8 Semesters, Not Four Years

Think in terms of semesters, not years

Four years sounds like a long time.  8 semesters  sounds far more fleeting.  8 semesters give or take one or two additional semesters is the amount of time that  the majority of college students have. You want to spend this time creating experiences for yourself that you can add to your resume and  discuss during the job interview.   There are far too many activities, clubs and programs at most schools for you to spend that time just going to class.  It is your responsibility to use that time wisely.  In many ways that means you will develop yourself holistically into a candidate that employers will want to hire.  Dont’ waste time by thinking that you have alot of time. You will learn soon that those 8 semesters go by very quickly. Spend the time you do have getting most of your college experience.  This means getting involved in ways that are meaningful.


I Shouldn’t Be Able to Smell You

Fragrance Gloss DailyI can tell that you think that your perfume or cologne is awesome based on the copious amounts that you have sprayed on your body. Yet, your fragrance is only for you and anyone that gets extremely close to you.  I would avoid strong fragrances during the interview because your interviewer may be allergic or find the scent offensive.  If a person can smell the scent of your body or clothing sitting across from you, you’ve gone overboard in one direction or another.

No one within a 2 feet radius should be able to smell your body odor whether good or bad.  For unpleasant body odor the simple solution is a minimum of one shower daily and the use of deodorants.  To minimize the overpowering effect of  manufactured scents the rule of thumb is generally one spritz  or dab behind each ear or on each wrist.

This is a gentle reminder for those who know and a subtle way to message those who may be unaware.


An Advanced Degree Doesn’t Mean More Pay or A Senior Position

An advanced degree is not always enough

Most reputable graduate schools require some years of experience before considering applicants.  I know this may be different for other areas including teaching or social work.  But generally speaking don’t presume that because you have an advanced degree that it will translate into additional income or a  senior position.  Before forking over the  funds associated with matriculation into a graduate program, consider if the pay raise you may earn merits  the thousands of dollars you will inevitably spend to obtain those additional credentials.  If you decide to pursue a graduate degree no matter your field, recognize that it does not replace “real work” experience.  A person with a master’s degree and minimal relevant work experience will be compensated accordingly.  In most cases you will only be eligible for an  entry-level positions within your field.  Master’s degrees are usually best for those who have some work experience and wish to use the degree to advance in that same area or pivot into a different profession.   

 If you know you want an advanced degree consider the same principles  for securing a full-time offer at the undergraduate level also apply at the graduate level: take nothing for granted, you will have to attend events, meet representatives at career fairs, get involved, maintain a strong professional net work and  polish your resume and interview skills.  I think advance degrees are  generally a good idea, however don’t expect that the degree will automatically translate into greater opportunities.  A colleague of mine once recounted how her students would tout the fact that they had MBA’s and should be able to get a job. Her response to this attitude:  ” Congrats! Now get in line with  the thousands of others who have the same degree”.   No matter what degree you decide to pursue you must always consider that you will have to exert some effort in finding employment, the degree is rarely ever enough.

The Most Costly Mistake New Grads Make In Seeking Employment

 Most college students tend to look for a job  after they have graduated.  This is perhaps the gravest mistake they will make in graduate  employment search process.  Keep in mind that companies recruit on a cycle that is similar to the academic year.  The most competitve firms will have their requistions for their June hires filled by the Fall of  the  previous year.    If  a student is graduatin in  May 2009, many firms will have positions filled for that class by no later than December  2008 (with many firms filling their requistions for full time hires using their summer internship programs).  When students wait until after graduation to begin their  employment search they place themselves at a strategic disadvantage  as most employers will have already filled their requisitions for full time hires.  They are seeking employment at a time when the bulk of opportunities that have been reserved specifically for them are no longer available.   

Students without an offer  can begin their job search simply by going to their career services centers. For Seniors  without an offer,  networking is the best way to access opportunitites.  Use http://linkedin.com  in to connect with alumni  from your school or contact individuals who have a background in an area you find interesting.  Rather than inquiring about opportuniites  request information or advice on your career search.  Find local professional organizations and get connected.  Indentify a few choice firms  and create a strategic campaign using your resume and cover letter to secure an interview.  Become fully acquainted with the staff, events and programming  for your career services center.  Do something  other than wait until you recieve your diploma.