Category: College Bound

50% of All Workers Are Part of The Gig Economy. Should You Be, Too?

The gig economy, also known as  portfolio work, is the way many people are earring a great living.  They work for themselves, lining up sequential jobs or multiple small jobs at the same time.

Many workers want full time gig work to create a balance between work and other aspects of their lives and many more earn extra money doing something they love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Make Your Own Schedule

Here are 10 ways that young workers can benefit from this lucrative segment of the economy.

  1. Your work hours can be flexible.  If you’re a night owl you can shift your work hours to match your biorhythms or use time off for interviews.
  2. You may be able to work from anywhere.
  3. The jobs you take on can be different from each other, allowing you to gain experience in a variety of aspects of your trade.
  4. Many jobs are short term or could be one project long.  If you don’t like an employer or a task, you know that there is a defined end to the job.
  5. Gig work is an opportunity to try out a career that you’re not certain is the one for you.
  6. Within industry standards, you get to set your own fees.  As you gain experience your income can rise rapidly.
  7. Think of  gigs as a paid internship.
  8. You can vary the kind of job you look for to round out your portfolio and create great resume material.
  9. Gigging builds a network. Each contact and person hiring you is a potential recommender and reference.
  10. Portfolio work forces you to learn how to promote yourself and sell your skills to anyone hiring.  You need  to understand how to do this even more when ready to work full time for one company or individual.


Questions?
 Call or text 610-212-6679; stephanie@accessguidance.com

Study Abroad: Make The Most Of Your Experience

Greek Orthodox Church
Greek Orthodox Church

You can learn a lot about the world by living for a time in another country.  Employers like to see cultural experience on a resume, especially if they do business with executives who were raised and educated abroad or have contracts with companies in other countries.

When you interview for an internship or job, talk about your time abroad in terms that highlight the value you bring to the position.

Academics: Plan ahead so that you will be able to take courses that meet your graduation requirements.  That might mean saving your electives and completing most of the courses in your major before you leave.  A little investigation may yield study abroad programs that will enhance your major field of study better than others.  When you return, find intersections between your studies and living abroad.

Cultural Exposure: Don’t spend your time with your room- or housemates.  Explore the town or city.  Get to know some of the locals by greeting and beginning conversations however limited your grasp of the language.  Unless advised otherwise, take public transportation or walk.  Make adults your target because they will have a broader perspective and a wider range or experience.  Take note of particular people or events that you will want to share with employers.

Just spending time outside the US isn’t enough to qualify for cultural literacy.  It’s necessary to actually experience the other culture as though it was going to become your own.

Here are some ways to make use of time spent living and learning to “Walk like an Egyptian“.

  1. Visit museums and locally important placesPunakha, Bhutan
  2. Attend festivals, services at the place of worship you favor, public events
  3. If its the custom in the country where you will be studying, learn to haggle and bargain
  4. Speak the language as often as possible.  It makes you look smart and friendly.
  5. Become familiar with customs and laws

Playing it Safe: The laws and customs vary from country to country.  Be respectful of the dress codes for work, school, and casual occasions so that you don’t embarrass yourself or you hosts.  In many places the short shorts and midriff baring tops worn at home are considered inappropriate.

Likewise, the law and customs regarding alcohol, pot and other drugs are different.  As a non-resident you may be judged harshly if you break a law that would earn you a warning if done at home.  Assume that you will not be able to get away with violations that a “townie” (local resident) teenager can slip under the radar.  In most countries you do not have the same rights-an attorney, presumption of innocence, lenience toward young adults- that Americans at home have.  The embassy may not be able to assist you if you get into legal trouble.

In Europe, teenagers may be permitted to drink beer and wine in public establishments.  Being 7 or 8 hours from home will not increase your tolerance for alcohol,  or reduce the likelihood of doing something you wouldn’t do sober.

Bottom Line:  Bring your most mature behavior with you.  Have a good time, meet lots of great people, prepare to use what you experience to help you in the job market.

elephant-241624_640If you are looking for a Gap Year experience outside the US or want to lean how to turn you Study Abroad into a job attracting tool, text or call Stephanie 610-212-6679; the email is stephaine@accessguidance.com.

