This Week at NOVA Online!

Spring 2016 registration is open for all students! Have any questions about your spring term courses? Need to change your degree plan? Schedule a virtual appointment with an NOVA Online Counselor!iStock_000054155382_FullFirst time in college? Participate in a New Student Orientation Webinar – This one hour webinar is required for new-to-college students aged 17-24. New Student Orientation will focus on academic and career goals, reading degree plans, and registering for classes. Use your VCCS username/password to register and email NOVA with any questions. All are welcome.

Throughout November we have been celebrating National Career Development Month. We have one last webinar in our monthly series! Join NOVA Online Career Counselor on Wednesday, December 2, 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm for the Conducting a Job Search Webinar. This 45 minute webinar will focus on basic strategies for conducting a job search. Topics covered will include creating a plan, identifying sources of job leads, and resume, cover letter, and interview basics.

Did you miss any of the webinars throughout National Career Development Month? View a recording or schedule an appointment with NOVA Online’s Career Counselor.

Plan ahead: Join a NOVA Online Counselor for the Getting Ready for Your Next Semester Webinar on Wednesday, December 16, 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm. This 45 minute webinar for NOVA students will focus on answering key questions students have about preparing for their next semester.  Topics covered will include program identification, course selection, college resources, schedule planning, and registration/payment tips. Can’t make it live? View the Recording of a past session to help plan for your spring term courses.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Northern Virginia Community College will be closed later this week for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Offices close Wednesday, November 25 at noon and will reopen on Monday, November 30 at 8:00 am.  This includes testing centers! Plan ahead!  Happy Thanksgiving


Job Opportunity





Hiring managers get flooded with resumes for job openings. How can you ensure your resume will be looked at? Take some advice from hiring managers:

  • Do the basics.
  • Proofread for spelling, grammar, and tone. (Ask friends to proofread, too.)
  • Use a simple, easy-to-read typeface.
  • Follow instructions in the job posting. If the employer asks for information—such as references or writing samples—provide it.
  • If you’re applying by e-mail, your cover letter should be contained in the e-mail. If you’re applying online and there’s no space indicated for a cover letter, put your cover letter in the comments section.
  • Don’t let the informality of e-mail and text correspondence seep into your communications—whether e-mailed, online, or written—with potential employers.
  • Organize your resume for the employer—Organize your resume information in a logical fashion. Keep descriptions clear and to the point. As possible, tailor your resume to the job and employer, emphasizing skills, experiences, abilities, and qualifications that match the job description.
  • Customize your response—Address the hiring manager directly, if possible, and include the name of the company and the position for which it is hiring in your cover letter/e-mail response.
  • Make it easy for the hiring manager—Use your name and the word “resume” in the e-mail subject line so it’s easy to identify.
  • Focus on the skills and abilities you can bring to the employer, not what you want from the job—In your cover letter, answer the questions: What can you do to make the hiring manager’s life easier? What can you do to help the company? This is your opportunity to market yourself and stand out from the other candidates. Your resume should support that.
  • Be professional—Use a professional-sounding e-mail address or voice mail/answering machine message.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.







Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and relatives, but it also can be a useful tool in your job search. Employers are using social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to both promote their organizations and connect with potential job candidates.

While social media can help you research employers (critical to your job-search success), be sure to use it more actively—as a way to connect with potential employers. By following a few basic tips, you can use social media to get in front of hiring managers.

Get Noticed

There are a few key points to keep in mind when using social media as a job-search tool.

Create a Profile That Gives a Positive Impression of You Think of it as your online resume: What do you want it to say about you? Hiring managers can get a stronger sense of who you are, and if you’re a potentially good fit for their company, through your profile.

Be Aware of the Keywords You Include in Your Profile This is particularly true for sites focused on professional networking, such as LinkedIn. Many employers do keyword searches to find profiles that contain the skill sets they’re seeking in potential hires.

