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HBCU International Students Networking Tips

HBCU International StudentsThere are many international students enrolled at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Students come from all over the world to attend colleges in the US and many actually choose HBCU’s for competitive academic programs.

 Latest data on HBCU International students:

  • HBCU’s with certification to admit international students: 98 of 105
  • Number of international students enrolled at HBCU’s: 8,327 (2014)
  • Top 5 countries of origin for HBCU international students: Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India, Bahamas and Jamaica

Read the 2014 Full Report on HBCU’s and International Students from the US Department of State, Homeland Security and the US Department of Education.

I know the job search and internship search angst of international students, first hand.   I have many family members who have been international students on HBCU campuses and have worked with many foreign students through four career centers.

That’s why I was so happy to find this article at XN Blog with tips to network throughout college. Please read the full article titled: Networking Tips for Every Stage of an International College Student’s Journey. The article offers tips to do the following:

Freshman Year: Diversify your network and don’t just hang out with the folks who came from your home country or region.

Sophomore Year: Intellectualize your network by choosing your major wisely and making connections with professors and mentors in your subject area.

Junior Year: Professionalize your network as you look for internships and co-ops. Get advice from seniors who might have been through that job search before. Also work with the career center and participate in on-campus interviews.

Senior Year: Legalize your network if you plan to stay in the US or to get connected for your OPT experience. Seek the best resources for advice as you make critical life impacting decisions.

Please read the full article at Northwestern University and share with other international students.

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HBCU on Social Media: 11 Rules for Students

Job search communication

HBCU on social media

I love communicating with students about their HBCU experiences, internships and college life on social media. The pride in these historical landmark institutions is very evident.

With all the talk about the value and relevance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, social media is breathing new life into many of these institutions. We all want our social media messages to be positive about these schools and the sustaining work taking place on many of the campuses. So many students in their anxiety to become a part of the legacy talk about their HBCU on social media at every chance they get.

For many of these students, they are the first in their families to go to college and for many others, they are the next in a long line of family members to attend HBCU’s. Whichever group you fall into, we are happy you have decided to add your story to the journey of these great institutions. We love that you want to lend your voice about your HBCU on social media to promote your campus, your school spirit and your excitement about becoming a part of a HBCU family.

As you do that, I want to encourage you to follow these guidelines as you talk about your HBCU on Social Media.

DO talk about your HBCU on Social Media this way

Do connect with people in your class. The Class of 2019 is already very connected to help and support each other through college. Although many who are hoping to be in the Class of 2019 won’t get there, this is just the reality of college wherever you go. However, many colleges are introducing new ways of helping students stay in college by staying connected with your HBCU cohort and helping to encourage each other to stay the course. Social media is a great way to do that.

Connect with offices, resources and staff on campus. Promote events and services such as Writing Centers, Career Centers and Student Government activities among your peers.

Use lists on Twitter to group organizations and resources that will help you finish college and transition into careers successfully. eg. List scholarship sources. Create your first list from my list of 25 Twitter Pages with Career Information for Diverse Students.

Give updates on live events on campus via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, You-Tube, Vines, Periscope or whatever you prefer. The more you share positive news about your HBCU on social media, the stronger your school’s brand will be and the more attractive to prospective students, scholarship donors and employers.

Brag about community involvement. America’s HBCU campuses have students that do more community service projects than other universities I know. Find causes you care about and introduce them to your campus community via social media.

DON’T talk about your HBCU on Social Media this way

If you are going to mention the name of your school in your social media bio – DO NOT add inappropriate photos or statements right next to the name of your university or in your timeline. So, you can’t be cussing and calling yourself a student at XYZ HBCU at the same time.

If you are enrolled at a school and yet you or others continue to speak badly about your school or your program, you are actually devaluing the power of your own college degree. Why would you undermine your own future? This is not a wise way to speak about your HBCU on social media.

Be careful what you confess on social media. Do not use your school name or logo in any way that will compromise or defame your institution.Remember that “HBCU” is an acronym that represents over 100 schools. It does not just represent your school. Therefore when you speak about HBCU’s or make blanket statements about #HBCUs you are speaking about over 100 schools that are all different. Just as we wouldn’t make negative statements about ALL Catholic universities, ALL Ivy League schools or ALL engineering schools, don’t make negative statements about ALL HBCUs.

