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 0240fb0[2]GUEST BLOGGER: Joe McCarthy, Career Coach, Center for Career Education & Professional Development at Providence College. Joe received a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from the Jesuit University of Scranton and an M.A. in Holistic Counseling from Salve Regina University. He spent many years as a Human Resources professional in the insurance, banking, chemical and textile industries. He has been married for 49 years to his wife, Marlene, and they have 4 children and 4 grandchildren.
I can still remember the night very clearly. My wife and I were sitting at the kitchen table of our campus apartment at the University of Florida. We had just returned from dinner (OK – giant hot dogs and fries!) at King’s Food Host, an off-campus fast-food restaurant where I was spending my non-study time as a busboy. King’s had a “remarkable” benefit program – employees and their families could eat for half-price. We were among the most regular visitors.

Anyway, on our kitchen table, there was a gigantic book about the size of the old Yellow Pages. In the era before the Internet, this was the job search bible for students. Each page was devoted to an individual company’s advertisement that shared information about the company and highlighted available jobs. My wife and I were checking out the jobs and deciding where I should MAIL my resume.

One of the ads caught my wife’s eye. The page showed a very modern, good-looking building in Philadelphia. I can still hear my wife’s words, “Wouldn’t it be great to work in that beautiful building”? I recollect agreeing that it would be a good place to work, but immediately discarded the idea because the ad was for jobs in a chemical company and I was studying counseling. But, my wife persisted, so I figured nothing would be lost by sending my resume, and off it went. What a surprise when – a few weeks later – I was contacted for an interview and offered an entry level job in Labor Relations.

As I recall this experience, a few lessons come to mind. First, there are many jobs that are unrelated to a student’s major – so be open to a variety of diverse opportunities that may seem to be totally unrelated to what you have studied. And second, take advantage of some “out of the box” thinking in your job search.

Of course, use the many traditional job search resources, including eFriars, networking via LinkedIn/Friarlink and friends/families/faculty, social networking sites, on-campus recruiting, alumni contacts, career fairs, employer websites, meeting with a Career Coach in Slavin 108, etc.

But, at the same time, do some brainstorming and try out different approaches in your search for a job. Here are a few “o-o-t-b” ideas. I am sure you can identify many others that are more creative.

  • The list of organizations participating in the PC Career Expo on March 16, 2016 in Peterson, will be listed in eFriars in advance of the Expo. Identify 3 companies that are of special interest and send a cover letter/resume by mail to the President of each and indicate your strong interest and that you are looking forward to meeting with the company rep at the Career Expo.
  • Prepare a second page to attach to your resume. Include a list of 6 major strengths that you possess with two bullet points indicating how you use each strength.
  • Check out Market Gauge in the Business section of the New York Times and send a resume to the HR VP of one of the ten companies at the top of the Most Active Stock List and one of the companies on the Top Gainer Stock List.
  • On a monthly basis get together with 3 students for an hour and discuss successes and challenges in your job searches – learn from each other.
  • Identify 3 PC graduates of the Class of 2014 who are on LinkedIn and send them a note asking if you can forward your resume to them so that they can share it with their manager and HR Department.
  • Send a letter/resume to the Principal of your high school thanking her/him for the education you received and indicating how it has impacted your college experience and the type of job you are seeking.

One of the keys to an effective job search is using a variety of resources. Combining traditional job search tools with a few out of the box approaches will enhance your opportunity for achieving the success that you deserve.

Tips to Handle the Holiday Interrogation

While most students are looking forward to home cooking and a break from classes, there is a downside to going home for the holidays.  The dreaded questions from well-meaning family members about what you’re going to do (insert “with your major?” “this summer?” “after graduation?” “with your life?” here) can’t be avoided. And while it starts to feel less well-meaning and more accusatory the more you are asked, hopefully the tips below can help you manage.


Question: What are you going to do with your (fill in the blank) major?

