Education Career Services

May 25, 2010

Using Internships to Beef-Up Student Résumés

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By Jenna Rew

Internships are vital for any college career, providing the meat to a sparse résumé in order to help propel you into the ever-changing job market. Don’t skip out on them; in this economy, they may be the deciding factor between you and an equally well-educated individual. Take part in as many as you can and if possible go for those that span more than a single semester.

Why risk having fewer internships for a longer running one? When transferring your list of experience to a résumé as applicable job experience, you want to show commitment and minimize the appearance of “job hopping”. Further, longer internships give you more opportunities to soak up information and show valuable initiative in an environment that might otherwise be too fast paced for any real contribution from you.

Typically, internships spanning only one semester last just long enough for you to learn how the position works and what you are responsible for but it doesn’t always lend itself to showing your real value, which could result in some very lack luster references. Look for those that are notorious for giving students real work and not just dumping clerical work on a desk, and try to build lasting relationships that could serve you later. If you can’t find a long spanning internship, then look for ways to squeeze out as much potential as possible from a shorter one. Work at home, do your research, talk to colleagues, and listen to conversations.

Always remember as you work, you are trying to build a résumé strong enough to land you a job. Consider what tools are most valuable in the industry you want to work in and look for internships that cater to those. Ask questions of your supervisors and don’t be afraid to volunteer for things that will give you more opportunities to show-off your skills.

When transferring these skills and experiences to a résumé you want to think in terms of numbers. What was the size of the project you helped with? How much money was at stake? How big was the company? For students, sometimes the prestige of the place you intern at can add value to your portfolio. How did you contribute?

Companies don’t care about your job duties; they know what the position they are hiring for does. They want to know what you bring to the table. If you know how to use some particular technical program, include that. If you worked on something difficult or unique, include that. Try to set yourself apart from your fellow entry-level job seekers, because they all need the job equally as bad.

After each internship, don’t be shy to ask if it is okay to list your supervisor as a reference on a job application, or better yet, to ask them to contribute a quote about your abilities for your résumé. Quotes are vital tools, especially for students. They help provide backing to claims that are non-quantifiable. As students, you probably aren’t going to be able to say you boosted sales 400% or reclaimed $30M in lost revenue. You just don’t have the experience, but you can show that prior employers value you and your ability to adapt to given situations.

Remember, this is your career. Do something you are passionate about and use your internships to make sure you are qualified to land your dream job. Don’t put off until tomorrow something you could do today. You don’t want to be that graduate who has to work an internship for free before getting a job because you just didn’t take the time to do it beforehand.

Thanks Jenna, we all appreciate your input and career management tips,

DHuffman,
education career services
career services international

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May 20, 2010

Infiltrating the System: The First Week on the Job

By Jenna Rew

Landing a job is the first and most common hurdle in any professional career, and in today’s economy it is paramount that you nail the interview process, win them over with your incredible charm, and amaze them with your excellent skill set. Whether you’re fresh out of college or looking to revamp your job choice, once you make it in the door it’s all about surviving that first week and keeping your newly-found cash flow from running dry.

According to the employment situation summary released on May 7 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15.3 million people were still unemployed with the number of reentrants into the labor force crouching down at around 195,000 in April, meaning there are literally thousands of people to compete with in any given field who both want and need a job, so once you land one, it’s important to keep it.

Every work environment has its own personality.

During that first week on the job, you are bound to find out what it is. My advice: adapt to it. Try to avoid confrontations at all costs and take all criticism with a grain of salt and a smile. Every one has something to learn when they enter a new work environment, even if it’s in a career they have enjoyed for decades.

Every company is different and it’s important to listen to what your co-workers and superiors have to say and try to implement those things into the work you’re doing. It makes you a better employee and puts you on the right track to completing the dreadful probationary period.

To be honest there isn’t much to do on the first week of the job. It’s okay, you’ll notice as the week goes on that you have more to do, but in the mean time, look for things to further your knowledge. Ask questions of your co-workers and read through any manuals you can find. It can be a lot of reading but it will help you later on. You can ask for practice or for one-on-one feedback, but do your best to show that you are excited about the job and ready to begin contributing to the well-being of your new employer. Try to be receptive and perform to the best of your ability. Cement for them the reasons they hired you and you’ll be on your way to a happy and healthy new work environment.

