Careers

How To Prepare for Fall Semester in College

With summer in full swing, it’s difficult to think about returning to school and spending hours in lecture halls. However, there are a few things we can do to take advantage of the summer months in order to stay ahead of the game and be prepared for the upcoming fall semester.

1. Apply for Scholarships

6-13 cap-diploma-moneyMost college students are far too busy worrying about their vacation plans to bother with scholarship applications. This lower competition makes it a bit easier to win scholarships that are offered during the summer months.

2. Find a Job

6-13 bigstock-Waitress-Serving-Food-To-Senio-47117440Use your spare time in the summer to save money from working. Extra earnings can be used for books or to pay on interest on your student loans. Every little bit counts!


3. Intern

6-13 photodune-202599-smart-business-man-with-a-laptop-and-colleagues-at-the-back-mThere are many internship programs offered during the summer. It’s easier to focus on your internship when you don’t also have to commit time to your regular classes.  One simple way to get started is by visiting sites like this one.

4. Register for Classes

6-12 stack of books2The last thing you want to deal with is trying to register for a class for the fall semester only to find it has already been filled. Especially since sometimes certain classes are only offered one semester a year. Avoid all of the inconvenience by registering as early as possible.

How do you stay ahead of the game for upcoming semesters? Let us know in the comments below!

Top 5 Summer Plans for College Students

Summertime image source

With finals approaching, this means one thing… summer is around the corner! As a college student you have to get out there and do something with yourself. So, my recommendation is to consider these top 5 summer plans for college students

1. Intern

Unfortunately you’re not in high school anymore so interning is a must.  It is very important to secure a great internship for the summer because this allows you to make connections, get experience and most importantly help your future. You never know where a summer internship may lead… it could possibly give you a career with the company one day. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Intern image source

2. Study Abroad

College is the best time to travel! Summer is even better because you’re not missing out on anything from the school year so it’s the best of both worlds. Take a look at this eCampus blog: Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad, you can see a few of the many benefits of studying abroad. My recommendation would be to take a fun class you wouldn’t normally take at your university, maybe even one that is specific to the country you are in. This will definitely enhance the experience of your trip.

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3. Get a Job

Of course the fall back to not interning or studying abroad is getting a summer job. Although, this might not be the most fun or interesting thing to do in the summer but at least you’ll be making some extra money for the school year right?

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4. Take Summer Classes

This might be the most boring option to take for the summer but it’s also something to seriously consider doing. If you did poorly in a class this semester or even dropped it, taking an online or in-class summer session class could help you get closer to earning your degree. Also if you just changed your major and are behind in credits this is a great time to catch up instead of taking 21 hours next semester.

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5. Soak Up the Sun

The last option for your summer plan could be to take it easy and relax. Maybe go to the park with your dog, hang out with friends or just lay out by the pool to get that golden tan you’ve missed all year. There’s nothing wrong with this option because sometimes after a long year of classes, taking a break is the best thing to do.

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What are your summer plans? Let us know in the comments below!

Careers in Demand Upon Graduation

Once upon a time….simply obtaining a bachelor’s degree was enough to be sure that you could enter the job market in your respective field and make a solid income. In today’s economy however, there are many factors that contribute to your chances of landing a job after graduation. One of the biggest factors to consider is the field in which you are entering. While it is wise to choose a major that sparks your interests, it is also practical to pursue a degree that will lead to opportunities to have a career that is in high demand. To get started, here are some of the top careers that are in demand for recent college graduates.Career_Blog

  1. Public Relations Specialist: If you have a knack for communicating and love to shine a positive light on every situation, PR may be the field for you. A great thing about this field is the very high expected growth rate, which is 23% by 2020.
  1. Elementary School Teacher: Teachers have an advantage of stability that many occupations lack which makes up for the average salary of $40,434; the lowest on this list. However, the projected growth rate is relatively high at 18% by 2020.
  1. Accountant: If you’re a lover of numbers and good at math, you’ll be glad to hear that accountants’ average salary has increased by $10,000 in the last three years. Combine this with a projected 16% job growth rate and it’s clear to see why this field is a good choice for recent college grads.
  1. Market Research Analyst: If you happen to be a number lover who also has strong communication skills, marketing could be your calling. With a projected growth rate of a whopping 41%, marketing is easily one of the best choices for recent college graduates. The average salary is $67,380.
  1. Software Developer: Do you have strong programming and coding skills? If so, you’ll be happy to know that software developer rings in at number one on our list of best careers for recent grads. With a projected growth rate of 32% by 2020 and an average annual salary of $102,550, pursuing a career as a software developer is a smart move.

