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Posted July 12, 2016 by

4 ways sophomores can take advantage of career services

It’s your sophomore year of college. You’re feeling pretty comfortable with the whole college thing—a little too comfortable, maybe. It’s easy to get in a rut your sophomore year and forget about your long-term career goals while you go to classes and hang out with friends.

Don’t let this happen to you. Before you move back to campus this fall, make it a point to commit to setting the four following goals for yourself, suggested by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, in this short video about how to take full advantage of career services during your sophomore year of college.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

1. Declare your major.

Actually, this really isn’t an option at most colleges and universities; you’re required to declare a major course of study by the time you earn 60 credit hours. The important thing is to declare the best major for you and to do a little prep work in advance. Before declaring your major, be sure you have taken skill/interest inventories available through career services, visited with trusted advisors (not just your assigned advisor, but also your faculty members, unofficial mentors, parents (if you actually get along with them), and people who work in career fields you’re considering). Do a little homework and research about the career fields you’re considering, too. Use the salary calculator on our website—how much can you potentially earn in your chosen career fields? Even though you can’t predict what the job market and economy will look like in two or three years, it’s better to crunch numbers hypothetically than not at all. Remember that above all, you must take full responsibility for your career plan because it’s YOUR career plan.

2. Work.

Whether you volunteer or work in a paid position (internship, co-op position, part-time job, full-time job during the summer, whatever), gain some work experience you can list on your resume during your sophomore year. This is crucial, and it may take some time, so don’t wait until two weeks before summer break to begin looking. As Chris Czarnik of Fox Valley Technical College says, “Finding a bad job is easy, but finding a great job takes work.” Preferably, attempt to gain experience in your chosen career field or tied to your major field of study. Seek help in career services with this, and don’t overlook CollegeRecruiter.com as a helpful source in the job search process. We make finding a great job much easier.

3. Create a true resume.

If you created a solid draft of a resume or a working resume during your first year of college, that’s a great start. Your sophomore year is the time to convert the draft into a solid working resume which you can continually revise as you gain experience throughout your college career. You’re going to apply for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities during your sophomore year, so you definitely want to have a great working resume on hand. Seek help from career services to develop your resume, and don’t forget to take advantage of the free resume editing tool on our website.

4. Attend the career fair on your campus hosted by career services.

Make it a goal to visit face-to-face with at least three actual recruiters during the career fair. Ask for their business cards and try to remember at least one important fact about the companies they represent. Invite the representatives/recruiters after the career fair to connect with you on Twitter or LinkedIn after the career fair. It’s not too soon to begin considering which employers you might want to work for when you graduate. If you meet an employer you feel you genuinely connect with, ask for an informational interview during the career fair or at a later time. That employer might plan to return to campus to conduct on-campus interviews, or the employer may be able to do the interview online or over the phone as well. The employer might even invite you to conduct a site visit. These are great opportunities to build relationships with potential future employers!

For more suggestions about how to create a solid career plan, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

 

Posted July 10, 2016 by

Networking events on campus give students workplace preview

Hr. photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Recruiters typically head to college campuses every fall. They will be looking for the best and brightest students with the potential to fill internships and entry-level jobs. However, other recruiters will not travel to schools or may limit travel because of the costs; they would prefer job seekers come to them, find candidates online, or may recruit through other means, such as through target email campaigns and banner ads.

Recruiters who opt out of campus recruiting entirely might miss out on the face-to-face interaction with college students interested in learning more about specific employers. Attending at least some of the networking events on college campuses not only allows recruiters to make their presence known but also helps students gain a better understanding of the workplace. John Link, Assistant Director for Career Development at Webster University, highlights why recruiters and employers should visit college campuses.

“I think it is important for recruiters to actively attend networking events on university and college campuses to assist with developing college students’ understanding of the working world, and begin identifying the marketable skills and abilities essential in that specific area of employment. Employers who attend networking events on university and college campuses have immediate access to college students from various economic and cultural backgrounds while connecting information to students about opportunities for the company or organization they are representing. This information can be helpful for short and long-term career goal setting and connecting students to professionals in the fields of work they are interested in.”

