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 (08/12/05):
- Getting known by professor at large university
- Recovering from mistake that ended in firing
- Understanding the path to medical school
- Moving beyond a job when the boss won’t let you
|Q:||Susan writes: I’m an entering freshmen college student and I just read your article on first-year success in college. I was wondering I am going to a large public university where a large majority of my classes will be over 100 students. How exactly do I get to know my professor? Do I just go in and introduce myself?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I guess the not so helpful answer is that you should have chosen a school with smaller class sizes — like Stetson University where I teach — but I know that’s not helpful…
So… here are my suggestions. First sit toward the front of class and be attentive in class make eye contact during lectures discussions etc. Students who sit in the first few rows are generally some of the best students (perhaps partly because they are forced to pay attention). Make sure you attend all classes.
Second work hard… and show that work through tests and papers.
Third yes introduce yourself — either after class or during the professor’s office hours. Just a quick introduction — who you are what your major/career interest and what interests you about the class… you don’t need to go overboard on praise for the class (the dreaded “brown-nosing”)… just keep it short and simple…
Fourth as the semester progresses continue to occasionally make small talk and build rapport with the professor — so that it will hopefully carry over beyond the semester.
By the way I think it’s great that you are thinking ahead and that you have a desire to be known at your new school. Best of luck to you!!
Finally don’t forget that good grades will not come as easily in college as they did in high school. Here are a few tips for getting good grades in college:
For more general tips and strategies for improving your grades in college read my latest article 10 Tips for Getting Good (or Better) Grades in College.
|Q:||Judy writes: I’m in workforce development and am working with someone who was fired from a bank for cashing a fraudulent cashiers check; she claims that it was not her fault. I’m tending to believe her based on the whole story. How can she handle this in an interview when asked why she was fired from the bank?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Everybody makes mistakes. And assuming it was an innocent mistake I think she should be able to find her way back to employment’ although a job in banking may be a little harder to get than others.
The key for her of course is to first never raise the subject herself. And that goes for anyone who has been fired — for any reason. Let the prospective employer assume you left on your own accord.
That said some prospective employers are bound to ask the question. The way she answers the question however is critical. First she needs to admit that she was fired for a mistake she made. That’s it; make the admission but do not dwell on it — and certainly do not blame others for your mistake. The rest of her response MUST focus on the lessons she has learned from the incident — this is the information hiring managers want to hear. She needs to talk about the importance of following procedures checking for authenticity etc. — whatever it is she did not do the first time. That’s it.
And that’s the way it is with all “negative” questions such as when an interviewer asks “tell me about a time you couldn’t meet a deadline.” If you have never missed one you can say so. But if you have the point of the question is to find out if you have now learned how not to miss one in the future — and that’s how you should answer the question.
For lots more information about job interviewing check out all the resources in this section of Quintessential Careers: Guide to Job Interviewing Resources.
|Q:||Kats writes: Please help me…I’m dazed on how to get into medical school. You see I really want to become a doctor but unfortunately my parents do not have the means to send me to med school. Instead I took up a science-related courses hoping that I can somehow catch up with the pre-med students. But I’m not happy with my current course. I have heard some pre-med students in our school are dissuading other hopeful medical students to enter med school. Does a bachelor of science degree versus a bachelors of arts degree really matter when applying to med school? Would it be more advisable to take up the B.S instead of B.A? Please help me. I really do appreciate an expert’s opinion right now.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I’m kind of confused because you say you want to go to medical school but you don’t think you have the means to do so’ you decided not to be pre-med in college and instead are following some other degree path possibly ending with a bachelor of arts rather than science?
I haven’t seen any statistics but my guess is that most people who apply to medical school can’t afford it but make it through fellowships scholarships and student loans. So if money is the only thing stopping you from following your dream don’t let it.
If your passion is to become a doctor then you need to find a way to do so’
Majoring in a pre-med program makes the most sense but you do not need to do so to get accepted into medical school. I had a student a few years ago who was a dual business and biochemistry major but as soon as he was accepted into medical school he dropped the science major and graduated Stetson with a business degree. The key was he had taken all the core science classes that medical schools required (and he had scored well on the MCAT).
So your goal should be to research exactly the requirements you need for medical — and then follow whatever degree path makes sense to you.
By the way the business degree was a great idea for my student because he planned to open his own practice and wanted the business skills to help him be successful with it.
|Q:|| Anonymous writes: I really need some advice… I tried to give 2 weeks notice at work today and the boss got angry and then came to me with a list of all the things that he was going to do to make my job easier…..Was I talking to a wall??
I’m 51 years old my husband has MS and can’t work. I qualified for college waivers and loans and I now have a chance to finally pull us out of the very LOW income bracket. I will make more money going to school 4 hours a day five days a week and will be training for a rewarding career that will not involve being on my feet constantly nine hours a day.
My employers are of a different nationality. I feel like I’m being duped. I don’t want to leave with hard feelings. What is your take on this situation? It seems like I was actually talking to a wall…
ANY advice would be appreciated!
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: First congratulations on envisioning a better future and moving ahead with that vision. I wish you the very best of luck on pulling yourself out of the low-wage basement. Education — whether college training certification — is the best path for moving away from low-wage jobs.
I also commend you for wanting to end this current job on a positive note and I encourage you to keep trying. But whatever you do do not let your employer’s tactics stop you from following your dream.
I suggest you put your notice in writing’ even if now it is only a week’s notice. (By the way two weeks notice is just an average; in some professions it best to give more and in others it best to give as little notice as possible.)
Bottomline’ walk out the door when you had planned regardless of whether your employer is happy about it or not. In the worst case you are moving to a new field and you will not have to have a reference from this employer.
For more advice about resigning read my article on Quintessential Careers: Resigning with Class: How to Diplomatically Resign From Your Job.