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.

Digital Open Courses

Have you started thinking about your schedule for next term? Spring registration is now open! Are you interested in taking a class that doesn’t require you to purchase any textbooks or course materials? A Digital Open ELI class might be right for you!

Mobility conceptELI offers several online courses that do not require students to purchase textbooks or other course materials. Digital Open courses use free online material and Open Educational Resources (OER) instead of expensive textbooks. You can try one or two Digital Open courses, or even complete an entire AS degree track. Instead of requiring traditional textbooks, all readings and materials used in the courses will be available to students free of charge online as OER, or through NOVA’s library resources.

Are you ready try one of ELI’s Digital Open courses? Just look for the notification in the notes section in the online schedule of classes stating: This is a digital open course. No textbook purchase required.

Save time and money with a Digital Open course at ELI! For more information about registering for one of ELI’s Digital Open courses, contact the ELI Success Coaches at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347.

Interview Time is Show Time

 

Want to tell a potential employer that you’re creative? A problem solver? Flexible?

Instead of describing yourself as a “self-starter,” tell a story about how you took action when you saw an issue that needed to be fixed.

Don’t say you are “flexible”—tell the hiring manager about a change in your job (or schoolwork demands) and what you did to deal with the change.

Well-worn phrases won’t help you get the job, but concrete examples will!

Don’t say

The story you need to tell

Highly qualified Highlight your accomplishments in previous jobs. Emphasize your specific skills and note any certifications you have earned.
Hard worker Explain exactly how you’ve gone the extra mile for your job. For instance, did you regularly meet tough deadlines, handle a high volume of projects, or tackle tasks outside your job description?
Team player Provide examples of how you worked with colleagues or individuals in other departments to meet an objective or complete a project.
Problem solver Highlight a difficult situation you encountered and how you handled it.
Flexible Describe how you responded to a major change at work (or in your schoolwork) or dealt with the unpredictable aspects of your job.
People person Can you offer examples of your strong communication skills? Can you describe how you’ve worked with co-workers and customers?
Self-starter What can you contribute immediately to the company or to the department you work in? Describe how you took action when you saw an issue that needed to be fixed.

 

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Happy Thanksgiving

Northern Virginia Community College will be closed later this week for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Offices close Wednesday, November 22 at noon and will reopen on Monday, November 27 at 8:00 am.  This includes testing centers! Plan ahead!  Happy Thanksgiving

Where does the time go?

Do you know where your time goes? It seems that the older you get, the more responsibilities are put on you. Take this brief quiz via Virginia Tech’s website to determine just how much time you have to dedicate to your studies.

If the time left over is not equivalent to at least twice the number of credits you are enrolled in, you do not have enough time allotted for your studies. But, there are things you can do; such as reducing the time spent on some activities/responsibilities, adjusting your work hours, or adjusting the number of credits you take in a semester.stepbros

When one can’t reduce their time on activities or responsibilities or work; that leaves the number of credits one should take in a semester. Many students I talk with want to be able to do it all – work full-time, go to college full-time, take care of their family, etc.

Course load is often the only factor that can be manipulated; but students do not want to delay their educational goals. This is certainly admirable; but, if one does not have enough time to complete their course work accurately and on-time, and study effectively for exams; one’s grades will suffer and it can take longer to reach your goals. Take a look at the weekly study time chart to plan out your schedule.

I encourage you to take the quiz to see where your time goes and ask yourself: confused man holding question markDo you have enough time in the week to dedicate to your studies?

Are you using the time efficiently?

Do you find you do not have enough time?

What can you reduce or eliminate from your schedule to make more time?

Watch the Time Management: Strategies for Success video by StudentLingo to obtain some great tips on managing your time effectively!

-Written by ELI Counselor, Kim Burkle

ELI Counselors can be reached at 703.323.3347 or ELICounselors@nvcc.edu.

Jobs and Internship Database for NOVA Students and Alumni

Yellow road warning sign , New Job Ahead , 3d render

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 and alumni.

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 or Alumni
  3. Follow on screen instructions

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

5 Ways to Focus on Your Career Development

It’s National Career Development Month (NCDM).  Below are five things you can do to focus on your career development this month.

  1. Visit NOVA’s Career Services website to learn more about career development.
  2. Participate in the Career Development Webinar Series – a lunchtime webinar series that will take you through the basic steps of career development with the goal of helping you make informed decisions about your academic and career goals.  All webinars are free, but registration is required.
  3. Check out NOVA’s Events calendar for information about programs supporting NCDM being offered across the college.
  4. Follow ELIfe on Twitter to receive a daily inspirational quote along with tips to help you with your career development.
  5. Vote for your favorite quote on NOVA ELIfe.