Answer: Use the knowledge, skills and great GPA I gained from it to find a job I’m just as interested in. As you probably know, statistics show that major doesn’t necessarily define your career path. It’s really a combination of academics, experience, skills and passion that get you hired. And while I’m not entirely sure where I’ll end up just yet, I’m confident that my academics have given me the knowledge and skills I’ll need to succeed in the workplace, and more importantly in life.


Question: Are you going to do an internship this summer?

Answer: Yes, I’m currently searching for one. Actually, since you are a working professional, you might have some friends or colleagues who might be looking for an intern. I’ll email you a copy of my resume in case you think of someone you can forward it to on my behalf. If you think they’d be open to an informational interview, please email me their contact information and I’ll set one up. The more people I connect with on this, the better my chances are of finding an internship I want, so I’d really appreciate your help with this.


Question: Do you have a job yet?

Answer: (If the answer is yes, take time to ENJOY this moment! You earned it!)











Alternate Answer: No, but I’m currently working with a Career Coach at school to help me find one. (Make an appointment with a Career Coach in Slavin 108 as soon as you get back to school so this isn’t a lie!) If you hear of any openings, please let me know, as I’m exploring many options.


Question: Was it worth paying all that money for a liberal arts degree?

Answer: Yes. In addition to the critical, rhetorical, teamwork, leadership and communication skills I gained, which is what employers are looking for, I also gained a personal and professional network of fellow friars that are willing to help me now, and in the future, to be the person I want to be. “Forever a Friar” is more than just a catchy phrase for us!


Enjoy the break and let the questions begin!



It’s all about balance…but some days I think I have vertigo

I have a love/hate relationship with my blog. I thoroughly enjoy writing them, sharing helpful resources, and reflecting on the development of our students from Orientation to Graduation.  When I met with Jen, whom I fondly refer to as the “blog police” to set up this blog, she gave me some fantastic ideas on how to keep it fresh and engaging well as ways to market it to my intended audience.  One of the things impressed upon me was the need to blog weekly to keep readers coming back. I walked out of that first meeting motivated, excited and educated, and eager to start blogging.

Let me be honest. It doesn’t take a lot of time to blog.  It takes a lot of time to blog well.  Two years later, I realize and can admit, I’m a bit of a slacker when it comes to blogging well.  I blog when I can, but not as much as I should. And when it’s been too long between blogs, I hear the blog police in my head telling me to get blogging!  So I blog again, vowing to do it more regularly.  Then, I open my email, go to a meeting (or 3), listen to my voice-mails, and see the piles of administrative work on my desk, and blogging regularly, or at all, once again goes out the window.

That’s when it hit me.  I’ve seen this scenario before. I’ve heard these types of excuses before. THIS is how the students feel during a career counseling appointment! I’m the “career police!” I share resources and encourage students to use them. I tell them to dedicate time to their internship and job searches despite how busy they are with school and activities. They leave inspired and excited about working on their career plan, using the resources and ideas they’ve just gained from our meeting. Then they get back to their rooms and they have homework to do, a class or meeting to attend, emails to answer, or an intramural game to win. Sound familiar? Different excuses, same issue. We’re all struggling to balance everything we should do, have to do and want to do. We know we should be spending more time on certain things, but we can’t always get there. But we have to keep trying.  I pledge to be a better blogger, in hopes that this might inspire you to find time to work on your career development. Even if it’s just forcing yourself to make an appointment with a career coach in Slavin 108, searching the job and internship listings in eFriars, or making yourself do a mock interview (offered every Friday in the Career Center).  We can do this!

Oh and I’m also looking for students to be guest bloggers to talk about their internships, or any other career related activity they’ve participated in…if anyone has the time…





