Career & Professional Development at Spring Hill College http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices "Campaign for an Exciting Future" Tue, 17 Mar 2015 20:41:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 7 Habits New College Graduates must Practice to Stay Competitive in their Job Search http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2014/01/03/7-habits-new-college-graduates-must-practice-to-stay-competitive-in-their-job-search/ http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2014/01/03/7-habits-new-college-graduates-must-practice-to-stay-competitive-in-their-job-search/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 20:29:22 +0000 http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/?p=2263 We all know that landing a job in today’s society is a challenge. With bleak unemployment reports and competition for job openings at a high level, it’s no wonder soon to be college graduates are feeling discouraged.

Just because competition is high, doesn’t mean new graduates are out of the game. What it means is [...]]]>

We all know that landing a job in today’s society is a challenge. With bleak unemployment reports and competition for job openings at a high level, it’s no wonder soon to be college graduates are feeling discouraged.

Just because competition is high, doesn’t mean new graduates are out of the game. What it means is that new graduates have to kick it up a notch and take action. To stay competitive, these are the habits that student must practice.

Start Early

I can’t tell you how many final semester seniors I see who are just now inquiring about starting a job search. Preparing to begin a professional job search is an educational process that builds throughout the college years. Just as studying a specific major builds upon itself, so does the process of career development.  In order to be fully prepared for a job search, a student must engage in professional development activities beginning their freshman year.

Know your Industry

If you want to be taken seriously in the professional world, then know the heck out of your industry. Know what trends are happening, what is working well, what’s not working and identify where and how you fit in. Identify what skills and qualities you have and how you plan to best utilize them in your industry.  The more you know, the more you will gain passion and excitement about what you can contribute.

So, where do you research and learn about your industry? Join and participate in LinkedIn groups that focus on your industry. Join and follow your industry and companies of interest on Twitter. Schedule information interviews with professionals in your industry.  Join professional societies related to your industry and participate in conferences.

Get Experience

You must participate in the professional arena to build experience. Getting good grades and a degree doesn’t get you professional experience. You must leave the classroom and campus, work, volunteer and intern to build experience and demonstrate what you can do. This involves leaving your comfort zone and taking risks. However, the more you leave your comfort zone, the more confident you will become and the more you will learn and demonstrate what you can bring to your industry.

Build your Brand

Your brand is what differentiates you from others. It is what makes you unique and what makes you stand out. To build your brand, create a UVP-Unique Values Proposition. Answer these questions to get started.

1)      Who are you professionally?

2)      What do you do? What problems do you solve? What are you called to do?

3)      Why are you the best at solving these problems? Why were you called to do this?

4)      What is your charge; your call to action?

Once you have a UVP in place, continue to build on it and market yourself based on the answers to these questions. Be consistent across all mediums. Make sure your brand is highlighted in your professional documents, your clothing, your presentation skills and your social media.

Build Professional Relationships

Also known as “networking”, meeting and building relationships with professionals in your area of interests will help you gain strong professional alliances. Find a mentor who can guide you and help you build your UVP. Spend your “networking” time learning more about your industry by hanging out with people who share your passion and professional ambition.

This is easy to do. Start by joining a professional society related to your industry. Attend conferences and meet professionals who can become your mentors and teachers. Stay engaged!

Use Social Media Strategically

Your strategy should focus on how you use LinkedIn , Twitter, on-line portfolios and blogs. These are the social media platforms that will build your network, best highlight your brand and show the professional world what you plan to contribute.

Use LinkedIn to make professional connections, join industry related groups and discuss what is going on. Twitter is a fabulous way to learn what is happening in your industry and meet others who have the same industry passions. Portfolios will help build your brand and create a three dimensional picture of what skills and qualities you have to offer your industry. And, blogging gives you the gift of sharing your well educated opinions and ideas about your industry.

FaceBook is your social network. Keep it that way and lock it down if you want. However, it is important to continue being smart about what you post.

