Category Archives: Career Development

Marketing Your Resume to Employers

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.

What to Do if You Don’t Have a Job at Graduation

Keep going! Be persistent in your job search. Get up every day as if you’re going to work, and spend time identifying and researching employers. Contact employers and schedule appointments. Make your job search your job!

Register. Sign up on job-search engines. Stay current and active on business networks like LinkedIn or social media sites like Facebook where you can find company profiles.

Work your network. Contact alumni in your field. Remind your contacts that you’re still looking for a job. Make new contacts by joining professional groups in your area.

Call on the career center. Even though you’ve graduated, your college’s career center is ready to help. Use all the online resources the career center offers.

Take a temp job. Temporary work will give you a way to pay your bills, and will help build the skills and experience that employers want. Plus, temp work will give you more contacts for your network, and may lead to a full-time job. Some organizations use temp positions as a stepping stone into full-time employment.

Get your foot in the door. Some employers offer internships to recent graduates. You may find part-time positions at a company for which you want to work. This could be effective, especially in an organization that hires from within. If you do a great job, you become an excellent candidate for a full-time position.

Look for ways to build new skills. Volunteer opportunities, like temp work, will open your network to new people and new opportunities. It can also help you develop new skills that will make you a more appealing job candidate.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Jobs and Internships Database for NOVA Students and Alumni

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

 

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.

3 Ways to Celebrate National Career Development Day!

Work – Life – Balance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy National Career Development Day!

Below are three things you can do to help celebrate the day.

  1. Participate in the Exploring Career Options webinar being offered today from 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm.  This 45 minute webinar will focus on using various online resources to research career options.  The relationship between programs of study at NOVA, college majors, and career options will be discussed.  Resources presented will provide information on nature of work, educational requirements, job outlook, and wages.  The webinar is free, but registration is required.  Learn more and register at https://nvcceli.wufoo.com/forms/exploring-career-options-fall-2018/.
  2. Access NOVA Online on Twitter to view today’s inspirational quote.  Follow us on Twitter for more quotes throughout the month.
  3. Visit NOVA’s Career Services website to learn more about career development.

Webinars to Help You with Your Academic and Career Planning

Do you need help with your academic or career planning?  If you answered yes to this question, you may find it helpful to participate in one or all of the following webinars:

Getting Ready for Your Next Semester

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
  • Thursday, November 8, 7:00 pm – 7:45 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.

Focus on Your Career Development

  • Wednesday, November 7, 12:15 pm – 1:00- pm

This 45 minute webinar will introduce students to FOCUS 2 an online, interactive, self-guided career and education planning system.  The system can help students select a program/major based on their interests and aspirations, discover occupations matching their personal preferences and attributes, map out their career plans – present and future, and make informed career decisions.

Exploring Career Options

  • Thursday, November 8, 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm
  • Wednesday, November 14, 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm

This 45 minute webinar will focus on using various online resources to research career options.  The relationship between programs of study at NOVA, college majors, and career options will be discussed.  Resources presented will provide information on nature of work, educational requirements, job outlook, and wages. 

Registration is required for each webinar.  Registration closes 15 minutes prior to the webinar start time.  Learn more and register at http://eli.nvcc.edu/webinars.htm.

National Career Development Month 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 Focus on Your Career Development and Exploring Career Options webinars.   The Focus on Your Career Development webinar will be offered on Wednesday, November 7, at 12: 15 pm and the Exploring Career Options webinar will be offered on Wednesday, November 14, at 12:15 pm.  The goal of the webinars is to help you make informed decisions about your academic and career goals.    Registration is required.  Learn more about the webinars and register at http://eli.nvcc.edu/webinars.htm.

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.

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

Poetry & Art Contest for National Career Development Month

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that 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.

Help celebrate National Career Development Month by participating in the 53rd Annual NCDA Poetry and Art contest. This year’s theme is “Using Careers to Break Barriers, Empower Lives & Achieve Equity”. 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.

LinkedIn Professional: Profile Development Tips

by Tiffany Waddell Tate

LinkedIn is a tool for students and alumni to build connections, but frequently, many don’t quite know how to maximize their digital presence online. LinkedIn is one of many tools you can use to create a digital stamp that embodies your personal and professional brand.

If you are curious about how to create or update your profile to make your brand statement clear and noticeable, check out these five tips to make your profile pop today!

Profile Photo

Make sure your photo is a professional headshot. No need to pay for a full photoshoot, but I highly recommend having a friend or colleague snap a photo of you with a solid light-colored or natural background behind you. Once you have a few that you like, crop one to include no more than your mid torso and above. If you are in education or recruiting, you can likely have a bit more fun with your choice of dress in the photo, so let your personality shine through! Profiles with fresh headshots definitely get more traffic than those without.

Headline

Instead of writing a boring snippet that just includes your job title (that’s in your experience section anyway!) try thinking of a brief, but creative description of what you do or what you’re particularly adept in. Who are you, independent of your professional title? For example, if you started own your company, instead of saying “CEO of Fran’s Cupcake Company” try “Dessert aficionado with a passion for sprinkles” which will make your profile stand out. If you work in a more traditional or conservative space, however, it is also a good idea to highlight the core skill set or motivation that drives your work. For example, if you work for a creative marketing agency, you might try something like “marketing manager with a keen eye for design.”

Summary

While many people think of LinkedIn as an online resume, it’s more than that. The summary section allows you to craft a (brief) statement that tells your story. What are you passionate about? What drives you? Specifically, what are you good at and how does it assist you in making things happen? Are there topics or experiences that you have that contribute to your overall value that may or may not be tied to your current position? Write about it here. LinkedIn tends to come up in the top five results when someone Googles your name, so make every word count!

Vanity URL

Like most social networks and blogs, you have the option within your profile to create a “Vanity URL” which is a shortened web address for your page that fits nicely onto a business card or e-mail signature. Vanity URLs also make your profile easier to find in online search engine results.

RECOMMENDATIONS

I like to think of recommendations as “living references,” because your personal brand is not just what you say about yourself—it includes what others have to say about you, too! Asking colleagues, clients, or former supervisors for LinkedIn recommendations can only strengthen your professional digital presence.

Bonus pro tip: it is better to give than receive! If you ask someone to write a recommendation for you, offer a recommendation in return—or at least send them a thank you note. It’s only proper!

What tips do you leverage to make your profile pop?

Tiffany Waddell Tate, former associate director of career development at Davidson College, is now the associate director of national engagement in the Office of Alumni Engagement at Wake Forest University.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers

Social Media In Your Job Search

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