Blueprint for Success in College: Career Decision Making

Blueprint for Success in College: Career Decision Making

v 1.2

Dave Dillon

Linda Bruce Hill and Lumen Learning

1

Dedication

For Brooklyn Grace and Molly Scarborough: May you thoughtfully choose careers you enjoy.

“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.”

– Irish Blessing

Contents

2

License

Dave Dillon

©2018 Dave Dillon

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, except where otherwise noted.

You are free to:

The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

Under the following terms:

3

About the Authors

Dave Dillon, Linda (Bruce) Hill, Thomas Priester

Dave Dillon, Curator and Editor of Blueprint for Success in Career Decision Making

Dave Dillon earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a master’s degree in counseling from the University of San Diego. His first career and passion was coaching basketball which he did for seven years at the University of California at San Diego. Following a year of substitute teaching (K-12), four years working in the entertainment department for the San Diego Padres major league baseball organization, and a year as a product analyst in the video game industry, Dave continued to pursue his passion of counseling and teaching at the community college level.

As a tenured professor and counseling faculty at Grossmont College, Dave enjoys connecting with students. He does his best to keep up with the next generation and their use of technology in and out of the classroom. His passion has not ceased from his UCSC commencement speech to presenting at local and national conferences. Dave resides in Carlsbad, California, with his wife, two daughters, and yellow labrador, Lucy.

This OER (Open Educational Resources) project has taken full advantage of the “5 R’s” or permissions of OER, the ability to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute content for educational purposes. It is with great gratitude that I introduce the authors of the OER texts whose content was retained, reused, revised, and/or remixed in some way and contributed to this final product. Links to the original OER texts, their licenses, and peer reviews can be found in Appendix A.

Linda (Bruce) Hill, contributing author to College Success

Linda (Bruce) Hill is the director of distance learning at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, where she works with graduate students and faculty to help them thrive in a global learning environment. Her career in education spans decades of technology growth and change, but is centered on a love of teaching and learning and on the rewards of continuing education. A lifelong learner herself, Linda earned a bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film at the University of Maryland College Park, and a master’s in education and human development at the George Washington University in a distance learning program that set standards for higher education offerings. Outside of her full-time work at Goucher, Linda freelances as a writer and instructional designer —pursuits that aligned her with Lumen Learning on the production of their College Success course, built heartily with open education resources and original writing. A favorite quote exemplifying her professional philosophy is from Arthur C. Clarke: “Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.”

Thomas C. Priester, editor of Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom

A hope-inspired educator dedicated to helping others interact with the future, Thomas C. Priester holds a Doctor of Education degree in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher College, a Master of Science degree in Student Personnel Administration from SUNY Buffalo State, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary English Education from Fredonia (where he is also a member of the Alumni Board of Directors). Having worked previously in the areas of academic success, student life, student leadership development, orientation, academic advising, and residence life, Dr. Priester currently serves as the Director of Transitional Studies/Assistant Professor at SUNY Genesee Community College in Batavia, NY where he is also an advisor to the campus chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the chairperson of both the Academic Assessment and the Transitional Studies Committees, and a member of both the Institutional Effectiveness and the Academic Senate Curriculum Committees. Additionally, Dr. Priester is a faculty member in the Higher Education Student Affairs Administration graduate program at SUNY Buffalo State in Buffalo, NY, has taught conversational English at Fatec Americana in Americana, São Paulo, Brazil, and Academic Success at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, NY. Dr. Priester has served as a contributing chapter author for the books: Assessing Student Learning in the Community and Two-Year College (Stylus, 2013) and Examining the Impact of Community Colleges on the Global Workforce (IGI Global, 2015) and has most recently published the open access textbook: Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom (Open SUNY Textbooks, 2015).

4

Foreword

James Glapa-Grossklag

To think creatively about the future is to risk ridicule. To create the future by acting decisively is to guarantee opposition. The author of this book, Dave Dillon, and your instructor who has assigned this book, have encountered both ridicule and opposition, in order for you to freely access this book.

The book that you are reading is not only about career decision making. Rather, this book demonstrates that the author and your instructor care enough about academic freedom and your success that they have taken decisive action to break away from conventional and traditional ways of packaging and providing textbooks to students. In other words, this book was not produced by a traditional publisher that would have created a product that costs more than you care to think about. Nor was it produced by a traditional publisher far away from your classroom, your concerns, and your way of learning. Instead, this book was created by Dave Dillon, writing and editing and collecting his own words and those of other dedicated teachers. It is presented to you as an Open Educational Resource—a creative work that is licensed so that it can be used, shared, and re-mixed freely and legally.

All of this means that you can focus on learning, not on student debt; you are learning with materials carefully selected by teachers who care about your success; and you can keep the book, share it, and even re-mix it (with proper attribution). Perhaps, after all, this book is about making good choices in one’s career.

James
——————————–
James Glapa-Grossklag
Dean, Educational Technology, Learning Resources and Distance Learning
Project Director, Distance Education Captioning & Transcription Grant
Co-Coordinator, Technical Assistance, CCC Zero Textbook Cost Degree program
Treasurer and Past President of the Board, Open Education Consortium
College of the Canyons

5

Preface

Thomas Priester, Dave Dillon

Dave Dillon, Curator and Editor of Blueprint for Success in Career Decision Making

As an adjunct counselor and instructor between 2004 and 2007, I began teaching counseling and personal development courses at multiple community colleges. Some campuses assigned textbooks for some courses and others gave the freedom to choose from a variety of texts. As my materials grew, the actual textbooks, an assortment of copies of assignments, handouts, class activities and exams for many different courses became challenging to transport and to stay organized for preparation and teaching. I distinctly remember frantically sifting through a rolling suitcase bag (which my colleagues teased me about) trying to find the handout I wanted to use for the third campus I was at on that particular day. I told myself that when and if I became a full-time counselor, I would write my own textbook so that all of the material would be in one place.

Hired as a full-time counselor and instructor at Grossmont College in 2007, I decided to start writing my own textbook for a Study Skills and Time Management course instead of continuing to carry around so many different materials. I began writing in 2009 and some of the ideas from that first effort helped shaped this project.

This book was also written because there is a need for it. Many students aren’t certain what to choose for their major or their career. And some are lost trying to navigate through the maze and culture of college, often balancing their school workload while working and taking care of family responsibilities. Students are sometimes unsuccessful when they begin college—not for lack of motivation or hard work, but because they did not acquire the skills or information necessary to allow them to succeed.

Despite my interest in keeping the cost of the original textbook low, I found that the cost was still prohibitive for many students and as I began to research textbook affordability solutions, I found OER (Open Educational Resources). I made a decision to publish this book as an OER, as well as the second edition of Blueprint for Success: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies, and the first edition of Blueprint for Success in College and Career. As one of my colleagues said, “you have gone all in with OER.” There are many reasons for why this book is an Open Educational Resource, including but not limited to textbook affordability, access, empathy, openness, inclusion, diversity, and equity. I want students to be able to have access to the textbook on day one and after the course ends, not have to choose between buying food and purchasing the text, and not have to worry about a lost, stolen, or expired digital access code. This Santa Ana College student panel from the Open Education Conference 2017 exemplifies why this text is an OER:

Video: Santa Ana College OER Student Panel OpenEd 2017

Thumbnail for the embedded element "Santa Ana College OER Student Panel OpenEd 2017"

A YouTube element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here: https://press.rebus.community/blueprint3/?p=28

I also found a wonderful community of supporters of Open Education and Open Educational Resources along with existing high quality, peer reviewed College Success OER. I researched and identified content from multiple sources, chose what information best fit my project, and then “reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed” with a Creative Commons by attribution license so that future users can freely retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute.

It has been my desire to deliver an easy-to-read, simple-to-understand instruction manual for study skills, time management, and career exploration, full of real-life examples.

It is my sincere hope that this book will help guide you to success in major and career identification and success in your future.

Licenses and Attributions:

CC licensed content, Previously shared:

Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom. Edited by Thomas Priester.  Located at: https://milnepublishing.geneseo.edu/foundations-of-academic-success/front-matter/preface/  License: CC BY: Attribution.

Original content authored by Dave Dillon.  License: CC BY: Attribution.

Content previously copyrighted, published in Blueprint for Success in College: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies (by Dave Dillon). Located at: https://press.rebus.community/blueprint1/  Now licensed as CC BY: Attribution.

Video: Santa Ana College OER Student Panel OpenEd 2017.  Located at: https://youtu.be/vtPm3zsSfWo License: CC BY: Attribution.

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What to Expect for the Student

Dave Dillon

This textbook is a “remix” of two previous open sourced textbooks. Effort was placed into maintaining consistency throughout while striving to strike a balance with preserving original content. See the licensing and attribution information at the end of each chapter if you are interested in identifying the chapter author.

Some of The Foundations of Success: Words of Wisdom essays are included in their original from and have been distributed throughout the text with the title of each chapter beginning “Words of Wisdom.” The authors of these essays are identified at the top of each chapter.

Videos are embedded within the text. Students with internet access and a device capable of playing videos will be able to watch the videos as they are reading. Students reading offline, with a .pdf  download, or on a device that does not play video will see a link to the video in the text. All of the videos and multimedia are also listed in the Appendix for future viewing and reference.

Licenses and Attributions:

Original content authored by Dave Dillon.  License: CC BY: Attribution.

7

Acknowledgements

Thomas Priester, Dave Dillon

Acknowledgments from Foundations of Success: Words of Wisdom and bios from the authors of the essays (written by Thomas Priester).

First, I’d like to acknowledge the students enrolled in my First-Year Experience 100 course at SUNY Genesee Community College during the 2014-2015 academic school year. Your feedback truly helped to revolutionize academic success for generations of college students to come.

Much appreciation to both Kate Pitcher and Allison Brown at Geneseo for their patience and support as I worked through the Open SUNY Textbooks publication process.

Thank you to Lindsey Dotson (SUNY Buffalo State, 2016) and Jeffrey Parfitt (SUNY Genesee Community College, 2015) for their assistance in making FAS: WoW a reality.

Props to Nicki Lerczak for giving the final draft the “hairy librarian eyeball.” Her words, not mine!

Finally, many thanks goes to the following State University of New York (SUNY) students, employees, and alumni for sharing their words of wisdom that frames the text:

Dr. Andrew Robert Baker
Director of Community Standards
Finger Lakes Community College
Graduate of University at Buffalo, University at Albany, and SUNY Oneonta

Amie Bernstein
Graduate of Suffolk County Community College

Vicki L. Brown
Director of Student Activities
Herkimer College
Graduate of SUNY Potsdam

Dr. Kristine Duffy
President
SUNY Adirondack
Graduate of the College at Brockport

Jamie Edwards
Career Services Specialist
SUNY Genesee Community College
Graduate of University at Buffalo

Paulo Fernandes
Student at Stony Brook University

Christopher L. Hockey
Assistant Director of Student Mobility
SUNY System Administration
Graduate of SUNY Oswego

Fatima Rodriguez Johnson
Assistant Dean of Students, Multicultural Programs & Services
SUNY Geneseo
Graduate of SUNY Fredonia

Kristen Mruk
Assistant Director of Student Activities
SUNY Genesee Community College
Graduate of University at Buffalo

Dr. Patricia Munsch
Counselor
Suffolk County Community College
Graduate of SUNY Geneseo

Yuki Sasao
Student at SUNY Oswego
Graduate of SUNY Genesee Community College

Jacqueline Tiermini
Faculty
Finger Lakes Community College
Graduate of SUNY Buffalo State

Sara Vacin
Human Services Adjunct Faculty
SUNY Niagara County Community College

Jackie Vetrano
Graduate of SUNY Geneseo

Nathan Wallace
Assistant Project Coordinator, Assessment and Special Projects
Erie Community College

Licenses and Attributions:

CC licensed content, previously shared:
How to Learn Like a Pro! Authored by Phyllis Nissila. Located at: https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/collegereading/front-matter/acknowledgments/


Acknowledgements from Dave Dillon, curator, and co-author, editor of Blueprint for Success in College and Career

This project could not have been completed alone and I am grateful for the assistance of some amazing people around me who helped it reach fruition.

Thank you to Zoe Wake Hyde for always having my back, for your patience, time, expertise, and responsiveness.

Thanks to Apurva Ashok for all of your assistance and support.

Thanks to Hugh McGuire for creating the platform and community around it to make this possible.

Thanks to Linda (Bruce) Hill, the team at Lumen Learning, Thomas Priester for creating high quality college success content and openly licensing it.

Special thanks to the Peer Reviewers:

Denica Kelly, DeAnza College
Will Pines, Grossmont College
Rita Soultanian, Saddleback College
Belen Torres-Gil, Rio Hondo College
Shemya Vaughn, College of the Redwoods
Suzanne Wakim Butte College

Thanks to Jeanne Hoover (Scholarly Communication Librarian at East Carolina University) for providing the Glossary.

Thank you to my wife, Lindsay, and my daughters, Brooklyn and Molly, for their support, and especially for allowing me to work on the project during times when it was not most convenient to do so. And thanks for putting up with multiple piles of this project in various rooms of our house for many months.

Thank you to my parents, Carole and Joe Dillon, for inspiring me in education, teaching the value of hard work, and for nurturing my enthusiasm, patience, and persistence to be able to finish the project.

