Career Counselor meet-up

So most students are off school and these are the moments parents ought to utilize and ensure their kids meet their career mentors or rather career counselor.

Whether you’re an undergraduate, in graduate school, or a few years post-graduation, one of the best resources you have is a college career counselor. These individuals are trained career experts who are ready and willing to help you brainstorm career paths, identify open positions, and give your resume and cover letter a boost.

But to make the most out of this resource, it’s helpful if you know what to expect and what to do to make the most of your meetings.While your career counselor has a wealth of resources and advice and is there to help you out, you’re the one who’s really in the driver’s seat. And she can be most effective when you share what you’re specifically looking to get out of the meeting. Here is a rundown of some of the things you could ask the career counselor.

“How does my resume look?”

Your counselor knows what makes a resume stand out to employers, so bring a copy of yours to the meeting and enlist her feedback. Even if it’s still a work in progress, that’s okay. Bring a draft, or even a list of all your experiences and activities—from your internships and all. Counselors can help you craft experience descriptions that draw attention to the skills and personal qualities you have that employers are seeking.

“What’s the best job search strategy for me?”

Enlist your counselor’s experience in strategizing your approach. Ask questions like: How should I allocate my search time between networking, informational interviews, and applying for jobs? What strategies have been effective for other people applying for these types of positions? How you should approach the job search will vary based on your role, industry, and location, but your career counselor likely has some advice that will help you out.

 

“How can I show I have experience if I don’t have direct experience?”

It’s a great one to ask. Talk to your counselor about the specific types of positions you’re after, as well as how you can leverage extracurricular, volunteer, on-campus, and academic experiences to make the case to a hiring manager that you’re a good fit. Many employers are willing to hire and train the right candidate if she can demonstrate strong communication skills, drive, intelligence, professionalism, and other valuable soft skills—it’s just a matter of positioning.

“How do I look on social media?”

More and more employers are using social media to check out potential candidates, even before the interview. But even if prospective employers are turned off by your Facebook profile pic, they’re probably not going to tell you about it. So, log into your social media platforms with your counselor, and ask for her candid feedback on what your profiles say about your professional image. She can let you know what a third party might think about your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles and whether they will help or hurt your chances of securing a position.

 

“What are my next steps?”

Your first meeting is a great starting point in enlisting the help of your career expert, but be sure to leave the meeting knowing what the next steps are. It may be your turn to update your resume or look at some companies, or it may be time to schedule a follow-up appointment to continue the discussion. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask to meet with your career counselor throughout your search process—remember, that’s what she’s there for!

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Job Hunting

So you graduate from the university, passed all the exams, written every test, it’s time to actually start entering the world of grown-ups and find a proper job. You’ve thought about how it will go following graduation and now the moment has come. The thing is, it’s not that easy as it seemed to be!

You may not even want to admit the amount of times you’ve sent your resume and got no answer or how many employers rejected your application form. Job hunting for college graduates can be very tedious. It takes time, but if you take some extra steps to create a resume and cover letter that stand out, brush up on your interview skills, grow your professional network and be proactive in your job search, you are sure to succeed!

Oh, and you’ll want to steer clear of these common problems graduates face while looking for a job after college:

Meeting the real world

There are a lot of challenges to face when transitioning from a student into the work world, but the major issue lies in the fact that college education doesn’t prepare an individual for real life. Sure, you have the knowledge under your belt from school, but getting and holding a job in the field requires an entirely different set of skills.

In college, you can make mistakes, speak with a teacher and retake the test, prepare additional assignments and that’s it! In real life you will be making hundreds of mistakes and you’ll have no possibility to fix them without consequences. Professors are there to help you succeed, so they are more likely to put up with more than an employer, who has hired you to do a job that meets their professional needs.

Pressure

Lack of maturity is a major downfall for new graduates. Students who haven’t had a taste of the working world may not have a sense of what real responsibility means. This means fresh college graduates may not be able to deal with the daily demands of a job, being told what to do and being expected to do it.

What’s more, when the pressure mounts, they may resort to acting like a child when they don’t get there way. Why? Likely because they haven’t had to deal with authority figures besides their parents and profs, who don’t put the same demands on you as an employer might. This may also cause fresh grads to give up on their job search when things don’t go their way.

Act your age and understand that while things may have been lined up for you during your years of study, in the real world everything isn’t always going to go as planned and there will be times when you face adversary. Handle it like the adult you are!

Poor Image

Poor self-image is a widespread problem for graduates looking for a job after college. Most students haven’t figured out how to represent themselves in the best way, both on and offline, highlighting their strengths and masking weaknesses.