Thank you Jenna, you are a valuable addition to our team,

dhuffman

March 4, 2010

Social Media Overrunning YOUR World?

Yesterday I spoke to a Data Storage Sales Executive seeking transition from Environmental Services back to Open Storage Sales. One of the questions during our conversation regarded the prevalence and rapid growth of the Social Media stage.  Given my knack to know more and deliver the goods to an eager (and hungry) following, I did my own diligence on the matter. The statistics may surprise you.

Needless to say, if you thought social/media networking made an impact over the past few years, hold on while I recap the deal from the Career Management Alliance (specifically from AIRS Sourcing Report, February 2010).  On this note…

* Facebook has been in business six years in February, and has 400,000,000 members (if the zeros got in the way, the number is 400 million—wonder how long it will be until the number of people in Facebook is a greater percentage than the worlds population)
* 50% of Facebook users log on daily
* 65 million Facebook users access the site with mobile devices (I am still trying to figure out how to take a picture on my phone much less text…)
* LinkedIn has 11 million users across Europe
* India is the fastest growing country using LinkedIn, with more than 3 million users
* LinkedIn is offered in 4 different languages, while Facebook is offered in 70 languages
* Twitter has 75 million profiles
* In December 2009, 17% of Twitter users tweeted,

The next time you think about career networking, think about the power of the social/media world.  Then again, one thing I want to make clear, do NOT rely solely on this medium for career support.  As I closed out the conversation this morning, I made it clear an objective approach to material development and an assertive approach to spreading the word of value should be considered. 

In the submissions to come, we will continue reviewing multiple avenues guiding YOUR career success.  In the interim, let me know of any challenges you would like examined.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

November 20, 2009

WHY DO WE WAIT SO LATE?

Comments on Plagiarism and costs. College Student Journal, 43(3), 718-722.
Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.
Submitted by Professor Lewis Alston

While reading this article, a legitimate question became the title of this supposition.  I call this a supposition instead of a submission.  As of this moment, I cannot understand why the American Educational System does not spend more time on the subject of plagiarism in grades one through twelve.

I suppose that “The System” felt they had control of it in that venue.  I did not become aware of the “P-word” until the 8th and 9th grade.  The System was trying so hard to get us to read that they did not spend enough time teaching us the appropriate use of the material.  The secondary school is at a loss here.

Our general society frowns upon theft.  Hmmmm.  However, we do not teach students at an early age that taking the author’s words as our own is “stealing.”  Accordingly, a series of questions have come to mind:

§   Are we so glad that the student is reading that we do not teach proper treatment of the information when presented to the public?  (It is not the P-word until the moment of presentation.)
§   Are we putting too much pressure on the student “to perform versus developing a mastery” of the material?
§   Are we imposing sufficient sanctions early in the educational process to deter this behavior as a lifetime practice, in any environment?

Mrs. Keith, in my 9th grade AP English class, discovered that a number of students had used a literature review to write a report about a Shakespearean play.  All she did was to take off 10 points from their final grade. 

Was that a sufficient penalty to deter that sort of behavior in the future?

The only definition given to us was that we could not “copy” the material into our paper without citing it on the Bibliography Page.  (Oooooh, that was scary!)  That was / is not a deterrent to a student who has a command of the language.  That student possesses a bag full of synonyms to overcome that scholastic hurdle:

“To thine own self be true.”  [Be honest with yourself.]  (Hmmmmm.  Is this plagiarism?)  Certainly, it does not carry the same poetic effect, but it does convey the same message.  [Note: Someone call Polonius from Hamlet, Act 1, scene 3, 78-82 and tell him that I am sorry about ruining his line.]

Are we picky about the students we teach the concepts of plagiarism to in “The System”? 

Those of us who are educators spent a good percentage of our high school career in the upper level courses.  We were not in General Education courses, for the most part.  The subject of plagiarism had to be approached because of our ingenuity.  (Since I have crossed over to the dark side of education, I realize that school policy dictated more of this than the teacher’s desire to eliminate the P-word.  Not every teacher was there to elevate our use of the language.)

Actually, some my student colleagues thought it to be a challenge to see how much of someone else’s material they could use without “Mrs. Keith finding out about it.”