The HBCU vs. PWI (Predominantly White Institution) is not a bandwagon you want to join. We should all be excited about the fact that an increasing number of diverse students are using their access to higher education to create options for themselves, their families and their communities. Many students do bachelors degree in a non-HBCU and graduate degrees at HBCU’s or vice-versa.

Know that your voice about your HBCU on social media is very, very powerful. What you say will be seen by other students exploring college, employers looking to hire college graduates and donors looking to donate scholarships. How you brand your school will have huge impact.

Your college years will be a time of great memories, hard work, personal challenges and you will be called on to make decisions all the time. Be wise about how you build up your own future by speaking positively about your HBCU on social media.

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Performance Evaluation of FAMU President Released

FAMU President MangumExecutives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities are coming under fire and scrutiny from all directions.  From students and parents lamenting the high costs of education, to state governments evaluating the funding of these schools or alumni concerned about the value of their degrees as they worry about the very existence of their beloved alma maters.

The scrutiny on these institutions is not letting up.  Neither is the pressure for them to keep pace with the changes in the education marketplace, compete with more well funded institutions and make long range plans to keep their institutions viable and sustainable.

As HBCU leadership push hard on established boundaries trying to keep their schools relevant and competitive, not everyone will agree on all the decisions being made.

One of the latest disagreements taking place in the open now involves President Elmira Mangum of Florida A & M University (FAMU).

President Magnum and Chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees, Rufus Montgomery, are in disagreement about decisions made by Dr. Magnum.  Montgomery claims that Dr. Magnum is not communicating with the trustees and making independent decisions.  Her judgement on key hires is being questioned by some members of the board. On the other side, the state’s Board of Governors is investigating accusations that Montgomery has attempted to bully Dr. Magnum.

At the end of the first year, Dr. Mangum’s first performance evaluation has been released publicly showing her less than stellar grades.

Five HR questions come to mind:

1. Which HBCU president is going to assume a presidency now and get stellar marks after year one? There is no pleasing all constituents when tough decisions are to be made.

2. What are the trustees experiencing within a year that wasn’t visible through a comprehensive search process? How many voices were in the room when decisions were being made.

3. With the challenges facing our HBCUs who is going to take responsibility for tough decisions if Presidents can’t trust that trustees will support decisions and plans?  Are the decisions ad hoc or part of a longer term plan?

4. Who is demonstrating the leadership to other employees and students in how we resolve workplace disagreements like this?

5. Is publishing the annual performance evaluation a consistent practice? Most employees have a right to respond to evaluations.  Were those responses published as well?

We will continue to watch whether or not the interest of FAMU students and families are represented in this battle of wills.  I am reminded of the African proverb (don’t quote me on the exact words) that says – When elephants fight, it is the ground that gets trampled and destroyed.

Source of details – wfsu.org

Commentary is mine!

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How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

social media in your job search For years career coaches and career centers have stressed networking as an important part of the job search strategy.  Social media has kicked up networking to a whole other level.

Per Capterra, in 2014 a whopping 94% of recruiters were either using  or planning to use social media for recruiting.

It makes sense, therefore, that you would be using social media in your job search as a networking tool.  With everyone now having the ability to use social networks to connect with everyone else, it might become a little overwhelming to use social media in your job search.

Do’s for Social Media in Your Job Search

Linked In, Twitter and Facebook are not just for photos of your latest meals or trip to the beach.  Use these services to:

  • Join groups
  • Follow people in industries of choice
  • Show your interests
  • Demonstrate your professional expertise
  • Research companies and industries
  • Get job alerts or notification about things of interest
  • Learn about new resources
  • Honor people whose work you admire
  • Bridge the gap between your professional life and personal interests (Cautiously)
  • Promote ideas you value

As you engage social media in your job search, remember that these social media networks all have their own advantages and disadvantages.  For example, on LinkedIn, you can actually get endorsements and references as part of your profile.  You can literally build an inventory of your professional life.  Twitter’s 140 characters, on the other hand, allows you snapshots of professional or personal life mixed in with in with your commentary on current events and breaking news.  You can use lists to sort people around your interests.

However you choose to use social media in your job search some of the general networking rules still apply.  Be open to meeting new people, be willing to share and connect others and remember that it is not who you give to that you will get from.

Find us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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10 Ways to Ace the Phone Interview

telephone interviewIt’s no secret – If you blow the phone interview or phone screening; your chances of going further as a job candidate are slim.

