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Career planning & job search guide: 1993-1994.

There are four key areas to consider as you position yourself for effective career planning and job searching. These include researching and ultimately being able to answer personally the following questions: 1) How do I conduct a personal self-assessment and construct a job-winning resume? 2) How do I prepare for and excel at on campus interviews? 3) How do I excel at on-site interviews and choose the best job offer? and 4) How do I make a successful transition from college to the workplace?

Each part of this guide will help you focus on determining the answers. Planning charts are also provided to assist you. The Annual Planning Chart will help keep you on track as you move through the various stages as you uncover job opportunities: Self-assessment and Career Planning, Career Exploration and Investigation, Gaining Career/Work Experiences and Job Search/Transition to Workplace activities. The Semester Action Steps provide you with strategies to approach each of the four key question areas presented above.

A Snapshot of the Current Job Market

The current economy dictates that African-American students become extremely knowledgeable about the job market. There are many factors affecting today's job market. In addition to projections for a continuing tight job market with intense competition for available positions, you should know that you are about to enter a "world market" where increased technology, innovation, and participative management reign.

Many jobs in the United States have been eliminated or have changed significantly because of foreign competition. Skilled workers are needed to bring expertise and experience to corporations. Companies are also learning how to do more with fewer workers. Because of automation and changes in the way work is processed, a number of steps have been reduced through technology, causing job redesign and reductions. Because of these factors, you may come to realize that your "ideal" job is beyond your immediate reach or that the job for which you trained may be in short supply. Given these realities, we recommend that you approach the job market with a commitment to your search and with the realization that you can achieve your career goals through dedicated and focused attention. Consider the following phases as you approach your personal self-assessment and resume development.

Phase I -- Getting Started. Your Personal Self-Assessment

* Complete a personal inventory and self-assessment. It should focus on:

What's important to you?

What are your abilities?

What are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses?

The more you know about who you are as an individual--your likes, dislikes, ambitions, career goals, strengths, areas needing improvement etc.--the better you will be able to focus on fitting this profile into your ultimate career goals.

* Develop a personal career action plan. This plan should help you to:

* Determine your short- and long-term career goals.

* Target career fields and develop a career objective.

* Identify alternatives career options--Plan B, Plan C, etc.

Assess the type of job you want: ideal and realistic.

What is the job title?

What are the duties and

responsibilities of the position?

Where and what type of company/


What qualifications are required?

What job outlook exists for the


When do you want to start?

What salary level?

What are the advancement


Refine your personal career action plan periodically. Review specific job goals.

* Research companies and review career periodicals.

* Check academic performance and work experience. Review honors, college activities, and extracurricular activities.

* Use your college career planning and placement office. The office will help you to:

* Find out about companies, jobs, and resources.

* Research companies and career periodicals.

* Secure information on summer jobs and internship activities.

* Learn the upcoming campus interviewing schedule and the kinds of employers who will be recruiting on campus.

Phase II--Steps for Constructing A Job-Winning Resume

* An effective resume goes a long way toward winning you a job. Your resume:

* Lets employers know what you have to offer in the way of experience, education, and skills.

* Helps to secure you job interviews.

* Functions as a marketing tool: it's a personal advertisement for which the product is You.

* Your resume should highlight your unique background, academic and work history. It should include your specific career objective.

Review the various resume formats found in periodicals in your college library and career planning office.

Highlight your strengths and accomplishments through your grades, extracurricular activities and part-time work experiences, if you have any.

Determine what you want to include on your resume. Steps you should take:

Step #1 Analyze and Describe Your Experience, Work History, and Achievements

Start with your first significant job. Be sure to include volunteer or part-time work if relevant or if you lack experience.

Describe what you actually did on the job. List everything you can remember. Use the following questions to jog your memory:

* What were my specific duties?

* What equipment or materials did I use?

* What skills did I learn?

* What goods or services did I help produce?

* What goals or quotas did I meet?

* How many people did I supervise?

* What speed, accuracy or volume did I achieve?

* What on-the-job training did I receive? What did I learn?

* What improvements, changes did I initiate?

* What honors or promotions did I receive?

Use action words (action verbs) to describe your experience. Highlight any other special skills you have:

* Proficiency in a language other than English.

* Participation in sororities, fraternities, professional associations or activities.

* Hobbies or personal interests that relate to your career goal.

* Significant community or social activities.