Real World Experience: Why You Should Intern In College

College may be little more than a four-year party to some, but for many it’s a time to learn new things, meet new people, and live independently. Students tend to hold their undergraduate years in such high esteem that they often end up calling them the best four years of their lives. Yet upon graduation, many still feel surprisingly ill prepared to venture out into the “real world”. Even those students who graduate with a high GPA can feel overwhelmed by the pressures of the professional world, making them wonder if their academic accomplishments were ever worthwhile.

 If you’re looking for a manual on how to succeed in the real world, you have come to the wrong place. However, here’s one valuable piece of advice that may alleviate some stress once you graduate: find an internship.

Intern

  Interning in college is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your future.  An internship can open up a variety of networking opportunities and can provide you with valuable work experience in your intended field. It may also help you in determining whether the field you’ve chosen is right for you. Sure, the typical life of an intern may not be the professional life you imagined, but for what it’s worth, you could be taking a small step towards landing the job of your dreams.

Getting a taste of the real world while you’re still in school may seriously pay off in the long run.

Whether it’s mastering a certain skill, learning how to interact with coworkers, or finding ways to score points with your boss, an internship is a great way to break into the occupation of your choice without dealing with the crippling pressure of a year-round job. As college students, our summer and winter breaks provide great opportunities to work full-time. While you may be tempted to sit at home and lounge around during your time off, do yourself a favor and go find an internship. You’ll be glad you did it.

Preparing for Graduation: It’s Never Too Early

graduationWhy do we go to college? To get a degree and get a job in a specialized field, right? It sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes the purpose of college tends to be forgotten with all of the friendships students make and events they participate in. College is a social institution where as soon as you get your degree, you are out in the real world. It might seem daunting, but there are ways you can prepare yourself while you are still getting your education.

Take advantage of your school’s career services office and its members. They are there to help you! They can assist with resumes, cover letters and everything you need to get a job once you get your diploma. You don’t have to wait until you are a senior or close to graduating. Work on building your resume and cover letters from the start, and you will be a master by the time you are ready for your first post-college job.

Take advantage of every career fair, even if it is not at your campus. College faculty want you to get a job as soon as you get out. They want you to feel confident in your degree and put it to good use. A lot of universities will hold frequently host job fairs on campus. If yours doesn’t, check out another campus nearby that does! This is a good chance to get your name out there and network. Networking is the key to getting a great position after graduation.

Experience and resume builders are everything. Join societies and clubs dedicated to your field of interest. Seek out internships no matter what education level you are at. The more experience, the better. It stands out to employers that you are dedicated to your field, and are willing to work to make yourself stand out as a prospective employee.

 

Have any other tips for students anxious about joining the workforce after college? Let us know in the comment section below!

Thoughts of a College Graduate

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The nagging thought in the back of your mind is a thorn in the side of college students everywhere. What happens when the buzzing allure of campus is replaced by the concrete jungle of the “real world?” How are we to survive without the meal plan, the ease of social contact, and the free-flowing wisdom of professors? It’s a truly terrifying thought – the idea of complete independence.

In what will likely be your last summer at home in close proximity to the people that you’ve depended on for years, you might be reminded often that it’s time to “grow up.” What does this mean? You just graduated college (often regarded as some of the most formative years of life) and you’re still in your early 20s. You’re well acquainted with the stress of academics and the ins and outs of socializing. What you’re not quite so familiar with is professional and financial stress. Earning good grades is a start, but it doesn’t effectively emulate the challenge of being responsible for all of one’s own expenditures and making prudent life decisions. Now you sit, head in hands, slightly perplexed – it all came so fast.

Regardless of whether you plan on furthering your education or you instead opt to plunge into the job market, things will no longer be the same. The stigma attached to graduates differs drastically from that associated with the carefree, up-and-coming freshman or even the gradually maturing sophomore. Society’s expectation is nothing short of daunting and the professional world is no more forgiving. In truth, young graduates must emerge from the physical and psychological shelter of the past four(ish) years as soon as possible in order to avoid an incredibly rude awakening. Taking the time to carefully think about the future is an effective way to wriggle free from the past.

It doesn’t have to be a sorrowful transition, but things will change. Things will come with less ease, but will bring greater rewards. Fewer lessons will come in lecture form, but you’ll still be responsible for the material in the long run. The stakes are now greater and it’s important to brace yourself for the uncertainty ahead.