Don’t Let the Rain Stop You From Finding Your Future

The Career Expo is finally here. You’ve seen the countdown on Twitter and on our sandwich boards so you know it’s here too. This event is big, it’s actually four fairs in one, because we listened when students said they were too busy to attend multiple career events in September and October. As a result the Career Expo features the Major/Minor Fair, the Internship Showcase, the Graduate School Fair and of course, the Career Fair. The staff in the Center for Career Education has spent months asking employers and graduate schools to sign up, promising them that they will meet the most prepared and impressive students they’ve ever seen. (That would be you.) They’ve asked faculty and students to work at the events that showcase majors and minors at PC and the internships they’ve completed. The staff has worked with vendors on the Expo’s set up in Peterson so that all organizations and representatives will be happy with their table placement because everyone wants a prime spot for optimum student traffic. They’ve solicited sponsors to help pay for the event and convinced students to volunteer to work at the event. They’ve worked with Safety & Security to figure out where 140 additional cars can be parked, which is no easy feat during construction. They’ve done all they can do to ensure a successful event for students to explore majors and minors, internships, graduate schools, and full time jobs. They even convinced recruiters to come to campus a day early to host “Resumania” so students can have their resumes reviewed all day today (9/29) in ’64 Hall. We are so ready for this campus wide event. Not even a little rain will keep our students away! You can feel the energy when you walk into Slavin 108.

Until yesterday. I swear I heard a collective groan reverberate throughout Slavin. That was the moment that the staff learned about the severity of Tropical Storm Joaquin. I can only compare it to the feeling a bride must get when she learns it’s going to rain on her wedding day.  Because while you know you can’t control the weather, deep down you also know it’s going to put a damper (pun intended) on your event. So now we’ve hired shuttles to drive around campus and give students rides to and from the Expo in Peterson.  We hope this will help students stay a bit drier as they make their way to the Expo.

You will have a decision to make tomorrow. Risk the rain and wind, and potentially find your future, or stay in your room, dry and warm, but just as confused and stressed out as you are today about what you’re going to major in, whether or not you want to go to graduate school, where you want to intern, and what you are going to do after graduation.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

EXPO Image_Blog

Welcome or Welcome Back!

It’s an exciting time to be back on campus, or to be on campus for the first time. Undoubtedly you will be getting advice from many people in your life about what you should be doing with this time.  I’m going to join the fray and share an article listing 11 things seniors should do to have a job by graduation. It’s great advice, but the title directs this advice to Seniors, which I think is a mistake. This is sage advice for students of all years and all majors. The good news is that if you start doing these things before senior year, you can do them at your own pace instead of trying to squeeze them all into your senior year around everything you’re doing.

And to help you get started, here’s three things I strongly encourage all students to do this September!

1. Activate your eFriars account

2. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook

3. Attend the Career Expo

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If you don’t know where to start, call us at 401-865-1290 and make an appointment with a Career Coach.

Don’t Wait…Slavin 108!

What Can I Do With A Liberal Arts Degree?

If you have even been asked (or asked yourself) “What can you do with a liberal arts degree?” take the time to read this article. It does a wonderful job of opening up the career possibilities that exist for you in today’s world of technology using the numerous skills and qualifications you’ve gained from your Liberal Arts degree!

I encourage all students regardless of their major, to  make an appointment this year with a Career Coach in Slavin 108 by calling 401-865-1290. Make the time to have a conversation about what you’re going to do with your degree. We can help you figure it out, or, if you’ve already figured it out, we can help you get there!

#Don’t Wait!


Are you communicating professionally this summer?

Being able to listen and speak to your supervisors and colleagues is an important part of being successful in your career. It will allow you to meet the expectations of your position, while helping you to build relationships and a professional reputation. Ultimately, having strong communication skills can lead to other opportunities in the future. So regardless of whether you are working as a camp counselor, caddy, office assistant or intern, be sure to communicate professionally.

Catch Up On Your Career Exploration This Summer

One of the most common reasons that students give us for not actively exploring careers is that they don’t have time during the school year. Now that the school year is over, use the upcoming summer months to examine potential careers. In addition to jobs and internships, informational interviewing is an extremely valuable tool to help you learn more about a career field or organization. If you follow the steps below, you’ll be able to conduct one informational interview a month and have three completed by the time you return to PC in the fall.