* Independent study or education (computer courses, personal research, etc.)

* Other special talents or abilities.

Step #2 Choose A Format

When you choose a resume format, consider your background and career goals. Select the format you feel will do the best job of marketing your strengths. The three most commonly used resume formats are:

Chronological: The chronological format is the most frequently used resume style. It lists work experience in reverse time sequence and provides clear information on job titles, areas of responsibility, and periods of employment from each employer. Because it is most frequently used, it is the most accepted form.

Functional: Emphasizes your skills rather than specific jobs held.

Combination: Presents both functional and chronological information.

Step #3 Resume Parts

Your resume should contain certain vital information including: Heading--Name, address and telephone number(s). Include a message number to ensure that you don't miss any calls from employers trying to schedule job interviews with you.

Career Objective--Identification of the job you are targeting; e.g., an entry-level position in public relations offering challenge and responsibility.

Employment History--Employer's name, dates employed, and positions held. Describe each position in as much detail as possible. Wherever possible, list accomplishments.

Education--Summary of your educational background including highest degree, area of major, university and location (city, state), grade point average. Honors, achievements, and extra-curricular activities.

References--Prepare your references on a separate sheet of paper. They are to be presented upon request by the recruiter. Make sure your references know you are using them as references. Persons to consider include past employers, supervisors, teachers and professors. Include at least three references; include full name, title (or nature of relationship, i.e., personal, school reference), street address, city, state, zip code, and phone number.

Personal (Optional)--Information that does not have to be included on your resume includes: height, weight marital status, race, religion, physical health. This information has no relation to the job and therefore can be considered to be potentially discriminatory. It's your call whether you want to include this type of information.

Step #4 Edit And Polish Your Resume

This step is very important! Remember to check for:

* errors in grammar, spelling or


* use of action words/verbs,

* conciseness of statements,

* irrelevant or unnecessary information,

* complete work history,

* highlighted skills and accomplishments,


* uniform spacing; aim for a

polished, uncluttered appearance.

Do not include a photograph.

Avoid gimmicks, odd colored paper, and unconventional formats.

Step #5 Type And Proofread Your Final Version

Type your resume on plain white bond paper or other suitable businesslike color (grey, bone, etc.). You may consider having your resume typeset and printed professionally; however, with the quality of copiers today, you can get an adequate supply printed using a good quality machine. Your resume should:

* look well-balanced and be spaced proportionally; use bold and italic print to enhance readability.

* use suitable margins.

* use indentations where appropriate.

Proofread it carefully for typographical errors. Have someone whose judgment you trust to proofread it, too. They may find errors you have overlooked.

Part two of this series in the upcoming issue will provide strategies to help you prepare for and excel at on-campus interviews. Refer to the planning charts as you move through your career planning and job search stages. And remember, the race is given neither to the swift nor to the strong, but to the one that endureth. There is a job out there with your name on it. Your job is to find it! We hope that the strategies we have presented help you in achieving this goal.


Career Planning Job Search and Guide 1993-1994 Planning Chart Part I Initial Self-Assessment and Constructing A Job-Winning Resume Semester Action Steps

Fall Term

* Complete your personal inventory and self-assessment. Learn your strengths,

weaknesses, ambitions, career goals, and aspirations.

* Become knowledgeable about the "world market" and how the economy may affect

the outcome of your job search.

* Develop your personal career action plan.

Review your career interest area: position titles, description, duties, responsibilities,

qualifications, outlook, training and advancement opportunities. Target career fields

and focus your career objective.

* Identify alternative career options-Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, etc.

* Make a fist of your shorterm and long-term career goals. Target jobs and decide m the

geographical area of the country you wish to consider or list restrictions. Decide how

flexible you can be in the event you must relocate to find the position you want.

* Use your college career planning and placement office to find out about companies,

jobs, and resources, and the upcoming on-campus interview schedule.

Winter Term

* Refine your personal career action plan; review specific job goals.

* Develop your resume, job search correspondence, and related materials.

* Analyze and describe your work experience, work history, and achievements.

* Research companies and review career periodicals.

* Check academic performance and work experience. Review honors, college activities,

and extracurricular activities.

Spring Term

* Think about your appearance and review your wardrobe. Set aside your job hunt

wardrobe: start from the top of your head down to the shoes you will wear.

* Refine your resume and develop job search and interviewing skills

* Prepare for introductory interviews and follow-up interviews.

