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Volunteering – Making a Difference

Posted by: on April 22, 2016   |Comments (0)|Career Development

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.

 

During my eight years working in PC’s Center for Career Education and Professional Development I have reviewed hundreds of remarkable resumes. I have always been impressed by the great variety and impact of the volunteer experiences of our PC students. Habitat for Humanity, Best Buddies, Relay for Life, tutoring students in after school programs, engaging with nursing home residents, helping HIV/AIDs affected children in South Africa, helping at Youth Pride — these are just a few examples.  The list of volunteering activities is amazing and just goes on and on. The mission of Providence College is definitely being lived out in the lives of PC students.

Sometimes the question is asked, “What are the benefits of volunteering”? My most typical answer is to suggest that the questioner should simply ask a volunteer. There are as many diverse answers as there are volunteers. Each person’s experience is unique.

I think of one of my own early volunteering experiences – spending a few hours on Saturday afternoons visiting with prisoners at the Berks County Jail in Pennsylvania. I can recollect being very anxious during my first visit. Just going through the prison’s security area into the locked enclosure was stressful for me. But I quickly deserted my dark mood once I began to chat with the inmates.  Listening to their stories and understanding their hopes and dreams of being reunited with their families made me aware of how many things we had in common.  I found myself coming out of my shell, talking about my limited life experiences and listening to advice shared from very different perspectives. There is no doubt in my mind that I gained more than I gave during those Saturday visits. We topped off our relationships by setting up two basketball games with my ragtag team and a very good prison team (they whipped us both times!).

Yes, volunteering helps us gain a better understanding of ourselves and others.  It is a chance to give and receive. As a student, the intent is definitely to give of yourself to others (the true self-giving love of Agape). One key result is the relationship that develops.

And there are broader –perhaps more pragmatic – impacts. When a recruiter reviews your resume or chats in an interview about your volunteer experience, you are providing clear insights into your character and your values. These are very important in hiring decisions.

So, I encourage you to continue your volunteering and perhaps expand your horizons. If you are a Senior who is beginning a new job this summer, see if the organization has some special volunteering opportunities and sign on. And Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors, consider trying a new volunteer experience during the summer. Think out of the box and explore a volunteer experience that will enable you to do something that, perhaps, has never been on your radar screen. Make this a summer to remember!

GUEST BLOGGER: Joe McCarthy, Career Coach, Center for Career Education & Professional Development at Providence College. Joe received a B.A. in... MORE

Despite what you may hear, Liberal Arts Degrees are still a safe bet!

Posted by: on April 1, 2016   |Comments (0)|Uncategorized

You may find this handy the next time someone asks you why you chose to get a liberal arts degree!

As you interview for jobs and internships, don’t be afraid to communicate the value of your liberal arts degree to an employer. He or she may not realize all the skills you’ve gained from your degree, so don’t hesitate to list them!

 

You may find this handy the next time someone asks you why you chose to get a liberal arts degree!... MORE

Invest More Than Money in Your Education

Posted by: on February 8, 2016   |Comments (0)|Career Development

There’s no denying that higher education is expensive. It was much cheaper when I went to college, yet I still graduated with plenty of student loan debt. At the time, it never occurred to me that paying off student debt was going to be difficult, or take so long, or keep me from getting things like a car, or a place to live. I’m sure my parents tried to warn me about that, but all I could focus on was the present, telling myself I’d deal with the rest later. I know many students today are going through the same thing, taking on student debt without realizing how this can affect their lives after college. As I was once in your shoes, I know that there’s very little I can say to change that. What I do hope to influence however, is not necessarily how much debt you take on, but how much you invest in yourself while at college. Investing in yourself now, will make life after college a little more secure. Your time is the one thing you have control over when it comes to investing in your education, so why not get the best return on it?

What if I said to you, I’m going to give you $50,000 to do whatever you want with, while you’re a student at PC, but you do have to do something with it. When you graduate, you get to put it all towards starting your life after college. How will you invest that $50,000?