  1. Create a LinkedIn profile
  2. Use LinkedIn Alumni Pages to find alumni in a desired career field
  3. Connect via LinkedIn and ask to conduct an informational interview
  4. Set time/date for a phone or in-person informational interview (in person is always better!)
  5. Refer to the Networking and Informational Interviews guide in eFriars for help conducting the informational interview
  6. Show up on time, dressed nicely for interview, conduct interview, and thank them for their time
  7. Send follow up thank you note or email

The outcomes of an informational interview include learning about the preparation and education needed for a particular career field, gaining an understanding of the daily work that is done, and making a networking contact in that career field that may be very useful later on. If the interview results in turning a you away from that career path, that is still a very valuable learning experience. Don’t let disappointment overshadow the value in learning that a desired career field isn’t a fit for you after all.

The Center for Career Education is open all summer and students can call and speak to a Career Advisor for help with any of the above by calling 401-865-1290 and setting up a phone or in-person appointment.

Don’t Wait! Don’t let the summer go by without conducting at least one informational interview. You’ll be glad you did!


Don’t Wait! There’s still time to get help!

My niece is a junior at Salve Regina and she recently asked me for some resume advice, so I had her email me her resume so I could take a look.  I’m so glad she did.  She was still using the template she’d used back in high school and it didn’t do her any favors. It didn’t highlight the clinical rotations she’d done as a nursing student, nor the various jobs she’d held during and since high school. Sure it listed them, but it didn’t highlight the skills she’d gained from them. There is a big difference. If she had sent this version out to potential employers, I wonder what kind of response she would have gotten from them, if any. I re-formatted it, edited the statements, asked her questions and sent an improved version back to her, which she is currently working on.


But it made me stop and think.

How many seniors do I have out there in Friartown that are still using resume templates from high school, and like my niece, may not realize these templates aren’t doing them any favors? It pains me to think that they won’t have Jen’s instinct to reach out to someone for help. There’s no shame in not knowing how to do a resume. The shame is not asking for help and sending out a terrible resume that you don’t even know is terrible, and then wondering why you aren’t being considered for jobs. No one is born knowing how to write a great resume. Almost every professional you ask, will tell you they received some type of resume advice they incorporated along the way in order to improve their resume. And while you may not have an Aunt who reviews resumes for a living like Jen does, you do have 8 Career Advisors in Slavin 108 wanting, willing and able to help you. All you need to do is ask.

Come in during daily Quick Question hours with a resume or call 401-865-1290 to make an appointment with a Career Advisor today!

P.S. There is a resume guide in the Resource Library found on the home page of eFriars. And there is still plenty of time to get help before graduation!

Use the Resources Available to Take Control of Your Career Development

griffinGuest Blogger: Griffin Young ’15. Griffin is a senior management major with a minor in Labor-Management Relations. He is also a Career Assistant in the Center for Career Education and Professional Development, Chair of the 2015 Commencement Core, former Coordinator for New Student Orientation and member of the executive board for Special Olympics on campus. He is from Sandwich, MA on Cape Cod and is currently in his job search for an entry level role in the Human Resources Field.




Just before Providence got walloped with all this snow, the Center for Career Education put on three student-alumni Networking Nights in the hubs of Boston, New York, and one right here in Providence. Over 150 alumni participated, and 325 students used their networking skills to build connections with valuable alumni. In January there was an article in The Cowl titled “Expand the Network at Networking Nights: Provide More Connections for English Majors.” The article called attention to the lack of alumni that were in attendance at the Providence event that had careers for Liberal Arts majors. While it is imperative for the student body to let Institutional Advancement, the Center for Career Education and SAA know what it is they are looking for in these networking nights, we also have to recognize that it is ultimately the alumni’s decision to attend these events or not, and it is ultimately the students’ responsibility to take control of our own career development. If we don’t find what we want at one event, we need to seek out other resources and services that will help us. For example, we can use the services that the Career Education Center offers such as quick question hours, individual counseling appointments, the “how to” videos online, and so on. There are probably a lot more resources out there that the school has than you may think.

