college

Stay in Touch With Your College Professors

Author: Michelle Ioannou, Career Advice

The final is over. You want to run out of the classroom and never set foot in it again. We all know that feeling. But, don’t waste this opportunity — don’t just burn a bridge with your professor.

Professors are great people to add to your network. And college is a fantastic time to start adding to that network. The class you took in college should be the first step to cultivating a professional relationship with your professor. Why?

They’re experts 
Whether or not they’re experts in the field you want to go into, they know what they’re talking about (for the most part at least). Use this to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to ask them how whatever topic the course is on can help you in your professional life down the line. Especially if they are in the field you want to go into, pick their brain even more. Find out everything you need to know, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

They can be your references
Chances are if you’re applying for your first job, your list of professional references are slim. But, professors can vouch for your demeanor and work ethic. List them. Establishing a relationship with them will let them take that recommendation one step further, resulting in them being able to truly attest to how you should get that job.

They have contacts
And their contacts can become part of your network as well. When your network becomes bigger, your opportunities become bigger. Plus, one of their contacts can have your dream job, or help you on the path to reaching your career goals.

They know of job openings
Former students reach out to their old professors all the time with job openings. If your ex-professor is aware that you’re looking for a certain job, and one comes across his desk that could be a great fit, of course he’s going to send it to you. They also have friends in various fields, who will know of job openings as well.

They can help you professionally
College professors know about the transition from college to the real world. They know that they are preparing their students for more than just passing tests. Ask them to review your resume. Ask them for their opinion on your cover letter. Ask them where you should be looking for jobs. They just may know more than you think.

Keep Your Career Options Open

Author: Emmanuel Pepis, Career Advice

Many of us have been there before. You go to college, you have a desired field you want to study, you graduate, then comes maybe the hardest part: a career track that can resemble a long, winding, and sometimes frustrating road with its share of twists and turns.

It’s great to have goals that you strive for, and you should never lose sight of what you ultimately want in your career path. At the same time, it never hurts to have balance and allow things to fall into place. The results could be pleasantly surprising. And, on top of all that, all are learning experiences in their own forms as well. 


Career paths generally are never linear

There are times we’ll be frustrated by the lack of open jobs. There will be setbacks, and there will be moments where we can take ourselves in a slightly different direction. By making yourself as diverse as possible, you have the potential for many open doors that you may not have thought of when you got your degree. Plus, taking jobs and doing things that you never thought you’d learn or need to know, shows us how much untapped potential is within us. 

Take advantage of opportunities
Of course its important to strive for what you want. You have the power to be in charge of yourself and where you want to be. But you must allow yourself the freedom to become more versatile in your field if and when the opportunity presents itself. No experience is bad experience and it could lead to something you may not have thought was possible. If an opportunities arises, even if it’s not one that you thought you’d ever take, try it out, and see what happens.

Utilize your skill set
Part of the beauty of each person is we all have different skill sets, and everyone should use that to their advantage. Your strengths are what help let you stand out, and most of the time they tend to be what you enjoy the most doing. Use them. If you’re using your skills in your present work, while always keeping your goals in mind, you’re on the right path to getting where you one day want to be. Or, it could lead you to something even better that you may have not thought of before.  

Always remember to network
Networking can truly happen anywhere. Even if you’re not actively looking to change jobs or careers, don’t be afraid to talk to people about what you do or want to do in the future. Talk to your family, friends, current colleagues, former colleagues, and even people you may not know personally. You never know what opportunity will arise, even if it’s one you didn’t know you were looking for.

Don’t think of any job as beneath you
Every job is a learning experience. From bagging groceries to customer service jobs, whatever the position may be, you’re learning skills that you can then translate into another job. Having skills and experiences in other fields, or from jobs that weren’t necessarily originally on your radar, gives you a much broader outlook, and can help your work ethic by approaching things from a different, unbiased perspective.