Find your Professional Voice

Once you are well versed on your industry, your UVP and your social media strategy, you are ready to express yourself professionally. The more you converse through social media and networking, the more credible your professional brand will become and the more you will be seen as a prime candidate for a professional position.

If you need more information on how to practice these habits, SHC seniors should register for SAS 401; Senior Job Search Seminar.  If you cannot fit this course in your schedule, or you are not yet a senior, SHC Career Development is creating a series of SHoocs (Spring Hill College open online courses) for students to access and obtain information and feedback based on building these strong habits.  Look for these SHoocs to be launched soon!

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What Surfing Taught me About Collaboration http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2014/01/03/what-surfing-taught-me-about-collaboration/ http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2014/01/03/what-surfing-taught-me-about-collaboration/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 17:25:01 +0000 http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/?p=2250 This weekend my daughter gave me the best advice on how to surf. “Mom. Keep your head up, be patient and when you see a wave you want to ride, paddle your arms, kick like crazy and let the wave give you the power!”  So, I had just been enlightened by my 13 year old [...]]]> This weekend my daughter gave me the best advice on how to surf. “Mom. Keep your head up, be patient and when you see a wave you want to ride, paddle your arms, kick like crazy and let the wave give you the power!”  So, I had just been enlightened by my 13 year old whose instructions were so simple and practical.

As I was out there surfing, I thought about all the things that need to come together for a successful ride. It is all about collaboration. You have to have the right board to support you, a strong mental focus, a good strategy  and a wave that will launch you forward.  Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, simple can be a relative term when you are out there trying to catch your breath, salt water is stinging your eyes,  a jellyfish just swam by and you are struggling to stay afloat in very cold, choppy waters.

Of course, this epiphany brought me back to my work and, because I am a career geek, I  came up with a way to apply this experience to collaboration. So, here is what I discovered:

Get the Right Support. This is truly the foundation of collaboration. Perhaps you have an idea that sounds outrageous and you hear a lot of discouraging statements from the divas and the trolls who try to knock the breath out of you-those jellyfish that try to scare you away . This is where the mentor, co-worker or a colleague becomes your greatest asset and supports you through it all. They help keep you afloat when the water gets choppy and they help you bounce off of the jellyfish.

Stay Focused. Even with support, your focus must stay on task or you will struggle. It is so important to pay attention to everything going on. The waves can move awfully fast, sometimes they are inconsistent and you have to make quick decisions in order to move forward. If you dawdle or become indecisive, lots of great opportunities pass you by. So, wipe the salt water out of your eyes, get yourself focused and be ready for anything that comes your way.

Have a Consistent Strategy. This takes lots of practice and it helps tremendously when you get input from others who are more knowledgable. Consult with the experts, ask them for their opinions, ideas and perspectives. And, it’s always good to get their feedback so you can perfect your technique and strategy. Once you identify a technique that works for you, define it and  make it yours. Your support and your focus are already there for you. Now, you are ready to paddle hard and kick like crazy.

Make the Commitment. This is where you truly discover what you are made of. You are focused, you know your strategy and you have committed to the wave. Unfortunately, the commitment doesn’t always work in your favor. Sometimes the wave fizzles out and gives you nothing. Other times it breaks too soon, betraying you and leaving you no energy. The worst is when the wave smacks you on the side of your head, shoves you under hard, pulls at your support and shows you who is boss. This is when you must regroup, rely heavily on your support, shake the water out of your ears, be patient and stay focused until the right wave arrives. Believe me, it will arrive and, when it does, you will forget all about the ones that failed you. You will keep your head up, paddle hard, kick like crazy and feel the wave give you a powerful push forward. Yes! This is the beauty of collaboration.

Do you have a story about collaboration? Feel free to share it even if it doesn’t involve jellyfish.

