The Senior Career Conference Is Here!

 

Senior Career Conference

If you didn’t know already, tomorrow is the annual Senior Career Conference, hosted by the Career Development Office. This is a great chance for anyone graduating who maybe is looking for a quick way to supercharge your job search. I’m talking to you seniors! Of course if you are a rising junior or recent graduate, we certainly won’t turn you away. Let me give you the quick rundown of why you should stop by tomorrow and join us!

  • Networking lunch! That’s right, lunch AND the chance to mingle with dozens of employers. We’ll take care of lunch; all you need to do is bring your networking game face. If you’re feeling a little nervous about what to say, check out our Career Development Connect Four game at registration. We’ve prepared some prompts and topics for you to discuss with employers. If you complete the handout, it can help you ease into networking and be entered to win a door prize. Lunch is from 11:30am-12:30am, so come on by!

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  • In Depth Conversations. Something really unique about this event is the ability to dive deep into topics with employers. I absolutely love this about the Senior Career Conference. Between the Meet-up sessions, networking lunch and our Employer in Residence sessions, the afternoon is chock full of opportunity to pick an employer’s brain about a number of different questions.
  • Developing Connections. Yes, there will also be employers at this event, but you’ll be sitting next to your classmates and friends during this conference as well. You never know where someone else may end up post-graduation, and considering that over 70% of all jobs are found through networking, it’s in your best interest to broaden your own personal network. So don’t count out your fellow huskies!

We are excited to put together a wonderful and dynamic program for all of you. We hope to see you there. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below, email me at m.ariale@neu.edu or tweet us @CareerCoachNU. It’s not too late to register either!

See you at there,

-Mike

Preparing to Live Abroad

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Being abroad in an unfamiliar place can be scary at first. What are you going to eat? Will you be able to communicate with the local people? Will you be forced to do things you don’t want to do? Before you leave for your adventure, take some time to better understand what you’re getting yourself into. Once there, know that there is a culture shock curve to overcome and give yourself time to adapt to your new environment. The following are some key points to address when preparing for an international co-op.

Language. Are you familiar with the local tongue? Can you get by with English? Make sure to use several references to answer these questions or ask a person who has traveled to the country before. As a personal example, before I left to travel abroad to Uganda, I found on Wikipedia that the most spoken language in Uganda is Swahili. Over the winter break, I listened to an audiobook to learn common words and phrases I might use and recited random sentences to my family members. Upon my arrival, I found that practically no one spoke Swahili, but rather, Luganda and other region-based dialects in addition to English. I survived using English, but I now advise others not to make the same mistake I did.

Food. Do you have any allergies? Can you eat spicy food? Are you vegetarian? I was fortunate in the fact that Ugandan food is the complete opposite of flavorful, giving me few flavors that were unpalatable to my taste buds. But make sure you think in the long term and pack a few comfort foods in your suitcase. One thing I regretted almost every day was not bringing a tub of peanut butter.

Clothing. Not every country is as liberal with appearance as the US is. Should you wear makeup? Can you wear shorts and skirts that end above the knee? Make sure you look up the local practices before packing a suitcase full of things you can’t wear or use. While you want to maintain your usual level of comfort and appearance, remember that you are a guest in a foreign country and should respect the local practices. Women, if you know crop tops are inappropriate, don’t wear them. Men, consider leaving the speedos at home. You do not want to invite unwanted attention if you can help it.

Expectations. Communicate with your local coordinator or supervisor to go over what will be expected of you. Know what makes a successful intern or volunteer. Also be familiar with your personal and ethical limits and stay true to them once there. Keep constant communication with your supervisor, know the limits of your assignment, and find areas in which you can grow.

Emergency situations. Is there a hospital nearby that is covered by your travel insurance? What happens if there is a terrorist attack? What if you get robbed? You don’t have to go as far as writing a will, but consider all emergency situations in case anything major happens. Make sure you are prepared enough to legitimately tell your grandparents that you’ll be okay. Get the necessary vaccines, prescription medication, and emergency contacts to ensure that you are as prepared as you can be before you leave the country.

Mika White is a  biochemistry major at Northeastern expecting to graduate in 2018. This past semester she was on her first co-op in Uganda interning at a rural hospital in the town of Iganga and establishing a malnutrition treatment program in Namutumba District. She loves to travel, read, and run. Feel free to reach out to her at white.mik@husky.neu.eduand LinkedIn, and read her personal blog at mikawhite25.wordpress.com.

Things I Would Tell My Pre-International Co-op Self

doctor-563428_1920As a non-traditional co-op, the internship I took part in for my first co-op in Uganda was not as structured as those you might find in the US. I decided my working hours, chose how long I wanted to stay in which department, and picked the physicians I wanted to shadow. Although I emerged from my co-op relatively successful, there were several things I wish I knew or was told before my first day in the hospital.

Ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. In my co-op, there was minimal guidance around the hospital from the local coordinator of the program I went through. I realized that I would have to find my way around during my time there, and no one was going to guide me throughout the duration of my co-op. During that time, I realized how important it was to ask questions. Everyone was extremely helpful and willing to answer them, no matter how embarrassing they were or how clueless I sounded asking them. In a new working environment, people actually appreciate that you want to learn about their system and ask questions in return, promoting an environment of information exchange.

Don’t judge. This sounds obvious, but it is difficult to maintain a completely objective view when standards are so different from what you’re used to. Especially coming from a first-world country like the US, a lot of us take things for granted and don’t realize how different situations are in other countries. Absorb as much as you can and do what you can to help, but don’t criticize the system that you are not a part of. Instead, observe, analyze, and come up with tentative solutions to problems you witness around your environment. What simple, sustainable solutions might there be to obstacles you see around your workplace?

Adapt. I cannot emphasize this point enough. In an area of high poverty and low development, I had to constantly reframe situations, recreating what is “normal” in my head. Although things might be overwhelming at first, try not to see giving up as an option. Worst comes to worst, you might not enjoy your co-op, but in the grand scheme of things, it is only four to six months of your life. Use this time to step out of your comfort zone, give yourself time to overcome culture shock, and document your time so that you have something to look back on.

An international co-op is an exciting and ambitious adventure to pursue, so cherish the time you have and the invaluable lessons you learn along the way. When you return from co-op, reflect on your growth, remember the things you’ve learned, and share your experience with others.

Planning in the Present

Ever think of what’s going to happen next? Whether it be that graduation is upon you in a few months or you’ve finished up an employment position and are unsure of where to go next, the future can be a terrifying place. But we have the present to make plans, to determine what is we want to do, and what direction we’re interested in moving in.

Decide if you enjoyed what you’ve done. If so, keep at it! Find a job, degree program, or simply keep at it. If you love what you’re doing, it won’t be too hard to find something you want to do. But if you aren’t in love with your job, your studying, or an aspect of your life, it can seem impossible to make that change. But you can.

Research, research, research. We live in a world dominated by the internet, meaning we actually have access to tons of information at the touch of our fingertips. Take some time to explore the options out there for you. It might be continuing education, a start-up you’re interested in, or a new job posting that caught your eye. There’s a wealth of knowledge out there about fields we may have never known existed, so take advantage of the internet and do some research.

Don’t put your eggs in one basket. As great as it is to be confident in one’s future, putting all of your eggs in one basket can (not in all cases) backfire. It’s natural to have some variety, which can help ground our future. A back-up plan makes us able to chase our dreams without worry. Put the effort in to apply to more than one program, job, location. It’ll not only give you extra experience interviewing, but you might actually find an opportunity you would not have considered otherwise.

The future is a scary and unknown place, but with a little of planning in the present, it doesn’t have to be.

Walk, Don’t Run.

wood-nature-person-walkingWhen interviewing for a job, it can be so nerve-wracking. You’re being interviewed, but remember that an interview is two-sided. You have to be the right fit for the company as well as the company being the right fit for you in this time of your life. It’s stressful, having to decide if this is right for you at this time. So take it one step at a time, walking. Do not rush the process because being sure about an opportunity is essential in finding the right job.

There are times where a job is great, but the company is not a good fit for you. Believing in the company and their mission is extremely important. You are searching for the place you will call home for 40 hours a week – make sure the company culture is just as great as the job itself!

As crazy as it sounds, getting a job offer does not mean you have to say yes. It’s so tempting to say yes to the first opportunity, and often times, people do. However, this can lead to passing up a better choice that might be down the line for you.

If you do decide to say no and hold out for a better opportunity, expressing your gratitude the employer who has offered you a job is essential. You might want to work there in the future, so keeping a good rep is key. Be sure to thank the employer for the consideration and briefly explain that you are simply choosing to pursue another opportunity. Say no, but be nice about it.

So that being said, walk, don’t run. Don’t jump at an opportunity if you know something else better may be waiting out there for you. It might be a better job, a better location, a better company culture, or something else. Make it the best fit for you.

Post-Co-op Reintegration

Library SchoolLike many of you, I am back in classes this semester after completing a spring co-op. Here is a list of the good and the bad revolving around returning to classes after experiencing work in the real world.

