberg will get paid $1 million a year for his new position plus bonus, which the firm has guaranteed will be $3 million a year for the first two years. Mid-sized investment firm Jefferies has hired nearly 50 bankers in its healthcare industry practice in the past few months. Goldman Sachs, too, says it expects to hire 60% more recent graduates this year than it did a year ago. Even Citigroup, which a year ago looked like it was headed for Wall Street's dustbin, is on a hiring binge. The bank is reportedly looking to a add workers in trading and hedge fund services.

7city Learning, which assists financial firms in training recruits, says a number of the company's clients are doubling the length of their new employee development programs in order to accomodate more people. Also, in their recent survey, 7city found that half of the 36 large financial firms they asked said they planned to hire 20% more junior employees than a year ago.

"It's a pretty good indication that the firms are investing in their people and in their future," says 7city's Bob Wieczorek, who works with investment firms.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1976339,00.html#ixzz0jxSP1uHZ

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-- Sharon
permalink  [10:00 AM, March 29, 2010]
Top Philly Workplaces 2010

Follow the link to an article about the best places to work in the Philadelphia region.

Welcome to Top Workplaces 2010, an extensive effort to uncover the best employers in the Philadelphia region - from the workers' point of view.

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-- Joe
permalink  [10:00 AM, March 22, 2010]
Never Write “To Whom It May Concern”

Never Write “To Whom It May Concern”

by Lance Haun on February 11, 2010
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Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.

I’ve received cover letters with that opening line. I’ve received PR pitches with that same opening line. I’ve also received opening lines like:

* Dear sirs
* Dear sir or madam
* Attn: personnel
* Dear blogger or expert

In every single one of these cases, these people wanted me to do something for them. Read their resume, give them an interview, review their product or talk with them about their latest study’s findings. Yet, they couldn’t be bothered to figure out my name.

(This seems especially egregious on e-mails directed at me from this site. The title of this site is Rehaul by Lance Haun. My name is right there people.)

Now at times, I could care less that you canned up a letter to me. Sometimes a talent need is important enough to disregard something like that. Sometimes I want to cover something bad enough that I am willing to put aside bad PR. But if you are going to broadcast your message without personalization though, take out the “To Whom It May Concern” or any other phrases that highlight the fact that you didn’t feel it necessary to figure out my name. Cut straight to the point and don’t tell me that you just love my company or my site. A company or site that you couldn’t even name.
Personalization for hiring

If you do want to personalize a cover letter or other correspondence with a company you are trying to get hired at, it is a pretty simple two step process:

1. Search LinkedIn for the company and see if the person pops up.
2. If no luck, call and get the information.

The key here is maximizing your time. You don’t want to be spending 15-20 minutes researching the name of the recruiter or hiring manager online. If I can’t find the information on LinkedIn quickly, I simply call the receptionist and ask who I would address my correspondence to for XYZ position. At worst, it would be a transfer to a person in recruiting.

This is, at worst, a five minute process. I know us Gen Yers hate the phone but the quick phone call is ridiculously more efficient in this case. Just do it. And nobody has to know it is you calling anyway.
Personalization for PR

While I think of job hunting as an amateur sport where some leeway can be given to candidates who aren’t professional job seekers, public relations is an entirely different animal. For one, PR pros are well aware that even low grade bloggers like myself receive a couple dozen press releases and communications a week. They should also be well aware that there are companies that sell lists of targeted bloggers and almost every one of those comes with a full name.

In short, there is no excuse for it. This is what you are paid to do and you are doing it poorly.

I think success is a fairly simple process for PR pros:

1. They build relationships with media outlets before they need them
2. They figure out what kind of stories they like to run, how they like being communicated with, etc
3. They follow that formula. All of the time.

I can name off of my head the dozen or so PR pros that actually do this out of the hundreds I’ve received releases from. Most of them have my phone number (but don’t use it). They send me one or two things a month max. They stay in contact with me if they don’t have much to push out. They’ve never pushed garbage to me.

Does their stuff get covered? Not all of the time. In fact, I still have two very good PR pros I’ve done no stories for. These folks are pros though and they understand why and they continue to stay in positive contact with me.
Bottom line

Personalization is an absolute necessity (and bare minimum) if your job is communicating with media professionals. If you’re in a job hunt, it is also a smart idea to not fake the personalization. You either have to do it for real or you don’t do it at all. Just don’t leave that “To Whom It May Concern” red flag up there.

Where are you on this? Do you personalize when you send correspondence or cover letters? How about PR pros?

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-- Sharon
permalink  [10:00 AM, February 15, 2010]
A Hobby Becomes a Career

From the Chronicle of Higher Education,

By Susan Basalla May

Exploring your career options beyond academe sounds like an awkward and time-consuming exercise, but you may already be doing it without even being aware of it. That hobby you think of as a guilty pleasure, that part-time job you do only "for the money," that volunteer work you do because you believe in the cause—all of those experiences are low-risk methods of testing alternative careers.

For many former academics, nonacademic pursuits that initially seemed peripheral to their plans unexpectedly provided the foundation for a satisfying alternative career.

Abby Markoe's story is an excellent example of that principle. A long-time squash player, she saw the sport primarily as an escape from the stresses of graduate school. As she progressed through her combined Ph.D. and master's program in the history of medicine and public health at the Johns Hopkins University, her love of squash unexpectedly led her to a new career as executive director of a nonprofit organization related to the sport.