Thanks to the small group I affectionately call my “think tank”, Una Daly, Nicole Finkbeiner, James Glapa-Grossklag, and Amy Hofer. Your continued support and answers to my questions have been invaluable.

Thanks to Alexis Clifton for support and assistance with licensing.

Thanks to T Ford for unconditional support, encouragement, wisdom, and advice.

Thank you to the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges’ OER Task Force for your enthusiasm, creativity, and ideas.

Thank you to the Textbook and Academic Author Association. Your resources and expertise have contributed to the quality of this textbook in may ways.

Thank you to the Global Studies Division and (EPIC) Education Partnership for Internationalizing Curriculum Program at Stanford University.

Licenses and Attributions:

Original content: CC BY Attribution.

I

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

After you have completed this textbook you should be able to:

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Chapter 1: Words of Wisdom: Learn What You Don’t Want

Jamie Edwards

Jamie Edwards

For a long time, my plan had always been to be a kindergarten teacher. But when I began my undergraduate degree I fell into that ever-growing pool of college students who changed their major three times before graduation. I was swayed by family members, my peers, and the economy, but I eventually realized that I was investing my education in the wrong areas for the wrong reasons. It shouldn’t just be about salaries and job security. I needed to find that personal attachment.

At eighteen, it’s hard to see your entire life spread out before you. College may feel like a free-for-all at times, but the reality is that it’s one of the most defining times of our lives. It should never be squandered. I started to imagine my life beyond college—what I found important and the type of lifestyle I wanted in the end. I started thinking about the classes that I was actually interested in—the ones that I looked forward to each week and arrived early just so I could get a seat up front.

A turning point for me was when I took the advice of a campus mentor and enrolled in a career exploration course. I learned more about myself in that class than I had in my entire three years at college prior to taking it. It showed me that my passion was something I had always thought about but never thought about as a career. In high school, I could sit in the Guidance Office for hours on end. I enjoyed listening to others—hearing and helping people work through their struggles.

I had seen firsthand how detrimental the absence of career classes can be to someone’s future. Through this realization and my participation in my career exploration class, I saw a viable future in the Higher Education Administration field. As I dove deeper, I was opened to an incredible amount of unique and diverse opportunities to work with students. My main approach was to get a taste anything to do with student services: I shadowed a career counselor in a career services office, attended graduate school fairs and informational sessions, discussed the Higher Education Administration Program with several staff at my college, and most importantly, I talked with my internship coordinator (my mentor). From there, I completed an internship in my prospective field, which gave me a wealth of insight and skills that directly related to my future career goals.

From where I sit now—my former personal and professional struggles in tow—I offer up some pieces of advice that were crucial to getting me where I am today. Whether you’re an undecided major who is looking for guidance or a student with a clearly defined career path, I suggest the following:

  1. Find a mentor—For me, everything began there. Without my mentor, I wouldn’t have done any of the other items I’m about to suggest. Finding the right mentor is crucial. Look for someone who can complement your personality (typically someone who’s the opposite of you). My advice would be to look beyond your direct supervisor for mentorship. It’s important to create an open forum with your mentor, because there may be a conflict of interest as you discuss work issues and other job opportunities. Potential mentors to consider are an instructor on campus, your academic advisor, a professional currently working in your prospective field, someone you admire in your community, or anyone in your network of friends or family that you feel comfortable discussing your future goals with.
  2. Enroll in a Career Exploration/Planning course, or something similar—Even if you do not see the effects of this course immediately (such as dramatically changing your major), you will notice the impact down the road. Making educated career choices and learning job readiness skills will always pay off in the end. Through my career exploration class, I learned how to relate my personality and values to potential career fields. These self-assessments changed my entire thought process, and I see that influence daily. Beyond changing the way you think, the knowledge you gain about effective job search strategies is invaluable. Learning how to write purposeful résumés and cover letters, finding the right approach to the interview process, and recognizing your strengths and weaknesses are just a few of the benefits you can gain from these types of courses.
  3. Complete a Job Shadow and/or Informational Interview—No amount of online research is going to give you the same experience as seeing a job at the front line. In a job shadow or an informational interview, you’re able to explore options with no commitment and see how your in-class experience can carry over to a real world setting. Additionally, you’re expanding your professional network by having that personal involvement. You never know how the connections you make might benefit you in the future. My only regret about job shadowing in college is that I didn’t do it sooner.
  4. Do an Internship—A main source of frustration for recent grads is the inability to secure an entry-level position without experience. “How do I get a job to gain experience when I can’t get a job without experience?” This is how: do an internship or two! Most colleges even have a course where you can obtain credit for doing it! Not only will you earn credits towards graduation, but you’ll gain the necessary experience to put on your résumé and to discuss in future interviews. Having completed four internships throughout my college career, I can’t say they were all great. However, I don’t regret a single one. The first one showed me the type of field I didn’t want to work in. The second confirmed that I was heading in the right direction with my career. My third and fourth internships introduced me to completely different areas of higher education which broadened my knowledge and narrowed my search simultaneously.

My takeaway is that sometimes you have to learn what you don’t want in order to find out what you do want. The more informed you are about career options through real life conversations and experiences, the better prepared you will be for your future and the more confident you will be in your career decisions. Always explore your options because even if you learn you hate it, at least you’re one step closer to finding what you love.

Licenses and Attributions:

CC licensed content, Shared previously:

Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom. Edited by Thomas Priester.  Essay authored by Jamie Edwards. Located at: https://milnepublishing.geneseo.edu/foundations-of-academic-success/chapter/learn-what-you-dont-want/ License: CC BY: Attribution.

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Chapter 2: The Big Picture

Lumen Learning and Linda (Bruce) Hill

“Stay focused, go after your dreams, and keep moving toward your goals.”

– LL Cool J

College and Career: Key Connections

Think back to the time when you first began to contemplate college. Do you remember specific thoughts? Were you excited about the idea? What began to draw you into the web of college life? What compels you to be here now?

In this topic on career and college readiness, we examine key connections between your motivations to be in college and your ultimate success in achieving your goals. We also examine how your college experience prepares you for a specific career, as well as for attaining general skills that you can apply to multiple pursuits.

Activity: Motivations for Attending College

Objectives

  • Review some of the many motivations students have for entering college.
  • Identify your personal motivations as pathways to achieving goals.

Directions

  • Review the table below, which lists various motivations cited by other students.
  • Identify your main motivations, and rank your top five.
  • Reflect on your selections in terms of how they connect with short-term and long-term plans for the future.

Understanding your motivations is essential to helping you not only prioritize your plans for the future but also gain inspiration about directions you may not have yet charted. Ultimately, your motivations for being in college align you with roadways to fulfilling your goals and ambitions.

MY TOP FIVE MOTIVATIONS FOR ATTENDING COLLEGE
Gain more qualifications in my field
Increase my earning potential; make more money
Challenge myself
Show others that I can succeed
Start an independent life
Satisfy my curiosity
Have fun
Change my career
Do what my parents were not able to do
Find a better lifestyle
Build my confidence
Expand my social contacts; bond with new friends
Improve my network of business associates
Gain exposure to a wide array of topics
Attend campus events
Make my family happy
Fulfill my dreams
Take classes at home or work or anywhere
Take advantage of campus resources like the library and gym
Join a sports team
Join campus organizations
Spend my time during retirement
Have continued support via alumni programs
Learn to study and work on my own
Gain access to professors
Link up with people who already excel in the ways I aspire to
Get sports spirit
Gain more access to entertainment like theater and bands
Be more productive in life
Explore myself
Become well versed in many subjects
Dig deeper into learning than I did in high school
Expand my knowledge of the world
Others?

Am I College and Career Ready?

Knowing what you truly want to gain from your college experience is the first step toward achieving it. However, reaching your goals does not necessarily mean you are college and career ready.

What does it mean to be ready for college and a career? In general, you are a college- and career-ready student if you have gained the necessary knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors to achieve at least one of the following:

For instance, if you are studying for a skilled trade license in college, or perhaps pursuing a bachelor of arts degree, you are college-ready if you have the reading, writing, mathematics, social, and thinking skills to qualify for and succeed in the academic program of your choice.

Similarly, you are a career-ready student if you have the necessary knowledge and technical skills needed to be employed in your desired field. For example, if you are a community college student ready to be a nurse, you possess the knowledge and skill needed to secure an entry-level nursing position, and you also possess required licensing.

“Ultimately, college and career readiness demands students know more than just content, but demonstrate that they know how to learn and build upon that content to solve problems. They must develop versatile communication skills, work collaboratively and work competitively in a school or work environment. Ensuring that you possess both the academic and technical know-how necessary for a career beyond the classroom is a great step toward succeeding on whatever path you choose.”

– Washington, DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education“What Does College and Career Readiness Mean?,” Office of the State Superintendent of Education, accessed April 26, 2018, https://osse.dc.gov/service/what-does-college-and-career-readiness-mean.

 

College and Career Readiness in Your State

So where are you on the readiness scale? You can find out how your state measures your readiness. Visit the Interactive State Map at the College and Career Readiness and Success Center of the American Institutes for Research Web site. The map leads you to definitions of college and career readiness for your state. It also provides metrics to measure readiness. And it provides information about programs and structures to help you and educators. You can compare states across one or more categories.

Student Voices on Being College and Career Ready

In the following video, a number of high school students and recent graduates reflect on college and career readiness and their futures. As you view the video, be thinking about how your short-term goals can connect with longer-range ambitions. You might also reflect on how your deepening experiences in college can lead to achieving your longer-term goals. After all, each new experience in your life builds upon the last. You may never truly “arrive” at a destination if indeed your life is an ongoing journey.

Video: Student Voices: What Does it Mean to be College and Career Ready?

Thumbnail for the embedded element "Student Voices: What Does it Mean to be College and Career Ready?"

A YouTube element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here: https://press.rebus.community/blueprint3/?p=39

The Marriage of College and Career

The oldest institution of higher learning in the United States is widely acknowledged to be Harvard University. It was established in 1636 with the aim of providing instruction in arts and sciences to qualify students for employment. In the 1779 Constitution of Massachusetts submitted by Samuel Adams, John Adams, and James Bowdoin to the full Massachusetts Convention, the following language was used:

Art. I.—Whereas our wise and pious ancestors, so early as the year one thousand six hundred and thirty six, laid the foundation of Harvard-College, in which University many persons of great eminence have, by the blessing of GOD, been initiated in those arts and sciences, which qualified them for public employments, both in Church and State . . .

Is “public employment” preparation still the goal of higher education institutions today? Indeed, it is certainly one of the many goals! College is also an opportunity for students to grow personally and intellectually. In fact, in a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, Americans were split on their perceptions of the main purpose of a college education:

These statistics are understandable in light of the great reach and scope of higher education institutions. Today, there are some 5,300 colleges and universities in the United States, offering every manner of education and training to students.

What do employers think about the value of a college education? What skills do employers seek in their workforce? In 2014, Hart Research Associates conducted a survey on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The survey revealed that the majority of employers believe that having field-specific knowledge as well as a broad range of knowledge and skills is important for recent college graduates to achieve long-term career success.

Employers also said that when they hire, they place the greatest value on skills and knowledge that cut across all majors. The learning outcomes they rate as most important include written and oral communication skills, teamwork skills, ethical decision-making, critical thinking, and the ability to apply knowledge in real-world settings.“Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success,” Association of American Colleges & Universities, Hart Research Associates, 2015, https://www.aacu.org/leap/public-opinion-research/2015-survey-falling-short.

Employment Rates and Salaries

Consider, too, the following statistics on employment rates and salaries for college graduates. College does make a big difference!

Perhaps most important, an overwhelming majority of college graduates—86 percent—say that college has been a good investment for them personally. (PEW)

Differences in Earnings between States

You may wish to use this Earnings and Educational Attainment (2011) interactive table to see how earnings for college graduates vs. high school–only graduates in your state compare with those in other states.

All in all, college imparts a wide and deep range of benefits. The short video Why College, below, shows that with a college degree you are more likely to

 

Video: Why College?

Thumbnail for the embedded element "Why College?"

A YouTube element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here: https://press.rebus.community/blueprint3/?p=39

Summary

Success in college can be measured in many ways: through your own sense of what is important to you; through your family’s sense of what is important; through your institution’s standards of excellence; through the standards established by your state and country; through your employer’s perceptions about what is needed in the workplace; training for and becoming an entrepreneur, small business owner, or your own boss; and in many respects through your own unfolding goals, dreams, and ambitions.

How are you striving to achieve your goals? And how will you measure your success along the way?

Licenses and Attributions:

CC licensed content, Original:

CC licensed content, Shared previously:

All rights reserved content:

  • Why College? Authored by: OregonGEARUP. Located at: https://youtu.be/-N6nru0nThg. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.

Public domain content:

Adaptions: Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom essay removed (exists elsewhere in this work), relocated learning objectives, removed Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment graph, updated footnote references, modified footnote formatting. Removed job fair image.

3

Chapter 3: Career Paths

Lumen Learning and Linda (Bruce) Hill

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

–Steve Jobs

Pursuing Your Professional Interests

One of the most widely known and successful American entrepreneurs of all time is Steve Jobs. He is best known as the cofounder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple, Inc. He also cofounded Pixar Animation Studios, and he was a member of the board of directors of the Walt Disney Company. Four hundred eighty-four inventions bear Jobs’s name.

