Fill This Halloween With Treats For Yourself!

By Cassandra Rudd

With Halloween right around the corner, treat yourself to a break before beginning or continuing your job search. Searching for a job is an important part of planning for your future, and it can put a lot of pressure on you.  This may lead to an increased amount of stress on top of everything else you are experiencing in your everyday life. Job searching does not need to feel like an endless escape scene from a horror movie, as long as you take the time to relax.

  • One of the best ways to relax, especially for college students, is to get plenty of sleep. Sometimes you can feel like a zombie after pulling all-nighters cramming for exams, working, and/or taking care of your family.  Strategizing a proficient job search on top of that can be daunting. Sleep is very important to your overall health and body functions, so squeeze in a little time for some extra z’s and you’ll start to feel better almost immediately.
  • Another thing you can do is to spend some time with friends. It has been said that spending time with friends, just hanging-out and having a few laughs can reduce your stress level.  Take part in some of the wonderful fall activities such as apple picking, pumpkin carving and sporting events.  By doing this, you are likely to reduce any stress you may have and release some feel good endorphins.
  • Visiting with family and spending time at home for a little while may be a source of comfort for you. Enjoying quality time with family to play games, bake cookies, or watch a movie can be like hitting the reset button for your body and mind which will leave you refreshed.
  • Perhaps you may want to go shopping! Getting a head start on your holiday shopping or buying yourself some new interview clothes can take your mind off of any stress you may have and make you feel better prepared at the same time!

Although searching for a job is important, it doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice taking care of yourself in the process. Stress can be just as bad for your health as all those candy bars you may be tempted to sample during this Halloween.  Remember to take some time to relax!

 

Networking Your Way Into An Internship: Interview with Britany Sullivan

by Lori Smith

Networking is the number one way people get jobs and internships. The importance of networking cannot be overstated. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Britany Sullivan, a senior at Nichols College, who is working towards earning her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with a major in Human Resources. She shared how she found her internship and offered advice to others looking to land an internship.

Finding an Internship
There are many different ways to find internships ranging from job boards, newspaper ads, company websites, social media and of course networking. Britany’s proactive approach of sharing her career goals and desire to find an internship in human resources resulted in her amazing internship experience with Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, MA. She mentioned to her employer of eight years that she was seeking this experience. It just so happened that his wife is the COO for Berkshire Health Systems and he offered to connect them. Britany applied for this position online and then met with her bosses wife. As a result of this interaction, Britany was not only offered an internship but was given her choice of assignments. She was able to choose between working in the Human Resource Department or working directly with Sean Jennings, Vice President of Support Services, on special projects. Britany chose to work with Sean as it is not every day that you have the chance to work directly with high level administration!

On the Job
Projects that Britany worked on were human resource based. She was able to work with senior management in many departments. One project involved working with the chief operating officer to survey the organization to determine if they were utilizing their nurse practitioners to their fullest as they were looking to expand their onsite clinics. Britany created and implemented an online survey to access this situation.
Another project involved assisting the organization with researching personality software applications. The organization has been looking to make changes in the hiring process to include a personality test. Britany needed to research and reach out to various software companies, test products, inquire about costs and legal issues and then present her findings to senior management and Human Resources Department. This project is still in progress.

Best Part
When asked what was the best part of the internship Britany responded, “To me the best part was being able to work with senior management, and developing and demonstrating effective leadership and communication skills.” She stated that she was fortunate to have been able to spend an entire week in the Human Resource Department as well as working with all departments. Britany was even invited to watch a c-section surgery. She said that not only was she excited to have been able to sit in on this but that the staff was as well because management does not usually observe their procedures.

Advice for Others
Britany stated that networking is huge! “Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, they want to help you succeed. You need to be willing to open up about what you want.” She said that you need to be willing to put yourself out there.

Next Step
Sometimes it is hard to say goodbye! Berkshire Medical Center was so impressed with Britany that they asked her to stay on part-time once her internship was complete. She will be working 10 hours a week and continue her work on special projects. There is a strong possibility that this position may turn into a full-time opportunity in the spring. In addition, she was recently promoted to manager of the gourmet food department at her other part-time position at a local liquor/catering store where she will be working 20 hours per week. As you can imagine this will require excellent time management skills, motivation and a strong work ethic. In addition, Britany will be taking six classes online in order to complete her degree by May 2015! With Britany’s “I can do it” attitude and her determination to succeed, the sky is the limit to where she can take her career!

