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Where Are You Going in February?

Hopefully your answer to that question is  “To the CESC “Where Are You Going?” events, of course!”
After a successful and interesting panel and networking mixer last month, we have more wonderful panelists and “networkers” signed up for Feb. 22 and 23. Here are the details:

Where Are You Going?

Not sure yet? That’s ok.

Join us for a series of events each month where you can learn about emerging and high demand job opportunities and how you can get to them from right here at WWCC!

February’s theme: Agriculture, Energy, and Environment

February 22 • 11:30 am -12:30 pm

Panel of Experts

5 panelists, leaders in their industry, will discuss a series of questions presented by a moderator, followed by questions from the audience.

Featuring:

Richard Berrier, Technical Specialist, Rockwell Automation 

Kris Borgman, Head Agronomist, UNIBEST International

Paul Carter, County Director, Columbia County, WSU Extension

Mike Denny, Riparian Habitat Coordinator, Walla Walla County Conservation District

Perry Dozier, Walla Walla County Commissioner

Mark Lindgren, Chief, Hydrology and Hydraulics Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Joelle Olsen, Fisheries Biologist, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

 

February 23 • 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Job Fair and Networking Mixer 

Alumni and industry members will be available under The Knee to speak with students about WWCC programs and their links to various career pathways.

On-Site Interviews • 2:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Employers will be conducting job interviews in the William A. Grant Water and Environmental Center. You can sign up for these interviews and present your resume during the Job Fair and Networking Mixer earlier in the day.

 

Anytime! • 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Prep for Success

Stop by the CESC to get hands-on help with resume building, interview techniques, and industry specific job searching.

 

Don’t miss out on these fun and educational events. We will be doing these events each month for the rest of the winter and spring quarters!

March-Health Sciences

April-Public Service and Education

May-Entrepreneurship and Business Services 

Hope to see you there!

February 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment

My New Favorite Thing: Budgeting!

This week, I’m taking a slight detour from career development and job search topics for something equally relevant:

Budgeting!

We have students coming in to the office every day who are worried about how they are going to pay for school. They are right to be concerned-a college education is expensive (but well worth it)! They are also in the right place. We have quite a few opportunities for students to receive grant money. See our website for more details.

However, there are definitely steps you can take on your own to make sure you are managing your finances well. Whether you are in school, working, or job searching, budgeting is one of the most important and useful things you can do. I’m actually kind of obsessed with creating my own budget at the moment. I’m moving to a new apartment this weekend and with some new bills to pay, I am realizing how AWESOME it is to be organized and more mindful of where and how I’m spending my money!

I’ve created a few different budgets over the last few years, mainly at the urging of my father, but not once have I actually followed through or felt committed to any of them. So, even though I had it all written out, I’ve never really have a good sense of what my spending patterns are. Which is kind of the point…right?

So, this year I decided to actually do it. I opened up an Excel spreadsheet and got to work:

1) First step: Keep track of everything you spend. This comes first because in order to create a budget that works, you will need a frame of reference. Knowing what your spending habits are to begin with will allow you to create a realistic budget that you can actually use!

I’ve started to carry a small notebook in my purse and I write down every purchase. At the end of each week, I enter it all into a spreadsheet on my computer. The spreadsheet has categories like “Rent”, “Utilities”, “Car-Fuel”, “Groceries”, “Savings” etc. You can come up with your own categories as needed. No matter what method you decide to use (a notebook, the computer, or a combination), keeping good records is essential to your budgeting success. This is an easy thing to let yourself cheat on, but don’t! All of those small purchases, like a cup of coffee or those delicious looking cinnamon rolls they have at the Titus Creek Cafe today, add up. For your budget to work, you have to record every penny!

2) After one month, analyze your records. How much did you spend for each of your categories? Did you have any emergency expenses that came up? Are you spending too much?  Spend some time looking at the patterns and then set some goals for the next month. Maybe there is a category you want to cut back on or maybe you want to be putting a few extra dollars into a savings account. Write down these goals and keep them in mind as you continue to record your expenses. Over the next month, compare the goals to what is actually being spent and try to adjust your spending behavior to match the goals!   

