Career

Considering Your Future Through Each Stage of College

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Freshman Year:

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 This is your time to explore. Take a variety of general education classes and see if you discover a subject you never thought you’d have an interest in. Your freshman year is a great time to expand your horizons. It’s better to figure out what you really want to do sooner rather than later, so you have enough time to graduate on time if you make any changes to your plans. Sure, you might be coming in to college knowing what you want to do, but you never know. You could take a gen. ed. at the end of your junior year and realize your passions might lie elsewhere. Take advantage of the variety of courses available to you to make sure you know all of your options before you commit to anything.

Sophomore Year:

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Continue exploring, but start narrowing it down. You’re usually expected to declare your major by the end of this year, so you should start to seriously consider your passions so you feel more comfortable committing to a particular field of study and/or career path by the end of your Sophomore spring semester. Figure out if you want to take on a double major or perhaps some minors and certificates. Do your research to see what the requirements are to make sure you have enough time to complete them so you can plan accordingly. Talk to your advisor throughout this process, he/she can be very helpful. This is also a good time to start thinking about the campus organizations that can be useful for your future career once you start to figure out what you want.

Junior Year:

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You might be able to get away with waiting until the middle of this year to officially declare your major, but you should be paying close attention to the requirements of the major or majors you are considering. If you want to be able to graduate on time, this is crucial. This is a good time to start applying for internships if you haven’t already. Internships have basically become a necessity for college students hoping to get full time jobs after graduation. You should also be figuring out what your options are for after you graduate: Grad School? Medical School? Law School? Straight into your career? Take a year off to travel? Get a job teaching English abroad? You should look into all the options you’re interested in so you know what you have to do to make it happen. Look at the application process for different programs and/or jobs. Do all the research you can and there will be fewer surprises. You’ll be much more relaxed if you’re prepared.

Senior Year:

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At this point, you should be pretty clear about your plan. There’s still some time to make decisions about your post-graduation plans, but don’t put things off for too long or you run the risk of delaying your progress. There are deadlines for a lot of your options and you don’t want to miss them or you might have to wait a year. Make sure you’re keeping up with your current academic requirements so keep in touch with your advisor so you stay on track. Make sure you do everything you need to do for graduation so it will be less stressful. Graduation can be an emotional time so minimizing your stress will make the whole process less overwhelming.

Networking 101

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“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. We’ve all heard it before. It’s easiest to find opportunities through people you already know rather than a mass announcement. Networking is an essential career skill. Here’s how to perfect it:

  1. Say ‘yes’net1

As often as possible, take advantage of every positive opportunity that is offered. Staying in all the time never did anyone any favors. No one will know your name if you never introduce yourself. You never know what even a simple meeting can lead to!

  1. Be nicenet2

This really shouldn’t need to be said, but being nice should be at the top of your priority list with networking. Say please and thank you. Smile. A little kindness goes a very long way!

  1. Go the extra milenet3

Don’t be afraid to add a little extra onto your normal interactions. Being organized, having copies of your resume handy, and even a simple compliment can put you at the top of an employer’s list and help you be memorable.

  1. Put your best foot forwardnet4

Do your best work in everything you do, even if you don’t think it will be noticed. Make sure you’re dressed nice in professional environments, even if you aren’t on the clock. Treat everyone around you with respect at all times. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because you never know who is watching or who has influence within a field.

What are your networking tips? Let us know in the comments below!

College Friends in the Post College World

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Attend any high school graduation ceremony across the country and you’re likely to observe the same scene; girls in tight embrace, the football team coming together for one last huddle, scores of students weeping. Instead of a scene of jubilation, many of these rituals resemble a wake as people realize that this is the death of many of their friendships. There may be a few best friends that attend the same university or a handful of delusional couples that swear their high school relationships can survive a freshman year of new guys and winking sorority girls, but most accept the reality that they will grow up and thus, grow apart.

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Though we may have a better hold on our emotions in our early twenties, the scenario remains the same. Post collegiate commencement, we will continue to grow. While the leap from high school to college mainly meant being in new surroundings, the growth that transpires after college graduation takes us somewhere much larger; the real world. Once in that real world, we migrate to many different places.

