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

Happy National Career Development Month!

Guess what?!

I just found out that November is National Career Development Month! Which is perfect because we’ve decided to focus this blog on personal and career development for the rest of the Fall quarter! How great is that?

(Just to give you a heads up on what’s to come: Winter Quarter will be all about Financial Literacy. In other words, there will be a lot of information on understanding and making informed decisions about money. During Spring Quarter, I’ll be talking a lot about career preparation, including things like writing resumes and cover letters and interview techniques.)

So, let’s celebrate National Career Development Month by talking about the importance of thinking about your own development as a person, along with moving towards a specific career.

I recently found this article by Pamela Dodd and Doug Sondheim, two time management consultants from New York.


Personal Development and Career Success

To most people, career development means job skill education and training. They think personal development is different and only happens outside work through motivational books and courses, hobbies, travel, spiritual exploration, and other nonwork activities.

But career development and personal development go hand-in-hand. Job skill education and training can only get you so far. You also need to develop attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that lead to success.

Benefits of Personal Development

There are many good reasons to invest in your personal development. The top reasons are:

  • More opportunities for challenging work assignments
    and responsibility.
  • A clearer path to career advancement.
  • Less stress – on you and other people.

There are also many ways to develop yourself. Below are several of the best suggestions:

Personal Development Strategies

  1. Identify Your values: People with fuzzy values have fuzzy lives. If you don’t know what’s truly important to you, everything looks like a worthwhile opportunity. Usually, however, you end up traveling down rabbit holes that ultimately lead to nowhere. The only way to get clear on what matters to you is to find out what your values are. You can do some easy exercises that are very enlightening. Suddenly you see yourself.  Just you.  Not the “you” that your family, friends, and coworkers think you should be. Your values are the only personal qualities that will sustain you if you want to go after big things in life.
  2. Set concrete goals: Most people have abstract, nonspecific goals. They say, “I want to have an exciting job” or “I want to earn a lot of money.”  But few people accomplish much with these goals because they’re too vague. Only tangible, measurable goals help you set your sights on more specific results. See how the picture changes when you have tangible goals like: “I will employ 10 people and gross 1 million dollars per year at the end of 5 years” or “I will earn 6 figures by the time I’m 30.” Goals crafted this way state the specific results you want by a specific date. They provide a clear target to shoot for. Companies are looking for employees who know how to produce results. You can’t get great results if you don’t have concrete goals and the ability to take action to accomplish them. If you’ve had a lifetime of being vague about your goals, this is an area of personal development you’ll want to focus on.
  3. Prioritize: Priorities and goals are related. Your priorities are the things you do to reach your goals. Everything can’t be a priority. Some things are more important than others. You need to figure that out. Author Stephen Covey suggests spending most of your time on what’s important but not urgent. This includes clarifying your values (see #1 above), planning and preparing, building relationships, and doing true re-creation. Others recommend using the ABC system to prioritize your lists. “A” items are high priority. You want to accomplish them every day and fill in with “Bs” and “Cs” when you can.

(Source: http://www.best-of-time-management.com/personal-development.htm)


As Dodd and Sondheim say, it is really important to consider and determine your own values, interests and abilities both on a professional and a personal level. 

Last week, I attended an AmeriCorps conference in Yakima called SERVES. There were over 1000 people there (all the AmeriCorps member in the state of WA!) and we were able to go to all kinds of training sessions. One of the sessions I attended was all about maintaining a personal sense of creativity and happiness in the workplace. One of the things they had us do was to make a list of all the things that we love to do. After spending a few minutes listing everything we could think of, we shared and were able to talk a bit about how to incorporate those things into our lives on a more regular basis. We discussed the idea that  having more of the things we love to do in our lives would probably make us happier people in general, both at work and at home!

Take a few minutes to write down all of the things that bring you joy in life! You can use that list to help yourself determine a career field that fits you well. (Remember DISCOVER? It’s a great tool for this!)

 
p.s. Want to do something artistic that will help you develop career goals at the same time? Create a poster or write a poem and submit it to the National Career Development Association’s Annual Contest!

