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Campus Jobs are Real Jobs Too!

campus jobsWorking throughout the college experience is a reality for most HBCU college students. If you are lucky enough to land one of the jobs on campus, I encourage you to take your work seriously. Campus jobs are real jobs too and should be taken seriously as legitimate opportunities to gain new skills, build your professional network and earn real money…without the commute.

Putting aside the schedule flexibility and the short commute, college students can gain the following real advantages by working in campus jobs.

1. Meet college and university staff beyond the classroom. Supervisors who are impressed by student workers are often willing to write letters of recommendation or provide professional references.

2. Gain real, marketable skills in your preferred career area. College campuses are just like other organizations with employees in pretty much every functional area. From public relations to food service to library services, there are thousands of campus jobs.

3. Learn how to execute an effective job search process.  Landing campus jobs is one of the first experiences college students have with independently walking through the job search process or connecting with the career center staff on campus.

4. Develop actual professional soft skills which are necessary for future workplace success. Office etiquette, workplace social savvy, communication skills, following instructions etc. are all valuable skills that college students need to learn.

Campus jobs are real jobs too and our HBCU college students need to use the opportunity to develop real networking relationships and real job skills.

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Graduating with No Work Experience? No Problem

If you are graduating from cono skills or experiencellege and have little or no work experience in the field, you better start thinking about how to sell yourself in the job interview.  If you think you have too little related work experience or no internships, you should be thinking hard about what other relevant experience to sell in the job interview.

Keep in mind that employers are not as interested in where you developed the skills you have, as much as they want to know which job skills you have. Even if you have little to no work experience, employers are extremely interested in the knowledge, abilities, work ethic and attitude you do have.  The way to demonstrate these in job interviews is to share relevant stories from your personal life, classroom or extra curricular experiences.

For example:
Let’s say you finished a hospitality or culinary program, with some hands on training – maybe a restaurant class. Plus you have experience catering events for church or community organization. Even if you have no work experience in a real restaurant, you still have some experiences to talk about in a job interview.  The ultimate goal for job search success is to share your strongest relevant job skills and best personal attributes with employers in the job interview.

Prepare for the job interview in 3 steps:

1. Make a list of the job skills and competencies employers in your field want from new employees.  The HBCU career center can help.
2. Think about personal experiences that demonstrate each of these job skills and competencies. Remember that experiences do not have to be paid!
3. For each job skill and competency find the best example in your past to demonstrate the job skill and competency.

Use these examples in the job interview to increase chances of a second interview.

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NoVo Foundation Invests in Women of Color

It is probably the largest ever such gift specifically designated to the “dismantling [of] the barriers that prevent them from realizing that potential and leading us toward a truly transformative movement for change.”

The “them” in that sentence is girls and young women of color and the gift refers to a $90 million pledge from the NoVo Foundation.  After a series of community conversations with young women and girls during the summer of 2016, the foundation expects to formulate a final strategy in 2017.  In the NBC news piece, the NoVo organization says that “the goal will be a funding strategy that is truly shaped by girls themselves,” and that is accountable to them.

The organization making this pledge to invest in women of color, was founded in 2006 by the son and daughter-in-law of one of America’s richest men, Warren Buffet.

“We hope this kind of broad-based, fundamental change will impact girls and young women in communities of all kinds across the country, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all girls and women can unlock their full potential,” said Shifman. “Now is our chance to work together to harness this moment and ensure it is translated into long-term, meaningful change.”

I can see this as something our currently First Lady, Michelle Obama, would probably be involved with, since it looks like a project just up her street. (;>

More about the NoVoFoundation here!

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Why Informational Interviews are so POWERFUL!

Winformational interviewse are almost at that time of year when millions of new college grads will walk across the stage without a plan for next steps.  The AfterCollege.com survey for 2014 college graduates showed that 80% graduatedwith no job or career lined up. The bigger issue is not just that they don’t have jobs lined up, is that most, don’t know which careers are in their futures.  The informational interview is a quick way to learn about careers from people on the inside.  It’s one of the reasons that career centers love to recommend this strategy to new grads.