How to Wow Recruiters with Your Resume and Cover Letters

For most of us, there’s nothing more challenging than sitting down and writing a cover letter. Writing about yourself is one thing. Writing about yourself in a way that shows you can do a job and gets you noticed out of 100 applicants is another. Resume and cover letter writing is just step one on job hunts, and can often be the hardest step. But thanks to career services and many other professional tips, it’s time all of us heading into the job market or applying to internships know how it’s done.
The best way to set up a resume is to make a list of everything you’ve done in college—once you’re a sophomore or older, you typically want to forget high school ever happened in your applications (unless you went to a highly prestigious boarding school or something of the like). Think about internships, clubs, courses and class projects relevant to the job. Once you have it all laid out before, pick and choose from the list to tailor your experiences to a job description. Yup, that’s right. You don’t necessarily want just one kind of resume for every job you apply for—though you can often repeat when applying to all jobs in the same field. The best way to get hired is to cater your resume and cover letter to the job description given and the skills required. That way, one glance at your piece of paper—because your resume should always be one single piece of paper—will immediately show an employer you could do this job.
When writing your resume, format is important. Use bold headings for different sections, like education, leadership experience, etc. You can group your internship and class work experiences under different headings related to the job, so they can see a wider range of what you’ve been up to—especially since by the end of senior year, most of us can’t fit all of our experiences on one page and have to choose what to include. For each experience, make sure you include the name of the company, where you worked, your job title, and the dates of your internship or class. Keep the format the same throughout the whole resume to make it look more professional and flow better. Under each title of your experience, include at least three bullet points as to what you did. Be honest, beginning each bullet with an action verb, and again try to make your experience as closely related to the job description as possible without making up details. Voila! You have a resume that will stand out to the company and hopefully help land you the job.
In addition to working hard on your resume, you need to put the time in to writing different cover letters for each job. Companies can tell if you’re using the same letter repeatedly and just inserting a different company name. Here’s the trick to these: the company wants to know if you can do the job, if you want the job (aka have passion for it), and if you’ll fit into the work environment. So, you should take this opportunity—again, the cover letter should be just about a page if not less—to try to reference all of these points as best you can.
You should begin your letter by addressing the employer by name if possible, and launch into a short paragraph about how you’re interested in such a position and why. The why aspect is important because it can help show your passion and what it is about this particular company that makes you want to work there. Then enter a new paragraph that is about 10 sentences at most, highlighting three to five experiences on your resume that make you a good candidate. DON’T just re-iterate what your resume already tells them about your study abroad experience, but go into detail about what you learned exactly…which should be related to the job description and what experience they want you to have! Be concise and clear, and stick to the most important details of what you did. Conclude your letter by thanking them for their consideration and giving them details on how to reach you. Include references with their information, and with one final thank you and “hope to hear from you soon,” you’ve just finished one of the most difficult letters to write ever. Phew!

Office Dogs

What’s the deal with office dogs?  CNN has defended cubical cuddles with office dogs as they can reduce stress, but what happens when the dog underfoot isn’t so friendly?

Even as a dog person, you may not be able to handle a pooch who isn’t a people person.  Well, a dog who doesn’t like people… you know what I mean.

Imagine sitting at a desk way back in high school when you were not in control of where and how long you’d be working.  Now envision your teacher and principle in the room because at an internship you’ve got your boss and your boss’s boss and sometimes even your boss’s boss’s boss around.  Now picture being one of five freshman in a sea of seniors.  This is what an average internship experience is like.

Now add a mean barking dog to the mix.

I love dogs.  My dog is sweet and sensitive: he gets excited when you come home happy but will follow underfoot curling up to you when you’ve had a long day.  It took a couple of dog sitting jobs to realize that not all dogs are like this, and I have gotten spoiled over the years with the sweetest dog.

I think if there was a dog like mine in a work environment, workers would be a bit more relaxed, possibly sometimes distracted.  I have worked in offices with dogs in the past and unfortunately, all of them only added to the tense workplace.

My best advice to dealing with the office dog is to ask co-workers for Tylenol in front of a boss while the dog is barking.  Unfortunately, this is a situation that is out of your control and you will have to learn to deal.

How to Find the Right Job on Campus

Work-study, part time, internships…which job is the right job?  Follow these five guidelines in order to become one step closer to securing the right job for you on campus.

1.      Determine the Type of Job You Want or Need

The first thing I recommend doing when searching for an on-campus job is determining your financial aid package.  Sometimes you have qualified for a work-study job that can be in any department at your university.  Normally there is a deadline early in the fall term that you must be hired by, or you will lose that part of your package.  If you do not qualify for work-study, this means you are ineligible to be hired by a department that is work-study only.  In this case you need to be looking for part-time jobs on campus that are not designated as such.  If you are interested in a fall semester internship, these must usually be applied for the summer prior, so be sure you have those deadlines straight.