For more advice on professional networking, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

John Link, Assistant Director for Career Development at Webster University

John Link, Assistant Director for Career Development at Webster University

John Link is the Assistant Director for Career Development at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. An Indiana native, John spent time working at Indiana State University’s Career Center in career programming before making the move to St. Louis. Prior to working in higher education, John worked as an elementary teacher in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and served as an instructional coach to assist teachers in further developing their math and science teaching skills. John enjoys working in career development and helping define students’ career goals through personalized career coaching.

Posted May 10, 2016 by

How to select a career mentor

When you graduate from college, you lose daily, immediate access to some of your greatest mentors and teachers—faculty members, advisors, and career services professionals who have guided you through some of the best and most formative years of your life. When starting your first entry-level, full-time job, it’s important to begin seeking out a career mentor.

This five-minute video, created by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, will help you select a quality career mentor.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

There are at least two types of mentors you need to find, ideally, when you begin your first full-time, entry-level job. The first type of mentor you need to find is a workplace mentor. This mentor works for the same company or organization but has at least a few years of experience under her belt. She probably works for the same team or within the same division and can provide you with guidance related to company policies and procedures, the ins and outs about how to make coffee in the breakroom, and other important tips about surviving on a daily basis within your organization.

This video and article will help you select the other—and more important—type of mentor: a career mentor. A career mentor is a lifelong mentor; your career mentor has years of experience, preferably decades of experience, and works in your “dream career field.” A career mentor will provide career guidance and mentorship over the course of your career journey. When selecting a career mentor, be picky. You should spend at least a few months observing professionals and contemplating “fit” before asking someone to serve as your career mentor.

Here are a few tips to aid you in selecting your career mentor.

1. Look for elevator people.

Elevator people are defined as people who bring you up, while basement people bring you down. This trait is especially important in mentors. When you’re asking someone for advice and guidance, you don’t want to leave every conversation feeling controlled, manipulated, deflated, or picked apart. Not only does that type of relationship sound very unhealthy, but it’s also completely unproductive. Seek out a career mentor who lifts others up. Is the mentor you’re considering territorial with her ideas? Does she appear jealous when you discuss something you’re working on that’s exciting to you? Move on and consider option B.

2. Go for the “gel.”

Can you completely relax when talking to your career mentor? This doesn’t mean you need to think of your career mentor as a peer; she’s not. You should have a great amount of respect for your career mentor.  Competent communication is defined as communication that is both effective and appropriate. Of course you want to interact with your mentor with an appropriate level of respect; you won’t talk to your mentor about the party you hosted Saturday night or your conflict with your boyfriend. You discuss those matters with your personal friends.

But it is crucial to select a career mentor you “gel” with. Can you be honest about your career goals, or do you feel intimidated to discuss the future? Are you afraid your career mentor will laugh at your dreams? When you make mistakes at work (and don’t worry—every new entry-level employee makes mistakes), do you feel comfortable confessing those mistakes to your career mentor and seeking advice about how to overcome them? If not, you probably need to consider seeking out a new career mentor.

3. Find a great listener.

Motivational speakers may seem inspiring when you meet them, but remember when seeking a career mentor, you must find someone who can listen as much as she talks. You’re going to come up against obstacles over the course of your career journey, and it’s important that your career mentor listen well (without placing judgment). Only excellent listeners can offer excellent feedback and suggestions. Great career mentoring relationships tend to look alike—be sure yours matches up.

4. Reflect on your feelings.

Always reflect on your feelings after spending time with potential career mentors. Weigh pros and cons, make lists, and attempt to make a clear-headed decision before selecting a career mentor, certainly. But at the end of the day, relationships like this must be based at least partly on gut instinct. After going to lunch with your career mentor, do you feel better or worse? When you have a phone conversation, do you feel more positive or disheartened? Do you feel more motivated to go back to work and to try to reach your goals, or do you feel like taking the day off after talking to your mentor?

5. Don’t discount your feelings before you make the final decision about asking someone to serve as your mentor.

Lastly, when you decide to ask someone to serve as your career mentor, be gracious and grateful. Your career mentor is doing you a huge favor and will likely invest hours—if not days—of her life in yours. Mine has.