What is an Informational Interview?

Do you want to find out more about a specific career or job? What people do in the day-to-day activities in a certain occupation? One way to do that is interview people who already work in that occupation. This type of interview is called an informational interview.

Print this list of questions to ask in your informational interview. How do you find someone to interview? Contact the staff in the Career Center on your #HBCU campus and I guarantee they can help you connect with an employer, alumni or professional in the field of interest.  If that doesn’t work, reach out to someone on social media.  You can find professionals on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  They probably won’t have a sign that says they are open for interviews, but do your research and ask questions or ask for referrals.

Sample Informational Interview questions:

1. What do you do in a typical day on your job?
2. What training or education is required for this job/career?
3. What personal qualities or abilities contribute to success in this job/career?
4. What do you find most satisfying and most challenging about your work?
5. What was your career path after you graduated from your vocational program?
6. What opportunities for advancement exist in this career?
7. What entry-level jobs in this industry would you recommend as the place to begin a career?
8. In your opinion – how has this job/career changed over the last 5 or 10 years?
9. How do you see the job/career changing over th next 5 years?
10. Which professional associations or journals would you recommend?
11. If you could relive your career path in this industry, what would you change? Why?
12. Do you have any advice for me on my resume?
13. How can I change it to improve responses from employers in this field?
14. Who would you recommend I speak with to get more information about this job/career?
15. May I use your name when I contact the person you recommended?

This information fits the Career and Industry Awareness section of the career development model.

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The Secret to Getting that First Job

land first job after graduationEvery year another group of anxious, yet excited, graduates get ready to receive to walk the stage and hold those diplomas high. Some of these grads will be wise and visit their campus career centers early to get a jump start on the job search to get that first job.  Unfortunately, most new grads will walk away from campus with a lot of debt and no job.  The Washington Post actually reports that four out of five students graduate without having that first job.

After working for 15 years with college graduates on the college to work pipeline, there are definitely some strategies that will help new graduates land that first job after graduation.

How to land your first job after graduation

1. Seek career counseling or coaching. Some students don’t like the word “counseling” so I would rephrase that to say – seek career and job search help in the career center on your campus.  If you are graduating from a HBCU, you can find links to the HBCU career centers here.

2. Prepare effective introductory correspondence. In other words, get a good resume, cover letter and/or portfolio together.  Please look for our Resume Guide which will be published this year.

3. Prepare for and participate in on-campus recruiting opportunities. This means that your job as a college senior is to find your campus career center and get to know the staff.  Better yet, get the staff to know you.

4. Know how to interview and practice interviewing. If you impress employers on campus, they will invite you back to their site. Here are tips on how to succeed on the second interview.

5. Follow up and continue your job search efforts. The real secret to getting that first job is being persistent and professional with follow up.

Students who succeed and get that first great job after graduation know they have to follow this process and connect with many employers. It’s a good job market, but very competitive.  If you stay positive, work with your career center and stay focused you can do well.

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A Good Employment Reference Brings Value

professional references on campusValue of a good employment reference!

Everyone knows the value of a good employment reference to help you stand out in a job search. Lining up a good employment reference is a key part of an effective job search and you want to do it before graduation.

A good reference, of course, does not only have to come in the form of a letter, but can be via conversation with a recruiter, an endorsement on LinkedIn or just in the fact someone refers you for a job.

Many of us who hire people for a living as HR professionals will often say that the reference letter might actually be worth less than the piece of paper on which it is written.   Let’s face it, although it does happen, most people who commit to being an employment reference will only say good things about you.

This article by Lindsay Olsen addresses, what she calls The Ins and Outs of Providing References.  Olsen recommends that you create a separate list of references after asking your contacts to support you this way.

Knowing how and who to ask to be a good employment reference for you can really take a job search to the next level.

Additional reading on references:

9 Key Elements to a Good Cover Letter

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