5 Tips to get the edge on the competition

Thinking about going to college?

Do you have a career in mind after your graduate?

When I get an opportunity to speak to young people about exploring a career in Marketing, I try to tell them to keep 5 things in mind.

I start off by saying the workplace today is very competitive. In fact, over half of our college graduates wait 12 months or more to enter the workplace after they have earned their degree. To be prepared to be part of the 50% that finds a job after graduation your students will need an edge. Here are five tips that may want to follow:
1. Work while you earn your degree. The marketplace is looking for individuals that can perform and deliver value immediately. Students need to build a portfolio of work experiences through internships, part-time/free-lance project work, or volunteering. In this way they will be able to include in their resumes and work applications, experiences that demonstrate they have the skills the workplace requires. (e.g., project management skills, crisis management skills, customer service skills, quality improvement skills, …)
2. Develop world language proficiency. Many graduates that are beating the odds are proficient in 2 languages besides English. Domestic and global corporations are targeting skilled workers that have world language proficiency for their ability to seamlessly work across cultures, and geographies. They also seek the skills of these individuals to build and grow their brands in domestic and international markets.
3. Give your heart to a cause. Find something you can give your time and talent to, something you are passionate about, something that pulls at your “heart-string.” Think of an organization that you feel you can support as a volunteer (e.g., American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, The Community Food Bank of New Jersey, …)and work with them, sharing your time and talents. Demonstrate in this context that you have a broad world view, that you understand that you are somehow part of a larger picture. Include this experience in your resume and show potential employers that you understand the need to provide service to a community and that you are a “servant leader.”
4. Walk the campus of the college you plan to attend. When you select a college or university be sure to make time to visit the campus and walk the grounds before you make your final decision. You need to be able to say to yourself, “I can imagine myself here. There are other people like me here and I think I will fit in.” This is an important step and if you miss it you may find you are not happy at the institution you picked and spend extra time, money, and energy making this right.
5. Leverage the alumni association. Attend a college or university with an active alumni association. Attend alumni events as an undergrad and build relationships along the way. When it is your time to look for internships or full time positions after graduation, the alumni may be able to help. They are usually very happy to provide guidance and advice. They may be able to make introductions and provide you with valuable information that can support you as you prepare to apply to career opportunities. Remember that relationships are very important, especially as you transition from the academic world to the workplace. Use the relationships you built through your work, your volunteering, and your alumni association to get you to the position you desire.

Good luck!

Til Dallavalle

CTE Partnership – Project Coordinator

Marketing Career Cluster

Middlesex County College

2600 Woodbridge Ave. P.O. Box 3050

Edison, NJ 08818-3050

tdallavalle@middlesexcc.edu

Body Language mistakes you don’t want to make

Reading a very good article by Bernard Marr I found some practicle advice on why we need to be aware of Body Language.

Until we get to know someone, our brain relies on snap judgements to try to categorize the person, predict what they will do, and anticipate how we should react. You may have heard that you only have a few seconds to make a first impression, but the truth is, your brain has made up its mind (so to speak) about a person within milliseconds of meeting them.

According to research done by a Princeton University psychologist, it’s an evolutionary survival mechanism. Your brain decides from the information it has—in other words, how you look—whether you are trustworthy, threatening, competent, likeable and many other traits.

One way we can “hack” this split-second judgement is to be aware of our body language, especially in important situations. Whether you’re applying for a job, asking for a raise, or meeting with a new client, tweaking or just being mindful of our body language can influence the other person’s perception of us and the outcome of the situation.

