Monday, August 2, 2010

What it takes to get a job in 2010: Part 1

Less than stellar reports on the state of the job market have many students anxious about what they'll face after graduation. Today, for every one open position, there are five people competing for it. If there was ever a time to take steps to differentiate yourself from the crowd, it's now.

My work with Career Development Services (CDS) at Peirce gives me perspective on how to do so effectively. Collaborating with Philadelphia businesses has exposed me to the exact qualifications employers are looking for to determine who stands head and shoulders above a very competitive group.

Whether you're changing careers or entering the workforce for the first time, there are some specific areas that should get your attention as you prepare to begin your job search. In a short series of posts, I'm going to talk about three key areas where you should focus.

To start, let’s talk about focusing on your GPA.

It was once the case that a low grade point average could be overshadowed by a memorable personality and enthusiasm for the job. Those qualities are still important, but many employers have begun relying more heavily on GPA to rank applicants. Your grades have more weight than they once did.

Think of it this way: Your GPA should reflect the degree to which you can dedicate yourself to something. If you can make quality coursework a top priority, you're showing you can also give everything you have to succeeding in your job. If you're worried your GPA won't make the grade:
  • Don't wait until it's too late to do something about it. If you can tell early on that a class is going to be a challenge, consider a tutor. At Peirce, 30- to 60-minute tutoring appointments are available Monday through Saturday. Evening sessions are also available during the week. Schedule early, because appointments are made on a first-come, first-served basis. Tutors may be able to accommodate some drop-in visits when no sessions are scheduled.

    Check individual and group and tutoring schedules at Log in, click on the Student Services tab, and browse the section marked Walker Center for Academic Excellence. To schedule a tutoring session, please consult the tutoring schedule and contact the Walker Center at 888.GO.PEIRCE, ext. 9251 or
  • See what else you can do before grades are final for the semester. If you've been working hard in a class but your grade is borderline (like missing a B by one percentage point), don't be afraid to ask your professor if there is extra work you can do to push you up a letter. It can't hurt to show that you're willing to go above and beyond.
Coming up next: why work experience is so important, and how to make the most of it!