When Should Your Resume Be Longer Than One Page?

As you undoubtedly already know, a resume gets 5-6 seconds of attention while the reader decides to pursue the candidate.  Or not.   Your resume needs to make the most of that brief time so make your document easy to read and easy to scan for important information.

When you have enough experience that the only way to cover the relevant details is to reduce the font or squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, its time to add a second page.  This may take 10 years of  relevant work.

To make the most of your resume real estate, check the list of your accomplishments to be certain that you’ve eliminated all but those that are needed for the position.  Choose your format: chronological or functional.  You may find that one allows you to include more data than the other.

Choose a basic font like Verdana or Times New Roman in 10-12 point.  Bullets will make the document more readable and scanable.

For those with a short employment history, internship experiences can highlight skills as effectively as those gained through pay-check.  Add projects or research done for college course work if it relates to the job you’re going for.  For instance, if you were a business major and took the marketing role on team projects, show what you did and the outcome.

Sometimes you have more than enough data to fill one page but not much for the second page.  Unless you have about 1/3 of the second page covered, try reworking your entries.  You might be able to expand on one or two to fill more space on page 2.

Perhaps you have a longer work history or your experience is with the government or higher education.  Instead of a resume you may be expected to produce a Curriculum Vitae, or CV.  You will include your publications and presentations, and projects along with work experience.

Length is less important than clarity and the ability of the reader to identify the details that match up with the requirements of the role on offer.

When you’re ready for a resume or CV, let me help you put your best foot forward.  Once you learn how to create the document, you’ll be able to update and make new resumes as needed.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.

Practice These Behaviors To Be Ready For A Promotion

Nine Behaviors of Highly Promotable People

Gloria was a thirty-something member of the wait staff at a local restaurant.  She had experience gained while in college and was now picking up extra money on the early morning shift.

It wasn’t long before she was asked to become shift manager which was timely when her “day job” had been eliminated.  Within six months Gloria was working the busiest shifts, managing the other wait staff and substituting for the general manager as needed.

Here are the behaviors that made Gloria valuable.

She treated the restaurant as her own business, paying attention to the bottom line and her opportunities to add to it. She didn’t wait to be asked to do something but jumped in when she saw a job that needed doing; she also offered to help others when they were slammed with customers.

Gloria also listened to the customers, getting feed back on service, menu items and preferences.  By watching food production and service, Gloria learned to identify when a miscue was about to produce a delay in prep or timely service.  She was able to divert difficulties before they became bigger snafus.

Gloria’s flexibility led directly to the smooth running of the front of the house in harmony with the rhythms of the kitchen.

Solid employees bring positive energy to the job.  Their commitment to the success of the business distinguishes them from clock-in-and-get-a-paycheck Janes and Joes and elevates them to highly-promotable status.

 

Looking For A Job? Low GPA? Try This

From the National Association of Colleges and Employers

Emmit from ITESM asked:

“At the beginning of my studies I had some personal problems that affected my performance, at the end I did very good on my courses but I have a bad GPA. How should I handle this situation on an interview?”

Hello Emmit. I am sure many other students can relate to your challenge of having a personal issue that affected their grades in college. You may be surprised to know that you are not alone and also relieved to hear that having a low GPA is not the end of the world for your job search.

According to a Fall 2016 National College Health Assessment, 50% of undergraduate students and close to 40% of graduate students in U.S. colleges found it traumatic or very difficult to handle academics in the past year. Many students have difficulty adjusting to college academic work and sometimes have added personal stresses

How Do I Find Employers that Don’t Screen for GPA When Hiring?

Although 70% of larger companies often screen for GPA when hiring (according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2017 Report) the good news is that many smaller employers do not screen for GPA when hiring. How do you find thITESM, ese employers?

  • Look at job postings to see what the application requires. If the application form requires a GPA or transcripts, that may be an indication that GPA matters (not necessarily in all cases).
  • Create a list of employers of interest and check in with your career service office at Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores (ITESM) to see which ones may not require a high GPA. Having worked in a college career service office for over 10 years, I had close relationships with many of the employers and their hiring requirements.
  • Conduct informational interviews (brief 20-30 minute conversations with people who work at companies that interest you) and ask them how important was GPA in the application and interview process.