Networking is a much underutilized, yet extremely powerful tool that students can use at any stage in their college career. Now that the formalized Networking Nights have passed, there is still a plethora of ways that you can continue (or start networking). Here are five ways I’ve built my network, in addition to the networking nights:

  1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is arguably one of the best tools out there that can help you network your way into a job. The “Find Alumni” function can sort alumni based on geographic region, company, job type, and even their undergraduate major. This list of people can be used for informational interviewing or for potential job shadows. If you are thinking to yourself: “That’s so awkward! Why would I message someone I don’t know about a job that they have?” Take my word for it, it’s not like that at all. As much as you and your friends love PC, chances are that the alum loved PC just as much and most of them love to hear from current PC students. Putting yourself out there and asking the alum for career advice or asking to shadow them to see if you would like their job or not, shows your commitment to taking control of your career. Who knows, it may lead to an internship or a full-time offer down the road!

Because I’ve had an internship in human resources, some of my friends have asked me if recruiters even look at LinkedIn profiles, or if that’s just a myth.” Well, it isn’t a myth. At my internship, the company’s entire recruiting strategy revolved around LinkedIn. Very rarely do they post jobs and have people apply to them online. Having a robust and comprehensive profile on LinkedIn will put you at the top of the list when recruiters are searching for candidates. This past week alone, I have had two different recruiters reach out to me about potential opportunities for full-time positions after graduation. If you need any pointers on using LinkedIn, stop in for Quick Question hours or check out this link on building a LinkedIn profile. If you need a professional picture for your profile, the Spring Career Expo on March 4th from 2-5 in Peterson Center is offering free headshots by a professional photographer to the first 200 students who want one!

  1. Winter Break Shadowing Program

I had the opportunity to shadow two PC alums over this past winter break. This program is a great opportunity that gives you the chance to not only build connections with alumni, but also figure out if the career that you thought you wanted was all you hoped and dreamed for, or on the other side, if it was not what you thought it was going to be. Regardless of the outcome, both results are OK! I have had both results this past break, which has ultimately helped be narrow my job search down to a career path that I now know I want.

  1. Volunteer at PC

Have you ever been asked by your professors to help outside of class with a special project or research? Or asked you to be a part of a panel during an Accepted Students Day? Or maybe even asked to volunteer at an event off-campus? Whatever it may be, always say yes! You may meet someone there that you get talking to that may have a lead for a job or internship. This past weekend I was selected to speak on a panel of seniors for the Career Education Center. At the end, one of the parents came up to me, who coincidentally was an alum, and told me about an opportunity that he had at his company. Had I not been at that panel, I would not have had the chance to be approached. Showing that you want to be as involved as you can and availing yourself to opportunities like these just may lead you to your next job or internship.

  1. Get involved

Every year seniors graduate, right? Right. They are also involved in various clubs and organizations throughout campus, right? Right. Of those seniors, some of them may be in a career field that interests you immediately after they graduate, right? Right. The more you are involved on campus, the more chances that you get to meet people outside your class year and major, with which you might share a similar interest. As a result of my own involvement in various clubs, I have gained connections at different companies, including EMC, Liberty Mutual, and at a large hospital in Boston. The people that I have met in those organizations have given me the opportunity to network and get my foot in the door at each of those companies.

  1. Don’t forget the people you know at home

Over Christmas Break, I was lucky to see most of my extended family for a few days. One of my uncles, who I do not see that often, is a Vice President at a large, multi-national company. He asked me what my plans were after graduation and to forward my resume so he could send it to some people he knew. Although I did not pursue the opportunities that he was able to get me into, it was good for me to remind myself to utilize my family and friends from home as I look for opportunities after graduation.

For those of you who attended the Providence Networking Night, the keynote speaker, Mary Fox ’84, told a story about how she got one of her jobs while hosting a pizza party at her house. One of her son’s friend’s parents started talking to her and it was brought up that she was in transition between jobs. Low and behold, she landed the job. You never know what type of interaction may lead to a job. Whether it be online, by shadowing an alum, volunteering at an event, in a student club, or from a pizza party, be prepared to give your “elevator speech” because who knows, you may be talking to your future employer!

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