From early on in his life, Jobs was interested in electronics. When he was thirteen, for instance, he worked at the Hewlett Packard factory, which developed hardware and software components. Jobs later reflected on how he landed this job when he called Mr. Hewlett to ask for parts for an electronics project: “[Hewlett] didn’t know me at all, but he ended up giving me some parts and he got me a job that summer working at Hewlett-Packard on the line, assembling frequency counters . . . well, assembling may be too strong. I was putting in screws. It didn’t matter; I was in heaven.”

Jobs’s electronics and computing career quickly unfolded as he pursued his passion for creating and promoting computing products. At age nineteen, he was a technician for Atari, a leading electronics, gaming and home-computer corporation. By twenty-one, he and his two partners had formed Apple, Inc. At thirty-four, he was named “Entrepreneur of the Decade” by Inc. magazine. And at fifty-two, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

All in all, Jobs was relentless about pursuing his interests and passions. The products he and his associates developed have transformed modern culture, including the iMac, iTunes, Apple Stores, the iPod, the iTunes Store, the iPhone, the App Store, the iPad, the Mac OS, and the Mac OS X.

This story of Steve Jobs’s professional pursuits illustrates a dream, a goal, and an ambition that many college students share: to be successful in earning money and finding personal satisfaction in employment. His story also illustrates how opportunities are all around us and how random events aren’t always so random.

In this section, we explore strategies that can help you chart your professional path and also attain ample reward. We begin by comparing and contrasting jobs and careers. We then look at how to match up your personal characteristics with a specific field or fields. We conclude by detailing a process for actually choosing your career. Throughout, you will find resources for learning more about this vast topic of planning for employment.

Job vs. Career

What is the difference between a job and a career? Do you plan to use college to help you seek one or the other?

There is no right or wrong answer, because motivations for being in college are so varied and different for each student, but you can take maximum advantage of your time in college if you develop a clear plan for what you want to accomplish. The table below shows some differences between a job and a career.

JOB CAREER
Definitions A job refers to the work a person performs for a living. It can also refer to a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation. A person can begin a job by becoming an employee, or by volunteering, for example, by starting a business or becoming a parent. A career is an occupation (or series of jobs) that you undertake for a significant period of time in your life—perhaps five or ten years, or more. A career typically provides you with opportunities to advance your skills and positions.
Requirements A job you accept with an employer does not necessarily require special education or training. Sometimes you can get needed learning “on the job.” A career usually requires special learning—perhaps certification or a specific degree.
Risk-Taking A job may be considered a safe and stable means to get income, but jobs can also quickly change; security can come and go. A career can also have risk. In today’s world, employees need to continually learn new skills and to adapt to changes in order to stay employed. Starting your own business can have risks. Many people thrive on risk-taking, though, and may achieve higher gains. It all depends on your definition of success.
Duration The duration of a job may range from an hour (in the case of odd jobs, for example,) to a lifetime. Generally a “job” is shorter-term. A career is typically a long-term pursuit.
Income Jobs that are not career oriented may not pay as well as career-oriented positions. Jobs often pay an hourly wage. Career-oriented jobs generally offer an annual salary versus a wage. Career-oriented jobs may also offer appealing benefits, like health insurance and retirement.
Satisfaction and contributing to society Many jobs are important to society, but some may not bring high levels of personal satisfaction. Careers allow you to invest time and energy in honing your crafts and experiencing personal satisfaction. Career pursuits may include making contributions to society.

In summary, a job lets you enjoy at least a minimal level of financial security, and it requires you to show up and do what is required of you. In exchange, you get paid.

A career, on the other hand, is more of a means of achieving personal fulfillment through the jobs you hold. In a career, your jobs tend to follow a sequence that leads to increasing mastery, professional development, and personal and financial satisfaction. A career requires planning, knowledge, and skills, too. If it is to be a fulfilling career, it requires that you bring into play your full set of analytical, critical, and creative thinking skills. You will be called upon in a career to make informed decisions that will affect your life in both the short term and the long term. A career also lets you express your unique personality traits, skills, values, and interests.

The following video gives explicit, textbook-style distinctions between the terms job, work, and career. You may especially appreciate this video if English is a second language for you or if you are a first-generation college student.

Video: Difference between Job, Work, and Career

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You can find the quiz referenced at the bottom of the lesson here. The next video takes a different look at jobs and careers. The speaker discusses the more affective, emotional aspects of pursuing a career. His emphasis is on the importance of being passionate about your work.

Video: Job vs. Career – Think about a long time career

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Whether you pursue individual jobs or an extended career or both, your time with your employers will always be comprised of your individual journey. May your journey be as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible.

The Five-Step Process for Choosing Your Career

As your thoughts about career expand, keep in mind that over the course of your life, you will probably spend a lot of time at work—thousands of hours, in fact. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average workday is about 8.7 hours long, and this means that if you work 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, for 35 years, you will spend a total of 76,125 hours of your life at work. These numbers should convince you that it’s pretty important to enjoy your career.

If you do pursue a career, you’ll find yourself making many decisions about it. Is this the right career for me? Am I feeling fulfilled and challenged? Does this career enable me to have the lifestyle I desire? It’s important to consider these questions now, whether you’re just graduating from high school or college, or you’re returning to school after working for a while.

Choosing a career—any career—is a unique process for everyone, and for many people the task is daunting. There are so many different occupations to choose from. How do you navigate this complex world of work?

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has identified a five-step decision process that will make your career path a little easier to find. Below are the steps:

  1. Get to know yourself
  2. Get to know your field
  3. Prioritize your “deal makers” and rule out your “deal breakers”
  4. Make a preliminary career decision and create a plan of action
  5. Go out and achieve your career goal

Step 1: Get to Know Yourself

Get to know yourself and the things you’re truly passionate about.

The following video has some good ideas for ways of matching your personality and skills with a career. You can download a transcript of the video here.

Video: Matching your skills to a career

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This next video looks at the connection between childhood interests and career options. Several successful entrepreneurs and employees share stories about how they turned childhood interests into careers that suited them well. Learn how listening to your inner child can help you find the right career.

Video: Childhood Interests Can Help You Find the Right Career

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Before moving on to step 2, you may wish to review the online surveys in the Personal Identity module, especially the Student Interest Survey for Career Clusters, which is available in both English and Spanish. Yet another survey is the Career Assessment Test. All can help you align career interests with personal qualities, traits, life values, skills, activities, and ambitions.

Ultimately, your knowledge of yourself is the root of all good decision-making and will guide you in productive directions.

Step 2: Get to Know Your Field

Get to know your field. You’ll want to investigate the career paths available to you. You may also want to see what your college Career Center offers or conduct informational interviews to find out more about your field. One of the handiest starting points and “filters” is to decide the level of education you want to attain before starting your first or your next job. Students should consider determining both how much education they are willing to acquire, and how much education a particular career will require. Do you want to earn an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a doctorate or professional degree? Meeting with a college counselor or career counselor can help a student clarify this information.

Step 3: Prioritize Your Deal Makers

Prioritize your deal makers and rule out your deal breakers. Educational requirements aren’t the only criteria that you will want to consider. Do you want to work outside or in an office? In the country or a city? In a big or small organization? For a public organization or a private company? What type of industry is interesting to you? What role do you see yourself playing in the organization? Do you want to be your own boss?

Step 4: Make a Preliminary Career Decision

Make a preliminary (or first) career decision and create a plan of action. It is not set in stone and you may have multiple careers in your lifetime, but everything starts with that preliminary career decision and plan of action. As a student matures and gains experience, more career opportunities will present themselves.

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. Others have mentors in their lives with whom to discuss this decision. Your college has career counselors and academic advisers who can help you with both career decision-making and the educational planning process. Nevertheless, be advised: You’ll get the most from sessions with your counselor if you have done some work on your own.

Get started by using the Career Café or the Career Zone.

“Find a career that you love and you will never work another day in your life.”

– Barbara Sher

 Step 5: Go out and Achieve Your Career Goal

Go out and achieve your (initial) career goal! Now it’s time to take concrete steps toward achieving your educational and career goals. 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. However, 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.

This isn’t necessarily an easy process, but you’ll find that your goals are more tangible once you’ve set a preliminary career goal. Don’t forget: There is always support for you. Ask for any help you need.

Activity: Take the CAREERLINK Inventory

Objectives

  • Formally assess your aptitudes, interests, temperaments, physical capacities, preferred working conditions and career preparation time using the CareerLink Inventory instrument.

Directions

  • Access the CAREERLINK Inventory, add your name, and then click on the “Aptitudes” frog icon to begin the inventory. The CAREERLINK Inventory is designed to match the way you see yourself—your interests, aptitudes, temperaments, physical capacities, preferred working conditions, and desired length of preparation for employment–with available career information from the United States Department of Labor. The information you provide about yourself will produce a career profile showing to what extent your self-identified characteristics and preferences match those considered significant in 80 career clusters.
  • Your responses to the items contained in this inventory should reflect your honest self-judgments in order to provide you with meaningful career information. If you are unsure about a particular response, please answer as accurately as possible.
  • When you complete the inventory, review your personalized Career Inventory Results.
  • Write a 750-word reflection discussing the results of the inventory. Use the guidelines, below, to guide you.

To help you develop your reflections, you may want to consider the following:

  • What were your highest career-area clusters?
  • Review the work performed, worker requirements, sample occupations, related clusters, and response summary (this will make sense to you once you complete the inventory).  Do the results of the inventory surprise you?
  • Do you believe the Careerlink Inventory produced accurate or inaccurate suggestions for you?
  • Did you learn anything new about your career interests?
  • What insights from the inventory results might you apply to your life?
  • Follow your instructor’s directions for submitting this assignment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before age forty. This number is projected to grow. A prediction from Forrester Research is that today’s youngest workers will hold twelve to fifteen jobs in their lifetime and it is estimated that people will change their career an average of 5-7 times over their lifetime.

What jobs are in store for you? Will your work be part of a fulfilling career? What exciting prospects are on your horizon?

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4

Chapter 4: Words of Wisdom: What Do You Enjoy Studying?

Dr. Patricia Munsch

Dr. Patricia Munsch

There is a tremendous amount of stress placed on college students regarding their choice of major. Everyday, I meet with students regarding their concern about choosing right major; the path that will lead to a fantastic, high-paying position in a growth industry. There is a hope that one decision, your college major, will have a huge impact on the rest of your life.

Students shy away from subject areas they enjoy due to fear that such coursework will not lead to a job. I am disappointed in this approach. As a counselor I always ask—what do you enjoy studying? Based on this answer it is generally easy to choose a major or a family of majors. I recognize the incredible pressure to secure employment after graduation, but forcing yourself to choose a major that you may not have any actual interest in because a book or website mentioned the area of growth may not lead to the happiness you predict.

Working in a college setting I have the opportunity to work with students through all walks of life, and I do believe based on my experience, that choosing a major because it is listed as a growth area alone is not a good idea. Use your time in college to explore all areas of interest and utilize your campus resources to help you make connections between your joy in a subject matter and the potential career paths. Realize that for most people, in most careers, the undergraduate major does not lead to a linear career path.

As an undergraduate student I majored in Political Science, an area that I had an interest in, but I added minors in Sociology and Women’s Studies as my educational pursuits broadened. Today, as a counselor, I look back on my coursework with happy memories of exploring new ideas, critically analyzing my own assumptions, and developing an appreciation of social and behavioral sciences. So to impart my wisdom in regards to a student’s college major, I will always ask, what do you enjoy studying?

Once you have determined what you enjoy studying, the real work begins. Students need to seek out academic advisement. Academic advisement means many different things; it can include course selection, course completion for graduation, mapping coursework to graduation, developing opportunities within your major and mentorship.

As a student I utilized a faculty member in my department for semester course selection, and I also went to the department chairperson to organize two different internships to explore different career paths. In addition, I sought mentorship from club advisors as I questioned my career path and future goals. In my mind I had a team of people providing me support and guidance, and as a result I had a great college experience and an easy transition from school to work.

I recommend to all students that I meet with to create their own team. As a counselor I can certainly be a part of their team, but I should not be the only resource. Connect with faculty in your department or in your favorite subject. Seek out internships as you think about the transition from college to workplace. Find mentors through faculty, club advisors, or college staff. We all want to see you succeed and are happy to be a part of your journey.

As a counselor I am always shocked when students do not understand what courses they need to take, what grade point average they need to maintain, and what requirements they must fulfill in order to reach their goal—graduation! Understand that as a college student it is your responsibility to read your college catalog and meet all of the requirements for graduation from your college. I always suggest that students, starting in their first semester, outline or map out all of the courses they need to take in order to graduate. Of course you may change your mind along the way, but by setting out your plan to graduation you are forcing yourself to learn what is required of you.

I do this exercise in my classes and it is by far the most frustrating for students. They want to live in the now and they don’t want to worry about next semester or next year. However, for many students that I see, the consequence of this decision is a second semester senior year filled with courses that the student avoided during all the previous semesters. If you purposefully outline all of your courses and coursework for each semester, you can balance your schedule, understand your curriculum, and feel confident that you will reach your goal.

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5

Chapter 5: College Majors

Lumen Learning and Linda (Bruce) Hill

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

  – Dr. Seuss

Your Major

In the United States and Canada, your academic major—simply called “your major”—is the academic discipline you commit to as an undergraduate student. It’s an area you specialize in, such as accounting, chemistry, criminology, archeology, digital arts, or dance. In United States colleges and universities, roughly 2,000 majors are offered. And 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.

