Help Your References Help You

April 8th, 2014

You had a great resume. You got the interview. Now you furnish your references. Will you get the job? Employers DO contact references and YOUR reference can make the difference between you and another candidate getting the job offer. Help your references help you:
1. Talk with potential references before the job search. The better you know your reference and he/she knows your goals and achievements, the better reference they can be for you. You want references who will enthusiastically endorse you for the job.
2. Use recent references who know your work experience and your work ethic. Ensure they’ve known you for a minimum of one year, and preferably longer. Employers are most likely to call more recent references. Using one or two former/present employer references and one or two academic references works well for recent graduates. Refrain from using family members, even if you have worked for them. They are automatically discounted as being subjective.
3. Use references that can articulate your transferrable skills. You may not have done the job you’re applying for, but a good communicator who knows you can demonstrate your strengths in a meaningful way to a potential employer.
4. Furnish your references with a recent resume. They may not recall how long you worked for them or what your background or other experiences are or even your major or degree. Whether or not they are writing a letter of recommendation, an updated resume will be helpful for them and beneficial for you.
5. Finally, remember that employers WILL contact references. Reference information needs to be updated. Check in with your references every time you have an interview set up to let them know they may be contacted. Ensure their contact information, title, company, etc. is correctly submitted to the employer, and that they have access to phone/and or email (travel, particularly international travel could affect their availability). When a candidate is a top contender following an interview and your references are not available by phone or email for several days, employers can and will move on to the next candidate.

Holidays provide a great time to connect

December 17th, 2013

Add three to five people to your connections over the holidays. Take advantage of the holiday family and social gatherings to learn what others are doing and tell them about your career interests. Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert, gives some great tips in her article Networking Tips for the Holidays.Networking Tips for Holidays

Resume Transformation

December 4th, 2013

How can you transform your resume from a series of facts and bullet points to an eye-catching,appetite whetting document that gets you calls for an interview? Vivian Giang explains what a career expert at TheLadders suggests in this article: How to Write an Excellent Resume 2013 For more resume and career advice, go to http://careercenter.cofc.edu/ and select the Students or Alumni links on left.

Young and just starting in your career? Some insightful advice from your peers.

May 31st, 2013

Career Advice for Young Professionals from Successful Go-Getters article by The Brazen Team found in Brazen Life
Career Advice for Young Professionals from Successful Go-Getters

Looking for a Job? Make sure you avoid these pitfalls.

May 7th, 2013

Allison Linn of NBC News writes: “Hey, class of 2013, here’s how NOT to get a job” in NBC News.com

Does Your Resume Look Dated?

January 3rd, 2013

In Toni Bowers’ article, “Four things that make your resume look dated” published in Tech Republic on February 21, 2012, she reminds us that times have changed.

Four things that make your resume look dated

Have you reviewed your resumes lately?

Two-Minute Career Advice Videos

December 6th, 2012

Looking for quick answers to your career search questions? We’re going to be publishing some quick video clips, courtesy of About.com JobSearch, a great career website for both experienced and new job searchers. While there are thousands of good articles worth taking the time to read (we have many relevant resources on our website: careercenter.cofc.edu under the Student section as well), some of us just like quick blips of information. So look for our quick videos and remember: Holidays are a great time to network.

Planning a Career Change?

July 30th, 2012

By Helen Burnett-Nichols, BrighterLife.ca
From CareerVitality

While some people are fortunate enough to find their true calling on their first try, for others, finding the job that best matches their strengths, skills and interests may call for a career change – or several as they search for it.

Vancouver resident Fannie Smith made a successful change, with the help of careful planning. After working in the tourism industry for several years, she started questioning her career path, wondering if a more fulfilling profession was out there.

The journey towards her new career began while Smith was watching a wheelchair rugby game in 2010, when she decided her true interests lay in event management for disability sports. She then began to plan her career change. After a year-long transition involving a lot of time and energy, she is now thriving in her new role as high-performance coordinator with the Disabled Skiers Association of B.C.