If I am Required to Disclose My GPA in My Application, What Can I Do to Offset This?

Show that you were balancing multiple activities outside of coursework. If you worked in addition to taking classes, specify how many hours/ week you were working. If you served as a leader of a student organization, be sure to include these additional activities and highlight any achievements on your resume. Relevant experience in your field can often be more important than a high GPA. Be sure to highlight any internships, relevant coursework, academic projects and volunteer work that may demonstrate relevant skills in your field.

If I Do Get Asked About My GPA During an Interview, What Should I Say?

While it is unlikely that you will get asked to explain your GPA in an interview (especially if your GPA is not required for your application), it could happen. Think about what happened and how you can frame it into a positive story. Leave out any deeply personal issues that may be awkward and hard to explain or that might raise a red flag.

As a hypothetical example, you might say that your family’s financial circumstances changed and you ended up having to work two jobs while taking a full load of classes to help cover your tuition and that your grades suffered. Be sure to add that you were able to work hard and pick your grades back up in your final year. Employers like to hear that you can bounce back from adversity.

Best of luck to you with your job search Emmit!

Lisa

There are many problems that we can solve together!   stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679

 

Words of Comfort for Juniors

Dartmouth

In our up-side-down world, applying to college seems daunting and alien. You aren’t getting the support from your guidance office that you once had, you can’t visit colleges, information is scanty and occasionally conflicting. Never mind that you won’t be finishing your high school career in the place and manner you expected.

Read these words from the blog of the Georgia Tech admissions office and see how well the people who read applications get the predicament you’re in.

In the work you do with me as your educational consultant, in all those pieces of information I request, updates and preferences, reviews and visits, I see you and help you see yourself. You have to know who you are to show that to the admission committee. The more we do the easier it becomes. We’re on the right track. They will see you through your application.

Maximize Online Learning

Bring Your A Game to Distance Learning

Keeping focused while taking classes online can be difficult. Bring your study skills, time management and persistence to your new work space as you stay on top of assignments.

Creating a habit is probably most important to succeeding with online courses. When I don’t want to do something I procrastinate. I tell myself that there is plenty of time to complete the task. This is the exact opposite of what is needed with online classes. Make a schedule and stick to it. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is when you have a framework for getting started.

If you don’t have lessons from your teachers you can find lesson plans and help at Khan Academy (khanacademy.org). You’ll find math, science and more. Khan even provides lists of books for reading for pleasure or to alert you to iconic works for cultural literacy.

One of my favorite websites is freerice.com. Challenge yourself with this vocabulary quiz were you will have a choice of meanings for the word that pops up. When you score well you are boosted to a new level of difficulty. When you guess incorrectly you remain at that level or drop back. Best of all, every correct response triggers donations of rice to communities that suffer food insecurity.

For college bound students this time without 24/7 scheduling is a blessing in disguise. You have time to deeply research colleges. Many admissions offices are putting the information sessions on line. Most have virtual tours of the campus led by one of the ambassadors who work for the admission office. Reach out to the admissions staff with questions. Join college social media although not much is being posted at the moment.

Khan Academy has SAT prep on their website for students who will be taking a standardized test. Even Freshmen can benefit from exposure to the prep sessions.

Online learning isn’t new to colleges. You will find that brick and mortar institutions make some of their classes online to facilitate getting the courses needed for graduation. Online learning isn’t dumbed down versions of in-person classes and some students find them more difficult. Time management is the key and persistence is right behind. The habits you develop while home from high school can be valuable when you are a college student.

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Thomas, Unsplash
Here’s another fun thing to do: go to the database www.citizenscience.gov and look at all the real time science research you can take part in. The image above illustrates one of the astronomy initiatives. You don’t need any special knowledge or training: if you can click of a mouse you’re qualified to take part. I’m curious about the cosmos so I chose to look at astronomy projects but there are hundreds of other fields. You can add tags for keyword search to documents in the Library of Congress. A task on Rosa Parks looks interesting. Other topics include Gardening, Biology, Environmental Science, Social Science,Clean Water Management. Go forth through the internet and explore the universe, or atoms or people!