Her experience shows the importance of maintaining balance while in graduate school and the value of keeping a broad perspective on what it means to do meaningful work.

Question: Why did you decide to go to graduate school?

I studied history and philosophy of medicine as an undergraduate as part of a self-designed major. In college, I took several graduate courses, and it seemed like a natural next step to go directly into a Ph.D. program. I chose Johns Hopkins specifically because of the links between its Institute of the History of Medicine and the School of Public Health; I liked the idea of combining degrees in those disciplines. On a more personal level, I grew up with an academic lifestyle (my father is a mathematics professor) and thought I wanted the same lifestyle for myself. I always envisioned myself as an intellectual and an academic, so graduate school seemed like the right move.

Question: So what prompted you to take a leave of absence from graduate school?

During graduate school, I played squash at a club in Baltimore. It was my zone of relaxation that took me away from the stress of school. I had the idea to start an urban squash and education program in Baltimore, akin to other successful programs in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere. I knew about the success of urban squash programs in those cities, and I wanted to bring that unique kind of enrichment program to Baltimore City school students, many of whom need extra support academically and athletically.

I started developing Baltimore SquashWise with a group of people from my gym, as a personal project outside of graduate school. I was on the search committee to hire an executive director for SquashWise, which happened to coincide with a natural breaking point in my graduate career—after my comprehensive exams and before my dissertation research in Zambia. It seemed like the right time to try something new for a while, and I put myself in the running for the executive director's job, and I got it.

It was a difficult decision to make, but I felt grateful to have two good options in front of me. I couldn't make a bad decision. While it was a tough conversation to have with my department, I found that a lot of faculty members supported my decision to do some good for Baltimore, even if they were disappointed to see me leave the program.

Question: In what ways has your graduate-school experience been helpful in your work with SquashWise?


At first glance, my work with SquashWise—teaching squash and tutoring students—has little to do with what I studied at Johns Hopkins. However, I have noticed some interesting parallels between my new job and my graduate-school education.

Not surprisingly, my public-health courses taught me how to design and evaluate public-health interventions, giving me a comfort level with data collection and analysis. Even more fascinating is how I have been able to apply what I learned as a scholar of African history and the history of medicine. In studying colonialism, the history of public health, and my dissertation topic on the history of child health, I learned about poverty and the effects of structural inequality on health, education, and well-being. I have been able to think critically about the political and economic determinants of urban problems through my historical knowledge of these same issues in other parts of the world.

My graduate-school adviser taught me how to be a convincing grant writer, and how to effectively argue a point—skills that are invaluable when competing for money in the nonprofit sector. My critical perspectives on poverty and historical inequalities have served me well in conversations with donors, board members, parents, and the news media.

Question: What lessons have you had to learn, or new skills have you had to acquire, in order to be successful with SquashWise?

In graduate school you focus on a particular topic, and the tasks are time-intensive. You might spend hours reading one book, or many days or weeks diving into one historical archive. In nonprofit work, I have to be on top of a dozen tasks at a time and use several different skills at once.

A typical day as executive director may consist of tasks as diverse as accounting in the morning, a donor meeting over lunch, and teaching squash to middle-school students in the afternoon. I have also learned a lot from the students I teach about determination and commitment, despite adversity.

Question: Could you imagine ever returning to academe in the future?

It's not out of the question. After seeing how relevant my experience in academe has been to my current work, I now see graduate education in a new light. I had a good experience in graduate school, and I will always appreciate the knowledge and skills I learned there. If I do go back, I imagine that it would be for specific reasons relating to a career change or enhancement.

Question: What advice would you give graduate students who are considering taking some time off from their Ph.D. programs?

In graduate school, many of us tend to resist nonacademic opportunities out of fear that we will lose our momentum within academe. But take some time to evaluate whether you are trying to finish your Ph.D. because you really want an academic career, or because it is too difficult to envision your life outside.

Graduate students tend to be self-motivated people, so much so that we allow ourselves to get caught up in the momentum of our research at the expense of creative thinking about other hobbies, options, and perspectives on academic life.

Most important, find yourself a space outside of the university where you can get away from your work, your colleagues, and your computer. It doesn't have to be a squash court, but it's really helpful to find a neutral place to sort out your thoughts. In my own experience, the decision did not happen overnight, nor should it. It was a long process of weighing options, considering possible regrets, and honestly exploring my strengths and my goals.

Susan Basalla May is the author, with Maggie Debelius, of "'So What Are You Going to Do With That?': Finding Careers Outside Academia," now in a revised and updated edition by the University of Chicago Press.

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-- Amy
permalink  [10:00 AM, January 26, 2010]
15 Places to Search for Green Collar Jobs

The increased focus on sustaining our environment is turning blue collars green.

Many traditional industrial workers are turning green by receiving training to produce alternative power, increase energy efficiency and overhaul energy-inefficient buildings. By definition, a green-collar is employed in the environmental sectors of the economy. Green jobs help satisfy the demand for green development by implementing environmentally conscious design, policy, and technology.

Some jobs obviously fall into the green-collar category, like the hundreds of employees working for the Spanish wind company Gamesa in Fairless Hills, Pa. (The plant is built on the site of an old U.S. Steel manufacturing facility.) If you make wind turbines or solar panels, your job is definitely green. But some argue the work of decarbonizing America's economy also will create millions of new jobs because, in the next 20 years, an estimated 75% of buildings in the U.S. will either be new or substantially rehabilitated.