It’s common for potential employers and recruiters to Google candidates to suss out their social media presence, so if you want to look professional, you may want to remove those photos of you doing a keg stand at the last frat party. Sure, most employers will understand that workers have a social life outside of work, but they want to ensure they hire the best people possible to represent their company. Google yourself and clean up your social media accounts before you start applying!

Inflated expectations

Down-to-earth thinking can be an issue for new graduates, as they may believe that they are entitled to their dream job just because they’ve gone to school for years for it. However, this is not the case at all and it’s a hard reality to face if you’ve got inflated expectations.

Realizing that there are many other factors that go into the hiring process that exceed further than your college credentials will have bring you back down to earth, so you can focus on the rest of the package.

Lack of experience

Last, but not least is a lack of professional experience. When students finish their studies, it’s unlikely that they’ve had had enough time to gain experience in the field – meaning it’s less likely for them to get the desired job compared to a person that is more qualified.

It can be truly challenging, but the best way to find a job after college education is to be open for new experience and be hard-working and motivated enough to make your own decisions. A great way to gain experience is to complete an internship, as it will increase your chances to be hired for a full-time position.

Getting your first job after university is a huge move into a life of adults – where you’re responsible for your own actions, have to count on yourself and take risks. It’s a hell of a task to live through all the job interviews, meet the expectations of choosy bosses and high job requirements. So you’ve got to be stress-resistant, flexible and attentive to details. Remember, that first job is the first step on your professional ladder, so plant your foot firmly.

To sum it up, it’s appropriate to say that finding your first job after post-secondary education is a really complex task, but it’s up to you! It’s you who defines your future path in life and it’s you who is able to challenge yourself every day and make yourself stronger, smarter and, most importantly, happier! Remember, that it’s not the job you live for, it’s life you work for!

Gender Equality in Career

Workplace still has barriers associated with bias and status level. They need to face the problem gender stereotypes. Gender stereotypes are belief that one holds about the characteristics and traits of women and men. In essence,gender stereotyping promotes the belief that women should be traditionally feminine and men are to be traditionally masculine. Such as in the corporate world, women have difficulty achieving leadership role. It appears that women continue to be viewed as strong in personal and family roles and not meant to assume leadership role. This so-called glass ceiling is the invisible barrier that blocks women from high-level position.

I was going through some job advert and they were specifying job posts on gender basis. Some posts were specifically for men while others were specifically for the ladies. It got me thinking, in this time and era there is still issues with gender. For instance, the technical field the girl child are countable. If only this could be worked on.

I don’t have a magic wand that can solve the gender disparity problem, but I do see a couple of ways :

  • Show the options available: Students in high school and college don’t see a career path in some fields because no one has shown them the possibilities. We need to get better at communicating different job roles and career paths. Taking the time to explain these jobs, how they translate into a profession that has upward mobility opportunities, what qualifications are needed and the compensation that they should expect (and demand!) will go a long way.
  • Address social pressure or gender stereotypes early on: Many schools still offer gender-specific activities, and it’s difficult for them to show an interest in some fields as it’s stereotyped to may be a specific gender .
  • Explore alternative opportunities: If schools can’t offer suitable programs to curb gender equality in careers, look to say local government for after-school education programs. Find ways to partner your company with other businesses, schools and community organizations that focus on this issue. There are some great programs out there that have been created to aim at inspiring interest in gender equality in careers.

 

Career and Job the same thing???

“Career” and “Job” are often used to mean the same thing, they really are different.

While both a job and a career involve getting up and going to work in the morning, there is a huge difference in the mindset of a person holding a job and the mindset of a person with a career. The differences don’t necessarily come from salary or benefits. They might not even come from the difficulty of the work.
If you work in a part-time job in your youth in order to have extra spending money, it isn’t likely you’d refer to it as a career. Why?
The reason is that a job is something you do without much concern for the long-term. You get a job to buy your first car, to have extra spending money, to learn about work, or to pay the bills.
When young people work part-time in retail sales jobs, they aren’t thinking of it as a career.

Lets just get down to it.

What is a Career? A career is a series of connected employment opportunities, where you build up skills at earlier employment opportunities to move you into higher paying and higher prestige employment opportunities later on. In five years, you’re planning to be doing something very similar to what you’re doing now, but hopefully with more income and more interesting problems to tackle.

What is a job? A job is simply something you do to earn money. Career advancement is not something you’re interested in there and the work often doesn’t interest you at all. In five years, you’ll likely not be doing anything like your current job.

