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Build your school’s reputation of having one of the best college career centers

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Lower income students may be struggling financially due to COVID-19: Here’s how to cope

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Ask the professor: “How important are academics to future careers?”

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5 expert tips for nailing your résumé

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Jobs and internships: Find your leadership potential this summer

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Climbing into the lifeguard chair for the summer? Decorating your cubicle at your new internship? In a recent survey by SH101, two out of three students who responded said they expected to have at least one job or internship this summer. Whatever you’re doing, for whatever reason, it’s worth strategizing about ways you can use the experience to develop leadership skills.

Why leadership? Two reasons: First, employers love leadership. Four out of five employers look for leadership skills on new college graduates’ résumés, according to the Job Outlook 2016 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Second, “leadership” is broad enough that you can potentially find ways to demonstrate relevant characteristics and skills in any situation, including working as a lifeguard or camp counselor. For more comprehensive resources, and to make your summer work on your résumé, see Get help or find out more.

What counts as leadership?

Here’s why it’s worth getting comfortable with the idea of yourself as a potential leader. Not all leaders have the title “president” or boss other people around. Leadership is about having influence and inspiring others to take productive action. When you think about leadership, remember these key points:

  • Leadership takes many different forms, and not all of them are readily apparent.
  • Leadership spans many skill sets and personality types.
  • Anyone can learn to lead, even in unconventional situations.

We can hone leadership skills without winning a war or finding a cure for disease. Leadership includes these skills and more:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Community-building actions that strengthen a shared sense of purpose
  • Conflict resolution and teamwork
  • Motivating and supporting others, including acknowledging their efforts
  • Managing your time, and helping others manage theirs, including delegating tasks and keeping a group on track
  • Including people who are often marginalized and excluded
  • Giving and receiving constructive criticism
  • Innovative thinking

Does everything have to be about your résumé?

As much as we’re talking here about career potential, other goals are valuable too: earning money, developing yourself personally, keeping busy, and having fun. It’s OK if your summer isn’t directly about building your résumé. It’s worth thinking about it through that lens, however, because you might find that your role has some career relevance that you hadn’t spotted initially. For example, working retail or in the food industry can build customer service and communication skills.

3 strategies to build leadership experience you can use later

1  Remember that metrics matter:

Hiring managers want to know the numbers. Use statistics and precise information. How many events did you help staff? Your organization or club’s social media followers grew by what percentage? How much money did you help raise? How many like-minded organizations did you reach out to about a potential collaboration? When you took over tracking inventory, how much of your boss’s time did you free up for them to work on growing the business? Track your activities and tasks on a spreadsheet for easy access in a job search.

How to keep track of your workplace goals and accomplishments

  • When you’re getting started in your job or internship, talk to your supervisor about realistic, measurable goals. For example, your goals may include writing a certain number of blog posts, signing up a certain number of customers for a rewards program, or developing enough knowledge that you can take on some managerial duties before the end of the summer. Look for some element of challenge and an opportunity to show your skills and effort, but not setting the goals so high that you can’t meet them. Your supervisor can help you figure out what’s attainable.
  • Keep a simple spreadsheet outlining what you did in the job or internship. This can help your current supervisor write future letters of recommendation, help you flesh out your résumé and LinkedIn profile, and help you prepare for interviews. You might be amazed at what you accomplish in one summer.

2  Think about ways to add value:

Future interviewers will want to hear your stories about specific projects, ideas, or accomplishments. Here’s what that could look like.

Find ways to demonstrate your initiative
Managers love when employees or interns propose new projects to expand their programs or increase revenue. These types of projects show innovation, creativity, and commitment, all valuable leadership traits. It’s especially valuable if your initiative will be sustainable when you’re no longer around to do it. Just make sure you have enough time to complete the tasks you were initially assigned and are in a position to take on any extra work.

Consider what you could accomplish this summer:

  • If you’re interning at a small nonprofit, you might volunteer to create a spreadsheet and tracking system for prospective donors.
  • If you’re working retail at a local business, you might volunteer to redesign the store’s website or brochures to attract new customers from the local college.
  • If you’re a sleepaway camp counselor, you might design and lead a new activity to keep campers engaged.
  • If you’re at the mom-and-pop ice cream stand, you may want to highlight your readiness to work a double shift to cover for coworkers who bailed, or your willingness to design T-shirts or signs.