So how do you find green jobs? We've compiled a list of the top job boards and alternative ways of hunting down green-collar jobs.


1. Idealist.org: Idealist is a project of Action Without Borders, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995. The interactive site lists a variety of jobs in the green sector, provides a career center for those new to the industry and lists green career fairs throughout the U.S.

2. GreenJobSearch.org: This comprehensive listing of jobs is searchable by keywords, states and major cities. It also includes tips for job seekers.

3. EnvironmentalCareer.com: You can use their advanced search engine, view all jobs, create an account and post your resume onEnvironmentalCareer.com. This useful site also lists local career events and provides a fairly detailed resource center.

4. JobsForChange.org: This idealistic site is an offshoot of change.org, with a keyword search and category listing that tends more towards green/white collar than green/blue collar. An excellent advice section discusses everything from interviewing to job-hunt resources.

5. GreenCollarBlog.org: Here you'll find an extensive listing of green job boards with separate sections for jobs inLEEDs construction (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), solar, clean energy, wind power, etc.

6. Company job boards: Some companies post jobs on their own web sites but outsource the actual recruiting. Identify the companies that interest you and check their jobs or careers page regularly.

7. Associations: Green organizations often provide corporate job sites or links to job sites for members and non-members. For example, the American Solar Energy Society has an extensive list of direct links to corporate job pages. You can find these sites using your favorite search engine with keywords related to the green job that interests you and either "organization" or "association."

8. Conferences: Review the list of exhibitors and presenters at industry conferences or symposiums and search their web sites for jobs.

9. Publications: Read relevant industry publications (either online or at your local library) for articles and advertising mentioning potential employers.

10. Directories: Study national or local lists and directories of green businesses (i.e. the National Green Pages).

11. Network, network, network: Many green jobs never get advertised. Networking allows you to find job openings before anyone else and already have your foot in the door. There are many strategies for networking discussed in general employment articles. You might consider attending organizational events, participating in the local chapter of a national organization or attending green programs and conferences. EHow.com has an excellent step-by-step article on how to network for jobs.

12. Social Media: LinkedIn.com, the business-oriented, social-networking site, includes a "jobs" tab where company representatives can post job opportunities. For example, the Green Jobs and Career Network Group of LinkedIn allows you to establish relationships with other green workers and search for jobs throughout the country or by region and city. Mashable, a social-media guide, provides advice on leveraging social media for career success.

13. E-mail lists: Yahoo, Green Jobs and YNPN provide specialized e-mail lists to distribute job postings and network with other professionals and students in the green industry.

14. Recruiters: The green recruitment industry is growing every day. You'll find find a fairly comprehensive list of green recruiters on Green Collar Blog. "Confessions of a Recruiting Director: The Insider's Guide to Landing Your First Job" by Brad Karsh is an excellent guide to selecting a qualified job recruiter. It can often be found in the "job search" or "business" section of your local library.

15. Higher Ed: Take advantage of job-related resources offered to students and graduates, such as job fairs and job listings. Network with professors at your closest higher-education institution. Many Cooperative Extension specialists now work in green areas and, because they work closely with employers, may know of opportunities before they're advertised. Check with your County Extension Agent if you don't live close to a land-grant university.

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-- Sharon
permalink  [10:00 AM, December 09, 2009]
25 best jobs for baby boomers

CareerBuilder.com) -- Baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, are nearing retirement age. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are 78.2 million boomers, and that every hour, 330 of them turn 60.

That means an entire generation of workers might leave the work force in the coming years.

But they might not.
Many baby boomers are choosing to postpone retirement and stay at their current jobs or find new ones. Some can't afford to retire, but many want to explore new avenues. After decades of working in jobs that paid the bills but didn't fulfill them, they're moving to different industries.

For their book "225 Best Jobs for Baby Boomers," authors Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin decided to comb through data to discover what the best jobs are for baby boomers. They looked at salaries, projected job growth and the number of openings to calculate which jobs have the most promise.

Farr and Shatkin break down their findings in more than 70 lists, ranging from the best-paying jobs to the best jobs for boomers age 45-54. Whatever your criteria are, Farr and Shatkin have the job for you.

Below you'll find the list for the 25 overall best jobs for all baby boomers:

1. Management analysts
What they make*: $67,005
Projected annual openings**: 78,000

2. Teachers, post-secondary
What they make: $68,456
Projected annual openings: 216,000

3. Logisticians
What they make: $44,563
Projected annual openings: 162,000

4. General and operations managers
What they make: $93,594
Projected annual openings: 260,000

**Click on the link fort he full list.

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-- Amy
permalink  [10:00 AM, December 02, 2009]
From Holiday Help to Full-Time Hires

From Holiday Help to Full-Time Hires Article Comments more in Career Strategies »Email Printer
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By SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN
Every year around this time, thousands of workers are hired for jobs catering to holiday shoppers and usually ending in January. The work can be a short-term way to generate a paycheck. But for a select few—particularly recent graduates and prospective career-changers—the seasonal jobs could become even more.

A small percentage of these temporary recruits are offered staff positions in the months that follow—and not just behind a register, but also eventually in areas like human resources, management and finance.

View Full Image

Misty Keasler for the Wall Street Journal

Jo Pearson, manager of creative services for Michael's Stores, started as seasonal help.
Michelle Cantor, 49 years old, joined a Maison Blanche store (which later became a Macy's) in Lafayette, La., in 1980 as a gift wrapper while in high school. When the stint ended, she was hired as a part-time sales associate and later switched to full time. After graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing, she moved to the company's human-resources department. Now she works at Macy's Inc. headquarters in Cincinnati overseeing the retailer's online recruiting site, macysjobs.com.