Keys to a Winning Resume: A 101 for Millennials

Author: Tony Iliakostas, Career Advice

One of the toughest obstacles any millennial will encounter is stepping foot into the job market. It’s petrifying. Here you are with a bunch of skills and a wealth of knowledge that you hope will lead to a job that pays decently and includes benefits. But, you’re competing with tons of other freshly-minted higher education graduates or those with a few years under their belt. How can you stand apart from the rest? By having a solid, well-drafted resume.

How am I so sure about this? Because mine set me apart. And trust me, you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you’re doing at least one of the following. Here’s how to get a winning resume…

Every great resume starts with a great template
Whether you’ve never drafted a resume in your life or you have a working model, it’s always good to check out what others look like. Maybe yours looks archaic with an older font and you want to modernize it a bit. It’s totally kosher to look at what formatting other sample resumes use — those could be the basis for your great resume. A quick Google search will render millions of results.

Your resume should tell your story
Before you draft a single word on your Word document, take a moment and ask yourself, “who am I?” You want your resume to achieve one goal: to tell your story in an effective manner. Remember that human resources departments and job recruiters will be reading your resume, so you want to tell them, in a succinct fashion, what your career aspirations are, where you went to school, where you interned or previously worked at, and all your other accomplishments. Yes, your resume is the one opportunity to boast about yourself. And remember that you have to achieve this goal within one page in most cases.

Including your social media profile could add some personality, but keep it professional
Social media profiles are very telling of who you are. Your online persona often mimics your offline persona and you may want a prospective employer to see that side of you. Now, this doesn’t give you license to share every link to every social media account you have on your resume. Stick to the basics — include your LinkedIn URL in the header of your resume. And, if you don’t have a LinkedIn page, create one ASAP. As for other sites like Facebook or Twitter, if they’re professional enough, it’s at your discretion to share those links too, but make sure that they’re clean first.

Draft, then revise. Then take a break. Then revise. Then take a break. Then revise again
As the old adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” That means that things take time before they take full form, and that is especially true for your resume. Draft as much as you can and then take a break. The next day, take another look at your resume, make any necessary revisions, and then take another break. Repeat this process until you are comfortable with the way your resume reads. Any level-headed person will tell you that this approach to resume review is important. Taking a break and reviewing your resume each day helps you view your work product with clear eyes each time.

Do you know someone older than you who’s working? Have them review your resume
Peer review is tremendously beneficial. If you already have a resume, find at least three people to review your resume. See what they say. If they all like it, great. If they provide feedback on ways to improve it, take their advice into serious consideration. Getting the perspective of others and getting an unbiased review of your resume, is very important.

Hire a career consultant
Does it feel as though all of this seems like a lot? Look into hiring a career consultant to help you draft your resume. This can be a lower-stress option in the end if you’re worried about feeling overwhelmed. Plus, they’re pros who know what they’re doing!

Networking Can Happen Everywhere

Author: Michelle Ioannou, Career Advice

Networking is a pretty common term in the world of career advice and the job hunt. It can even be a word that intimidates people. How can I network? How do I grow my network? What is networking and how do I do it?

Well, millennials, networking can happen with anyone, anywhere. There’s no set rules or locations where it has to happen. Think about it — you meet people everywhere, don’t you? Well, meeting people is exactly how you grow your network.

Yes, that’s it. Meet someone new. Strike up a conversation. Ask them what they do, and 90% of the time they’ll ask you what you do as well. You never know what connections this new person may have or what influence this person him or herself may have. A simple hello can go a long way, whether it’s online or offline.

Of course, networking does happen in professional settings. But, it doesn’t always have to.

Social Media
Interact with people on social media! We’ve already discussed how Twitter can get you freelance gigs, and well, how do you think that happens? Because of networking. Interact with people on social media — start conversations, ask them what they do, share relevant articles. Show off your knowledge on a particular subject and have people take notice. There are so many different people from so many different backgrounds in so many different industries on social — and they can all be reached on one platform. How amazing is that? Use it to your advantage.

Morning routines 
Do you stop at the same coffee shop every morning? Same bagel shop? Take the same train or bus every day? You’re bound to see familiar faces. Don’t just shrug them off and be bitter that you have to go to work — smile and say hello. They’re probably off to work as well, and probably not the happiest about it, either. Ask them where they’re headed or what they do. Who knows, maybe they’re off to a place where you want to be.

