Tagged: internships

Experiences Grads Found Helpful In Getting A Job

Below is a list of experiences recent grads identified as being helpful in their job search.  I’ve added the comments following each item.   Consider how you will find these experiences during your college years; thinking about what you need to acquire can help you focus on finding a college that best suits your needs.

From the National Career Development Association

1. I had at least one professor at [college] who made me excited about learning.  You will find the variation in teaching style and in the material presented.  Find at least one professor who makes you want to get to class early, who encourages you to visit outside of office hours.  Ask for recommendations from your friends or other professors.

2. My professor(s) at [college] cared about me as a person.  Smaller colleges have an advantage in creating relationships between students and professors but it is equally possible at large universities although it takes more initiative on your part.  Show up, ask questions, speak in class.  Show you care about your work and you will go a long way toward having professors care about you as an individual.

3. I had a mentor who encouraged me to pursue my goals and dreams.  Mentors come in many flavors and from many places.  It could be your advisor, an employer, someone in the career you are pursuing.  Look for people who can help you, teach you, help you grow your network in the right directions. Mentoring comes with responsibilities to be useful to your mentor, too.

4. I worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete.  Long term project, either, academic or job-related, help you bring together a variety of skills and show how pieces fit together.  In developing your project you establish goals, way-points, benchmarks, and outcomes.  All are very useful in the real work force.

5. I had an internship or job that allowed me to apply what I was learning in the classroom.  This goes without saying.  Even if you aren’t required to complete an internship you should attempt as many as you can fit into your schedule.  Most grads are hired by the internship provider of from networking done during the internship.

6. I was extremely active in extracurricular activities and organizations while I attended [college]. From orientation until graduation you should be deeply involved in campus life.  Join lots of clubs or sports in your first semester.  Go to the meetings to see if you like what the group is about and enjoy the people you meet.  You can drop the ones that don’t serve you and go all-in with the others.  You will be happier than if you don’t make the effort.  Clubs, sports, activities  and a campus job are easy forms of networking!

I’m happy to talk more about campus life and how to use the tool that is college. 610-212-6679 or stephanie@accessguidance.com

U of New South Wales for Study Abroad or a Degree

Sydney, Australia is home to the University of New South Wales, a research institution that hosts about 1000 American study abroad students each year and many more who earn a degree from UNSW.

Ten minutes from a gorgeous beach and 15 minutes from the thriving business and cultural center, UNSW attracts students from all over Australia and the world.  Ranked at #45 on the list of top world universities, most departments are in the top 50 world wide.

American students can choose this university for their degree studies and spend their study abroad time at a university in the US (or anywhere else!).  Tuition plus room and board run about $45,000 US dollars.  Law and medicine are direct entry meaning that you can earn your degree in the 4 years that your  friends are doing undergraduate work.  Both degrees are recognized in the US.

There are 15 flights daily from Philadelphia to Sydney.  That amounts to lots of people going from here.  All of the Fortune 500 companies have offices in Sydney, just in case you’re looking for an internship.

Undergraduate degrees take 3 years with an optional 4th year which most students choose.

Australia has its own college admission test; scores determine which universities the student can apply to.  Students from the US submit ACT, SAT, or IB scores and a transcript without taking the Australian admissions test.  In order to welcome more American students, admission requirements for US students are not as stringent as they are for top US colleges, although they vary by area of study.  Engineering requires a 26/27 on the ACT; 1240-1290 SAT; IB 32-34, depending on the engineering program.  Bachelors of Medicine is 29 ACT; 1390 SAT; 38 IB.  Architectural Studies ask for 28 ACT; 1280 SAT; 33 IB.

Here’s a glossary of terms you’ll need to know to convert Aussie Speak into standard US college lingo.

Australian                    US

Faculty                           College (College of Arts and Sciences)

Program                       Major

College                         Residence Hall

Example: “I’m applying to the Faculty of Built Environment to study city planning or computational design although I’m still interested in interior architecture.  I’ll be living in Fig Tree Hall, an alcohol free college.”

Translation: “I’m applying to the college of Built Environments where I’ll study urban planning or computational design; I’m still interested in interior design.  My dorm is Fig Tree Hall which is a substance-free living space.”