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Hello world! http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/08/02/hello-world/ http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/08/02/hello-world/#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2011 14:48:53 +0000 http://kudzu.shc.edu/careeerservices/?p=1 Welcome to Faculty Sites. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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Welcome to Faculty Sites. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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Top 4 Lessons Learned from Hearing “You’re Fired!” http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/02/01/top-4-lessons-learned-from-hearing-youre-fired/ http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/02/01/top-4-lessons-learned-from-hearing-youre-fired/#comments Tue, 01 Feb 2011 17:39:40 +0000 http://adminblogs.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/02/01/top-4-lessons-learned-from-hearing-youre-fired/ I truly believe that everyone needs to experience a good failure in their professional life. A defining moment that makes them a much better professional. Yes! I’m allowed to say this because I was fired once and it made me an extremely better professional.

After two years in my first professional job I decided it [...]]]> I truly believe that everyone needs to experience a good failure in their professional life. A defining moment that makes them a much better professional. Yes! I’m allowed to say this because I was fired once and it made me an extremely better professional.

After two years in my first professional job I decided it was time to move on to bigger and better things. No rhyme or reason led me to this decision; I just thought I deserved a higher paying  job and was fortunate enough to land one at a community college where I was to manage a grant program. The college was foolish enough to hire me and I took the job thinking I could actually do it! Me! An extreme introvert with no leadership experience, very little budgeting skills and an ego way out of proportion. The next six months were filled with stress, confusion,  intimidation and well, failure.

I had no clue how to manage much of anything. I had two very uncooperative co-workers, I didn’t know how to access and monitor the budget, my introversion kept me from speaking up when necessary and my ability to problem solve did not exist. After six months of trying not to look incompetent, I managed to get nothing done and look incompetent anyway! At my performance evaluation, my supervisor ended my employment. Embarrassingly enough, I had the nerve to react with surprise. Let’s chalk that one up to youth and denial.

I was fired in December of 1993 and it still haunts me occasionally. However; I learned more from that failure than from any of the successes I’ve had since. In fact, that failure helped me become the success I am today and here’s why.

If it Doesn’t Fit, It’s not Legit: Before applying for any job, I’m brutally honest with myself. If I don’t truly have the skills and qualifications for the job, I don’t apply! Keep this in mind. Are you really the best fit for the job? Can you prove this fit? If not, don’t try to convince yourself otherwise. Instead, spend time building up your skills and qualifications. Then, you will be more empowered and better prepared to successfully take on challenging future positions.

Don’t Know what to Do? Then Make a Decision and Do Something! Never again will I sit back and let a problem build up to a disaster. The minute I recognize something isn’t working, I take charge! Face it, we all struggle with how to solve problems. The important thing is to identify the problem, come up with possible solutions, consult with others and implement your plan. The worst that can happen is your plan doesn’t work and you try something else. A much better way of handling the problem than doing nothing and hoping the problem will go away. Truly successful people take charge, they don’t run away and hide.

“Doesn’t Play well with Others” Does Not Apply to the Professional World: I will never again allow a lack of communication to come between me, my colleagues and the work we need to get done. Unfortunately there are workers out there who don’t pull their weight, fail to communicate, get petty or even back stab. Regardless, there is still work to be done. Successful people take action and communicate with others when there are disagreements, lack of effort, personality issues and other conflicts.  Solving every disagreement and conflict isn’t the goal. Communicating how to best handle such issues will result in a much more successful work environment.

Primal Instincts aren’t just for Animals: I will forever pay attention to my instincts. Those inner voices telling me when something just isn’t right. Looking back on my experience, there were several red flags telling me not to accept the job. A comment from someone regarding my soon to be supervisor’s poor leadership, a large turnover rate, a very inappropriate comment made to me during the interview, the uncomfortableness of the others in the interview room and a verbal lashing from my supervisor in the main hallway my very first week of work. First impressions expose a lot about a future employer. Successful people pay attention to instincts, do their research and take advantage of interviews to ask serious questions. When you spend a significant part of your life in your work environment, it better be an environment with purpose, support and success.