Making the Most of Your LinkedIn Account (part 2)

By Lori Smith

Once you have a complete LinkedIn profile you can begin to build your network and use the resource to further your career. Begin by inviting those you know on LinkedIn to connect with you. Select people from the drop down menu in the search bar and type in the name of the person you would like to connect with. If you want a more refined search you can narrow the parameters by selecting, for example, University, and then typing in the name of the person you are searching for. This will only pull up people with the name you entered who are connected to that university. You will want to personalize the default message that LinkedIn provides for you. Using the networking tab is a great way to build your network. You will be able to select the criteria to search as broad or narrow of a field as you like.

Groups
Join a few groups that are of interest to you. Select groups from the drop down menu in the search bar and type in some key words. You will then see a list of groups that match your request. A brief summary of the groups will be provided. Click on the “Request to Join” button for groups you wish to join. Groups will provide you with an opportunity to post and answer questions for other members. You do not want to post a request for a position, but rather use this group to network and further your knowledge in your field. Although, members can post job opportunities that their organizations have. People that join and participate in groups are likely to increase their profile views 4x. Another benefit to joining a group is that you can connect with people not in your network through a common group.

Companies
LinkedIn allows you to follow companies that are of interest to you. By following a company anything they post will appear in your news feed. This is a great way to stay current with what is happening in that company. Companies will also post open positions they have as well.

Skills and Expertise
Looking to build up your resume or develop some skills and expertise in a particular area? LinkedIn can connect you with volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is a great way to give back to a community and it makes you feel great as well! There are many levels at which you can offer your assistance from caring for animals to being a Board Member on a committee.

Job Search
Lastly, LinkedIn is a great way to prepare for your job search, interviews and apply for positions. For example, if you have an upcoming interview you would want to find out as much about the organization as possible. You can pull up the organization and search for people who work there that have LinkedIn accounts. It is also possible to apply for positions right from LinkedIn! Check out some of the positions that are posted.

Now you are ready to explore LinkedIn and expand your horizons. LinkedIn provides videos and other resources if you would like a little more guidance. Good luck with your networking! See you on LinkedIn!

Making The Most Of Your LinkedIn Account (part 1)

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by Lori Smith

LinkedIn is a very powerful social media resource that is used for professional purposes, such as networking. It serves as a really huge database of professionals with over 277 million members, 3 million company pages, and 2 million groups. With 5.7 billion searches conducted in 2012 alone it is no wonder two new members are joining every second!

You may ask, “I am on LinkedIn, now what?” You will want to make sure that you are coming up in searches. Creating a complete and content rich profile is a great way to increase the odds of appearing in searches. Here are some simple steps you can complete to better your odds:

Profile
Include a professional picture. Headshots work best. Profiles with a picture are 7-11 times more likely to be viewed. It also lets employers know that it is a real person’s account.

Headline
Headlines are the words that you will see under the picture. LinkedIn defaults to your current position. You can and should customize this! Use key words and phrases. Under your headline complete the geographic field by listing the industry/field and geographic location of where you are or where you want to be. Consider listing a metropolitan area closest to your ideal location.

URL
LinkedIn will create a URL for you. Take a moment and customize your URL to include your name. Promote your LinkedIn profile by listing this customized URL on your resume, business cards, and email signatures.

Summary
Keep this simple. Include small amounts of information which will be easy to read. List in short paragraphs or bullet points.

Experience Profile
List positions which you have held including responsibilities (remember to include key words) and achievements. This is your portfolio section where you can upload documents, PowerPoints, videos and other material you have created.

Skills and Expertise
Add in at least ten skills you want to highlight. Think of key words and skills in your field. People who view your LinkedIn profile can endorse you for these skills by clicking on the endorse button next to each skill, and the picture of whoever endorsed you will appear. LinkedIn defaults to listing these skills in descending order based on the number of endorsements. LinkedIn now allows you to reorder these skills regardless of the number of endorsements.

