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  • Anna Litman 10:10 pm on February 20, 2015 Permalink
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    Women In Science Career Night 

    Written by Howlader Nashara, Student Assistant to the CAS Career Advising Team.

    On February 18th, the Women in Science Club and the Career Center co-hosted a career panel with four alumnae who work in various fields, from audio technology to environmental science:

    • Anna Cetina: CAS/MS ’05, Director of the Audio Technology Program at AU
    • Brynne McCord: CAS/BA ’07, Program Manager for Engility Corporation
    • Jamey McEachran: CAS/MS ’11, Marine Resource Specialist for ERT inc., In-House Contractor for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service
    • Kate Pinkerton: CAS/BS ’10, CAS/MS ’12, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow, working on the Hypoxia Team at the Environmental Protection Agency

    The most striking aspect of this panel was that the participants had newly established careers. All have graduated from CAS graduate or undergraduate programs, providing reassurance to current students that a degree, networking, and a little bit of hard work can indeed result in a job. The panelists were asked to provide examples of skills that they look for when hiring. Whether working in policy or research, the panelists placed an emphasis on having a background in science. McCord spoke about how it helps her to understand the depth and difficulty of projects, which in turn allows her to run a much more efficient office because she is able to empathize with her co-workers and their workloads. Pinkerton echoed the need to have a basic science background, and added that writing proficiency and the ability to communicate ideas about scientific concepts, both verbally and in writing, are extremely important. Cetina, the panelist with the longest career, stated that when she is hiring, she looks for someone that is humble about what they do not know and open to learning about those things. The need for flexibility was a sentiment echoed by everyone. This leads to the one concern that every graduating student or recent graduate has: where to find a job and how to plot a career trajectory. McEachran recommends looking at contracting and consulting when starting out, especially if a student is interested in natural resource management. Jobs often intersect with both federal/state governments and also within the non-profit sector, so there is diversity in what someone can learn from their work. Pinkerton recommends looking at federal/state government, the non-profit sector, contracting and consulting, and also research. Pinkerton is currently a fellow at ORISE and advised students to learn more and apply to the program as it is specifically designed for recent graduates.

    It is always interesting to ask people what they think about having a nine-to-five job. Some will say that they love it, and others will say a routine is the most boring thing a person could pursue. Cetina and McCord agreed that very few people truly lead that kind of scheduled life. Working in the audio-technology field, Cetina warned students that hours are often late. Working as the director of AU’s program, her main focus is to be there for students and advise them. However, even when she is on the field for a project, there are days that start early and end late, and then some that start late and end early. Pinkerton advised students to figure out whether they want a nine-to-five job or not; if they do, then maybe working in government is good for them. However, working in the non-profit sector means longer hours but the payoff is that the passion is what drives people to work. The most important piece of advice she provided about this was that students should pursue a work-life balance that is most conducive to their success and happiness in both their professional and personal lives.

    Thus when asked for some final pieces of advice, McCord advised students to really pursue what they love- and figure out what that is as soon as possible. She confessed that had she never taken physics, she would never have known that she wanted a career in science. If there is a class that a student is even vaguely interested in, she said that they should take it! This led to McEachron’s point: participate in campus networking events and practice communicating. Cetina encouraged students to take up internships and explore interests; there is no better way to explore potential jobs and work on skill sets at the same time than through internships. She explained that “when you go down a career path, it gets harder and harder to turn back,” so it is necessary to take advantage of all the opportunities available now.

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  • Anna Litman 9:36 pm on February 20, 2015 Permalink
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    Public Health Career Night Panelists’ Perspectives on Career Direction and Job Search 

    Written by Howlader Nashara, Student Assistant to the CAS Career Advising Team.