 

Spring Registration

Open registration for new NOVA students for the spring semester  begins today, Monday, November 13!

To review a list of available courses, please click here (Select ELI under Campus/Center).Computer screen

If you need assistance, we are here for you:

Do you need help registering for the course?  For step-by-step online registration instructions, please click here.  If you need additional assistance, please contact us at 703.323.3347 or ELISuccess@nvcc.edu.

Do you need help with course selection? If you have not been assigned a faculty advisor you can contact an ELI Counselor at elicounselors@nvcc.edu for assistance with course selection. If you would like to schedule a phone call with an academic counselor, please include your contact information. Use your VCCS student email and include your student ID# when emailing.

Are you a visiting/transient student? If you are attempting to enroll in a course at NOVA for which you believe you have successfully completed (a grade of “C“ or higher) the required prerequisite(s) at an accredited college or university, you will need to work with an advisor before being permitted to enroll in courses at NOVA. More information at the Visiting and Transient Student webpage or reach out to a Virtual Advisor at AcademicAdvising@nvcc.edu.

Are you new to ELI?  We encourage you to attend an ELI Orientation webinar! The ELI Orientation will focus on answering key questions to getting started. For more information and to register for a session, click here.

Do you have questions about Tuition and Payment? For payment due dates, methods, and online payment instructions, please click here. Make sure to have your tuition paid or financial aid in place before the deadline, so you are not dropped from your courses.

If you are looking for additional resources to help you achieve academic success, the ELI Student Services Team is here for you! You can access free online tutoringwebinars, and free online workshops to help you succeed in your ELI courses.

We also encourage you to take the SmarterMeasure assessment to gauge your readiness for online learning.

You can reach us at 703.323.3347 or visit us at http://eli.nvcc.edu/

Wrap up from advising week blog series

That’s a wrap for our Advising Week blog series, but that doesn’t mean it’s over! Still have questions about spring registration? Let us know!

Take some time to reflect on what you have learned this week. Go back and review past posts to dig a little deeper. Missed any of the live sessions? Request a recording.

Here are a few tips to help you move forward:

coffee breakUse the Student Success Planner to build your academic plan and compare your plan to program requirements.

Take a moment to facilitate a time study. Summer sessions will run at an accelerated pace, so make sure you are planning your schedule around the shorter session length availability. For fall, you have different options for session length (16, 12, or 8 weeks). Make sure you have enough time to devote to the courses you take on. What has worked in the past? What hasn’t worked? Check out StudentLingo and ELI webinars on time management.

Review your Advisement Report. Access NOVAConnect to run an advisement report to view your progress and outstanding degree requirements.

Take a moment to reflect upon your career planning. If you need more information about career options or would like to learn about a resource to help you build a career plan. Go back and review past blog posts posted by ELI’s Career Counselor to help you Focus on Career Planning, and take advantage of Free Job Search Tools!

Communicate with your advisor about your academic and career goals. Be sure to take a moment to review your plans for both the summer term (registration is occurring now) and the fall semester. Plan to have your academic plan,  advisement report, and/or career plan handy when communicating with your advisor.

If you have not declared a program of study or are not pursuing a specific program at NOVA connect with an academic counselor or advisor for assistance.

Ready to enroll? Follow this tutorial to help you add your courses in NOVA Connect.

Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.

This Advising Week Series will focus on academic planning, connecting with your advisor, and preparing for your upcoming terms. Throughout Advising Week the ELI Student Blog will provide you with tools to plan effectively, resources to help guide your decisions, and answers to frequently asked questions throughout the process. Take advantage of Advising Week events on campus or virtually as you plan your schedule and register for courses. Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.

NOVA + ODU

Happy National Distance Learning Week!  You know the convenience of online classes with Northern Virginia Community College’s Extended Learning Institute, but do you know how easy it is to continue your education and earn a bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University’s ODUOnline? A partnership with the Virginia Community College System and Old Dominion University allows students a nearly seamless transition between an associate and a bachelor’s degree.

With a fully transferrable associate’s degree from a VCCS school, your general education requirements may already be fulfilled. You could get started on more than 44 degree paths in anything from accounting to teacher preparation! You’ll have support every step of the way, from unofficial transcript evaluations before you apply to career help with our Career Services Center after you graduate.

If you’re not quite ready to start with ODUOnline, an ODU Enrollment Coordinator will continue to work with you until you are eligible to apply. They offer support and guidance for as long as you need.

If you are interested in continuing your education with Old Dominion University, stop by and see an ODUOnline Enrollment Coordinator today or visit online.odu.edu to explore your options.

Questions? Email ELICounselors@nvcc.edu for more information about transferring to ODUOnline!