For more advice about starting your first full-time job off right, read our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted March 05, 2016 by

What is career counseling

Photo of Veranda Hillard-Charleston

Veranda Hillard-Charleston, guest writer

Do people believe their current career trajectories feel like a hopeless game of grasping at straws? Maybe they’ve been thinking, “I don’t know what I want to do with my life” or “I don’t know what jobs I can get with my major/degree.” Having a long list of “I don’t knows” in the career department certainly doesn’t lead to increased life satisfaction. Luckily, there’s a solution: career counseling.

What is career counseling?

Career counseling is a goal-oriented process targeted at helping people gain better insight about themselves and what they want out of their careers, education, and lives.

According to Boise State University, the counseling element is one-step in a lifelong process of career development. Therefore, the object of career counseling is not to guide people in making better career decisions today. Instead, the focus of this process is to equip people with the self-knowledge and expertise needed to improve their careers and life decisions over their lifespan.

A career counselor is generally a master’s level professional with a background in career development theory, counseling methods, assessments, and employment information and resources. A professional will hold a confidential session with people to identify their unique values, interests, skills, career-related strengths and weaknesses, and personal goals in order to determine which resources they require and which course of action is most appropriate in helping them achieve these goals.

A career counselor can even help people separate their own career-related goals from those of others, such as parents, teachers, and friends who may be pressuring them to choose a specific career path.

Do I need career counseling?

Whether they’re freshmen in college or five years post-graduate, college students and recent graduates can benefit from the services of a career counselor. Since career development is a lifelong process – and people’s interests and skills are steadily changing – the earlier they gain insight about themselves and learn how to make career-related decisions, the better. If job seekers’ current dialogue is filled with “I don’t knows,” career counseling is a smart choice for them.

Possible career counseling for bank credit presentation of important issues courtesy of Shutterstock.com

frechtoch/Shutterstock.com

Maximizing from the counseling experience

So college students and recent graduates made the choice to get career counseling and scheduled an appointment. Their part is done, right? Wrong. A common misconception about career counseling is people show up, and an expert tells them exactly what career choices are best for them. In truth, career counseling is not a one-sided, quick solution to academic or career dilemmas. Consider the following:

• Job seekers are not simply there to receive. The counseling experience requires participation. An honest examination of job seekers is vital for the career counselor to guide them in the right direction. Together, they might uncover their career interests, but they must take action to continue down the right path.

• People must narrow down their goals. Coming in with a broad desire to “Figure out what they want in life” just won’t cut it. A clear-cut objective is necessary so each session has structure and both parties can tell when their work together is complete.

• Job seekers have to continue the career development process beyond counseling. A good career counselor can help them define their interests and values, identify goals, and provide resources and strategies for reaching these goals. Still, the important work is done by job seekers. They have to actually use these resources to pinpoint internships or job opportunities appealing to them and constantly consider how different opportunities match their interests, values, and skills.

Career counseling offers people a safe and confidential place to explore their career passions and identify areas in which they are experiencing difficulty. It is a collaborative relationship – the client and the counselor work together to discover the client’s true career goals and work to overcome any obstacles. However, the client must be devoted to career development and willing to do the work to truly benefit from the experience.

If you want more career advice, go to College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Veranda Hillard-Charleston is Chief Contributor for MastersinPsychologyGuide.com. She received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Veranda has more than five years of experience as a trained mental health professional.

Posted February 27, 2016 by

Women’s role and leadership in technology

Ruoting Jia, author & Rutgers University freshman

Ruoting Jia, author & Rutgers University freshman

The workforce in technology, or in any academic discipline related to it—such as the  STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)—is mainly dominated by males. Even though technology has become quite relevant to people’s daily lives in the 21st Century and its job positions are in fairly high demand, women seem like they are driven out of this field because they are considered “unrelated” to or are not fit for technology.

In order to gain a better perspective on the subject from someone who is a great role model in the field of computer science and to deeply analyze the hidden reasons for the gender gap in the computing workforce, I interviewed Mrs. Faith Rothberg who is a CEO of College Recruiter, a recruitment media company used by college students and recent graduates to find careers. Mrs. Rothberg has a strong educational background in both technology and business; she holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She is really passionate about her career, and she is willing to encourage teenage girls to participate in technology. She is also an active leader who has had conversation with elementary school girls about engagement in STEM fields, has volunteered at various organizations in middle schools and highs school, has spoken at the ceremony of Aspiration Award in Computing (an award for women), and has offered summer internships to one of the honorees.