Ms. Cantor says she didn't plan on a career with Macy's but the early experience she gained, plus the encouragement and support she received from her bosses, prompted her to reconsider. "A lot of time people have perceptions of what retail jobs are," she says. "But once you get in and learn the culture, you learn about opportunities that you never knew existed."

"A seasonal job is like an audition," says Terry Foy, a human-resources vice president for Macy's. The retailer is looking to hire an undisclosed number of support people this holiday season for its more than 850 retail stores and 25 call and distribution centers nationwide. "It's your time to really showcase your skills."

To be sure, demand for these helping hands is expected to be less robust this year than in years past because of the recession. Nearly half of the nation's 25 largest retailers surveyed in September said they expect to recruit between 5% and 25% fewer seasonal workers this year than last, reports Hay Group, a human-resources consulting firm. And with unemployment at 10.2%, the competition for holiday jobs this year will be stiff.

But retailers could yet beef up their hiring plans this month if sales continue trending upward, says Maryam Morse, national retail practice leader for Hay Group. U.S. retail-sales figures for October rose 1.8% from October 2008, according to estimates based on data for 30 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters.

Who's Hiring Seasonal Workers?
While demand for seasonal workers is expected to be less robust this year than last because of the recession, the following retailers plan to add about the same number of seasonal workers or more this year compared with last:

Macy's Inc.

Michael's Stores Inc.

Best Buy Co.

Toys "R" Us Inc.

Zappos.com Inc.
Job seekers can boost their odds of landing seasonal positions by offering to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends, and on the days leading up to the holidays. "The more availability you have, the better your chances of getting hired and getting more hours," says Steve Mullins, a recruiter for Michael's Stores Inc. The Irving, Texas, retailer of arts and crafts supplies expects to hire about 10,000 seasonal workers this year, up from 7,300 last year; about 10% are typically recruited into staff positions, he adds.

Applicants can set themselves apart further by showing they're familiar with their target employer's products or services and pointing out any related experience. Emailing interviewers a thank-you note afterward, something few seasonal candidates do, is another way to stand out, adds Mr. Mullins. Hiring managers say applicants with professional backgrounds should inform interviewers about their qualifications and interest in moving into a staff position in their area of expertise. The reason: Employers often prefer to promote from within and consider seasonal workers who bring more to the table than what's required highly attractive, says Mr. Mullins. "You're definitely taking the best seasonal workers and considering them first for any regular positions that open up," he says.

About 90% of United Parcel Service Inc.'s managers started out in a front-line job, says Amy Whitley, vice president of human resources, and a former UPS driver herself. Drivers and driver-helpers earn between $10 and $20 an hour. "It's all about learning the business from the bottom up," she says. "You get to learn how we make money, how we service customers and the importance of timeliness."

In fact, UPS's chief financial officer, Kurt Kuehn, started his career at the Atlanta delivery company in 1977 as a driver's helper and later a driver for the winter holiday season. "You're Santa's helper," says the 55-year-old executive.

More on Finding a Job
Employers Turn to Temporary Help Self Motivation Presages Career Change Laid Off And Looking Blog: Read about professionals looking forwork in a changed economy. At the time, Mr. Kuehn was on leave from his junior year at Yale University and he says he had no intention of staying at UPS beyond the holidays. The following summer he was offered a staff position and accepted. About 10 months into the job, he was promoted to supervisor. Later, upon the recommendation of the head of human resources, he completed an executive M.B.A. program on the company's dime, which he says was the catalyst for his ascent into senior management. He landed his current position in October 2007.

Josh Brundage, 30 years old, started as a driver's helper for the holidays. Then a junior at the University of South Florida, he was hired immediately after in January 2002 as a part-timer responsible for loading and unloading delivery trucks. Today Mr. Brundage is a full-time manager of UPS's Lake Wales, Fla., distribution center, overseeing more than 100 employees. He is looking to hire about 50 seasonal workers, and says recruits who prove themselves could follow in his footsteps. "When we go to hire people on a permanent basis, the first people we go to are those [seasonal] helpers that really stood out as being hard workers," he says. "It's not just a seasonal job but a chance to get your foot in the door."

Once you're on board, career experts say the next step is to work diligently and volunteer to take on extra duties. This could be anything from helping out in other departments, to creating displays or taking on tasks full-time staffers might eschew. Don't get your hopes up about doing administrative work; you may be fully qualified, but not yet trusted as a temporary staffer. After demonstrating your added value, it can be helpful to remind supervisors of an interest in full employment when the job ends.

"You just need to be assertive," says Jo Pearson, manager of creative services for Michael's Stores. She joined the company 23 years ago as a part-time seasonal sales associate for a store in Chesterfield, Mo. Ms. Pearson, 59, says she went out of her way to impress managers by volunteering to assist her colleagues and make crafts out of store products for display. "I was very aggressive with the fact that I wanted to make this into a full-time job come January if a position was available," she says. "And I [made] sure they knew I had done a great job."

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-- Sharon
permalink  [10:00 AM, November 10, 2009]
Law & Public Service Guest Speaker!