    On February 11th, The Career Center and the Public Health Program co-hosted a career panel that featured five professionals working in various aspects of the public health field from health promotion, to policy and advocacy, to program development and more:

    • Brian Bowden: Associative Legislative Director at the National Association of Counties (NACo)
    • Evelyn Kelly: CAS ’01, Senior Program Manager at the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI)
    • Andy Melendez-Salgado: Senior Advisor for Program Integration and Health at the American Red Cross
    • Kim Smith: CAS ’14, Communication Associate at CommunicateHealth Inc.
    • Alyia Smith-Parker: Senior Associate for Health and Wellness at the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families

    All brought to the table diverse academic backgrounds, varying career paths, and wisdom and insights on working in the public health sector. Jody Gan, an instructor in the School of Education, Teaching, and Health in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Public Health, was the moderator for the night.

    The panelists were asked about their career paths post-graduation, and then asked to describe what kind of academic paths they saw themselves on prior to graduation. Melendez-Salgado, a graduate of Florida State, talked about his experiences working with migrant farm workers during school, and how seeing their health issues sparked his interest in public health. That interest guided him to change his major, and led to an internship at the Department of Health. Bowden, a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, was not aware of public health as a field of work, and thus ended double majoring in medical sociology and biology, with the intent of going to a medical school. However, upon discovering that his interests lay elsewhere, Bowden received a Rotary Scholarship to attend University of Liverpool’s School of Tropical Medicine and pursue a master’s degree in Humanitarian Studies. Bowden advised that students should “Feel free to create your own path if it’s not there for you.” Important advice, considering how a common theme among the career paths of many of the panelists reflected change that occurred upon taking initiative in their lives.

    Kelly discussed the importance of taking initiative as well; she received her current position after hearing about the organization at a work conference, and then requesting an information interview with president of the company. Although no positions were open at the time, a few weeks after the interview, Kelly found out that the organization liked her enough to create a position specifically for her. Similarly, Smith-Parker received her current job through her supervisor by communicating openly about her professional interests. Her supervisor was able to point her to a job in the parent organization. The importance of networking and utilizing connections in order to gain employment or explore interests was emphasized by everyone on the panel. Smith, the most recent graduate, talked about how she used her connections at American University and in the D.C. area, including the Career Center, her professors, and contacts from previous internships, to procure her current position directly after graduating.

    The panelists who handle hiring processes at their respective organizations gave the audience advice on what they like to see in candidates. Among those qualities are critical thinking skills, knowledge about the organization the applicant is interviewing with, and the ability to transfer skills from other experiences. Collectively, they also advised applicants to really research organizations and target every cover letter and resume to specific employers. Melendez-Salgado added that students should start volunteering with organizations they are interested in, because even that tiniest bit of experience can turn into an internship or job. At the end of the night, the panelists were asked if they would do anything differently in their lives and offered some thoughts on their personal professional development. Melendez-Saldago expressed that although he speaks two languages, given that he works with an international aid organization, he wished he had learned more languages. Kelly wishes that she had studied abroad. Smith-Parker stated that she wished she had not been so linear in her path, and had taken time to pursue other non-public health related interests in order to be a more well-rounded individual. Bowden, his path was certainly atypical, advised students to follow their passions, be aware of natural talents, and use all of that to strengthen the skill set that they put forth in the professional world.

     
  • Anna Litman 10:42 pm on February 5, 2015 Permalink
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    From the Anthropology Major to an Exciting Career: Meaningful Stories and Multiple Perspectives at the Career Night 

    On Tuesday, January 27th, the Anthropology department hosted a Career Night for Anthropology Majors in collaboration with the Career Center. The event included a panel of five speakers, a Q&A session, and time for students to network with the speakers while fueling up on pizza and salad.  The speakers shared with the audience of 25 students fascinating stories about their career aspirations and career paths, discussed challenges and successes in finding employment, and commented on the value of the skills they learned in the anthropology program.  The AU alumni and professors also shared practical career advice and provided thoughtful answers to students’ questions. (More …)

     
  • John Nunno 4:39 pm on February 3, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , , H1B visa, ,   

    Target H1B Visa Employers with Going Global 

    Going Global

    Job searching in the US as an international student can be tough. To assist with the search, the Career Center subscribes to Going Global’s H1B visa employer database. Going Global’s H1B visa database lists companies that submitted H1B visa applications for specific metro areas (including DC!) and all 50 states. The data is updated quarterly from the US Department of Labor. The database is an extremely useful resource that can help you target employers with a history of submitting H1B visa applications. Please note that these listings are not job postings.