Now that you know the ins and outs of what makes a great LinkedIn profile, it is time to create or update your LinkedIn account. LinkedIn provides many resources to assist you in creating your account. Visit these links for additional information: http://university.linkedin.com/linkedin-for-students.htmland www.linkedin.com.

Part two of this series will discuss how to use LinkedIn to network and Job Search.

Does Attitude Really Matter?

by Lori Smith

The importance of a positive attitude cannot be overstated.  Naturally, people want to be around and work with those who have a good attitude.  Have you ever worked with someone who had a negative attitude?  If so, it is highly probable that not only did you not enjoy the experience much but also found that it brought down the morale of everyone involved. Likewise, a positive attitude can spread like wildfire and raise morale.  Having a positive attitude in the workplace is essential if you want to move up the ladder and boost your career.  The following are some easy ways that you can display a positive attitude that will get you noticed:

Be Open Minded  Consider all options available to resolve a problem.  Be solution focused and not problem focused.  View problems as an opportunity to grow.

Give 100% Effort  Put forth your best work in all that you do regardless of the size or importance of the task at hand.  The success of any organization is the combined total of all involved.  Contribute to the success of your organization.  Look for ways to improve your competencies.

Be Constructive  If you notice a problem do not just complain about what is wrong, but rather look for a solution and offer some suggestions on corrective actions that could be taken.

Don’t Complain  Whether you criticize something in your organization that you are unhappy with or something in your personal life that is not as you would like it to be can be a morale drainer for those around you.  It is important to remember that many people have challenges in their professional and personal lives but continually focusing on these negative thoughts can be detrimental to everyone involved.  Be the type person who looks at the glass as half full instead of half empty.

Be Pleasant  Seek the good in others and recognize their achievements.  Offer genuine compliments.  Look for good things happening in your organization and spread the news.

Following these simple tips are the first steps to a successful career.  People  often wait for their “lucky break” to come, and while it may sometimes be due to the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time most often it is a combination of hard work and luck that leads to success.  Take charge of your career and make your own luck!  As Thomas Jefferson quotes, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more of it I have.”

Where The Present Ends, The Future Begins

 by Cassandra Rudd

With the excitement of Commencement, it brings to mind what the future holds for many. Graduating from college is both exhilarating and exciting. It can be a time of sadness having to leave the college campus and friendships formed during the past four years. For others, it is a chance to explore the endless opportunities in their professional career. While we cannot be sure what the future will hold for us, we can be sure that change will be an ever present part of it. We need to embrace change and have the courage to make choices. Some graduates will choose to continue their education and earn a Master’s Degree, or maybe even a Doctorate, rather than entering the work force right away. Other graduates will accept a job before commencement and anxiously wait to begin their careers, complete an internship or two until they get the job offer that they seek, and others will be in the job search.

Many seniors advise those still waiting in the wings to enjoy their time in college because it goes by so quickly and that you will soon be a part of the “real world.” Those students who still have time before they put on their cap and gown have a lot to look forward to in the process. Many students do not realize how big of a change it is to leave college and join the workforce. As an employee or even an entrepreneur, it is now up to you to be able to use everything that you have learned from not only your courses, internships or other jobs, but also your experiences as a college student.

While we cannot predict what the future holds, there is one certainty you have as a Nichols College Alumni and that is Career Services for LIFE! Nichols offers access to a plethora of information and resources to students and alumni to help you both before and after graduation. What does this mean exactly? We are here to help you from here on out, whether it is before you graduate, or ten years after! You can set up an appointment to meet with a career coach via face to face visits, email, telephone or Skype. Career Services also offers many resources that will help you to land the job of your dreams, such as:

Optimal Resume: To assist with resumes and cover letters.
* Career Shift: CareerShift provides an easy-to-use approach for bringing all these parts together to crack the “hidden job market” and for managing the job hunt all in one place.
Road to Success: Online recruitment database which provides information on career opportunities, On-campus recruiting, career fairs, career advice and much more!
LinkedIn: This social media based, professional work related site is great for networking! You can even connect with Nichols College alumni! Be sure to join the Nichols College groups including the Nichols Career Services group. (virtual job club)

Career Services wishes to congratulate the Class of 2014! Wishing you all a bright and prosperous future.

