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Choosing the right career path

Are you fresh out of high school and filling college applications?

Confused about choosing your majors?

Well, you are not the only one. It is a daunting task for many. But, you need to understand what will work best for you.

Understand Your Interests

Your first step in contemplating your career choice is to evaluate your interests and aspirations. It is easy to settle in a career that comes along your way only to realize that it isn’t what you want. If you thoroughly understand your interests, you can choose a path which best aligns with what you like to do. For example: if you are artistic and good at drawing or painting, you can choose a career as an architect, artist, or designer.

Identifying Social Needs

You need to know if you are a peoples person or too shy to work as part of a team. These behaviors can also influence the choice of your career. If you like to deliver value from behind the scenes, a career in actuary or accounting may be suitable (if you are good with numeric also). If you are energetic and moved by others needs, social work or marketing may be your field.

Research

When you understand your interests and evaluate what you would like to do, start gathering information about it. Visit the university or college and talk to professors and counselors. Attend career expos, and if those aren’t available then use the internet to learn about different careers and what they entail.

Understand the subjects that each career path has to offer and how they would relate to your interests; whether you would like to study those subjects. Once you think you have made a list of possible careers you can opt, talk to professionals in those fields. Firsthand knowledge of others experience in the particular field will give you a better understanding of the practical side of it.

Speaking to Career Counselors

Talk to your career counselor. Talking to someone before making your decision can help you clarify any queries and concerns. The counselor can also tell you about more careers and the college options for their availability and criteria.

Taking a Test

There are many tests which help in identifying possible careers based on your interests and personality. One popular test is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Seek help when undertaking a test to understand and interpret the results and be cautious as many tests are also paid.

Long-Term Goals

Choosing a career is like choosing the route you would like to take into your future, where you would build a life for yourself. So, it is extremely important to be rational and open-minded about the decision to take. Have a vision and know your end point where you want to be. The position you would like to have or the income you want to earn. Tracing those steps backwards will help you clarify your starting point of choosing a career.

Intern or Volunteer

Utilize your summers in acquiring an internship or volunteer work. The practical exposure will help you clear any doubts and also pave way for a future job. It will also help to further develop your skills and introduce you to work ethics and environment.

In the end, never be afraid to step up and seek the right information to make the best career choice for you. Make phone calls and get in touch with people who can guide you and provide useful information. Don’t shy away from talking to your counselor and do not make assumptions about any particular field. Be open in your assessment approach and along the process develop an understanding about yourself also.

Ways to make money while in college

Going to college is expensive. For many students, simply covering the cost of tuition, fees, and room and board is a challenge. After paying those expenses, there may be little left in your budget. You need some spending money to fully enjoy the university experience. Going out with your friends, or just having pizza delivered to your dorm, requires cash. There are many ways students can make money while in college.

On Campus

An array of part-time jobs is available on university campuses. They may not pay much, but usually can be crafted around your schedule of classes and school activities. You can work in an administrative office, the cafeteria, the library or another university facility. Sign up to be a residence assistant, in the dorms; or a professor’s assistant, grading papers and doing research. Find out if a custodian job is available. Fraternities and sororities often hire students to do housecleaning and other chores. Take part in a research study, or take notes in class and sell them. Some colleges hire students to give campus tours to prospective students, or conduct orientation sessions for incoming freshmen.

Parents are increasingly hiring tutors to help their children. Many university students also need assistance with their studies. There are always students, in high school and college, who require individual instruction in math, science or other subjects. You also may be able to give music lessons or assist kids with other artistic pursuits. Determine your strongest subject, then post flyers and perhaps advertise in a college publication. Check to see if there are any local tutoring services that hire students. Check out the Sylvan and Kumon tutoring services, and visit tutor.com.

In the Community

Other types of jobs may be found off campus, in the community. If your college is in a small town, you have fewer opportunities. You have to be creative, patient and persistent. Prepare a resume and learn good interviewing skills. You need to sell yourself to an employer, so do not be bashful about emphasizing your knowledge and skills.

Retailers frequently hire students for sales clerk, cashier and other positions. Many are willing to work around students’ schedules. Start by speaking with owners of stores selling things that you find interesting. Emphasize your knowledge of the products or services, as well as your customer-service skills. Check help-wanted advertisements in local newspapers and shoppers, as well as on Craigslist. Look at postings on bulletin boards and in college publications. Keep in mind that sales jobs that offer commissions pay better than standard part-time, minimum-wage work. Sales positions may be in shops, on the telephone or door-to-door.