Am I the only one who sees that students have become master copy-and-pasters?  The Internet has become the ONLY source of information for today’s collegiate student.  When I require material from a book – a hard cover book – I am met with holy water, torches, tar and feathers.  I am to be burned at the stake at the next smoke break! 

Then, the barrage begins upon me:

One brave student screams, “A book!  Awww, come on ‘Fessa Alston, why we got to use a booook?”  [He stops to wash out his mouth.  He tastes the brine of the word “book.”]  “’Fessa Alston, I use Wiki, all ‘da time!”  [Heads are nodding affirmatively at me and their mates, throughout the classroom.] 

Then, I receive the verbal abuse of one of their greatest weapons.

“The other Instructors, do not require us to do that!!”  [Oh, this is a dagger to my heart.]  I imagine that they are trying to divide and conquer in here.  That might work at home with parents – but it should not work in here, with us. 

For the concluding moment, let us look at this issue from another angle.  Let us do away with the punitive mindset.  What about positive reinforcement?

§   Do we commend them for being original in their thought process?
§   Lastly, do we reward the lack of plagiarism, verbally or in written form?

If the theft of knowledge is not being addressed more stringently before college, we have to perform that task to protect them in this New World.  We have to reaffirm that stance with current students, periodically.  As college educators, we have to change the mindset of our incoming students.  

I suppose that we have to inform them in their few classes that they are not in the 13th grade
This is college.  Welcome to college!

Thank you Professor Lewis E. Alston for the insight as many of our students and educators will have a reaction to your words—some kind, some not so kind.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

June 26, 2009

Common Denominator: Career Management

Over the past two weeks I had the opportunity to speak to many career professionals throughout the North Eastern side of the United States.  Not only was the trip a scenic paradise, the information gained was invaluable and will be incorporated throughout blog entrees as well as our career manuals and collateral.

June 26My first stop was to oversee a train-the-trainer seminar at YTI Career Institute where I had the honor of sharing and receiving suggestions and stories from close to 50 professionals.  Not only are their campuses beautiful, their dedication to student success (from before the first day of class to beyond graduation and job acceptance) sets a high standard for any college or university to follow.  It is an honor to be part of YTI Career Institute, and I look forward to a long partnership.

The EACE conference, held in Buffalo, was also valuable.  Approximately 250 career professionals attended and many came by our booth to chat, check out our material, and offer suggestions for input. 

Though I spoke to hundreds of individuals over the past two weeks, one element was clearly expressed: professional development and career management is a major concern for everyone. 

The trip proved to be essential; sharing information in a setting conducive to growth always brings great rewards.  For the next few weeks I will be dedicating a great deal of time and energy transferring the past few weeks into our career management collateral.  

For those unable to play a direct part, the result is available.  From the student entering college to the executive seeking career challenges, one thing remains clear: we are all seeking ways to progress within this global economic cruise ship.  

If you have any questions do send them to me.  On a side note, I will be traveling to the Greater Chicago area for an upcoming MWACE conference and always up for a meet, greet, and lunch event…think about it.

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
Education Career Services: www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: www.careersi.com

April 6, 2009

Dinner and the outsourced

Had an interesting weekend until the topic of outsourcing and illegal aliens came up; let me backtrack for a moment.  My wife and I were invited to have dinner at a friend’s home and naturally we accepted.  In typical fashion, upon the completion of dinner we discussed current and concerning issues.  Not sure how it began or who initiated the conversation but the concept of outsourcing was thrown out there… seems like there are three topics one should avoid while entertaining: religion, politics, and now outsourcing.

april-06-2009Our hosts own their own company and are strong believers in outsourcing.  My wife is diametrically opposed to outsourcing while I am a middle-in-the-road person with this topic (as a Libra, it’s just the way of the stars).  One more factor which should be considered, neither of our hosts was from the US – both come from a socialistic country. 

Our hosts questioned the inborn sense of “entitlement” many of the people in the US carry and “our” overall laziness.  Additionally, in their country, and in most they have visited and lived in, poverty is much greater in the US as is crime (they threw that in as icing).  The words slung back and forth – no one was going to convince the other their view was right.  Thirty minutes of argument (no longer a discussion) later, I decided to go to the family room and watch the NCAA semi-finals… at least there would be a winner in that competitive setting.

Here it is Monday morning and I can’t shake the feeling and discussion from two nights ago.  Do US workers own a sense of entitlement?  I take this to be translated into:

“the company (or country) owes me just because I happen to be born in a specific geographic boundary.”