Don’t Include Photos, Comments, or Information You Wouldn’t Want a Potential Employer to See

Don’t Mix Personal With Professional The social media you use in your job search has to present you as a potential employee—not as a friend. Follow the rules for writing a resume.

Make Sure Your Profile Is Error-Free You wouldn’t offer up a resume rife with misspellings, would you?

Choose Appropriate Contact Information Your e-mail address or Twitter handle should be professional—a simple variation on your name, perhaps—rather than suggestive or offensive.

Connect Many organizations have embraced social media as an extension of their hiring practices, and provide information that you can use to research the organization and connect with hiring managers and recruiters.

    • Check your college/university’s social media groups: Many times, employers join such groups.
    • Check social media groups that are focused around your field of interest or career.
    • Search for the social media pages, profiles, and videos of organizations that interest you. Many organizations post job descriptions, information about salaries, and more.
    • Ask questions. Even something as broad as “Is anyone hiring in [industry]?” may bring responses, and asking questions about a specific organization—“What’s it like to work at Company X?” can give you insight into the organization and its culture.

Stay Connected Keep in touch with recruiters or other decision makers you may interact with in cyberspace.

There may not be an available opportunity at their organization right now, but that could change, and you want to be considered when it does.

Finally, in addition to maintaining your network, use social media tobuild your network. Don’t just establish a social media presence—work it. Reach out. Interact. You will get out of social media what you put into it.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers

Happy National Career Development Day!

environmental wellness picNational Career Development Month and particularly today, National Career Development Day (November 18), is a great time to take a moment to reflect upon your career development.   Learn more about the four basic steps in the career development process by visiting NOVA’s Career Services website.

Continue to celebrate with NOVA Online this month by –

  • Participating in special webinars to help you focus on your own career development.
    • Today, from 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm, a Conducting a Job Search webinar is being offered.   Learn more and register here.
  • Following us on Twitter to receive a daily inspirational quote.
  • Joining us on Facebook to participate in a weekly activity.
  • Visiting the Virtual Student Union to learn about career development and related resources.
  • Reading NOVA Onlineife for tips and to stay connected.

Free Career Planning Tool for NOVA Students

Did you know all NOVA students, staff, and faculty have free access to FOCUS 2, an online, interactive, self-guided career and education planning system that can help you:

  • Select a major based on your interests and aspirations
  • Discover occupations matching your personal preferences and attributes
  • Map out your career plans, present and future
  • Make informed career decisions

Follow the steps below to create an account and begin using FOCUS 2.

  1. Go to
  3. Enter “NOVA” for the access code
  4. Enter your NOVA student e-mail address in the e-mail box
  5. Select appropriate group from list provided
  6. Click continue

Contact Christy Jensen ( if you have any problems accessing the system or to schedule a career advising appointment.

This Week at NOVA Online!

Open registration for all students starts today, Monday, November 16. Have any questions about your spring term courses? Need to change your degree plan? Schedule a virtual appointment with an NOVA Online Counselor!

First time in college? Participate in a New Student Orientation Webinar – This one hour webinar is required for new-to-college students aged 17-24. New Student Orientation will focus on academic and career goals, reading degree plans, and registering for classes. Use your VCCS username/password to register and email NOVA with any questions. All are welcome.

November is National Career Development Month. Join NOVA Online Career Counselor on Wednesday, November 18, 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm for the Conducting a Job Search Webinar. This 45 minute webinar will focus on basic strategies for conducting a job search. Topics covered will include creating a plan, identifying sources of job leads, and resume, cover letter, and interview basics.

Last week was National Distance Learning Week! We celebrated throughout the week with trivia, facts/myths, and memories – including this picture below! NOVA Online started as correspondence classes and used video, audio, and postal mail for courses. Can you imagine? We hope you enjoyed NDLW!

s NOVA Online-2Have a great week!