Should you be interested in more information for admission or study abroad, I’ll give you the local reps name and contact information.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679

How To Choose A Career When You Have Too Many Interests

I really appreciate the conundrum of having to narrow down the things you would like to do to the one that will define your career and put you on a strong professional track.    I feel similarly confused when confronted by a restaurant menu with multiple specials that I want to try.

Julie was frantic about choosing a college major, not because she didn’t know what to study, but because she loved anthropology when she took the intro course. And an English class in pirate literature.  And biochemistry.  Every semester she found a new direction.  Early in her sophomore year Julie went to the career development office for help in deciding.

What her counselor told Julie is that she is preparing for her first job, not the one she will retire from.  Together they looked for threads among the ideas and classes that intrigued her.  From the threads, a few interesting jobs emerged that were researched to learn the work environment, salary range, opportunities to travel and so on.  A path of coursework was laid out that keep Julie’s interest and gave her opportunities for internships.

The career counselor explained that there are vocations (careers or jobs within a career) and avocations (activities and interests to pursue) that aren’t at the moment a means of supporting oneself or family but could become a moneymaker in the future.

Making a choice among possibilities isn’t black/white, either/or.  The choice is what to do first, and what to develop later.  Saying “Yes” to one thing doesn’t mean saying “No” to everything else.

Here are some things to do when the future feels like a maze of possibilities with no way out.

  1. Learn by doing:  get a summer job or an internship in one of the fields that appeals to you.  You may quickly find that you love or hate the work.   A clear example is the cohort of pre-med students who find that they can’t excel in organic chemistry or that there is far more math than expected in the courses.
  2. Make a list of problems you would like to solve.  It could be getting a traffic light at an intersection where there are lots of accidents.  It could be working to provide clean water to areas where it is difficult to come by.  Look for threads, figure out what motivates you to solve each problem.  What are you curious enough about to pursue diligently, to go above an beyond?
  3. Consider how you spend your time now and what you would do if time and money were no object.  How do the above answers apply?
  4. Make a bucket list of all the things you want to do over the long haul.  Read all of Shakespeare’s sonnets? Climb Mt. Everest?  Ride an elephant?  Write an award winning musical?  Get married and have kids?  The longer the list the better.  Divide into Do This Year, Do in Next 5 Years, Do in Next 10 Years, etc.  your lists will help you clarify what you consider important.
  5. College career offices have assessments to help you find out the environment where you will do your best work.  There are online assessments and private counselors who can help you.  MBTI, Strong, Strengths Finder, Birkman and others are some of the assessments can help you narrow the field.

If you’re still on the fence, make an appointment to talk through your interests; we’ll come up with a plan for untangling the web.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.



5 Ways to Explore Your Career Options

Wondering what you will be when you grow up?  You’re among the majority of people age 12 to 62 who would like assurance about what comes next.  Can I become financially secure as a surfer dude?  Is there longevity in a career as a singer for a human bullfrog?

Maybe you just don’t know what is out there or which path your interests and abilities point to.  Here are 5 suggestions for answering your own questions.



  1. If you are in high school or college, find out what support your school offers.  Most will have a guidance or career office with trained counselors who with access to good information and options for exploration.  College career offices are available to graduates of the college as well as students.
  2. Start by taking career interest inventories and assessments.  These are not tests that will spit out the ONE THING you should do with your life.  Instead they are maps to treasure but you have to consider their meaning and by following the trail.   These assessments can tell you about where you are likely to find they type of work you prefer, where your interests fit.  Some of the better known and widely used are
    1. Myers Briggs Type Inventory Career Report (MBTI) which is available from MBTI practitioners.
    2. Strong Interest Inventory Interest Report (versions for high school, college and working adults).
    3. Self Directed Search, similar to Strong but less tied to a professional interpreter.  Some college application platforms, like Naviance, have a version available to students.
    4. The Birkman collection of surveys is available through career professionals.  Birkman Method gives feedback on potential hiccups and issues to consider when choosing a career.
  3. A good resource is Google research.  Ask “What can I do with a major in_____” for learnabouto a major you are considering or the one you graduated with.  Maybe you’ll learn that  your minor in psychology or poli sci offers you good options.  Check out something you haven’t studied but are interested in, too.
  4. Use o*netonline.org to learn the projected growth and income in various jobs over the next 15-20 years.  O*netcenter.org can help you research and career exploration.
  5. When you have a few ideas its time to try them out.  Set up informational interviews with practitioners of the job under consideration.  Arrange to shadow someone for a day or two. Become an intern in your field.  Internships are more than unpaid labor: they are on the job training and a try-out for the job.  You will find out if you like the work and the employer will discover what great potential you have.

