3 New Life Skills for this Summer

Summer is the perfect time to take on side projects that will look good on your resume and make you a better you! Here are 3 ideas with free resources to help you get started!

 

  1. Learn a language

Being fluent in another language is almost invaluable. It makes you more of an asset to a company, makes you more cultured, and can be fun! With Duolingo, you can learn an entire new language and open up hundreds of doors in your future, all for free!

 

  1. Invest in stocks

If you are fortunate enough to have some extra money lying around, it is time to put it to good use! Instead of buying that video game, or purse you wanted, invest that extra cash. By learning how stocks work, you will understand more about the financial world, and could even make some cash! (Just make sure you don’t blow your life savings) Investopedia has great resources to get you started.

 

  1. Complete a Good Cause Project

Maybe it’s a recycling program at a local school, a canned food collection in your neighborhood, or a fun run to raise money for a charity. As long as it is something that is meaningful to you, you cannot go wrong with a good cause project. Not only will your organization skills show through on your resume, but contributing to a good cause is something that you can be proud of! Here is a list of some great non-profits that you can get involved with.

Making The Most Of Summer – Volunteering

A great way to build new skills over the summer is through volunteering. It’s important to first find an organization that you are passionate about, but it’s even more important to make sure you are gaining skills that you will use in the future. We recommend that you make a list of tasks you would like to perform and present them to whichever organization you choose to volunteer for.

One of our previous Career Onward interns, Amy, is currently volunteering for an organization in Houston, Texas. She worked with our founder, Lori, to create a list of jobs she would like to do for this organization that would benefit her work in the future. She presented her list to the organization and they were more than happy to cater to the type of work she was interested in doing. In fact, they needed help in all of the areas she listed. Amy’s story showed me that there is most definitely power in asking specifically to do certain work. It will pay off in the long run and will make the experience very enjoyable.

You may already have an organization or nonprofit that you are passionate about, but if not friends, family, Google and people around your community are great resources to help you find one.

Which organizations are you passionate about volunteering for? Comment below or tag @careeronward in a picture on Instagram with #summervolunteer

Making The Most Of Summer – Build Skills

Throughout the school year I found myself creating a list of important skills I needed to build before graduation. I wanted to become an expert at Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. Overtime I noticed that I had put building these skills on the back burner due to class, studying, group projects, work, etc. As my spring semester came to a close I decided that I needed to dedicate time each week throughout the summer to reach my goals and build these important skills. I know summer can be chaotic between going abroad, having an internship and taking summer school, but I encourage you to make a list of skills that are important to you and work towards perfecting them during your free time.

Our founder, Lori MacNeill, has suggested three websites that aid in skill building. Use them this summer to help work towards building your ideal list of skills. I know I will!

1. www.lynda.com
2. www.skillshare.com
3. www.coursera.org 

What are some skills you’ve always wanted to learn? Comment below or tag @careeronward on instagram with #buildingskills

Making The Most Of Summer – Must Read Books

Summer is the perfect time to read books that you consider must-reads. Whether you want to dive into a fictional book for entertainment or a self-help book to gain skills, there are a number of reasons reading is worth your time. Check out this link to find out some of those reasons as well as a list of suggested books that are essential for college students.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/25-essential-books-that-every-college-student-should-read.html

Our founder, Lori MacNeill, has compiled a list of a few great books that she believes are worth your attention.

1. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Overview: “In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.”

2. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Overview: “In StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular online assessment. With hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths, StrengthsFinder 2.0 will change the way you look at yourself — and the world — forever.”

3. Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant
Overview: “For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return. Using his own pioneering research as Wharton’s youngest tenured professor, Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success.”

4. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
Overview: “The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice.”

What are some books on your must-read list? Let us know in the comments below or tag @careeronward on instagram with #mustread

Making The Most Of Summer – Bucket Lists

Generally when people think of a “bucket list,” their thoughts jump to expensive vacations or adventures they can’t currently afford such as foreign travel, skydiving, swimming with sharks, or maybe even climbing Mount Everest. When creating a bucket list, it is important to have large goals that will take years to accomplish mixed with items that are inexpensive or even free and easy to attain. Identifying and then experiencing new things often allows you to fully live life now, instead of waiting 10-20 years to accomplish your goals.