    There are two different ways to search for employers within the database:

    1) You can search for employers based on geography using “Metro Search” and “State Search”. Information for the DC area is found under the “Metro Search” category.

    2) You can search for employers by industry, job title, or company using the “H1B PLUS USA search”.

    To access Going Global, log in to your AU CareerWeb account and click “Going Global” under “Quicklinks”. The H1B database is found under the “H1B Info” tab. If you have any questions about the resource feel free to email me at JNunno@american.edu.

     
  • Felicia Parks 2:04 pm on December 22, 2014 Permalink
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    Debunking the Myth – Employers Actually Hire During the Holidays 

    You’ve taken your last exam, put the finishing touches on your group project and you’re finally leaving campus for the holidays. But have you applied for a spring 2015 internship or post graduate job?  While many have heard [or were constantly told] that no one reviews your resume, calls you for an interview or offers a job during the holidays – this simply isn’t true for lots of organizations.

    Here are 4 true statements about recruiting during the slower time period of the year 

    1. Not every recruiter is on vacation.  A new year can also equal a new job for candidates that are flexible to interview during the holidays.  While an offer to meet with the employer could interrupt a day or two of your vacation, the December graduate could experience less competition for full-time positions that start at the beginning of the year. Since new clients, projects and business happen throughout the year, employers continuously post in AU CareerWeb, as well as contact the Career Center, about positions they urgently need to fill before the beginning of the new year.
    2. Holidays are for networking.Whether you attend a social gathering with your student organization, are invited to the company party for your seasonal job or feeling like a third wheel at your parent’s corporate celebration, these are great opportunities to network with new individuals as well as update current contacts in a casual and fun environment.  As you connect with people throughout the event, be sure to remember “active listening is key” and grilling any individual with tons of questions may appear desperate.  So bring your business cards, your enthusiasm and possibly add the notepad app to your cell phone so that you can capture individual names, titles, email addresses and phone numbers to follow-up.
    3. An email or postage stamp could lead to a job.  Whether it’s a holiday card, family blog or video that details your year in review, the design could impress the receiver with your skills and lead to a referral for a full-time opportunity.  After you finish designing your holiday greeting, be sure to polish your elevator speech, order your business cards and schedule a few informational interviews.
    4. Remain positive throughout your job search.  While this blogs offers several tips on applying for jobs during the holidays, it can feel overwhelming when family and friends continuously ask about your job search and potential offers. So keep your head up and your nose to the grind stone.

    We hope these tips have been helpful. Happy holidays from your Career Center advising team!

    AU Career Center_2014 Holiday Party

     
  • emily 4:58 pm on December 2, 2014 Permalink  

    Interviewing in a Winter Wonderland 

    The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. Here at the Career Center we want to help you embrace the winter wonderland as it coincides with your job search. The cold and wet weather can make arriving for an interview or new job a bit of a challenge, but have no fear.

    Here are some tips to make sure you make a good impression from the moment you arrive by looking professional and not like the abominable snowman.

    1) Layer underneath. Instead of piling on the sweaters and jackets, try wearing a warm base-layer. This allows you to look sleek without freezing on the walk to the metro. Long johns and tights/leggings can go underneath pants or you can wear thick tights with boots. Make sure you have a pair of warm socks, and your feet should be good to go. If it is very cold out, try a warm cotton shirt under your button-up or dress.

    2) Avoid frostbite. Packing a change of shoes and wearing boots can be tricky when you do not yet have a desk to stash the boots under. If you cannot store your big winter boots somewhere, then try wearing professional weatherproof boots or investing in weatherproofing spray. You can spray the nice boots you already have to minimize water or snow getting in. If all else fails, pack an extra pair of socks and change into those before the interview. Take care of other extremities as well. Wear gloves, because no one wants to shake hands with an icicle.