Don’t leave your career to chance.  Unless you know what you are looking for when opportunity knocks you won’t open the door.

When you are ready to plan your future, I can help you with the exploration you need to become focused and flexible.  Stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.




When and How to Make Your Own Opportunities

Build Your Future

This post is for college students seeking an internship, anyone looking for a job, including experienced workers and those out of work.

When no jobs in your field present themselves and no one appears to be looking for new talent, would-be new hires can give up or they can create a job opening for themselves.

Self- creating jobs isn’t for sissies; if you’re not willing to commit, read no further.  Readers who are seriously on the hunt will benefit from these suggestions.

Work your network.  You want to get into pharmaceutical sales?  Look for sales managers, HR personnel, executives at pharma companies and get in touch.  They may not have an opening now but expressing interest (and keeping in touch) puts you at the head of the queue when an opening occurs.  Its possible that there is an unadvertised opening or one coming up soon and you will be top-of-mind. Use LinkedIn and your other resources to locate your targets.

Cast a wide net to capture the most possibilities.  A past client had moved from one city to another and needed a job.  She canvassed local universities looking for a research position without much luck.   One university recognized her value and established a position for her to compile data, write and publish previous and new studies.  She now has several publications on her resume as well as 2 years of experience to propel her to her next opportunity.

It goes without saying that knowing what is going on in the industry creates an opening to show how you are perfect for the company. If you detect a shift in your chosen field, be certain that you acquire the background needed to meet the new challenges before they become imminent.  Use your downtime between jobs or projects to broaden your knowledge base.

When you think your connection might be interested in you sometime in the future you can ask to be an intern now to get experience.  College grads, I can hear you moan but hear me out.  You can be unemployed and watching reality tv or you can be unemployed and gaining experience.  An internship can make you poachable.

For readers who have extensive experience, an internship is a chance to try out a new role or company.  You can show the many ways your accomplishments can become benefits for a new employer or new division of your current company.

Don’t sit back and wait for your employment prospects to improve.  When you knock on doors you are seen as confident, mature, skilled and as someone who attacks problems (in this case, unemployment).   All good things.   Asking for a job and showing how you can solve a problem, maybe one they didn’t recognize they have, make you the go-to person when funds to hire are available or someone leaves the company.

Show the world you’re already a star and that some lucky company will get to hire you!

Lets talk about how to approach connections and what your pitch should sound like.  Practice will give you confidence! stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679



New Job Or First Job: Get Yourself Together

Five Things You Need To Do To Succeed

Clean up your act before you move from college to your first job. Double check yourself if you are getting ready to begin a new job or assume a new role.

1. Be a good neighbor in the office. Headphones on, music low so that no one else can hear new hire deskwhat you are listening to. From time to time a boss or co-worker will want to get your attention over your music: make it possible.

While I’m on the subject of neighborliness, keep your personal space clean. I’m a random organizer and understand that some of us can’t remember how we labeled the file we need so we tend to pile papers on the desk. Not acceptable in a multi-person office.

2. As an intern or an employee planning to leave a job, you may have been able to get away with little errors, omissions or passing along a responsibility you didn’t want to carry out. Stop immediately so the bad habit doesn’t continue when you move along.

3. On a related subject, you may have been able to avoid taking on difficult challenges or onerous tasks. As the new guy you will be expected to step up and volunteer for the scut work. Keep in mind that by helping colleagues you improve your own performance, acquire favors owed and learn valuable insight that you can use later.

4. Don’t wait to be told what to do. If you don’t know, ask. Offer to help others. Ask to shadow a co-worker or your boss.

5. Stop waiting for the perfect job or the perfect life to find you. The one you have is good enough for now so make the most of it. Increase your value to your employer-that’s why you were hired. Show up early, work hard, don’t complain.

