Network For Your Job Search

Networking could be what helps you land a job.

If you take part in social networking sites, you probably have a pretty good idea of how networking can enhance your personal life. But, if you’re like many new college graduates, you’re probably not as comfortable about incorporating networking into your job search.

In spite of your discomfort, you need to incorporate networking into your job search: Especially in a competitive job market, networking could be what helps you land a job. In fact, many jobs are filled before they are even advertised—filled by people who learned about the opportunity before it was formally announced.

What is networking when it comes to the job search? It’s not about using people. Just as you look to build personal relationships through social networks, you want to build relationships to foster your professional life. These relationships can help you not only in your current job search but down the road as you build your career.

Networking is not one-sided: It works both ways. You offer assistance to others just as they offer assistance to you. Perhaps the easiest way to think about networking is to see it as an extension of being friendly, outgoing, and active.

Here are some tips for building and maintaining a healthy network:

  1. Make a list of everyone you know—and people they know—and identify how they could help you gather career information or experience.
    Who do you know at school? Professors, friends, and even friends’ parents can all be helpful contacts. Did you hold a part-time job? Volunteer? Serve an internship? Think about the people you came into contact with there.
  2. Sign up for an alumni mentoring program.
    Many colleges offer such programs, and they are a great way to build relationships in your field.
  3. Join the campus chapter of a professional society that relates to your career choice.
    In many ways, a professional society is an instant network: You’ll be with others who have the same general career interest. Plus, you may be able to learn more about your field from them. For example, you may be able to learn about the field and potential employers from others who share their internship experiences.
  4. Volunteer at a local museum, theater, homeless shelter—anywhere that even remotely relates to your field of study.
    By volunteering, you’ll not only learn about your chosen field firsthand, you’ll also be able to connect with people who are in the field.
  5. Speak to company representatives at career fairs, even if you’re not ready to look for a job.
    Be up front that you’re not currently in the job market and don’t take a lot of the representative’s time, but touching base with a potential employer now can help you down the road when you are ready.
  6. Attend company information sessions at your college and talk one-on-one to the recruiters who run them.
  7. Schedule informational interviews with people who can tell you about their careers.
    It’s best to ask to meet in person or by phone for a short interview, and don’t immediately start asking “How can you help me?” Plan your questions ahead of time, focusing on how the company works and how the person shaped his or her career path.
  8. Add your profile to LinkedIn.
    It’s free. And then, work your profile. Add work history (including internships!), skills, and keywords. Make connections to people you’ve worked with or met through networking. Ask for “recommendations” from people who have worked with you. You’ll find LinkedIn is a good source of suggestions for people in your field to contact for informational interviews.
  9. Remember to be courteous and tactful in all your conversations, to send thank-you notes to people who help you, and to find ways to help others as well.
    Don’t drop your network once you’ve gotten a job. Nurture the relationships you’ve built and look for opportunities to build new connections throughout your career. Getting started might be uncomfortable, but with time and practice, networking will be second nature.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

This week at ELI

Is today the first day of your ELI course? Review the Critical Enrollment Dates blog post to make sure you get off to a great start. Join us for today’s ELI Orientation webinar or request a recording!

All courses beginning today are 12 or 8-week courses. These courses will run at an accelerated pace to cover the full 16-week semester’s material. Make sure you are comfortable with the pace of the course from day 1. An ELI Student Blogger has shared her experiences preparing for an 8-week course to help you!Good Morning Monday

Join our Virtual Student Union. Are you taking online classes and looking to connect with other students outside of a classroom setting? Check out our Virtual Student Union or VSU. This is an engagement hub where ELI students have access to create a profile, join discussion forums and connect with other students. In celebration of our new site launch, students will be eligible for raffle prizes once they create an account and interact on the site. Drawings will be done weekly and monthly through the fall semester. Join now!

Become an ELI Student Blogger. Love to write? Become an ELI Student Blogger! This group will be geared toward students who enjoy to write or blog and are possibly interested in pursuing a career in media and/or journalism. Members of this group will directly contribute to the ELIfe student blog. For more information, fill out the ELI Student Bloggers Interest Form.

Engage in your Community! We want to learn more about how NOVA ELI Students are engaging in the community! Email us at elistulife@nvcc.edu and tell us where and when you are volunteering and we will send you a FREE NOVA Student Life T-shirt to wear!  Coming Soon! (Community volunteer booklet to learn more about the variety of non-profits participating and volunteer opportunities available).

Don’t forget to sign-up for NOVA Alert.  NOVA Alert is a free alert system that allows NOVA to contact you during an emergency by sending messages to your cell phone and email. https://alert.nvcc.edu

Do You Have This Essential Interview Skill?

Congratulations! You landed an interview for your dream job or internship and you think you’ve done all the necessary prep work. Are you really ready to knock it out of the park and show this company why they should hire you? Before closing the book on your interview prep, you must be sure you possess this skill:

The ability to articulate your experience in a way that is meaningful to this particular employer.

