Become the Master of Your Career – Part 2

Welcome back! In our last blog, we introduced our Career Readiness Badging Program and two of its essential skills that you can earn your badge in: Professionalism and Career Management. If you haven’t read it yet, you can catch up on those two skills here.

If you’re already on your way to becoming a master, awesome! Don’t forget, our Career Readiness Badging Program allows you to become the master of your career by helping you make meaningful connections between your experiences here at USF and your life after graduation!

Today we’re going to focus on two more of the essential skills you need to become career ready: Communications and Technology!

communications

Communications
This essential skill refers to both written and oral communications, like email, talking on the phone, memos, and face-to-face conversations. Communications involves the ability to clearly and effectively articulate your thoughts and ideas to another person. That may not seem too difficult, but master communicators know that a conversation depends not only on their own abilities, but also on how familiar their audience is with the topic.

For example, let’s say you’re working as a sales associate at an outdoor recreation store, and a customer who has never gone camping before comes up to you and asks you to explain the difference between two seemingly identical tents. The conversation that you have with this customer would be pretty different from the conversation you’d have with an experienced camper, but you’d be expected to be able to switch between both types of conversations in order to make sales goals for your store.

In order to master this essential skill, you’ll need to use your experiences in the classroom, on the job, and in your extracurricular activities to show how you can communicate with people familiar with the career field you want to go into and the customers you serve who may not be as familiar with the technical terms you use.

technology

Technology
No matter what career you might be thinking about pursuing, you’re probably going to use technology in your role. Mastering the Technology essential skill doesn’t mean that you have to be familiar with every single piece of existing software in the world – that would be impossible! Rather, being a master means that you’re able to adapt to new and emerging technologies and that you can use them to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

The best way to be able to understand how different technologies work and can be used is to start using them! Do a little bit of research to find out what kind of technology might be used in your career field or industry, and then start familiarizing yourself with them.

As a USF student, you have free access to Lynda.com through IT Services. Lynda.com offers online videos with courses and training programs for just about everything imaginable, and you can login easily through MyUSF.

The USF Tampa Libraries Digital Media Commons also offers opportunities to learn about some Adobe Creative Cloud products, like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. You can find their list of workshops and get information about their Digital Media Creation Badging Program on their website.

 

We’ve introduced you to four of the essential skills you should master in order to be career ready! Look out for our next blog post where we focus on two more of the skills: Teamwork and Leadership!

If you’re ready to become career ready, consider joining us for one of our upcoming orientation sessions.

infinite-combinations

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Until Grad School …

You have finally walked across the stage, shaken hands with President Judy Genshaft, and received your diploma. Many graduates plan to continue their education in graduate or professional school. There are many reasons to consider furthering your education right away, but what if you’re not ready for that step yet? In today’s post, we’ll discuss possible options that you can consider until you’re ready for grad school.

Entry-Level Jobs
When you graduate with your undergraduate degree, you will likely pursue one of two paths: furthering your education or entering the workforce. While some students go straight to grad school and others may have plans of returning to school later, the vast majority of students choose to immediately begin working in entry-level positions.

Entering the world of work allows you to begin using your degree instantly. You’re able to gain experience and continue to build on the essential skills that you developed in college. You’re also able to start establishing yourself financially, and while this isn’t impossible to do in graduate school, it may be a little easier to do.

Entry-level jobs also help you understand the industry that you have decided to work within. You can learn from your supervisors and coworkers, ask questions about how upper management makes their decisions, and continue to build your professional network in ways that can help you advance your career. Learning the ins and outs of the company and industry that you work within can help you determine whether or not furthering your education may be the right choice for you and can help you select an appropriate program of study.

If you’re considering an entry-level position, check out our Spring 2018 Career & Internship Fair Week. Employers will continue to register up until the week before the first fair on January 31, 2018, so mark your calendars now!

Internships
Myth: Internships are only for current students. Fact: Many companies accept recent graduates into their internship programs on a track toward full-time employment.

If you focused on your studies during your undergraduate years, a post-graduate internship can help you get some work experience on your resume. This allows the company to test your essential skills, like professionalism, teamwork, and communication and gives you an opportunity to see if you like the position and company before you agree to a full-time role.

To find these opportunities, you can attend our Spring 2018 Career & Internship Fair Week, but you may want to check out our other employer events as well. On November 14, we have an Industry Networking Night event for the Financial Services Industry, which will allow you to meet with representatives from a few companies all in one place. You don’t have to be a business or finance major to attend, but you should have an interest in working within the Financial Services Industry.

