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Tips to Stand Out in the Crowd

by South University
November 23, 2015

MariKathryn E. Arnold
Career Services Advisor

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the monthly unemployment rate fell 0% in September 2015. This is an overall 0.8% improvement from the beginning of the year, but is this significant enough to impact you, as the job searcher? Job searching can be a challenging and frustrating process. With the job market’s conflicting expectations and projections it can be difficult to understand what to believe and what the job market is really like. Many anticipate that more jobs will be available and that the job search will get easier, but are they right?

Minimizing Your Job Search Frustration

Understanding job market trends can minimize some of your job search frustration. Job market trends help to show what you are up against and the size of your competition. On average, 250 or more candidates apply for one position. Not only are you up against a high volume of candidates, but you are in a technological day and age, where personal interaction rarely exists. You may apply to a position and never hear back. You may only receive an automated electronic rejection. In a world that seems to be against you, it can seem overwhelming.

What can you do?

1. Spend time on your resume.

First, build a strong enticing resume! Hiring managers want to easily read how impressive you are. Be sure to build value around why you are the ideal candidate for the position.

2. Include a cover letter.

Many hiring managers view a cover letter as a crucial component to the job search. A cover letter gives you an opportunity to express your interest in the position and the company, as well as highlight your skills. A cover letter separates you from the 250 other applicants.

3. Build your network.

Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know Companies may review candidates referred to the position first, not solely the candidates who meet the qualifications checklist. If you know someone who works in that company, reach out to them for a referral!

4. Follow up.

Follow up with the company. If you have not heard back or even received a rejection email, reach out to the recruiter or hiring manager to see why you were not asked to come in for an interview. This can help you to see what skills you may be lacking and where you can make improvements. Remember, the more aggressive that you are with the job search, the less frustrating you will find it. Persistence is key!

5. Stay positive.

Finally, the job search is not easy, but the payoff is worth it. There will be ups and downs, but it’s important to go into the process with a positive attitude. Rejection is part of the job searching process, but once you land the job you want, you’ll be happy you didn’t waste time agonizing over every rejection letter, because they won’t matter anymore.

by South University
November 23, 2015
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Job Search Tips for New College Grads

by South University
July 14, 2015

Job Search Tips for New College Grads

An estimated 1,855,000 students at the bachelor’s degree level are expected to graduate this year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Good news for graduates — the job outlook appears promising.

A survey conducted by the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) revealed that employers plan to hire 8.3 percent more new college graduates for their U.S. operations than in 2014. In fact, most companies rate the overall job market as “good” and the number offering a “very good” rating has risen to almost one-third of respondents.

The top five fields expected to see the highest percentage of growth include wholesale trade, retail trade, utilities, miscellaneous manufacturing and oil and gas extraction, according to the survey.

“The job market will be different for new grads depending on their program of study, where they live and how much prior experience they have,” said Cassandra Brentley, MA Ed., QEP academic success center supervisor at South University. “Two great resources available for students to research the job market in their field is the Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*Net.”

South University Offers Job Search Resources

South University students have the opportunity to start working with a career services advisor six months before graduation and are encouraged to start their job search then, Brentley said.

“A successful job search requires that students have a professional online presence, (a) complete resume and customized cover letters for each position they apply to,” Brentley said. Students can begin working on all three of these pieces before they graduate.”

Facing a job search for the first time can be overwhelming, but South University students have plenty of help available to them.

“South University offers a plethora of resources designed to help students prepare for their job search,” Brentley said. “The Career Services resource page in the Campus Common provides access to many career research and job finding websites that South University students and alumni have access to.”

The Career Services library provides books, links to websites and videos designed to help students prepare for their job search, Brentley said.

“Additionally, the South University, Online Programs Career Services Department has a YouTube channel where students can view presentations on preparing for interviews, revising their resume and even program specific videos that discuss specific job finding techniques for a given program of study.”

Getting Ahead Without Much Work Experience

As a new graduate without much work experience, students can gain a competitive advantage by focusing on networking, volunteering and applying to entry-level positions at organizations that offer opportunities for advancement, Brentley said.