A. Will you spend it all on great trips, clothes, food, entertainment etc. and tell yourself it was worth it because you had the time of your life?

B. Will you make thoughtful investment choices and walk away with even more than you were given?

C. Will you need to put it towards the tuition bill for your education?

Now let’s replace dollars with time.

I’m going to give you 50,000 minutes (that’s almost 5 weeks) to do whatever you want with, while you’re a student at PC, but you have to do something with them.  When you graduate, you get to keep it and put towards starting your life after college. How will you invest those 50,000 minutes?

A. Will you spend it all on great trips, clothes, food, entertainment etc. and tell yourself it was worth it because you had the time of your life?

B. Will you make thoughtful investment choices and walk away with even more than you were given?

C. Will you need to put it towards the tuition bill for your education?

Choice A is a common way of thinking while at college. It’s the “these are the best 4 years of my life and I want to make the most of them” mentality. Unfortunately, as most of us who have already graduated know, you have the best years of your life still ahead of you, potentially doing something you love for a living, or finding the love of your life, or having a family, or serving others in a way that impacts lives, or improving your community, society, country, or the world, or traveling the world, or all of the above, just to name just a few options. Unfortunately there’s no way to know how great these things are until you’ve experienced them, so choice A will always be a default choice for many students.

Choice B is about investing your time wisely while at PC. It’s about taking the time to reflect on yourself and what you like, what you are good at. It’s about exploring options and discovering opportunities. It’s about figuring out what skills you need to do the things you like and figuring out how to obtain them. Finally, it’s about putting those skills to practice. This way you will walk away with more than just a degree in (fill in the blank). You will walk away with a focus, skills and experience. All of which you will need for life after college, just like transportation or a place to live.

Choice C is a very real choice that some students have to make, in that their time is very limited, because they are working to pay their way through college. Don’t feel badly about that. Having those jobs during college are actually making both choice B and C. You are likely gaining skills and networking while you work at those jobs during your college years. Just be sure to make the most of those opportunities and you will be well prepared for life after college even without the extra 50,000!

Fortunately if you are looking for help with your investment choices, we have “Time Portfolio Managers”, also known as Career Coaches, in Slavin 108, waiting to discuss your options for diversification and help you make the right decisions for your future. Call 401-865-1290 to make an appointment today! #Don’tWait!

There’s no denying that higher education is expensive. It was much cheaper when I went to college, yet I still... MORE

JOB SEARCH OUTSIDE THE BOX

Posted by: on December 11, 2015   |Comments (0)|Internship & Job Search

 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.

 GUEST BLOGGER: Joe McCarthy, Career Coach, Center for Career Education & Professional Development at Providence College. Joe received a B.A. in... MORE

Tips to Handle the Holiday Interrogation

Posted by: on November 21, 2015   |Comments (0)|Networking

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!)

i-got-a-job

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

While most students are looking forward to home cooking and a break from classes, there is a downside to going... MORE

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

Posted by: on October 16, 2015   |Comments (0)|Career Development

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…

 

 

 

 

I have a love/hate relationship with my blog. I thoroughly enjoy writing them, sharing helpful resources, and reflecting on the... MORE

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

Posted by: on September 29, 2015   |Comments (0)|Uncategorized

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

The Career Expo is finally here. You’ve seen the countdown on Twitter and on our sandwich boards so you know... MORE

Welcome or Welcome Back!

Posted by: on August 28, 2015   |Comments (0)|Uncategorized

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

EXPO Image_Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

It’s an exciting time to be back on campus, or to be on campus for the first time. Undoubtedly you... MORE

What Can I Do With A Liberal Arts Degree?

Posted by: on August 13, 2015   |Comments (0)|Career Development

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!

 

If you have even been asked (or asked yourself) “What can you do with a liberal arts degree?” take the... MORE

Are you communicating professionally this summer?

Posted by: on June 1, 2015   |Comments (0)|Career Development

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.

Being able to listen and speak to your supervisors and colleagues is an important part of being successful in your... MORE