Robert Schwartz, Executive Director
Juvenile Law Center

Last night the Career Development Office hosted the event “Law and Public Interest” with guest speaker Robert Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz is the Executive Director of the Juvenile Law Center (JLC) in Philadelphia, and a Haverford College graduate. His talk was geared toward students who have an interest in a variety of career fields: law, public service, child advocacy, social services, etc.

The students who attended from both Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges found Mr. Schwartz speaking casually in an informal and unpretentious fashion, and yet commanding the room with his obvious wealth of knowledge and love for his job. After leaving Haverford College in 1971, Mr. Schwartz attended Temple Law School, graduating in 1974, and started a law practice serving youth immediately afterwards. The Juvenile Law Center was the first Public Interest law firm in the United States, timed perfectly to be on the forefront of a trend to recognize the importance of serving Juveniles and promoting civil rights and liberties. Looking back, he laughed at the thought of taking on such a monumental task, quoting Mark Twain, “The two things required for success in any endeavor are confidence and ignorance.” He is passionate about the work at the JLC and about his ties to Haverford and the Honor Code, noting that four current members of the JLC board are Haverford College alumni.

Currently the JLC is a known across the country and “maintains a national litigation practice that includes appellate and amicus work, and promotes juvenile justice and child welfare reform in Pennsylvania and nationwide through policy initiatives and public education forums.” Mr. Schwartz went into specific details of the recent notable litigation regarding a case out of Luzerne County. According to the JLC website, “Juvenile Law Center attorneys began to investigate irregularities in Luzerne County, as they heard from youth who were found guilty in the County juvenile court. Juvenile Law Center found that hundreds of youth had been tried, convicted and, in many cases, placed in residential programs—all without the benefit of counsel.”

Mr. Schwartz had advice and guidance for students with both general and specific terms. He was enthusiastic about getting some experience, any experience, before law school, noting that “the more you know about the world, the better you will be in law school, and the better you will be in law.” He encouraged students to only take paralegal jobs after college if they knew that they would actually get to see the law, rather than file papers for two years, and that any kind of hands-on experience – even not specifically law related - can be a great catalyst to becoming a successful law student.

A subject very important to Mr. Schwartz was encouraging students to realize that they were the “primary actors in their own lives.” Students do not need to be defined by the name of the law school or the law school ranking, or what others say are right and wrong factors in both making the decision to attend law school, and what they hope to get out of it. He advised them to take into account and consider a lot of different factors, including regional aspects and cost.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Schwartz before the program was to begin, and was excited to speak with him about his thoughts on law and public service. A little known fact is that he was the former pre-law advisor at Haverford from 1979-1990. As the current pre-law advisor, I was delighted to have a little extra time prior to the program to ask some questions. We discussed LSAT scores and the cost of college, experience in between college and law school, and the internship opportunities with the JLC. He is well informed and a wonderful mentor, and has a sincere interest in helping.

In the end, we discovered a common interest in baseball and found our conversation quickly moved to the Phillies, Charlie Manual, strike zones, and pitching on 3-days rest. We were just out of time when I found out that he is a former umpire, a point he eventually joked about during his presentation, saying that he thought it more appropriate to put “arbitrator” on his resume instead of “umpire.”

I am honored to have been able to host Robert Schwartz at the Haverford College campus last night. As an alumnus, he represents the college in best possible way, and as the Executive Director of the JLC, he is approachable and passionate about his work. You can find his wide array of accomplishments on the JLC website at www.jlc.org/about/staff/1/robert-schwartz/, and to learn more about the Juvenile Law Center in general, visit: www.jlc.org/.


.................
Jennifer R. Barr
Assistant Director & Pre-Law Advisor, Career Development
Haverford & Bryn Mawr Colleges

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-- Jennifer
permalink  [10:00 AM, November 04, 2009]
Five Best Ways to Use Twitter for Your Job Search!

Twitter can be a tremendous, fast moving tool in your Job Search Toolbox. Here are 5 ways to get the most out of it.

1. Follow and read job search experts. The amount of excellent ideas, tips, leads, news, informative articles, and best practices going by all day long is amazing. Use Twellow’s directory for Employment > Career > Job Search to find excellent people to follow. You’ll find outstanding advice that applies to your situation… guaranteed.

2. Search for posted positions. Use Twitter’s search function to look for #jobs, or TwitterJobSearch to find a wealth of open positions that aren’t necessarily posted on job boards or company sites. Also search #splits for positions that recruiters use to split open searches with other recruiters. New positions are posted with excellent companies, large and small, every minute of every day. Get them in real time, early, and often.

3. Follow and read people in your field or industry. Industry chatter is incredible. News items, rumors, and trends get discussed daily. You can become much better versed in your field by ‘listening’. It can provide you with new and valuable information that can make you a better candidate in the interview process. Use Twellow to find appropriate people to follow.

4. Engage! Get in conversations with people. Ask questions, offer help, ReTweet (re-post) good information you see. Make sure to proofread everything you Tweet, and keep everything professional. Offering opinions about politics (unless you’re looking for a job in politics), or talking about your weekend at the bar will alienate half the people you want to connect to. Don’t sound discouraged or be a spreader of bad news. Keep your conversations focused on your area of expertise, or job search topics, and keep them positive.

5. Connect with people at your target companies. Many companies have an official presence on Twitter and post positions. There are also obviously many people on Twitter on their own that work at companies you many have an interest in. Professionally, ask questions, ask for referrals, offer information, and seek advice.

