Author Archive: June 10th, 2013

10 Jun

Resume Tips for Someone Just Out of College

Blog No Comments by Mary-Frances Winters

Resume Tips for Someone Just Out of CollegeMaybe you just graduated from college, or you will be graduating soon…this can be a scary time in life. You might be starting your first job, still looking for a job, or you may be planning to continue your education. Whatever the case may be, the real learning starts now. This month at LTAW we will be giving tips for recent college graduates and soon-to-be college graduates.

You’ve graduated college and it’s time to apply for the job of your dreams. The only problem is the only experience you had working while in college were part-time jobs at the local grocery store, or school bookstore. Don’t worry, even if you did not intern at a top law firm or IT company, you still accumulated a ton of experience and know-how through whatever job or volunteer experience you had while in college.

According to Susan Adams at Forbes, “a new grad’s resume is a focused one-page marketing document, with a succinct job goal that molds the résumé writer’s descriptions of each previous job and related experience”. Once you determine your job goal, then you need to determine what experience you had while in college you can connect it to.  Here are some areas to take a look at:

  • Coursework: Designate an area on your resume to highlight relevant coursework. Include higher level coursework that is more specific to your major (e.g. electives) and not those courses that everyone is required to take.
  • Jobs and Internships: Even if you think the jobs you worked while in college were menial, you still gained some real-life experience that can be attractive to potential employers. For example, perhaps you spent your summer babysitting for different families, then you ran a child care business. Or maybe you mowed lawns in the neighborhood, then you managed a lawn care service. Be creative with how your experiences are relevant.
  • Volunteer organizations: Your participation in organizations on campus are good ways to show your teamwork and leadership skills. List these organizations somewhere on your resume and a one sentence description of your involvement.
  • Experience that shows your character, integrity and willingness to work hard:  For example if you worked more than one job at a time, this can show your prospective employer that you are a hard worker.  If your work with a volunteer organization led to something good happening in the community or for persons in need, this can show that you are a person with good character.

Just remember, most employers are not expecting you to know everything just out of college – they realize your skills are entry-level. However, you still want to stand out above the other candidates. Resumes are a tool used to market yourself. The best resumes are carefully thought-through and contain a clear career objective and detailed, clear descriptions of coursework, work experience and other activities that are relevant to your dream job.

You’re Graduating…Now the Real Learning Begins!

15 May

Is The STEM Shortage Real?

Blog No Comments by Mary-Frances Winters

STEM Shortage: Myth or Reality?The fields of science, technology, engineering and math, collectively known as STEM, have gained a lot of attention in the recent years the United States. The US is lagging behind several countries when it comes to math and science education. STEM is critical for global competitiveness; however the field is not attracting or retaining as many professionals as in the past. This month at LTAW we will be talking about this field in particular – what is it, how can you get into it and why STEM is critical to the future.

Over the past couple of weeks the debate about whether there is really a shortage of STEM trained talent has escalated fueled by a report released recently by the Economic Policy Institute  which asserts that there are plenty of US born STEM educated individuals to take the growing number of jobs.  The Economic Policy Institute receives 30% of its funding from labor unions.

In essence the report concludes that “guest workers”, those with non-permanent residency status (H-1B temporary visa program) are hired for up to 50% of the available jobs in STEM and that in computer and information science and in engineering, U.S. colleges are graduating 50% more students than are hired into those fields each year.

On the other side of the argument, Change the Equation which is a nonprofit that works with companies facing skill shortages in STEM jobs says there is indeed a real deficit in this area.  This group claims that based on their analysis, the number of STEM-focused job postings outnumbered unemployed STEM professionals by nearly two to one when health care jobs were included.   Health jobs were excluded from the Economic Policy Institute study.

I guess it comes down to who is counting and how and what is counted as a STEM job.  Based on LTAW’s analysis of the literature on this topic, which is indeed plentiful, those who predict a serious shortage of STEM trained personnel seem to outweigh those who claim you can’t believe the hype.

The jobs in the STEM field that experts say currently experience more demand than supply include the following.