Tips To Master The Phone Interview

 

By Saleha Ashfaq

Phone interviews have gained a lot of popularity in recent years by many organizations looking to screen candidates during the initial stages of the recruitment process. Many people consider the phone interview more intimidating than an actual face-to-face interview. However, just like an actual interview, appropriate preparation and presentation are required to effectively pass this phase. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when you are preparing for an upcoming phone interview:

1. Be Prepared: Research the company and the job you are applying for. Make sure you are aware of what type of candidate the company is seeking and then highlight those skills on your resume. Also, prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview that show your interest and knowledge about the organization.
2. Reserve a Quiet Spot: Make sure you are in a quiet place with good phone service to conduct your phone interview. Also, it is recommended that you have a place to neatly hold all your documents that you may need during the interview. You can now reserve an interview room in the Office of Career Services that provides an ideal setting for the interview.
3. Listen Carefully: Do not answer the question until you fully understand what is being asked. If you know what the question is, you are more likely to provide a clear and concise response.
4. Pay Attention to Your Tone: People cannot see your body language; all they hear is the tone of your voice. Speak naturally, like you would in a conversation. You do not want to speak in an overly excited manner because it might make you seem eager. However, you also do not want to speak in a monotone as it can make you seem uninterested.  Sit up straight, remember to smile, and dress the part.  This will put you in the right frame of mind for a successful interview.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice: Anticipate the questions that will be asked of you and rehearse the answers. For example: a common question in most interviews is “tell me about yourself?” Practice what you want the employer to know. The more you practice, the more prepared and confident you will be during the interview.

Here are a few resources that will further help you prepare for your upcoming phone interview.

http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/interviews/a/phoneinterview.htm

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2014/02/18/7-tips-to-ace-a-phone-interview

http://www.yale.edu/hronline/startcareer/resources/docs/interview_tips.pdf

Career Services is also a great resource. Feel free to contact us to schedule a time to meet to discuss the interview process, set-up a mock interview or to reserve an interview room. You can contact us at 508-213-2489 or careerservices@nichols.edu.

Kim Whalen: Intern for the Bolton Police Department

by Jillian Stadig

High speed car chases, drug busts and bloody crime scenes are what the mass media has led us to believe life is like in a day on the police force. Over the summer of 2013, Nichols College sophomore Kim Whalen was given the opportunity to see that, in smaller cities, the life of a police officer is not quite so dramatic. Kim spent a large part of her summer interning with the Bolton Police Department, earning credits toward her degree in Criminal Justice Management.

Kim, who also held two other summer jobs, one in retail and one as a bank teller, said that she landed her internship simply by “being in the right place at the right time.” While sitting in the office of the Criminal Justice Management Program Chair, Professor Charbonneau, they noticed an internship opportunity with the Bolton Police Department. The College has worked closely with the Bolton Police Department on internships over the years. Kim decided to apply for the position and got her internship done prior to her junior year.

Interning with the police department gave Kim the opportunity to job shadow both officers and the chief of police regularly. She spent the majority of her time shadowing the chief, both in the office and going out on calls. Even in a small town like Bolton, there is never a lack of work for the officers, especially the chief. Through this experience Kim learned that the chief of police is responsible for many serious, sometimes tedious tasks, such as creating budgets, administrative paperwork, as well as planning and attending town meetings.

The most exciting part of Kim’s experience was shadowing officers on different calls, from routine traffic stops to car accidents and a possible suicide case. One traffic accident that stuck out in Kim’s mind was a hit and run that involved a tractor trailer truck. She was also tested with the case of a possible suicide. Once at the scene, which happened to be on a very narrow road, Kim was responsible for directing traffic in order to allow the emergency vehicles to get through. It was when one of the officers told Kim that she may have to enter the house and talk to the suicidal woman, because she was the only other female on the scene that Kim began to get nervous.  Fortunately, the woman decided to cooperate with the officers and left the house unharmed.