You will definitely notice that a job has minimal impact on future resumes and job applications because it’s completely unrelated to the stuff you’ll be applying for. A career is a series of heavily related jobs that will always be used on future applications and resumes.

A job is just there to put some easy cash in your pocket. A career provides the backbone of experiences and learning that will fuel your professional life for years, if not your entire life.

A job offers very few networking opportunities, because the people at a job are not people you’ll likely know at a future job. A career is loaded with networking opportunities, as most of the people around you are involved in similar careers to yours and they’ll keep popping up time and time again.

So be keen to note the difference and note what you are working on is it just a job or is it just a career?

What next after campus?

After campus you definitely experience any of these fears:

  • You’re eager to put your new college degree to use but don’t have your perfect job lined up.
  • You’re worried that you may have a lack of experience.
  • You’re unsure of what industry you should be in.
  • You’ve never been interviewed and aren’t sure how to prepare.

Do not worry. Everyone worries about this situation after graduation.

Here is what you can do to find your way through,

 

Your Education Never Ends

Don’t worry, this is a good thing.

You will always be learning new things, reading new books and developing yourself to be the very best version of you. You will be trained in new facets of a position and gain expertise and knowledge.

Be open to this change.

Don’t Let the World Decide Your Path

Sit down and make a list and a plan of your ideal situation. Ask yourself,What kind of work that you really enjoy doing?If you weren’t getting paid what kind of work would you enjoy doing?What activities in your past have been responsible for your success?

After which, make a plan that will help put you on the right path to getting a great job.

Choose Something You Love Over Money

This is a time where you are able to really get to know yourself and find what you love to do.

This may be a hard thing to think about in the short run, especially if finding a job is hard.

But think about this:

Would you rather end up in a career that you hate or be doing something that you truly love for the rest of your life?

Check These Career Websites for Leads on Getting a Job in Your Field

There are hundreds of career websites that you can use to look for jobs. One of them is My Career Identity Website

 

Interview

Well this is a whole topic for another day but before an interview, you must do extensive research on a company.

When your do research for your interview, look at these things:

  • Who will be interviewing you?
  • The company’s website.
  • The industry the company is in.
  • It’s main competitors.
  • The products they sell.
  • The company culture.

Find out as much as you possibly can about the company before your interview. You will be able to answer pertinent questions about the business, the industry and the people.

Ask For More Responsibilities

When you finish a task at your new job, don’t sit on your hands and wait for someone to give you a new task. Ask for more responsibility.

What happens when you ask for more responsibility:

  • Your boss grows to trust that if there is a job that needs to be done you can do it.
  • The more responsibility you ask for, the more you will be rewarded.

Career Identity

What is career identity?

It is a structure of meanings in which the one links his own motivation, interests and competencies with acceptable career roles.

When we get employed, we’re given a job title, sometimes a job description, we belong to a department and we have a person who manages us. We’re put in our ‘place’ from day one.

And while our characteristics, values, education, social and family influences all inevitably form part of how we go about doing our job, somewhere along the way our identity can get lost in all the labels that we’re given at work.

If you feel good about your contribution, you have a clear purpose, freedom to express yourself and stay true to your values, then the clarity and authenticity of your identity will remain strong.

But if you don’t feel good about what you contribute, enjoy what you do, or know how you ended up where you are; if you question your purpose, conform to what others want you to think and lose sight of your values, then your true identity start to get lost.

When we talk of finding the right job it is seeking employment that matches your career identity. You should be clear about your career identity and below are some of the ways to help you find your career identity.

Think Of What You Offer People At Work

It’s easier to develop your career identity when you know what kind of emotional appeal you offer people. For starters, think broadly about your personality and how it affects the experience someone will have with you.

Make a list of words that best describe these features of your personality. Once you know what you contribute to those that work with you, you’ll make more of an effort to play into those attributes, creating a common thread in your work and interactions.

Decide What Makes You Stand Out At Work

We all have our own personalities that help us stand out from the rest and form our identities. Write down what, exactly, you do it might be something that directly relates to your career and make that your defining trait.

Break Out Of Your Confining Boxes

When you were deciding what makes you stand out at work, chances are you might have kept yourself confined to a couple of boxes. But what if you have some untapped potential that you’re too scared to reach for?

If you really want to nail down your career identity, you can’t limit yourself with weak fears.The point of taking the time to develop your identity is to help yourself become as great as you possibly can be.