Where did the term major come from? In 1877, it first appeared in a Johns Hopkins University catalogue. That major required only two years of study. Later, in 1910, Abbott Lawrence Lowell introduced the academic major system to Harvard University during his time as president there. This major required students to complete courses in a specialized discipline and also in other subjects. Variations of this system are now the norm in higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

Why is your major important? It’s important because it’s a defining and organizing feature of your undergraduate degree. Ultimately, your major should provide you with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and/or behaviors you need to fulfill your college goals and objectives.

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!

How to Select Your College Major

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. Two videos, below, present lighthearted looks undertaking this task. In the first one, the following five tips are discussed:

  1. Seek inspiration
  2. Consider everything
  3. Identify talents and interests
  4. Explore available resources
  5. In-depth career exploration

Video: How to Pick a Major

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The next video shares nine tips:

  1. Narrow your choices by deciding what you don’t like.
  2. Explore careers that might interest you. Ask questions.
  3. Use your school’s resources.
  4. Ask your teacher, counselor, and family about your strengths.
  5. Sixty percent of students change their majors.
  6. Your major isn’t going to define your life. But choosing one that interests you will make your college experience much more rewarding.
  7. Go on informational interviews with people in careers that interest you.
  8. There’s no pressure to decide now.
  9. Take new classes and discover your interests.

Video: How to Select Your College Major – WiseChoice

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Does Your College Major Matter to Your Career?

There are few topics about college that create more controversy than “Does your major really matter to your career?” Many people think it does; others think it’s not so important. Who is right? And who gets to weigh in? Also, how do you measure whether something “matters”—by salary, happiness, personal satisfaction?

It may be difficult to say for sure whether your major truly matters to your career. One’s college major and ultimate career are not necessarily correlated. Consider the following factoids:

It’s also important to talk about financial considerations in choosing a major.

So where will you stand with regard to these statistics? Is it possible to have a good marriage between your major, your skills, job satisfaction, job security, and earnings?

Here to share a personal story about selecting your college major and finding the right career fit is Marc Luber, host of Careers Out There. Enjoy his insights, which he sums up with, “Focus on what makes you tick, and run with it.”

Video: Choosing a College Major & Finding the Right Career Fit

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The best guidance on choosing a major and connecting it with a career may be to get good academic and career advice and select a major that reflects your greatest interests. If you don’t like law or medicine but you major in it because of a certain salary expectation, you may later find yourself in an unrelated job that brings you greater satisfaction—even if the salary is lower. 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?

Resources

“Success doesn’t come to you . . . you go to it.”

– Dr. Marva Collins

This quote really sets the stage for the journey you’re on. Your journey may be a straight line that connects the dots between today and your future, or it may resemble a twisted road with curves, bumps, hurdles, and alternate routes.

To help you navigate your pathway to career success, take advantage of all the resources available to you. Your college, your community, and the wider body of higher-education institutions and organizations have many tools to help you with career development. Be sure to take advantage of the following resources:

Many organizations have free materials that can provide guidance, such as the ones in the table, below:

WEB SITE DESCRIPTION
1 List of College Majors (MyMajors) A list of more than 1,800 college majors—major pages include description, courses, careers, salary, related majors and colleges offering major
2 Take the College Major Profile Quiz (About.com) Quiz is designed to help students think about college majors, personality traits, and how they may fit within different areas of study
3 Choosing a College Major Worksheet (Quint Careers) A six-step process to finding a college major
4 Common Mistakes Students Make in Choosing a Major (Wayne State University) Lists common misperceptions about choosing a major and explains how these misperceptions can cloud future plans
5 Best college majors for your career 2015-2016 (Yahoo.com) Explore a detailed list of the top ten majors that give students the greatest potential for success in the workplace, good incomes, and ample job opportunities
6 Explore Careers (BigFuture/The College Board) Explore careers by selecting “Show me majors that match my interests,” “Show me new career ideas,” and “Show me how others made their choices”
7 The College Major: What It Is and How To Choose One (BigFuture/The College Board) When to choose a major, how to choose a major, “you can change your mind,” majors and graduate school, and majors and professions

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6

Chapter 6: Professional Skill Building

Lumen Learning and Linda (Bruce) Hill

“Every artist was first an amateur.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you lived and worked in colonial times in the United States, what skills would you need to be gainfully employed? What kind of person would your employer want you to be? And how different would your skills and aptitudes be then, compared to today?

Many industries that developed during the 1600s–1700s, such as health care, publishing, manufacturing, construction, finance, and farming, are still with us today. And the professional abilities, aptitudes, and values required in those industries are many of the same ones employers seek today.

For example, in the health care field then, just like today, employers looked for professionals with scientific acumen, active listening skills, a service orientation, oral comprehension abilities, and teamwork skills. And in the financial field then, just like today, employers looked for economics and accounting skills, mathematical reasoning skills, clerical and administrative skills, and deductive reasoning.

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.

What Employers Want in an Employee

Employers want individuals who have the necessary hard and soft skills to do the job well and adapt to changes in the workplace. Soft skills may be especially in demand today because employers are generally equipped to train new employees in a hard skill—by training them to use new computer software, for instance—but it’s much more difficult to teach an employee a soft skill such as developing rapport with coworkers or knowing how to manage conflict. 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.

In this section, we look at ways of identifying and building particular hard and soft skills that will be necessary for your career path. We also explain how to use your time and resources wisely to acquire critical skills for your career goals.

Specific Skills Necessary for Your Career Path

A skill is something you can do, say, or think right now. It’s what an employer expects you to bring to the workplace to improve the overall operations of the organization.

The table below lists four resources to help you determine which concrete skills are needed for all kinds of professions. You can even discover where you might gain some of the skills and which courses you might take.

Spend some time reviewing each resource. You will find many interesting and exciting options. When you’re finished, you may decide that there are so many interesting professions in the world that it’s difficult to choose just one. This is a good problem to have!

RESOURCE DESCRIPTION
1 Career Aptitude Test (Rasmussen College) This test helps you match your skills to a particular career that’s right for you. Use a sliding scale to indicate your level of skill in the following skill areas: artistic, interpersonal, communication, managerial, mathematics, mechanical, and science. Press the Update Results button and receive a customized list of career suggestions tailored to you, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can filter by salary, expected growth, and education.
2 Skills Profiler (Career OneStop from the U.S. Department of Labor) Use the Skills Profiler to create a list of your skills, and match your skills to job types that use those skills. Plan to spend about 20 minutes completing your profile. You can start with a job type to find skills you need for a current or future job. Or if you are not sure what kind of job is right for you, start by rating your own skills to find a job type match. When your skills profile is complete, you can print it or save it.
3 O*Net OnLine This U.S. government website helps job seekers answer two of their toughest questions: “What jobs can I get with my skills and training?” and “What skills and training do I need to get this job?” Browse groups of similar occupations to explore careers. Choose from industry, field of work, science area, and more. Focus on occupations that use a specific tool or software. Explore occupations that need your skills. Connect to a wealth of O*NET data. Enter a code or title from another classification to find the related O*NET-SOC occupation.

Transferable Skills for Any Career Path

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. Soft skills are a big part of your “total me” package.

So, identify the soft skills that show you off the best, and identify the ones that prospective employers are looking for. By comparing both sets, you can more directly gear your job search to your strongest professional qualities.

10 Top Skills You Need to Get a Job When You Graduate

The following video summarizes the ten top skills that the Target corporation believes will get you a job when you graduate. Read a transcript of the video.

Video: 10 top skills that will get you a job when you graduate

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How to Find a New Job–Transferable Job Skills

If you are an international student, or perhaps English is your second language, the following video may especially appeal to you. It covers similar information to the 10 Top Skills video above. Discover how to find a new job more easily by learning how to identify and describe your transferable job skills in English.

Video: How to find a new job – Transferable Job Skills

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Activity: Assess Your Soft Skills

Objectives

  • Review the transferable skills listed in the self-assessment exercises developed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
  • Analyze your strengths and areas in which you need to improve individual essential skills.

Instructions

  • Read each statement in Section 1 of any transferable skills pertinent to a profession you are interested in.
  • Place a checkmark in the column that best describes how well you can complete that task. Think about your work and life experiences as you consider each task.
  • Review your responses for each task. If you have checked five or more in the “Somewhat” and/or “No” columns, you may want to consider upgrading your oral communication skills.
  • Complete Section 2 to identify your training needs.

Self Assessments

Acquiring Necessary Skills (both in and out of class) for Your Career Goals

“Lifelong learning” is a buzz phrase in the twentieth-first century because we are awash in new technology and information all the time, and those who know how to learn, continuously, are in the best position to keep up and take advantage of these changes. 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?

The following list was inspired by the remarks of Mark Atwood, director of open-source engagement at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. It contains excellent practical advice.

Just Get Involved

After you’ve networked with enough people and built up your reputation, your peers can connect you with job openings that may be a good fit for your skills. The video, below, from Monash University in Australia offers the following tips:

  1. Get involved in part-time work
  2. Get involved in extracurricular activities
  3. Get involved with employment and career development
  4. Get involved with volunteer work.  Check out this website for volunteer matching.

“Just get involved. There are so many opportunities and open doors for you.”

Video: Tips to improve your career from Monash Graduates

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  • 10 top skills that will get you a job when you graduate. Authored by: TARGETjobs. Located at: https://youtu.be/jKtbaUzHLvw. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.
  • How to find a new jobu2014Transferable Job Skills. Authored by: Learn English with Rebecca. Located at: https://youtu.be/7Kt4nz8KT_Y. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.
  • Tips to improve your career from Monash Graduates. Authored by: Monash University. Located at: https://youtu.be/7EBDrTdccAY. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.

Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom essay removed (exists elsewhere in this work).
Relocated Learning Objectives. Removed image of woman holding test strip.

7

Chapter 7: Career Development

Lumen Learning and Linda (Bruce) Hill

Career Development

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 bar codes. 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.

If you can recall any such times, those are moments from the beginning stage of your career development.

What exactly is career development? It’s a lifelong process in which we become aware of, interested in, knowledgeable about, and skilled in a career. It’s a key part of human development as our identity forms and our life unfolds.

Stages of Career Development

There are five main stages of career development (developed by Donald Super). Each stage correlates with attitudes, behaviors, and relationships we all tend to have at that point and age. 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? Think about each stage. What challenges are you facing now? Where are you headed?

# STAGE DESCRIPTION
1 GROWING This is a time in early years (4–13 years old) when you begin to have a sense about the future. You begin to realize that your participation in the world is related to being able to do certain tasks and accomplish certain goals.
2 EXPLORING This period begins when you are a teenager, extends into your mid-twenties, and may extend later. In this stage you find that you have specific interests and aptitudes. You are aware of your inclinations to perform and learn about some subjects more than others. You may try out jobs in your community or at your school. You may begin to explore a specific career. At this stage, you have some detailed “data points” about careers, which will guide you in certain directions.
3 ESTABLISHING This period covers your mid-twenties through mid-forties. By now you are selecting or entering a field you consider suitable, and you are exploring job opportunities that will be stable. You are also looking for upward growth, so you may be thinking about an advanced degree.
4 MAINTAINING This stage is typical for people in their mid-forties to mid-sixties. You may be in an upward pattern of learning new skills and staying engaged. But you might also be merely “coasting and cruising” or even  feeling stagnant. You may be taking stock of what you’ve accomplished and where you still want to go.
5 REINVENTING In your mid-sixties, you are likely transitioning into retirement. But retirement in our technologically advanced world can be just the beginning of a new career or pursuit—a time when you can reinvent yourself. There are many new interests to pursue, including teaching others what you’ve learned, volunteering, starting online businesses, consulting, etc.

Keep in mind that your career development path is personal to you, and you may not fit neatly into the categories described above. It’s more common than it has been in the past for people to change careers in their thirties, forties, fifties, and even sixties.Perhaps your socioeconomic background changes how you fit into the schema. Perhaps your physical and mental abilities affect how you define the idea of a “career.” And for everyone, too, there are factors of chance that can’t be predicted or anticipated. You are unique, and your career path can only be developed by you.

Career Development Resources in Your College, Community, and Beyond

Career experts say that people will change careers (not to mention jobs) five to seven times in a lifetime. So your career will likely not be a straight and narrow path. Be sure to set goals and assess your interests, skills and values often. Seek opportunities for career growth and enrichment. And take advantage of the rich set of resources available to you. Below are just a few.

Career Development Office on Campus

Whether you are a student, a graduate, or even an employer, you can obtain invaluable career development assistance at your college or university. Campus career centers can support, guide, and empower you in every step of the career development process, from initial planning to achieving lifelong career satisfaction.

Books on Career Development

Going to college is one of the best steps you can take to prepare for a career. But soon-to-be or recently graduated students are not necessarily guaranteed jobs. Staying educated about strategies for developing your career and finding new jobs will help you manage ongoing transitions. The book The Secret to Getting a Job After College: Marketing Tactics to Turn Degrees into Dollars, by author Larry Chiagouris, was written specifically to help recent grads increase their chances of finding a job right after college. It speaks to students in all majors and provides tips and tactics to attract the attention of an employer and successfully compete with other candidates to get the job you want.

The following video provides an introduction to the book. You can download a transcript of the video here.