Not only is it important to develop a list, it is just as critical to write each item down. Studies show people achieve more when goals are documented – whether in a journal, a phone, or in a bucket list app.

I have decided to start my own personal bucket list and can’t wait to make progress over the next year. I hope you enjoy my list below and take some time to create your own, even if it means taking a study break from all those finals!

  1. Try a new recipe each week
  2. Become an expert at InDesign and Photoshop
  3. Train for and run a half marathon by December 2015
  4. Spend 3 hours each week researching different companies, their missions, and available job openings
  5. Reach out to 1-2 companies each week to learn more
  6. Take a trip to Australia and experience the Great Barrier Reef
  7. Have brunch with friends in a new spot once every month
  8. Visit Austin’s graffiti park
  9. Go white water rafting
  10. Spend time reading the news online daily
  11. Float the river with friends
  12. Join an intramural team with girls in my sorority
  13. Overcome my fear of heights by bungee jumping
  14. Hand write a letter to a different person each week
  15. Walk at The University of Texas at Austin’s May 2016 graduation ceremony
  16. Have a job in line by the time I graduate
  17. Have 2 more internships and gain multiple skills before graduating
  18. Start a daily journal
  19. Go deep sea fishing (without getting sea sick)
  20. Read a new book for leisure every month

What are some of the items on your bucket list? We would love to hear them in the comments section below or by tagging @careeronward in a picture on Instagram with #bucketlist

Real Life: College to Career – Christian

Name: Christian Connellimage002
Age: 24
College: LSU, May 2013 graduate
Company: Transwestern
Place of residence: Houston, TX
Hobbies and interests: Tennis, golf, hunting, fishing, music, travel, and anything outdoors. I am currently training for a half marathon that will take place in late April.

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?

A: I knew that I wanted to study business, but I did not have a clear idea of my major at first. I took a couple of trial and error classes to figure out what I truly enjoyed. I selected finance because of all the potential and varied job opportunities this major provides, and I thought it was the least boring of the business majors.

Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college?

A: Where do I begin? I just remembered my parents calling me my senior year and telling me that I better have a job when I graduated or I would be mowing lawns at our landscaping business until I found one. That lit a fire under me and I started the hunt immediately. First it was job fairs at school, applying online, applying online again, meeting with friends of friends, and parent’s friends. I had a couple of interviews at the beginning, then some face to face, which meant for me driving to Houston or Austin.

I interviewed with about four different companies, and one asked for a second interview, then a third, and then a lunch. Finally, an offer came and I was working one month after I graduated.

I was told that one of the reasons I was hired was my ability to follow through, which consisted of emailing immediately after interviews, sending personalized thank you notes, following up every other day and asking for the status of the interviewing process, and letting potential employers know how interested I was in the position.

Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?

A: Interviewing was the most challenging for me. Looking back, it would have been helpful to have gone to a couple of mock interviews at school. There were plenty of opportunities but I never took the time to do which was a big mistake.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?

A: Everything is a complete 180 flip. You have responsibilities, you have a little bit more money, which is great, but you have to be a really good steward of the paycheck.

A year has felt like a day.

My sleep schedule has probably been the biggest change; there is no more going to bed at 2:00 A.M. I have found a good rhythm now and am in bed at an early hour which I thought would never happen.

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: It just takes time getting used to everything, after a while it just starts to feel normal. Also, being surrounded by other young professionals in the workplace helps you adjust.

Q: What are some of your current short-term goals?

A: I am currently working a plan to pay off my student loan within two years. Also, I think it is important to become involved in the community in which you live and give back no matter how small it may seem at first. It is a great way to meet people and help others, a true win-win.

I have also written out some professional and financial goals. Being specific and writing your goals and setting deadlines will really help with your achieving those goals.

Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add?

A: You are going to mess up and that is life. It is far better to make a mistake in the beginning than five years from now. Get as many mistakes out of the way while you can still say you are new. There will be no excuses when you are a Senior VP and make a million dollar mistake.