The reputation you build on Twitter, just like the image you create on any other site will either help or hurt your chances of finding the right position. Be positive, be professional, be helpful, be inquisitive, be engaging, be honest, and have fun!

Consistency is important. If you only Tweet once or twice per day, it won’t be enough for anyone to get to know you. Manage your time carefully, but do spend some time to build credibility and relationships. There are few places online where you can find so much information and develop so many contacts 24/7!

Use Twitter for your job search… it’s unlike anything else!
Footnote:

Thank you for visiting The Wise Job Search. I truly appreciate your interest. If you like the material here and would like to help keep it viable, please peruse and visit book recommendations, and other resources posted throughout the site. Best wishes on your continued search, and feedback is always welcome!

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-- Sharon
permalink  [10:49 AM, October 26, 2009]
Subtle Cues Can Tell an Interviewer ‘Pick Me’

Subtle Cues Can Tell an Interviewer ‘Pick Me’

By PHYLLIS KORKKI
Published: September 12, 2009

IT’S always fun to hear hiring managers recall the most boneheaded mistakes they have seen job seekers make during an interview: showing up in flip-flops, say, or taking a cellphone call while meeting the company president.

But that kind of cluelessness is rare. More common are the subtle missteps or omissions that can cause one candidate to lose out to another. If one person is sending out the right signals and behaving in the right way through each step of the process, he or she has a much better chance of landing the job — even with an inferior résumé.

Now here’s the tricky part: there is no single set of rules. While certain standards of courtesy always apply (be punctual, treat everyone you meet with respect), your success may depend on the company’s culture and the preferences of the people doing the hiring. Your ability to sense, and to act on, these factors could make a big difference.

When Susan L. Hodas, director of talent management at NERA Economic Consulting, is hiring, she looks for the right cultural fit as much as the right experience. To some degree she goes with her instincts, she says, but she can also identify certain preferences. Here is one: “They should come in a suit,” she said.

Body language is also important, Ms. Hodas says. She is looking for an assured but not overly casual demeanor, along with good eye contact. She is also looking for people who can enunciate their words (mumblers beware) and who can communicate their thoughts and ideas clearly.

Over all, she says, she is looking for people who are “confident but not cocky.”

She says she and her colleagues apply “the airport test” to candidates. They ask themselves: “Would I want to be stuck in the airport for 12 hours with this person if my flight was delayed?”

It seems that just being yourself — albeit a formal, polite, alert and attentive version of yourself — is the best way to behave during interviews. You don’t want to do such a great job of faking it that when the company discovers the real you, it comes to regret ever hiring you.

That said, there are certain things you can do — both during the interview and afterward — to give yourself an advantage.

You should always research the company thoroughly (easy to do on the Internet), and be prepared to give specific examples of how your experience relates to the job. Also be able to describe as concretely as possible how you made a difference in your previous jobs.

Researching the company will help when the interviewer asks whether you have any questions. Do have questions, said David Santos, executive director of human resources for Interbrand, a brand management firm. Not having any shows a lack of interest and preparation, he said.

Make sure your questions show knowledge of the company and your interest in contributing to its success. You’d be surprised how many people focus on themselves, not the company, by asking right off about things like salary, benefits and bonuses, said Annie Shanklin Jones, who manages United States recruitment for I.B.M.

Try to establish common ground with your interviewer so you stand out, Ms. Shanklin Jones said. Maybe you went to the same college or you pull for the same sports team, she said. During the interview, “leverage your referrals,” she said, finding ways to highlight the people you know within the company.

What if you don’t have these advantages? Ms. Shanklin Jones said that one candidate for a sales position, after his first interview, sent a file listing his software certifications and showing that he had exceeded his sales quotas quarter after quarter. This was an important factor in the decision to hire him, she said.

Depending on the job you apply for, you may be called back for an interview several times. How you follow up after each interview is crucial. Not following up at all shows a lack of interest. Following up too much, or in the wrong way, could take you out of the running.

Mr. Santos says he looks for prompt follow-up by e-mail that shows the applicant was listening attentively, that mentions names of people the candidate met, and that reaffirms the candidate’s work experience and understanding of the company. Much less impressive is a generic e-mail that could be sent to any company, he said.

Follow-up letters can do as much harm as good, Mr. Santos said. If they are too casual, or too pushy and demanding, for example, the writers show that they don’t have an understanding of the company and the hiring process, he said.

Paper or e-mail? Mr. Santos’s preference shows how tricky this can be. He says that for a company like his, which is more digitally focused, it would show a lack of awareness to send a traditional thank you note through the mail. On the other hand, he does expect candidates to show up for interviews with printed copies of their résumés.

Given that all companies and hiring managers are different, getting through the interview process can seem like walking a tightrope. But common courtesy, combined with common sense, plenty of research and a dose of intuition can go a long way toward bringing you safely to the other side.

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-- Sharon
permalink  [10:00 AM, September 14, 2009]
WOMENSPHERE EMERGING LEADERS GLOBAL SUMMIT 2009

WOMENSPHERE EMERGING LEADERS GLOBAL SUMMIT 2009

Sign up here: www.emergingleadersglobalsummit.com

Saturday, September 26, 2009

9:00AM – 6:30PM * New York City

The EMERGING LEADERS GLOBAL SUMMIT (www.emergingleadersglobalsummit.com) will take place on Saturday, September 26, 2009 in New York City, convening emerging women leaders from the leading graduate programs and undergraduate universities, and from leading companies and organizations in the United States and around the world.