Video: The Secret to Getting a Job After College

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Career Roadmap

You can use the Career Roadmap, from DePaul University, to evaluate where you are and where you want to be in your career. It can help you decide if you want to change career paths and can guide you in searching for a new job. The road map identifies the following four cyclical steps:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Explore and choose options
  3. Gain knowledge and experience
  4. Put it all together: the job search process

Plan, Do, Check, Act

PDCA (plan–do–check–act) is a four-step strategy for carrying out change. You can use it to evaluate where you are in the career development process and to identify your next steps. The strategy is typically used in the business arena as a framework for improving processes and services. But you can think of your career as a personal product you are offering or selling.

  1. PLAN: What are your goals and objectives? What process will you use to get to your targets? You might want to plan smaller to begin with and test out possible effects. For instance, if you are thinking of getting into a certain career, you might plan to try it out first as an intern or volunteer or on a part-time basis. When you start on a small scale, you can test possible outcomes.
  2. DO: Implement your plan. Sell your product—which is YOU and your skills, talents, energy, and enthusiasm. Collect data as you go along; you will need it for charting and analyzing in the Check and Act steps ahead.
  3. CHECK: Look at your results so far. Are you happy with your job or wherever you are in the career development process? How is your actual accomplishment measuring up next to your intentions and wishes? Look for where you may have deviated in your intended steps. For example, did you take a job in another city when your initial plans were for working closer to friends and family? What are the pros and cons? If you like, create a chart that shows you all the factors. With a chart, it will be easier to see trends over several PDCA cycles.
  4. ACT: How should you act going forward? What changes in planning, doing, and checking do you want to take? The PDCA framework is an ongoing process. Keep planning, doing, checking, and acting. The goal is continuous improvement.

Internet Sites for Career Planning

Visit the Internet Sites for Career Planning website at the National Career Development Association’s site. You will find extensive, definitive, and frequently updated information on the following topics:

Activity: Campus to Career

Objective

  • Examine two critical questions about developing your career while still in college: How do I prepare myself for a career while I’m in college? How do I position myself to get ahead?

Instructions

  • Review the Campus to Career website called “Top College Career Tips from Freshman to Senior Year.”
  • Visit the section for each year of college: Freshman Year, Sophomore Year, Junior Year, and Senior Year. You may need to return to the main page of the site to access the sophomore, junior, and senior year pages of content.

Licenses and Attributions

CC licensed content, Original:

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  • Campus to Career Quiz. Authored by: Ronda Dorsey Neugebauer. Provided by: Chadron State College. Project: Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative. License: CC BY: Attribution.

All rights reserved content:

  • The Secret to Getting a Job After College. Authored by: CT STYLE. Located at: https://youtu.be/OpeIqQ5qTjc. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.

Adaptions: slight formatting changes, removed image of people in lab, removed image of plan-do-check-act, removed quote. Relocated Learning Objectives.

8

Chapter 8: Words of Wisdom: Transferable

Vicki L. Brown

Vicki L. Brown

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! My brother and sister called me “Miss Brown.” All I ever wanted to be was an elementary school teacher—until I went to college.

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. 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. The more I got involved in my college experience, the more I learned about myself: what I’m good at, what I’m not good at, what I wanted to do, and what I didn’t want to do.

As I started to sort through my options, I continued my studies, receiving both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in elementary education. While attending graduate school, I also worked as a Graduate Residence Hall Director. It was during that time when I finally made the decision to pursue a career in higher education administration/student affairs administration and leave my plans of being an elementary school teacher behind.

The decision wasn’t as difficult as one might think. When some listen to my story, I often hear “you’ve wasted all that time and money…” But, the truth is I gained valuable, lifelong skills from the people I met, the classes I took, the jobs I’ve had, and the activities I involved myself in. Each and every skill you acquire is transferable. This is perhaps the best lesson I’ve ever learned in college.

The countless lesson plans I had to write for my education classes and student teaching have helped me prepare practice plans as the head coach for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team. The skills I learned while planning programs and activities for my residents as a Resident Assistant, Hall Director, and Area Coordinator have helped me plan campus events as the Director of Student Activities in the Center for Student Leadership & Involvement. The classroom management techniques I learned in college have helped me to manage my office, staff, team, committees, etc. The communication and development theories I’ve learned have taught me how to have meaningful conversations with others and how best to meet their needs.

Each and every skill you learn throughout your academic, personal, and professional career is valuable and transferable. Do not let your college degree define who you are but rather, let the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired define who you are.

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Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom. Edited by Thomas Priester.  Essay authored by Vicki L. Brown. Located at: https://milnepublishing.geneseo.edu/foundations-of-academic-success/chapter/transferable/  License: CC BY: Attribution.

9

Chapter 9: Networking

Lumen Learning and Linda (Bruce) Hill

“Communication—the human connection—is the key to personal and career success.”

– Paul J. Meyer

In the context of career development, networking is the process by which people build relationships with one another for the purpose of helping one another achieve professional goals.

When you “network,” you exchange information.

Networking can occur anywhere and at any time. In fact, your network expands with each new relationship you establish. And the networking strategies you can employ are nearly limitless. With imagination and ingenuity, your networking can be highly successful.

A series of stick figures connected by dotted lines.
A series of stick figures connected by dotted lines.

Strategies for Networking

We live in a social world. Almost everywhere you go and anything you do professionally involves connecting with people. It stands to reason that finding a new job and advancing your career entails building relationships with these people. Truly, the most effective way to find a new job is to network, network, and network some more.

Once you acknowledge the value of networking, the challenge is figuring out how to do it. What is your first step? Whom do you contact? What do you say? How long will it take? Where do you concentrate efforts? How do you know if your investments will pay off?

For every question you may ask, a range of strategies can be used. Begin exploring your possibilities by viewing the following energizing video, Networking Tips for College Students and Young People, by Hank Blank. He recommends the following modern and no-nonsense strategies:

  1. Hope is not a plan. You need a plan of action to achieve your networking goals.
  2. Keenly focus your activities on getting a job. Use all tools available to you.
  3. You need business cards. No ifs, ands, or buts.
  4. Attend networking events. Most of them offer student rates.
  5. Master Linkedin because that is what human resource departments use. Post updates.
  6. Think of your parents’ friends as databases. Leverage their knowledge and their willingness to help you.
  7. Create the world you want to live in in the future by creating it today through your networking activity. These are the times to live in a world of “this is how I can help.”

Video: Networking Tips for College Students and Young People, Hank Blank

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International Student Series: Finding Work Using Your Networks

If you are an international student, or perhaps if English is not your native language, this video may especially appeal to you. It focuses on the importance of networking when looking for jobs and keeping an open mind. Simply talking to people can help you move from casual work to full-time employment.

Video: International Student Series: Finding Work Using Your Networks

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. . . And More Strategies

Strategies at College

Strategies at Work

Strategies at Home and Beyond

Activity: Networking for Career Development

Objectives

Instructions

For additional ideas and inspiration about networking for career development, watch the following video, Hustle 101: Networking For College Students and Recent Grads. The speaker, Emily Miethner, is a recent college graduate and the founder and president of NYCreative Interns, “dedicated to helping young creatives discover and then follow their dream careers.”

 

Video: Hustle 101: Networking for College Students and Recent Grads, Emily Miethner

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Sources for Developing Professional Networks

The bottom line with developing professional networks is to cull information from as many sources as possible and use that information in creative ways to advance your career opportunities. The strategies listed in the section above provide you with a comprehensive set of suggestions. Below is a summary of sources you can use to network your way to career success:

Licenses and Attributions:

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All rights reserved content:

  • Hank Blank – Networking Tips for College Students and Young People. Authored by: Hank Blank. Located at: https://youtu.be/TDVstonPPP8. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.
  • International Student Series: Finding work using your networks. Authored by: The University of Sydney. Located at: https://youtu.be/1yQ5AKqpeiI. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.
  • Hustle 101: Networking For College Students & Recent Grads. Authored by: NYCreativeInterns. Located at: https://youtu.be/TyFfc-4yj80. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.

Adaptions: Relocated learning objectives. Removed career fair image.

10

Chapter 10: Words of Wisdom: It’s Like Online Dating

Jackie Vetrano

Jackie Vetrano

Searching for a job, especially your first job, is a lot like online dating. It begins as a time commitment, gets nerve-wracking towards the middle, but ends in success and happiness if you follow the right process.

Like many single people with access to current technology, I ventured into the world of online dating. I went for coffee with potential mates who were instant no ways, some who left me scratching my head, and a few who I found a connection with.

But hang on. We are here to talk about professional development, not my love life.

Being on the job hunt is not easy. Many spend hours preparing résumés, looking at open positions, and thinking about what career path to travel. Occasionally, it is overwhelming and intimidating, but when taken one step at a time, it can be a manageable and an exciting process.

Your Dating Profile—The Résumé

The first step of online dating is the most important: create your dating profile. Your profile is where you put your best foot forward and show off all of your attractive qualities through visuals and text. Online daters find their most flattering photos and then season the “about me” section of their profile with captivating and descriptive words to better display who they are and why other online daters should give them a shot.

Résumés follow this same logic. Your résumé should be clean, polished, and present you in your best light for future employers. Like dating profiles, they are detailed and should paint a picture for other prospective dates (or future employers) supporting why you deserve a chance at their love—an interview.

The unspoken rules of online dating profiles are very similar to the rules for writing a résumé. Whether you like it or not, your online dating profile and résumé both serve as a first impression. Profiles and résumés that are short, filled with spelling errors, or vague are usually passed over. Your written description is very important to display who you are.

Your résumé should capture who you are, your skill set, education, past experiences, and anything else that is relevant to the job you hope to obtain. Knowing your audience is a key factor in crafting the perfect résumé. Logically, if my online dating profile presented studious and quiet personality traits, I would likely start receiving messages from potential mates who are looking for someone who is seeking those traits. By taking a similar approach while writing a résumé, you can easily determine the tone, language, and highlighted skills and experiences you should feature. The tone of your résumé is dictated by the nature of the position you hope to obtain in the future. For example, hospitality jobs or positions that require you to interact with many people on a daily basis should be warm and welcoming while analytical jobs, such as accounting or research positions, should reflect an astute attention to detail. Your choice in language follows similar logic—use appropriate terms for the position you are seeking.

Unlike online dating profiles, your résumé should include your important contact information, including email address and telephone number.

Finding Love—The Job Hunt

Simply crafting an online dating profile doesn’t necessarily mean you will find your one true love, and the same applies to your career. Once your résumé is crafted, it is equally as important to search the job market to find what you think would be a good fit based on your skills and preferences.

An important part of online dating is setting the appropriate search filters. Sites allow users to search by gender, location, age, religious beliefs, or social practices. All these are small pieces that affect the overall compatibility between two people, with some factors being more important than others. By carefully choosing which filters are most important, you’re sure to have better luck finding a perfect match that will make you happy and excited.

As you begin the job hunt, it is important to determine your filters when it comes to a career or first job. Some of these filters, like dating, may hold more weight to you than others. Many job search sites allow users to find job listings as defined by these filters, and they can include: location, type of organization, starting salary, potential for promotion, job responsibilities, etc.

Always establish filters. You may say, “I don’t care what I find, as long as I find something.” All of us have a preference in our love lives as well as our careers, and being honest with yourself about these filters will increase the likelihood for happiness in the end. These filters also allow you to more quickly read through job postings, because you will be focusing on positions with the qualities that you already determined are the most important to you.

When you are searching for a posted position using an online service, enter your filters and try a variety of search phrases to find as many postings as possible. Even changing “school counselor” to “guidance counselor” or only “counseling” may produce a different set of job postings, depending on the website.

It is also important to remember, like online dating sites, not every job posting will be on every employment site. Experiment with different search techniques and websites, and seek the advice of others for the best resource for recent postings. It’s easy to save these filters and search results on most job search websites, allowing you to check back on a constant basis without resetting your filters. Most sites also allow you to create a free account, providing you a way to receive email alerts any time a new job is posted and fits in with your filters.

After the filters are set, it is time to start the exciting and nerve-wracking part: scrolling through profiles.

Scrolling through Profiles—The Job Postings

You will find attractive potentials with no description provided, others who exclusively take selfies, and a whole list of people who simply are not right for you based on their description. But then, it happens. You find someone who may be a match, and your heart starts to flutter.

Reading through a job description is equally as exciting. A good job posting provides a robust description of responsibilities, minimum qualifications, and desired qualifications for candidates. Knowing your own skill set, you can determine if you’re a match or not. By having honest filters set before searching, it’s likely that you are.

Sometimes, online dating simply doesn’t work. Many will then turn to speed dating to meet new people in the area. This method allows for daters to quickly determine whether or not there’s any chemistry, without spending time searching through online profiles. Similarly, job fairs provide this quick face-to-face advantage. If you’re attending a job fair, be sure dress appropriately and have copies of your résumé and business cards on hand. Through job fairs, you’ll be building your first impression right away, and may even be offered an interview on the spot.

Sending a Message—The Cover Letter

After searching through dozens of profiles, online daters generally find a handful of people they can picture themselves with. There’s only one way to find out more about the person, and that’s by sending the first message.

My personal rule for online dating is to always send a thoughtful first message to those I want to meet. It’s easy enough to send a short, impersonal “hey,” but it’s important to make a good impression. It’s obvious that the message I send, combined with my well-written profile, is going to continue to form a first impression of me. First impressions are very important in dating, job-hunting, and life overall.