Of course, from month to month you may find that you need to change your goal amounts a bit. Give yourself the freedom to do that as necessary. As long as you are being more mindful about spending habits, you are succeeding!

And that’s really all there is to it! 

Happy budgeting!

January 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Networking Mixer POSTPONED today!

Our Networking Mixer for today has been postponed due to bad weather! Please check our Facebook and website for updates on the rescheduled date.

January 19, 2012 at 10:18 am Leave a comment

Personal Branding: Using Social Media to Land the Job of Your Dreams!

After a long hiatus, I am finally getting back to the blogging world….I have such admiration for people who blog on a daily basis-what an outpouring of ideas and creativity! I clearly have fallen a bit short, but it’s the new year, so I am working on posting more regularly!  I really believe that the beginning of a new year is the BEST time for a fresh start. So, I am going to be better about blogging, along with my other resolutions to start a window sill herb garden, run a half-marathon, spend more time creating art and so many more things. (My list takes up an entire piece of notebook paper-front and back! Maybe I’m being overzealous, but I just kept thinking of more things!)

After all, the new year is an opportunity to change all of those things you always think about changing and never do!  So, if you are in the midst of the job search, here’s your chance to reassess: What are you passionate about? What makes you feel energetic and alive? What kind of job have you always dreamed of having?

If you haven’t done so yet, consider taking the e-Discover Personality Assessment (stop by our office and we’ll give you the log-in information) or any number of other personality assessments that are out there on the World Wide Web! (For links to other great assessment tools, see my earlier post, Personality Assessments: The Good, The Bad, and The Ridiculous.) After taking the surveys on e-Discover, make an appointment with someone in our office to go over your results!

Another important thing to think about in the coming year is how you are using social media to aid you in job searching.  I’ve read a lot of articles lately about the importance of creating and maintaining a professional and compelling online presence. Increasingly, people are using social networking sites, like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to network and connect with people on a professional level, as well as a social level. This article by Erica Swallow stated that 1 of every 5 employers use social networking to research job candidates. Obviously, this trend is on the rise.   

What this means is that if you are searching and applying for jobs, it is very important to have updated, current profiles on these sites, as well as appropriate content. Many people use the phrase “personal branding” to describe the process of cultivating your unique online image. 

  • LinkedIn is probably the most popular professional networking site out there. It serves as a great resource both for those looking for jobs and those who just want to grow their professional network. On LinkedIn, you can create a profile that looks a lot like a resume-you list your education, jobs, and experiences. But, like Facebook, you can connect with people you know-coworkers, friends, family members, anyone! LinkedIn also allows people to write recommendations (called “endorsements” on this site) for you. You can search for jobs and companies, as well as join groups based on your educational background or fields in which you’d like to work. In my personal experience, more and more people are using LinkedIn, so create a profile and see what it’s all about!
  • It seems as though pretty much everyone has a Facebook page now. Facebook  remains largely focused on social networking, but there are some tools on this site for job seekers. One of these is the Social Jobs Partnership, which I mentioned a few posts ago. Facebook also has a professional networking offshoot: Branch Out. This network allows you to log in using your Facebook information and connects you to friends you already have on your normal profile. It works like any other Facebook application and allows you to invite friends who haven’t already joined, should you wish to do so. Similar to LinkedIn, you list education, job experience and skills on your Branch Out profile and can search for jobs and companies. This video entitled “How to accelerate your career by using Branch Out” gives a good overview of the tools and features available.
  • The only thing I knew about Twitter before a few months ago was that celebrities often used it to share their every thought with the masses… However, since creating an account for the CESC, I’ve realized that there are a lot of great job search tools on this site as well! (Here is our CESC Twitter page!) There are quite a few people out there tweeting about jobs-recruiters looking for people to hire, career coaches with job tips, and people seeking jobs as well! Here is an interesting article about creating a 140-Character “Twesume” (that’s Twitter and resume combined)! Using this tool could help you to get an employer interested and continue to put your name out there. Here’s a list of some of my favorite “tweeters”: Inside Jobs, Career Builder, Brandyourself, and TwitJobSearch. Check them out-they all provide excellent insight and many links to articles about every aspect of job searching!