* Schedule and obtain job interviews and assess your progress.

* Practice affirmations and keep a positive mental attitude about the outcome of

your job search.


* Consider and accept a job offer fitting your career goals, by answering the

following questions:

* What opportunities does this position offer me? (responsibilities, advancement,

self-development, other)

* What type of work is this and how does it fit my personal career action plan profile?

* What type of freedom exists on the job for creativity, self-direction, initiative,

team interaction?

* What will my salary be? Is it competitive for the job, given the market?

* What will my job title be?

* What do I know about the working conditions and my work environment?

* What about job security?

* What training will be offered?

* What is the company's image and reputation in the marketplace?

* What fringe benefits package goes with the position?

* What about the location?

* What about travel?

* Send thank you notes to all involved in your job search. Advise college

placement office of your new title, position, company, etc.

* Make transition from college to the workplace.


Career Planning & Job Search Guide 1993-1994 Annual Planning Chart

Year 1 - Freshman Year

Self-assessment and Career Planning Activities

* Collect, analyze, and evaluate information about yourself to aid you in obtaining a career posit personality, abilities, aptitudes, values, interests, academic training, past work, and life experie

* Enlist the aid of faculty, advisors, counselors, administrators, and friends. Review various car Consider and use exercises, projects, psychological tests, and other ways to determine your career i

* Create your personal career action plan, development, and job search log. Insert your career pla short-term and long-term career goals and other notes regarding your progress into your log on a reg

* Include in your plan the answers to the following four key questions:
 What do I want to do? What can I do? What do I need to do to develop my
self further?
 How can I get the job I want after graduation?

Summer Vacation After Freshman Year

* Get a summer job/earn expenses.

* Acquire work experience and develop a strong business and work ethic.

* Develop maturity ability to function in a work environment and get along with people.

Year 2 - Sophomore Year

Career Exploration and Investigation Activities

* Develop a file of information about specific career alternatives and narrow your potential caree about specific careers. Collect information about types of opportunities in managerial, technical, a

* Accumulate and analyze information about the world of work, office politics, corporate culture,

* Develop your resume, make contact lists, prepare cover letter formats, and investigate various j

* Write the answers to the following three key questions and place them in your career action plan

What do I have to offer an employer? Who needs what I have to offer?

How do I make them

Summer Vacation After Sophomore Year

* Get a summer job; continue to earn expenses and build a good work reputation and work references

* Develop job-related and computer skills.

* Develop maturity and knowledge about the workplace and what it takes to achieve success.

Year Three - Junior Year

Gaining Career Experiences

* Test your qualifications for work in your chosen career field.

* Consult with faculty, counselors, and administrators; join organizations in your chosen field. C placement for on-campus interview schedules and employer listings.

* Network! Network! Network!

* Review and update your resume and job search correspondence. Practice your interview skills. Pla in a career-planning courses. Attend workshops on resumes, cover letters, and the interview process,

* Begin internship experiences, field or clinical experience, if possible.

Summer Vacation After Junior Year

* Get a summer job in your chosen field; continue to earn expenses and enhance your marketability

* Develop job-related and computer skills, if possible.

* Develop maturity and knowledge of the workplace.

* Compile inventory of interests and qualifications as they relate to your career objective,

Year Four - Senior Year

Job Search/Transition To Work Activities

* Kick your job search campaign into high gear; commit yourself to a thorough search. Schedule int with as many employers as possible. Network! Network! And network some more!

* Discuss career opportunities with faculty and counselors, friends, acquaintances, network contac

* Use THE BLACK COLLEGIAN's Job Index to identify those companies and organizations actively recru Read the recruitment ads and the job index listings in the JASS section to identify those employers with THE JOB FINDER.

* Keep your career-planning log updated with interview results, assessments of how you performed d contacts made.

* Consider and choose from among the various job offers you receive.

* Accept the job that best fits your career and professional needs.

* Develop a checklist of areas to address in making your transition from college to the workplace.

* Find a mentor or join a support group of African Americans who can help you adjust to your new w the corporate culture and office politics.

* Perform efficiently, be an effective team member, support your manager, and move upward in the o
COPYRIGHT 1993 IMDiversity, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Bardwell, Chris B.
Publication:The Black Collegian
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:Career planning strategies that really work!
Next Article:Making the most of your college experience.

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