Other ideas for working in the community include paid internships, work-study programs, delivering newspapers and donating blood. Among the jobs at private homes are babysitting, dog walking, lawn mowing, snow shoveling and house painting. Some students make money by running errands, like grocery shopping, for people. An elderly resident of the community may need a driver. Create an eye-catching flyer advertising your services, and post it in prominent locations around town.

Online

Some students use their computers to earn money. Various websites offer opportunities to review products or services, and take part in focus groups or other market research. There are companies that will pay you to fill out opinion surveys, or evaluate products and services as a mystery shopper. Sites like Odesk and Elance list a range of online jobs, including article writing, web design and programming.

Back home in your old bedroom, or the attic or garage, you may have possessions with some value that you no longer want. Sell them on eBay or Craigslist. You also can make money by buying stuff at garage sales, yard sales and thrift shops that can be resold online. Sell other people’s items, too, and keep a percentage of the profit. If you are good at taking pictures, check out websites that pay for photographs. If you enjoy shooting videos, come up with an original idea for a YouTube channel to showcase your work.

You need to assess your strengths to determine the type of part-time work that is best for you. Your financial needs and college schedule also are factors. A part-time retail job is a good idea for those with strong communication and people skills, while more introverted students may prefer online work. Consider all the available options and see which ones match your interests. You just may find an enjoyable way to make money while in college.

How to dress appropriately for an interview

Even if you have an impressive resume, an excellent internship experience and great grades, it might be very difficult for you to get the job if you show up looking unprofessional and unkempt. Your appearance will play a major role in determining your success at an interview. Making the right first impression is important and dressing appropriately will make a huge difference. Given below are a few tips to help you dress right for a job:

Ask about the dress code

Study the company that you will be interviewing with and ask the recruiter about the dress code. Does the company have a conservative culture where everyone wears suits to the office or do they have a casual environment?

Striking a balance

Wearing a suit for the interview may actually not be the right choice. If all employees wear jeans and t-shirts, you will look and feel out of place wearing a suit. The opposite is also true because it will only highlight the fact that you are not a good fit for the company. Strike a balance instead. Don’t wear anything too casual or too fancy.

Don’t be underdressed

It is usually better to be overdressed rather than underdressed for an interview. Your goal should be to match the work attire of that company or even take it up by a notch. For example, if the employees follow wear casual clothes to work, business casual will be impressive. If the employees wear business casual, wear a high quality suit for the interview. Appropriateness is the key to success when it comes to dressing for an interview.

Dress according to the position you apply for

It is also important to think about what kind of position you are applying for and dress accordingly. For example, if you are appearing for a job in the PR or media industry, you would want to come across as professional but fashionable. Having a bad sense of fashion will definitely not come across right for a job in the media industry since first impressions are very important in that industry. On the other hand, if you are appearing for a job interview in the retail industry, it may not be necessary to wear a suit. Looking professional is still quite important so you can dress well and look professional with smart trousers, good quality shirt and shoes.

Dressing tips for women:

  • Avoid wearing extremely tight or short clothes
  • Ensure your hair is styled neatly
  • Avoid bold colors
  • Wear minimal jewelry
  • Avoid open toe, open heeled or stiletto heels
  • Wear a knee length skirt or a trouser suit
  • Avoid too much makeup

Dressing tips for men:

  • Ensure you are clean shaven and have neatly styled hair
  • Avoid wearing jewelry
  • Do not sport piercings or tattoos
  • Avoid wearing short sleeved shirts
  • Wear solid colors
  • Wear professional shoes with dark colored socks
  • Opt for a well-fitting suit with tie

Finding the Right Internship

Internships are an active part of college life, which let you gain valuable work experience, enhance your skills and build your CV. When you are actively looking for an internship, you might become exhausted by your search. Due to a number of options available; the following tips might guide you in finding the right internship match.

Interact

Talk to your seniors at college and to people who have interned recently or fellows who will apply for internships alongside you. Interact with them to find out how they plan to apply, how they have applied before and how their internship experience was. This will give you an idea about the application process and about resources which you can avail from. Join the specific groups online or use university sources to stay updated on any news.

