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Rail Careers are Worth Exploring

Rail careersDid you know that median wages for rail careers last year was $57,160?

I would guess that most people don’t know that. In fact, I have found that most people don’t know much about careers in transportation at all. As a former Air Traffic Controller myself, I have participated in the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) sponsored by the Department of Transportation, many times. The goal of the NSTI is to expand the awareness of secondary  school students, about careers across transportation, including rail careers.  Those NSTI sessions, often had panels or presentations with rail professionals and sometimes students would even have tours of transportation facilities.

That’s why we are excited that Canadian Pacific Rail is partnering with The HBCU Career Center to get the word out about rail careers.  Visit our job board and click the CP red bar to explore careers in both the US and Canada.

Some of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) that ran NSTI programs this year were:

Alabama State University

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Florida A & M University

Morgan State University

What does the Department of Labor say?

Although overall employment in rail careers is expected to decline by a small percentage over the next decade, there are 3 reasons to explore rail careers at this time:

i) Rail is not going away! Certain types of rail jobs might go away because of the advancement in rail technology, in the same way technology is impacting other industries.  In fact, the Department of Labor says that an increase in “intermodal freight-the shipment of goods through multiple transportation modes-may increase demand for some [types of] railroad workers.”

ii) The need for Transportation, Logistics and Supply Chain experience is not going away or disappearing.  Just consider how online shopping has changed product delivery over the last several years.

iii) Baby boomers are retiring from the rail industry. This I know because I have heard it at NSTI events and from a colleague in my doctoral cohort who is doing his dissertation on exactly this subject.  With a 30-year career in the industry, he is researching how rail companies are ramping up on-the-job training programs, such as apprenticeships, for those interested in rail careers.

Hopefully, this post will help you expand your career and industry awareness around transportation options.  Find out more about rail careers here at the Department of Labor.

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Posted in Career and Industry Awareness, Choosing a Career, Choosing a Major, Going Global, Life After College, ReSkill America | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rail Careers are Worth Exploring

Campus Leadership is Something to Brag About

Dillard University Fall 2017Congratulations to the new batch of student leaders on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities this fall! As a former college Dean and HR Pro, I never miss a chance to congratulate students who have the courage to not only participate in campus organizations, but to step up to leadership roles too.

Walk around any college campus and you will find tons of information about campus involvement opportunities.

Look for:

1. Organizational membership fairs (Photo from Dillard University)

2. Invitations to run for office and hold leadership positions

3. Congratulatory messages for new organization leaders

4. Training for students in campus leadership roles

There are several reasons why campus leadership and involvement are so important and such a critical part of student life.  One BIG reason is that organizational participation really gives a student something to brag about!

College is more than academics

I know you have heard that before. The fact is, building your academic credentials is only a part of why you go to college. Yes. You want to excel in the classroom. In addition, you definitely want to develop those other skills that employers look for every year including teamwork, collaboration, self-motivation and interpersonal maturity.  These are behaviors that employers and graduate schools seek when they evaluate applicants.  Campus organizations will allow students to build these skills that are very much aligned with the workplace skills employers demand from today’s new college grads.

I’ve been working with college students and graduates for almost two decades and I always talk about the three things I believe students must do before they graduate, especially if they are on a HBCU campus.  Campus leadership is always on my list, not only because I have heard it personally from hundreds of employers, I have seen it in many lists of workplace skills employers want as well as in workplace trend research.

If you want something to brag about when you are looking for internships, applying for grad schools or jobs after college, campus involvement and campus leadership have to be on your list of priorities while you are in college.  The fact is simply that campus leaders land more job offers after graduation. They just do and I have seen them to do it. If you are not already involved in a campus group or organization – find one. Join. Participate. If your campus doesn’t have one you like; start one!

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(Photo courtesy of Dillard University).

Posted in Career Advice, College Life, Employment Trends, HBCU Career Programs, Job Skills, Leadership, New Grad, Personal Exploration, What Employers Want | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Campus Leadership is Something to Brag About

Know What Employers Want this Fall Recruiting Season

Do you know what employers want from college students who they are interviewing this fall for internships or jobs after graduation next summer?

You should know! Learn here and then go meet recruiters in the career center on your campus and create an email Job or Internship alert at The HBCU Career Center.

What employers want

Stay engaged! Find The HBCU Career Center on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram!  Sorry – No snap chat! 😊

Posted in Career Advice, College Life, Diversity Recruiting, Education & Training, Employment Trends, HBCU Career Programs, Internships, Job Search Tips, Life After College, Life at Work, New Grad, Niche Job Board, On campus interviews, Professional Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Know What Employers Want this Fall Recruiting Season

End Resume Fails and Ace your Job Interview

Resume Tip 1We are on a mission to end resume fails.

Our philosophy is that one of the best ways to prepare for any job interview is to truly commit and immerse yourself in the resume writing process.  After years of looking at a myriad of resumes, many of which were really bad, I ended up writing a Resume Guide: How to Look Good on Paper.  I decided that to end resume fails, we needed to explain to people how the resume writing process helps with the honest self-evaluation and reflection that is necessary to prepare for the job interview.