I am very fortunate in that I really enjoy my job at Transwestern and am very grateful that I have wonderful mentors who want me to be successful. Honestly, going to work is a joy for me and I thoroughly enjoy every aspect about it.

Which part of Christian’s interview resonated most with you? Let us know in the comments below!

Real Life: College to Career – Maria

mariaName: Maria Magdalena Arréllaga
Age: 23
College: University of Texas at Austin, May 2014 graduate
Company: IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law
Place of residence: Asunción, Paraguay
Hobbies and interests: Exploring with my dog, soccer, yoga, running, rock climbing, music, photography, travel, experimental cooking

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?

A: I knew I wanted to see and better understand the world, particularly the natural world, so I think I went into International Relations (IRG) initially for this reason. This way, I had the option of choosing my focus after taking classes in different departments. I knew I was in love with geography after my second year, so I chose to double major in IRG (with a focus in environment and science) and Geography.

Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college?

A: My first ‘real’ job out of college was with a small marketing agency. I had built experience in the area of communications throughout college by working for various NGO’s and for my school newspaper, The Daily Texan. I started as an intern with the marketing agency about 2 months after graduation and eventually was hired on as a Content Strategist. I began applying for jobs and exploring different options in January of my senior year. This involved a lot of research, editing and re-editing my resume, sending it out to different people, and going through the process all over again numerous times. I was not limited geographically to where I wanted to work, and I was looking for opportunities in many areas! I applied to a number of positions and often did not hear back. It was kind of like fishing. Once you feel the line pull, you go with it and work hard to reel it in. I thought I was going to do a Fulbright research semester after college and head directly into the continuation of my academic career. I was a finalist but was not accepted in the last round. I decided to keep exploring options, applying and interviewing. It was a long process! I also treated myself to a 2 week adventure in British Columbia after graduation. It was a wonderful summer.

After the trip, I landed my position at the marketing agency in Austin. It was wonderful and I was learning a lot and loving working with my team. I worked there for about six months before accepting an opportunity that came up with my current organization. I knew that, ultimately, my goal was to go back to working in environmental issues. Now I am working in communications with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Commission on Environmental Law, and I absolutely love it!

Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?

A: I think that the realization that there are many thousands of recent graduates in the same position as you is a bit daunting. I would log on to my LinkedIn and see that there were 400 other applicants for the same position I was interested in and get slightly bummed out. The process of applying, interviewing and rejection time and time again was also a bit tiresome, but I also realized how much I learned in that process. Most of my success came through networking and meeting in person, instances in which I was presented with the opportunity to really show who I am and what my goals are. My advice is to put yourself out there and to reach out to people you think may be potentially valuable for advice and connections. Ask questions, go to events and conferences and introduce yourself to people! This is where you get the chance to make a real and lasting impression.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?

A: For me, it was more that I knew I was going to be cut off financially after my graduation. Not that this was a major adjustment so to say, but that it meant taking on more financial responsibilities that I didn’t think about as much when I was a full-time student. This forces you to be creative, and I actually found it (and still find it) exciting in a way. I moved back in with my parents after graduation, while I was figuring things out and enjoying the summer in Austin. I was freelancing and working different jobs in that transition, until things started to fall into place. I think that this transition time is very difficult for people, because there is so much pressure (what I also consider unnecessary societal pressure, to an extent), but it’s important not to be so hard on yourself. Have a vision, feel your passions out and stick to them! There will be obstacles, but those obstacles are also opportunities to learn from and they will eventually end up guiding you in a way.

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: Post-graduation is a time of huge transition and growth, given the obvious changes and those pressures I have already mentioned above. It’s important to just be conscious and aware of what you want and what you are trying to achieve, whatever that may be. I think having a vision is most important. The next step is dedicating yourself to realizing that vision, which is also likely to change as you go along. I think this process involves effort, will power and also your intuition. You will know when something is right, and that is when you go all in.

Q: What are some of your current short-term goals?

