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Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college

2014 December

Wake on Break Tips – Part 2

Cheryl HicksOPCD Expert Contributor – Cheryl Hicks, Assistant Director of Career Education and Coaching

Can you see it? The “Final Exam” finish line! Soon you will be kicking back and enjoying the fruits of your fall semester labor. But don’t forget spring semester is approaching and with that comes deadlines for major declarations and internship/job applications. The following tips are a continuation of last week’s post on how to maximize your winter break restoration:

1. Digital Discovery. The OPCD home page houses a very comprehensive list of websites to aid your search for an internship or a full-time job.

a. For those seeking to explore a specific career field, occupation, or industry, I highly suggest researching the sites Vault and O*Net. Wake Forest has a subscription to Vault, therefore, students should accessing this site through the OPCD portal to create a login profile as a new user.

b. Researching companies will provide information on employers you are considering and contribute to your polished appearance when asked the standard interview question “What do you know about our company?” The Wake Forest ZSR Library website has databases for researching companies that can be as detailed or quick-fact giving as you like. Access these databases through the library site – Mergent Intellect and CareerSearch.

2. Networking. One of your best sources of networking is literally sitting around the dinner table with you. Have a conversation with Uncle Joe, Aunt Phyllis, Cousin Peter, Mom, Dad, and the list goes on of all the endless connections – do not negate the value of those conversations! Tap into those connections as you pass the stuffing, clear the dishes, or watch a traditional sporting event. Over 80% of jobs are not posted online. The power of meeting people, making connections, and opening your network will prove to be your best asset in obtaining a position.

a. LinkedIn is a great resource to connect with alumni and millions of professionals worldwide all in the interest of networking. Use this downtime to create or update your profile and begin making The OPCD created a model profile as an example that can be used as a guide to creating your own profile. Need a professional-looking photo of yourself? Please stop by the OPCD and take advantage of the LinkedIn photo booth – free, quick and easy!

b. Informational interviews and job shadowing are great opportunities during the break to make connections and explore different career paths. Ask your dad, grandmother, or anyone you know who can assist in creating an opportunity for you to receive a first-hand look into your career interest.

3. LAMP List*. Overwhelmed with which companies to begin contacting first? Make a list (“L”) of organizations for which you’d like to work and prioritize them according to alumni (“A”) that work there, your motivation (“M”) to pursue that company, and their priority (“P”) to hire. Having a better idea of where to begin will make starting this commitment less daunting. *The LAMP List concept is an excerpt from The 2-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton.

Reflecting on the past two weeks of posted tips and resources, consider making a personal commitment to tackle at least two goals with regard to your career development. You will return to school with refreshed momentum in researching opportunities; and a step ahead of related tasks that lay before you. However, you are not alone. The OPCD is here to offer career search tools that transcend long after the holiday season.







Wake on Break Checklist – Part 1

Cheryl HicksOPCD Expert Contributor – Cheryl Hicks, Assistant Director of Career Education and Coaching

We get it. It’s your vacation – time to kick back, indulge in holiday celebrations and partake in uninterrupted snoozing. But, fortunately, opportunity never sleeps which means there are ongoing possibilities to land that internship or job in the “near” future. Wake On Break was a program recently presented by the Office of Personal & Career Development (OPCD) for students making a commitment over the winter break to utilize tools and resources in creating a self-development plan for career search preparation.

The following is a checklist of ways to be career prep productive in this time of loll and lounging:

  1. For those trying to decide which major to choose or which career path to consider, then taking a short assessment test may prove to be helpful. Assessment test results can give a depiction of where your interests lie, without giving a decision of exactly what to do. The results are more like “food for thought”, if you will.   Consider these two sites for quick, easy, and free assessment tests – O*Net and Authentic Happiness. The tests found on both sites give perspective to those agonizing questions surrounding “What would be a good fit for me?”!
  2. It is a far-gone conclusion that you cannot do much without a polished resume.   If you haven’t started one, now is a good time. If you do have a resume, now is a good time to ensure it is in pristine condition. The OPCD website has many resume templates created in Microsoft Word for easy manipulation. While you are home, ask someone to give you sound feedback after reviewing your resume. When you return to Wake Forest, visit the OPCD during resume review hours (Mon. – Thurs., 1:00pm – 4:00pm) for a quick, professional review of a document that will play an important role in opening doors.
  3. One of the most valuable resources for Wake Forest students is access to DeaconSource. Any company or organization actively recruiting Wake Forest students will most likely post their opportunities on DeaconSource – looking for any major, any year. Use this time to update your profile with recent career interests, which will help to ensure you receive e-mail notifications of those organizations recruiting on campus.

This should start you in the right direction. Check back next week for more tips on career and company exploration, networking, and how to attack your list of employers. Happy Holidays!