The Smell of Fall is in the Air. Fall Festivities Have Begun.

By Lori Smith

Summer season is quickly winding down. Fall is fast approaching. The days are getting shorter; nights are getting colder; and the leaves are changing colors. There are many fall activities to choose from – whether it be apple picking, fall foliage outings, pumpkin carving and scare crow contests, and fall festivals. Career Fairs are also hosted in the fall. Fall is the prime recruiting season for accounting positions. Here are some tips on how to prepare:

Fall Cleaning

Review your resume. Make updates and revisions as needed. Did you change positions since it was last revised? Were you promoted at work or given additional responsibilities? Have you completed a project where you can quantify the outcome?

Review your draft cover letter. Be sure to tweak your cover letter for every position you are applying for. Be sure to highlight skills and achievements that are pertinent to the position. Try to incorporate some key terms that will catch the recruiter’s attention.

Prepare your interview outfit. Men should be sure to have a clean pressed suit so that you will be ready on short notice for an interview. Women may want to select a couple of interview pant suits or dress/skirts and jackets so that you will be prepared for an interview no matter the weather. It is important for interviewees to look the part. It is much better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. Pay attention to details such as shined shoes, matching socks, nylons without runs, limited jewelry for women, no earrings for men and light perfume or cologne (if any).

Practice your elevator pitch. Place yourself in the recruiter’s shoes. Based on your resume and the job description, what would you ask if you were the interviewer. Prepare answers to possible questions. Many interviewers will ask behavior questions, such as “Can you tell me about a time when . . . ” Think about projects you have worked on or things you have encountered in your personal and professional life which address the situation presented to you.

Find and Attend Career Fairs

There are many places in which you can find out about Career Fairs happening in your area. Local newspapers, internet, college websites, Workforce Central offices, and Road to Success, the NC online recruitment data base, are all great resources. The following are two upcoming Career Fairs:

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

MSCPA Accounting Career Fair/Graduate School Expo.
Sheraton Hotel (Copley Place)
Grand Ballroom 2nd Floor
39 Dalton Street, Boston, MA

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013
1:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Westfield State Career Fair – Open to all majors
Woodward Center
Westfield State University

*For a list of attending agencies, visit www.westfield.ma.edu/careercenter

Available Resources

Road to Success has many resources available all in one site! Students can access Road to Success from their Nichols portal. Just click on in the bookmark section located in the lower right hand side of your home page. Alumni can access Road to Success at: www.myinterfase.com/nichols/alumni.
There are tabs to search for jobs (both on Road to Success and Indeed.com), career events, on-campus recruiting, employers, and also a resource library tab on the left hand side of your homepage which provides materials to assist with resumes, cover letters, portfolios, etc.

Optimal Resume is a great resource when creating and/or updating your resume, cover letter, or writing professional letters. There are many different templates to select from. In addition, you will have access to tips and advice, from keywords to sample wording, based on the criteria you select. Optimal Resume can be accessed from the Career Services page.

Take Action

Attend a career fair or networking event. Have confidence in yourself, smile, and go for it!

Set Goals; Relish Your Achievements and Gain Confidence

By Lori Smith

You don’t have to be a CEO of a company to set goals.  Goals are important to all of us whether it is for our careers, personal or financial objectives.  Goals are a roadmap to where you want to be or achieving what you want to accomplish.  Establishing long and short term goals is a good way to turn decisions you make into a reality.  “A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish.” (Larry Elder)

Simply stated, goal setting is merely being organized in your personal planning process.  The best way to achieve your goal is to make sure it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal:

Specific
A specific goal is much more likely to be realized than a general goal.  Clearly articulate what it is you hope to achieve.  To make goals specific, they must outline exactly what is expected, why is it important, who’s involved, where is it going to happen and which attributes are important.

An example of a general goal would be to “Save money for a trip to Disney.”  But a specific goal would be, “Cut down on discretional spending.  Set aside $50.00 per week for one year in order to save $2,600.00 for a trip to Disney.”

Measurable
Identify concrete criteria to measure your progress towards achieving your goal.  A measurable goal will usually answer, “How much?”; “How many?”; and “How will I know when it is accomplished?”  This will help you to stay on track, reach your target dates and ultimately reach your goal!

Achievable
Set goals that are reasonable and that can be attained through time and energy.  While your goal may be stretch, it should not be unrealistic.  When working towards a goal that is important to you, you will find ways to achieve it.  You will have the confidence to make it come true and will begin to develop the attitude, ability and skills necessary to make it a reality.  An achievable goal will usually answer the question, “How can this goal be accomplished?”

Realistic
A realistic goal will be something you are both willing and able to work towards.  Only you can decide how high your goal should be.  Often times a high goal is easier to achieve than a low goal because you will be motivated to work harder towards it.   A realistic goal will usually answer, “Is this goal reasonable and within your reach?”; and  “Are you willing to commit to your goal?”

Timely
Grounding your goals within a timeframe is an important aspect of reaching your goal.  Without a timeframe it is easy to lose focus or become overtaken by other daily responsibilities.  A timely goal will usually answer, “When?”; “What can I do today?”; “What can I do four weeks from today?”; and  “What can I do four months from today?”

“Perhaps one of the most immediate effects of goal setting is the gratification you feel when you set a goal, stick to a plan and achieve it.  Once you begin to make goals and achieve them you will gain confidence in yourself and gain a better understanding of your strengths!” (Quintessential Careers)