Monday, February 24, 2014

February 'Best Picks' Career Articles

Job Club facilitators read dozens of career blogs and publications each week.  Attached is a compilation of  their 'best picks' for the month of February.

Job Search Strategies
3 Reasons Employers Give Good References for Fired Employees

6 Habits of Remarkably Likeable People
One Small Communication Change That Could Help You Land The Job

Surprise! You Shouldn’t Answer the Phone When Recruiters Call

15 Things You Should Know About Job Searching

Job Search Dos and Don’ts

6 Overused Resume Statements to Nix

6 Habits of Great Connectors
7 Steps to Delivering a Powerful Elevator Pitch

LinkedIn and Social Media
How Recruiters Fine Top Talent on LinkedIn
10 Steps Toward a Successful LinkedIn Plan (Part 2)

LinkedIn Activity Feed: Optimizing Your Exposure to Stay Top of Mind

Random Social Media Thoughts for #Jobseekers

Interviewing/Salary Negotiation
Why Would I Hire You?
How to Negotiate a Job Offer

9 Stept to Countering a Lousy Loball Job Offer

Career Management/Professional Development/Continuing Education
10 Things to Think About Before Going Back to College
Resignation Letter Samples

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lifelong Learning and Professional Development

It’s no secret that the past five years have been rocky in the world of work. One of the best strategies to stay employable is to stay current. According to former President Bill Clinton, “In today’s knowledge-based economy, what you earn depends on what you learn.” As we begin the new year, use this opportunity to focus on staying current in your field, or better yet, becoming a trend spotter. Fortunately, technology has made professional development and lifelong learning fun and easy to achieve. Use the following resources to help you learn, advance and grow in 2014. new – Certifications in your field - A worldwide list of conferences searchable by topic – Free and low-cost courses – Free library of videos

Quora – Question and answer site replied to by a community of content experts

ITunes U – Catalog of free educational content taught by instructors from reputable schools – 18-minute lectures on a wide variety of topics – Free courses from 30+ colleges and universities – Learning a foreign language (Harvard Business Review) – Articles on general business from The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and New York Times and – Lists of popular blogs (Open Coursework) and (Venture Lab) – Access to learning opportunities and staffed by MIT and Stanford students

Not convinced you have the time or energy? Read the following article for additional justification on why you must proactively manage your career: 6 reasons why it's important to keep learning at work; avoid stagnation.

By using these resources, you will keep current in your field, learn new skills and become the expert employers can’t live without.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

You're Doing What With Your Major?

Spotlight on UK Alumna - Dr. Amelia Brown Wilson
Click here to check out Dr. Amelia Brown Wilson’s Career Spotlight video!

Major:  Bachelor of Science in Family Studies in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (December 2003)

Current Career:  I serve as the Director of Agritourism in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which is led by Commissioner James Comer.

Please provide a short summary of your career path from college to present.
After graduating a semester early, I began as a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent in Fayette County.  I learned about Cooperative Extension through a summer internship and enjoyed working with volunteers, as well as teaching life-skills.

While an Extension Agent, I pursued my master's degree in Agriculture, and my Doctorate in Higher Education. After earning my doctorate, I was appointed by James Comer to serve as the Director of Agritourism.

Describe your best boss/supervisor.
I have blessed with two wonderful supervisors.  Roger Sparrow was my District Supervisor in Cooperative Extension.  He was a wonderful mentor and someone who I learned a great deal from.
Kristen Branscum is my current supervisor.  She is such a motivator and encourages me to think outside of the box.  I think it is so important for a supervisor to trust an employee, as well as an employee to respect their supervisor.

What do you do for networking and professional development?
I enjoy meeting individuals through the UK Alumni Association.  I am also heavily involved with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Alumni board.

What career advice would you give to students and alumni?
Never stop learning.  Every class that I took at UK, I learned something that I utilize on a daily basis.  Take every opportunity to meet with your professors outside of class.  They are excellent resources!

Favorite UK memory:
I was crowned UK Homecoming Queen in 2003.  The process was being nominated by an organization, chosen to participate in an interview, interview with a panel of staff, students, and alumni, and finally voting by the student body.  I was very involved while at UK and that truly helped me meet a diverse group of people.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Social Media Refresher

What should our online profiles look like?
Your online profile(s) should look like a positive and professional representation of who you are.
If you have multiple social media footprints (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), you want to be sure that they all tell the same story. Be consistent in your profiles to make it easy for your audience to quickly recognize your brand. 