Apply Everywhere

The one thing to remember when applying is to apply everywhere. Don’t apply to a selected number of places or keep your choices limited. Remember you may hope to get an internship at some place specific but there is no harm in applying. It will make your understanding better. If you get an interview call, the more interviews that you give will make you better each time you go in for a new one. You will be more prepared and know the possible questions which could be asked.

Start Applying Early

One mistake that many students make is that they start applying late. Start applying when your final year starts and don’t delay it. Understand that these processes take time and it may be a while before you land yourself an internship. Many good places start and end their internship recruitment process earlier than the lot. Keep a lookout and be active.
Meet Your Counselor

As soon as final year starts, make it a point to meet your counselor. They will provide guidance and resources on what possibilities lay out there and how best you can approach them. Every university has a career centre and they help you apply to possible places.

Use Other Resources

When you are applying for internships the first source is to meet your university’s placement centre. Next, browse the internet and relevant groups as there is a lot of opportunities there to get your hands on. Company websites always have a tab for their internship process and they post it what they’re internship hiring period is. Keep a lookout! Use the newspaper to identify ads and possible places where you can apply. You may also come across companies relevant to your interest and you may look them up online.

Build Your Professional Network

Take part in events or talk to professionals relating to your area of study. There are many sources online which help you in interacting with industry leaders. Make a profile on LinkedIn and be active. Reach out to people professionally. This will also help you polish your communication skills and build a professional network. You never know an opportunity lies there which you miss out if you don’t become engrossed and updated with the professional environment.

Your internship experience is a first step towards stepping into the professional world. It will give you exposure and an understanding of how things work professionally. The best you will get out of it is when your internship is aligned with your goals. Don’t be afraid to start at a small place as these places, although small with a few people provide the best learning experience. They made be understaffed, just a bit, but that means you will get to be a part of their work activities. Helping out in real and understanding your abilities and interest in performing that work.

Craft an Effective Resume

Applying for jobs and not getting the expected response? Follow these simple tips to write an effective resume, which will definitely win you an interview call:

Remember the Basics

Write your name, contact, and email address right at the top before you start writing anything else. Write it down in a bold and larger font than the rest of the information. You don’t want an employer having to search for your number.

Make It Interesting

Don’t make the resume a parchment to land you a job. Most people make this mistake which makes their resume lengthy and boring. Keep your objective of writing the resume to land an interview, which will in turn land you the job. Make it as interesting and engaging as you can. Remember that you are selling your skills and marketing yourself on how you fit perfectly for the job.

List your Achievements

People like to see results. Don’t just list down your qualities. Instead, back them with relevant real life achievements. This will validate your claim of the strengths and qualities you say you possess.

Include Keywords

Figure out the keywords related to the job you are applying for. Most companies maintain a database to search resumes from. If your resume won’t have those keywords, you are missing out on interview opportunities. Find out the keywords and include them in your resume. You can get a hint of what employers are looking for by thoroughly reading their job adds.

Be Clear and Specific

Use attention grabbing titles. Employers usually take 5-25 seconds to pass a judgment on any resume. So try to attract their attention within this time frame. Use bullet points to explain, no employer has the time to read long paragraphs. Convey your objectives, educational background, and experiences in short clear sentences.

Don’t Make a Standard Resume

Don’t make the mistake of making a standard resume and sending it out to all employers and in job openings. Edit and tailor it for the specific job or industry you are sending it out to.

Update Your Resume Regularly

Update your resume after every accomplishment, experience, training program, and academic qualification that you receive along the way. This will ensure that you do not end up sending an obsolete resume to any employer.

Make it Unique

Avoid using any templates which are available on hundreds of sites on the internet. Put in your own effort to create your resume. You don’t want to look similar to many others who may have used the same template. Make it stand apart from the stack.

Keep it Simple and Short

Only list the most relating experiences and qualities that apply to the job. Avoid making your resume too long. It should not be more than 1 or 2 pages mentioning the most relevant and related skills.

Don’t Overdo It

Just write down what you can back up with claim. Don’t exaggerate, and avoid writing material that is not relevant to the job. If you are a fresh graduate, list your internship experience specifying skills you learned and how they apply. If you do not have internship experience, list down courses and skills you acquired and possess during your study period. Skills such as communication, leadership and teamwork count a lot. Don’t just list them but briefly specify a situation where they applied.

Review and Proof-read

Always re-read your resume and read it again before sending it out. If possible, get feedback from friends and family members to improve it. There might be some typos or information that you may have missed. Format it properly, and remember that any errors or typos can cost you the opportunity.

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