2.      Search and Network 

Find out if your school has an online or print database that lists all of the jobs available, and job types at that.  Normally in such an online database you can narrow down your results to only the type of job you are looking for, and enter a keyword that represents what type of work you wish to do.  Also attend job fairs on campus.  Usually there will be a work-study fair early in the fall semester, and sometimes part-time positions will be advertised there as well.

 3.      Narrow It Down 

Do you want to work in a department related to your major?  Have you lifeguarded in the past and wish to work at the rec center?  These are all important things to consider when deciding what jobs to apply for.  Many work-study positions require their students to perform a lot of administrative tasks—other positions give you plenty of time to do your own homework.  Keep that in mind as well.  Do you want to sit at the front desk at the rec center, swiping people in and doing homework simultaneously, or do you want office experience? 

4.  Apply, Apply, Apply

Send out as many applications as you see fit.  Bring your resume to those job fairs, and be prepared to answer any questions that are directed toward you.  Dress appropriately when attending such fairs, or whenever you anticipate you will be interacting with a potential employer.  Go to as many interviews as you are able, get to know the atmosphere surrounding the position, and don’t accept an offer unless you’re absolutely sure it’s what you want and can handle.

5.      Accept the Job and Stay 

Many people switch on-campus jobs frequently throughout their four years at school, and they have good reason.  I recommend, however, whenever possible, that you stay with your position as long as you can.  This builds up a great reference pool for when you apply for full-time jobs, having known your on-campus employer for multiple years.  I have kept the same work-study job since my freshmen year, and will be continuing with it into my senior semesters.  But at the same time, it is always understandable if you have a valid reason for wanting to leave (poor work environment, something more suited to you is offered the next year, etc.).

Following these five steps is a great way to find the right job for you and keep it for as long as you need.  As always, start early and be prepared to sell yourself to those on-campus employers.  After all, it’s students like you that they’re looking for.  Best of luck!

Broke College Student Looking for Jobs on Campus?

Sure any job would be great for a college student, especially when all we can think about is the thousands of dollars in loans we will be paying off for the next several years. Working on campus wouldn’t be one of your highest paying jobs, but there are some perks, one being that you can walk to work. If you are going to take the on campus job route, why not try and get one that seems most fun?

1). Lifeguarding – Let’s start off with what seems like the most fun job you can have at school; lifeguarding. All you need is your certifications and you get to hang out by the pool, and make sure you are doing your job. To attain these certifications, courses must be taken usually at somewhere in between $100-$150, but it is certainly worth it. For people that already have these certifications and are lifeguarding over the summer, this opportunity is perfect for you on campus. At Ramapo College we do actually have surrounding elementary and middle schools use our pool for classes where paid student lifeguards are on duty. As a lifeguard you are to enforce the rules of the pool, protect and help anybody in trouble, you must be able to provide first aid, and perform CPR when needed.

2). Desk Attendant (Gym) – As a daily gym goer myself, a job that I should probably look into for next semester is the gym desk attendant job. As a gym desk attendant at most schools you sign people in and out of the gym making sure everybody entering is a member of the college being either student or faculty. In most cases you are allowed to bring your books and laptops so you can get some homework done in the meantime. A good perk about this job is that you can either get a workout immediately after your time at the desk or even before. Any sort of desk attendant job will give you the opportunity to get homework done which is a perfect situation for busy college students. Getting paid to make sure students show their correct identification, while being able to get homework done? Why not?

3). Tutoring – Tutoring is a great on campus job in which you are not only getting paid for, but spreading your knowledge with other students as well. This might be one of the higher paying jobs on campus as well. If you are excellent at a certain subject, tutoring is a good job opportunity that you should look into.

4). Resident Assistant – Being a Resident Assistant (RA) may be a job in which you have to devote a lot time to, but the payoff is huge at the end of day. You don’t necessarily get paid a large amount, you actually get paid what the average for on campus jobs is, so what do I mean when I say it is a huge pay off at the end of the day? Well this is because you save major bucks on housing and meal plans. Some colleges give completely free housing, but many schools have discounted housing, along with discounted meal plans. You can save a lot of money for these things and your loans that pile up throughout the years will certainly be a lesser amount than students not getting compensated with free housing, and meal plans.  Sure it can be a tough job at times especially since it may put a stop on what nights you can and cannot go out, but again, definitely worth it in the end. As a resident assistant your job is to keep the floor you are assigned to, in order. Creating events for the building you are in and things of that nature are also in your job description. So if you are looking to save some big bucks, while ready to give up some of your weekends? Well then a resident assistant job is great for you.

Remember though, this is college and you certainly want to work hard so you can play hard. If a position you are looking for is filled, keep searching and find the right on campus job opportunity for you. Some spare cash while living away at school is always a plus, especially when essentials are needed.