Warning! Don’t wait for a better economy to start your career

We all know it’s a crappy situation for job and internship searching out there; unemployment is up, the market just dropped again, and everyone is feeling the financial pinch.

It’s easy to throw in the towel and submit to a less-than job opportunity to scrape by for the next few years, but why settle? That’s the question Ladan Nekoomaram poses to college seniors.

Check out her piece, “Why ‘Waiting it Out’ Does No One Any Good: Today’s New Class of Workers Must Fight for the American Dream” on HuffPost College.

. . . . .

In over 9 percent unemployment and graduations after graduations with more students clueless about what they’re going to do next, people in my generation have started giving up. We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on educations that were supposed to give us job security and help us jump-start the adulthood we feared and worked relentlessly for the majority of our young lives. Instead, many of us recent graduates have pushed the pause button and gotten comfortable not really moving forward, taking jobs like waitressing or at a bookstore, and living at home with the folks until the economy takes a turn. A recent New York Times article gave us the name “Generation Limbo,”– a group of well-educated, broke 20-somethings who have lost hope in the American dream, and instead of fighting for it, have decided to be victims.

As the article cites, almost 15 percent of grads who earned their degrees between 2006-2010 are still looking for full-time jobs. This bleak outlook reflects unemployment seen in other age groups and has led to a general acceptance with second best. In a climate where lawyers can’t even get jobs, it’s perfectly understandable that my fellow limbo-ers have become discouraged. Not only are more people becoming okay with giving up their dreams, they are letting it last beyond what they claimed to be temporary and somehow “for now” turns into their 30s and beyond.

The feature cites a number of cases where these recent grads have taken up odd jobs, joined bands, traveled, and lived at home at the expense of their parents. While touring through Europe, playing guitar at coffee shops, not having to pay rent, and picking up unrelated jobs may sound romantic for your quarter-life crises, most of the time they end up becoming excuses. You end up right where you started after graduation and a few years behind others in your field who are getting ahead. Especially in an economy like this one, it’s time to wake up from the dream that your “real” life is waiting for you when you’re finally mature enough to start it.

One of the main reasons Generation Limbo has come to accept this alternative lifestyle is because they feel that they have plenty of time to get serious when the mood strikes, and in the meantime, someone will take care of them. And when they fall behind in saving for the future, someone will pick up the lag. This attitude of dependence and safety will not produce tomorrow’s innovators and risk-takers that will get the US economy up and running again. And if more people wait to get their lives started, it will take longer for people to make money, get promotions, and start families for our future generation of workers. Fostering a culture of dependence — one that doesn’t believe self-made success is the best way to achieve your goals — will reverberate throughout the future economy.

Today’s young adults can do better. Those who have given it their all and tried their best to make it in a tough job market will eventually achieve their goals. How do I know this? Because I believe in the opportunity of the American dream. Don’t be afraid, don’t make excuses, and don’t adopt the attitude that life can wait. The culture of dependence is not what makes this country strong and it will not sustain a prosperous future.

(Original source.)


Finding Your Professional Path: A Career Profile Story

By Jonathan Hurt, Assistant Director of Programming and Resources

How did I end up as the Assistant Director of Programming and Resources at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester Massachusetts?  I think I’m still trying to figure that out myself.  I am not sure there is a simple answer to that question.  I guess the easy answer, or at least the answer that most college students would like to hear is that I went to a small liberal arts college in Alabama, doubled majored in Communication Studies and Print Journalism, overachieved like a boss, and came out with the job of my dreams here in Worcester.  The major problem with that is when I graduated college in 2003 if you asked me what a Worcester was, I probably would have told you it was some kind of bird or skin irritation.  It would be years before I would know that Worcester is a city in central Massachusetts with a peculiar pronunciation, the College of the Holy Cross is a wonderful place to work and learn, and that my future would be in higher education.

Exiting undergrad I didn’t have much of an idea as to what I was going to do moving forward.  I had gone to school to be an editorial writer but had changed my interest several times throughout college.  Upon entering the job market after obtaining my diploma I figured I would give newspaper writing the old college try because what else was I going to do?  That was until I learned that my likely entry point into the field would be writing obituaries.  Being the overachiever that I pretend to be, I decided to write “practice” obituaries to see if I could do the real thing, beginning with my own.  A couple of notes here; It is creepy to write an obit and even creepier to write your own.  In addition it is sad to write an obit for a 22 year old (especially your own), but even sadder to write one for a person with as few accomplishments as myself.  Beyond my scholarship that I had received for college and my diploma my top three accomplishments in reverse order consisted of 3) managing to only speak French twice on a 4 day trip to France, 2) completing eight seasons in dynasty mode of the most recent NCAA Football game on PlayStation 2 without losing a game, and 1) finding creative ways to damage my liver both internally and externally (don’t ask).  After experiencing writing my own obit and considering the fact that any newspaper who would hire me to work with their grieving customers would quickly be sued for malpractice, I decide to pursue other employment opportunities.