Identify your competencies

Writing your resume is a really good way to think about and summarize a list of competencies that you have and that employers need.  Keep in mind that employers are interested in the competencies you have right now; not the ones you are going to develop and not necessarily the ones you had five or ten years ago.  Resumes that don’t demonstrate the competencies that are in demand and that the employer is asking for now, will definitely fail to hold recruiters’ attention.

Getting a clearer picture of what you want

There is nothing like the resume writing process to clarify your career goals at this point in your professional life. The resume is not about what you want to do with the rest of your life. It’s about what you are looking for in your next opportunity.  Resumes that don’t share a compelling picture of where you are right now and how you want to contribute right now, won’t hold the recruiters’ attention.Resume Tip 2

Refreshing your memory about relevant professional and education history

Writing your resume gives you the opportunity to recall the important accomplishments you want to share right now.  Resume writing a great way to recall and language the stories you will tell in job interviews. If you want to end resume fails, use the resume to put your best, most impressive summary of your professional highlights in front of the employer.  If your resume doesn’t share recent and relevant information, it won’t hold recruiters’ attention.  

Bragging about your accomplishments

The bottom line is that your resume will fail you if you do not include accomplishments. The emphasis here being on recent and non-trivial professional accomplishments.  Your resume must demonstrate the value that you brought to previous employers, regardless of the positions that you held. If your resume just list tasks without speaking to the impact of your role, it won’t hold recruiters’ attention.

Resume Tip 3Because we want to end resume fails, we regularly share resume tips like the ones shared here on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

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Posted in Career Advice, Education & Training, Job Interviews, Job Search Tips, Personal Branding, Resume Writing, Selling Your Brand, What Employers Want | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on End Resume Fails and Ace your Job Interview

Get a Grip; What Does Your Handshake Say About You!

HandshakeI recently read a note about handshakes in a career journal and thought I would update and re-post the following that I wrote many years ago.

We assume everyone knows how to shake hands, right? Not so.

A recruiter shared with me the other day, how often he met college students and professionals who really did not know how to do a professional handshake.

It might seem silly, but your handshake is one of those things that people in general or hiring managers will remember about you. Your handshake says how confident or sure of yourself you are, even when you are nervous. If you are in the job search process or in the professional environment at all, keep these handshake tips in mind when you attend job fairs, meet managers or go to interviews:

1) Offer your hand while looking the other person in the eye. Smile, and share a quick introduction of yourself. eg. “Hello, my name is Jemal Student”.

2) Women should really be sure to offer a firm grip. Not hard. Just firm. The key is palm to palm contact. Limp fingers placed in someone else’s palm, with no movement does not make a handshake.

3) One, two or even three pumps of the hand, not too fast, will do.

4) Of course be sure your hands are clean, warm and dry. If you are like my daughter, whose hands are always cold, you may or may not want to say something about your own hands.

5) It’s all right to decline a handshake if you think you have a cold and want to be health conscious.  Usually that would be the only reason, unless you are in a place where culturally, the handshake doesn’t make sense.  We’ll deal with that in another blog post.

6) Don’t worry if you are the first to let go. It is perfectly appropriate to show you know when you are done.

A hearty handshake is one way to demonstrate your confidence and professionalism. Don’t be shy about extending your hand to as many people as you can and practice getting your handshake just right.

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70% of Employers Looking at Job Applicant Social Media Accounts

Recent Career Buildjob applicant social media hiringer survey confirms what you already know – Employers are looking at applicant social media accounts.  The number is up from 60% in 2016 to 70% in 2017.  We can only assume it will keep growing.

 

What’s good about employers looking at applicant social media?

Well according to survey respondents, recruiters are looking at the following good things and making hiring decisions:

61% looking for information that supports the candidate’s knowledge and skills for the job

50% are looking to see if you have a good professional online presence

37% are looking to see what other people say about you

24% are looking for any reason at all, NOT to hire you

More than half (54%) of the recruiters said they found information on job applicant social media accounts that caused them not to make a job offer.

Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 39 %

Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 38 %

Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion: 32 %

Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 30 %

Candidate lied about qualifications: 27 %

Candidate had poor communication skills: 27 %

Candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 26 %

Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 23 %

Candidate’s screen name was unprofessional: 22 %

Candidate lied about an absence: 17 %

Candidate posted too frequently: 17 %

No question that this for all the benefits that job applicants have with using social media in the job search, there are some other challenges that come with no longer being anonymous.  Today it is not just your resume, cover letter and job interview.  It is about what you may or may not be doing relevant or not relevant to your job, that your are posting in your social media account that could get recruiters to either not extend or rescind a job offer.  Recruiters are doing everything they can to find the right candidate for vacancies and, for now, looking at job applicant social media accounts is one way they are doing that.

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Posted in Career Advice, Job Search Tips, Millennials at Work, Niche Job Board, Professional Development, Selling Your Brand, Social Media Job Search, What Employers Want | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 70% of Employers Looking at Job Applicant Social Media Accounts
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