The employer already has a vague notion that you can do the job or else they would not bring you in for an interview. Now, they need you to inspire confidence that will confirm their initial instincts about you were on point. Specifically, the interview process needs to assure the employer that:

  • You have the specific knowledge, skills (soft and hard), and abilities to perform the job duties
  • You have the motivation/initiative to do the job
  • You will work well with the team/clients and demonstrate emotional intelligence
  • You have problem solving skills and can offer solutions to company pain points

Now that we know what you need to accomplish, there are three concrete steps you can take to prepare for your interview.

1. Know the job description inside/out and do in-depth research about the company.

This is huge! In order to tailor your message to this employer, you have to understand who they are (see the corporate website, about us page, mission statement, press releases, social media accounts) and have a firm grasp on the key qualities they are seeking in a candidate. Most job descriptions will ask for 50 different things, but you can usually group these into three to five major skill areas (hard and soft skills).

2. Understand Yourself and Be Able to Tell Your Story.

This is an exercise I call “Your Greatest Hits.” This will give you a quick visual depiction of approximately 30 success stories across your skills areas and is a great prompt for those behavioral, “Tell me about a time when…” questions.  They are based on the premise that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

On one sheet of paper write 10-15 skill areas (for example, leadership, teamwork, cultivating client relationships, demonstrating initiative, customer service, project management, problem solving, data analysis, persuasion, communication, presentation, mentoring, product management, budgeting, coding, and other technical/non-technical skills. Select those five skill areas represented in the job description (from step 1), plus soft skills and other skills applicable to your field/industry.

For each of these skill areas, write two to three Challenge, Action, Results (CAR) stories. Challenge (what was the challenge you encountered), Action (what were the specific actions you took to address the challenge), and Results (what were the positive results). The answers to these should be 90 seconds to two minutes long and demonstrate your using that skill.

When doing this exercise, don’t write out long answers. You know your experience and should not memorize the answers, rather use keywords and phrases to trigger your memory. For example:

Adaptability

C: Wedding planner for outdoor ceremony/reception in Florida in July; forecast called for showers

A: Encouraged couple to consider party tent; called frequently-used vendor and secured tent days before ceremony; worked with other vendors to adjust to new configuration for reception. Ordered umbrellas.

R: Sunny for ceremony, but rained most of reception. Tent in place, dry guests, good time had by all. The couple was happy and guests commented on beautiful event in spite of weather.

3. Practice talking about these success stories aloud.

It will help you smooth out the flow (get rid of “ums,” pauses, and “likes”), identify areas where you need to come up with a better example, and in the process, increase your confidence.

By engaging in these exercises, you have made a significant step in preparing for a successful interview. You are now able to articulate how everything you have done in your career to this point has been building transferrable skills and leading you to this interview!

Article written by Tiffany Franklin, Career Services Associate Director, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers

This week at ELI

Fall eLEAD Series-  ELI Student Life has created a virtual co-curricular opportunity to develop leadership skills for students! eLEAD is a 4-week asynchronous program delivered via Blackboard. The overall goal is to foster a sense of community among students taking online courses, to develop more self-awareness of leadership strengths and skills, and to help you maximize your talents as they relate to academic and professional goals. Register now!

nullJoin our Virtual Student Union. Are you taking online classes and looking to connect with other students outside of a classroom setting? Check out our Virtual Student Union or VSU. This is an engagement hub where ELI students have access to create a profile, join discussion forums and connect with other students. In celebration of our new site launch, students will be eligible for raffle prizes once they create an account and interact on the site. Drawings will be done weekly and monthly through the fall semester. Join now!

Become an ELI Student Blogger. Love to write? Become an ELI Student Blogger! This group will be geared toward students who enjoy to write or blog and are possibly interested in pursuing a career in media and/or journalism. Members of this group will directly contribute to the ELIfe student blog. For more information, fill out the ELI Student Bloggers Interest Form.

Engage in your Community! We want to learn more about how NOVA ELI Students are engaging in the community! Email us at elistulife@nvcc.edu and tell us where and when you are volunteering and we will send you a FREE NOVA Student Life T-shirt to wear!  Coming Soon! (Community volunteer booklet to learn more about the variety of non-profits participating and volunteer opportunities available).

Don’t forget to sign-up for NOVA Alert.  NOVA Alert is a free alert system that allows NOVA to contact you during an emergency by sending messages to your cell phone and email. https://alert.nvcc.edu

Online Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Happy National Online Learning Day! Today we celebrate the wonderful opportunity that NOVA offers for students to take online classes no matter where you live!

To celebrate, we have created a virtual online scavenger hunt so you can learn more about taking online courses through the Extended Learning Institute at NOVA. Here is what you need to know to begin:

1)Beginning at 9am pm on September 15th , participants will have 24 hours (until 9am on September 16th) to submit your answers.

