College Tours: Know Before You Go

By Rickie Herrera
Career Development Coordinator, Altamonte Springs Campus

Often Seminole State College is not the end of a student’s college career, it is just the beginning. If you plan on transferring to a university after completing your general education from Seminole State College there are some important steps to take. The first step is to declare a major and find out what universities offer that program. The next step would be to compile a list of possible schools and schedule tours to visit those campuses. Taking a college tour can give you a firsthand look into life at the college/university you are considering and help you determine if the institution suits your personality, interests, and career goals.

mapGoing on a college tour and visiting a campus is beneficial because it allows you to determine whether or not you can picture yourself attending that particular university for the next few years of your life. Your education should be exciting, fun, and an investment in your future, therefore you want to be as prepared and as knowledgeable as possible when making this potentially life changing decision.  In addition, college tours will provide you with the necessary information to help make the transfer process easier. Some topics usually discussed during a college tour include financial aid, admissions, career services, housing, scholarships, student life, academic programs and associated program requirements, and testing/assessment. In addition, often times college tours give you the opportunity to engage with current students at that college/university. This is a wonderful time to ask questions regarding the college experience.

You can often schedule a college tour by simply contacting the admissions department of the institution you are considering attending. The Career Development Center is also planning group college tour events, so make sure to check out our events calendar for these opportunities.

 

 

 

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Internships: Not Just about Getting Coffee

coffee cupIf you think internships are all about getting coffee and making copies, you’re wrong. Internship or cooperative education (co-op) experiences should provide you with an opportunity to gain real world experience in your field. According to the Job Outlook 2016 produced by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 64.2% of employers prefer to hire candidates with relevant work experience. Likewise, 57% of employers prefer students gain this relevant experience through internship/co-op opportunities. It’s not surprising then that, “those serving internships/co-ops enjoy a distinct advantage in the job market over those who lack such experience. Overall, 56.5% of students who performed an internship/co-op received at least one job offer” (NACE, 2015 Student Survey).

Simply put, completing internship/co-op experiences can put you at a distinct advantage over your peers and give you the relevant skills employers want. Even if you don’t land a job with your internship/co-op employer, you have now had an opportunity to expand your network and build your resume. In addition, internships/co-ops can help you solidify your career goals and put theories learned in the classroom to practice in the real world.  In summary, here are our top  10 reasons to do a co-op/internship:

Top 10 reasons to do a co-op/internship

  1. Learn about the career you’re interested in
  2. Put theories learned in the classroom to practice in the real world
  3. Build your resume—gain relevant experience before you graduate
  4. Get an edge in a competitive job market
  5. Network with future employers/colleagues
  6. Possibly land a full-time job
  7. Enhance your job related skills
  8. Build confidence and competence in your field
  9. Earn college credit*
  10. Possibly get paid

*Wondering about #9…so how do you earn college credit? Check out the steps to get started on our website.  

Once you have determined you meet the eligibility requirements to complete an internship/co-op experience, you can now start searching for, and applying to, opportunities. We recommend that you start by making an appointment with a career counselor via Career Link to have your resume reviewed. If you do not already have a resume, or it’s been awhile since you have updated it, please view the resume resources on our website for guidance. Career Link is also the best place to start your internship/co-op search. In addition to over 300 job postings from our employer partners, you will find resources, such as the A to Z database, that can help you research companies and find further opportunities.

 

Temporary Can Be Extraordinary

 

People working

The U.S. temporary staffing industry grew 6% in 2015 and is expected to grow  another 5% in 2016 according to a report published by Staffing Industry Analysts. Temporary employment is a path to a new career that is often overlooked by students, however there are several benefits to temporary employment:

  • “Try before you buy.” Naturally, this is a good opportunity to try the company, before you make a full-time commitment.  Here is your chance to see the company from an insider perspective.  You get to see the work environment, the nature of the position, and the perks, or not-so-many perks, that come with working in that type of role.
  • New projects. Usually temporary or contractual professionals are assigned projects and not all projects will be the same.  This is a great way to add to your resume by demonstrating your ability to adapt to changes in the workplace.
  • Short-term employment. Not all bad, if you want the flexibility to go back to school or spend more time with family, while keeping your skills current and updated.
  • Varied work environment. Sometimes depending on the type of job, it is possible to work in different industries, which increases your knowledge-base and value in this type of economy.
  • Expands your network. This is a good “foot in the door” approach to a permanent opportunity, but also a great way to meet people in different departments and in the organization itself.  With that being said, be sure to act professional and treat this position, as though it were a permanent role, because it could very well become permanent.

