A Fresh Start

Well, after nine amazing years in the Park University Career Development Center, I will be leaving the office.  This new transition really has had me thinking about what it takes to move on, rather it be in a career, relationship or other life circumstance.  Below are a few thoughts that I have come up with:

  1.  Be true to yourself:  I know it sounds clichéd, but whether you are a new graduate or seasoned employee, take the time to examine your lifestyle, priorities, goals and family life every 6 months to a year to see if you are following the path that feels “right” for you.
  2. Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you:   It is scary to leave a job where you feel comfortable, like your colleagues and know that you do good work.  However, I passionately feel that life is about taking some risks and stretching yourself to see your potential, beyond just being “comfortable.”
  3. Seek out guidance:  When I need to process my thoughts, I regularly seek the guidance of colleagues and mentors who I know will provide me with options I might not be seeing myself.  A career counselor or therapist can be a great option if you are really feeling stuck in your decision making process.
  4. There are no wrong decisions in life…life is a continuum and we learn from every experience:  In the past nine years I have come across many students and alumni who feel that they have to make the “right” decision on their career or other life situation.  Well, I am here to tell you that you will make mistakes and your job or partner might and mostly likely will change on you and you will evolve as well.  So, keep in mind that if something isn’t working for you anymore, it is time to reevaluate and perhaps move on to something new.

It truly has been a pleasure working with the students, faculty, staff, alumni and employer partners affiliated with Park University during my time in the office.  I wish everyone the best of luck and I encourage all of you to be open to new possibilities and ways of thinking…you never know where these ideas might lead you!  Farewell!


In the most recent survey done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 63.2% of graduating seniors from the Class of 2013 were found to have participated in an internship or a cooperative education assignment during their time pursuing a bachelor’s degree. This number is up from 57% in 2008, the highest it had been reported until this year. (Class of 2013: Majority of Graduating Seniors Took Internship or Co-op During College Career, Nace, June 26, 2013).
The job market today is competitive, and as we’ve mentioned before in this blog, approximately 70% of jobs are never even posted outside of the company. An internship is a great way to get your foot in the door with a company. It’s an interview for a position, before the position is even available. So as the summer is winding down and you are starting to think about the upcoming school year, here are some things you can be doing if you are thinking of gaining experience through an internship in the coming year:
1. Create/edit/fine tune your resume and cover letter. The career development website at Park has online worksheets that walk you through the process if you need to get started, or just need some tips to make it look better. We also have physical handouts in the office, or you can make an appointment with a career counselor for help.
2. Start doing some research on companies. Look into the companies you are interested in working for. Do they already have an internship program in place? If not, you can still contact them and see if they are interested in having an intern. If they are, they can contact us and we can help them set up an internship program. Be proactive about your internship. There is a great chance it will end up being your first job out of college, so it’s worth the effort!
3. Network. If you haven’t already joined LinkedIn, do so now and start making connections with professors, employers, your friends, your parents friends, anyone who may be able to connect you to a potential position in the near future. Join clubs and organizations within your chosen field. Start building your network now so that when you are ready to start looking for an internship or a job, it is already in place. People are mainly finding jobs through people they know.
4. Look into events. There are many free events you can attend, both on campus and in the community, which will help you gain knowledge on internships and organizations. Here at Park we are doing an internship workshop on September 25th in the McCoy Meetin’ House. The workshop is held every fall and spring. There will be other workshops on resume building, cover letters, interviewing strategies, etc. throughout the year.

You have had your resume looked at by a professional.  You are online looking at job postings and sending several resumes out every week, maybe even every day!  If this describes you, the most important part of the job search is missing in your regular routine, and that is NETWORKING!  Some of you may hear the word networking, or networking event, and run screaming in the other direction.  Networking may seem like a scary thing to some.  To others, you may not see the value in it.  Research tells us that between 60-80% of jobs are found through personal relationships,” says John Bennett, director of the Master of Science at the McColl School of Business.  Even more surprising, it is estimated that about 70% – 80% of jobs are never even posted outside of the company, according to Matt Youngquist, the president of Career Horizons.  Most people are still hunting for jobs by looking for openings posted online via networks like careerbuilder.com and indeed.com, yet research is showing that a large majority of companies are hiring trusted friends and acquaintances.  So there is REAL VALUE in networking!!

If you have been avoiding networking due to the fear or dread of marketing yourself, or you are merely looking to gather some information on how to do so gracefully, the following link is to an article I came across on LinkedIn recently on how to master the art of in-person networking.  http://blog.hubspot.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-non_awkward-effective


LinkedIn is a great way to start networking yourself online, but the art of networking in person is just as important, if not more so.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding networking at cfalmer@park.edu.  Also, we will have networking events throughout the school year, so be sure to check our webpage often at http://new.park.edu/career-development-center/index.html

Hello 2013 graduates and congratulations!  As I thought hard about a message to write for tips as you move forward in your career, I spent quite a bit of time on LinkedIn for inspiration.  While perusing the site, I noticed that there are many graduation speeches from esteemed professionals that are fabulous already…so instead of re-inventing the wheel, I am suggesting that you all read some of the motivating speeches on LinkedIn.  If you don’t already have an account, let this serve as your subtle encouragement to get one. 