According to Jobvite’s 2013 Social Recruiting Survey, 94 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts. Don’t put anything on social media that you wouldn’t want your boss, colleagues, clients and customers to see. LinkedIn is the No. 1 professional social networking site in the world. 

Think of your online profiles as a free self-marketing campaign. They are a representation of you and, in turn, a representation of how you would represent your company/employer.

What are some social media Do's and Don'ts?
Do keep it clean and professional.                   
Do showcase your good communication skills.       
Do clearly communicate your professional brand.       
Do regularly check your privacy settings.            
Do know the appropriate social media etiquette.  

Don’t neglect your account or let it misrepresent you.           
Don’t use social media as a platform for "venting." 
Don’t ignore the significance of your virtual identity.
Don’t give your employer a reason to fire you. 
What are our professional networks saying about us online? 
This depends on how seriously we take our professional networks. It is important to know that employers and recruiters are using social media to research job candidates. Typically, people only include items on a resume that they want the employer to know about. By typing your name in a search engine, employers have an opportunity to learn even more about you…positive or negative. Be conscious to create a personal brand tailored toward your target industry.

What should we be mindful of when we use our social media accounts?
Be mindful of your potential audience. Google yourself and see what you find. “Recruiters are placing increasing importance on candidate social profiles and 42 percent have reconsidered a candidate based on content viewed in a social profile, leading to both positive and negative reassessments.” - Jobvite’s 2013 Social Recruiting Survey. 

Use social media to your advantage!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mentors and Sponsors Throughout Your Career

According to the book “Your Career Game: How Game Theory Can Help You Achieve Your Professional Goals,” what we need from mentors and sponsors will change over the course of our careers. 

Traditional mentoring relationships, where a senior professional advises a junior protégée, occur early in one’s career. This can be in areas such as office politics, corporate culture, professional image, as well as any aspect of the job itself. Other benefits of mentoring relationships include role modeling, encouragement and strategic introductions. 

Sometimes mentors are needed to help fill a specific professional gap. Many larger companies even have structured mentoring programs where formal matches are made and regular check-ins are expected. These programs often result in higher company retention rates and greater employee satisfaction while those in mentoring relationships may land quicker stretch assignments, promotions and pay raises. 

Since drastic career changes occur through our lifespan, the mentor protégée relationship is no longer based on age but more on experience and knowledge that can be shared with those new to a company or field.

Directly asking someone to be your mentor can be awkward. Consider slowly developing a relationship. Invite a higher-level professional to lunch, to be a guest speaker or serve on a panel. Approach a respected colleague for professional advice or with a specific question. Be respectful of their time and open to their feedback. Always follow up with outcomes of previous advice or discussions. Be mindful of ways you can give back to the relationship, perhaps by reverse mentoring on new technology, some aspect of social media or sharing industry relevant articles. 

By mid-career, it is strategic to have sponsors or colleagues at a higher level who will use their influence to pull you along or advocate on your behalf. Often mentoring and sponsoring relationships are formed because individuals have a common interest (attended the same college, volunteered for same charity) or simply because junior members remind the more senior members of themselves.

By late career, we should seek higher-level professionals who can be brutally honest with us about our strengths and weaknesses, confront us about our failures and challenge our thinking. This is also when we need to be conscious of giving back and serving as a mentor. It can often be a rewarding experience and keep us from getting stale late in our careers.

Consciously manage your career and be strategic throughout career stages regarding what you need to maneuver challenges and be successful.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

You're Doing What With Your Major?

Spotlight on UK Alumna Laura Minton

 Major:  Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics (2000)

Current Career: I currently work as an International Sales Manager for one of the top global logistics providers based in Copenhagen, Denmark.  I focus on new business development and assist small to mid-size companies develop more efficient international supply chains.

Please provide a short summary of your career path from college to present.
Along with many others, it was a love of horses that drew me to Kentucky.  Thus, upon graduating, I had the opportunity to work for an equine nutrition company managing their international shipments.  Through connections in the Equine industry and experience gained, I was relocated to Los Angeles to manage an office for a reputable international horse transport company.  After several years of transporting horses internationally… from breeding stallions, to movie horses, US Equestrian team, and many notable others, I came to a turning point where a decision was made to keep horses as a hobby instead of a career.  With years of international logistics experience, and many connections that were made along the way, I easily transitioned into a sales profession for a leading international logistics provider.  Every new assignment in my professional career has allowed me to gain more valuable skills, knowledge, and connections, which have enabled me to continue professional growth in this ever changing job market.