  1. A new light is shed on your studies. Whether you realized how little or how much class material you used during your co-op, this will affect your study habits and your outlook on your undergraduate degree. You might realize that you’re studying and working towards a degree for a purpose, or that it is actually completely misaligned in your field of work. You might decide to change your major, like I did, or take more interesting classes that focus on things you experienced during co-op.
  2. New-found motivation. It’s hard be motivated to do well in classes after coming back from co-op. You just spent six months working as an actual adult (!) and didn’t have to worry about midterms, homework assignments, or group presentations. Personally, I’m having a tough time memorizing terminology on bone formation and muscle contraction after spending a semester catching babies in delivery rooms and planning malnutrition programs for impoverished villages. It feels somewhat backwards, but also made me realize that I should have learned about human anatomy and international health care systems in class before doing the hands-on work in a practical learning environment.
  3. More direction. Did you enjoy your co-op? Is it something you’d like to do in the future? Or did you completely hate everything about it? No matter how your experience was, you’ll know what to look for in your next co-op or your first job. With co-op under your belt, you have the right to be more selective in the future instead of shrugging and thinking, “sure, why not?” to any job offer that comes your way.
  4. Networking. Unless you spent a solitary six months working by yourself with no communication with the outside, you interacted with different people every day. New connections, both professional and personal, arise from co-ops. Stay in touch with these contacts, because you never know when something might come along – a collaboration on a paper, a part-time work opportunity, or a conference that you could attend. You also want to be able to approach your supervisor for a recommendation for future job opportunities or ask him/her to connect you with others in the field that you could benefit from meeting.

You already have half a year of professional work experience and that is definitely something to be proud of. Enjoy college life while you can, and keep these things in mind if you ever feel frustrated about going back to classes after co-op.

Rock that Interview.

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You’re on the job hunt and have sent out resumes upon resumes upon resumes and you finally get that phone call offering you an interview with a potential employer. First, congrats! Getting an interview is the next step and that deserves appreciation. Second, here comes the time to shine, to rock that interview.

Interviews aren’t exactly about showing that you’re perfect; they’re about sharing with another person what you’ve done, what you want to do, and how you can fit into their workplace culture.

Think of some answers beforehand. We all know the typical interview question: Tell me about yourself, tell me about a time you faced a challenge and how you overcame it, describe a past project to me, etc. I could go on. Chances are you’ll get asked these at the majority of your interviews so it’s good to have some answers thought out beforehand. Don’t stage what you are going to say, just have a general idea. You’ll relax and allow yourself to focus on simply answering the question instead of scrambling to find an answer.

Dress to impress. It’s time to pull out a nice outfit. Dress up slightly more than you would for a typical work day. It shows the interviewer(s) that you care about the interview and respect their company. Go for something more business professional than business casual. A little tip: try to make sure you wear something you’ve worn before, at least once. The last thing you want is to find out a new shirt is itchy or just plain uncomfortable when you’re waiting for the interview to begin.

Be personable. You are a human. Your interviewer is a human. Therefore, be a person. You don’t have to build yourself up and only talk about your successes. Companies want to see that you have faced challenges in the workplace and want to know how you troubleshot them. Be yourself. Don’t try to change the way you speak, just answer their questions, ask questions, and let your natural light shine through.

Hopefully these tips help you out with any upcoming interviews! Personally, I think the last one is the most important because it’ll show the company who you are because they want to make sure you will be a great fit for their workplace culture. There’s a wealth more of tips on this blog and online, so be sure to check those out if you need more. And remember, you got this.

10 Tips for New Interns

 My name is Dodie Fontaine, and I have recently been afforded the opportunity to Intern for the Career Development Center at Northeastern University. Similar to many college students actually leaving the classroom setting, entering the work force can be a daunting experience. Not to worry, I have 10 tips for you!

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1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

There really is no such thing as a stupid question,.. OOkay, maybe there are silly questions but when it comes to an internship and a task that you are unsure of make sure to ask, re-clarify, and ask again. It is better to be safe than sorry!

2. Always ask if there is anything else you can do.

Whenever you finish an assignment or project make sure to ask your supervisor if there is anything else you can help them with. This shows initiative, and that you are willing to go above and beyond your call of duty.

3. Make sure to dress appropriately.

Some offices are more casual than others so it is important to ask your supervisor what the office protocol is when it comes to dress code.

4. Introduce yourself

Although working in a new environment can be intimidating make sure you introduce yourself to everyone in the office.

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5. Learn everyone’s names.

Whether you work in an office with 5 colleagues or an office with 50, you should make it your mission to learn everybody’s name.

6. Be on time, or even early.

Whatever you do, don’t be late! Being prompt is so important and shows that you are reliable. I suggest being 15 minutes early so you can get settled before your day begins.

7. Network, network, and network some more!

Networking is key to landing a job these days so you might as well start with the connections you have made in the office.

8. Be proactive.

Take initiative and get something done without asking, whether it be a project or your own research.

9. Make the most of every minute of the experience.

Even if you’re not getting paid or getting paid very little be sure to make use of the time that you have at the internship. With every opportunity comes experience!