Occasionally, in a dream, I go back to that college and right all the wrongs I made. And boy are those dreams empowering! Perhaps they are my mind’s way of redeeming myself and reinforcing the fact that I really am competent after all. Regardless of what those dreams mean, I took away so much more from that experience than I ever imagined I could. This experience is proof that failure can truly be a defining moment in one’s life.

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Reflection Blog #5 http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-5/ http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-5/#comments Fri, 21 Jan 2011 01:00:40 +0000 http://adminblogs.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-5/

Answer the following interview question regarding your internship: “Tell us about the top skills and qualities that you developed from your internship experience and how will you use them in a professional position?”

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Answer the following interview question regarding your internship: “Tell us about the top skills and qualities that you developed from your internship experience and how will you use them in a professional position?”

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Reflection Blog #4 http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-4/ http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-4/#comments Fri, 21 Jan 2011 00:59:42 +0000 http://adminblogs.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-4/

Now that your site supervisor has provided you with a mid term evaluation, identify a professional skill or quality you need to improve on. Talk about what this is, how you believe it will affect you in a professional setting and how you plan to improve on it in the future.

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Now that your site supervisor has provided you with a mid term evaluation, identify a professional skill or quality you need to improve on. Talk about what this is, how you believe it will affect you in a professional setting and how you plan to improve on it in the future.

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Reflection Blog #3 http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-3/ http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-3/#comments Fri, 21 Jan 2011 00:58:44 +0000 http://adminblogs.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-3/

Identify the most significant thing you have learned about the profession since beginning your internship. Talk about what that is, how you feel about this new found knowledge and how you think it will effect your professional choices in future endeavors.

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Identify the most significant thing you have learned about the profession since beginning your internship. Talk about what that is, how you feel about this new found knowledge and how you think it will effect your professional choices in future endeavors.

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Reflection Blog #2 http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-2/ http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-2/#comments Fri, 21 Jan 2011 00:57:50 +0000 http://adminblogs.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-2/ Identify the most significant thing you have learned about yourself since beginning your internship. Talk about what that is, how you feel about this new found knowledge and how you think it will effect you-either negatively or positively-in your future professional endeavors.

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Identify the most significant thing you have learned about yourself since beginning your internship. Talk about what that is, how you feel about this new found knowledge and how you think it will effect you-either negatively or positively-in your future professional endeavors.

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Reflection Blog #1 http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-1/ http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-1/#comments Fri, 21 Jan 2011 00:53:20 +0000 http://adminblogs.shc.edu/careerservices/2011/01/20/reflection-blog-1/

Describe your internship including the type of environment, your daily responsibilities, the organization, who or what it serves, is the job what you expected? What type of orientation did you receive? Talk about the people of your organization. Is it team focused or more competitive? How do people work with one another? How does [...]]]>

Describe your internship including the type of environment, your daily responsibilities, the organization, who or what it serves, is the job what you expected? What type of orientation did you receive? Talk about the people of your organization. Is it team focused or more competitive? How do people work with one another? How does the supervisor manage his/her workers? How do you fit into the organization?

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Blog #4 http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2010/01/07/blog-4/ http://kudzu.shc.edu/careerservices/2010/01/07/blog-4/#comments Thu, 07 Jan 2010 15:51:24 +0000 http://adminblogs.shc.edu/careerservices/2010/01/07/blog-4/ Now that your site supervisor has provided you with a mid term evaluation, reflect on that evaluation. Identify the areas you rated strongly in and how you see these areas benefitting you in the professional world? What skill or quality did your supervisor identified as needing improvement? Talk about what this is, how you [...]]]> Now that your site supervisor has provided you with a mid term evaluation, reflect on that evaluation. Identify the areas you rated strongly in and how you see these areas benefitting you in the professional world? What skill or quality did your supervisor identified as needing improvement? Talk about what this is, how you believe it will affect you in a professional setting and how you plan to improve on it in the future.

 (Due by midnight, Friday, April 2)

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