Career Planning Tool for NOVA Students

All NOVA students have access to FOCUS 2, an online, interactive, self-guided career and education planning system that can help you:

  • Select a program/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

View a Getting Started with FOCUS 2 handout.

Follow the steps below to begin using FOCUS 2.

  1. Visit NOVA’s Career Services website
  2. Select Career Planning System – FOCUS 2
  3. Click FOCUS 2 button
  4. Click REGISTER button
  5. Enter “NOVA” for the access code
  6. Enter your NOVA student e-mail address in the e-mail box
  7. Provide requested information
  8. Check box to acknowledge terms and conditions of system
  9. Click CONTINUE button

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

CHOOSING AMONG JOB OFFERS

First, make sure you know enough about the organization, the job, and the details of each offer to weigh one offer against another. If you lack information, seek it out by asking the employer, researching the organization, and talking to others who work at or are familiar with the organization or job. Ask your career services staff if they have had feedback from past students who have taken jobs with the organizations you are considering, and check to see if your career office has an alumni adviser to help you make contact with alumni working for these organizations.

There is no perfect formula for making your decision, but one of the best ways to begin is by making a list of all of the features that are important to you in your first job. These may include such items as the type of work you’ll be doing, the organization’s reputation/prestige, training program, salary, specific benefits, location of job, opportunity for advancement, work environment, opportunity for free time (evenings and weekends), opportunity for travel, colleagues with whom you’ll be working, and so forth. Add every possible item you can think of to your list.

WHAT MATTERS MOST?

After you have all the features on your list, rank them in order of their priority to you. For example, type of work may be most important to you, followed by salary, and then specific benefits.

Next, look at each job offer you are considering, and rate the features of each using a scale of one to five (with five being excellent and one being poor). For example, if ABC Company’s offer provides a great starting salary, you’ll most likely give that feature a “5” under ABC. If XYZ Company’s offer provides a lesser starting salary, XYZ might earn a “3” rating for salary. (See the sample below.)

After you have finished rating all the features for all your offers, add up the scores for each offer. Although this is an inexact science, it is a way to demonstrate which offer provides you with the most of whatever features are important to you.

WEIGH YOUR OPTIONS CAREFULLY

In the final analysis, remember to weigh carefully what is most important to you. Don’t be unduly swayed by the job title or the prestige of the organization and how it will impress your relatives. While it is helpful to get advice from family and friends, you are the one who will be going to work every day. You need to be sure that your job will be a good experience for you and will allow you to achieve your initial goals. Remember, though, that no job is perfect or able to meet all your needs. Consider the factors that you are willing to compromise on or have met in other ways. For example, if you enjoy travel and your job provides little opportunity for it, you can use long weekends and vacations for this interest.

NOTHING IS FOREVER

Keep in mind that while you want to make the best possible decision at this moment in time, your decision is not irrevocable. The odds are great that you will not remain with your first employer for your entire career. As you progress in your career, you will continue to learn which features are of highest priority for you (your priorities will also probably change with time) and how to find the best opportunity to have these priorities met. Good luck!

Sample Rating Sheet for Multiple Job Offers
FEATURE
(IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE)
ABC
COMPANY
MNO
COMPANY
XYZ
COMPANY
Challenging work 4 5 4
Advancement opportunities 3 4 2
Medical benefits 5 5 5
Salary 5 3 5
401(k) retirement plan 4 4 3
Dental benefits 4 4 4
Training program 3 4 4
Life insurance 4 4 3
Job location 5 4 4
Workplace environment 4 3 4
Opportunity to travel 4 2 2
Tuition reimbursement
for grad school
5 4 1
Total Rating: 50 46 41
Create your own list of features that matter to you and list them in order of importance, with the most important feature appearing at the top of your list. Then, rate the features of each company’s offer on a scale of one to five (five=excellent; 1=poor). In the sample to the left, the offer from ABC Company has the highest rating, indicating that ABC’s offer provides more of the features that matter to the sample job seeker. This is one way to compare job offers.

by Marcia B. Harris and Sharon L. Jones. Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

As part of the NOVA Online NCDM Webinar Series 2019 – the How to Research a Company webinar is being offered today at 12:15 pm.  Learn more and register at https://nvcceli.wufoo.com/forms/q1gb5zwz17m8jt5/.

4 Ways to Focus on Your Career Development

It’s National Career Development Month (NCDM).  Below are four 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 created to help 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 NOVA Online on Twitter to receive a daily inspirational quote.

54th Annual Poetry and Art Contest for NCDM

Help celebrate National Career Development Month by participating in the 54th Annual NCDA Poetry and Art contest. This year’s theme is “My Inspiring Future Career”. There are various division areas for the contest including adult student – 18 and older enrolled in school as well as open adult – 18 and older not enrolled in school.  Learn more about the contest here.

Your Final Semester is Almost Here!

 

Congratulations to all students who will be preparing for their final semester !  You have almost reached the finish line. The following are a few things to do in preparation for graduation:

Apply for graduation. Access NOVA’s graduation website to view the Crossing the Finish Line: NOVA’s Graduation Program video and complete the Graduation Application Form.  The deadline to apply for graduation is March 1.

Update your resume.  Review an action plan you may have created in FOCUS 2.  Utilize resources in Career Connection.  Connect with a career advisor/counselor.

Prepare to conduct a job search if you will be looking for a job or a new opportunity.  NOVA’s Career Services website is a great place to start.

Review websites of potential transfer institutions for information about applying, if you are planning to transfer.  Don’t forget to look for information about financial aid and scholarships as well.  NOVA’s Plan to Transfer website has many helpful tips.