15 Body language blunders to watch out for:

  1. Leaning Back too much — you come off lazy or arrogant.
  2. Leaning forward — can seem aggressive. Aim for a neutral posture.
  3. Breaking eye contact too soon — can make you seem untrustworthy or overly nervous. Hold eye contact a hair longer, especially during a handshake.
  4. Nodding too much — can make you look like a bobble head doll! Even if you agree with what’s being said, nod once and then try to remain still.
  5. Chopping or pointing with your hands — feels aggressive.
  6. Crossing your arms — makes you look defensive, especially when you’re answering questions. Try to keep your arms at your sides.
  7. Fidgeting — instantly telegraphs how nervous you are. Avoid it at all costs.
  8. Holding your hands behind your back (or firmly in your pockets) — can look rigid and stiff. Aim for a natural, hands at your sides posture.
  9. Looking up or looking around — is a natural cue that someone is lying or not being themselves. Try to hold steady eye contact.
  10. Staring — can be interpreted as aggressive. There’s a fine line between holding someone’s gaze and staring them down.
  11. Failing to smile — can make people uncomfortable, and wonder if you really want to be there. Go for a genuine smile especially when meeting someone for the first time.
  12. Stepping back when you’re asking for a decision — conveys fear or uncertainty. Stand your ground, or even take a slight step forward with conviction.
  13. Steepling your fingers or holding palms up — looks like a begging position and conveys weakness.
  14. Standing with hands on hips — is an aggressive posture, like a bird or a dog puffing themselves up to look bigger.
  15. Checking your phone or watch — says you want to be somewhere else. Plus, it’s just bad manners.

So, what should you do? Aim for good posture in a neutral position, whether sitting or standing. Stand with your arms at your sides, and sit with them at your sides or with your hands in your lap. Pay attention so that you naturally hold eye contact, smile, and be yourself.

If you discover you have a particular problem with one or two of the gestures on the list, practice by yourself with a mirror or with a friend who can remind you every time you do it, until you become aware of the bad habit yourself.

What is a CTE Student?

How does one define a high school CTE student? The general approach is to label students who take 2 or 3 CTE courses – out of a high school career – as a ‘concentrator.’ This satisfies accountability requirements but does it truly reflect how students actually use CTE courses within their high school career?

 

Researchers at the NRCCTE created a more nuanced typology of course taking behavior and applied it to an NCES data set (ELS2002) to create a more effective means of understanding how students access and combine CTE and academic course work.

 

To read more about what they learned, go to: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/high_school_journal/v097/97.3.aliaga.pdf 

 

Regards,

 

James R. Stone III

 

James R. Stone III

Professor and Director

National Research Center for Career & Technical Education

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY 40292

Phone (502) 852-0639

Mobile (502) 322-6260

www.nrccte.org

Internships

Jerseyintern.com

 

There is a new website you may want to check out.  It is

http://jerseyintern.com/

This website offers paid and unpaid listings of opportunities across New Jersey.

If you are looking for an opportunity this year, do yourself a favor and check it out. Click here.

Middle Schools Explore Project Based Learning

Virginia Middle Schools Focus on Better Education

-Emily, 8/19/13

Gloucester County in Virginia is opening up a new middle school within the next two years. Page Middle School will incorporate a new style of learning, Project Based Learning, to it’s students. The school board decided that as Page Middle School explores PBL, the existing Peasley Middle School in the area will do so as well. The school board’s intent is to guide students from both middle schools in the same direction so that when they merge in the same high school, it will be unclear which middle school a student attended. They hope that the introduction of Project Based Learning will advance students and give them a sense of uniformity in their education.

Adapted from the Daily Press article by Matt Sabo entitled “Gloucester Middle Schools Exploring Project-Based Learning,” courtesy of Professor Elizabeth Elmore of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Retail Sales Rise in July

A Sign of Better Economic Times

-Emily, 8/14/13

After a 1.2% drop in sales in June of this year, the retail business saw a 6% increase in sales this past July. Although the percentage increase was lower than planned, forecasters believe this jump from June’s dropping numbers is a sign of better economic times. Consumers are now showing a better attitude toward the economy and are spending despite climbing gas prices.

Some analysts advise not to show too much optimism toward this 6% jump. The economy is still at “mixed bag” and can fluctuate both up and down. For the mean time, July’s numbers look hopeful! Shop on!

Adapted from the Washington Post article by Katerina Sokou entitled “Rise in Retail Sales Signals Stronger Growth.”

Brands Dabble with Tumblr

Another Social Media Site Jumps on the Brand-Wagon

-Emily, 8/14/13

Brands have made a social media presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter since these sites first began. Tumblr, a blogging site popular amongst teens and twenty-somethings, has always been something of an enigma for brands. The dynamic of the Tumblr community has made it particularly difficult for brands to successfully infiltrate the site and reach out to its users. While it has been difficult, it has not been impossible. Brands like Lexus, American Apparel, and Doctor Who have built strong Tumblr presences.

