A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
Note: Readers can find other columns from this year in Current Year Archives of The Career Doctor Q&A.
In This Issue (02/13/04):
- Discovering career that’s right for you
- Writing resume for part-time positions
- Conducting long-distance informational interviews
- Completing job application for summer job
|Q:||Anonymous writes: I am lost. I have no clue what type of jobs are out there for me. All I know is these few things about myself: I am a natural-born leader I love working with people and I love watching something work for me. I am currently half way through college but still haven’t decided what is right for me. I went after Business Administration and then thought that it wasn’t for me. I would like to know what jobs are “hot” by 2005 when I graduate. I am afraid of getting into a career that I feel I will regret. Please help.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: First things first. Relax! Here are some things to keep in the back of your mind as you contemplate your future. The degree is the most important thing so while it would be helpful to get it exactly in your future career field your major is not as important as the degree itself. And no matter what career you enter upon graduating from college you can change it any time you like – and if you are like most people you will end up changing your career field many times over the course of your life. Many new college grads sort of stumble out of college into a job/career that they find is not what they wanted or expected — and they simply move on.
It’s great that you have already identified your skills and passions — it’s the first step toward identifying potential careers. And certainly from your description a career in business makes sense.
It’s also important to look at forecasts of jobs/careers that are going to be in demand but keep in mind that it’s more important to find a fit with a job and career path that matches your skills and interests.
So I recommend talking with some recent alums about their jobs talking with your professors and visiting the career services office at your school. All three of these sources should give you some good ideas about careers.
And if you really do want to read about hot and growing career fields you can look online to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics — in the section titled ‘Tomorrow’s Jobs’ — or go to your library and read a book such as The Unofficial Guide to Hot Careers.
Some Quintessential Careers resources that will be useful for you:
|Q:||Gail writes: My question is how and where on my resume could I let employers know I’m looking for 24-32 hours a week. How should I word this? Should I put this in my objective?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Ready for a bad answer? It depends.
OK. Let me explain. If you are responding to job postings or online job ads that request part-time workers then there is no need to even have it listed on your resume because employers will assume if you are applying for a part-time position that you are actually seeking part-time employment.
However if you are sending out cover letter and resume packages to a variety of employers – what we refer to as the cold calling method — then you must say somewhere that you are looking for part-time rather than full-time employment. I have a personal preference for putting it only in your cover letter but you could also add it your job objective section of your resume: ‘To contribute extensive experience training and skills in a part-time project-management position.’
Speaking of objectives on resumes did you know a recent survey of hiring managers found that about 40 percent preferred resumes with job objectives on them? If you decide to include one on your resume just be sure that it focuses on the contribution you can make to the potential employer rather than a self-serving one (which is more typical of the objectives I see).
I recommend that job-seekers use either (and sometimes both) a job objective or a qualifications summary; if done correctly both of these sections serve as a short-cut for enticing hiring managers to make the decision to continue reading your resume. A warning though: If done incorrectly these sections could also stop your resume from being read.
Also review all the Resume Resources (including articles tools and tutorials) published on Quintessential Careers.
|Q:||Fiona writes: I read the section on informational interviewing on your Website and found it very helpful but I just have one question. What if the person you want to interview is in another state or city and you can’t meet them in person? What if they are usually very busy. Would it be alright to interview them for information using email? Say have a questionnaire for them to answer? Or would they just read it and chuck it out because it is too impersonal? Help.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about a career field AND build your network of contacts. What is an informational interview? It’s interviewing designed to produce information. What kind of information? The information you need to choose or refine a career path learn how to break in and find out if you have what it takes to succeed. It’s the process of spending time with one of your network contacts in a highly focused conversation that provides you with key information you need to launch or boost your career.
The preferred method – the method where you get the best information and the strongest possible connection with the person you are interviewing — is through face-to-face interviews. However that should not stop any job-seeker who is relocating and wants to build a new network of contacts in a distant location. As you mention job-seekers can also conduct informational interviews by phone or e-mail.
The best strategy for you is to contact the person and ask his/her preferred method of contact. A phone conversation will be more dynamic (and expensive) but you might actually get more detail by e-mail. Sending a list of questions – only AFTER the person agrees to the informational interview – is acceptable but remember to keep the list fairly short. Most people are willing to take the time to help out job-seekers but not if it looks like it will take a huge chunk of their time.
Finally ALWAYS remember to thank each person you interview.
Learn more here with the Informational Interviewing Tutorial published on Quintessential Careers.
|Q:|| Shreena writes: I am applying for a summer undergraduate work placement in a large company of opticians. One of the questions of the application forms is as follows: Provide details of key achievements in your current role including facts and figures and performance targets to indicate the business outcome that resulted.
Do I need to write about my role as a student at university? There is no real business outcome that results from being a student.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Thank you so much for asking this question. Everyone reading this column who knows a college student should be sure that s/he reads my answer.
Most college students should leave college with two types of experience: actual work experience gained through internships and part-time jobs and practical experience gained through class projects and papers.
When writing their resume most students don’t have too hard a time describing work experience but one of the most common errors I see is that students often discount those class projects.
As the application states the company is looking for your key achievements/accomplishments to date. If you have previous work experiences list those along with their outcomes. But don’t forget about those class projects.
For example in the B-School at Stetson many major courses require completing a project often with a real client. For example in a marketing research class students might work with a local business in uncovering a problem and suggesting solutions.
When describing those student experiences remember the same rules that apply to describing your work experiences: always try to quantify your descriptions focus on outcomes and project objectives.
A sample explanation of a student project:
For more information consider reading this article on Quintessential Careers: For Job-Hunting Success: Track and Leverage Your Accomplishments.