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Take for example, the case of my undergrad best friend and myself. Once outside the halls of higher education, we grew in two opposite directions. While I got married to a southern belle, sired a future sorority president and eased into domestic life at 31, she maintained the single persona, moving out of our home city and remaining a mainstay at happy hours and ladies nights any day of the week. Both lifestyles are suitable for each of us as there is no handbook on how a thirty year old is supposed to act, however the stumbling block appears when we talk on the phone. While I’m not really interested in “Oh my God, two of my exes were in the same bar at the same time last night and last night was Monday”, I’m sure she is less than excited by “I’m up to my arms in baby poop and statistics homework.” Things become even more convoluted when we are in person, as the idea of a fun night for one of us is to storm the college bar for $5 pitchers and cheese fries while the other would rather be tucked away in an art gallery for a local artist’s opening. I’ll allow you to guess who prefers what.

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The moral of the story is that while you and you’re college roomie may be as thick as thieves in the current, post college growth finds us all. In our institutional lives, personalities may be the bookends of the spectrum, but the bond is the school you call home. In the post graduate world, that bond disappears and the life blood of a friendship depends on common interest. Although there is not much one can do to stop the growth process, it is manageable. Just as there were different tables in the high school cafeteria (the jocks, the preppies, the theatre folk) so too are there tables in the post graduate world. Today when I wish to lament about my daughter’s struggle to sleep through the night, I look to my friends sitting at the “We Have Kids Your Kid’s Age, We Feel You Bro” table. When looking for companionship at football tailgate, I drift to the “No Kids, Just Career” table. Lastly, when I’m in a mood that makes me reminiscent of my days as an undergraduate, fraternity scoundrel, I dip to the “It’s Still 2003, Let’s Get Crunk” table, where I find my undergraduate best friend, with smile on her face and beer in her hand. You see reader, the trick to growing up isn’t how to keep from losing friends, it’s how to craft a three dimensional life where everything has its own, awesome place.

Networking 101

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Networking has become a powerful tool in creating and sustaining connections. These connections can include business professionals, professors, and long lost friends. Not only can these connections open up new avenues for future employment, but it can also pave the way for internships and volunteer work to build experience. What’s most important is the way in which you can develop and build upon professional relationships with multiple people.

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Here are a few tips to building those relationships:
• Let them get to know the real you- It’s important for your connections to get a sense of who you are as a person, as well as your achievements and goals and hobbies. Let them see anything that might be of some importance as it pertains to you. Stand out and be known!
• Discover the ins and outs of your future career- Connecting with people who are already in the career your studying for is a great way to learn about it before you even get there. This way you can better prepare for interviews or gain the necessary experience before you graduate.
• Participate in events/organizations- When you participate, you meet new people and they see firsthand your work ethic and drive.
• Try social networking- place all these connections into social media accounts. LinkedIn and other professional social media websites help you keep track of all your connections. It’s also convenient for getting in touch with people you have met but haven’t had time to build on a relationship in person.

Job Interview Fashion Tips!

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1. Do some research!

jobinterview1Look up the company you are interviewing with and see what they’re all about. Try and see if you can pick up on the feel/vibe of the company and dress accordingly. In most cases it’s best to dress nicer than you think you should because first impressions are extremely important. If you look put together, you will seem put together! For the more creative industries, you might be able to get away with an interesting color or pattern, but choose wisely and don’t overdo it!

2. Invest in a couple of good blazers!

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Blazers dress up any outfit and instantly make you look professional. Make sure to get two or three that fit you really well and in colors that go with everything. Black, grey, navy, and brown are all good options! You want them to be versatile so you get the most out of your investment and if you get the job, you can wear them with loads of different outfits!

3. Cardigans are your friends!

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Cardigans can be dressed up or down and have a similar professionalizing effect as a blazer. You will get a lot of wear out of a cardigan and you can get away with non-neutral colors! The best thing about cardigans is you can wear then out of the office/job interview setting so getting some new cardigans adds to your personal wardrobe as well!

4. Let’s talk shoes…

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Shoes can be the hardest part of picking a job interview appropriate outfit. Simple is better when it comes to shoes in this case. Flats are a safe bet, but make sure to go for a solid color, like black, nude, or brown. You can definitely get a pair with a nice, simple detail such as a small buckle but don’t go overboard. You might also be able to get away with a braver color choice if you keep it simple and elegant. The same goes for heels. Don’t get too crazy with heel height and always go for ones with a closed toe and nothing too strappy! Closed-toed pumps always look professional.
This is especially important for the job interview. If you get the job you can figure out the dress code, but it’s best to play it safe for the interview.

5. Be careful with accessories!

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When it comes to accessorizing for your interview, less is definitely more. Go for one bracelet, simple earrings, and maybe a simple necklace if it works with your outfit. Skip the chunky rings for the interview. Obviously, if your interview is in the fashion industry or a fashion-related industry, you have a bit more freedom for creative expression, but in general it is a good idea to keep it simple and classic.