Tag Archives: Career Advice for College Students

Networking is icky! …or maybe not.

Ok, for some of us, the thought of networking is just plain icky, not to mention scary. To be honest, that was how I felt, especially when I was still new to my field and did not have any work experience. I thought networking was just another word for “sucking up.” And then I realized, networking is just a means of gathering and sharing information. It doesn’t need to be icky.
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Your college degree is worthless – Part 1

Your college degree is worthless…that is unless you learn to supplement it accordingly and market it effectively.  In Part 1 of this two-part post, we examine ways to supplement your college degree.
Before anything else, let me say this: YOU are in control of your career and your college education – don’t let that control slip away from you by handing over decision-making power to someone else. Of course it’s a good idea to ask for help from your parents, advisors, faculty, career counselors, friends, etc. But, the final decisions have to be yours.

Supplementing your college degree:

  • You’ve gone to college to learn, both inside the classroom and outside of it. What you learn and how much you learn is up to you.
    • For example, if you’re interested in pursuing a career in child development, and have signed up for a developmental psychology class, don’t assume your professor will bestow all that needs to be known about child development upon you. If there are certain aspects of child development that you know will be useful to you in your career (because you’ve been researching various employers in your field), utlize your prof’s office hours to discuss the topic in more detail. Think about writing a term paper on the subject. If you’re offered the opportunity to give a class presentation, make sure your presentation is about this topic.

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Conduct info interviews to network and to research employers

Conducting informational interviews

Conduct info interviews to network and to research employers

You’ll often hear me say that it’s important, among other things, to research potential employers and to conduct informational interviews. But what are you supposed to be looking for when you research the employer? And how do you prepare for an info interview?

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How interesting are you to prospective employers?

During an interview, you will likely be asked why you are interested in _____ field, why you are interested in pursuing ____ career, why you’re interested in working for _____ organization. There is a positive correlation between the quality of your responses and the interviewer’s interest in you – the more sincere, detailed, and thoughtful your responses, the more interesting you will be to the interviewer.
So, how interested are you in your field?

  • Are you staying current with trends, technologies, and news that impact your field?
  • Are you reading relevant journals and trade magazines?
  • Are you networking with professionals either via professional associations, online communities, or both?
  • Are you actively contributing to the field, even in basic ways, like participating in conferences, writing blog posts, commenting on articles, attending lectures, taking classes, volunteering?
  • Are you looking for ways to advance the field by pursuing new or innovative approaches to current practices?

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