It’s My Job & I Want it NOW!

14 Jan

hire_me_300x276Waiting in line, waiting in traffic, waiting for your Chick-fil-a order to be filled- have you ever been frustrated at how much time you spend waiting?? Time is money as the saying goes and our lives operate at warp speed on a daily basis. No matter how irritated you get at the daily waiting it cannot compare to waiting for a job. Anyone that has been through the job application process can tell you- it is painful!!

If you have been told that it’s as easy as pushing the submit button online and the phone ringing within the hour to ask to set up an interview, they are either lying or they are the exception to the rule. In honesty, the process looks more like this:

You search for several hours for a few positions that you are qualified for and prepare your resume and cover letter. You fill out all the forms and confidently attach all your documents and with great anticipation hit the submit button. You check daily -if not hourly- to see if the status of your application has changed -each time with less and less enthusiasm. You finally decide to call the place you applied only to find out the status and they say they have already filled the position. You start debating about starting all over again and think about whether you really need money to make it and if you have any friends that have a couch that you can crash on instead.
While this waiting roller coaster ride is all too common, there are steps you can take to make this process a lot less painful.

1. THE POWER OF NETWORKING: Network with friends, family, professors and acquaintances to see who is hiring. This will get the word out and let you know about jobs before they are posted online. Some never make it to posting or are posted after the position has already been filled, so talking to departments and companies gets you ahead of the game.

2. TAKE A WALK: Once you submit that online form, find the office that is conducting the hiring and walk a hard copy of your resume and cover letter printed on resume paper to the office. Make sure and tell them that you already applied online but wanted them to have a hard copy of your information. Dress to do an interview on the spot if they are impressed with your professionalism!

3. DON’T SIT BY THE PHONE: Don’t sit idle waiting for them to contact you – get busy!! Volunteer at places that will develop your skills in the meantime. There are millions of nonprofit organizations and ministries that desperately need help that will keep you busy growing in your skills while giving back to your community. They will understand that it is short term and will be thankful for your service.

4. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: Don’t give up hope. A job search is supposed to take time and persistence. If you go into the circumstance knowing that there could be numerous applications and interviews before you get that job, it will help you not become defeated. It is all part of the plan.

Post By: Michele Worley (Career Counselor)

Intentionality – A Trait to Obtain

6 Jan

intentional“I don’t know what I want to do after I graduate.”

“A Career?  I can’t think about that right now.  I’m too busy with school.”

“When I’m ready to find a job, God will lead me to it.”

Sound familiar?  Maybe this is you speaking.  When a person decides to enter college, they have dreams of what they want to do when they graduate; however, sometime after the first day of school, when all the activities that are part of the collegiate experience start to become a daily routine, that dream seems to become a distant memory for a lot of students.  In a sense, what they intended to become in life becomes unintentional in the practice of how to get there.

Intentionality is a trait that gets things done, and it is something all students can obtain.  Biblically, God intended the world to come into existence and it was so.  He intended men and women to be saved from their sins, and be reconciled back to God, so He intentionally sent His Son, Jesus, to live a sinless life, die on the cross for our sins, and rise again so that man could have eternal life with God.  Jesus intentionally lived this sinless life and intentionally went to the cross to die so that the Father’s plan of salvation would be done.  He now intentionally seeks out mankind to have an everlasting relationship, and He intentionally does this seeking through His children, who are all those who believe on Him and share Him with others.  All this was done and is being done with intentionality regardless of what the world says, what the economies are doing, nor any other circumstance that normally derails the plans of humans.

It all starts with an intentional plan and a perseverance to stick to that plan.  As a Liberty talent, you too have the ability to have this trait, whether you are just starting school, in the middle of your academic studies, graduating, or doing a career change.  It all starts with a dream, and then the intentionality should begin.  Here are some steps that will help you with being intentional about your career:

1.  Assess your strengths and weaknesses.  Weaknesses do not mean that you can’t do what you want to do; it just means you have some hurdles to jump over to overcome these weaknesses.  Remember, God uses us through our strengths, and He works through us in our weaknesses.  A Focus 2 Assessment can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and it is free to Liberty University students.

2.  Visit with a Career Counselor to review your assessment and discuss career goals and objectives.  Residential students can meet in person and online students can meet via the phone.  Make an appointment today!