There are numerous other social networking sites out there (Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.) that can definitely be used as well when creating your online personal brand!

January 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment

Where Are You Going?

I apologize, dear readers, for a long absence…things have gotten extremely busy here at WWCC, with the ending of the quarter and preparations for next quarter in full gear.

So, instead of career advice this time, here’s an announcement for the SUPER EXCITING events we are planning here in the Career and Employment Services Center:

Where Are You Going?

Not sure yet? That’s ok.

Join us for a series of events each month where you can learn about emerging and high demand job opportunities and how you can get to them from right here at WWCC!

January’s theme: Art, Wine, Food and Humanities

January 18 • 11:30 am

Panel of Experts

 5 panelists, leaders in their industry, will discuss a series of questions presented by a moderator, followed by questions from the audience.

Featuring:

Terry McConn, Courts and Special Projects Reporter, Union-Bulletin

Kynde Kiefel, Exhibitions and Collections Manager, Whitman College 

Dr. Myles Anderson, Winemaker at Walla Walla Vintners and Founding Director of the WWCC Institute for Enology & Viticulture

Andrae Bopp, Owner and Chef of Andrae’s Kitchen and La Porte Brune Catering

Jeffrey Townsend, Filmmaker, Now What Creative

 

January 19 • 11:00am-1:00

Networking Mixer 

  Alumni and industry members will be available under The Knee to speak with students about WWCC programs and their links to various career pathways.

 

January 23-27 • 11:00am-1:00

Prep for Success

Stop by the CESC to get hands-on help with resume building, interview techniques, and industry specific job searching.

 

Don’t miss out on these fun and educational events. We will be doing these events each month for the rest of the winter and spring quarters!

February-Agriculture, Energy and Environment

March-Health Sciences

April-Public Service and Education

May-Entrepreneurship and Business Services 

See you there!

December 14, 2011 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

5 Helpful Tips

Hello out there, blog readers!

I know you didn’t expect another post so soon, but I was struck by this video I saw on the Social Jobs Partnership page on Facebook. (Really great page-check it out!)

The video gives you 5 tips for an effective job search, some of which you will be familiar with, but some are new to me (#4!!!). 

You should still watch the video, but here’s a brief outline:

1) Treat searching for a job as your full-time job.
2) Google yourself. Are you happy with the online version of yourself? Make sure that the way you are portraying yourself online via Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites is appropriate and attractive to prospective employers. Join Linked In and fill out your profile completely.
3) Make sure you have real life examples to back up resume claims.
4) Start a blog about something in which you have a strong interest or expertise. Employers have begun to search for prospective employees in the blogosphere! (Believe me, blogging is really simple and fun…if you do your research and write about things that excite you, blogging could be the best way to showcase your skills for prospective employers!!)
5) Research a few companies you are interested in working for and get to know them and what they are all about through their Facebook pages, Twitter and other resources.

Until next week,

Kia

December 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

Informational Interviews 101

If you are searching for a job or about to start, I am sure you’ve heard a variation of this statement about a million times already: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

I hear this all the time. From relatives, friends, professors, random strangers on the street…ok, maybe not the random strangers part….BUT it does seem to me that absolutely everyone feels the need to say this once they find out you are in the process of finding a job. Even though it’s become a bit monotonous hearing the same phrase time and again, I appreciate people wanting to share this little pearl of wisdom.

