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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.

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.

Stand Out from the Crowd: Keys to a Successful Job Search

When it comes time to find a summer internship, or a full-time job when you’re fresh out of college, it takes a lot to stand out from the pool of applicants who have the exact same goals as you.  So make yourself unique, and try these five steps in order to significantly increase your chances of getting hired:

1.      Update your Resume

Make sure your resume includes all relevant information that pertains to where you are applying.  Sometimes you might need to make multiple versions in order to suit various applications.  Instead of labeling your previous employment “Work Experience,” try calling it “Professional Experience,” especially if it is in your field (perhaps from a previous internship, a work study position, etc.).  If you have worked in retail or food service, sometimes it’s better to leave that out to save space, unless the skills you gained are relevant to the position you are seeking.  Remember, try to keep your resume down to one or two pages; the employers are looking at many at a time, and if you have more information on yours than necessary, it could be too overwhelming for them to really focus on.

2.      Create a Personal Website

 This is a great option, especially if you have a portfolio.  Rather than turning in just a resume and cover letter that lists your achievements, provide a link to your website where the employer can view your actual work.  That way, if they are truly interested, they can better familiarize themselves with what you do.  This will also increase your chances of being contacted, based on the professional presentation you have given them to work with.

 3.      Show Demonstrated Interest

 Don’t be so persistent to the brink of becoming an annoyance, but if you have a genuine interest in a specific company, try to meet up with recruiting representatives at job fairs or campus visits.  That way, you’re able to get your name on the table and show that you would really like to work there.  Give them a reason to think you would be a great addition to the company.

4.      Follow-Up

Whether it’s after a job fair conversation or a formal interview, you should always follow up (an email is best) and thank the person/people you spoke with.  For example, let them know you enjoyed talking with them and learning about the company, and that you look forward to hearing from them soon.  After that, however, you need to leave it up to them for a while.  It is unprofessional to inquire about a position if you are still within the decision period that they specified.

5.      Stay Interested

Even if you don’t end up getting hired for that specific position, you can inform the company that you would be open to having them keep your resume on file (especially if you are very set on working with that company).  This is not a guarantee, but having already interacted with them at this level can push you ahead of other applicants for newer positions.

In these five ways you can put yourself out there, showcase your abilities in a unique way, and make those companies remember you.  As always, nothing is guaranteed in today’s job market, but repeating these steps as many times as it takes can certainly project you further.  Good luck!


How to Negotiate a Salary

Money, can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Salaries shouldn’t be important when it comes to accepting a job offer you really want, but unfortunately, we need money (and lots of it these days) to get by. Between rent, buying a new professional wardrobe for said job, phone bills, food, and other expenses, your paycheck will go down the drain fast. An important skill to have when entering the job market is knowing how to negotiate your salary, so both you and your boss are satisfied and you don’t end up living in your cubicle.

The first step is self-evaluation. This part is tricky because you have to get a sense of what you are worth—and no, this doesn’t include all the chores you did around the house as a kid or what a good person you are. You need to think of your skill set and what you can bring to the company you’re working for. This is more than just considering if you can do the job—you got the job, so hopefully you can. It’s about progress in your field, striving to do better, making recommendations and if you’re willing to go beyond the work requirements. Professionals recommend that you keep track of your progression, making a file of your best work and any recognition you receive. If you really have no idea how to begin to consider what you are worth, there are even websites like PayScale and Vault that will determine a reasonable salary for you based on the company, your location, and other factors. You should also talk to colleagues and people in similar job positions elsewhere to get an idea what an average salary for your work looks like. Ultimately, doing your job, doing it well and going beyond what you have to do will give you more leeway in your negotiation.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is to not walk into the job offer with big money signs going off in your head. Consider yourself lucky to have a job in this economy, and don’t expect a certain salary just because you used to make it with your own company or it’s the amount you want to make. Don’t suggest a salary to your employer before they even lay an offer on the table. Your new employers don’t even need to know what you used to make, though sometimes they’ll ask for a range. Since salaries can be a touchy subject, try to keep this conversation for the post job offer period. When they propose a salary to you, think of all the research you did ahead of time. Consider your worth, what others are making and compare the marks. If it’s close to what you expected, congrats! You got a job and you don’t have to sweat through some awkwardness of negotiating. If it’s too low, it’s time to get polite and reasonable.

Discuss with your employer the work you did before the job offer. Convince them of your worth and why you are worthy of such an amount. It will also help to tie in your knowledge of what other people are making in a similar job position. A lot of people are afraid to negotiate because they think they’ll come off as rude or too aggressive. It might feel awkward at first, but being assertive isn’t necessarily bad as long as you speak to your employer politely and don’t get too demanding. Negotiating will not lose the job—unless you’re completely unrealistic or rude to an extreme. Keep in mind, not all companies will be able to up your pay simply because they don’t have the means. In this case, ask your boss about the potential for raise evaluations when possible or the opportunity for bonuses. Don’t automatically assume you can’t take the position because there isn’t enough money in it for you—unless there is absolutely no way you can live off of the offered salary.

The best thing you can do in approaching your boss to discuss a salary is to be honest with yourself and with them. If you know you deserve more than you’re making, don’t be afraid to speak up and show off all the hard work you have done for the company or what you are capable of doing. Be realistic about what you think you should be making and what the company can afford to pay you. Further, even if your salary itself can’t be made, ask about bonuses or later raises with evaluations that can boost you to the amount of dough you always wanted and more.

Good luck and may the best negotiator…have lots of money!