3.  Create a Career Plan, with all the criteria that you will need to be successful in a desired position.  These criteria include:

  • Required degree(s).  This includes an academic plan that will result in the best possible grades.  Fast is good if a person can do it well; however, intentionality also means quality.  If it takes longer to obtain your goal and do it with excellence – make that part of your plan.  A Career Counselor can help here.
  • Certifications.  What is the industry looking for in a qualified candidate? What proprietary, state or federal certifications will be needed to be considered for a position?  This means that you need to research your position, industry and the companies in the industry.
  • Experience.  This is actually working in your field of study.  Internships are a great way to acquire this experience.  You can find internships and full time positions with companies all over the country in LUNETWORK, Liberty’s exclusive employer relations and jobs database.  Thousands of employers purposefully register on LUNETWORK in search of Liberty talent.  Create a profile today and start you search.  Contact the Career Center to see how you can use LUNETWORK effectively.
  • Network.  Keep this in mind – it is NOT “who you know”, it is “who knows you.”  The only way for people to get to know you is for you to get out and meet them.  Liberty has major-specific career fairs each semester.  RSVP and join us if you can, but most certainly review the companies that intend on coming.  Networking opportunities happen all the time, in every geographical location.  Find out what organizations are prevalent in your field of study and JOIN THEM.
  • Cover Letters, Resumes, and Interviews.  Cover Letters and Resumes are the first documentation that an employer sees from a candidate.  First impressions can either make or break you.  Resumes have to be intentional as well; they need to “speak” to the job description as to how you qualify.  Have your Cover Letter and Resume reviewed by a Career Counselor.  Next is the interview.  Interviews need to be intentional.  It is always best for a candidate to be very knowledgeable about the company, the position, what you would do in this position.  You can only do this by research.  Once that research is completed, then you need to practice in talking to someone about the position – an interview.  Practice makes perfect, and the Career Center can perform a mock interview so that you are well prepared when you meet with the employer.

God has set a wonderful example for all of us about being intentional.  Get serious about your career and be intentional in the pursuit of it.  The Career Center can help you accomplish this.

Richard Glass – Career Center Director

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Graduated

24 Apr

boxheadIf you are anything like me, you’ve had a lot of fun in college, but May 11th is just around the corner and what follows is a blank space with possibly a question mark floating around. Sure, you probably should have started thinking ahead but it’s too late for that now and you’ve got to start somewhere. Embarking on the next 30 plus years of your life in the working world is a bit scary and overwhelming. So before you set out, make sure to avoid these mistakes and misconceptions that I learned the hard way.

1. People are still people. Not Robots.

Many of the buzz words surrounding the job search such as “networking” or “professionalism” bring to mind a handsome model in an immaculate suit holding a brief case and shaking someone’s hand with a perfectly white smile.  This is an intimidating concept. When I first started to don a suit I would get nervous in professional situations and felt that I had to put on a persona that wasn’t really who I was.

It helped me to eventually realize that most people you meet in those situations also have a life outside of their jobs. They have passions, hobbies, and goals outside of their career just like you do. When you can connect with someone in a suit on a level outside of your work relationship, it makes that relationship stronger, and those people are more willing to stand by you and help you because they consider you a friend.

There are definitely limits and boundaries set by a professional environment that should not be crossed, however, there is a lot more room to be a real person within those limits than most realize.

2. Don’t be a Roller Coaster Employee.

My dad works as an HR Director for a big government agency. Through recent conversations about work he said that he had to deal with another “roller coaster” employee. Naturally I asked him what he meant by the term. He went on to define it as an employee who doesn’t really do much around the office until you light a fire under their butt (his words not mine) and their productivity shoots way up for a while then drops back down until you give them another warning.

The term interested me because I told him honestly that I go through periods of working really hard and then being so burnt out that it’s hard for me to even lift my hands to the keyboard. Maybe I wasn’t getting any warnings from my boss, but the disparity was often quite large between hyper productive days and I don’t want to be here days. With an understanding smile of acknowledgement from almost 30 years of the cubicle fight, my dad said, “Well son, that’s most people, but with maturity, the disparity looks less like a roller coaster and more like ripples in a pool.”

I’m still learning to be less of a sprinter at my work and more of a long distance runner. I’ve learned to schedule meetings and appointments in the afternoons when I’m less productive. I write out to-do lists and if I don’t feel like doing one task I’ll pick another one and come back to the one that might be harder to get motivated for. I’ve learned to take short breaks to sharpen my ax occasionally throughout the day. Everyone works differently, but often times strategic planning will make you a more productive employee.

3. Make your life easier.

Use your Career Center. Once I started applying for jobs, I applied for innumerable teaching positions all over the country with little success. The interviews I did get I failed miserably. After each interview I would learn from my mistakes, do some research on the questions I bombed and try better the next time around. Over a dozen failed interviews later, hundreds of dollars in gas money and a lot of wasted time I eventually landed a teaching position at a school that must have been desperate one week before school started.

