Author: Madhuri Vijay

The Best Part of Boomeranging

Let’s come right out and say it: finding a job in this economy is hard. Surveys by TwentysomethingInc. and MonsterTrak.com show that 50-65% of college students graduating in 2009 are planning on moving back in with their parents. While the prospect of “boomeranging” (i.e., leaving home only to return four years later) does not faze some students, others find it somewhat daunting, if not outright depressing. There are, of course, undeniable challenges that come with returning to a room you thought you’d left for good, but several career experts have pointed out that there are perks, as well.

In fact, Ryan Healy, the co-founder of Brazen Careerist, argues that moving back in with your parents as a twenty-something might actually be a smart and responsible career move. The crucial few years under your childhood roof could give you the time to figure out how best to reach your career goals, instead of forcing you to take a job you don’t want merely because it pays well. It also allows you to save enough money to ensure your first couple of years living on your own don’t send you (further) into debt. Finally, it will give you the time you need to make the transition between college and work life, which, according to Healy, most people genuinely struggle with.

Nevertheless, making the decision to return home (not to mention actually living there!) requires careful planning and forethought. Here are some tips that might make the transition easier.

Identify your position. When you’re staring up every night at the same ceiling you did when you were eight, it’s easy to feel like a child (and to be potentially treated like a child) once again. The sense of freedom gained from living alone may suddenly disappear, and it is better to deal with this situation before it actualizes. Talk openly and honestly with your parents if you’ll be expected to be home at a certain time, if you will have to ask permission before bringing guests home, whether you’ll be paying rent, how you can help around the house, etc.

Set a move out date and have a concrete plan. If there is no prospect of ever having your own apartment, living under your parents’ roof might seem less appealing than otherwise. Establish a timeline and a plan of action for getting a job, finding an apartment and managing your finances. Even better: get your plan down on paper and have your parents look over it, approve it and sign it. That way, it’ll feel more like an official contract rather than an uneasy compromise. And (this goes without saying, of course) make good on your contract.

Pay the rent. Whether you are expected to pay rent depends on the individual circumstances and wishes of your family, but chipping in financially to some degree can go a long way in helping to make your period at home go smoothly. Not only do you feel some measure of responsibility and pride as a contributing member of the household, you also establish your independence, which might make parents less likely to criticize or manage your affairs.

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Google Profiles: Control Your Online Presence

Admit it. You’ve probably “googled” your own name at one point or another out of sheer curiosity. If you haven’t, you probably will now. And, like it or not, so will your employers. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that, out of over 300 HR professionals, fifty percent said they used a search engine like Google or Yahoo to screen potential employees. Additionally, one out of five survey respondents said they had had disqualified a candidate because of what they had uncovered.

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Sexual Orientation and the Job Search Process

Compared to, say, women or students of color, there has been relatively little written about job search strategies for lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgendered/transsexual students. The truth is that job hunting for LGBT individuals can often be challenging and stressful, requiring difficult personal choices. There are resources, however, available to students when they are looking to enter into or rise in the workforce. Susan Gelberg’s and Joseph Chojnacki’s book, Career and Life Planning with Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Persons, discusses the obstacles faced by LGBT students at all stages of the job search process and gives some excellent tips on how to handle them.

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Quick Tips for Navigating Career Fairs

Bring many copies of your resume to submit to employers.

Do your homework. Review the online directory of employers and their job opportunities (http://www.marquette.edu/csc/students/documents/OnlineGuidebook_009.pdf). Having some background on an organization will allow you to ask very focused and specific questions. This impresses representatives because it shows a genuine interest in them.

Dress appropriately. First impressions are important. You will probably be most comfortable if you at least dress in “business casual.”

Prioritize the employers you’re most interested in. You may find it easiest to start with the employers in which you’re the least interested. This will allow you to hone your approach and to be most confident when you approach the employers you’re especially excited about.

Introduce yourself. Extend your hand, say “hello,” and state your name. Thank the representative for taking the time to be at the fair.

Take notes. Write down the names, telephone numbers, etc. of other staff in the organization whom you can contact later. Note specific employer information sessions, on-campus interviewing and projected hiring dates that will affect you.

Ask the representative for his/her card, and then promptly send a thank-you note. Having the business card of the representative serves three purposes. First, you have a direct contact with the organization, including the proper spelling of the representative’s name, direct telephone line, etc. Second, a brief thank-you note acknowledges the help they gave you and the time they took to visit. Third, sending thank-you notes is a good professional habit.

Respect employers’ materials/sample items. Some employers bring large quantities of print materials clearly intended for students to take. Other employers bring a few copies of print materials, sample products, etc. as displays at their tables. Always check with employers before taking materials from their tables.

Be courteous! In addition to representing yourself, you also represent your university. Demonstrate sensitivity to other students waiting to speak with employers by keeping your questions brief and offering to continue your conversation at a later time. Enjoy the fair and your interaction with the employers. Let your positive attitude show!

Source:

“Tips to get the most out of career fairs.” http://career.berkeley.edu/Fairs/fairsTips.stm.

Interview Questions: What happens when the interviewee gets to ask them

When we first think of the word ‘interview,’ we immediately picture a scene where an immaculately dressed employer asks question after impossible question, while you try your best to keep up. Of course, interviews primarily consist of questions asked by the interviewer, but there are crucial times during the interview when the person who asks the questions is you. Be aware of these times and do your best to prepare for them. Sylvia Landy’s Ditch the Flip-Flops has some excellent advice for those stressful moments in interviews when the reins are in your hands, and you can drive the conversation.

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Writing the Research-Focused Statement of Purpose: A Few Tips

Statements of purpose for research-oriented graduate programs can be daunting. The initial temptation is to write the kind of essay you wrote to get into an undergraduate institution, focusing on your personal history and experiences. While these are not irrelevant when applying to graduate school, they must take a backseat to your professional experiences and career goals. Often graduate schools are very specific about what they require on a statement of purpose, but sometimes they can be vague about what they would like to see. In the latter case, here are a few things to keep in mind and address in your statements of purpose (taken from Harvard psychology professor Marc Hauser):

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