I asked Mrs. Rothberg why there are few women in the field of technology. She responded, “In some areas of the country, the education systems, even the teachers, professionals, or the parents assume that boys are going to be good at those things, and girls are not due to the stereotypical culture.”

Are girls really not as good at STEM-related tasks as boys are? Such stereotypes are beginning to be questioned and confronted by the public.

However, a statistical report named By the Numbers from National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) has shown that 57% of professional occupations in the U.S. workforce are held by women, with 26% of professional computing occupations in both 2013 and 2014 U.S workforce held by women. Among this female workforce, 3% were African American women, 5% were Asian women, and 2% were Hispanic women. 24% of Chief Information Officer (CIO) positions at Fortune 100 companies were held by women in 2012, and only 6% of those positions in 2014.

In 2013, 56% of Advanced Placement (AP) test-takers were female, but only 46% of AP Calculus test-takers were female. Only 19% of AP Computer Science female test-takers were female. From the year 2000 to 2012, there was a 64% decline in the number of first-year undergraduate women interested in majoring in computer science (1). According to the SAT score report on the math portion from American Enterprise Institute (AEI), statistics have shown that from the year 1972-2013, there persists a huge gender gap in math because high school boys have an average SAT math test score that is 32 points higher than girls.  Moreover, the male-female ratio on the SAT math test is above 1 with the score that is higher than 580 points, and the ratio is below 1 with the score than is lower than 580 points; this suggests that more boys scored higher than 580 points on the math portion than girls, and more girls received a score that is below 580 points than boys did (Perry). Based on these statistics, society starts to question girls’ capabilities in the STEM field–are girls really inherently less intelligent than boys?

Education

One of the primary reasons which leads to this unbalanced data is the education system in technology, especially early education in elementary and secondary schools, which has not fully developed yet. Rothberg mentioned education in technology in our interview as well; she said that “technology until recently wasn’t taught young enough, and actually it’s still not taught young enough. I think we should be really teaching about computers and technology in elementary school.”

One of the most notable incidences in the Department of Computer Science in many research universities is that incoming freshmen leave the department after taking the Introduction to Computer Science course after their first semester because even though these are introductory level courses, they are still really difficult for these students who have not had any coding experience prior to entering the program. This is preparatory work that should be taught and learned in early education in order to be prepared for further advanced upper-level study (Wilson et al. 26).

Tracing back to early education, there are not many high schools or middle schools offering AP Computer Science or regular basic programming courses to their students. The chance that they will major in computer science without knowing the concept of the subject and what computer scientists do is quite minimal. Moreover, children in elementary schools are much less being exposed to programming; thus, even fewer children frame an interest in coding because learning how to code is like learning a new language. The earlier you start, the better you will be.

Therefore, with limited knowledge and skill to succeed in the so-called “easiest” course in college, it is easy to understand why there are fewer students going into the profession.

Another vital factor is that since the professions in technology are considered well-paid, there are fewer trained and experienced AP Computer Science teachers who would rather focus on computer system development or start their own technology businesses than teach students. By knowing the importance of having an instructor in the field that requires a lot of advanced skills and logical thinking, this also limits students’ opportunities to exceed in the field.

Stereotypes

Faith Rothberg, CEO of College Recruiter

Faith Rothberg, CEO of College Recruiter

Although having limited educational resources is an obstacle for both males and females, women are more likely to opt themselves out of the field while men are trying to work on getting themselves into the field. Rothberg states that “in some area of the country, educational systems, even the teachers, the professionals, or the parents assume that boys are going to be good at those things, and girls are not.”

Those old stereotypes hold women back from technology and are the subconscious assumptions and negative stereotypes towards women’s role in the STEM field which shape people’s misconceptions and misunderstandings about the computer science major and its workforce.

Computer scientists are considered “geeks” in the society who have the stereotypical physical traits like “wearing glasses, pale, thin, unattractive” (Cheryan et al. 5). They are viewed as people who are less active in social life and who are lacking interactive skills when it comes to communication and collaboration. People describe them as solely scientific and “obsessed with computers” that they work on (Cheryan et al. 10). Aside from that, their characters are defined as unattractive, nerdy, and socially introverted, which women will unlikely be.