Update: When you need to add some PE to your class schedule, or you’ve just had enough chair time, there are some places you can find a workout or a class. I’ve done this challenge; I hate squats but this is a fun break from sitting at the computer.

Several places are offering their virtual classes for free: Beach Body Fitness, Les Mills, Edge Fitness, Down Dog downdogapp.com. Enjoy!

College Visits? What To Do Now

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Oh, no!  Colleges are closing! 

Under other circumstances you would be executing planned college visits over the next few weeks and are finding that admissions offices are canceling tours and info sessions as their campus closes down.

There are some things that you can do now to learn about the colleges on your list.

Take a deep look at the college website: It tells the story of the college.  When and why was this institution founded?  What do they value?  Look up your potential major to see what is required to graduate.  Look at the required courses to see how interesting they seem.  Will you be able to take advantage of study abroad and internships?  Check out a few other subjects you might be curious about.

Take a virtual tour of the campus that you find on the college website.  It’s not the same thing as being there but you can see the layout and buildings.  Usually, the tour is led by admissions office ambassadors (tour guides) and is similar to the tour you would take in person.  If you like what you see, ask the admissions office to put you in touch with an ambassador or student similar to you, maybe from your high school or studying your major.

Campus Spotlight, https://www.collegematchpoint.com/college-matchpoint-blog/tag/Campus+Spotlight reviews some schools.  Check out niche.com, too

Access campus tours through Campus Reel.    Campusreel.org offers tours of many campuses in 15,000 videos.  The quality varies as does the information.  An annoyance is that you must click the speaker icon at the bottom of each video as it loads so that you can hear the audio.

While campus is closed down, most admissions offices are up and running.  Make a list of questions you can’t find answers for on the website and call your admissions rep.  You will likely be able to have a conversation with him or her.  Not only do you get answers but you are showing interest in that college.  Some schools track Demonstrated Interest for consideration when processing your application.

Connect with college social media.  Instagram, Twitter, YouTube are good access points.  If there is an online campus newspaper you will be able to see a back issue or more; the campus radio station might still be operating.  From either, you can learn what is popular, what students care about.

Even though you can’t meet with anyone or take guided tour, it’s still possible to drive through  or walk around a school that you’d like to know more about.  Take time to visit the area surrounding the campus to find the local Thai restaurant, hair salon, movie theater or Target.  If you move here you’ll spend time eating, shopping and socializing in the neighborhood.

Let me know what you find out! 

How Do Top Students Study?

Question on Quora.com   How do top students study?

Answer by Shafiq, who studied Political Science at Standard University

Habits of Highly Effective Students

The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you advance in your education.

An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through high school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your studying in if you don’t know how to study smarter.

While some students are able to breeze through school with minimal effort, this is the exception.  The vast majority of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study habits.

The following are the top 10 study habits employed by highly successful students.

So if you want to become a successful student, don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, just work to develop each of the study habits below and you’ll see your grades go up, your knowledge increase, and your ability to learn and assimilate information improve.

  1. Don’t attempt to cram all your studying into one session.

Ever find yourself up late at night expending more energy trying to keep your eyelids open than you are studying? If so, it’s time for a change. Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions. If you want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

  1. Plan when you’re going to study.

Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to study — and then they stick with their schedule. Students who study sporadically and whimsically typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule. Even if you’re all caught up with your studies, creating a weekly routine, where you set aside a period of time a few days a week, to review your courses will ensure you develop habits that will enable you to succeed in your education long term.

  1. Study at the same time.

Not only is it important that you plan when you’re going to study, it’s important you create a consistent, daily study routine. When you study at the same time each day and each week, you’re studying will become a regular part of your life. You’ll be mentally and emotionally more prepared for each study session and each study session will become more productive. If you have to change your schedule from time to time due to unexpected events, that’s okay, but get back on your routine as soon as the event has passed.

  1. Each study time should have a specific goal.

Simply studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during each study session. Before you start studying, set a study session goal that supports your overall academic goal (i.e. memorize 30 vocabulary words in order to ace the vocabulary section on an upcoming Spanish test.)