WHY PARTICIPATE:

• Develop powerful connections with women leaders: CEOs, leaders in business and government, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, and innovators, who will share their knowledge, insight, wisdom, and inspiration.

• Network with potential future employers at the CAREER EXPO, featuring dozens of companies looking to hire talented undergraduate women!

• Meet Grad School (MBA/MPA/JD) admissions officers and learn about potential graduate school opportunities at the GRAD SCHOOL EXPO.

• Explore alternative career paths, and learn about the future trends in the job market.

• Collaborate and network with hundreds of other emerging leaders from the U.S. and around the world.

• Connect with Womensphere’s Non-Profit, NGO, and Social Enterprise partners to collaborate on tangible projects that will positively impact the world.

• Participate in the launch of Special Awards and Competitions specially designed to recognize emerging women leaders such as yourself.

• Have the first opportunity (and first priority consideration) to apply for Womensphere’s Global Media Internship and Global Research Internship positions, which will be launched at the Summit.

• Have the first opportunity to apply for Womensphere’s Contests and Special Leadership Awards, which will be launched at the Summit.

AND --

• Take part in creating the Emerging Women Leaders platform for America and the world, which will be presented to President Barack Obama, and to the United Nations Secretary General and world leaders.

WHO WILL ATTEND:

We are inviting the following women to attend and participate at the Emerging Leaders Global Summit:

•Undergrad students - aspiring, future leaders at universities and colleges throughout America and around the world.

•Grad students currently at the leading graduate school programs for MBA, MPP/MPA, JD, MA, or MS and advanced studies.

•Young professionals across fields including business, media, finance, law, technology, science, non-profits, and policy.

•Young women entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs who have just started or running their own ventures.

•Emerging artists and performers who seek to make an impact on the world through their art, music, or performances.

•Young community leaders and community organizers who are inspiring change in their local communities.

Companies and organizations represented at the Summit include Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, Citigroup, Time Warner, CNN, MTV Networks, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Societe Generale, Barclays, All for Africa, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), Nanobiosym, and many others!

FEATURING OVER 70 SPEAKERS…

Distinguished Speakers include:

• Abby Disney, Founder & President of the Daphne Foundation
• Monica Mandelli, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
• Vishakha Desai, President of the Asia Society
• Anna Mok, Partner and Regions Leader, Deloitte
• Sarah Beatty, CEO, Green Depot
• Sonia Medina, U.S. Country Director, EcoSecurities
• Elmira Bayrasli, Director of Policy & Outreach, Endeavor
• Diane Burstein, Director of Operations, All for Africa
• Kim Slicklein, CEO, Enclave Rising, Ethos Resorts & Spas
• Victoria Garchitorena, President, Ayala Foundation
• Alicia Stewart, Online Managing Editor, CNN
• Kathlin Argiro, Award-winning Fashion Designer
and many more!

Please find additional information on: www.emergingleadersglobalsummit.com.



For questions on registration, please email Carissa Ray, University Relations Associate, at carissa@womensphere.com, or the Summit Chair/Vice-Chair at cochairs@womensphere.com. We look forward to your participation at Womensphere’s Emerging Leaders Global Summit!

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-- Liza Jane
permalink  [10:00 AM, September 09, 2009]
Learn small talk -- it's good for your career

In the sales world, the fabled "elevator pitch" is championed as a business fundamental. If you can't recite your job description in a 30-second elevator ride, you're going to miss out on major business opportunities.

That's great advice for people who have less than a minute to kill and in situations where chitchatting about your job duties is appropriate. Unfortunately not all conversations are as brief. When you and a few colleagues are sitting in a meeting room waiting for everyone to arrive, you have too many minutes of silence to fill.

Or ask anyone who's been at a lunch where most attendees don't know each other and they'll tell you that job descriptions don't take up nearly enough time.

Unless you want to play with your salad for an hour and watch tumbleweeds to roll by, you need to learn how to talk to anyone you might encounter at work.

Think small

If you're in a situation where you have no choice but to talk to the people you're with, the first thing you should do is look at it as an opportunity to make new contacts. Don't view talking to business associates as a chore. Approaching the conversation in this mindset will take the pressure off of you to perform and you can just be yourself.

Talk about what you know, says Sue Thompson, who conducts personality and business etiquette training for Set Free Life Seminars.
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"Use a three-month rule: Start with topics on which you can generate conversation having to do with something you've done in the past three months or are planning to do in the next three months," Thompson recommends.

This route could lead you to talk about remodeling your home, taking a vacation or picking out a new family pet. Not only are you comfortable talking about these topics, but the other person can offer his or her experience on the subject.

Asking questions and discussing topics that invite dialogue, rather than monologues, are also good steps. You want some give-and-take during the discussion, advises Lynne Eisaguirre, author of "We Need to Talk: Tough Conversations With Your Boss."

"Ask open-ended questions," Eisaguirre says. "Open-ended questions are those that start with who, what, where, when. If you ask these kinds of questions, it keeps the conversations flowing better than if you ask a question that can be answered yes or no."

Even if you never get beyond personal anecdotes about a vacation gone wrong or your child's soccer game, the conversation is worth having. Resist the temptation to sit silently while everyone files into the meeting.

"Always make the effort to start a conversation. Your work relationships are your wealth at work," Eisaguirre reminds. "Especially in this age of downsizing, you need to maintain your relationships. It's something that no one can take away from you, even if you leave your current employment. Relationships are built though conversations."