“What happens now is that by the time young girls get to middle school and high school,” Rothberg said, “they see themselves as not smart as boys, so they are away from technology.” A lot of the girls who are studying computer science “come from families of computer scientists and engineers” (Stross), because their families understand the importance and responsibilities in the field, especially technology, are highly demanded in the 21st century. Unlike other families without computer scientists or engineers, the stereotypes restrict the encouragement and support from family members of young girls. Therefore, the more this stereotypical idea is added to women from a social aspect, the fewer women will enter into the field of technology.

Workforce

Women have historically chosen lower-paying yet fulfilling jobs, whereas their male counterparts, who are considered family providers, choose high-paying careers, such as computer science and engineering (Larson). This has become socially acceptable that men’s jobs are inventive and creative; however, women’s jobs are caring. When children are very young, toys, such as vehicles and Legos, seem to be designed for boys. However, girls often have dolls with a whole set of house settings, which give them a wrong perspective to girls that taking care of dolls and organizing house are all they are meant to do.

Also, the feeling of isolation or ostracism is a common frustration among women in technology. Since men are dominating the technological workforce, some women do not feel comfortable working in a gender-biased working environment. This is even drawing out more women from this field; therefore, the ratio of male-female is increasingly growing.

Another persisting factor that Rothberg mentioned is that unequal salary difference between female workers and male workers who have the same skills and abilities in the workforce. Their salaries are similar at the entry level positions regardless of gender. However, when it gets to higher positions with more experience and knowledge, gender and income disparity start to emerge, where men are paid more than women for the same type of jobs.

People focus too much on who are they working with instead of the work itself. However, “sometimes it doesn’t matter what gender you are at all. It’s just who knows what about a part of the business, and we share our knowledge about the industry.” Rothberg has worked as an IT analyst among a lot of male colleagues. She said she felt pretty comfortable working with them, and male colleagues “truly respect your opinion because it is a little bit different than what many of them are saying. It’s great to all agree on stuff, but it’s nice to throw out different challenges at each other, so I think they find that helpful too.” In order to create a welcoming working environment for women in male-dominated field, the spirit of the companies should focus on problem-solving and interacting and collaborating with coworkers, rather than paying much attention of the fact of gender disparity.

Leadership

Another reason for low representation of women in technology is the lack of female role models in this field. Computing is a particularly taxing field. Women may find it to be an inhospitable discipline and may choose to focus their education and career goals toward other fields where due to the lack of support and guidance from other women.

A study that conducted by Ph.D. students from Syracuse University shows that there are surprisingly fewer mentoring programs when approaching to the higher level of education. Unlike undergraduate students who are required to take courses from a variety of academic disciplines, “graduate students are often plugged into their own specialized studies and have little contact with others outside their department” (Bhatia, Priest Amati 4). With a small number of female graduate students, they can be isolated and have less access to social networks than their male peers.

Rothberg said that “anyone can be a leader in any part of their lives. All it takes is their own energy and passion and communicating with other people.” She brought up an interesting point which is being a CEO doesn’t mean being a leader, though she does consider herself a leader. As long as women are passionate and confident about what they are doing, they could become a leader and a role model in any way for other women, and help them to achieve more accomplishments in their area. Female leaders show strength and power to other female peers towards their gender abilities, and being a role model will encourage others to persist their interests that restricted by gender gap; for instance, Rothberg has recently shown her female influences in this highly male dominated field by being one of the board members of a conference.

Genetics

Rothberg brought up that there exists a difference between the genetics and brain functions of male brains and female brains. She said, “One thing that maybe more women have than man is EQ, or emotional intelligence, the ability to sense what’s going on with different people and that it’s part of my female identity.”

A study that was conducted by a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania shows that “the average women’s brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men’s brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions” (Sample). Since the left of the brain is more for logical thinking, and the right of the brain is for “more intuitive thinking, women are more intuitive and emotional than men are.” Moreover, male and female brains showed few differences in connectivity up to the age of 13 but became more differentiated in the age between 14 and 17 years old (Sample). Computer science is a field that requires a lot of logical thinking skills and accurate analyzing skills.