What do Tumblr users have to say about brands on the blog? Above all, they hope brands will provide a diverse selection of blog posts and not just focus on the selling aspect of their brand. Users want to be able to connect with brands and feel more personal with them, not feel bombarded by advertisements in between sincere blog posts.

How do you feel about brands on Tumblr?

Adapted from the Econsultancy article by David Olshanetsky entitled “How Misusing Tumblr Might Hinder Your Connection to the Teen Demographic.”

Fighting the Gen Y Stereotype

How Do Today’s HR Professionals Feel About Millennials?

-Emily, 8/14/13

There are countless stereotypes about Millennials: disloyal, lazy, incapable of leading, and so on. Are they really true? While us millennials would like to disagree, a recent study by beyond.com found that many HR professionals hold these opinions.

Here are some statistics the study published:

  • 22% of HR professionals believed Millennials would make good team players
  • 14% of HR Professionals thought that Millennials were strong communicators
  • 11% of HR professionals thought Millennials would work hard

Although the results seem grim, this is not the end of the road for twenty-somethings on the job hunt. Hal M. Bundrick has a few suggestions for Millennials:

  1. Don’t discount your ability to be tech savvy. 86% of HR professionals believe Millennials are a tech savvy group, while only 35% of Millennials feel the same. Your knowledge of technology, whether it range from a mastery of Photoshop to a basic knowledge of social media websites, use what tech knowledge you have to your advantage. Companies are constantly changing and updating, and that means becoming increasingly tech-driven and mobile. Your knowledge, no matter how big or small, can always come in handy.
  2. Be a team player. Millennials have a reputation by HR Professionals to be more selfish. In your interviews, use words like collaborate, teamwork, dedication, and commitment. Focus on ways you would like to help advance the company as a whole, not your own individual career.
  3. Fine-tune your communication skills. While Millennials grew up using e-mail for personal communication, sending professional e-mails will be an important part of your career.
  4. Display your great work ethic. On your resume and in the interview process, mention past projects you’ve worked on with other companies. It is good to show how much of a hard worker you are in a world where Millennials are viewed as “lazy.”

To find out more ways to fight the Gen Y stereotype, check out Main Street’s article here.

As a millennial, how do you feel about these stereotypes?

Recruiting New Employees…On Tumblr?

How Siemens Uses Tumblr to Launch a New Global Recruitment Campaign

-Emily, 8/13/13

Can you imagine blogging to land a new career?

Siemens, a two-year program for recent graduates, recently teamed up with We Are Social to launch The Manager’s Call, a recruitment campaign run through Tumblr and streamed to Facebook.

Graduate program participants upload posts to Tumblr weekly based on the topic at hand. They tag the post under the given hashtag, comment on each other’s posts, and top participants win medals on every Sunday of the program running from June to September. The winner of the program will receive a Q&A session with a Siemens manager and personal career coaching session.

Find out more about this innovative program here.

Content courtesy of Professor Elizabeth Elmore of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

What Employers Think About the Job-Seeker Crop

Employers Long for Job-Seekers with “Soft Skills”

-Emily, 8/13/13

Having a good education background is crucial in today’s job market, but what are employers really looking for in prospective employees?

A recent survey by Bryant and Stratton College & Wakefield Research found that while 80% of US workers aged 18 to 34 believe they are “job ready and possess all the skills, experience and education needed to advance in their desired career path or obtain their next job,” 40% of employers believe even entry-level candidates lack the basic skills to fill these openings.

Most importantly, 93% of employers responded that they weigh “soft skills” such a problem-solving and common sense more heavily than education background when sorting through job candidates. Unfortunately, only 16% of US workers aged 18 to 34 believe that these skills were crucial for career advancement.

Fine-tuning soft skills and working on your personal brand can be the difference between you and the other person applying for the same position. It is important to showcase your skills to stand out and prove yourself as a valuable employee.

Adapted from the Main Street article by Brian O’Connell entitled “Lots of Employers Think Job-Seeker Crop is Pretty Much Useless,” courtesy of Professor Elizabeth Elmore of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.