Could this be true?  How many people out there have experienced this type of expectation either from peers or fellow employees?  As for me, I have a good group of employees who, in my opinion, work hard and (generally) do not have a sense of entitlement.  As a matter of fact, my group is a solid band of employees.  I quite possibly may have the very best group available… this being the product not of outsourcing but of training, developing, and respecting the great staff I have. 

My concern has not waned over the past two days—as a matter of fact, the idea that we own a sense of entitlement is rather upsetting…regarding my wife, she remains fit to be tied over the concept as she owns passionate views – especially when it comes to home…and the United States is our home.

What do you think?  Are American workers spoiled?  If you owned a company and needed to hire a group of 20 employees, would you intentionally look for individuals outside the United States?  If so, which country would you focus attention to?  And finally, am I reading too much in the after-dinner conversation?  How would have you reacted?

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

dhuffman@careersi.com

Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com

Career Services International: http://www.careersi.com

March 26, 2009

Is FEAR controlling your career?

march-26-2009

 

 Being an executive career coach, writer, and textbook author, I discuss career issues daily with individuals across all industries, levels, geographic regions, and experience.  For those allowing fear to control your career, you are not alone.

 

How does one know if fear controls your career?  An incomplete listing vicariously experienced within the past month includes:

 

  • Angry at a world for not giving you the chance to prove yourself
  • Depressed and wondering if waking up is worth the effort
  • Staying home, rarely networking with friends, social groups, or professional associations
  • Ready to give up before trying
  • Feeling under-qualified for positions you are clearly qualified to handle

 

In today’s tight economy and angry-mob attitude, what can we do to control our career?  I believe the first step is to recognize our own value.  Believe it or not, uniqueness is a benefit in many arenas.  But before anyone is able to recognize value, confidence must be addressed.  From the classroom to seasoned professionals, displaying confidence is an asset many are falling short on.  No doubt some have been rejected so many times that confidence can be a limited resource.  Still, we need to strap the boots on every day and accept progress, not regress.

 

I hear the outcry and am reminded daily that rejection is a part of life.  On a personal note, I wrote a wonderful piece of fiction several years ago (450+ pages of adventure and thrills), believed it to be an instant classic, and sent it out for publishing consideration…

 

Result: over 50 rejections in 6 months (any publishers looking for a great piece of literature?).  Perhaps this is not the example I should use?  Then again, I am a published author now (just not from my creative work—yet!) and colleges, universities, libraries, and career-minded individuals are receiving benefit from my pages.

 

For too long I allowed fear to control my life, my career.  For those ready to take control, the first steps are hard…accept that there will always be struggles, no matter the number of steps; and remind yourself that “easy” is also a four-letter word.

 

Today is the day to take control of your career by:

 

  • Not being angry at the world; individually one can change the world one step at a time
  • Throwing off the cloak of depression; confidence is a natural reaction to value—and we all have value
  • Packaging yourself and letting the world know who you are; the total package secures offers
  • Never allowing obstacles outside of our control to dictate action
  • Knowing the contributions you will make and displaying those contributions in a way that draws hiring managers to you; recent graduates, transitioning professionals, and entry-level candidates all possess skills – do not sell yourself short

 Fear and anger are nasty words and in my house, they are words without a room to call their own.  With this submission, I will conclude by visiting a statement from a rather old/but relevant movie; many will recognize its origin:

 

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!

 

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

dhuffman@careersi.com

Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com

Career Services International: http://www.careersi.com

March 10, 2009

Job Searching While Employed? Keep it to Yourself!

Does your boss know you are back in the job market? I hope not…it can mean the difference between wanting to get a new job and having to get one.

 march-10-2009

Most corporations avoid keeping employees who don’t want to be there. They certainly won’t tolerate employees who are not being productive in their current position while surfing Monster.com. You may end up being eaten by that monster (i.e. your boss).

 

Keep your job hunting to yourself. Even though statistics show that 25% of employees perform their job searches while at work, don’t do it. Never sit at your desk and search job sites or scan the local newspaper’s want ads while on your lunch break with coworkers. This is like having a neon sign above your head that reads, “Job seeker here.”