    3) Arrive warm, look cool. Some basics – though it may be warmer, avoid wearing any puffy winter sports coats. Instead opt for a pea coat or trench coat that is long enough to cover your suit jacket. Though for some it may be inevitable, try to avoid hat hair. If you are someone whose hair does not easily recover from a hat, wear earmuffs or a headband. Or, if you can bring a comb to straighten up after arriving. An alternative for people with long hair is to wear it pulled back in a way that is not as easy to muss up. Since you are already arriving early for the interview, do one last check in the bathroom to make sure you survived the cold in one piece. As much as you love your cat hat or giant mittens, wear practical but not comical hats, gloves, and scarves.

    Interviewing or starting a new position in the winter does not mean you cannot still look professional, it just may take a little extra work. For more advice on business attire, check out the Career Center’s website or one of the great books in the Career Center library.

     
  • emily 7:14 pm on November 25, 2014 Permalink
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    Creating the Best Writing Sample 

    Food, family, and a study break-Thanksgiving is not too soon to think about job application writing samples. This may sound daunting, but hear me out.

    The best advice when it comes to writing samples is to get some ready now. Having a variety of samples makes it easier to quickly apply for a job or internship opportunity when it comes. The exact requirements and nature of the writing sample will depend on the field, job details, and the preference of the employer. A research position or a well-cited paper or lab report, a communications position could want a catchy blog piece, and a policy organization could want a concise article.

    To be ready for the writing sample request, take a moment to look at what you have written or are writing now. You do not have to re-create the wheel with each application. Students and recent graduates can use academic papers or other work from college. However, it is less encouraged for alumni further out from their degree to do the same.

    Most of the time the sample will be no longer than two pages, five max. Chances are the best writing you have done for class has been significantly longer than 2 pages. So, how to cut down your favorite work without losing what made it so good?

    First, identify the meat of the paper. Where did you defend your thesis or conclusion the strongest? Where did you really flex your analytical skills? The goal of a writing sample is to measure your ability to write professionally, clearly, and succinctly. Just sending the first two pages of a much longer paper may leave out too much and seem incomplete.

    Second, be ready to edit. Even if you do not yet know the specific organization or job that you will apply for, do some preliminary research. Look at the writing style of some different organizations that you are interested in to edit the sample accordingly. When you do apply, use the style and tone of that particular employer and have the sample address a topic, theme, or issue that you could be required to work on in the position.

    The key is having something ready in your back pocket, or saved on your computer, that you are proud to share with a potential employer. Thanksgiving break is a good time to pick out blogs, academic papers, news articles, or other projects from this or previous semesters. That way when finals hit and you are applying for jobs or internships you do not have to create an entirely new piece. Preparation and a little research now could save you some precious hours of sleep come December.

    For more on writing samples check out the Career Center website.

     
  • John Nunno 9:30 am on November 6, 2014 Permalink  

    What is Vault Career Insider? 

    You may have seen it on the Career Center’s website. Maybe you saw it on the exit survey after your career advising appointment. Maybe you saw it on your Twitter feed. Any time you see it, I’m sure this question pops into your head: what is Vault Career Insider? I have the answer for you!

    Vault Career Insider is your source of insider information on companies, industry trends, and careers that interest you. Vault has in-depth company and internship rankings so you can identify the place you want to work. It also has in-depth profession and industry breakdowns to help you target your career path. You get full access to all of Vault’s downloadable career guides which are compatible with desktop and tablet devices.

    I know what you’re thinking- that all sounds great, but what are some practical uses for Vault? Let’s say you are interested in chemistry, and you want to explore career options for the field. You should check out Vault’s chemistry section under Industries & Professions. There you will find background on the field, how the field is structured, the outlook for the field, and a list of resources and associations. You can even find an extensive list of professions related to chemistry.

    You want another example? Let’s do it. Let’s say you are interested in working in consulting, but you’re not sure what company fits your interests and needs. Well Vault ranks consulting firms by a variety of criteria. Vault ranks the best firms in specific areas of practice (Defense, Economic, Human Resources, IT Strategy, etc…) and in work place needs (Benefits, Firm Culture, Interaction with Clients, Travel Requirements, Work/Life Balance, etc…). You can use that information to target specific employers to apply to!