3  Think about how these experiences could transfer to your career:

Future employers want to know that you can apply those same skills to their own organizations and challenges. When preparing for job interviews, plan how you’ll tell your stories of overcoming challenges, developing your own projects, and helping your employer accomplish their goals. The creativity, persistence, and dedication that you put into that new sign, updated database, or increased Facebook “likes” could translate into real, usable assets at your future company (depending on their strategic goals).

How to approach barriers affecting marginalized communities

If you have a condition that may be relevant to your presentation or performance, it can be useful to address it (without necessarily disclosing a diagnosis). For example:

  • “Verbal instructions can be harder for me to remember. It would be helpful if you could give me written notes or emails about my assignments to make sure I have what I need to do my best.”
  • “This is my first time working in an office—I hope to learn a lot this summer. It would be great if you could point out to me how things work, even if you think it might seem obvious, so I can learn even more.”

Put this into practice: How to make it work in person and on paper

Almost any work placement can provide opportunities to develop leadership skills. Here, students identify what they learned from short-term roles in four different fields. Jeff Onore, a career coach based in Massachusetts, discusses how they can present that experience to employers—in person or on paper. These strategies are relevant to a wide range of career interests, skills, and experiences.

Student perspective

How to talk about it

Government agency


“I worked with [a county probation department], and I was taught to be more responsible and take deadlines seriously. I also learned that you yourself are solely responsible for your work and to always double-check [everything].”
—Third-year undergraduate, California State University, Channel Islands
“Working with a probation department tells me the student is mature and professional. Employers like to see people do challenging things in challenging environments. Stress the fast pace as well as the empathy you need to work in that field.”

Childcare


“I gained a lot of leadership skills in a job in a daycare. Working with children aged six weeks to five years presents a new challenge every day, sometimes basic and other times very complicated. It requires making a lot of judgment calls on your feet and then communicating about your decisions to parents and supervisors later.”
—First-year graduate student, University of Delaware
“Own this; confidently say [you] gained leadership skills working in a daycare, a role that some people would play down. You can say, for example, ‘One thing I’ve learned about leadership: You need to stay calm.’”

Student perspective

How to talk about it

Amateur theater


“As stage manager for a college play, I knew that some cast members got along better than others, but all had to interact. After and before rehearsals, I’d ensure everyone was in a decent mood, and work out any misgivings.”
—Fourth-year undergraduate, Wayland Baptist University, Texas
“Stage Manager, 2014–2017:

  • Four major productions: South Pacific, The King & I, Romeo and Juliet, The Bachelor Goes Live.
  • Casts of 20–40; crews included lighting, sound, props, and costumes; coordinated these often conflicting departments and teams.”

Summer camp


“I was a camp counselor, which makes it easy to gain authority over the group, but more difficult to have a common communication basis where they feel comfortable talking to you about what they need [while also respecting] rules you set into place.”
—Third-year undergraduate, University of Central Arkansas
Include the metrics, and put some meat on the role:

  • “22 campers, 24/7 responsibility
  • Organized camp-wide Olympics, securing buy-in from the head counselors and students.
  • Facilitated the closing ceremonies for audience of families, recognizing each student.”

Presenting the tough stuff: How 5 students can address workplace obstacles

The workplace brings frustrations and constraints, as well as opportunities. Here, students describe five barriers that may make it harder for them to transfer certain skills and experiences into jobs after graduation. Jeff Onore, a career coach based in Massachusetts, looks at ways to approach it. These strategies are relevant to a wide range of career interests, skills, and experiences.

Student perspective

Expert perspective

1.  Gender/sexuality bias


“I am unsure if I can give my most valuable leadership positions—as president and vice president of finance of the Queer Student Alliance—on my résumé, for fear of discrimination or implicit bias against me.”
—Second-year undergraduate, Tulane University, Louisiana
“There may be room to say you effected social change as president of a student alliance. Be prepared at your interview to be asked the name of the organization. If you’re applying to pretty liberal employers—universities, arts, etc.—this may not be an issue. In more conservative fields, the reality is that this can be trickier to navigate.”

2.  Sexual harassment


“Sexual harassment has caused me to leave an internship at a law firm.”
—Second year graduate student, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
“No one will ask why you left an internship the way they might ask why you left a job. In this case, focus on what you learned in the internship.”