  • Engineers
  • IT Staff
  • Accounting and finance
  • Mechanics
  • Nurses
  • Machinists and Machine Operators

Even jobs that do not require a four-year college education like machinists and machine operators require strong math and technical skills.  Based on a study by University of Phoenix called Future Work Skills 2020, computational skills is one of the top ten needed competencies regardless of the field one might be in.  The point is, that no matter what career you might choose, there will undoubtedly be a need to know something about science, technology, engineering and/or math.

Getting to Know STEM!

10 May

Program Spotlight: Year Up

Blog No Comments by Mary-Frances Winters

year up logoThe fields of science, technology, engineering and math, collectively known as STEM, have gained a lot of attention in the recent years the United States. The US is lagging behind several countries when it comes to math and science education. STEM is critical for global competitiveness; however the field is not attracting or retaining as many professionals as in the past. This month at LTAW we will be talking about this field in particular – what is it, how can you get into it and why STEM is critical to the future.

Year Up’s mission is to close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.”

Year Up’s founder Gerald Chertavian, is an Armenian-American social entrepreneur who recognized that there was a huge divide between the opportunities and the number of youth who were prepared to work in our increasingly technical work world.

Founded in 2000 Year Up is a one-year intensive education and professional job training program for urban young adults (age 18-24).  The program combines hands-on skill development, college credits, and corporate internships.  During the first six months, participants focus on skill mastery in Desktop Support/IT Help Desk, Quality Assurance, or Investment Operations. In addition to technical skill development, Year Up participants also work on professional skills required in a corporate workplace, such as effective communication, leadership, and teamwork. Students are placed in internships during the second six months with partner companies.

Started with just 22 students in Boston, the program has served over 4000 students around the country. With corporate partners such as Google, Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, AOL, Aon, Domino Sugar, AutoTrader, CVS Caremark, Microsoft, NASA, Red Cross, Time Warner, Wells Fargo and Zynga, just to name a few, Year Up develops skills and matches students for internships and permanent placement.

The outcomes are rather impressive. 84% of Year Up graduates are either employed or in college full time 4 months after completing the program.

Canaan Walker

Canaan Walker

I learned about Year Up from one of the current students who lives in Maryland. Canaan Walker is 19 years old and admittedly did not perform very well in high school.  “I had to overcome limitations I was putting on myself”, Canaan shared candidly in a recent interview. “In Year Up I am finding myself, what I love to do and I am excited every morning that I get up to go to the program on the campus of NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College)”. As a matter of fact in March Canaan received an award for perfect attendance. This is particularly significant because Canaan takes the Metro daily from his home in Maryland to the Northern Virginia.

Canaan exudes focus, excitement and high hopes when he talks about Year Up.  He was recommended to the program by a high school counselor and he says it is just perfect for him.  He admits that Year Up is rigorous and requires you to follow the rules. The program is very strict about attendance, earning good grades and showing overall dedication and commitment.

Canaan shared that you start with 200 points and are held accountable for obeying the rules of the program relative to dress code, professionalism and proper behavior such as showing respect. “If you lose too many points, you can be kicked out”, he declared. Additionally, you have to maintain at least a C average in each class to remain in the program.

At this point, Canaan is within the first six months and admits to struggling a bit with the technical training. “We have to actually assemble a computer so that we understand the hardware, software and operating systems.  It is hard but I love it,” he enthusiastically offered.  Students also learn to use programs such as Excel, PowerPoint and Word.

In the area of professional skills, Canaan is working on how to manage his personal finances, business communications and the intangible aspects of being successful in the workplace by learning more about himself. “We learned about the Johari window which I found fascinating because it helped me to think about things that I don’t know about myself and how I might be perceived by other people.”

Canaan, an accomplished writer of prose and poetry, has a keen desire to pursue a career in game development.

Year Up proclaims it is a hand up, not a hand out.  This is one outstanding example of the many programs that are designed to bridge the skill gap.  It is truly a win-win.

Kudos to Year Up and we at LTAW wish Canaan Walker all the best. He is a wonderful role model and a testament that you can turn your life around with a hand up!

Getting to Know STEM!

Year Up Logo image courtesy of yearup.org

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