However, at the beginning of the evolution of computers, most of the first pioneers of computing were women. They worked and found the mathematical foundations and mechanical computing algorithms. According to the history, the capabilities and creativity of women are predominately proved by the achievements of these women pioneers (Zimmermann).

As Rothberg agreed, “From the ability standpoint, they [middle school and high school students] start off very similar and continue to excel definitely at the same pace.” Although genetics forms people’s brain structures differently, which may affect our performances in STEM field, the efforts we put in will have a significantly larger influence on improving our thinking and abilities from a long term.

Conclusion

With the acknowledgment of the lack of women in technology, the society should take actions to solve this problem. Our society needs diversity, especially in technology field which is essentially needed and highly demanded in other areas as well. Thus, institutions should make technology or its related fields more appealing and welcoming for women, and increases female-focused networking events, mentoring opportunities, and on-campus community building. As women themselves, they should step out of their comfort zones to stand up and speak for themselves, to make initiatives, to strive for opportunities, to be confident what who they are and what they are doing, and to help and guide other women to make this group strong and intelligent.

 

For more information about careers in STEM and technology and to apply for internships and entry-level positions, visit our website to register and begin searching for positions today. Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

About the author:

Ruoting Jia is a freshman at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, studying in Computer Science and Mathematics. She is an honors graduate of Mayo High School in Rochester, Minnesota, and a 2015 Minnesota winner of NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. She would like to pursue a career in the field of software development. 

 

References

Bhatia, Shobha, and Jill Priest Amati. “‘if these Women can do it, I can do it, Too’: Building Women Engineering Leaders through Graduate Peer Mentoring.” Leadership & Management in Engineering 10.4 (2010): 174. Print.

“By the Numbers.” National Center for Women & Information Technology. NCWIT, 3 Apr. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Cheryan, Sapna, et al. “The stereotypical Computer Scientist: Gendered Media Representations as a Barrier to Inclusion for women.” Sex Roles 69 (201e): 58-71. Print

Larson, Slena. “Why So Few Women Are Studying Computer Science”. ReadWrite. 2 September 2014. Web. 9 Dec 2015.

Perry, Mark J. “2013 SAT Test Results Show That a Huge Math Gender Gap Persists with a 32-point Advantage for High School Boys – AEI.” AEI. AEI, 26 Sept. 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

Rothberg, Faith. “Women in Computer Science.” Online interview. 25 Oct. 2015.

Sample, Ian. “Male and Female Brains Wired Differently, Scans Reveal.” TheGuardian. Squarespace, 2 Dec. 2013. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Stross, Randall. “What Has Driven Women Out of Computer Science?” The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Nov. 2008. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Wilson, Cameron et al. Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K-12 Computer Science in the Digital Age. New York: Association for Computing Machinery. Print.

Zimmermann, Kim Ann. “History of Computers: A Brief Timeline.” LiveScience. N.p., 8 Sept. 2015. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

 

 

Posted January 11, 2016 by

5 things keeping job seekers from their dream jobs

sandra lambert

Sandra Lambert, guest writer

Many factors can contribute to our overall happiness, and dream jobs we love are a top one. Working in a pleasant and rewarding environment goes a long way in helping us feel happier and more content, but sadly, many people aren’t working in their ideal occupations. In many cases, our own actions prevent us from landing dream jobs, and several factors might be holding job seekers back.

1. Procrastination

Do you have big dreams, but put off the work to achieve them? Do you live by the motto “why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” The people who are most successful in life rarely procrastinate because they understand procrastinators will always work from behind and try to play catch up. Successful people develop the discipline and skills to stay a step ahead, allowing them to accomplish more and reduce the stress on their lives.

Procrastination is a major culprit when considering what keeps job seekers from finding their dream jobs. While postponing tedious tasks is tempting, it won’t help job seekers reach their goals. Instead, break large projects down into smaller, more manageable parts, and work on strengthening discipline and determination in order to achieve career goals.

2. Lack of people skills

To find their dream jobs, job seekers must connect with people. They don’t need to become best friends with everyone, but having good social skills is a necessity. While submitting a resume to an interesting job is easy, make a good impression by reaching out to recruiting managers or other professionals to further connect. Even if job seekers aren’t ready to start their new job searches, they should practice their people skills by having conversations with colleagues, bringing in cookies for the next team meeting, or doing something nice for a stranger.