Although I do believe that what you know is also very important, I have found it to be true that who you know can make a huge difference. I owe a lot of the reason I was hired for my previous job to being friends with someone who was friends with the woman who hired me. Of course, I still had to do well in the interview and show that I was a good candidate for the position, but I got my foot in the door using the “who you know” tactic.

In other words, I was networking.

I used to make fun of my friend, Bethany, because she was very intentional about cultivating her network of contacts. She made it a practice to email everyone she knew at least once every few months, just to let them know she was still there and open to new opportunities.

“You are being ridiculous”, I said, “Won’t people just find that annoying?? Especially those you barely know? And what in the world do you say to them…I wouldn’t know what to say!”

“No! It’s not ridiculous! It’s called networking, Kia!” Bethany replied, “This way, they know I am out here, searching for a job and maybe one of them will connect me to someone or something that will lead to a job now or sometime in the future.  And you don’t really have to say anything important, just let them know what you are up to, what you’re good at, that you’re still looking for a job.”

Now, I had known before that Bethany is a super smart lady, but since this conversation a year ago, I’ve realized that she was  being extra super smart! Her message has become clear to me time and time again over the last year: NETWORKING IS SUPER IMPORTANT!

Which is where our topic for this week (finally) fits in: Informational Interviews!

Here is Wikipedia‘s explanation of what an informational interview is :

“An Informational Interview is a meeting in which a job seeker asks for career and industry advice rather than employment. The job seeker uses the interview to gather information on the field, and to find employment leads and expand their professional network. This differs from a job interview because the job seeker asks the questions. The term was coined by Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the best-selling career handbook, What Color Is Your Parachute? There may or may not be a specific employment opportunity available. Nevertheless, job interview etiquette is expected.

Informational interviews are initiated by the job seeker.  There are many avenues the job seeker may pursue to obtain the informational interview. Career and social networking, newspaper want ads, job boards, placement services, company websites, trade association and professional meetings, human resource contacts, professors and teachers, job search engines, and professional recruiters.”

The Wikipedia article also has some etiquette tips for conducting an interview.

Sounds fun, right!? I sure think so. Although calling up someone you barely know, or may not know at all, and asking them if you can talk to them about their career may sound scary, trust me it will be both enjoyable and helpful.

The purpose of informational interviews is two-fold. First, talking to people about their careers and the paths they’ve traveled can give you a much better idea of what you want to do. Second, you will be making contacts and building that all-important network!

Although it is relatively easy and fun, informational interviewing is one of the most underutilized career development tools. Now that I’ve told you about it, I’m going to refer you to some other blogs to tell you how to conduct an informational interview. 

  • This article by Dawn Rosenberg McKay on About.com provides some great tips on how to set up, prepare for and conduct an informational interview.
  • A tutorial by the author mentioned above, Richard Bolles. This is a SUPER thorough step-by-step guide.
  • A blog post featured on the NY Times website by Marci Alboher that gives excellent ideas for questions you can ask your interviewee. (Also, follow the link to her post about pet peeves from the interviewee’s perspective.)

Another idea for you: Check out this website called Inspiring Experts (there are many similar sites out there, so it’s worth a Google search!) to watch videos of people sharing information about their career fields. It’s like an informational interview but you don’t have to do anything except watch! Remember, though, that this isn’t a substitute for conducting interviews with real live people!! While the videos are helpful, nothing beats a conversation in person-you get to ask questions about things you find important and build your network of contacts!  

Happy Interviewing!

And as always, if you have any questions or need any help, feel free to visit our office!

November 30, 2011 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know that I said this next post would focus on informational interviewing, however, with Thanksgiving drawing near and a short week at work, I haven’t had the time to weed through the many resources out there on that topic.

Instead, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve gathered a few articles that relate to both the holiday and career development/searching!

First, there’s Alison Doyle’s Thanksgiving Week Job Searching. Doyle points out how important it is to NOT take a break from your job search over Thanksgiving break. Many employers only have Thursday off this week, so it is definitely beneficial to make sure you are staying on top of things over the holidays. No need to sacrifice all of your quality time with family, though! Doyle’s recommendation is to spend just a few minutes each day on the job search over Thanksgiving to keep yourself out there and on track.