The challenging part of the first message I send through online dating sites is determining what to say. I’ve never met these people before, but I do have access to their dating profiles filled with their hobbies, hometowns, and more. This is a perfect starting point for my message, especially if we both root for the same football team or if the other person likes to run as much as I do.

Your cover letter serves as an introduction to your future employer and should compliment your résumé to create a shining first impression. It is incredibly challenging to sit in front of a blank screen trying to find a good starting point, which means you should look at the job posting and organization’s website for ideas about what to include.

Generally, these job postings provide a set of hard skills (such as proficiency with certain technology) and soft skills (such as public speaking, teamwork, or working in a flexible environment) required and desired for the posted position. This information provides you a list of what should be explained in your cover letter. Demonstrating your hard skills is a simple enough task by using examples or stating certifications, but describing your soft skills may require a little more thought. These soft skills can be exhibited by discussing specific examples of past experiences in previous jobs you’ve held, volunteer work, or work you’ve done in college classes.

After you have crafted your cover letter, you should send it to a few people you trust for their opinion and overall proofreading along with the job posting for their reference. It’s obvious that your cover letter should be free of spelling and grammar errors, but these trustworthy individuals will also be able to provide helpful insight about the examples you’ve used to display your soft skills.

The Hard Part—Waiting

You just sent your first message to the love of your life, but now what? You wait. You will undoubtedly feel anxious, especially if you sit refreshing your inbox for hours at a time, but if you made a good first impression and they like you as much as you like them, you will hear back.

While you wait, take the time to do a little research. Search for the organization online and view what information they provide. You will be storing up some good facts about your future partner, which is something you can bring up when you’re on your first date. This research will also allow you to understand the company better. The organization displays their values, work ethic, and personality through online and print resources, which allows you to see if their values match with yours.

Unlike online dating, it is helpful to follow up with an organization you’ve applied to. Generally, the Human Resources department of an organization is the best place to start if you are unsure whom to call. This phone call is another piece of your first impression, which means you should be prepared to talk. Have any materials that you need ready, and be sure you are in a quiet place.

The First Date—The Job Interview

After what may feel like forever, you hear back from the love of your life. Congratulations! In the online dating world, you may chat about common interests (because you wrote a stunning first message), but in the world of work, you’ll be asked to visit the organization for an interview.

I have been on many first dates, and whether it’s in a coffee shop or over dinner, the first face-to-face meeting is tremendously important. If someone I am meeting for the first time looks like they just came from the gym or rolled out of bed, my impression instantly changes. This same theory can be directly applied to your first date with your future employer. You have worked hard on your cover letter and résumé, and you should not taint the sparkling first impression you have created with the wrong choice in dress.

What you wear to a job interview may change based on the position you have applied for, but there are a set of basic rules that everyone should follow. Similar to meeting someone on a first date for coffee, you want to be comfortable. Some interviews may take place with multiple people in an organization, meaning you will be walking to different locations, sitting down, and potentially sweating from a broken air conditioning unit. Consider these factors when choosing your outfit for your interview, and if you’re concerned about being underdressed, remember to always dress a bit nicer than how you’d dress for the job itself.

There is nothing worse than sitting alone at a coffee shop waiting for a mystery date to show up. It’s uncomfortable and affects my overall first impression of whom I’m about to meet. Avoid making your mystery employer annoyed and waiting for you by leaving at least ten minutes earlier than you need to, just in case you get stuck in traffic. Arrive at least ten minutes early. The interview will start out much better if you are early rather than nervous and running late. Arriving early also gives you the time to have some coffee and review materials you may need for the interview. Coming on time to an interview or a first date shows you respect the time of the person you plan to meet.

On a first date, it is all about communication. Sometimes, there may be silences that cannot be filled or the person I have just met discloses their entire life story to me in less than an hour. If we cannot achieve a proper balance, there will not be a second date. Communicating effectively in a job interview is equally as important, especially if you want a job offer!

All of the rules of dating apply to how you should behave in a job interview. The interviewer will ask you questions, which means that you should look at them and focus on what is being asked. Your phone should be on silent (not even on vibrate), and hidden, to show that you are fully attentive and engaged in the conversation you are having. Much like having a conversation on a date, the answers to your questions should be clear and concise and stay on topic. The stories I tell on my first dates are more personal than what would be disclosed in a job interview, but the mindset is the same. You are building the impression that the organization has of you, so put your best foot forward through the comments you make.

To make that great impression, it is really important to heavily prepare and practice, even before you have an interview scheduled. By brainstorming answers to typical interview questions in a typed document or out loud, later during the interview you will easily remember the examples of your past experiences that demonstrate why you are best for the job. You can continue to update this list as you move through different jobs, finding better examples to each question to accurately describe your hard and soft skills.

This interview is as much a date for your future employer as it is for you. Come prepared with questions that you have about the company, the position, and anything else you are curious about. This is an opportunity for you to show off the research you’ve done on the organization and establish a better understanding of company culture, values, and work ethic. Without knowing these basics of the company or organization, what you thought was a match might only end in a tense breakup.

After your interview is over, you continue to have an opportunity to build on the positive impression that you’ve worked hard to form. Sending a follow up thank you note to each person you interviewed with will show your respect for the time the organization spent with you. These notes can be written and sent by mail or emailed, but either way should have a personal touch, commenting on a topic that was discussed in the interview. While sending a thank you note after a first date may sound a little strange, you might not get asked to a second interview without one!

It’s Official—The Job Offer

In the online dating world, it takes a few dates to determine if two people are a match. In the corporate world, you may have a one or two interviews to build a relationship. If your impression was positive and the organization believes you’re a match for the open position, you’ll be offered a job.

With a job offer also comes the salary for the position. It is important to know what a reasonable salary is for the position and location, which can be answered with a bit of research. One good place to look is the Bureau of Labor Statistics website: http://stats.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm. At this point, it is not uncommon to discuss your salary with your future employer, but be sure to do so in a polite way.

Online dating sites provide the means for millions of people to meet future partners, and the number of people who use online dating is so large that there are sure to be disappointments along the way. I have met people who I thought were compatible with me, but they did not feel the same, and vice versa. This happens frequently while searching for a job, which can be discouraging, but should not hinder you from continuing to search! There are a great number of opportunities, and sometimes all it takes is adjusting your filters or revising your résumé and cover letter. The cliché “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” may be true, but there is definitely a way for each person to start their career off right.

Licenses and Attributions:

CC licensed content, Shared previously:

Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom. Edited by Thomas Priester.  Essay authored by Jackie Vetrano. Located at: https://milnepublishing.geneseo.edu/foundations-of-academic-success/chapter/its-like-online-dating/  License: CC BY: Attribution.

Adaptions: Some content edited by Dave Dillon based on peer review suggestions.

11

Chapter 11: Résumés and Cover Letters

Lumen Learning and Linda (Bruce) Hill

“The most important tool you have on a résumé is language.”

– Jay Samit

A résumé is a “selfie” for business purposes. It is a written picture of who you are—it’s a marketing tool, a selling tool, and a promotion of you as an ideal candidate for any job you may be interested in.

The word résumé comes from the French word résumé, which means “a summary.” Leonardo da Vinci is credited with writing one of the first known résumés, although it was more of a letter that outlined his credentials for a potential employer, Ludovico Sforza. The résumé got da Vinci the job, though, and Sforza became a longtime patron of da Vinci and later commissioned him to paint The Last Supper.

Résumés and cover letters work together to represent you in the most positive light to prospective employers. With a well-composed résumé and cover letter, you stand out—which may get you an interview and then a good shot at landing a job.

In this section, we discuss résumés and cover letters as key components of your career development tool kit. We explore some of the many ways you can design and develop them for the greatest impact in your job search.

Your Résumé: Purpose and Contents

Your résumé is an inventory of your education, work experience, job-related skills, accomplishments, volunteer history, internships, residencies, and/or more. It’s a professional autobiography in outline form to give the person who reads it a quick, general idea of who you are, and what skills, abilities, and experiences you have to offer. With a better idea of who you are, prospective employers can see how well you might contribute to their workplace.

As a college student or recent graduate, though, you may be unsure about what to put in your résumé, especially if you don’t have much employment history. Still, employers don’t expect recent grads to have significant work experience. And even with little work experience, you may still have a host of worthy accomplishments to include. It’s all in how you present yourself.

The following video is an animated look at why résumés are so important. Read a transcript of the video.

Video: Why Do I Need a Resume?

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Elements of Your Successful Résumé

Perhaps the hardest part of writing a résumé is figuring out what format to use to organize and present your information in the most effective way. There is no correct format, per se, but most résumés follow one of the four formats below. Which format do you think will best represent your qualifications?

  1. Reverse chronological résumé: A reverse chronological résumé (sometimes also simply called a chronological résumé) lists your job experiences in reverse chronological order—that is, starting with the most recent job and working backward toward your first job. It includes starting and ending dates. Also included is a brief description of the work duties you performed for each job, and highlights of your formal education. The reverse chronological résumé may be the most common and perhaps the most conservative résumé format. It is most suitable for demonstrating a solid work history, and growth and development in your skills. It may not suit you if you are light on skills in the area you are applying to, or if you’ve changed employers frequently, or if you are looking for your first job. Reverse Chronological Résumé Examples
  2. Functional résumé: A functional résumé is organized around your talents, skills, and abilities (more so than work duties and job titles, as with the reverse chronological résumé). It emphasizes specific professional capabilities, like what you have done or what you can do. Specific dates may be included but are not as important. So if you are a new graduate entering your field with little or no actual work experience, the functional résumé may be a good format for you. It can also be useful when you are seeking work in a field that differs from what you have done in the past. It’s also well suited for people in unconventional careers. Functional Résumé Examples
  3. Hybrid résumé: The hybrid résumé is a format reflecting both the functional and chronological approaches. It’s also called a combination résumé. It highlights relevant skills, but it still provides information about your work experience. With a hybrid résumé, you may list your job skills as most prominent and then follow with a chronological (or reverse chronological) list of employers. This résumé format is most effective when your specific skills and job experience need to be emphasized. Hybrid Résumé Examples
  4. Video, infographic, and website résumé: Other formats you may wish to consider are the video résumé, the infographic résumé, or even a website résumé. These formats may be most suitable for people in multimedia and creative careers. Certainly with the expansive use of technology today, a job seeker might at least try to create a media-enhanced résumé. But the paper-based, traditional résumé is by far the most commonly used—in fact, some human resource departments may not permit submission of any format other than paper based. Video Resume Examples; Infographic Résumé Examples; Website Résumé Examples

An important note about formatting is that, initially, employers may spend only a few seconds reviewing each résumé—especially if there is a big stack of them or they seem tedious to read. That’s why it’s important to choose your format carefully so it will stand out and make the first cut.

Résumé Contents and Structure

For many people, the process of writing a résumé is daunting. After all, you are taking a lot of information and condensing it into a very concise form that needs to be both eye-catching and easy to read. Don’t be scared off, though! Developing a good résumé can be fun, rewarding, and easier than you think if you follow a few basic guidelines. In the following video, a résumé-writing expert describes some keys to success.

Video: Resume Tutorial

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Contents and Components To Include

  1. Your contact information: name, address (note that some recommend not sharing for security purposes, others recommend sharing to be complete), phone number, professional email address
  2. A summary of your skills: 5–10 skills you have gained in your field
  3. Work experience: depending on the résumé format you choose, you may list your most recent job first; include the title of the position, employer’s name, location, employment dates (beginning, ending); Working for a family business is valid work experience and should definitely be on a resume.
  4. Volunteer experience: can be listed in terms of hours completed or months/years involved. Use the same format as that used to list work experience.
  5. Education and training: formal and informal experiences matter; include academic degrees, professional development, certificates, internships, etc.
  6. Other sections: may include a job objective, a brief profile, a branding statement, a summary statement, additional accomplishments, and any other related experiences

Caution

Résumés resemble snowflakes in as much as no two are alike. Although you can benefit from giving yours a stamp of individuality, you will do well to steer clear of personal details that might elicit a negative response. It is advisable to omit any confidential information or details that could make you vulnerable to discrimination, for instance. Your résumé will likely be viewed by a number of employees in an organization, including human resource personnel, managers, administrative staff, etc. By aiming to please all reviewers, you gain maximum advantage.

Top Ten Tips for a Successful Résumé

  1. Aim to make a résumé that’s 1–2 pages long on letter-size paper.
  2. Make it visually appealing.
  3. Use action verbs and phrases.
  4. Proofread carefully to eliminate any spelling, grammar, punctuation, and typographical errors.
  5. Include highlights of your qualifications or skills to attract an employer’s attention.
  6. Craft your letter as a pitch to people in the profession you plan to work in.
  7. Stand out as different, courageous.
  8. Be positive and reflect only the truth.
  9. Be excited and optimistic about your job prospects!
  10. Keep refining and reworking your résumé; it’s an ongoing project.

Remember that your résumé is your professional profile. It will hold you in the most professional and positive light, and it’s designed to be a quick and easy way for a prospective employer to evaluate what you might bring to a job. When written and formatted attractively, creatively, and legibly, your résumé is what will get your foot in the door. You can be proud of your accomplishments, even if they don’t seem numerous. Let your résumé reflect your personal pride and professionalism. A resume is also a “living document” and will change as your experiences and skills change.

In the following video, Résumé Tips for College Students From Employers, several college graduate recruiters summarize the most important points about crafting your résumé. Download a transcript of the video.