3. Fear of failure

fear of failure words in red 3d letters and a man jumping over it to overcome a challenge such as anxiety or uncertainty

Fear of failure words in red 3d letters and a man jumping over it to overcome a challenge such as anxiety or uncertainty. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Mental health professionals have determined losing a job can be as emotionally detrimental as losing a close family member. For that reason, it is pretty easy to see why the fear of failure is completely paralyzing to some people, and can leave someone complacent. Unfortunately, if people aren’t willing to take risks, they aren’t liable to get where they want to go. While job seekers shouldn’t make any rash or irresponsible decisions, sometimes they simply must take a leap of faith and see if they end up in their dream jobs. Additionally, getting the advice of motivational speakers can be a great resource in providing motivation to chase dreams despite a fear of failure.

4. You’re stuck in your comfort zone

Do we find ourselves sticking to activities familiar to us? When is the last time we ventured out of our comfort zones and tried something completely new? Unfortunately, if we’re stuck in our comfort zones, we are really limiting our opportunities in life, including the potential to land our dream jobs.

Luckily, there are ways to expand upon our comfort zones to find new opportunities. Take a proactive approach to improving flaws and try new things. Find a volunteer opportunity to connect with new people or learn a new skill. This builds stronger, more outgoing personalities in people and helps them learn new things from other different and interesting people. Expanding to try out brand new situations helps us gradually move out of our comfort zones and gives us the confidence to pursue our dream jobs.

5. Organization isn’t your strong suit

If we are extremely disorganized, we’re setting ourselves up for failure when it comes to getting the jobs we want. Fortunately, there are various ways we can increase our productivity and improve our organization skills, including helpful apps to assist us in creating to-do lists to keep on track with our workloads, projects, and activities. By better organizing our lives and the steps we take to get our dream jobs, we’ll identify our occupational priorities so we can move in the right direction.

It is never too late to pursue our dreams, but we need to stop putting them off today. By identifying what exactly might be holding us back from our dream jobs, we can take the steps to eliminate obstacles and get where we want to be in life.

Sandra Lambert is a CISCO certified computer networking specialist. She has a keen interest in writing about her knowledge and experiences. She writes about technology as well as about business. She has also developed interest in public speaking. You can follow her on Google+ and Twitter.

During January 2016, College Recruiter is publishing content focused on assisting college students searching for entry-level jobs upon graduation or summer internships. Learn more about our focus in “Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan.

Posted January 01, 2016 by

Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan

Most college students make a list and check it twice before leaving campus during finals week. Catch up on countless hours of missed sleep during fall semester? Check. Hang out with hometown friends and reminisce about old times? Check. Curl up in Dad’s crusty old recliner and watch every episode of “The Big Bang Theory” aired since 2007? Check.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

There may be other items that make the list but rank lower in priority because, let’s face it, they’re simply not as fun to complete—obtain seasonal employment, complete the FAFSA online for the upcoming academic year, fill out grad school applications, stop by the local architect’s office to ask about a summer internship opportunity, etc. The list could literally go on FOR-EV-ER, as The Sandlot’s Squints puts it.

Realistically, many students head back to campus in January without having completed the lower-ranking, future-focused tasks. This doesn’t seem like a big deal in January; the entire spring semester lies before you like a blank notebook. Sounds simple, right?

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

But a blank piece of paper gets you nowhere in terms of a future career or internship (and certainly generates little cash flow). And most people, not just college students, tend to put off today what can be done tomorrow. Unfortunately, employers and recruiters don’t feel your procrastination pain. They only care if you’re the smartest and best if you’ve actually applied on time and filled their needs for openings.

While you still have time and aren’t stressed by the pressure of spring courses, pour a cup of coffee, prepare to brainstorm, and draft a simple 4-step blueprint for action.

1. Accept your limitations and lower your expectations. This might sound like odd advice, but it will keep you from dropping the career-planning ball altogether. Most of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought; this causes us to set ridiculously high expectations and goals (AKA perfectionism). It’s been said that it’s unrealistic to plan more than 90 days out, so don’t do it. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you’ve begun. Eat that elephant one bite at a time.