Dating apps
Think about it, when someone strikes up a conversation with you on a dating app or website, isn’t one of the first things asked “so, what do you do?” Tell them what you do. If it’s not in your bio, put it in your bio. Who knows, even if there’s nothing there romantically, maybe something professionally can unfold. I know you’re probably laughing right now at the thought, but you truly never know.

Traveling 
If you’re stuck on an airplane, train, or bus next to someone you don’t know, strike up a conversation. No, of course don’t wake them up or disturb them if they immediately sit down and put their headphones in or go to sleep. But, if they don’t, talk to them. Ask them why they’re going to wherever you’re going to. Ask them what they do. Traveling, especially long distances, can be a great opportunity to add someone new to your network.

The Difference Between “It’s Not My Job” and Knowing Your Boundaries

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Career Advice

No matter your workplace, there’s always the possibility that you’ll be pulled to some form of, as they say, “double duty.”

This phenomenon is particularly common in small offices, where staffs are shorter and have no choice but to become more versatile. There’s nothing wrong with learning a few skills outside of the realm of your job duties — in fact, those skills will help your resume in the long run.

But at what point does it become just too much?

A 2015 article from The Atlantic addresses the issue of what happens to competent workers who are thrown into a sea of lazier colleagues. The moral of the story? If you show expertise and initiative in the workplace, you end up performing everyone else’s job duties, too!

Now, there are upsides and downsides to this catch-22.

Upsides

You’ll be noticed by your boss
Employee of the month? Meetings about your future with the company? Being kept in the loop about the happenings of the company? Yup. All of this and more will potentially be on your radar. Your boss is more likely to act as both your career mentor and sponsor, and as a result, can open doors for you.

You have reason to ask for a raise
You’re working extra hours. You’re helping to train the new employees. You’re the go-to person when the computer decides to have a mind of its own, or when dealing with a particular customer who you know best. You’re going above and beyond, and that should warrant a raise.

You’ll sleep easier
In both the literal and figurative senses. Sometimes a moral compass is helpful in the workplace, and you’ll know for yourself, if no one else, that you truly did the best you could. If there’s a chance that you’ll be reviewed, or your work will be looked at closely in the near, or even the not-so-near future, you’ll have confidence that your work is the best it can possibly be. You won’t doubt yourself in this type of surprise circumstance.

Downsides

You might not be noticed by your boss
And, as a result, you may end up feeling resentful, angry, and/or hostile toward other colleagues who may get noticed by your boss when they don’t put in nearly the same effort that you do. Office politics are an unfortunate reality — and aren’t always put on the back burner in favor of the person who is, in fact, the hardest worker. Not to mention, you could feel resentful of your boss, too.

You could sacrifice self-care
Nothing, not even work, is worth giving up your well-being. If you find yourself waking up feeling nauseous at just the thought of going to work, that could be a clue that you’re a) working “too hard,” b) are not appreciated, or c) all of the above. When hard work is rewarded and acknowledged, you’ll wake up easier — to the point that work won’t interfere with your wellness. But once it does? It’s time to re-evaluate.

Your colleagues may take advantage of your nature
Unfortunately, we all have those colleagues who look to that hardworking employee — and say “oh, Susan will do it, she won’t be able to leave it alone.” And that’s not okay… that’s just lazy.

 

The trick to all this? Strike a balance. Always pitch in. Do your job, and go above and beyond. But don’t let yourself become the office doormat. You’re better than that.

Know what your boundaries are, and understand that your boundaries aren’t always the same as your colleagues’. If you’re working hard, being acknowledged for it, and not sacrificing your happiness, your employer quite possibly has a reasonable definition of “above and beyond.” If you’re working hard, anxious, tired, resentful, and feeling like your colleagues are parasites who depend on you to complete any task they just “don’t feel” like completing… those are clues that your limit has been reached, and possibly exceeded.