If a new career area has piqued your interest and you are considering a move into a new job, sector or profession, those who have made the leap say there are a number of steps you can take to help you get there.

10 Things Grandma Wishes You Knew About Money

July 16th, 2012

by Catey Hill, Contributor
Forbes.com

Grandma and grandpa probably dish out advice on how to bake mouth-watering chocolate-chip cookies or how to change your own oil, but have they shared their wisdom on how to manage your money? If they’ve been mum so far, now’s your chance to get that advice (without a 25-minute phone call that first features a play-by-play of today’s shuffleboard tournament — we love you guys, but you sure can talk!).

Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement released a survey showing what middle-income retirees say is their top financial advice for the younger generation. Here are the top 10 things retirees said they think we should know (and some of my thoughts below them).

8 Things Graduates Should Know Before Joining the Workforce

June 4th, 2012

By Yun Siang Long
From CareerRealism.com

The following career advice is what I believe to be the top eight things college graduates should know before joining the workforce. I am sure there are additional tips you can bring into the workforce but these are a great start to ensure you begin on the right foot.

1. Time Management

Time is finite. Once it is gone you cannot take it back. Once a deadline is missed there is no turning back. If you missed an assignment, you risk a lower grade. But in the working world it can mean losing a job project and the company having to incur financial losses. Learn time management skills and you end up being more productive, effective and efficient.

2. Do More, Talk Less

It’s far too easy to be convinced by people who say you can talk to impress people. And I do not deny that, but eventually your work has to be the proof that you are a good worker and you are dependable. You need to decide if you will do more and talk less or do less and talk more.

3. Being Present

Being present means two things to me. Firstly, it means be on time every time. This ranges from a small internal meeting to meeting your deadlines. It means being there when you are needed. Golden opportunities present themselves when you are present. Secondly, being present means focusing on what is the work that needs to be completed. It also means being mindful and fully aware of your surroundings.

4. Give Your Work a Routine

Develop some form of routine and be disciplined to stick to that routine. This is related to time management but goes beyond the time management that you do in the office. Have a routine for your life. Give yourself time – block off time for yourself to read or even do the chores like laundry, etc. Start to be more organized than when you were in college. Stick to this career advice even though it does not relate to career building. You will soon see the wisdom of it.

5. Be Nice

Learn to be authentic and avoid politics. Of course, sometimes it is tough not to get involved at all. But you can learn to avoid it and be real. Be authentic to your values. These are your anchors that hold you when people change and agendas change. Be nice to people regardless of rank and designation. Smile often. Say your “please” and “thank you.”

6. Compete With Yourself

Compete with no one else. Of course, no matter what is said and done, you will always be peeping at the next guy to see how he is doing in his career.

Sure, peep.

But don’t be overly affected by competition that you forget to look at yourself. Be the best you can be in this long cross country marathon, it is filled with detours and stops. When you focus too much on your competitors you may get lost. It’s one of those graduate career advice you need to experience to know what this truly means.

7. Create, Not Just Discover

Life is as much about creating as it is discovering. I hear far too often fresh graduates saying, “I need to discover myself.” But is life all about discovering yourself? It is and it is also not. Life is as much as creating the you, you want to be as it is in discovering the you that you are.

The truth is somewhere in between. So, when you get a job that is less than satisfactory for you, use it as a pedagogue to discover yourself. More importantly, use it to give you hints at creating the self you want to be.

8. Fun is in Learning

There is a lot of fun in learning. If you understand being present in my earlier advice, then you will know work life presents so much you can learn and be paid for it. Learn to love what you do and learn to love learning. Because the chance to do what you love maybe far and in between. When you find fun in learning then you will be constantly improving yourself. Learn to love books and all sorts of books. There is no need to stick to books in your own industry.

These are the eight things I consider solid career advice for any graduate. A new phase of life has just begun. It’s a long road of work from now on. There is no need to take the whole in one breadth. Take time and enjoy life while honing your skills as you move along.