Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Admissions Interview : College :: Networking : Career

A recent article in the New York Times about whether college interviews really matter got me thinking, apparently in a very SAT-like-way (I love me some analogies), that admissions interview are to the college exploration process as networking is to the career exploration process. As Karen Richardson, associate director of admissions at Tufts notes, “the interview is every bit as much for the student to learn more about an institution as it is for the institution to learn more about a student.” And networking, when done proactively, is done for exactly the same reason. For the student deciding between a Master’s in social work or a doctorate in clinical psychology, the best way is to talk to do information gather. And what’s [one of] the best way[s] to gather information? You guessed it, informational interviewing! Just like you thought about what college you wanted to go to with a critical and thoughtful eye, so to should you approach your future career. Other similarities between admissions interviews and networking: they both allow you to gather more information on the college/profession of your choice, which will allow you to speak more compellingly about your reasons for choosing it; they demonstrate interest; and both are excellent preparation for future interviews. As Kelly Sortino, director of college counseling at Crystal Springs Uplands School in California and a former admissions officer at Princeton University, astutely points out, “interviews in general – for jobs, etcetera — aren’t going away.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Friday is our annual fall Career Fair and, in preparation, the office is holding a 3-day series of drop-in resume critiques.  Today, our final day, was absolutely packed.  Except for a 5 minute cookie break (I truly deserved it), I plowed through the 4 hours alongside my hard-working co-workers. After 22 resume reviews my mind is truly dizzy from majors, double majors, and GPA's.    That being said, here are some helpful tips that I'd like to post at the front of the room next year:
  • You can adjust your margins to fit your resume on one page
  • Your resume must fit on one page
  • You do not need an objective or the phrase "References available upon request" anywhere on your document
  • You do not need to write "e-mail:" - I know that's your e-mail
  • You do not need to list every job, extra-curricular, and day of service you ever participated in
  • Your experience section does not need to be restricted to paid opportunities and/or positions that included that rather vague title: Intern
  • If you're a senior, take your high school off.  The same goes for any clubs or teams you did while in high school

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Way Too Busy Wednesday

Things have been really hectic around here (i.e. work), so I'm creating a new series of posts for days or weeks just like these. I dub thee: Way Too Busy Wednesday. So, here's the first gem I've been saving for exactly this kind of thing.

P.S. In case, you weren't sure, the career advice take-away here is DON'T DO THIS.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Waiting It Out

The recent article in the New York Times, “Generation Limbo: Waiting It Out,” makes my career counselor heart ache. Here are students who’ve invested so much time, energy and money into their degree, waiting for a chance to put it to professional use. But then my pragmatic side kicks in, and I want to kick these kids in the behind for waiting around for anything. Because, as many successful, employed people know, success doesn’t happen to you, it’s something you need to actively pursue. In other words, waiting is not an effective job search strategy!

Okay, so that was my first mini-rant. Now it’s time for part two. And it’s in response to this sentence in article, “After three years without an advertising job, she is now applying to graduate school to freshen up her résumé.”

Going to graduate school, especially when you’re unemployed, is, most often, not an effective job search strategy. If you’ve tried to get a job in marketing, yet been unsuccessful, don’t think that a graduate degree in marketing is going to fix all your problems and catapult your careers. While the job market may be better in two years, you’ll also be out tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars, you’ll be more expensive, and you probably won’t have any more full-time relevant work experience than you did before you started the whole back to school thing. Gosh, I’m really starting to feel like Penelope Trunk here, which means it’s about time to wrap this post up.