e-book The Secret to Getting a Job after College: Marketing Tactics to Turn Degrees into Dollars

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Focusing on Opportunities to Pursue. Identifying Potential Employers. The Value of Print Media. Market Research. Your Cover Letter. Your Internet Presence. Selling Yourself over the Phone. Your Sales Presentation. Reference Checking.

What role do you see yourself playing in the organization? Make a preliminary career decision and create a plan of action. Now that you have an idea of who you are and where you might find a satisfying career, how do you start taking action to get there? Some people talk to family, friends, or instructors in their chosen disciplines. Your college has career counselors and academic advisors who can help you with both career decision-making and the educational planning process.

This may be as simple as creating a preliminary educational plan for next semester or a comprehensive educational plan that maps out the degree you are currently working toward. You may also want to look for internships, part-time work, or volunteer opportunities that help you test and confirm you preliminary career choice.

Your college counselor can help you with this step, as well. Your work experiences and life circumstances will undoubtedly change throughout the course of your professional life, so you may need to go back and reassess where you are on this path in the future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before age forty. This number is projected to grow. But no matter if you feel like you were born knowing what you want to do professionally, or you feel totally unsure about what the future holds for you, remember that with careful consideration, resolve, and strategic thought, you can find a career that feels rewarding.

Your major is the discipline you commit to as an undergraduate student. Within each major is a host of core courses and electives. When you successfully complete the required courses in your major, you qualify for a degree. Why is your major important? In this section, we look at how to select your major and how your college major may correlate with a career.

Does your major matter to your career? What happens if you change your major? Does changing your major mean you must change your career? Read on to find out! Selecting your major is one of the most exciting tasks and, to some students, perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking tasks you are asked to perform in college.

So many decisions are tied to it. But if you have good guidance, patience, and enthusiasm, the process is easier.

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The video below presents the following five tips:. Who is right? And who gets to weigh in? It may be difficult to say for sure whether your major truly matters to your career. Is it possible to have a good marriage between your major, your skills, job satisfaction, job security, and earnings? If this is the case, will it make more sense, looking back, to spend your time and tuition dollars studying a subject you especially enjoy? Marva Collins, civil rights activist and educator. To help you navigate your pathway to career success, take advantage of all the resources available to you.

Many organizations have free materials that can provide guidance, such as the ones in the table, below:. If you lived and worked in colonial times in the United States, what skills would you need to be gainfully employed? And how different would your skills and aptitudes be then, compared to today? For example, in the healthcare field then, just like today, employers looked for professionals with scientific acumen, active listening skills, a service orientation, oral comprehension abilities, and teamwork skills.

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Why is it that with the passage of time and all the changes in the work world, some skills remain unchanged or little changed? The answer might lie in the fact there are are two main types of skills that employers look for: hard skills and soft skills. An employer might rather hire an inexperienced worker who can pay close attention to details than an experienced worker who might cause problems on a work team. We also explain how to use your time and resources wisely to acquire critical skills for your career goals.


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A skill is something you can do, say, or think right now. Spend some time reviewing each resource. You will find many interesting and exciting options. This is a good problem to have!

The Secret to Getting a Job After College: Marketing Tactics to Turn Degrees Into Dollars

Transferable soft skills may be used in multiple professions. They include, but are by no means limited to, skills listed below:. These skills are transferable because they are positive attributes that are invaluable in practically any kind of work. They also do not require much training from an employer—you have them already and take them with you wherever you go.

By comparing both sets, you can more directly gear your job search to your strongest professional qualities. The following video further explores what soft skills are and why they are essential to the modern workplace, regardless of your specific career:.

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Think of all the information resources around you: colleges and universities, libraries, the Internet, videos, games, books, films—the list goes on. With these resources at your disposal, how can you best position yourself for lifelong learning and a strong, viable career? Which hard and soft skills are most important? What are employers really looking for?

It contains excellent practical advice. The video below, from Stephen F. Austin State University, provides great insight into how being involved while in college can help you develop these critical skills and into determining what level of involvement may be right for you. As you can see, being deeply involved with at least one organization while in college creates the perfect opportunity to hone some soft skills. We close this professional skill-building topic by sharing an essay by Vicki L. I was supposed to be a teacher.

Growing up, I had a classroom in the basement. I had a chalkboard, chalk, desks, textbooks, homework assignments, pens, pencils, paper—you name it, I had it! As an elementary education major in college, I participated in a variety of classes—classes on literacy, math and science, philosophies of teaching, child development theory, principles of education, foundations of classroom behavior, and a whole list of others.

We learned how to write a lesson plan, manage a classroom, how to set up a classroom, and much, much more. In addition to my studies, I got involved in campus life. I joined the swimming and diving team, participated in campus activities, and joined clubs.

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I served as a captain of the swimming and diving team, became an Orientation Leader and a Resident Assistant, and completely immersed myself in the college experience. It was through these co-curricular activities that I was introduced to the world of higher education and a potentially new career choice for myself.

Through my academic and co-curricular activities, I gained valuable knowledge from all those I came in contact with—my peers, professors, Residence Hall Directors, and many college administrators. They encouraged me to explore what it was that I really wanted to do with my life. Each and every skill you acquire is transferable. The classroom management techniques I learned in college have helped me to manage my office, staff, team, committees, etc. Each and every skill you learn throughout your academic, personal, and professional career are valuable and transferable.

See if you can remember a time in your childhood when you noticed somebody doing professional work. Maybe a nurse or doctor, dressed in a lab coat, was listening to your heartbeat. Maybe a worker at a construction site, decked in a hard hat, was operating noisy machinery. Maybe a cashier at the checkout line in a grocery store was busily scanning barcodes. Each day in your young life you could have seen a hundred people doing various jobs.

Surely some of the experiences drew your interest and appealed to your imagination. What exactly is career development? There are five main stages of career development. As we progress through each stage and reach the milestones identified, we prepare to move on to the next one. Which stage of career development do you feel you are in currently?

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Think about each stage. Where are you headed?