What were the other employment opportunities?  I had started a part time job I had found through my college career center as a bill collector my sophomore year making $11.50 an hour.  That may not sound like much now but $11.50 in 2000, in Alabama, for a college student I might as well have been Warren Buffet.  I was stupid rich (Definition: The first time an individual receives a regular paycheck that allows them to purchase self destructive, low value luxury items without concern for missing a car payment or having your electricity shut off).  I decided, “Hey if I’m stupid rich working here part time, why not work here full time?  Sure being a bill collector kind of stinks but it doesn’t matter though because I would be stupid rich!”  So I started my way up the corporate ladder which in my line of work was more like a stepstool.  There were only so many opportunities and in most cases I was under skilled or ill-equipped to take on the new position.  However after a lot of hard work and many conversations with people where they either provided me with suggestions on where I should put their past due bill or explaining where they planned to put some part of their anatomy I managed to work my way up in my department eventually landing in a position that I really enjoyed as a training specialist.

Now for many that seems like the end of a great (ok fair) success story.  I managed to take a fairly directionless professional journey and turn it into a fulfilling career.  I loved working in the classroom environment, assisting colleagues and showing them how to work various systems while persuading customers to pay and minimizing verbal abuse.  Yet what I really enjoyed most was working with the new college students who were making $11.50 an hour.  I saw a lot of myself in them.  Many of them were stupid rich and not sure what direction they were going.  Sometimes they would ask personal job and career related questions which I would gladly answer.  I wondered why there was no one else who could answer their questions or for that matter my questions when I was in their position.  That is when I realized that there were people like that and in a roundabout way they were the reason why I was where I was.

I noticed the bill collector position on a message board outside of the career center at my undergrad institution.  Wanting to learn more (which really means I wanted to be stupid rich), I went in and asked about the position.  All of my previous employers had required me to complete an application to get the job.  However for this position I needed to produce something called a resume and cover letter, things I did not have nor knew how to do.  During my few meetings with career services I learned and used valuable resources they offered including resume critiques, mock interviews, interest inventories, and general career counseling.  What I forgot to do was to continue to take advantage of all of those resources once I became stupid rich.

So here I was full circle.  While I enjoyed my work, eventually I had decided that working in the corporate environment was no longer where I wanted to be and I really liked working with the college students at work.  This led me to go back to graduate school at the University of Alabama (By the way there is a networking story in there that I will tell at a later date).  That opportunity and a little luck, lead to a graduate assistantship in the University of Alabama Career Center.  After a lot of hard work, several internships, earning a degree, and a nationwide job search I landed in, drum roll please, Worcester, Massachusetts at the College of the Holy Cross.  And I can honestly say that I have never been happier in my professional career and that stupid rich 20 year old did not even know where Worcester was could not have even imagined this.

So what is the point of all this?  First off to let you know that you do not have to have all the answers now.  Not everyone knows where they are going to end up the day they step foot on a college campus or even the day they step off.  It may take time to find the profession that best fits you, or that profession might not even exist yet.  Second, you may try several things before you find the right fit.  That is ok.  Few people get it right on the first try, or the second try, or even the third.  Take the skills that you learn and continue to grow and explore.  And lastly, use the stinking career center.  You didn’t think I wrote all this not to plug the Holy Cross Career Planning Center did you?  We offer all the things that can help you on your career journey.  We do not have all the answers because everyone’s path is unique, just look at mine.  However we can help with services like resume critiques, interviewing skills and mock interviews, internship search, general career counseling and more.  And at the very least we might be able to help you get stupid rich.

Fall Career Fair Employer List

The Fall Career Fair is next week. Want to know who’s going to be there? Check out the following list of employers, read up on your favorites and be there next Wednesday!

Jobs in Government Career Panel

Are you interested in entering a career in government? If so, this is the perfect event for you. A panel of Holy Cross Alumni including Mr. Marc A. Jacques (’96) and Mr. Michael J. Lambert (’97) will discuss their experiences pursing careers in various levels of government.

Monday, September 19, 2011

6:30 PM, Hogan 304


7 Things to Get YOUR Job Search Started

Stressed out already about senior year? Don’t know where to start the job search process?

Stop stressing, and listen up! Having worked in the Career Planning Center the past two years, I have gotten the scoop on the recruiting process, and have put together a quick and easy list of essential “to-do’s” before you start applying. Follow these 7 simple steps, and get your job search started on the right foot!

7 things all seniors should do before applying for jobs:

