Undecided about your major? Attend the Major/Minor Fair!

The Major/Minor Fair, hosted by the SGA, will be held on October 16th from 11am – 2pm on Physicians Promenade. This is an great opportunity for you, the undecided student, to learn about the variety of majors and minors offered at CofC. Also, it’s a chance for you to speak with faculty and other students about their respective major(s) – Ask questions, pick up some info, and who knows what else you may walk away with (freebies?!)…

Even if you’re not truly undecided, but have an idea about which major you intend to declare (or just haven’t committed to it on paper because you don’t know where the department is located) – this event is for you, too! Stop by and check it out on the 16th.

If you’re still having difficulty choosing a major after attending the fair, please contact your academic advisor in the Academic Advising and Planning Center or contact us at the Career Center for an appointment – we’re here to help!

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Networking 101

Networking is a valuable skill used in the job search. Through your connections you can get access to information about jobs and companies that is not located on the internet. Only a small percentage of jobs are posted on the Internet job databases (approximately 20%) so you must know people who know people in order to find out about jobs. But. how do you get started networking your contacts?

First, make a list of all the people you know. this includes all your friends, family, professors, supervisors, even your doctor and minister. Every connection you have is another lead on a potential job. Your asking yourself right now “But, how will my preacher help me get a job? I don’t want to become a minister!” Your minister or doctor might not have a job for you but they have connections to who might know of potential positions. Networking is like a spider web, one string leads to another and to another and so on. Before you know it your network is a hundred strong. After you make your list of connections you need to let them know what your looking for. Tell them specifics and give them your resume.

This two step process will then be repeated every time you make a connection. Do you want more information about networking? Check out the Career Center Help Guides for more ideas on establishing an effective network.

The Five (or six) Year Plan

Years ago the standard time frame for college of four years (hence the titles “Four Year College” and “Two Year College”) but fast forward to present day and a lot of students are spending upwards of five to six years in college. Is this wrong? It depends on the reasons.

If you are staying in college five or more years just goofing off, changing your major 10+ times, or taking extended periods of time off to relax at the beach, then, yes the five year plan is wrong! Not only is it not good for your (or your parents) budget but it is a waste of resources. You are taking up valuable space that another more interested student could be filling.

But if you are staying in college five or more years because you are experiencing all that you can plus gaining relevant skills/knowledge then go ahead. Most people who complete an extra degree, take an internship(s), or study abroad spend extra time earning their degrees.

So if some asks what year you are and you feel like hanging your head when you say, “Second year Senior,” don’t! Especially if it is because of meaningful experiences. Those experiences will help you in the long run, not only to gain real world experience/knowledge but to expand your horizons.

For more ideas about how to gain the most out of college (even if it will take a few more semesters, check out these links:

Don’t Just Sit There, Get Out There!

College is more than just classes! You may be thinking that this is odd for someone who works for the college to say but it is true. Through your classes you are getting the necessary educational background needed for the world but everything else you do in college is important too! Through clubs, greek life, sports, part-time jobs, and more you are gaining valuable life experiences needed to be a successful individual.

Many employers love to see extra-curricular experiences on a new college graduate’s resume because it shows that not only did the student not sit in their dorm room for four years but that they have other experiences/skills to be successful in the job. Activities can provide you with valuable communication, leadership, organizational, and team-work skills. Skills that are little harder to gain during traditional lecture classes.

At the College of Charleston there are over a hundred different clubs and organizations that you can become involved in. There are honors/academic, political, religious, social, and professional organizations on campus. And if you say that there is not an organization that meshes with your interests then you are lying to yourself. The College of Charleston offers a diverse mix of groups and if a college organization does not interest you then the Charleston community will have something that fits you.

So get involved, gain some great life experiences and skills that will benefit you in the future when trying to land your dream job.

Finding Happiness in the Workplace

Your mission should you choose to accept it is . . . . . . to find a career that you love!

Sometimes this is easier said than done but it should be everyone’s goal. As a child growing up you dreamed of doing something that you loved, anything from being a firefighter, a veterinarian, or a teacher (typical childhood dream jobs). When dreaming about those careers, you focused on the activities and how much fun you will have helping animals or teaching kids.

Now many of you always ask “How much money will I make?” Money is important (fact of life) but when selecting a career it should not be the final decision making factor. For example, say you are a outside sales associate making around $80,000+ a year but while you are making the “big” bucks have you thought about your life style? More than likely you work 60+ hours a week, you have the nice house, car and boat but when do you get to enjoy it. And while at the job you constantly deal with customer complaints and a competitive office space where you really don’t enjoy the people you work with. Does that sound like your dream job? (Note: some people will love that setting but it is not for everyone)

When choosing your career focus on what you can gain from it emotionally. Is it going to give you a sense of satisfaction? Will you look forward to it everyday? Can you see yourself doing that job for the next twenty years without wincing? If you answered yes to those questions then it is a good possibility that you have found the career for you, one you can enjoy.

Check out this article by K. Rawley in the Business Journal, “Enjoying your job can increase odds of success.”

So you might not have ended up a firefighter but hopefully you will find a career you enjoy.

Enjoying Your Job Can Keep You Smiling!

The Untried Source

When advising students about searching for jobs there is one source that I always recommend, especially if they wan to move to an area they are not in or not familiar with. This resource is the Chamber of Commerce. The majority of cities and regions have a chamber of commerce and a website to promote their membership. It is the membership of a chamber of commerce which will benefit the job hunter.

For example, say you are a recent graduate and you know you want to move to Seattle, Washington. You have some ideas about what type of work you want to do but do not know different companies or jobs available. You look on the large places like Monster.com and other huge job search places but you are still lost. But where else do you look for jobs? This is when I suggest the Chamber of Commerce for the region. The chamber will have a membership list of the different organization in the area.

For finding those Chamber of Commerce websites Google or another search engine is a great resource. But remember if you have a metro area you will have multiple offices to use. So go to the US Chamber of Commerce. It lists the different offices throughout the country (http://www.uschamber.com/chambers/directory/default.htm?n=tb)

Congrats Seniors! Now what are you going to do?

Congratulations Seniors!

You have made it through 4 (or more) years here at the College of Charleston, but where are you going now? At the Career Center we have a lot of resources that you can use to find the path best suited for you. Check out these resources and good luck in the future!

  • CISTERNonline: The Career Center’s online job search database. Here we list full- and part-time employment opportunities, plus internships.
  • Our web resources: We have a lot of websites that can be used in the job search. Some are specific to industry or geographical location but you should be able to find something to help you in the search.
  • The Resource Library: In our office we have hundreds of books that you can use (even after graduation) to research and locate different career fields.
  • Our Staff: Sometimes going alone is not always easy during the job search. While we will not hold your hand we can give you the skills and more resources that can help you be successful in the job search. Come by our office during drop-in hours Monday-Friday 1 pm to 4 pm or you can make an appointment.

And if you already have a job—Good for you! We would love to hear about your new job (click here). Or if you would like to help future College of Charleston students with their career development needs please become an Alumni Career Mentor (click here).