Participate in employment and transfer focused programs.  Check out NOVA’s Events calendar to see what is happening around the college.

Don’t forget, in addition to daily blog posts, NOVA Online is offering a lunchtime webinar series this week focusing on topics to help you with preparing for your next semester. All webinars are thirty minutes and begin at 12:15 pm. Learn more about the series and register at https://nvcceli.wufoo.com/forms/q17oo4ni0mszh1v/.

 

 

Are Your Career Plans in Focus?

As you plan your schedule for your next semester, prepare to transfer, or get ready to begin a new job take a moment to focus on your career development.  Are you attending NOVA to pursue a certificate or degree, but unsure about what career options might be available to you? Have you decided on a major, but have difficulty answering the question – “What can I do with a major in _____?

Do you need to fine tune your skills or add to your skill set in preparation for a career change? Learn more about career options by utilizing FOCUS 2, an online interactive self-guided career and education planning system that can help you:

  • Select a program/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

FOCUS 2 is free for NOVA students.   Learn more about and access the system at NOVA’s Career Services website.

Don’t forget, in addition to daily blog posts, NOVA Online is offering a lunchtime webinar series this week focusing on topics to help you with preparing for your next semester.  All webinars are thirty minutes and begin at 12:15 pm.  Learn more about the series and register at https://nvcceli.wufoo.com/forms/q17oo4ni0mszh1v/.

Earn a Chance to Win a Padfolio

During National Career Development Month 2019 earn a chance to win a padfolio by following the steps below –

  1. Participate in any career development program/event being offered across the college. Recommended events – any webinar that is part of the NOVA Online NCDM Webinar Series 2019.
  2. Access the NOVA Online Virtual Student Union during November 6 – November 30.
  3. Select Discussions.
  4. Review the Discussion Board Rules located at the top of the discussion board main page.
  5. Select National Career Development Month 2019 Contest from the list.
  6. Click the Reply button and respond to the following:
    1. What was the name, date, and location of the program/event in which you participated?
    2. Why did you select this program/event?
    3. How does participating in this program/event support you with your career development and achieving a career/professional goal?
  7. Click the Post Reply button

Students also trying to win a Rocket Book may not post about the same program/event in the Advising Week Spring 2020 and National Career Development Month 2019 discussions.

While you are in the discussion board, although not required for the challenge, we encourage you to read and respond to someone’s post.

Throughout November, read the NOVA Online Student Blog for posts with information to support your career development, participate in career focused webinars, and follow NOVA Online on Twitter to receive daily inspirational quotes.    Also take advantage of other programs/events offered across the college.

National Career Development Month (NCDM) 2019 Begins Today!

November is National Career Development Month.  NCDM was designed to highlight the importance of life-long career development and the personal empowerment of all people.

Take time to focus on your career development by participating in the NOVA Online National Career Development Month 2019 Webinar Series.  See below for the webinar schedule.  The webinars will begin at 12:15 pm EST and end at 12:45 pm.

  • What Can I Do With a Program of Study In . . .? – Wed., November 6
  • Focus on Your Career Development – Wed., November 13
  • How to Research a Company – Wed., November 20

The webinars are free, but registration is required.

Earn a chance to win a padfolio by participating in the National Career Development Month 2019 discussion board in the NOVA Online Virtual Student Union during November 6 – November 30. For more information access the VSU, select “Discussions”, then select “National Career Development Month 2019 Contest” from the list.

Follow NOVA Online on Twitter to receive a daily inspirational quote.   Read the NOVA Online student blog for tips, stories, and to stay connected.

Learn more about career development on NOVA’s Career Services website.  Check NOVA’s Events calendar for information about other programs and events being offered throughout the month.

Northern Virginia Artisans Invited to Participate in New Loudoun Exhibit

Calling all Artisans who work or live within the Loudoun Area!!! 

You are Invited to Participate in a New Exhibit
Artisans Showcase Focuses on Three-Dimensional Work

Potters, sculptors, jewelers, and artisans of all kinds are encouraged to participate in a rare exhibit for three-dimensional work. The Loudoun Arts Council and Thomas Balch Library invite all artisans working or living in Loudoun County to apply for the first Loudoun Artisans’ Showcase, a curated exhibit held in the central Mercer Room at the historic Library from September 3rd through 30th, 2019.

Functional or non-functional pieces in any medium will be considered. Space is a limiting factor; the interiors of the two display cases measure approximately 27” wide x  78” long x 10” high. Choose your best work that will fit within these measurements. You may enter up to three items for the $10 application fee. The deadline to apply is midnight, Friday August 9th, 2019.

Questions? Please email LoudounArts for more information. (Click the hyperlink in green)

Are Your Career Plans in Focus?

As you plan your schedule for your next term/semester, prepare to transfer, or get ready to begin a new job take a moment to focus on your career development.  Are you attending NOVA to pursue a certificate or degree, but unsure about what career options might be available to you? Have you decided on a major, but have difficulty answering the question – “What can I do with a major in _____?

Do you need to fine tune your skills or add to your skill set in preparation for a career change? Learn more about career options by utilizing FOCUS 2, an online interactive self-guided career and education planning system that can help you:

  • Select a program/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

FOCUS 2 is free for NOVA students.   Learn more about and access the system at NOVA’s Career Services website.

Don’t forget, in addition to daily blog posts, NOVA Online is offering a lunchtime webinar series this week focusing on topics to help you with preparing for your next semester.  All webinars are thirty minutes and begin at 12:15 pm.  Learn more about the series and register at https://nvcceli.wufoo.com/forms/q16k19iv1fjyzmb/