    There you have it. An explanation of Vault Career Insider along with two practical uses of the resource. To get your career research started with Vault simply click here to set up your account and sign in. If you want to learn more or have questions you can email me at JNunno@american.edu. Check out more of the Career Center’s online resources here!

     
  • Sue Gordon 3:35 pm on October 28, 2014 Permalink  

    Avoid being scammed! 

    scam-alert

    Learn how to tell if a job offer is legitimate

    The Career Center is committed to helping AU students and alumni understand all facets of the job search process. In light of some recent job scams that have come to our attention, we’ve prepared this information to help you identify fraudulent job offers.

    Red flags:

    • Sender’s email address is @gmail.com, yahoo.com, hotmail.com, rocketmail.com, etc.
      • Legitimate employer messages will usually come from a .com, .gov, or .org email address rather than a personal email address as listed above
    • Non-specific job opportunity
      • Legitimate employer messages will usually reference a specific job title or description
    • Money transfers not tied to any goods or services
      • Legitimate employers, for the most part, won’t send you a check or money order and ask you to deposit the check and send money back to them.

    (More …)

     
  • Anna Litman 10:17 pm on October 27, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , job interviews   

    Anna’s Pondering Question of the Week Series: More on Job Interviews! 

    The Interview topic is in the air! Right after I decided to focus on job interviews for this part of my blog series, I discovered that “My Career Advisor Blog” has two recent blogs on the same topic!  But it won’t stop me! The more interview tips AU students can learn , the better their chances are to get these jobs!  From my perspective, I would like to ponder employer’s expectations and interviewee’s winning attitudes and strategies.

    As a career advisor, I often see students stressing about the best way to study for possible interview questions and the “right” answers as if they are preparing for a school test. But the job interview is not your school test. School tests are all about YOU as they assess your subject-related knowledge and skills.  Job interviews are all about THEM – your prospective employers, who hope to determine whether their organizations/companies can benefit from your abilities and personality traits.  So, job interviews are more about figuring out how you can HELP employers function, grow, and successfully compete (for grants/investments, markets, or influence) rather than judging who you are and what you know.

    My tip #1: Try to develop a helpful attitude towards your prospective employer and show it at your job interview.  To do that:

    • Learn more about the organization and about its needs (as related to its mission, services/product, environment, competitors, etc.)
    • Reflect how your knowledge and experience can be useful to meet these needs
    • Practice explaining your usefulness referring to your knowledge, skills, and experience, and
    • Come to the interview prepared to be engaged in the conversation not only by talking but also LISTENING actively.

     

    Keep in mind that by inviting you to a job interview, your prospective employer has expressed its satisfaction with the level of your academic preparation, experience, and interest in the position. Now, the employer would like to figure out whether your thinking process and problem solving abilities fit the needs of the organization. The employer may want to give you problems, cases, or scenarios to see if your analytical skills and your logical reasoning are sufficient for the job.  To check this, they would like you to “think out loud.”

    My Tip #2: Practice thinking out loud but also learn how to think to yourself before  “thinking out loud” in order to organize your thoughts.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions is also part of a good thinking process. The employer would like to see if you are capable of identifying missing information.  Also, don’t be afraid to be creative and thinking out-of-of the box at the job interview.  Most employers welcome creativity and unorthodox approaches.  

    The employer would like to hire a person who will fit the culture of the organization. At the job interview, the employer may ask you to talk about your behavior in situations that could be indicative to certain personal characteristics that represent the cultural fit, or misfit.

    My Tip #3:  Many job descriptions nowadays describe, to some extent, the organization’s culture. Review job descriptions carefully and also research organizations on Careerbliss.com or Glassdoor.com, or through social media (following organizations on Twitter and Facebook). Come up with several stories based on your life/school/work experience to illustrate such characteristics.  Also, don’t forget that employers are people and they want to hire likable people. Be nice, respectful, engaged, and smile!  Get Hired!

     

     
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