Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How well do you play in the sandbox?

tnAchieves recently hosted career panels at some community colleges across the state.  We invited tnAchieves Scholars to hear from professionals working in fields related to their academic programs. Panelists shared personal experiences entering and navigating the workforce.  Students received tips for the job search how to prepare for an interview.

tnAchieves students with career panelists from Cleveland State Community College.

Some of our favorite advice for the interview process include:
  • Apply and interview somewhere that you might not have intentions of accepting the job. You still gain interviewing experience.
  • Body language accounts for over 60% of first impressions. This means a firm handshake, eye contact, and good posture are key.
  • Research the organization you are interviewing. Be prepared to ask questions to them – not just answer about yourself.
  • Clean social media is vital. You would be surprised how many people can access your personal information. Google yourself to see!

Panelists agree that simply having a degree will not guarantee you a job. Employers look for other soft-skills that include:
  •          “Be a self-starter.” The means asking for help and not waiting for someone to solve a problem for you.
  •       “How well do you play in the sandbox?” This tests how well you work on a team.
  •       “Not many jobs are 9am-5pm nowadays.” Be prepared to work until the job is complete.
  •       “A dose of PMA will go a long way: Positive Mental Attitude!"
  •       “Communication, communication, communication.” Use your time in college to develop both written and verbal communication skills. These are necessary for any and all jobs!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

College > Work

As you near high school graduation you might be wondering, why go to college when I can begin working and earning money now? I can assure you that you are among many other students asking themselves the same question. To some, 2 years or even 4 years may sound like an eternity, but look back on your high school years— how fast did they fly by? Acquiring a post-secondary credential will open up a whole new world of opportunities and create a much brighter future for you.

So, why college > work?

1.       Better opportunities:   

In this today’s workforce there are not nearly as many opportunities for high school graduates as there are for people with a post-secondary education. College provides opportunity for students to further their knowledge in all subjects and helps them to grow as professionals, giving them an edge as they enter the working world. Having a college degree increases the number of job opportunities for which a person might be qualified. In addition, once a student lands a job they will also have the knowledge and experience to receive promotions and grow quickly within the company.

2.       Higher salary:

People work to earn money and provide a living for themselves. It is a statistical fact that college graduates have a higher earning potential than individuals without a college degree.


As you can see, having a college degree will significantly increase the amount of money you can earn. In general, college graduates earn more money and receive better benefits.

3.       Networking:

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” In college there are countless opportunities to meet new people, and the relationships you build can create opportunities for you as you enter the working world. Having a connection in an organization may be the difference between getting an interview.
Many employers would prefer to interview someone that was referred to them by someone that they know.

 While in college you can join clubs or associations that are related to your major, another great way to network. People who you speak to daily, like classmates and professors, can even be connections that may lead to a potential job. These are connections you otherwise may not have made if you did not attend college. Using college to grow your professional network will be an invaluable tool to help you in your future.

College is not always easy, but you can be rest assured that the hard work will pay off and you will have a brighter future because of it!