The Career Doctor: Career Advice for All
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 (05/06/05):
- Gathering information on college-prep summer camps
- Dressing for job interview for blue collar position
- Thanking people who served as references in job-search
- Returning to college full-time after way for some years
|Q:||Kelly writes: I am a college-bound teen — I hope — and am interested in your opinion about the value of me attending a summer camp to help me with the whole college choice college application process. What are your thoughts?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I remember when summer camps used to places for hiking swimming sitting around the campfire and other fun activities — and while there are still camps like this — there are also a growing number of college and career prep camps offered to high school students from around the country.
In the increasingly competitive college admissions process some high school students such as yourself — or your parents — are turning to college-bound programs offered by a variety of traditional and academic camps. And according to the American Camping Association the number of member camps offering academics has grown about 15 percent over the last few years.
Students and parents are looking for that extra edge whether in finding the perfect college writing the admissions application and essay or mastering one of the standardized admissions tests are turning to both traditional camps that are adding academic enrichment programs and college-prep camps located on college campuses around the country.
These college-prep camps are expensive but they are sold as a small investment into a very important decision’ most of these camps costs several thousands of dollars for two- to four-week sessions.
Should you consider one of these camps? If you are considering some of the most prestigious colleges in the country then these camps could help you in better understanding and better preparing for the admissions process but if you are planning to attend one of the vast majority of colleges that fall in the middle (or lower) of the rankings then it might make more sense to use the resources already available to you at school in books and online.
Read more in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Are Summer College Prep or Academic Enrichment Camps Right for You?
|Q:|| Keith writes: Hi and thanks for your advice.
I have a job interview in a few days with UPS and I’m applying for a position which is of manual labor. How should I dress for the interview?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: You always want to dress to the position. So I would advise being sharply dressed in what I call business casual… dress shirt slacks nice shoes. You do not need a suit but you do need to look clean responsible. All workers of a company reflect the image of the company so the interviewer — even for the position you are seeking — wants to see someone who fits the UPS mold.
If you had the time of course I would also suggest checking either the UPS career site and/or contacting the human resources department and asking about appropriate interview attire. I am amazed at some of the great advice and suggestions companies are placing on their career sites but I wonder how many job-seekers actually take advantage of this resource.
For example UPS has a great career site including a detailed FAQ (frequently asked questions) section which includes this paragraph: ‘If you have been advised that you will be touring the UPS facility remember to wear casual slacks or jeans and a sturdy closed-toe shoe (no-sandals or open toed shoes) in order to tour our facility. Please do not bring any personal items such as cell phones or pagers. Also do not wear any jewelry articles such as rings watches necklaces or earrings.’
Information is the job-seeker’s currency’ and the more you know the better prepared you will be so take advantage of all the resources available to you. Certainly not all corporate career Websites will have as much great information as the one at UPS but part of your role as a job-seeker is to take the time to find multiple sources of information.
I still get amazed at hearing employers tell me how poorly many job-seekers answer the question ‘tell me what you know about our company.’
Find lots and lots more job interview related tools articles and more in this section of Quintessential Careers: Guide to Job Interviewing Resources.
And looking for a quick source for company career websites? Go here: The Quintessential Directory of Company Career Centers.
|Q:|| Susan writes: I looked in a variety of areas but cannot find any advice on how to appropriately thank the people who provided references for me during my job search.
What would you suggest?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I think it’s not so important how you do it but that you do it. Showing how much you appreciate the person for serving as a reference potentially sealing your job-offer with a positive review of your skills and abilities is your primary concern.
And I think a thank-you note or letter is fine. In the letter thank the person for his or her time provide basic information about your new job and close with a promise to stay in touch.
Now have I heard of job-seekers who went above and beyond a simple note? Yes of course. Some people also send gifts flowers candy. But I want to again stress that the most important thing to do is simply acknowledge their help in achieving your career/job-search goal.
For other job-seekers can we talk just a bit about the importance of references? The importance of references has grown in the past few years as more organizations complete more detailed background checks of applicants. Here are a few key tips to remember about references.
Read more in my article: References: The Keys to Choosing and Using the Best Job References in Your Job Search.
|Q:||Melissa writes: I am 27 years old and looking to go back to school full time. I went to college briefly after high school as a business major but didn’t stay and am now regretting it…BIG TIME. I want to further myself and my career but sometimes feel i am too old competing against all these younger people that just graduated college. How can i over come the feeling of inadequacy and what are some suggestions for a college major that is goal oriented but will help me out in the real world?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I think you know what I am going to say’ just do it! Heck one of my favorite students is a 50-something woman so being 27 is nothing. If you can find a way to do it financially I really encourage you to go back to college full-time. So what if you’re 30 by the time you finish? Going back to college will be an investment of your time and money but it’s an investment that will continue to pay you back for a lifetime.
Study after study shows that college graduates make more money and live a more comfortable lifestyle. The lifetime income of families headed by individuals with a bachelor’s degree will be about $1.6 million more than the incomes of families headed by those with a high-school diploma.
And it’s not just all about money. Folks with a college degree also have better job opportunities and develop skills and knowledge that will serve many purposes and live healthier and happier lives.
But as you are contemplating this leap back to college you also need to take time for some self-assessment and career exploration. You need to discover your passions in life ‘ and how you can apply those to one or more careers.
And if I may make one plug for a business education let me reiterate my view that I think every college student should at least minor in business (if not major in it). How many college grads are not going to work for a business in their lives? Having at least a minor gives you important insights and skills needed in the business environment.
And remember ‘ no regrets. Some folks are just not ready to tackle college at 18’ needing time to gain the maturity and appreciation necessary to succeed.
Read more in this article published on Quintessential Careers: What Good is a College Education Anyway? The Value of a College Education.