One case Kim remembers as being “something you would see on TV” was a visit with a man who was a hoarder. One of the first things Kim noticed was the smell, “When we got out of the car, I could smell the house from a distance.” She recalls counting seven cats in the man’s yard, as well as a dog that had fleas and was missing patches of fur. Perhaps, in part, this experience has given Kim the desire to work for the humane society in the future. “This internship has definitely given me a positive view of the field. I love animals, so I would love to work with a K-9 unit or the humane society one day.” Interning with the Bolton Police Department gave Kim the hands-on opportunity to work in the field she someday hopes to be a part of something she would not have gotten simply from attending college classes. When asked if she has any tips for other students Kim said, “Try and get your internship done a year early, and do as many as you can.” The more internship opportunities you take during your college career, the easier it will be to narrow down what you really want to do after graduation. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll see Kim starring on and episode of Animal Cops.

‘Tis the Season for Career Fairs

by Cassandra Rudd

As a student in high school, I remember the annual career fair as a place to get free pens, stickers, key chains and stacks of pamphlets. Definitely not a place to think about your future prospects in the real world. However, now that I have reached my college years, I have developed a more realistic view of what the real world entails as far as the job market is concerned. With that being said, a Career Fair now has a new level of importance to me. Through the college research process, speaking with the Career Services staff and in my PDS class, I have learned that getting internships and setting up a job before finishing college are the keys to a successful life from the point of graduation forward.

On February 25th, from 1:00-3:30 p.m., Nichols College will be hosting its annual Career and Internship Fair in the Athletic Center. There are over 70 companies coming to this year’s Career Fair including Devereux, State Street Corporation, Unibank, The Hanover Insurance Group, Mohegan Sun, and the FBI’s Boston division among many others. To see a full list of companies and the jobs and internships they have to offer visit Road to Success on your MyNichols Portal. This is a great opportunity for college students, but also alumni and local community members, to gain insight concerning possible employers, internships and positions. A Career Fair like the one that Nichols College is hosting is a great place to network and present yourself to important people who may very well be interviewing you in a few months or years for a job or internship.

Although attending an event such as this as a freshman can be a bit intimidating, I think that it is a good experience to have; to prepare for what comes ahead in the job and internship search. The idea that there are over 70 companies seeking students just like you and me for internships and jobs is, to me, encouraging. We are constantly being told that because of the economy, our generation of students will have a difficult time finding work after we graduate. However, to see the number of companies eager and excited to meet students and share their available jobs and internships creates a feeling of optimism about what lies ahead after you earn your degree.

Nichols College is not the only school holding Career Fairs this time of year. Clark University, Westfield State University and Assumption College will all be hosting Career Fairs within the next month. These events, just like the one here at Nichols College, are open to the public. For more information about all of the Career Fairs visit Road to Success in your MyNichols Portal.

New Year: Time for Change!

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By Lori Smith

It is a long-held tradition to celebrate with family and friends to ring in the New Year and to make New Year’s resolutions. Each year people hope for a better year than the one before, a new year that encompasses health and happiness. While we are not certain about what exactly the year ahead has in store for us, we can be relatively sure that it will involve change. This is a perfect opportunity to reassess your career planning. To get started, conduct a Personal SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) on your current position.

Strengths/Weaknesses: Identify your strengths. Think about your values, interests and skills. What differentiates you from the competition? How can these help you obtain a position or advance in your current position? Next, identify your weaknesses. What are some things that you could do better or need to learn? Do these impede your ability to advance in your career? Do you need to further your education, obtain certifications, or complete an internship to meet your goals? These are things that ARE under your control.

Opportunities/Threats: Recognize and search out opportunities which can propel your career. Is there a position opening that you would like to apply for? Do you have an opportunity to make a connection which can help you in your career? Take advantage of these chances by taking action and making the necessary change or commitment. Detect any threats that are out there which can stand in the way of your career goals. Is the outlook for your field bleak? Is there a large amount of competition? What can you do to avoid these threats? Although opportunities and threats are both things that ARE NOT under your control, how you react to them is.

Now that you have a better understanding of your current position, you are ready to make necessary changes and strengthen your strategic career plan. Work on your personal branding to make sure it highlights your strengths and is in line with your career goals. Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and listen to Nacie Carson, CEO of Working Life Media, LLC. Nacie also is the author of, The Finch Effect, a book about personal branding and making the most out of opportunities. I would highly recommend this as a resource in your strategic career planning.