November 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

“DISCOVER”ing Yourself

This blog is meant to be a guide and resource for you as you go through the process of deciding on and pursuing a career path. I’ll be posting my own tips and ideas, but also many links to helpful websites and other career search resources. The cool part is that I am going through this same process as I’m writing. So, we’re in this together.

This quarter, I’m going to focus on the very first stage of the process: “Finding Yourself”. This might sound kind of cheesy, but when you are searching for a career, it is really important to become aware of who you are and what you want from life.

My alma mater’s website has an excellent database of videos on career-related things. I would recommend watching the third one on the list, “Finding Yourself”, which offers some good ideas on how to focus your career search based on your personality and strengths.

We also have a great resource available through the CESC called DISCOVER. This is a career development website that also aims to help you focus your search even further. Once you’ve logged on to DISCOVER, you can take a number of different questionnaires that assess interests, abilities and values. Using the results from those assessments, the website provides you with a list of potential career paths for your personality type. The website also offers helpful resume and cover letter writing tips, as well as monthly newsletters with “A Day in the Life” profiles of various occupations.
If you are interested in using DISCOVER, stop by the CESC office and we will give you an access code to get started!

No matter which videos you watch or how many personality assessments you take, it is necessary to spend some quality time with yourself, thinking about how you want your personal interests, skills, and values to fit into your work life. Once you’ve gotten some ideas about what you will to be able to contribute, as well as what you hope to gain, it is much easier to focus your search.

October 12, 2011 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Welcome!

Welcome to the Career and Employment Services Center blog!

To start things off, I’d like to introduce myself.
My name is Kia and I am a recent arrival on the WWCC campus. I am originally from Minnesota, but lived most recently in Grand Teton National Park, working in a visitor center.
I started working here, in the Career and Employment Services Center, last week as the new AmeriCorps volunteer. In case you haven’t heard of it, AmeriCorps is kind of like the U.S. version of the Peace Corps. We are a group of people who have committed to a year of volunteer work and we’re serving at places all over the country. This year there are 50 AmeriCorps volunteers in Walla Walla alone! We all serve at different schools and non-profit organizations in Walla Walla, with two of us (my roommates!) serving in Dayton. The AmeriCorps program here in Walla Walla is sponsored by BMAC (Blue Mountain Action Council). If you want more information on AmeriCorps, you can visit our local website (http://www.americorpsww.org/) or the national website (http://www.americorps.gov).

Enough advertising for AmeriCorps…the reason I am writing this blog is to help you in your career search. As a recent college graduate I, too, am a little bit lost. Figuring out what I want to do now that I’m not in school anymore is overwhelming, to say the least. And actually searching for a job…yikes. It’s hard to even know where to start.

That’s why I applied for this job in the first place. Helping other people search for and find their ideal career is the perfect way to figure out what I want my own career path to be, right?

Even if my own path is still undetermined, I am well-versed in applying for jobs…I was a full-time “applicant” last summer. I am excited and willing to help at any stage of the career search, as are all of the other wonderful people in the Career and Employment Services Center!

As I mentioned, I just graduated from college in May 2011. I went to a small school in Decorah, IA called Luther College. Luther had an awesome career center (much like WWCC’s!) but I never took advantage of it while I was there. I thought it was only for people who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives, and I was far from that.

Since I now work in a career center, I decided to look up Luther’s career center and see what they had to offer. As I looked at the website and all of the awesome links and articles they provided, I thought “Wow! That would have been really useful when I was still in school and trying to figure out what to do after graduation…”

I really should have paid a visit to the career center while I was at Luther. Lesson learned: Take advantage of the resources at your school!! Luckily, you are in a great position to learn from my mistake! I really encourage you to stop by and take advantage of the career-related knowledge and resources we have available for you!

Hopefully I’ll be seeing you soon!

Kia

October 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm Leave a comment

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