  1. Never procrastinate your planned study session.

It’s very easy, and common, to put off your study session because of lack of interest in the subject, because you have other things you need to get done, or just because the assignment is hard. Successful students DO NOT procrastinate studying. If you procrastinate your study session, your studying will become much less effective and you may not get everything accomplished that you need to. Procrastination also leads to rushing, and rushing is the number one cause of errors.

  1. Start with the most difficult subject first.

As your most difficult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should start with it first. Once you’ve completed the most difficult work, it will be much easier to complete the rest of your work. Believe it or not, starting with the most difficult subject will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions, and your academic performance.

  1. Always review your notes before starting an assignment.

Obviously, before you can review your notes you must first have notes to review. Always make sure to take good notes in class. Before you start each study session, and before you start a particular assignment, review your notes thoroughly to make sure you know how to complete the assignment correctly. Reviewing your notes before each study session will help you remember important subject matter learned during the day, and make sure your studying is targeted and effective.

  1. Make sure you’re not distracted while you’re studying.

Everyone gets distracted by something. Maybe it’s the TV. Or maybe it’s your family. Or maybe it’s just too quite. Some people actually study better with a little background noise. When you’re distracted while studying you (1) lose your train of thought and (2) are unable to focus — both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying find a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. For some people this is a quiet cubical in the recesses of the library. For others is in a common area where there is a little background noise.

  1. Use study groups effectively.

Ever heard the phrase “two heads are better than one?” Well this can be especially true when it comes to studying. Working in groups enables you to (1) get help from others when you’re struggling to understand a concept, (2) complete assignments more quickly, and (3) teach others, whereby helping both the other students and yourself to internalize the subject matter. However, study groups can become very ineffective if they’re not structured and if groups members come unprepared. Effective students use study groups effectively.

  1. Review your notes, schoolwork and other class materials over the weekend.

Successful students review what they’ve learned during the week over the weekend. This way they’re well prepared to continue learning new concepts that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

We’re confident that if you’ll develop the habits outlined above that you’ll see a major improvement in your academic success.

Students, if you need help becoming proficient at organizing your assignments and managing your study time, I can help.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679

 

 

What Are Mistakes Students Make In College Interviews

Tom Stagliano
Tom Stagliano, MIT Volunteer, interviewed freshmen for admissions
There are two basic mistakes made by the students:

First, the Student is supposed to schedule the interview. When the student contacts the interviewer, they have to realize that the interviewer is a volunteer with lots of other commitments. The student should know by the start of senior year in high school which colleges she/he will be applying to and which ones require an interview. They should schedule that interview as early as possible. This past Fall, I conducted four interviews and each applicant contacted me on the last day possible (per the college’s web site). Two for Early Action and two for regular admission.

That will be noted in the interview report. If you can’t budget your schedule well when informed of deadlines at least six weeks in advance, then how can you budget an intensive college life?

Second, the applicant should come to the interview with two purposes in mind:
The ability to tell the interviewer what the applicant does other than study and other than academic subjects. That is what the interview is all about. The interviewer does not care about your grades, nor scores, nor how many AP classes you take. The interviewer wants to know what else you do. Fifty percent of the applicants to most top colleges could do the work and graduate in four years. However, the college can only accept one of every seven of that 50%. Where you distinguish yourself is in that interview.

Have questions to ask. The interviewer is there to answer questions about the college. In my case the interview should be conducted before you finish the online application. You may learn something from the interview that will guide you better in filling out the application.

The applicant’s appearance should be neat and appropriate, like for a job interview. However, a tie is not required for the male applicants.

In my case, it is (roughly) a 90 minute two-way discussion, and you should make the time fly through your conversational abilities.

Relax, and enjoy the interview process. The interviewer loves her/his college and loves to interview otherwise they would not being doing the interviews. Take advantage of that.

NOTE: I give “extra brownie points” to an applicant who has done her/his homework and looked up information on me, and works that into the interview. It shows initiative. After all, I was an undergraduate at that college and many of my avocations were cultivated there.

If you contact me I’ll give you my interview prep guide.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679