Material for this post inspired by philly.com/monster “Five bad habits you have to break before starting a full-time job”.  Published on page C6 Jobs Section of the Philadelphia Inquirer 9/4/21016

For more success tips on starting a job, call or text Stephanie at 610-212-6679; stephanie@accessguidance.com

Franklin College: $4000 for Out of State Students

Franklin College,  is a hidden gems among liberal arts colleges.  Franklin is part of the fabric of the town, Franklin, Indiana.  Many of the faculty and staff walk to work from the lovely residential neighborhood that surrounds the campus.

Franklin College
Franklin College

Students can choose among 55 majors, 41 minors and a masters degree in athletic training. There are  50 student run  organizations and 450 activities are hosted by the activities board annually.  Franklin reports that it is a DIII NCAA “powerhouse” in the Heartland Conference.  Check out www.franklincollege.edu.

The student body numbers 1,000 of whom about 20% have parents without a college background.  Everyone I met on this friendly and engaged campus works to ensure the success of all students.  The breakdown of men:women is 50:50 (most colleges are 60% women or more).

First generation college students and their families are invited to Franklin for an orientation weekend before formal orientation.  Families are helped to feel part of the college experience and are better able to support their student.  Including families is unique to Franklin.  Each first generation student also receives a mentor from among the first generation upper classmen.

Students who become involved with organizations in the first 6 weeks of freshman year are 10 times more likely to graduate. On weekends Franklin offers immersive experiences with faculty, 10-15 on-campus events plus theater and sports.  About 40% of the students join Greek organizations but not doing so isn’t a barrier to participating fully in activities.

Franklin College
Franklin College

Another key to student success is financial aid.  Students who live outside of Indiana begin with a $4000 grant and other generous aid is stacked on top.  For Pell-eligible students, Franklin College will cover tuition.

Teaching is individualized and experiential.  Lots of internships are offered with the top people in the field.

Lets talk!  To learn more about Franklin College or any other institution, call or text 610-212-6679; stephanie@accessguidance.com



Internship or Job: 9 Ways to Shoot Yourself In The Foot

This just in from The Muse.

Are You About To Shoot?
Are You About To Shoot?

9 Ways You’re Undermining Yourself in the Office Without Realizing It

By Kevin Daum of Inc.
There is at least one flake in every office. You know the type. It’s the person who is reasonably likable, but whom no one trusts. They seem to be mostly oblivious, often thinking that no one will notice that they are unreliable.

This person can be very disruptive, and yet somehow he or she has managed to obtain a position of authority. The frustration level climbs when the boss delivers only what he considers important, leaving everyone else covering for his lack of attention.

It’s bad enough dealing with people like this, but you certainly don’t want to be one. Pay attention to this list of bad habits to avoid. Most people won’t care enough to point out the transgressions, so share it around and no one can claim ignorance.

1. Showing Up Late

You may think that arriving five minutes late to an appointment or being the last one on a conference call doesn’t matter. It does. People notice. Sure, there are allowances for transportation and security issues in the building, maybe once or twice. But habitually tardy people are downgraded and thought of as selfish. Get control of your time so you are known for being a little early.

2. Not Checking Your Notes Before Meetings

A meeting can be either a productive and efficient sharing of ideas and information, or a dreadful disaster of confusion and boredom. It’s incredibly frustrating to stare around the table at blank faces or to get irrelevant and useless discussion. You can’t be responsible for everyone’s participation, but you sure can improve it on your end. Be fully prepared and ready to engage so no one thinks you are the laggard.

3. Not Responding to Email Promptly

Everyone is busy. Everyone gets lots of email. If you make people chase you, they will hate you. 24 hours is the maximum you should take before you respond, even it is a simple acknowledgement. Then you can establish a reasonable time to respond and manage expectations.

4. Missing Appointments

Nothing will make you seem flakier than not showing up when expected. Most people have a one-time tolerance for a missed event. The second time, you have already lost stature and priority in their mind.

5. Not Paying Attention

You may think you can daydream and fake it, but anyone with whom it’s worth engaging knows when you are not in the game. If you are so disinterested in work activities that you have to play like you are on-board, maybe it’s time to move on. Find something that excites you.