A quick Google search of staffing agencies in Central Florida returned dozens of results. Just remember, when working with a staffing agency you, as the job candidate, should not be asked to pay for services.

 

 

 

Career Panels Give Students a First-Hand Look

This semester the Career Center will be offering six Career Panel events to help students learn about future career paths, job opportunities, and ways to gain experience in their field. Each Career Panel is unique and will feature three to six panelists from a variety of career fields sharing first-hand knowledge, advice, challenges,and tips pertaining to their area of work. This is the second year in which the Career Development Center will hold career panels. More than 270 students attended sessions during the Fall and Spring Terms last year, many of whom said they found the panels to be helpful and informative.

Each event is two hours in length, however students are welcome to come and go as needed. The first hour is a Q&A session with the panelists and the second hour is reserved for networking and refreshments. The networking hour is a great opportunity to speak to panelists personally about their career paths and opportunities that exist with their individual companies. Not sure how to network? Check out this handy infographic for a crash course.

Career panels for Spring 2016 include:

Individual event pages will be updated with panelist information as the events get closer, so check back for more details.

 

Tips for Visiting the Career Center

"Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do" sign

If you have visited our website and Career Link but still have questions about your career and job search, it might be time to visit us in person. But, do you know how to make the most out of your visit to the Career Development Center? Here are some tips to help you:

Visit during walk-in hours. Walk-in service hours are now offered at the Sanford/Lake Mary    Campus Monday – Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Staff is available during this time to answer basic questions, help you utilize career resources, and  provide resume reviews.

Schedule an appointment. If you can’t visit during walk-in hours  at Sanford/Lake Mary, please schedule an appointment. Career Development Center staff are available at every campus; appointments can be scheduled through Career Link. All currently enrolled students automatically have a Career Link account created. Visit the homepage for login instructions.

Update your Career Link profile. Prior to your visit, log into your Career Link account and make sure your information is up-to-date. Completing this step prior to your appointment will save time and will ensure your  appointment runs smoothly.

Show up on time. In the professional world promptness is expected. If you arrive late to a job interview or work, your chances of getting and keeping employment are slim. Start good practices while in college.

Know what to ask. We can offer you our expertise and numerous resources, but we need to know what YOU need.  Do you need help finding employment? Picking a major? Transferring to another college? Check out this article for some helpful ideas: 7 Questions to Ask Your Career Counselor

Pay attention and take notes. If you have prepared before your appointment, you probably have a lot of questions and we are guaranteed to have a lot of answers. Treat this experience just like you would a class lecture and take notes so you can better utilize the information provided after your appointment.

Follow through. Just because your appointment is over doesn’t mean you are done. Follow through with the information we have given you when it’s still fresh in your mind. If you wait till next semester to update your resume, it is likely you have forgotten much of our suggestions.

 

Employer Spotlight: CFE Federal Credit Union

CFE LogoFounded in 1937 by 23 educators, CFE Federal Credit Union serves over 148,000 members. With more than $1.5 billion in total assets, CFE offers its members an array of financial products and services at 22 full-service branches, five high school branches, and 42 non-surcharge ATM locations. Anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake Counties may become a member. Qualified businesses and other entities may join as well. CFE is the Preferred Credit Union for Seminole State College. To learn more about CFE visit their website. 

We thank CFE for supporting the career development of Seminole State students.

Job Searching During the Holidays

You might get a break from classes during the holidays; but if you are like most students, this doesn’t mean your calendar will be empty. If you are looking for a job or internship, it’s easy to let the merriment of the season distract you; however the holidays are a great time to continue (or begin) a job search. The end of the year is prime time for new job openings. Contrary to popular belief, employers are still hiring during the holidays and in fact, there are some advantages to applying during the holiday season. For instance, other job seekers might be taking this time off from the job search resulting in a less competition for savvy job seekers who continue their search. In addition, many people retire, or get promoted, and companies begin new budget cycles in the new year. While many of the available jobs during this season may be in retail or warehouse, these positions could be a foot in the door leading to better opportunities in the future.

Holiday parties and events also present an opportunity to create new contacts. This is a grHoliday Party Photo eat time for networking, so use these events to your advantage. This article by Payscale.com offers some great advice and tips for networking at holiday parties. Likewise, doing volunteer work can be a great way to expand your network and meet people who can help with your job search. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), found that, “Volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers”.  Remember, networking is still the number one way to find employment. Never discount any connection you have. Mention to your dear old Aunt Betty that you are looking for an internship in accounting and you never know what might happen…