Find A Mentor

Find someone today who can mentor, advise or coach you about what’s possible, and help you see what’s holding you back from identifying the power you have to make a difference, and the vast number of options that are truly available to you. When you have someone helping you,you see both your errors and accomplishment, the path  becomes much clearer.

 

Once you’re clear about your identity, you’re able to put forth some of your most inspired, on point work forward. You now have a clear purpose, freedom to express yourself and stay true to your values, then the clarity and authenticity of your identity will remain strong.

Career management

Career management is conscious planning of one’s activities and engagements in the jobs one undertakes in the course of his life for better fulfilment, growth and financial stability.

Most people still ask themselves if they are in the right career,wondering what they should be doing . They feel stuck career-wise not because they are not talented or maybe not capable but because you are unsure where to start looking and that is why career management is always key to achieving career success. Lack of career management can result in: frustration feelings of not being valued ,being unable to find suitable employment should a job change be necessary due to mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, or downsizing .

Here are some of the few strategies on career management:

1. Self valuation

If we feel lost, we will generally take a closer look at where we are than if we were on familiar territory. Familiarity can breed complacency; consequently, wherever you think you are on your career journey, it is important to re-calibrate your understanding of your strengths, weakness, and true potential.

A particular issue is to fully understand what exactly your situation is. This requires reflection before rushing to action.

2. Planning

This is the step that provides the opportunity to verify assumptions.The core elements of any Plan are to begin by defining objectives and benefits. For example, you may currently have the aim of “developing my career by moving on as quickly as possible.” However, it is critical to identify what you want the “Return on Me” to be from your current and future roles.

3. Exploring

Different routes, different outcomes? This is the follow on from  planning phase where ideas are ready to be tried out. Actively exploring different routes requires the sharing and testing of ideas, and constructively and non-judgmentally processing others perceptions and opinions. It must also draw on your plan. To be successful means staying grounded on the work you will have done to seek  feedback. Without this, your career journey may take on the characteristics of a circular tour.

4. Demonstrating Competence

A fundamental element in demonstrating competence is developing a CV that shows your capability and capacity, and ensures the “real” you is present at the interview. Establish goals and targets for job search/career shift, and regularly review progress, potential hindrances.

5. Delivering

Assimilation into a new role during the first 100 days requires both cultural understanding and a focus on delivering what’s required. “Look, listen, and learn” is important. For senior roles, the capability to hit the ground running and deliver results in what may be a very different environment from the one anticipated is critical.

6. Reviewing

Career management does not end with successfully finding a new position, whether as CEO or Graduate trainee. There will be a continuing need to choreograph your own career.Focus on delivery, Maintain your channels of communication and remember to review situations both within the organization and the market.

Follow your Passion

What is passion? It is that powerful feeling of enthusiasm inside you, to do something or about something.When you are passionate about the work you do,you are better equipped to overcome obstacles that will surely arise in the process of moving up in a career. Also, the more enthusiasm you have, the more inclined you are to work harder at improving yourself.

It’s always a beautiful thing when passion and  career come together.Finding and following your passion is key to success. Know what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.Never ignore what your heart pumps for,mold your career around your passion.

Meet Karren Cherotich ,who shares her experience trying to follow her passion.

Immediately when we meet someone new, we want to know their name and what they do for a living. This is basically how our society is and I think it is because we are defined by what we do, our careers and our profession. It really feels good to be defined by what you love, what you dream of, what you value and what you cherish. This is expressed by the careers we take up. You would really be doing yourself injustice by taking up a career that is not in line with your passion.

 

I did not realize this until I was got up in a similar situation, taking up a course which I was not passionate about. I felt burnt out and lacked enthusiasm to study it. I had to struggle between keeping my grades up and accepting that I had to take up a career that was far from my dream. However, I felt that my identity was closely tied to this career and if I would lose it, then I would have no proof of all my hard work. I wanted to show the world that I did it! I made it. I wanted to show my fellow students that you can get caught up in the wrong course but you can maneuver your way out successfully.

 

I owe this to the support I have received from my career identity who made me feel accepted, they taught me that success is achieved through the ability to do something that you truly love. I have been able to embrace passion in my career and they have also helped me discover my potential through which I have been able to unfold my passion in writing. I am forever grateful.They have impacted me with skills which I intend to pass it to the next generation

Consequences of a ‘Mwakenya’ Mind -set

When a student chooses a course, then they should have the tenacity to work hard and do well in it. I believe the decision to have cut off points as a determinant-entry to Kenyan universities or colleges emanated from a basis that only certain students can put up with some courses’ expectations. Whether this is the best way to do it, is indeed a debate for another reading.

nairobi

If students gain confidence through working unethically and acquiring what is not theirs then our 2030 Vision will be highly compromised

2017 may be one of the worst years for universities’ and colleges’ cash flow. Fewer students will gain entry into these institutions. The reason for this is well, the brilliant Matiangi effect. As I indicated in my earlier blog post, many students had resulted into cheating hence huge masses of students would qualify to enroll into these institutions and of course it was good business for some learning institutions.