Describe your best boss/supervisor.
My best boss was a Regional Sales Manager I had some years back… his name was Jeff, and Jeff’s job was to make sure I was a successful at mine.  He was so much more than a manager, he was one of my many mentors I have met along my professional journey.  Jeff was a very positive and enthusiastic individual who taught me about the “wheel of life”. 
This wheel of life story was told to me once, but is something that will stick with me for a lifetime.  Basically Jeff explained that life is made of many facets (example: career, family, friends, relationships, etc).  Each facet of life is just like a spoke of a wheel.  ‘You’ are the center of that wheel and can control each spoke.  In order to make the wheel of life turn, each spoke must be the same length.  Hence you must put equal time and effort into each spoke.  As soon as one spoke gets too long or too short, the wheel will not turn smoothly.

What do you do for networking and professional development?
Networking is a must for building your own pipeline of contacts.  Residing in Southern California, there are many different professional networking organizations and functions to attend.  To name a few suggestions: your local UK Alumni club, Rotary, and National Association of Professional Women. 

One of my suggestions for professional development is Toastmasters International.  Many people associate Toastmasters with public speaking, but it is so much more than just speaking.  There are many leadership and life skills (both personal and professional) that you can learn from this organization.  Becoming a member several years ago to initially help with my sales, and this organization has proved so much more than what I ever expected.  It is highly recommended to find a chapter in your local area and be a guest at their meeting to learn more about how to get involved.  I wish someone gave me this advice when I just graduated college.

How would you describe a successful job search strategy?
In my experience with job searching, my advice would be to network.  It’s more about Who you know then What you know.  Of course, you’ll need to be able to live up to your resume and experience… but it’s meeting that one person who can make a connection for you, open a door, or is willing to give you a chance.

What career advice would you give to students and alumni?
Advice I would give regarding careers is to never stop learning.  Knowledge is power and will make you marketable.  I learned this from my 92 year old mentor, friend, and fellow Toastmaster, who always keeps surprising me with the things she’s still accomplishing in life.  Take a class, get involved in an organization, learn a new skill… Never Stop Learning! 

What I know now that I didn’t know as a student:
If I had $1 for everything that I know now that I didn’t know as a student, I could retire!  J

Favorite UK memory/class etc.:
Going back to a previous answer of mine about meeting someone who will make a connection for you, open a door, or give you a chance… This person was Dr. Loys Mather (retired).
When I was first thinking about transferring to UK from a smaller college, Dr. Mather took time to meet with me and helped in setting up a plan to make my transfer to UK smooth and easy.  Thus I graduated from this great university!  I owe much thanks and appreciation to my old professor and advisor, Dr. Loys Mather, for taking the time that day to steer me in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Alumni to Alumni Job Search Advice

We recently posted the following question to the Official University of Kentucky Alumni LinkedIn Group: What job search tips would you give to recent UK grads?

Here’s what UK alumna, Lisa McMichael, director of Online Communications at Mercer University and freelance consultant/contractor, had to say:

Lisa McMichael
Join and actively participate in:
·      Industry groups (meet-ups, online, conferences)
·      Volunteer organizations (serve on committees and boards)
·      Your local alumni group (game watch parties and serve on committees or fundraisers)

Use LinkedIn aggressively:
·      Grow your network of credible connections
·      Research and write frequent (worthwhile) updates so that your connections will benefit from your expertise
·      Mentor: You’re never too young or inexperienced for someone else to benefit from your expertise and knowledge.

Be creative. If there is a professional in your industry you want to know, don’t be shy about approaching him/her (through LinkedIn for example) and discuss how you might collaborate on a project such as an industry-focused paper/article or speaking engagement and be willing to donate your time for the “exposure.”

Cold call prospective employers to set up informational interviews and offer to buy her/him a cup of coffee for the time.

Be exclusive about posting your resume to a job board. Recruiters are most interested in working with “exclusive” candidates, not those who have resumes on multiple job boards.

Let your friends and family “circle” know you’re looking. Keep them posted on your progress with a monthly update.

Create a support group of 1-3 people you can turn to for advice and encouragement and do the same in return.

Continue to enhance your skills and knowledge with online training and workshops, podcasts and seminars. Add to your resume as “participation” and add an update on your LI page.

Give yourself a small reward each week for being diligent in your job search. Use good judgment and don’t spend a lot of money that you may not have.

Keep a journal and use it to express yourself and remain positive.