As a teaser, below is one of the speeches from Zillow CEO, Spencer Rascoff, which I thought was educational and informative.


Good luck and please remember that the Career Development Center is available for you for all of your career needs!

A college degree is important. But in many cases, a college degree alone is not enough to prepare you for the work force. And employers know that. In a recent AAC&U survey, more than half of employers indicated that recent college graduates should have “both field-specific knowledge and skills and a broad range of skills and knowledge” (Supiano, Employers Want Broadly Educated New Hires, Survey Finds). They encourage students to get a broad education, and to gain real world experience while they are in college. An option here at Park University would be to pursue an interdisciplinary degree where you can combine courses from different minors to form one degree. But how can you avoid the pitfall of graduating from college with nothing but a degree? How can you separate yourself from all of the other thousands of students who will also be graduating at the same time with a degree? You can look into internships for a start. If you are a sophomore, you should be looking for an internship for your junior year and another for your senior year. For questions on how to do that, you can email me, Casey Falmer, at cfalmer@park.edu. Another option is to start volunteering. Certain degrees, such as psychology, social work, education and nursing, look for volunteer work on a recent grads resume. Volunteering is also a good way to get in front of those who you would like to work with in the future. If volunteering is not an option, think about that part-time or full-time job you need while you are getting through school. Try to get a job somewhere where you would like to work after graduation. If an opening comes up, many times companies will send it out within the company first before opening the position up to the public. Just working at that business will provide you first access to jobs.
Employers should be training their new hires, but if they can find potential candidates that are already partially trained due to their experience, those candidates will often get pushed to the top of the list. Marcy L. Reed, the president for Massachusetts for National Grid, a gas and utility company states “in a world where young people communicate by text message, new employees must learn somewhere the skills that will help them make a sales pitch or a presentation to a board” (Supiano, Employers Want Broadly Educated New Hires.

According to an online survey of 972 people conducted by corporate trainer VITALSMARTS (Provo, UT) many people recognize what is holding them back in their careers. In one recent survey, 97% of the participants identified at least one career-limiting habit that prevents them from reaching their full potential at work. Hopefully, you will not recognize yourself in one of the following five bad habits:
1. Unreliability – Do you deliver on your promises?
2.The “it’s not my job syndrome” – Those who get ahead are seen as team players whether that means making the coffee or picking up the donuts – you get the idea!
3.Procrastination – If you did not figure this one out in school, those behaviors can follow you into the workplace.
4.Resistance to change – We live in a world that is constantly changing and those who are unwilling or unable to adapt, will not rise to the top of any organization.
5.Bad attitude – Employers can teach you their job, but they cannot teach you to be interpersonally effective. So smile and embrace a “can do” outlook.
Other less mentioned behaviors which survey participants identified as limiting their career included disrespect for management, short-term focus, selfishness, passive/aggressive tendencies instead of open and honest communication, and avoidance of risk.
So what can you do to avoid these pitfalls?
1. Get feedback from people you trust and be open to constructive criticism.
2.Create a vision or goal for your career. Be proactive in identifying steps to realize your vision.
3.Seek professional development. Training programs, books, online webinars, and conferences may all provide additional information and insights. Make these a personal priority when budgeting, if your employer does not offer these types of advancement opportunities.
4.Associate with positive role models. Don’t spend your time with people who do not inspire you, motivate you, or share your goals.
5.Get a mentor. A professional who is currently working in your field can provide valuable insights for your future.
If you are a college student, graduate or alumni, your career center can assist you with all of your career development needs.

In Career Development, we emphasize job seekers highlighting their hard skills, or those specific teachable skills that can be defined and measured. In an interview, however, a large part of why one person may be hired over another is likeability. Employers want to hire someone who can not only do the job well, but who they would also enjoy working with and spending their work day with. Miriam Salpeter of U.S. News & World Report recently wrote an article, 5 Soft Skills You Should Always Bring Up In An Interview. Click here to read about the 5 soft skills you should bring up in an interview, and tips on how to do so.  There is also a great video at the bottom of the article on how to get employers to look at your resume. 

To add to that, I recently heard from an employer that they did not go with one qualified applicant because the applicant kept yawning and putting their head in their hands.  Make sure, when you go in for an interview, that the interviewer knows you are excited about the position.  Being qualified does not guarantee the job is yours.