Monday, May 21, 2012

Career Day 2012: Everything you need to know about getting a job

The following guest post was written by Monica Patterson, CDS graduate intern.

What does it take to get you up bright and early on a Saturday morning? A giant cup of coffee? The smell of breakfast cooking? How about a Career Day packed with the promise of helpful advice from employers, job search resources, and networking with successful professionals?

That did the trick for everyone who came out to our second annual Career Day earlier this month. Hosted by the CDS team and supported by our Alumni Association, the event prepared Peirce students and alumni for entering the job market and securing next-level opportunities. It was a great day, jam-packed with actionable advice about everything from cover letters to salary negotiations, as well as the chance to practice the skills necessary for career advancement.

Two different workshop tracks were presented to fit the needs of attendees in varying stages of their careers. Track 1 ("From Backpack to Briefcase") was designed for entry-level employees, and Track 2 ("Strategies for the Seasoned") for more experienced candidates seeking to advance their careers.

Here are some of the key topics we covered with our entry-level job seekers, or those transitioning to a new field. Whether you were in attendance at Career Day or not, use this as a checklist to make sure you're prepared to enter the professional world.
Business 101: An orientation to the new workplace. As you prepare to enter the professional world, it's important to be prepared with knowledge and understanding of employer expectations, professional boundaries and etiquette, collaboration, and effective communication in the workplace.
Networking 101. Understanding the power of professional networking and how to do it well is a cornerstone to any successful job search. Students and alumni were able to practice networking in a friendly environment. Remember, think outside the box -- your potential network is often far larger than you think!

Crafting a creative job search. Finding a job is a job! Attendees put their job-seeking skills to the test using online job boards and job search tools, as well as social media. We also touched on time management, a crucial factor to a successful job search.
And for those looking to climb the ladder in their current field, we focused on the skills you need to function at a higher level, and how to master them:
Getting out of your own way! The benefits of the motivated mindset. Improving your self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills are necessary for personal and professional development. We talked about many unwritten rules and scenarios that play out in your career, and how to power through those situations.

Strategic networking. It's no secret that knowing the right people can help you get a job (or at least a foot in the door). But do you know how to really identify that network and best utilize those relationships? Informational interviews are one great tactic to make the most of your professional relationships. Social media (including LinkedIn!) is also an important tool to cultivate your network for career development.

Advanced interviewing skills. Interviewing is no longer the straightforward question and answer session it used to be. Today, you must be prepared to adjust to varied behavior and situational questions while maneuvering through the more intricate interviewing formats -- phone screens, panels, and even gauntlets. This workshop focused on tactics to skillfully navigate through any type of interview scenario you might face.
Something important to every job seeker, no matter what stage of his career, is translating transferable skills and communicating the full extent of his experience to potential employers. It is imperative that job seekers understand how to align past experience with their future career and be able to effectively demonstrate their relevance.

Last but not least, a special thanks to our employer advisory board -- its members are instrumental in helping us develop the agenda for Career Day. They work with us to identify the gaps between what employers are looking for and what candidates are bringing to the table. This input as well as the feedback from students and alumni ensures that this event presents valuable and relevant information! We'd love to hear your feedback, so leave a comment here with your takeaways from Career Day.