Video: Résumé Tips for College Students From Employers

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Résumé Writing Resources

WEBSITE DESCRIPTION
2 The Online Resume Builder (from My Perfect resume) The online résumé builder is easy to use. Choose your résumé design from the library of professional designs, insert prewritten examples, then download and print your new résumé.
3 Résumé Builder (from Live Career) This site offers examples and samples, templates, tips, videos, and services for résumés, cover letters, interviews, and jobs.
4 Résumé Samples for College Students and Graduates (from About Careers) This site offers a plethora of sample résumés for college students and graduates. Listings are by type of student and by type of job. Résumé templates are also provided.
5 Job Search Minute Videos (from College Grad) This site offers multiple to-the-point one-minute videos on topics such as print résumés, video résumés, cover letters, interviewing, tough interview questions, references, job fairs, and Internet job searching.
6 Student [Career] Services (from Employment Ontario—Community Employment Services) Buzzwords and Skills to Include in your résumé

Action Words and Phrases for résumé Development

Checklist of Personal Skills

7 42 Résumé Dos and Don’ts Every Job Seeker Should Know (from The Muse) A comprehensive list of résumé dos and don’ts, which includes traditional rules as well as new rules to polish your résumé.

 

Activity: Create Your Résumé

Objectives:

  • Compile data reflecting your professional and educational skills and accomplishments.
  • Assess the main résumé formats and select one that meets your needs.
  • Create a first draft of your professional résumé.

Directions:

  1. Compile all needed information for your résumé, including your contact information, a summary of your skills, your work experience and volunteer experience, education and training (including your intended degree, professional development activities, certificates, internships, etc.). Optionally you may wish to include job objective, a brief profile, a branding statement, additional accomplishments, and any other related experiences.
  2. Select one of the résumé builder tools listed above in the Résumé Writing Resources table.
  3. Create your résumé, following instructions at your selected site.
  4. Save your document as a PDF file.
  5. Follow instructions from your instructor on how to submit your work.

Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is a letter of introduction, usually 3–4 paragraphs in length, that you attach to your résumé. It’s a way of introducing yourself to a potential employer and explaining why you are suited for a position. Employers may look for individualized and thoughtfully written cover letters as an initial method of screening out applicants who may who lack necessary basic skills, or who may not be sufficiently interested in the position.

 Cover Letter Examples

Often an employer will request or require that a cover letter be included in the materials an applicant submits. There are also occasions when you might submit a cover letter uninvited (also called a letter of interest). For example, if you are initiating an inquiry about possible work or asking someone to send you information or provide other assistance.

With each résumé you send out, always include a cover letter specifically addressing your purposes.

Characteristics of an Effective Cover Letter

Cover letters should accomplish the following:

The following video features Aimee Bateman, founder of Careercake.com, who explains how you can create an incredible cover letter. Download a transcript of the video.

Video: 5 Steps to an Incredible Cover Letter

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Cover Letter Resources

WEBSITE DESCRIPTION
1 Student Cover Letter Samples (from About Careers) This site contains sample student/recent graduate cover letters (especially for high school students and college students and graduates seeking employment) as well as cover letter templates, writing tips, formats and templates, email cover letter examples, and examples by type of applicant.
2 How to Write Cover Letters (from CollegeGrad) This site contains resources about the reality of cover letters, using a cover letter, the worst use of the cover letter, the testimonial cover letter technique, and a cover letter checklist.
4 Cover Letters (from the Yale Office of Career Strategy) This site includes specifications for the cover letter framework (introductory paragraph, middle paragraph, concluding paragraph), as well as format and style.

Licenses and Attributions

CC licensed content, Original:

All rights reserved content:

  • WHY DO I NEED A RESUME? Authored by: Leinard Tapat. Located at: https://youtu.be/Yc4pgOsUJfA. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.
  • Resume Tips for College Students From Employers. Authored by: Clarkson University. Located at: https://youtu.be/fYavOr8Gnac. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.
  • 5 Steps to an Incredible Cover Letter. Authored by: Aimee Bateman. Located at: https://youtu.be/mxOli8laZos. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.
  • Resume Tutorial. Authored by: Cameron Cassidy. Located at: https://youtu.be/O5eVMaPZWmM. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.

Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom essay removed (exists elsewhere in this work).

Adaptions: Relocated learning objectives. Image of helping write a resume removed. Image of piles of paper on a table removed.

12

Chapter 12: Interviewing

Lumen Learning and Linda (Bruce) Hill

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
 
– Arthur Ashe

If your résumé and cover letter have served their purposes well, you will be invited to participate in an interview with the company or organization you’re interested in. Congratulations! It’s an exciting time, and your prospects for employment are very strong if you put in the time to be well prepared.

In this section we look at how to get ready for an interview, what types of interviews you might need to engage in, and what kinds of questions you might be asked.

Preparing Effectively for a Job Interview

Review the Job Description

When you prepare for an interview, your first step will be to carefully read and reread the job posting or job description. This will help you develop a clearer idea of how you meet the skills and attributes the company seeks.

Research the Company or Organization

Researching the company will give you a wider view of what the company is looking for and how well you might fit in. Your prospective employer may ask you what you know about the company. Being prepared to answer this question shows that you took time and effort to prepare for the interview and that you have a genuine interest in the organization. It shows good care and good planning—soft skills you will surely need on the job.

Practice Answering Common Questions

Most interviewees find that practicing for the interview in advance with a family member, a friend, or a colleague eases possible nerves during the actual interview. It also creates greater confidence when you walk through the interview door. In the “Interview Questions” section below, you’ll learn more about specific questions you will likely be asked and corresponding strategies for answering them.

Plan to Dress Appropriately

Interviewees are generally most properly dressed for an interview in business attire, with the goal of looking highly professional in the eyes of the interviewer.

Come Prepared

Plan to bring your résumé, cover letter, and a list of references to the interview. You may also want to bring a portfolio of representative work. Leave behind coffee, chewing gum, and any other items that could be distractions.

Be Confident

Above all, interviewees should be confident and “courageous.” By doing so you make a strong first impression. As the saying goes, “There is never a second chance to make a first impression.”

Job Interview Types and Techniques

Every interview you participate in will be unique: The people you meet with, the interview setting, and the questions you’ll be asked will all be different from interview to interview.

The various factors that characterize any given interview can contribute to the sense of adventure and excitement you feel. But it’s also normal to feel a little nervous about what lies ahead. With so many unknowns, how can you plan to “nail the interview” no matter what comes up?

A good strategy for planning is to anticipate the type of interview you may find yourself in. There are common formats for job interviews, described in detail, below. By knowing a bit more about each type and being aware of techniques that work for each, you can plan to be on your game no matter what form your interview takes.

Screening Interviews

Screening interviews might best be characterized as “weeding-out” interviews. They ordinarily take place over the phone or in another low-stakes environment in which the interviewer has maximum control over the amount of time the interview takes. Screening interviews are generally short because they glean only basic information about you. If you are scheduled to participate in a screening interview, you might safely assume that you have some competition for the job and that the company is using this strategy to whittle down the applicant pool. With this kind of interview, your goal is to win a face-to-face interview. For this first shot, though, prepare well and challenge yourself to shine. This type of interview should be treated like a real interview. This may mean dressing for the interview and having a resume in front of you so that it can be referred to. Another suggestion is to use a land line phone if possible and/or make sure a cell phone is fully charged and that the screening interview takes place in a location that is free of distractions. Try to stand out from the competition and be sure to follow up with a thank-you note.

Phone or Web Conference Interviews

If you are geographically separated from your prospective employer, you may be invited to participate in a phone interview or online interview, instead of meeting face-to-face. Technology, of course, is a good way to bridge distances. The fact that you’re not there in person doesn’t make it any less important to be fully prepared, though. In fact, you may wish to be all the more “on your toes” to compensate for the distance barrier. Make sure your equipment (phone, computer, Internet connection, etc.) is fully charged and works. If you’re at home for the interview, make sure the environment is quiet and distraction-free.  If the meeting is online, make sure your video background is pleasing and neutral, like a wall hanging or even a white wall.

One-on-One Interviews

The majority of job interviews are conducted in this format—just you and a single interviewer—likely with the manager you would report to and work with. The one-on-one format gives you both a chance to see how well you connect and how well your talents, skills, and personalities mesh. You can expect to be asked questions like “Why would you be good for this job?” and “Tell me about yourself.” Many interviewees prefer the one-on-one format because it allows them to spend in-depth time with the interviewer. Rapport can be built. As always, be very courteous and professional. Have handy a portfolio of your best work.

Panel Interviews

An efficient format for meeting a candidate is a panel interview, in which perhaps four to five coworkers meet at the same time with a single interviewee. The coworkers comprise the “search committee” or “search panel,” which may consist of different company representatives such as human resources, management, and staff. One advantage of this format for the committee is that meeting together gives them a common experience to reflect on afterward. In a panel interview, listen carefully to questions from each panelist, and try to connect fully with each questioner. Be sure to write down names and titles, so you can send individual thank-you notes after the interview.

Serial Interviews

Serial interviews are a combination of one-on-one meetings with a group of interviewers, typically conducted as a series of meetings staggered throughout the day. Ordinarily this type of interview is for higher-level jobs, when it’s important to meet at length with major stakeholders. If your interview process is designed this way, you will need to be ultraprepared, as you will be answering many in-depth questions. Be prepared.

Lunch Interviews

In some higher-level positions, candidates are taken to lunch or dinner, especially if this is a second interview (a “call back” interview). If this is you, count yourself lucky and be on your best behavior, because even if the lunch meeting is unstructured and informal, it’s still an official interview. Do not order an alcoholic beverage, and use your best table manners. You are not expected to pay or even to offer to pay. But, as always, you must send a thank-you note.

Group Interviews

Group interviews are comprised of several interviewees and perhaps only one or two interviewers who may make a presentation to the assembled group. This format allows an organization to quickly prescreen candidates. It also gives candidates a chance to quickly learn about the company. As with all interview formats, you are being observed. How do you behave with your group? Do you assume a leadership role? Are you quiet but attentive? What kind of personality is the company looking for? A group interview may reveal this.

For a summary of the interview formats we’ve just covered (and a few additional ones), take a look at the following video, Job Interview Guide—10 Different Types of Interviews in Today’s Modern World.

Video: Job Interview Guide – 10 Different Types of Interviews in Today’s Modern World

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Activity: What Makes You a Great Fit?

Objectives:

  • Define your ideal job.
  • Identify the top three reasons why you are a great fit for this ideal job.

Directions:

  • Write a paragraph describing your ideal job. Imagine that you are already in this job. What is your job title and what are you responsible for executing? What is the name of the company or organization? What is its function?
  • Now identify the top three reasons why you are a great fit for this ideal job. What sets you apart from the competition? List the qualities, skills and values you have that match the job requirements. Provide examples to support your answers. Connect your values to the company’s values.
  • Summarize your answer.
  • Submit this assignment according to directions provided by your instructor.

Interview Questions

For most job candidates, the burning question is “What will I be asked?” There’s no way to anticipate every single question that may arise during an interview. It’s possible that, no matter how well prepared you are, you may get a question you just didn’t expect. But that is okay. Do as much preparation as you can—which will build your confidence in your answers and ready for unexpected questions.

To help you reach that point of sureness and confidence, take time to review common interview questions. Think about your answers. Make notes, if that helps. And then conduct a practice interview with a friend, a family member, or a colleague. Speak your answers out loud. Below is a list of resources that contain common interview questions and good explanations/answers you might want to adopt.

WEBSITE DESCRIPTION
1 100 top job interview questions—be prepared for the interview (from Monster.com) This site provides a comprehensive set of interview questions you might expect to be asked, categorized as basic interview questions, behavioral questions, salary questions, career development questions, and other kinds. Some of the listed questions provide comprehensive answers, too.
2 Interview Questions and Answers (from BigInterview) This site provides text and video answers to the following questions: Tell me about yourself, describe your current position, why are you looking for a new job, what are your strengths, what is your greatest weakness, why do you want to work here, where do you see yourself in five years, why should we hire you, and do you have any questions for me?
3 Ten Tough Interview Questions and Ten Great Answers (from CollegeGrad) This site explores some of the most difficult questions you will face in job interviews. The more open-ended the question, the greater the variation among answers. Once you have become practiced in your interviewing skills, you will find that you can use almost any question as a launching pad for a particular topic or compelling story.

Why Should We Hire You

From the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business Career Management Office, here is a video featuring representatives from recruiting companies offering advice for answering the question “Why should we hire you?” As you watch, make mental notes about how you would answer the question in an interview for a job you really want.

Video: Why Should We Hire You?

Thumbnail for the embedded element ""Why Should We Hire You?" How to Answer this Interview Question"

A YouTube element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here: https://press.rebus.community/blueprint3/?p=50

Licenses and Attributions:

CC licensed content, Shared previously:

All rights reserved content:

  • Job Interview Guide – 10 Different Types of Interviews in Today’s Modern World. Authored by: InterviewMastermind. Located at: https://youtu.be/mMLQ7nSAyDQ. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License.

Lumen Learning authored content:

Adaptions: Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom essay removed (exists elsewhere in this work), relocated learning objectives. Image of two men during interview removed.

1

Appendix A Original Works

Dave Dillon

College Success. Co-authored by: Linda Bruce. Provided by: Lumen Learning. Located at: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/collegesuccess-lumen/ License: CC-BY except otherwise noted. Click the words “Licenses and Attributions” at the bottom of each page for copyright and licensing information specific to the material on that page.

Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom. Edited by Thomas Priester. Located at:
http://textbooks.opensuny.org/foundations-of-academic-success/ License: CC-BY
Peer Review:
https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/BookDetail.aspx?bookId=232

Blueprint for Success in College: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies (1st edition) by Dave Dillon contains copyrighted information and thus no link is provided.  The second edition (v 2.1), CC-BY is located here: https://press.rebus.community/blueprint1/

4

Appendix D Resources for Educators

Dave Dillon

Resources for instructors, educators, open education enthusiasts, authors, editors, curators, and future downstream users:

Zoe Wake Hyde, “Pressbooks for EDU Guide,” Pressbooks, https://eduguide.pressbooks.com/

Lauri Aesoph, “BCcampus Open Education Self-Publishing Guide,” (replaced BC Textbook Open Authoring Guide), BCcampus, https://opentextbc.ca/selfpublishguide/

Amanda Coolidge, Sue Doner, and Tara Robertson, “BC Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit,” BCcampus, https://opentextbc.ca/accessibilitytoolkit/

“The Orange Grove: Combining Openly Licensed Resources,” Open Access Textbooks,
http://www.openaccesstextbooks.org/video.html

“The Orange Grove, Florida’s OER Repository,” Florida Shines, https://www.floridashines.org/orange-grove

“The Project,” Open Access Textbooks, http://www.openaccesstextbooks.org/model/index.html

“Open Education Information Center,” Open Education Consortium,
http://www.oeconsortium.org/info-center/

“Open Educational Resources Tools and Resources,” (thanks to Barbara Illowski),
http://ccconlineed.org/faculty-resources/open-educational-resources/oer-tools-resources/

“Best Practices for Attribution,” (thanks to David Wiley), Creative Commons,
https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Best_practices_for_attribution

5

Appendix E Preface from Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom

Thomas Priester

Please note: Four essays from Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom appear in this text.  For the link to the entire text, please see Appendix A.

Preface to Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom – Thomas C. Priester

“Success doesn’t come to you…you go to it.” This quote by Dr. Marva Collins sets the stage for the journey you are about to take. Your success, however you choose to define it, is waiting for you, and Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom (FAS: WoW) is your guide to your success. Some may believe that success looks like a straight and narrow line that connects the dots between where you are and where you are going, but the truth is that success looks more like a hot mess of twists and turns, curves and bumps, and hurdles and alternate pathways.

Putting this textbook together was challenging because there is so much to tell you as you embark on your college journey. I have worked with college students on academic success at a number of college campuses, and have hunted for the most effective and most affordable college student academic success textbook but could never find everything I wanted to teach in one book. So, I figured the answer was to write my own textbook!

Like any good research project, the outcome was not exactly what I expected. In addition to a host of true-to-life stories written by real people who have successfully navigated the journey through college, the first draft of the textbook included everything (and more) that the other similarly themed textbooks about college student academic success do. The chapters were framed by a slew of “How To” facts according to me (such as “how to efficiently take notes during a lecture and how to effectively use your preferred learning style to help you learn better”) and research-based figures according to researchers in the field of college student academic success, such as rules like “For every hour in class, successful college-level work requires about two hours of out-of-class work: reading, writing, research, labs, discussion, field work, etc.” or “A 15-credit course load is about equivalent to working a full-time job.”

Once the first draft was finished, I decided to test-drive my new textbook with the students in my First Year Experience class to see what they thought. I figured, who better to give me feedback on the textbook than actual students who would use the textbook in class, right? I gave the first draft of the textbook (facts and figures and all) to my students to read, review, and reflect upon. It turned out that the pieces that my students learned the most from were the true-to-life stories. They either didn’t read or barely glanced over the facts and figures, but provided very positive feedback (and even remembered) the words of wisdom from real people who have successfully navigated the journey through college.

I guess it makes sense; students love when real-life stories are infused into the activities and lessons. Plus, as a number of students told me, the facts and figures on topics such as note-taking and how many hours to study per week can be found by searching online and can vary per person. What really mattered to students were the real-life words of wisdom that you can’t find online. Thus, Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom (FAS: WoW as I lovingly call it) emerged.

I share this story because my intended outcome (to be the author of the world’s best open access college student academic success textbook) was not exactly what I expected it to be. The same is true of your journey through college, and you’ll read more about that in the stories right here in FAS: WoW. You’ll find that this is not your typical college textbook full of concrete facts and figures, nor does it tell you how to succeed. No textbook can truly do that for you—success is defined differently for everyone. The stories in FAS: WoW are relevant, relational, and reflective. The authors welcome you into their lives and offer ideas that ignite helpful discussions that will help succeed.

FAS: WoW introduces you to the various aspects of student and academic life on campus and prepares you to thrive as a successful college student (since there is a difference between a college student and a successful college student). Each section of FAS: WoW is framed by self-authored, true-to-life short stories from actual State University of New York (SUNY) students, employees, and alumni. You may even know some of the authors! The advice they share includes a variety of techniques to help you cope with the demands of college. The lessons learned are meant to enlarge your awareness of self with respect to your academic and personal goals and assist you to gain the necessary skills to succeed in college.

In the text, the authors tell stories about their own academic, personal, and life-career successes. When reading FAS: WoW, consider the following guiding questions:

  • How do you demonstrate college readiness through the use of effective study skills and campus resources?
  • How do you apply basic technological and information management skills for academic and lifelong career development?
  • How do you demonstrate the use of critical and creative thinking skills to solve problems and draw conclusions?
  • How do you demonstrate basic awareness of self in connection with academic and personal goals?
  • How do you identify and demonstrate knowledge of the implications of choices related to wellness?
  • How do you demonstrate basic knowledge of cultural diversity?

After you read each story, take the time to reflect on the lessons learned from your reading and answer the guiding questions as they will help you to connect the dots between being a college student and being a successful college student. Note your areas of strength and your areas of weakness, and develop a plan to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

I could go on and on (and on) about college student academic success, but what fun is the journey for you if I tell you everything now? You need to learn some stuff on your own, right? So, I will leave you to read and enjoy FAS: WoW with a list of tips that I share with college students as they embark on their journey to academic success:

  • Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable!
  • Get the book(s) and read the book(s).
  • Take notes in class and when reading for class.
  • Know your professors (email, office location, office hours, etc.) and be familiar with what is in the course syllabus.
  • Put your phone away in class.
  • Emails need a salutation, a body, and a close.
  • Don’t write the way you might text—using abbreviations and clipped sentences.
  • Never academically advise yourself!
  • Apply for scholarships…all of them!
  • Speak it into existence and keep your eyes on the prize.

Enjoy the ride! Cheers,

TOM

Dr. Thomas C. Priester, tcpriester@genesee.edu

Licenses and Attributions:

CC licensed content, Shared previously:

Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom. Authored by Thomas Priester.  Located at: https://milnepublishing.geneseo.edu/foundations-of-academic-success/front-matter/preface/  License: CC BY: Attribution.

 

6

Version History

This page provides a record of edits and changes made to this book since its initial publication. Whenever edits or updates are made in the text, we provide a record and description of those changes here. If the change is minor, the version number increases by 0.1. If the edits involve substantial updates, the version number increases to the next full number.

The files posted alongside this book always reflect the most recent version. If you find an error in this book, please let us know in the Rebus Community forum.

Version Date Change Affected Web Page
1.1 April 28, 2018 Implemented Peer Review, Accessibility Review, and Student Review feedback.  Added Glossary, Version History, and Accessibility Assessment. Entire text

7

Accessibility Assessment

A note from the Rebus Community

We are working to create a new, collaborative model for publishing open textbooks. Critical to our success in reaching this goal is to ensure that all books produced using that model meet the needs of all students who will one day use them. To us, open means inclusive, so for a book to be open, it must also be accessible.

As a result, we are working with accessibility experts and others in the OER community to develop best practices for creating accessible open textbooks, and are building those practices into the Rebus model of publishing. By doing this, we hope to ensure that all books produced using the Rebus Community are accessible by default, and require an absolute minimum of remediation or adaptation to meet any individual student’s needs.

While we work on developing guidelines and implementing support for authoring accessible content, we are making a good faith effort to ensure that books produced with our support meet accessibility standards wherever possible, and to highlight areas where we know there is work to do. It is our hope that by being transparent on our current books, we can begin the process of making sure accessibility is top of mind for all authors, adopters, students and contributors of all kinds on all our open textbook projects.

Below is a short assessment of eight key areas that have been assessed during the production process. The checklist has been drawn from the BCcampus Accessibility Toolkit. While a checklist such as this is just one part of a holistic approach to accessibility, it is one way to begin our work on embedded good accessibility practices in the books we support.

Wherever possible, we have identified ways in which anyone may contribute their expertise to improve the accessibility of this text.

We also welcome any feedback from students, instructors or others who encounter the book and identify an issue that needs resolving. This book is an ongoing project and will be updated as needed. If you would like to submit a correction or suggestion, please do so using the Rebus Community Accessibility Suggestions form.

Webbook Checklist

Area of focus Requirements Pass?
Organizing Content Contents is organized under headings and subheadings Yes
Headings and subheadings are used sequentially (e.g. Heading 1, heading 2, etc.) as well as logically (if the title is Heading 1 then there should be no other heading 1 styles as the title is the uppermost level) Yes
 Images Images that convey information include Alternative Text (alt-text) descriptions of the image’s content or function Yes
Graphs, Charts, and Maps also include contextual or supporting details in the text surrounding the image Yes
Images do not rely on colour to convey information No
Images that are purely decorative contain empty alternative text descriptions. (Descriptive text is unnecessary if the image doesn’t convey contextual content information) Yes
 Tables Tables include row and column headers No
Table includes title or caption No
Table does not have merged or split cells Yes
Table has adequate cell padding Yes
Weblinks The weblink is meaningful in context, does not use generic text such as “click here” or “read more” Yes
Weblinks do not open new windows or tabs Yes
If weblink must open in a new window, a textual reference is included in the link information n/a
Embedded Multimedia A transcript has been made available for a multimedia resource that includes audio narration or instruction* n/a
Captions of all speech content and relevant non-speech content are included in the multimedia resource that includes audio synchronized with a video presentation n/a
Audio descriptions of contextual visuals (graphs, charts, etc) are included in the multimedia resource n/a
Formulas Formulas have been created using MathML n/a
Formulas are images with alternative text descriptions, if MathML is not an option n/a
Font Size Font size is 12 point (12pt=1em in this book) or higher for body text Yes
Font size is 9 point (9pt=0.75em in this book) for footnotes or endnotes Yes
Font size can be zoomed to 200% Yes

*Transcript includes:

8

Glossary

Jeanne Hoover and Dave Dillon

Term Definition Source
Academic Major The academic discipline you commit to as an undergraduate student. https://press.rebus.community/blueprint2/chapter/36-college-majors/
Career An occupation (or series of jobs) that you undertake for a significant period of time in your life https://press.rebus.community/blueprint2/chapter/34-career-paths/
Career Counselor A counselor who focuses on helping others identify career paths that suits their experience, education, and interest.
Career Development “The lifelong process of managing learning, work, leisure, and transitions in order to move toward a personally determined and evolving preferred future.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Career_development
College and Career Readiness A point when a student has gained the necessary knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors to achieve a college degree or certificate, career training, or obtain a professional job. https://press.rebus.community/blueprint2/chapter/33-the-big-picture/
College Catalog An online or print catalog that contains information on degree programs and school rules at the college
Cover Letter A letter or written communication that serves to introduce an accompanying document; especially, a letter that introduces a résumé or curriculum vitae. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cover_letter
Functional Résumé A resume that lists overall skills and abilities before work history.
Group Interview An interview where a hiring manager interviews a group of applicants at the same time.
Hard Skills Concrete or objective abilities that you learn and are easily quantifiable, like using a computer or speaking a foreign language.
Hybrid Résumé A resume that combines features from a reverse chronological résumé and a functional resume.
Job Refers to the work a person performs for a living. https://press.rebus.community/blueprint2/chapter/34-career-paths/
Job Headhunters A professional who is hired by companies to identify candidates for a job opening. This is often used for higher level jobs like executive positions.
Lifelong Learner “An ongoing pursuit of knowledge for personal or professional reasons.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifelong_learning
Lunch Interview An interview conducted over lunch.
Networking The process of meeting new people in a business or social context. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/networking
One-on-One Interview An individual interview between an applicant and a hiring manager.
Panel Interview An interview between an applicant and a group of employees that will make the hiring decision.
PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) A strategy to carry out change that involves for steps: plan, do, check, and act.
Phone Interview An interview that takes place over the phone.
Résumé A summary of an individual’s educational and employment history. It may also include professional certifications or skills. It may be in chronological order.
Reverse Chronological Résumé A resume that focuses on employment history and lists the most recent or current position first.
Scientific Acumen Wisdom or quickness related to science.
Soft Skills A personal skill that is usually interpersonal, non-specialized, and difficult to quantify, such as leadership or responsibility. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/soft_skill
Teamwork Skills The ability to work collaboratively, effectively, and efficiently with a team.
Web Conference Interview An interview that takes place online using web conferencing software.
Work An occupation or position. It may also by effort expended on a particular task. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/work

 

Licenses and Attributions:

Authored by Jeanne Hoover and Dave Dillon. CC BY Attribution unless otherwise noted.