Motivational Minute: Seek Opportunities for Growth

It is easy to become stagnant on the road to professional success. One can get stuck in the repetition of the day-to-day routine and settle into a state of complacency. Resting in complacency leaves no room for change. Growth and change are constant processes and opportunities for learning and developing should be actively sought daily. Take a moment to think of what you want for your future and ask yourself, what do I need to learn today to get myself there? What types of experiences do I need to get into the 4-year school I want to attend? What skills will I need to develop or practice to get the job I want, to be a better student, etc.?

Answering these questions on your own can be a bit daunting and you may need guidance on where to find such opportunities, i.e. internships, research opportunities, professional development workshops, etc. Luckily, NOVA has a staff of people who can guide you. Instructors can be a great resource for learning what types of professional experiences a student will need to be successful in a specific profession. Counselors can give you information on choosing your career path.  Success Coaches can help you develop the skills you need to complete your classes to get you to that end goal.

Access your resources to see what types of experiences you should be having and put yourself in the position to take advantage of any opportunity that may take you to a new level. Say “yes” to as many experiences as possible because you never know what the right “yes” will lead you to. Namaste.

NOVA Online Counselors:

NOVA Online Success Coaches:

Article written by Jennifer Reed – NOVA Online Success Coach

Join our Virtual Student Union!

lowAre you taking online classes and looking to connect with other students outside of a classroom setting? Check out our Virtual Student Union. This is an engagement hub where NOVA Online students have access to create a profile, join discussion forums and connect with other students. Here are some ways you can explore the site:

  • Create an Account- Once you visit the site, start by creating a user account. Make sure you are using your student email ( and we ask that your username be listed as your first name and last initial. Once your account is created, visit the Connect tab and feel free to edit/update your profile with some personal information such as hobbies/interests as well as what you are studying at NOVA. You can also use the Find Student search to find other students who might have similar interests to you.
  • Discussion Forum- With the Discussion Den tab, you will find a variety of forums available for you to follow and engage with other students. Some of these include the Program of Study forum where you can reach out to other online students who are in your same major/minor and our New to Online Learning forum to ask questions and share experiences with others who are taking online classes for the first time. Is there a forum you would like to see that we don’t have?  Email us at and we can add it for you! Starting a forum can be a great way to initiate the beginning stages of creating a student club or interest group.
  • Events- Visit our Events tab to keep up to date with any student engagement events that are happening both virtual and in-person. This calendar also provides important dates and deadlines for NOVA Online courses and registration.
  • Resource Library- Visit our Resource Library page to find links to a variety of virtual tools that can help you succeed while taking an online class. Be sure to check out our Career Center page to learn more about the career exploration process, free college resources as well as a job posting board.

In celebration of National Distance Leaning Week, create an account by Friday November 13th By 5pm and be entered to win a NOVA Online prize pack! Please reach out to NOVA Online Student Life  at with any questions.

RESOURCE REVIEW: Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center

Happy National Career Development Month! A great resource to help you explore career options is Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center database provided by NOVA’s library.

Ferguson’s offers 3 major resources:

 Job and Industry Profiles picture  Job Hunting and Workplace Skills  Career and Industry Resources picture
Use the Job and Industry Profiles section to find detailed profiles of more than 3,000 jobs in over 94 industries. Use the Job-hunting and Workplace Skills section to learn valuable information for finding employment including tips on: etiquette, teamwork, resume writing, and leadership. Use the Career and Industry Resources section to find resources devoted to college and career advancement including scholarships, fellowships, internships and apprenticeships.

Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center offers everything above and more, including a career interest assessment. So, whether you are just starting out, you are interested in advancing your career, or you would like to change fields this database has something for you. Happy searching!

Need more guidance? Contact your career services counselor .

Article written by Joi Jackson, NOVA Online’s Library Assistant

Learn about additional career resources by participating in today’s Exploring Career Options webinar being offered from 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm.  The webinar is free, but registration is required.