Social Media’s Affect on Education

Not so many years ago, all the cool kids hung out on MySpace, looking for the cuties and talking to random people you would never meet in real life. Today, MySpace is ancient history, but the realm of social media is expanding. We need blogs, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, and even Facebook to help connect to potential employers, get into social networking, and help us land a job. This need and use of social media has helped to transform aspects of college education and college life in general.

As a student in S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, it’s hard to escape the importance and prevalence of social media. Magazines, companies, films, celebrities, and just about everyone else can now be found on some, if not all, forms of social media. In essence, it’s the way of the future. Schools often now suggest creating blogs so employers can get a sense of your writing and personality, and managing a professional Twitter to get an idea for what your industry is like and perhaps catch the attention of a certain employer.

Social media is no longer just a way for high school students to find other students who also like puppies. It is a full blown industry that can close and open doors for you depending on what you’re talking about on your profiles. There are now college courses taught on the various social media platforms, how to create a professional profile, and the importance of maintaining these profiles.

While some argue that social media distracts from school time—which is true if kids are sitting in class on Facebook chat; surely their parents are super proud and putting that tuition money to good use—it can actually be seen as the student taking the future into their hands. By encouraging the students to follow, for example, different magazines, magazine editors and writers as a magazine major, this can only serve to exemplify the passion they have for their future careers. Further, students then have a chance to potentially interact with professionals in their field, by posting a Facebook comment or sending a tweet. Social media can revolutionize students getting ready for the job market as they can see first-hand some of the skills and day-to-day tasks of people in their field on the job, which can help them choose courses and find the best internships down the road.

Through teaching social media or using social media in the classroom, a student’s education is broadened. The Internet connects the world and with social media, the world has platforms on which to communicate and build significant connections for their future. The class can have discussions through a Facebook page or on Twitter, instead of having to deal with emails back and forth. Professors can hold a Twitter Q&A with an old colleague still working at a company students in the major would love to hear about. And remember that time James Franco taught a class via Skype? The opportunities are endless and with more unique social media platforms, more doors are opening.

Though many people still don’t understand social media and see it as a waste of time, it is quickly becoming the way of the future. Social media has already helped land thousands of people jobs and internships, which in turn has made it a necessity to be taught in some form in school so students understand how to make best use of these platforms on a professional level. So, embrace your Facebook, be kind on your Twitter and learn, learn, learn!


I’m reading Western Civilization 1715

Resumes Gone Wild: Is There Such a Thing As Sending Out Too Many Resumes?

Resumritis: a crippling disease that hits many job seekers, especially in the college realm. Symptoms usually include sending out an abundance of the same generic resume with the hopes that someone, somewhere will offer you at least an interview. The only cure for this disease is simply taking the time to tailor each resume to each specific job.

Johnny sent over 100 job applications out and didn’t receive any offers!

He’s probably suffering from resumritis…

That’s right, people.  Resumritis affects a lot of people, but especially college students who are looking for a job right after they graduate. Is it real? Well, the concept is, but a quick search on WebMD won’t yield any results!

You see, people are taught this concept that sending out the same resume to every place you apply will eventually get you a job. But, is that really what you want – just a job? What about your dream job or that job that comes close to it? Don’t you think tailoring your resume to the interests and requirements the employer is looking for would gain you better results? did a survey some years ago that concluded that nearly 59 percent of all survey takers said that they send out 30 or more resumes in search of an entry-level job.

“Even in a down market, employment experts maintain that a tailored resume is the best approach,” said Adeola Ogunwole, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for “Instead of sending out as many resumes as possible, applicants may enjoy greater success if they focus on understanding the companies to which they are applying and modifying resumes to fit the exact qualifications needed for specific positions.”

In some cases, sending a gazillion resumes works out. But not only is that a poor habit, but it’s also a hapless way of thinking. Most people are unhappy at their current jobs because they took whatever fish was pulling on their bait in order to earn a little extra cash. Although some people don’t have a choice; if you’re given the opportunity to patiently apply for your dream job, then take it.

Some helpful tips:

  1. Read each job posting CAREFULLY. There’s nothing worse than someone sending you a resume or a cover letter that doesn’t answer any of the questions the employer was looking for. Not only is it wasting their time, but quite frankly it’s wasting your time as well. You want to use your time wisely, and reading the job description carefully will alleviate any confusion. Plus, you want to make sure their requirements fit what you’re looking for and willing to accept if offered the position.
  2. Tailor your experience to each job. If you have interned for six different companies that taught you six different skills, try to list the jobs that would best fit the employer’s faux pas. Even more, list the skills that each job taught you that match the position’s requirements. Can you list all of your past experiences? Sure! But if a marketing job is seeing a Social Media worker, chances are you might not want to include your work as you brother’s baby sitter.
  3. Resume length. Now this varies for each position. Students interested in working in any form of education typically list all of their experience…which can add up to two or more pages. Some companies, however, only want a one-page resume. For instance: typically I will send a two-page resume to internships I’m applying for. However, when I applied to grad school I spent two hours – yes, two hours – scaling my resume down to one page. Although it was time consuming, in the end I was happy that I took my time to produce a quality resume.
  4. Have fun! We forget to have fun sometimes, and I’m sure you’re wondering how you can have fun developing a resume. Easy: ask your friends to proofread your resume over dinner; teach your siblings how to write a resume through them watching you write yours; or, ask your parents if you can look over theirs if they have one. Trying to make the most out of any situation will help you in the end!


I’m reading School-community Relations