6. Overpromising and Underdelivering

People will give you a couple of chances to match what you say you will do with what you actually do. Then they will mentally either put you in the “yes” or “no” box. Set expectations reasonably and then beat them every time if you want to look like a winner.

7. Forgetting Details

The best opportunities are filled with complexity. Someone who gets only most of it right has very limited utility. If you don’t have a photographic memory, write things down. Review your notes and talk through the information to make sure you really understand everything that is required. Then double-check just to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

8.Texting During Face-to-Face Conversations 

Face-to-face contact is getting more rare these days thanks to technology; all the more reason you are being judged on the use of your smartphone. If someone is making the point to look you in the eye, he or she won’t be impressed with your thumb-typing skills. Show respect and pay attention.

9. Making Wholly Avoidable Mistakes

People can tolerate a lot of ignorance but they have little to no tolerance for stupidity. The difference is simple. Ignorance is when you don’t know any better. Stupidity is when you are told or were shown that something won’t work, and you go ahead and do it anyway. Even making the same mistake twice will completely shatter any credibility you had at the beginning, so pay attention and be a winner.

What footprint are you leaving where you work?  Are your boss and co-workers

What foot print are you leaving?
What foot print are you leaving?

happy to see you come or to see you go?  To learn 10 more ways to have a positive impact, text or call Stephanie 610-212-6679 or email stephanie@accessguidance.com


What do Employers Want That Graduates Aren’t Ready For?

Job Opportunities
Job Opportunities

It’s no surprise that there is a disconnect between the perceptions of workforce readiness by employers and by recent college graduates. Are students prepared to do a job on Day 1 or are employers disappointed for good reason?

The workplace skills most in demand are written and oral communication, critical thinking and analytical reasoning. These are also the skills where employment candidates are the most deficient. A survey by Career Builder found deficiencies in problem- solving skills, creative thinking and interpersonal skills that supports anecdotal evidence.

In general, around 60% of students feel they are proficient in these specific skills and less than 30% of employers agree. Most likely, both are hedging their bets.

Students who have a year of internship on their resume believe that they are career ready. Internships also raise unrealistic expectations on the part of employers.

From where I sit, the problem isn’t that students and interns aren’t being given the tools they need to succeed on the job but need assistance in recognizing the skills they have and knowing how to apply them on the job.

To help students identify what they can do and the soft skills they are acquiring, USB funded an initiative in the UK called Define Me. The link is www.thesite.org. Fill in the questionnaire and see which skills you already have.

Problem solving is what happens when you are reading a book or watching a movie and you mentally predict what will happen next. Creativity 1s when the author or script writer throws in a twist that makes you say, “Wow! I didn’t see that coming!”

Look for analysis and synthesis opportunities in your course work or experiences and combine the bits of information into something new: an out of the blue moment.

Being prepared for your internship or your first job isn’t enough: you have to know yourphoto-don't just stand there strengths and make certain that you show them to your future boss.

If you found Define Me useful, let me know!

Curious about how to make the transition from student to Most Valuable Employee? Text or call Stephanie at 610-212-6679; email stephanie@accessguidance.com

What Is Your Greatest Weakeness?

Nothing stays the same for very long and that includes job or internship interviews. Hiring professionals want to get certain information from applicants in order to see how each stacks up against the specifics of the open position and, also, to compare candidates to each other.

Just a very few years ago, asking about weaknesses was a nuisance question asked by interviewers who didn’t have much experience or weren’t sure what to ask.

Not so today. Hiring managers have an abundance of candidates for openings and use this question to determine what deficits in experience or knowledge the applicant has that are necessary for the open position.

In fact, the answer will tell a larger tale: does the person on the other side of the table know enough about the job to determine what he or she needs to learn to be competent in the position?

When answering this inquiry talk about experience that is relevant and knowledge that you will need to acquire to be job-ready.

Tell about times when you had to learn quickly or adapt in order to be successful.

Your answer allows HR to evaluate the training you will need if brought on board and to be prepared to give you the support you need.

Listen to the interview http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/clip/10339132/answering-whats-your-biggest-weakness?es_p=310401.