2)Answers can be found on any of the digital resources that ELI provides.(Follow our Twitter handle @NOVAELIfe for possible hints).

3) Tie breakers will be determined by which participant(s) submitted their form in the quickest time. Prizes will be given to the first 5 participants who turn in their form in the quickest time with all the correct answers. Five additional participation winners will also be announced.

Good Luck and HAVE FUN!

-ELI Student Life

 

Start the Virtual Scavenger Hunt 

Jobs and Internships Database for NOVA Students

Trying to find an internship?  Looking for a job?  Whether you are near a computer or on the go, a great place to begin your search is by accessing the Jobs and Internships Database for NOVA Students. 

The following are some benefits of using the system.

  • Search for jobs and internships.  Take a look at many local positions available now.
  • Build a new resume with the Resume Builder feature.
  • Upload your resume and make it searchable to employers.
  • Check out over 1,000 career articles written by industry professionals.
  • View career videos and listen to over 25 career advice podcasts on topics including resume basics,  interviewing, and personal branding.
  • Browse and sign-up for upcoming workshops, programs, and events at NOVA and in the surrounding area.

Don’t delay – follow the steps below to begin using the system.

  1. Access the Jobs and Internships Database
  2. Select Students
  3. Follow on screen instructions

Contact ELI Counselor, Christy Jensen (chjensen@nvcc.edu) if you have any problems accessing the system.

National Online Learning Day!

National Online Learning Day is Friday, September 15 and we want to celebrate you all week! We wanted to take the opportunity to share with you 10 things you might not know about the Extended Learning Institute (ELI) at Northern Virginia Community College.

This picture was dated 1974 and shows staff getting media ready for some of the first distance/correspondence learning courses offered through the  Extended Learning Institute! 1974-eli-011.    23,000 NOVA students taken online courses through the ELI each year.

2.    ELI offers more than 500 online courses, so whatever field you’re in and whatever degree requirement you’re working to fill, you can probably find some options at ELI!

3.    ELI courses and ELI faculty win national awards every year.

4.    You are not alone when you take an ELI course – you will interact with your instructor and classmates through discussions, group assignments, and more.

5.    ELI staff provide lots of services to support you in your online courses, too, including 24/7 free online tutoring, online librarians, 24/7 technical support, student success coaches, and much more.

6.    ELI offers several start dates each semester, for most of our courses, so just about any time you want to get started with us, we have a new session starting soon!

7.    You can earn more than 40 complete associate’s degrees and certificates entirely through ELI. Check out the complete list on ELI’s website.

8.    Not sure whether an online course is right for you? You can take the SmarterMeasure assessment to find out!

9.    ELI offers courses in 16-week, 12-week, 10-week and 8-week lengths so you can choose the schedule and course length that best fits your needs.

10.    Most ELI students take classes on campus as well as ELI classes; combining the two can be the perfect way to complete your degree.

If you have any questions, contact the ELI Student Services Team at 703.323.3347 or elisuccess@nvcc.edu or connect with us on social media. We are more than happy to answer your questions, as well as refer you to useful resources and services that will support your online learning experience.

This week at ELI!

Is today the first day of your ELI course? Review the Critical Enrollment Dates blog post to make sure you get off to a great start. Join us for today’s ELI Orientation webinar or request a recording!

All courses beginning today are 12, 10 or 8-week courses. These courses will run at an accelerated pace to cover the full 16-week semester’s material. Make sure you are comfortable with the pace of the course from day 1. An ELI Student Blogger has shared her experiences preparing for an 8-week course to help you!

Join us Friday for ELI NOVA DAY. Join us in celebrating National Online Learning Day! Follow NOVA’s Facebook page to learn out to participate in our virtual scavenger hunt for some awesome prizes. Look for our staff at the Manassas campus from 11-1pm to learn more about online learning and to get some ELI swag! 

Don’t forget to sign-up for NOVA Alert.  NOVA Alert is a free alert system that allows NOVA to contact you during an emergency by sending messages to your cell phone and email.

Join ELI’s Virtual Student Union. ELI’s VSU has a new look! Are you taking online classes and looking to connect with other students outside of a classroom setting? Check out our Virtual Student Union or VSU. Join now!

Become an ELI Student Blogger- Love to write? Become an ELI Student Blogger! This group will be geared toward students who enjoy to write or blog and are possibly interested in pursuing a career in media and/or journalism. Members of this group will directly contribute to the ELIfe student blog. For more information, fill out the ELI Student Bloggers Interest Form.

Make sure to look for emails from the Student Success Coaches – elisuccess@nvcc.edu – that will give you reminders of specific upcoming dates and helpful tips for success throughout the term. You can always reply to their emails with any questions you have, or give them a call at 703.323.3347.