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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fact or Fiction: The Realities of Life After College



            For a college student, nothing feels better than moving your tassel from the left to the right, signifying that you are officially an alumni. You have finally made it! All of those sleepless “ramen noodle-study” nights have finally paid off. It is almost like an instant feeling of euphoria, like you have finally arrived. Then suddenly, all at once, all of your thoughts become jumbled into one big mesh of confusion, and reality begins to set in; I am actually an adult now.
If you participated in an internship or various volunteer efforts throughout your college career, then more than likely you already have an offer on the table for a position of employment. However, if you were not previously employed in your field of study prior to completing college, or if you have not participated in an internship, then this is the time that worry and anxiety begins to flood your mind. Questions of “What do I do now” or “Will anyone hire me without experience” begin to fill the mind. If this sounds like a story or a fairy-tale, it is not. Many college students encounter various obstacles and real life challenges when they exit their college career.
One obstacle that college graduates commonly experience is lack of necessary education. Depending on one’s career choice, furthering your education may be a requirement in order to receive certain positions. For instance, to become a teacher, depending on the grade level that one will teach, masters level or even PHD level courses may be necessary. Another obstacle that college students commonly face when exiting their college career is accepting failure. One of my high school friends graduated college with her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice last year, and has ventured off on many interviews, but to no avail. One vital piece of advice that she gained from her interview experience was, in order to succeed in your job search, you must first become comfortable with failure. Most college students believe that they will land a job straight out of college, but the reality is, there are many employers that will not hire without prior experience. However, failure is not always a bad thing. The process of going on multiple interviews can enlighten one on what they will like, dislike, expect and require from the job that they will eventually obtain. Persistence is the key to finding a job, so failure will teach you what employers really want.
Another challenge is lack of opportunity and settling for less. Due to lack of experience and limited opportunities for college graduates, most students feel like they have to settle or accept anything that comes their way; Negotiation is key to succeeding as a college graduate in the work force. Set clear boundaries, be firm and know what you expect before approaching an interview or accepting a position.
One piece of advice that is helpful for choosing and successfully landing a career out of college is being diligent. Research information about each company prior to endeavoring on any interviews; Know the company inside and out, have questions that your are ready to ask and express interest in what you like about the company. Showing an employer that you have done your research before hand, is an excellent way of selling yourself to the employer and showing how you stand out. Most college students expect to receive an easy handout when searching for careers, but the reality is that there are many qualified applicants that are willing to push the envelope to show what they possess. So don’t be afraid to brag about yourself a little bit.

In conclusion, there are many challenges, obstacles and eye opening realities for college graduates. However, with persistence, diligence and confidence, one can master the trials of the job force.
By: Lamasia Moss

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Your Brand on Campus

You’ve made it to college. Congrats! There are so many dreams and ideas wrapped up in college but the hard part is figuring out which parts of those dreams and ideas help shape who you want to become. As you move through time as a college student, ideally, you will discover things about yourself that help guide you to the place of ‘who you want to be.’






Here are some useful steps to start building your “Brand on Campus”

Take Note of Those Around You

While you are on campus, you will be interfacing with faculty, staff, and classmates regularly. All of these groups have the potential to help you understand your goals albeit, personal, academic or professional. The important question becomes: What is the best way to present myself to each of these groups?

Classmates/Peers
Members of this group share a common bond with you in that everyone is working towards a degree. All of you can relate to the struggle of juggling classes, work, family and more. Engage with your peers! Talk to people about your shared experience and get to know people working towards similar goals.

  • Join a Campus Club, Organization or Activity
    • Kingsborough has over 50 clubs and organizations on campus. This is the perfect way to meet other people in this group who share the same interest as you!
  • Attend Campus Events
    • Job Fairs, Musicals, EcoFest, Blood Drives
  • Connect on Social Media and Keep in Touch

The important thing with peers is to be yourself!

Staff
The Staff are here to help you. Be respectful, polite, courteous and patient.  If you are not sure about something, ask us questions.  Staff want to see you succeed and find answers to questions. We appreciate when students engage with us and utilize their time interacting with us positively. This always resonates with us.

Faculty
Again, be respectful, polite, courteous and patient. Faculty want to assist you in enjoying whatever you may be in their classroom to learn. They want to invigorate you with what they have to offer on the subjects they teach.