“Participating in co-curricular events is another great way to gain knowledge and network with professionals in the industry that can help students get their foot in the door,” Brentley said. “SU, Online offers a large variety of live speaker events, honor societies, clubs and organizations — as well as a great mentoring program for students to participate in.”

Brentley advises students with very little on-the-job experience to work with their career services advisor to create a resume highlighting the knowledge, skills and experience they gained as a student at South University.

Sources:

  1. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d12/tables/dt12_310.asp
  2. https://www.naceweb.org/about-us/press/college-hiring-to-increase.aspx
by South University
July 14, 2015
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The Psychology of Career Changes

by Jared Newnam
February 24, 2010

Today's job market is proving the old adage about change being the only constant in life. As U.S. Department of Labor statistics reveal, the average person born in the later years of the baby boom will hold more than 10 jobs in his or her lifetime.

For many, this current period of deep recession, job uncertainty and employment woes has led to a difficult time of career-changing decisions — sometimes by necessity, other times by choice. Research suggests that baby boomers also may be the demographic most affected by tough economic times, probably bearing the largest share of job losses.

Danielle Grey, director of Career Services at South University — West Palm Beach, says the emotional strain of finding a job can be a lot for a new graduate or anyone starting over in the job market. This year, Grey says she's received a number of calls from alumni who were working in their field and have since been laid off.

"It is exhausting and it requires so much effort on the job seeker's side," Grey says. "I advise students and graduates to literally send out around 15 resumes a day, which is tiring since each one needs to be individualized."

Jim Hann, an administrator for Allegheny East CareerLink in Pittsburgh, Pa., also acknowledges the mental hang-ups that job seekers can face, especially middle-aged ones.

 "People are very resistant to change in general," he says. "Their biggest challenge is getting over the frustration."

Findings from a recent National Alliance on Mental Illness survey clearly indicate a link between the economy and depressive symptoms. Individuals who are unemployed were found to be four times as likely as those with jobs to report symptoms consistent with severe mental illness.

While not much more vulnerable to job loss than any other age group, baby boomers may have the hardest time adjusting to unemployment or trying to find a job at their age. Boomers, who were born during the post-World War II period into the 1960s, often are overwhelmed with the idea of starting all over, Hann says, and worry about lagging behind in technical and computer skills.

"You're working with a group of people whose parents and grandparents told them, ‘Go to the mills and work, you'll be working for life.' When they lose their jobs they ask, ‘Now what do I do?'" Hann says. "There's a big psychological issue there that you have to deal with, telling them that they're not a failure, and to pick themselves up by their boot straps."

This mental aspect of getting over career hurdles is something that more therapists need to be prepared for, says Debra Mucha, a mental health counselor who specializes in trauma therapy.

"A lot of therapists need to have a basis in vocational psychology because a lot of their patients may come in with depression or confusion because of a lost job," Mucha says.

Mucha knows firsthand the challenges and triumphs of making a radical career change. Having been a court reporter for 12 years, Mucha switched fields to pursue a life-long dream of counseling.

The change didn't come without some doubts, Mucha acknowledges. Career changes can cause the entire family to go through an adjustment period, she says, and reinforce the uncertainty and ambivalence that's frequently associated with a decision to change careers.

"Job changes affect a person's self esteem and ego. It affects a spouse, the family dynamic, and power levels, and children," she explains. "When an individual is changing careers mid-life, they have to be conscious of their own survival needs and cognizant of the other people that are directly connected to them."

To combat disappointment or negativity while job searching, Hann advises that new job seekers be realistic and patient about the current environment. But they also should remember their strong points and the skills that they've accumulated through the years.

"A lot of folks have been in their career for so many years that they don't realize all of the things that they have done ... that will lead them to another job," he points out.

And a career shift doesn't necessarily have to be a time of anxiety and worry, says Grey, who encourages job seekers to have fun in the mean time and not consume their lives with job searching.

"You have to live and let loose," she says. "In any city, there are free events, community resources and recreation that you can experience for you and your family."

by Jared Newnam
February 24, 2010
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