A: Some of my current short term goals, aside from general professional development in my new job with the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, are learning French, meditating and writing everyday. I also hope to find new ways to engage in solidarity for social and environmental progress in my community through different projects.

Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add?

A: College is such a special opportunity. I am amazed by how many doors it opened for me intellectually, personally and professionally. Make the most of the resources available to you as a student, develop close relationships and really follow those passions! They will lead you to where you want to be eventually. I remember feeling lost many times in college, but I navigated by following my interests, and with the help of peers and professors that inspired me along the way. The exciting part is that this journey is not over, either. The navigation continues after college as well. College is just when you get to plant the seeds. It is the essential nourishment phase that prepares you for the post-college growth.

What would you like to see our next blogging series be about? Comment below! 

Real Life: College to Career – Caroline

caroline

Caroline Babb – Office Manager/Assistant to Roxan Coffman

Name: Caroline Babb
Age: 23
College: University of Texas, May 2014 graduate
Company: Roxan Coffman Properties
Job Title: Office Manager/Assistant to Roxan Coffman
Place of residence: Austin, TX
Hobbies and interests: Running, yoga, going on the lake, reading, being outdoors

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college? 

A: When I came to college, I thought I wanted to major in business; however, I was rejected from McCombs and decided that Communications was where I wanted to start out. Since I didn’t know what I wanted to do after college, I chose a broad major: Corporate Communications. Initially, my plan was to transfer into McCombs, but I ended up loving Corporate Communications so much that I decided to stay. I definitely think it was a blessing not getting into the business school because communications was a perfect fit for me. How and why we communicate and build relationships really intrigues me, and I enjoyed every one of my classes.

Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college? 

A: Even when senior year rolled around, I still did not know what I wanted to do. I ended up applying for an elementary school teaching job, a wedding planning position, and a real estate office manager position. I had been substitute teaching in AISD senior year and got my alternative teaching certification, so I had some experience there. I had interned for a wedding planner junior year and loved it. I didn’t have any experience in real estate, but had always been interested in the industry. It was my boss that reached out to me to see if I would be interested in the position. At the time, I was torn between the offers I had received for the teaching and wedding planning positions. When my current boss called and told me about the position she had open, it seemed like the perfect job for me. I knew instantly it was what I wanted to do. I now have my real estate license and am learning so much each and every day. Loving every minute of my job!

Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?

A: I was so stressed out about making the right decision – I felt like I needed to decide right then what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My advice would be to just go with your gut, and understand that you can change your career path at any moment. Most people go through 10 to 15 jobs throughout their lifetime, so you shouldn’t stress about it right now. You learn something from every experience, so there is no “wrong” decision.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment? 

A: The biggest adjustment was definitely getting used to the 9:00 to 5:00 workday. In college, I never had a class before 9:30 or after 3:00. I no longer have time to run errands, exercise, shop, or anything else I used to do during the weekdays. I have to plan my personal life around my work life, which was hard to get used to. At first, I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I would go to bed pretty soon after coming home from work. I finally got the hang of it – you adjust to your environment and lifestyle, it’s not a struggle forever!

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: You have to make sleep a priority, or your day is going to be horrible. I also make to-do lists all the time, and make time before/after work or during lunch to get things done.

Q: What are some of your current short-term goals?

A: Currently, I am the assistant to a real estate broker, and my goal is to become an agent sometime in the next year.

Don’t miss the chance to hear our founder, Lori MacNeil, speak at the “Take Charge of Your Job Search” guest lecture on April 14th at The UT School of Communications!

 

Real Life: College to Career – Wilson

2015-01-12 11.43.30-2

Wilson Bauer – OADP Analyst at JPMorgan Chase

Name: Wilson Bauer
Age: 22
College: Texas Christian University, May 2014 graduate
Company: JPMorgan Chase
Job Title: OADP Analyst
Place of residence: Dallas, Texas
Hobbies and interests: Being outdoors, traveling, current events

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?

A: I knew going into college that I wanted to declare a major inside of the Business school, I just wasn’t sure which one. After taking introductory accounting and finance courses, I enjoyed both so much that I decided to double major in those areas.

 Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college?

A: I utilized two resources to apply to jobs. Those resources were company specific job boards and FrogJobs. FrogJobs is TCU’s in house job posting website.

When looking for places to apply I picked anything that was related to my major. In the beginning of the process I wanted to practice my interview skills and receive feedback on my resume. I interviewed for roughly 14 jobs and received 6 offers. The offer that I ended up accepting was my last offer and it came in late January. The start date for the position was late July.

 Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?

A: I would forget about the money when it comes to jobs. You’ll have friends that make more and friends that make less. Simply pursue the job that will give you the highest leg up in your career. Sometimes that job might not even be what you want to do but it could lead to bigger things.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?

A: I worked and attended school so I was used to a long Monday-Friday grind. The largest adjustment was having a majority of my close friends displaced.

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: Choose your friends wisely. The friends that will still be your friend no matter how far away they are the ones worth keeping around.

 Q: What are some of your current short-term goals?

A: I would like to be promoted to associate level within the first two years of my job. I also hope to pass CFA levels 1 and 2 in that same time period.

Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add? 

A: Don’t get down about anything and always have an open mind. I know there is a lot of stress in the process but everything always seems to work itself out. I promise!

Don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletters! You will receive the latest career advice and hiring tips. You can sign up on our website’s homepage http://careeronward.com.

Real Life: College to Career – Michael

Michael Cunningham, Associate at Lonergan Partners, Inc.

Michael Cunningham, Associate at Lonergan Partners, Inc.

Name: Michael Cunningham
Age: 23
Where they went to college and their graduating year: Santa Clara University, 2014
Current place of employment: Lonergan Partners, Inc.
Job Title: Associate at Lonergan Partners, Inc.
Current place of residence: Mountain View, CA
Hobbies and interests: Music, Movies, Crossfit, Surfing, Cooking, Rugby

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?

A: Upon enrollment in Santa Clara, I was in the business school. However, I had no idea what I wanted to study at first. By the end of my freshman year, I decided I wanted to pursue a major in public health & pre-medicine. I transferred out of the business school at the end of my freshman year and ultimately earned by B.S. in Public Health Science.

Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college?

A: I honestly wasn’t sure what type of job I wanted coming out of college. I just knew that I didn’t want to jump immediately into any sort of grad school. I decided to keep an open mind in my search process. I started my job search process in March of my senior year, using only the resources the career center at my school provided. I found the job I have now through a job posting on the career center online database. When I came across the posting, I had zero knowledge about executive search or high-tech. However, I soon became excited about the idea of learning more extensively about technology and working in an environment that allowed me to use my interpersonal skills every day. After a few rounds of interviews, I received the offer in early May. I interviewed for four other positions, primarily in sales, but those interviews did not progress beyond the first round.

Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?

A: Going through several rounds of live interviews was certainly a stressful process for me. I would advise college students to do their homework beforehand and present themselves and their knowledge with confidence.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the interview process is a two-way street. Besides testing for industry knowledge, both parties should be concerned about chemistry to ensure that there is a good cultural fit. In that sense, it is important to be yourself during the process. Don’t try and fool the interviewees; it likely won’t turn out well for all involved.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?

A: The long workdays without having the luxury of nice breaks in between classes.

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: Always find a way to be proactive and forward-thinking in your work. This will keep you busy and motivated throughout the day. If you feel that you are bored or being underutilized, offer to contribute in ways that exceed the responsibility of your role. You must think of yourself as part of a team in the working environment, and learning to ‘wear many hats’ can make you a more dynamic player going forward.

Q: What are some of your current short-term goals?

A: In the short-term, I would like to be a primary consultant when leading a search. That would mean getting to own the client relationship from start to finish on a search, providing counsel about each candidate throughout the process.

Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add?

A: If your fist job isn’t your dream job, it’s not the end of the world; but give it a chance! Sometimes you just have to fight through the growing pains of being on the bottom of the totem pole. Job hopping after short stays is usually not the answer (unless it is a significant career advance), and may prevent you from building a strong network of references.

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