In order to help with your Turkey Day job searching, Careerbuilder.com’s blog shared this list of companies who are hiring this week!

Lastly, Alina Dizik posted a compilation (also on Careerbuilder.com) of helpful career lessons learned by various career coaches, authors and business people: “What career lessons are you most thankful for?”

  Being Thankful in Your Job Search?!? Think this it’s impossible? It’s not! Harry Urschel, of The Wise Job Search blog, reminds us how to find gratitude, even in the process of finding a new job.

I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Kia

p.s. I’ve added a few more links – check out all of these great career development and job search blogs: The Work BuzzCareer Hub, and NW Jobs!

November 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm Leave a comment

Next Step: Research!

In the last few posts, I’ve been focusing  on websites and resources that help you identify your interests, values and skills. These are important things to start with but my guess is that, by now, you are ready to move on to the next step: Research.

Yep, that’s right…you’ve got to research. I know that research can sometimes feel like a pretty tedious endeavor, but researching a potential career is generally really exciting and fun! Many times, you’ll discover occupations you never knew existed or get excited about a job you had never envisioned yourself in before.

 To start with, I’d recommend  revisiting those self-assessments, as many of them provide you with a list of potential occupations that match your personality and skills. Some of those will give brief job descriptions, but otherwise you can also use a Google search to get some more basic information on any occupation out there.

Another thing to look at is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, specifically their Occupation Outlook Handbook, which you can find here. This will give you some information on where the job market is headed for many different occupations.

Here are some other sites to check out for job descriptions:

When you find a job you think you may be interested in, you should continue to browse these sites (and look for more if you like) to find information on potential salaries, necessary education and anything else you feel is important to know. Basically, the more information you gather, the better!

Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. This is still the preliminary stages of the job search and you don’t need to have it all figured out now. Just know that all of the information you are taking in by doing research is setting you up perfectly for the next step in the job search: Informational Interviewing. (Come back next week to learn about that!)

November 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm 2 comments

Personality Assessments: The Good, The Bad, and The Ridiculous

Over the last week, I have been spending time taking personality assessments, both online and on paper.

Some have been downright bad. Meaning you have to pay to get your answers. I don’t know about you, but spending twenty minutes answering questions (albeit easy ones) and then being told you have to pay “ONLY $29.95!!!” for your results is not my idea of a good personality assessment.

Some of them have been ridiculous and pretty unhelpful, like the one where I had to rank colors in order of how good they made me feel. The end result: a full two page description on sources of stress in my life, what my problems are and what dreams I have for the future. Excuse me? I’m pretty sure all the information I gave you was that my favorite color is red, followed by orange, black, yellow, green, gray, then brown….

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a brain/behavior specialist and maybe there is a connection between color preference and personality type, but when I take a personality assessment, I guess I’m hoping for something slightly more helpful than a horoscope-like “profile”.

Some, however, ARE really good. Many of the best assessments I found were based on the theories of Dr. John Holland, a psychologist who believed that there are six basic personality types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional.
These six types all have a  personality stereotype associated with them. Most people are a mixture of a few different types. HERE is a brief run-down of each one.

My favorite is the Career Interest Game (which I found on the University of Missouri’s Career Center website). It’s more of a self-assessment-you can read character traits of Holland’s 6 personality types, pick which ones you identify with the most and then see a list of potential occupations, which links you to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job profile website. They provide a lot of detailed information on each occupation, including the nature of the work, necessary education or training, average wages, and job outlook statistics through 2018.

Of course, there are many many many other personality and career-fit assessments out there that are helpful.

Other helpful assessments, if you’re interested:

Well, that’s it for the week!

As always, if you have need anything, come on in to the CESC office!!!

November 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm 1 comment

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