 

If you must make search-related phone calls during work hours, use your cell phone where no one can hear you. Look for some isolated area, like a sound-proof room once used for interrogation of disloyal employees. Do not use the phone at your desk or workstation. Many employers do not approve of their staff using equipment for personal reasons. They might also monitor employee phone calls. This is not the way you want them to discover you’re hoping to find a better position.

 

If you have an interview with another company, it is acceptable to ask the interviewer not to contact your current employer. Most hiring professionals understand the necessity of discretion and will avoid any undo disclosure.

 

Your employment search is nobody’s business but your own. Keep it private or prepare to be unemployed until you find your next job. Better yet, hire professionals to help you with your quest.

 

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

dhuffman@careersi.com

Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com

Career Services International: http://www.careersi.com

 

February 6, 2009

References Available Upon Request: Do or Don’t I?

Yesterday I was asked a question regarding “References Upon Request” to be used as a resume closure.  This question is asked regularly and merits review here.  According to the Career Management Alliance, in a recent article written by Patricia Traina, CPRW, the following was presented:

 

References: Many candidates still include the line, “References available upon request.” Nowadays, almost every corporation is going to request references anyway, so no need to make it sound like you’re giving permission for the employer to obtain what they’re going to need anyway.”

 

The practice of not closing resume’s with “References available upon request” is consistent with the two other major career management associations.  Those being the “Professional Resume Writers Association” and the “National Resume Writers Association.”

 

On a professional note, being as objective as possible, I synthesize the advice of the top three associations when I am in doubt.  Understand this advice offered through these associations is targeted toward mid to high-level executives so the playing field can change due to the level of the candidate.  As a result, for recently graduating students or for individuals who have been in the workforce for two years or less, I often place references upon request as a closure.  Other types of closures (depending upon the candidate) could be Fluent in Spanish; Available for Relocation, etc.  As for a symbol, the closure can be 3-5 centered bullets at the bottom of the sheet—there is much leeway in this capacity.

 

Another reason the associations agree on not having References Upon Request is that the statement carries no merit to the point.  In other words, it is presumed references could be provided and, as you know, most organizations expect a separate reference sheet.

 

Just like any document, there are guidelines and the above suggestions are not cemented rules.  In this ever-changing industry, creating the most effective career document can be a nightmare!  Therefore it is important to keep up with the latest trends, and I encourage you, your peers, and all the individuals you can think of to become active in this blog.

 

Send questions, comments, and suggestions as topics chosen are meant to be of immediate value to YOU.  Think about it, you have free access to a professional writer and career coach at your fingertips. 

  

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

http://www.educationcs.com

http://www.careersi.com

 

February 4, 2009

American Idol and Career Management

Okay, I’ll admit it, I watched American Idol last night (along with 28 million other viewers).

 

Being a career management professional, I began paralleling the show with current career management techniques.  Oddly enough, similar philosophical and practical approaches surfaced in a matter of seconds.  Before you begin shaking your head in disbelief, give me a moment to explain.

 american-idol-jusges

Breaking it down, American Idol and Career Management carry the following characteristics:

 

  1. Candidates are asked a few introductory questions and then (within seconds) are required to “show” what they have to offer
  2. A panel of judges decide instantly to sever their relationship or allow a second interview/audition
  3. External and non-relative variables are introduced in the mix and used to support decisions (yes, even in “objective” interviews, this happens)
  4. Additional filtering rounds become increasingly difficult
  5. Candidates often leave the process not knowing exactly what the judges (or company) is looking for
  6. The arena is extremely emotional and often those not going to the next round tear or lash out
  7. There is a stereotypical good guy/bad guy setting (need I detail where Simon and Paula fit in this category, I’m not so sure about the other guy and the new girl)
  8. Candidates are judged not only on their skill, but on their added value, ie marketability
  9. While there is an appearance the judges (or interviewers) appear to be concerned about the individual, truth be known, it’s all about the bottom-line
  10. And finally, there is only one winner; one candidate will be offered the position or one person will be the next Clay or Kelly

As for me, tonight I will be watching round two.  Not so much for the singing, but perhaps Simon will accidently offer insightful interview and networking tips.

 

For those looking for career transitions or for students looking to gain access to the employment market, get your pen and paper out and prepare yourself for career management 101 by way of Fox and American Idol. 

 

Let me know what you find out,

 

Danny Huffman

http://www.educationcs.com

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