Phone interviews are a really practical, low cost way for recruiters to narrow the field of candidates pretty quickly. It is a great way to screen the initial field of candidates and make some preliminary decisions about setting up face-to-face meetings. If you learn how to ace the phone interview, you improve your chances of getting your resume moved from the “possible” pile to the “yes” pool.

During a telephone interview, the employer is mostly verifying the information you have on your resume and whether you like it or not, the recruiter is evaluating your communication skills.  If you have had your resume written by a professional resume writer, make sure the language used on your resume is still representative of your own “voice”.

All that being said, here are 10 ways to ace your next phone interview:

1. Find a quiet spot to do your phone interview. The last thing you want is to have distracting noises in the background, be they children, pets, music or just a noisy street or subway car.

2. Do not accept phone interview calls at your current work place or office, during working hours.

3. If you are using your cell phone, find a place where signal strength is strong and stay there until you finish the call.  I know it’s 2015, but this is something we still have to worry about.

4. Speak clearly and watch your tone and energy level during the telephone interview. One seasoned recruiter from a Big 4 Accounting firm shared with me that job seekers who sounded drowsy or low energy usually were not called again.

5. Be professional and polite in your phone interview. If you are on a speaker phone, acknowledge everyone who might be in the room. Watch your use of slang in your phone interview.

6. Be prepared to explain everything you have on your resume including dates of employment, career transitions and employment breaks.

7. Listen carefully. Since you are not in front of the recruiter, you can’t read their body language so it is very important that you listen carefully and answer clearly.

8. Ask questions in the phone interview. The most important question you should ask is when you will be able to schedule the face-to-face or SKYPE interview and move you one step closer to getting the job offer.

9. Smile. Your pleasant persona will actually come across over the phone. A fellow call center manager with whom I worked several years ago actually kept a mirror in her desk drawer. You knew she was on the phone with an irate customer when she took it out.

10. Be very clear about the next steps when you get off the phone. Wrap up by clarifying details about the next steps for you as a job applicant. Do not get off the phone before restating your interest in the position.

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3 Benefits of Interview Coaching

Black women at WorkI’ve been doing interview coaching for almost 16 years!!  That number surprises even me sometimes when I think about my first career center job while I lived in California.  I had returned to school to get a business and became hooked on Career Development while completing my HR classes.  I quickly finished my MBA with an emphasis in Strategic Human Resources management and the rest as they say, is history.

Interview Like a P.R.O.

As a Career Counselor and a HR professional, I spent countless hours sitting across from job applicants who I felt could be great employees, if they were just able to get past the job interview.  Too many of the people I worked with, were just struggling in one job interview after the next.  Many applicants looked really great on paper, had great experience, but could not make the connection in the job interviews, between their resumes, their resumes and what the employer needed. After working with lots of new graduates, new immigrants, seasoned professionals and career re-entry employees, I was convinced that I needed to find a simple, easy to learn, yet effective technique to train people on how to prepare for and succeed in a job interview.

After weeks of doing a series of mock interviews with frustrated job seekers, who wee returning to the workplace after life challenges, I developed the Interview Like a P.R.O. technique.  It is this approach that I have used successfully for years in interview coaching sessions.  With a little bit of tweaking over the years, this strategy is my preferred methodology to help people prepare in a strategic way for job interviews.  Since recruiters always say that lack of interview preparation is their number one issue with job seekers, why not improve job interview preparation with interview coaching. Here are three clear benefits from doing an interview coaching session.

Benefits of Interview Coaching

Pump up your confidence  for the job interview.  The job interview is nerve wracking enough just because you are anxious about meeting strangers and bragging about yourself.  By participating in the interview coaching process, you become more confident about the overall process, because essentially, you get to practice for the real thing.

Practice interview preparation. Interview coaching gives you step by step information that you can use to prepare for the job interview.  Whether it is reading between the lines and decoding the job description or researching the company, interview coaching can help you get really good at preparing for the job interview.

Improve your ability to tell stories in the job interview. Interview coaching gives you the opportunity to practice telling stories that demonstrate past behavior.  After all isn’t that what employers want? Why not get some extra help shaping responses and tooting your own horn.

Whether you are looking for a new job (inside or outside of your existing company), looking for your first career position after graduating, seeking a promotion, changing companies or re-entering the workforce, doing an interview coaching session is a wise move.

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