2.Identify a few (3 to 5) key career-related goals that matter to you. These goals need to be directly related to obtaining an entry-level job after graduation or an internship during the summer of 2016. Perhaps you’re not interested in an internship but are interested in obtaining part-time employment during the summer that relates to your academic major or minor. Regardless, you might need help with this step. Who can help?

a) 
College Recruiter’s blog. Keep reading this month and follow our blog (via email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn). During January, you’ll read about nothing but information related to helping college students plan for and obtain entry-level jobs after graduation and internships during the summer.   b) Your career services office on campus.

Let’s pretend your goal is to work for Target Corporation in entry-level management near Houston, Texas, and  you plan to graduate in May 2016. This is a pretty specific goal (which is good—the more narrow your focus, the easier it is to set goals and action steps).

Some career-related goals might be:

  • Develop a more polished resume (your current resume was drafted when applying for college three years ago and hasn’t been updated since) and learn how to write a great cover letter.
  • Improve phone/online interview skills since you live three states away from Texas and will most likely interview over the phone or online.
  • Learn how to convey your “campus life” experiences as transferable skills during interviews since you’ve only held one part-time job and feel insecure about your lack of real-world experience.

(Spoiler alert: Stay tuned to our blog this month to learn about all this and more.)

3. Define action steps necessary to help you attain your 3-5 goals. This step’s crucial; goals are simply idealistic dreams unless you take steps to realize them.

Let’s stick with our hypothetical you who hopes to work in entry-level management for Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, after graduating in May 2016. Here are some suggested action steps:

  • Update existing resume with part-time job, volunteer experience, campus involvement, and coursework relevant to future employment.
  • Submit resume to College Recruiter’s free resume review service (yep, FREE) and to campus career services office.
  • Follow College Recruiter’s blog this month for posts related to interview skills. Search College Recruiter’s blog for past articles and webinars related to interview skills.
  • Attend mock interviews and career fairs on campus—these are free and afford you valuable practice.
  • Work on revising your resume to reflect transferable skills and to reframe the way you think about your own skills, too.
  • Search for job openings with Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, on College Recruiter’s website after registering. Registering first is important because College Recruiter sends you new postings (saving you time and effort).

4. Get busy. Blueprints look impressive hanging on the wall, but they’re much more impressive when framed inside the buildings built by the very architects who drafted them in the first place.

Developing an action plan is tough brain work—but the real work kicks in when you crawl out of the comfy recliner (even though you have three more days of winter break) and begin implementing your plan.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The payoff may not be immediate, but pretty soon you’ll see results—the empty page will fill with a pretty cool image you created by simply connecting the dots by taking action all semester.

 

Posted October 30, 2015 by

Creating work/life balance in employee resource groups

Employers must remember that employees are not just workers but people. That means work can’t always rule the day. Employee resource groups can be an outlet for employees to take care of themselves. Finding work/life balance produces happier and healthier workers.

College Recruiter is currently focusing on employee resource groups (ERGs) and is publishing the opinions of experts based on a series of questions. In today’s article, Julianna Akuamoah, Director of Talent & Development at Allen and Gerritsen, talks about culture as it relates to the well-being of employees. (more…)

Posted August 07, 2015 by

Entry Level Jobs 101: What You Need to Know for Career Success

real people at the office. female employee on duty.

Real people at the office. Female employee on duty. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

As a recent graduate, applying and interviewing for entry level jobs is the main focus of building your career. These positions provide an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you acquired in college and become an expert in your industry.

Starting your first official job in the real world is different than working an internship and can be tricky to navigate at times. Here are a few tips to help you excel at the position and work your way up to a promotion: (more…)

Posted August 06, 2015 by

The Millennial Makeover Part 7: Employers, Know Your Role

portrait of happy boss looking at camera in working environment

Portrait of happy boss looking at camera in working environment. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When it comes to today’s workforce, there is no doubt that millennials are creating an atmosphere of change in the workplace.  So, who are millennials?  This group was born between 1980 and the year 2000, and reflect a generation with their own career goals, attitudes, and oh yes, their understanding of how to use technology.  For employers to take their companies to the next level, they will need to find ways to recruit and retain millennials, also known as Generation Y. (more…)