10. Write thank you notes.

Last but not least, make sure to write thank you notes to your supervisor and colleagues – basically anyone that has helped you throughout your time there. Trust me, this goes a long way!

 

Dodie Fontaine is an Intern at the Career Development Center. She is working towards her Master of Education in Counseling at Providence College. You can find her exploring Boston on the weekend and getting way too many parking tickets in Southie. Tweet her @CareerCoachNU!

Are Leadership Development Programs Right for Me?

http://www.freeleticsworld.com/leadership-freeletics

Unsure about what specifically to do after graduation? Are you interested in many different areas of a business or company, but unsure about what area you specifically fit in? Leadership Development and Rotational programs provide mentor-ship, training across different functional business areas, and experiences that can help you determine where your best fit is in terms of interests and skills.

Career Development is hosting a Leadership Development Panel on September 30, 2015 in 10 Knowles from 12-1pm (there will be pizza!) featuring representatives from State Street, GE, TJX, and Johnson & Johnson to talk specifically about their LDP programs. To register, click here.  This event is the day before the Career Fair so that you can gather more information about a company/program before seeing them again at the fair.

So why should you consider a Leadership Development or Rotational Program? Here are the top 5 reasons:

  • Access to top executives and leaders: Rotational programs often have projects or assignments that require buy-in from and require you to work with top executives and leaders, allowing you to meet and brush shoulders with the current leaders of the company.
  • Rotations through different functional areas: In a leadership or rotational program, early-career individuals work alongside industry experts on in-depth projects in various functional areas of the company. This allows you to identify an area of the company that is the best match for your skills and caters to your interests.
  • Mentors: As potentially high-performing employees of the company, you are assigned mentors at the manager level or above to help you reflect on your experiences, hone your skills, and help with your career development.
  • Job placement: The end-goal of these rotational programs is job placement in an area that fits with your skills and interests. You will know what you like/dislike about a certain area since the rotational aspect of the program will allow you to “sample” what it’s like to work in different areas.
  • One day you want to be a boss: Many companies rely heavily on their Leadership Development and Rotational programs to identify and groom future leaders of the company, so the training and mentorship you receive will allow you to not only identify your interest area, but also understand other parts of the business, which is crucial in a company leader.

Leadership Development and Rotational Program deadlines tend to be around October/November of your senior year, so if you’re interested in these, make sure you apply soon!

Ashley LoBue is an Assistant Director at Northeastern Career Development.  A Boston College graduate, Ashley has over 4 years of experience working in higher education and is a proponent for international and experiential education.  Ashley also enjoys binge-watching HGTV and aspires to be like the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan, as a possible secondary career. Tweet her @CareerCoachNU

Image sourced from http://www.freeleticsworld.com/leadership-freeletics

My Marine Corps Adventure at Quantico

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I’ll admit it – I was skeptical going into my week in Quantico, VA for a Marine Corps Educators’ Workshop. I wondered how intense the week of orientation would be and I wondered just how many job options there really were in the Marine Corps.

After my week in Quantico, I thought I’d share a few things I learned and some of the coolest things I’ve done.

-There are 40 MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) job fields available within the Marine Corps including logistics, engineering, public affairs, financial management, and communications.

-Joining the Marine Corps doesn’t automatically put you on the front lines – there are different ways to serve in the Marines – as an Enlisted Marine or as a Marine officer, leading your enlisted peers.

-The average age of a Marine is 23 and most enlist for a standard time of 4 years

-Tuition assistance is available for graduate study and/or professional programs

-There is an opportunity to be stationed in over 100 different countries

-Core values and skill sets (which many employers seek) include commitment; leadership; critical thinking skills; and decision-making

-You could start applying to the Marine Corps already – The Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) is a 10 week paid training session for rising seniors which lets you focus on studies senior year and then post-graduation, you become a Second Lieutenant

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Coolest things I experienced with the Marine Corps:

-Completed a simulated ‘mission’ into the woods of Quantico holding a fake (but heavy) weapon, wearing a Kevlar helmet

-Rode in an Osprey helicopter with the back ramp open while practicing evasive maneuvers

-Won a fight with padded Pugil sticks (essentially, big Q-tips used in combat) – see below photo

-Did the Leadership Reaction Course (think American Ninja Warrior obstacles) and climb up a tree and across a branch 8 feet high

-Was awestruck by the precision and skill of the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performing in front of the 32-foot tall Marine Corps War Memorial statue

Want to learn more about the Marine Corps? Stop by the Snell Library Courtyard between 11am-3pm to take the Marine Corps Collegiate Challenge!

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Melissa Croteau is an Assistant Director of Employer Relations at Northeastern University. When she isn’t training with the Marine Corps or flying in an Osprey Helicopter, you can find her singing her heart out with the Boston Pops and the Metropolitan Chorale! Tweet at her about the Marine Corps @CareerCoachNU