  • Be Professional. While school is not a ‘job’ it is a great practice arena on how to interact with someone who has set expectations for you.
  • Communicate Openly. When you communicate readily and openly with faculty they are able to gain a better sense of where you are coming from. This helps if issues arise for any reason.
  • Ask for Help. When you don’t understand something, let a faculty member know. After all, you are here to learn and faculty are here to teach.
  • Keep in Touch. Maintaining your relationships with faculty goes beyond the academic calendar, these relationships are the spring board to your professional networks.

 

How you choose to conduct yourself will make an impact on everyone around you. It is important to start to think about what kind of interactions you would like others to have with you as this will help shape the choices you make.

 

For more on how to cultivate your own personal brand, please see us in C102!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Video Interviews



We are living in age where more and more companies are now using video interviews at some stage in the hiring process.  Video interviews can be a great way to connect with a potential employer without having to travel. So if you’re asked to participate in a video interview, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready. Video interviews should be taken just as seriously as an in person interview. Here is what you need to know to prepare for a video interview:

  • Familiarize yourself with how your webcam and camera work. Make sure that you troubleshoot any potential technical difficulties are dealt with beforehand. Make sure the camera is also on eye level that you are looking directly in the camera.
     
  • Ensure that your surroundings are neat and not visually distracting. A plain wall, a screen, a bookshelf (with nothing odd on the shelves) is fine. Make sure the location is quiet, i.e; coffee shops with noisy backgrounds, screaming toddler, pets, etc.
     
  • Dress appropriately. Even though you are not in person, you should still dress in      appropriate interview attire. Avoid wearing white (shirts, blouses or jackets as this will be too bright and distracting). Many softer, solid colors (blues or neutral tones) will work better.
     

  -Make sure the lighting does not cast a shadow on your face. You’re looking to      achieve nice even lighting across your face.

-Last but not least, practice, practice, and practice! Practice with a friend, a counselor, a spouse, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a parent.  Learning to interview in front of a camera can be daunting but like anything else practicing will help to ease any fears.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Elevator Pitch

“Tell me about yourself” or “Why should I hire you for this job.” These questions are the most commonly asked questions at a job interview. Knowing how to put together a strong answer to the most common interview questions is obviously key to landing a job. The art and science of creating great answers involves being strategic in crafting your responses as well as practicing until you’re as strong as possible.









So what exactly is an elevator pitch? It is simply a 30-second speech that summarizes who you are, what you do and why you’d be a perfect candidate.


The biggest challenge for many people is communicating all their years of experience in 30 seconds. Here are a few tips that can help you with developing an elevator pitch.

  • Begin with putting it all down on paper. Write down everything you’d want a prospective employer to know about your skills, accomplishments and work experiences that are relevant to your target position.
  • Keep editing until you narrow it down to a few key bullet points that is relevant to your target position. 
  • Format it.  A good pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? What are you looking for?
  • Make sure tailor the speech to them and not you. The interviewer will always listen for how you can benefit the company.
  • Read your pitch out loud. If you’re not careful, your speech can sound like an infomercial and not a conversation.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice. Rehearse your pitch in front of the mirror so you can see and hear how you sound.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dressing for Success in the Workplace


Skirt or slacks? Tights or bare legs? Sandals or pumps? These are the questions you might find yourself asking each morning as you select work attire. Too many people have forgotten why proper business attire is important. The major reason why dressing in proper business attire is important for every business professional is because it presents a visual image and sends a message that the employees are professional.


Another reason why dressing in proper business attire is important in the business world is because you never know when you will be required to meet with someone from outside your company. Your image to this outsider will be the image remembered of your company. Whatever else we think about dressing for success, we need to be reminded that first impressions are everything, and we only get one chance to make a positive first impression. Whether your place of work is strict or relaxed, there is a certain level of refinement that should always be maintained and things you should simply never do.

 

Here are a few simple rules of how what NOT to wear in the workplace.

  • Never show your midriff. Wear shirts of a proper length, and shun pants that ride too low.
  • Avoid revealing too much cleavage
  • Don't wear anything see-through
  • Save your flip-flops for the beach
  • Try not to go too tight. The office isn't the right place to hug every curve.
  • Its fine to express your personal style, but keep it refined.

It is often said that first impressions and overall judgments about people are formed by the way they dress. Since the way someone dresses affects the perception of a company's customers or business partners, it is important to maintain a standard of dress that creates a positive impression.