If I had used my Career Center, I would have known how to better format my resume, how to answer those tough interview questions and those little extra touches that go such a long way in the process of landing a job. This would have saved me a lot of time and effort in the long run and my mistakes would have been made at the Career Center and not at the expense of possible career opportunities.

- Dan Berkenkemper (Washington Fellowship Coordinator)

Educated & Jobless? How to find a job after you graduate.

8 Apr

With graduation approaching, I’m receiving more and more questions about how to go about finding a job.  What are you going to do with that 4…5…6 year degree you’ve just earned?

While you may still be wrapping up classes and don’t have time to pound the pavement in the job search here’s what you can do.  Decide what type of jobs you’re looking for; you may even break your interests down into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd career choices.  If you’re at a loss there, you can visit your Career Counselor in the Career Center (make an appointment here).

Then, start building your network.  Why is this important?  Because 80% of jobs are never even posted online; they’re filled through word of mouth and that friend who has a brother-in-law who has a cousin who knows the VP.  Relationships and connections are how you find a job; not by posting 15 generic resumes on Monster.com.

Here are a few practical steps you can take to start building those field-specific connections now:

  • Talk with parents, extended family, friends, people at church, workmates at the gym, anyone near you that will listen.  People often want to help you, they just don’t know that you need help or how.  Share your search with them.
  • Search through your Facebook friends to see if anyone may have connections related to what you’re looking to do.  You may even make a few posts asking for any suggestions people have.  (“I’m looking to get into the athletic training field.  Does anyone have a recommendation for where to start or who I could talk with?”)  Be careful though, you don’t want a current job/internship location seeing a post and thinking you already have one foot out the door.
  • Use current volunteer and internship opportunities to shine; be willing to help with any project they need assistance with, walk around to see who needs filing done, take proactive steps throughout the day to solve recurring problems. They could offer you a paying position at the end or, if nothing else, be a glowing reference for you in the future.
  • Build a solid profile on the professional networking site, LinkedIn.  Start following companies in your career field (they often post available jobs), find groups that you’re interested in, join Liberty’s alumni group, and connect with people who do what you’re looking to do.  Basically, find people you have something in common with and build your network!

If you don’t have resume that you’re ready to give to that awesome connection you make, come by the Career Center to receive a resume critique and advice on how to write a solid resume.  With graduation approaching you want to build a network of like-minded individuals who can help you and whom you can hopefully help (even if it’s later on).  School loans are coming.  What steps are you taking now to help you find a job you love that can also pay the bills?

- Ryan Andrews, Career Counselor

Making Decisions…

18 Mar

babyDid you know that there’s a reason why you enjoy the things you do in your free time?  Or have you wondered why it is you love your psychology or health promotions class?  Perhaps you write poetry or fix your friends’ computers.  All of these things are rooted in how God intrinsically designed you to be.  Even when you were an infant, you had a personality type that started to show itself and has been developing every day of your life.

When I was an undergraduate at Liberty, I would often hang back when my friends asked me to go to the movies.  Not until I took a personality test did I realize that was probably because I’m an introvert and enjoy spending time alone, in order to recharge my energy.  Maybe you’re an introvert too, or perhaps an extrovert who feels energized by spending time with people.  You could also fall somewhere in the middle where you prefer a balanced amount of solitude and spending time with others.  This one aspect of your personality could help you in deciding your future career.

There are other things to consider, such as your natural interests and the way that your mind likes to think about things.  Some people enjoy picking apart a certain idea until they’re blue in the face and have reached the end of available research.  If you find yourself thinking about philosophical ideas, you may want to consider majoring in an abstract type of degree that will allow for deep discussions and open ended thoughts.  Then there are types of people who love more concrete subjects, such as math and science.  Again, you might be somewhere in-between the two, but if you find yourself leaning more towards one side, it’s something important to consider when choosing your major.

Your values also play a huge role in where you may end up career-wise.  If you want to be a stay-at-home mother while your children are being raised, it may be ideal to consider a major that will allow for part-time or freelance work.  For men, this scenario might mean considering a career in which you can financially support a wife and children.  Whether marriage or raising children are a part of your future, it never hurts to plan ahead for it.  Values also consist of your spiritual beliefs, whether you desire consistent hours, or perhaps you want a job that will have opportunities for advancement.

By thinking about and knowing these areas of your life now, you will be able to make more confident decisions going forward.  Consider taking an assessment test to help you navigate the intricacies of who you are. The Career Center has a free assessment called Focus 2 for all Liberty students to take advantage of.  It will help you understand yourself better and possibly open up new ideas as to what you can major or minor in.  It provides a lengthy list of potential careers as well that will assist you in your decision making process.  Check it out today and then schedule a career counseling meeting to discuss the results!

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