I most recently sat with a high school teacher to make sense of the 2016 K.C.S.E results and he indicated that the reading culture had been sadly halted in some secondary schools not because there were no books or reading materials but because students knew they would eventually cheat in exams. They were confident they would pass K.C.S.E since others before them stole and passed anyway. Now, let’s reason it out together. If a student decides to scam their way into a medicine course, what do you think would be the befalling consequence on our society?

Dr. Florentius Koech – a consultant neurosurgeon and lecturer at Moi University School of medicine once said that the field of medicine requires dedication and the right mind –set. He believed that a mwakenya (cheating) mind –set kills the spirit which is expected to show compassion and rescue lives from the grasp of death. In recent times, there have been cases of malpractices that have led to patients losing their lives or living with devastating injuries brought by negligent doctors. How can a society deal with such a consequence? No, what are we doing to deal with such?

It’s of course disheartening to know that some University/College students graduate with passes or honors that are not of their own doing- an indication that cheating does not end in high school. It’s important for parents and guardians to bring up a generation of value based & passionate workers. If students gain confidence through working unethically and acquiring what is not theirs then our 2030 vision will be highly compromised.

So how do we stir up future employees and entrepreneurs that are passionate and value based? The best way to inspire passion is by carefully analyzing your child’s interests and abilities then linking your findings to their preferred career choice. Parents and guardians should also instill the right values that include hard work, integrity & tenacity among students so as to curb the cheating craziness witnessed in our learning institutions. Passion and the right values will mold the right breed of  workers who will help realize our 2030Vision.

It is time to ignite a sense passion, integrity & tenacity in our upcoming employees and entrepreneurs as a result zombies and cheats in our work force will be a thing of the past.

Writer:-

Kathleen Lihanda – Founder & Senior Career Coach – My Career Identity

Email: kathleen@mycareeridentity.com

Website: www.mycareeridentity.com

This Is How We Can Help You Help Your Child Make Informed Career Choices

There is a striking similarity between mathematics and life. For one to perfectly work out a mathematical problem, they must use a formula that was uniquely developed for that problem.  Similarly, a well-planned out career is very instrumental in the process of working out a happy and satisfied life. The importance of parents in the career selection process for their children cannot be wished away. This is due to the fact that parents have lived through the process and therefore their experience can help prevent their children from making career mistakes.

The influence parents have on their children’s career choices stem from their innate desire to have the best for their children. However, there is need for parents to moderate the level of influence they have on their children’s career choices to avoid a situation where they impose their will on their children regardless of the young one’s interests and passion in life. Parents need to only facilitate the process of career choices for their children and not influence the choices in any way.

My Career Identity

Research indicates that when students feel supported and loved by their parents especially during career decision – making, then they gain more confidence in their own ability to explore their potential and select careers that would be interesting and exciting.

However, parents are today held up with a lot of responsibilities that their children’s career choices are the least of their worries. They have work deadlines to beat, bills to pay, demonstrations to attend and even marriages to save that as long as the child goes to school, they consider their work done. Children to these parents end up being at the mercy of the government to determine the university to attend and the course to pursue based on their one-time performance in KCSE and not their interests or passion.

Research indicates that when students feel supported and loved by their parents especially during career decision – making, then they gain more confidence in their own ability to explore their potential and select careers that would be interesting and exciting. Additionally, studies show that adolescents who feel competent regarding career decision-making tend to make more satisfying career choices later in life. My Career Identity (MCI) provides parents an avenue to ensure their children feel supported while discovering their passion, interests & abilities. Enrolling your child in programs run by MCI will help not only show your efforts in seeking out what’s best for them but will also sway your child into right career path.

With KCSE results now out, universities and middle-level colleges will be jostling for as many students as possible to enroll in their innumerable programs. It is therefore important that before the calling letters start trickling in, your child must have aligned their abilities, interests and passion to their career choices. The best way to achieve this is by having our career coach at MCI walk with you and your child through the process.

Contact us today and let us help you, help your child make informed career choices.

Writer:-

Dennis Shisia – PR & Marketing Consultant, My Career Identity

Email: info@mycareeridentity.com