  1. Go to the senior workshop. If you plan on job searching through Holy Cross you must attend one of these sessions, which cover interview skills, behavior, expectations and all of the policies and procedures for recruiting (also see #3). Plus, it’s a great way to meet the new Associate Director of Employer Relations, Maura Hume. Not only is she a Holy Cross grad but she runs the recruiting program. Tip for success: Become her friend and follow her advice.
  2. Update your resume. A fresh, eye-catching, and professional resume is key to landing any interview. It’s the first step in marketing yourself to employers, and giving them a snapshot of what you’ve done at Holy Cross and beyond. We may know how rigorous Holy Cross is, but the resume is key to showing employers the value of a liberal arts education. For examples take a look at this link. Tip for success: Bring your resume into the office during drop-in hours and have a counselor review it. Drop in hours are Monday-Friday 1-4pm.
  3. Check out the new Crusader Connections. Gmail isn’t the only change seniors need to be aware of—Crusader Connections has changed too. You should have received an e-mail about the change before you got back on campus, and it’s essential that you check it out prior to the night you are trying to apply for a job. You can access it through the Holy Cross login screen or on the Career Planning website. Become familiar with the site, how jobs are posted, and how to upload materials. Tip for success: Don’t forget to update your profile, and even try uploading your new crisp resume!
  4. Find or purchase an interview appropriate outfit. Not all professional outfits are the same and the right outfit is essential for your first interview. Not only will it make you feel professional and give you confidence but it sends the right message to employers. Knowing the type of industry you are interviewing with is also key, as not all companies expect a suit. However, when in doubt over-dress, don’t under-dress. Tips for success: Ladies, listen up! Watch out for flashy jewelry, too many rings, earrings, etc; go for close-toed shoes; and keep the nails groomed and professional; no black or neon polish.
  5. Identify career fields, employers, or areas of interest. Always keep your options open, but at this point you should start to get a sense of the type of companies you want to apply to and when they recruit. Generally, large companies start as early as the fall, while small companies and non-profits recruit as jobs become available. Knowing the type of company, industry or culture you are looking for can prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by all of the job postings. Tip for success: Use online resources to research companies, positions, and industries. It’ll help you get a better sense of the job description, company culture, and expectations.
  6. Make an appointment with the Career Planning Center to talk about your game plan. Career Planning is a great resource to have. They have done this countless times and can walk you through the process, tell you about more options, and get you connected to employers and opportunities you didn’t know existed. Tip for success: Do this early, don’t wait until you’re stuck, or pulling your hair out!
  7. Relax! You have time and a multitude of resources at your disposal. Enjoy senior year, do well in your classes, and keep an open mind. Tip for success: Use all your available resources—family, friends, teachers, staff, the internet, and, of course, the Career Planning Center!

State Department Internships & Foreign Serivce Careers

Summer Internships 2012!

Time to start thinking about what you’re going to do next summer!

Only 2 More SIP Info Sessions Left:

  • Today….Thursday, September 8, 4:00 pm, Hogan 519
  • Friday, September 9, 10:00 am, Hogan 519

The first and only application deadline for the
Holy Cross Summer Internship Program (SIP)
is quickly approaching on
Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 11:59 pm EDT.

SIP offers paid summer opportunities primarily in the northeast. Internships will be available in advertising, the arts, communications, consumer products, education, financial services, marketing, medicine, non-profit, publishing, public relations, research and social services, among many others.

Here is how application to the program works:

  • The only application deadline for the SIP is Thursday, October 6 at 11:59 pm EDT.
    You must submit a resume, a cover letter (stating your career interest(s) and aspirations, why you wish to do an internship, what you hope to gain from an internship and what you can contribute to an internship site) and an unofficial transcript (cut and pasted into a Word document from STAR) via CrusaderConnections
  • Applicants’ student records will also be accessed by SIP.
  • Students will then be selected for interviews. If selected, you will be contacted via email to schedule a brief interview.

If admitted to SIP you will apply for the specific internships housed within the Program via CrusaderConnections.

View a list of last year’s SIP sites

Please join us for the Third Annual Summer Internship Program Poster Session on Monday, September 12, 2011 from 4:00-5:30 pm in Hogan 320.

Please have your resume and cover letter critiqued in Career Planning, Hogan 203, during drop-in hours, Monday – Friday, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Students typically go through four revisions before their application is ready for submission to SIP. The quality of your resume and cover letter are the most important factors of your candidacy.

We can (and will!) help you apply!

This is a terrific opportunity for Holy Cross students. Please consider applying.

Specific directions on how to apply on the SIP website.

Calling all Sophomores!

If you are sure about what you want to do after graduation and have confirmation that you have the qualifications to pursue your goals, terrific!  However, most of you probably are not exactly sure about what you want to do after graduation or want to make sure that you are developing the prerequisites to pursue your desired career.

If that is the case, I would like to meet with you. I am Dr. John Winters and am the Associate Director/Career Counseling in the Career Planning Center. I have made it my personal mission to assist all members of the class of 2014 clarify their career interests and goals!

I can be found in the Career Planning Center/Summer Internship Suite, Hogan 203. Please call 508-793-3880 or stop by Hogan 203 to make an appointment. I hope to see you soon!

Graduate Study in China

Are you interested in Graduate Study in China?

Come learn about the
Hopkins-Nanjing Center

Wednesday, Sept. 21st
Stein 423

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center is the only graduate program of its kind –
a collaborative effort jointly administered by The Johns Hopkins University and Nanjing University. Students take international relations, economics, law and Chinese studies courses taught by Chinese professors in Chinese, mastering and transforming their Chinese language skills into an academically and professionally applicable asset. 1-year Certificate and 2-year Master’s programs offered.

Also check out our programs online at www.nanjing.jhu.edu!