You can check out all of our opportunities to meet with employers on campus in Handshake in the Events and Fairs sections of the site. You can also use Handshake to do research on your own to see which companies have internships available for seniors or recent graduates.

Trade Schools and Certifications
Graduate and professional schools are not the only places where you can pursue post-graduate education. Trade schools are institutions that are focused on teaching their students a particular skill or about a specific industry. These include art institutes, technical schools, and specialists schools.

You can also consider pursuing a certificate program. These are often offered at colleges and universities and are less intense than graduate programs. They may be less expensive, require fewer classes, and take less time to complete than a traditional Master’s degree. Certifications are offered for a variety of different subjects or technologies. If you’re planning to work in a technology-driven industry or role, you can get certifications for Adobe, Microsoft, and Google, to name a few.

For both trade schools and certifications, be sure to do your research about what is offered, how much it will cost, how long it will take, and whether or not it will benefit you in your industry. If you need help considering this option or beginning your search, schedule an appointment with your Career Consultant through Handshake.

Time Off
If you take time off between graduating with your undergraduate degree and pursuing graduate school or entering the workforce, you may get some questions about what you did with that time during the interview process for your future program or job. Rather than going back home and working in a part-time job (a trap that Don Asher says you may not escape from!), consider taking time to explore your interests. A common option is to travel domestically or internationally. Even though it’s something a lot of people do, you can use this time to help you narrow your interests and solidify your passion for the field that you enter when you return, so don’t be afraid to talk about your unique experience during interviews.

If you absolutely have to return home, but still plan on going to graduate school or entering the world of work later, make your time off count. You may need to have a part-time or even full-time job to help make ends meet and begin paying off student loans if you have them, but you should also consider getting involved in your community. Volunteering can be a great way to demonstrate to a future program administrator or interviewer that you have passion and drive. If you can find volunteer opportunities within an area that you plan to continue to study or work, this will give you some great hands-on experience that can make you stand out during the application process.

What’s Your Tool?

When you have to nail something down, you use a hammer. When you need to combine papers, you use a paperclip or a stapler. But when it comes to get yourself organized …

There are too many options!

You may have the perfect solution for staying on top of the organization game, or you may be struggling to come to terms with the piles of papers and unchecked lists on your floor. If you don’t already have a system that works for you, it can be hard to know where to start. Even if you do have your own system, you may find that your life this semester is crazier than ever and your old tools don’t work anymore.

Wherever you find yourself, don’t let it be under a pile of dirty laundry and leftover containers! Use this guide to figure out how you organize and to learn what the best organization tool might be for you.

 

The Planner

If you’re a Planner, you’ve got everything you’ve ever done and will do written down in a book that never leaves your side. It’s planned to the minute and you’re always on time. Your friends know you’re having a bad day when you aren’t your typically fifteen minutes early.

Your Suggested Tool: Nothing beats free! Pick up your free copy of the USF Annual Planner at the MSC Info Desk. Be sure to have your USF ID Card on you when you go.

 

The Artist

As an artist, you have everything color-coded. Your business class has a green binder, notebook, and folder, and you’ve even changed the Canvas color tab. Oh, and don’t forget your green pen! You’re always prepared for class because you know exactly which color to grab as you head out the door.

Your Suggested Tool: Take your color coding to the next level with free highlighters that you can pick up from the Career Services front desk!

 

The Techie

You let your technology do the heavy lifting for you. You’ve got the latest phone and it never dies because you carry a battery back-up with you. And you’ve synced your preferred calendar so that you get reminders about your next task exactly when you need them. All of your emails are filed away in their folders as soon as they’ve been opened.

Your Suggested Tool: The one tech thing you don’t have? The Handshake app. Download it today and keep up with all the employers coming to campus and recruiting tech-savvy students like you. You can also sync your Handshake calendar to your Google or Outlook calendar so it’ll remind you about upcoming events or appointments.

 

The Intellect

Your friends can’t believe that you keep everything you’ve got going on in your head, so they’re constantly asking you what your secret is. But you don’t have a single post-it note anywhere, and yet you still manage to get everything done!

Your Suggested Tool: Who are we kidding? You’re on top of it! Instead, make sure that you’ve activated your Handshake account and checked out the upcoming event page. That’ll give you some more things to keep track of!