Think about the amount of people supervisors, C-levels and other executives encounter each day. Even with the best memory and great personal skills, they're bound to forget names. But if you're the person that bonded with them over funny stories about your children or had a lengthy conversation about a current event, they're more likely to remember you. It doesn't mean a few minutes of chitchat will keep you safe during layoffs, but having a strong network can help you stay on important people's radars.

Listen, listen, listen

Conversations consist of a dialogue, and for one person to talk, the other one has to listen. (Or at least the other person should be listening.) Otherwise, you have two people waiting to talk and no exchange of ideas -- not exactly the experience you want to have with your colleagues. That's why, in a conversation, listening is just as important as speaking, says Lynne Sarikas, director of the MBA Career Center at Northeastern University's College of Business Administration.

"Early in my career I heard very sage advice: 'There is a reason you have one mouth and two ears; you are intended to listen more than you speak,'" she says. "Still true today." Regardless of your professional rank in relation to the other person, you can just be attentive and respectful during the conversation.

"Show the other person respect by listening to what they have to say," Sarikas says. "Acknowledge, either verbally or with a nod, as appropriate. Ask questions. Use the person's name. Do not interrupt when they are speaking."

Sounds basic, right? That's the point.

Regardless of whom you're talking to, the fundamentals of a conversation aren't all that complicated. Just because someone has a higher job title than you, it doesn't mean you have to relearn everything you know about having a chat with someone.

Here are some tips to remember:

• Talk about what you know

To kick start the conversation, mention work, family, hobbies or current events (as long as they're not controversial). Let the conversation flow from there.

• Listen

Make sure you let other people have their say. Listen for verbal cues to guide the conversation. If they seem disinterested in discussing work but perk up when you mention that you're looking to adopt a puppy, go down that path.

• Be personal

In the busy business world, you're often limited to holding conversations with the few same people over and over again. Use these one-off conversations as a chance to learn about new colleagues, find out what they do, remember their names and exchange cards or phone numbers if appropriate.

• Initiate conversation

The temptation will be to sit uncomfortably staring at your blank notepad or checking e-mail on your BlackBerry, but get over the initial discomfort and strike up a conversation. At worst you're making small talk for a few minutes. But you might end up with a new contact in your network who can help you

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-- Joe
permalink  [10:00 AM, August 19, 2009]
Back to School: Secrets for Future Success

Back to School: Secrets for Future Success
by Brad Karsh: President and Founder, JobBound

Nothing beats the new school year. The weather is great, the books are all new, and it's time to reconnect with your best friends. In fact, getting a job or internship for next summer may be the last thing on your mind. The truth is, often, what separates successful job-hunting students from the unsuccessful is what they do right now, at back to school time.

Here are four simple steps for the fall that can help you land a job in the spring:

1. Get your resume in order. More than anything else, this one piece of paper determines whether or not you will get the job you want. As you can imagine, that piece of paper needs to be great. On your resume, you need to focus on accomplishments instead of job descriptions. Most recruiters will tell you that a majority of resumes don't sell a student hard enough because they simply list the activities that anyone holding that position has ever done. If what is written on your resume can be written by the person who had the job before you, after you, or next to you, then you haven't done yourself justice.

2. Network, network, network. The single best way to get a job is to know somebody. Yes, it should be based on merit alone, but unfortunately, that isn't how it works. Tap into as many connections as you can. Reaching out to your school's alumni is a great place to start, and they usually love to hear from current students about life on campus. If you don't know many alumni in positions to make a difference for you, start e-mailing the graduates highlighted in your school's alumni newsletter, or check out the career center. They often have lists of alums looking to help students. Don't forget you can network with your neighbors, your dentist, your parents' friends, older siblings' friends, etc. Remember sixty-six percent of job seekers get a job through networking!

3. Become involved. Grades alone won't get you the job. Most employers want smart, well-rounded, involved students. There's still time to gain the experience that companies are looking for in new hires. Join a club, get a part-time job, and volunteer for a charity. It's even more impressive, if you get involved in a big way. It's one thing to have, "Member, Student Activities Council" on your resume. It's quite another to have "President, Student Activities Council." Obviously, companies want to hire leaders and accomplished candidates. If you prove that you have those skills, when it comes time to make the hiring decision, you're the obvious choice.

4. Visit your career center. If you want a job or internship this summer, the career center is going to be your best friend. Guess where companies go when they want to hire students from your school? The Career Center. Guess where you can get someone to help you with resume writing and job interviewing? The Career Center. And guess where you can go to find out whether you should be a lumberjack or a management consultant when you grow up? The Career Center. The fact is, your Career Center is an amazing resource for the job search. And it's all free! Go early, go often, and you can't go wrong.

The new school year holds countless, bright possibilities and great opportunities. If you get started on these four, simple steps, you are setting yourself up for career and future success!

Brad Karsh travels to college campuses as a keynote speaker on the topic of landing a job. He's President of JobBound (www.jobbound.com), a career-consulting company that advises students and professionals on resume writing, interviewing, and everything related to the job search. Author of How To Say It on Your Resume (Prentice Hall Press, 2009) and Confessions of a Recruiting Director: The Insider's Guide to Landing Your First Job (Prentice Hall Press, 2006), Brad is considered the nation's leading expert on the job search. He's been featured on CNN, Dr. Phil, and CNBC and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Times, Fortune, and many others.

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-- Joe
permalink  [10:00 AM, August 13, 2009]