3.  Economic hardship


“It’s very difficult to participate in unpaid internships, offered by many nonprofits, when the cost of higher education is so debilitating.”
—Fourth-year graduate student, Emory University, Georgia
“Employers understand that financing college imposes more constraints on some students than others. If you don’t have much internship experience in your field, go right to this framing: It was important for you to work, and this is what you accomplished in the jobs you held (your good work ethic, your time management, and so on).”

4.  Deafness and disability discrimination


“[It was problematic that I had] no access to communication: American Sign Language, transcripts, closed captioning, etc.”
—First-year graduate student, California State University, Northridge
“If your college has connections with companies that do a good job accommodating deaf and disabled employees, start there. Some employers can be identified through the Lime Connect Network for the STEM fields or through chapters of the US Business Leadership Network in all fields. Disclosing deafness or a disability is unpredictable—some employers will be much more receptive than others. In the US, your right to reasonable accommodations on the job is protected by federal law. You can encourage an employer to contact the Job Accommodation Network for free expert help in figuring out accommodations. Or you might decide an employer isn’t worth the struggle.”
—Lucy Berrington, editor of Student Health 101

5. Age and gender discrimination


“Discrimination based on age and gender is something that I have been faced with, as I am a young female in the engineering field, which is predominately male. I know I am sometimes underestimated and pushed aside by peers because of this, but it only fuels my fire to be stronger and show them my leadership skills.”
—First-year graduate student, Villanova University, Pennsylvania
“The STEM fields are looking to recruit more women. Recognize your value to them. There may be a certain amount of age and gender discrimination, so it’s important to determine what the company culture is like. The first thing to do is to network through the engineering department at your school. People are often kind to those who have had a similar experience. Look at Glassdoor.com for information about the culture at corporate engineering departments, and use internships to take the temperature of different work environments. A large company may prioritize discrimination training; a small company may give you a chance to get certain kinds of experience more quickly.”

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Article sources

Jodie Collins, supervisor, Multicultural and Student Programs, Olympic College, Washington.

Jeff Onore, career coach, Waltham, Massachusetts.

National Association of Colleges and Employers. (2017).  Job outlook 2016: Attributes employers want to see on new college graduates’ résumés. Retrieved from https://www.naceweb.org/s11182015/employers-look-for-in-new-hires.aspx

Student Health 101 survey, February 2017.

The job prob: How (and why) to get that internship

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Internships are the “new interview”—your most likely route to a job, according to surveys of students, graduates, and employers. Here, experts say why.

Question: How much does an internship matter to employers?
Answer: A whole lot. “Practical experience is probably the number one thing that will move a resume toward the top of the pile.” — Jeff Reep, director of career services at Cedarville University, Ohio, and a certified professional career coach.

Question: What exactly can an internship do for me?
Answer: Provide essential experience and contacts. “Internships are oftentimes not only a learning experience but also a networking pathway to your first job. The more people you know in an industry, the better your chances.” —Lainee Beigel, attorney and founder of career coaching company Career Esquire, New York.

Question: I’m not sure what career I’m aiming for, so how can I choose an internship?
Answer: Think skill development. “Internships do not need to match up exactly with the job you apply for after school. Many practical skills are transferable across various industries.” —Lainee Beigel

Question: I can’t afford to take an unpaid internship.Am I doomed?
Answer: No. “Career-focused internships are preferable. However, it’s important to think about what skills and qualities you can emphasize. For example, as a waiter, you had to employ people skills and problem solving skills that can be applied to any job in any industry.” —Lauren Griffin, senior vice president at Adecco, a recruitment company in Boston.

Question: How can I make my summer serving ice-cream sound like a UN position?
Answer: You can’t. “Do not lie or embellish your resume or the jobs you did. You will be busted.” —Dana Manciagli, career coach, and author, based in Washington State.

Seven out of ten companies with 100+ employees offered full-time roles to their interns in 2012. They expected to hire more interns going forward.

Two in three employers say relevant work experience and interview performance are the most important factors in hiring (well ahead of academic performance).

Have a plan
5 steps to an intriguing internship & how they apply to two examples:

Have a plan: Artsy business student

Steps to a dynamic internship

Example: business major aiming for theater internship
  1. Start searching for opportunities 3-6 months in advance. Applying your skills in unexpected contexts can broaden your appeal to employers. Research local theatre companies, upcoming production schedules, and contacts (e.g., theatre directors, set coordinators).
  2. Identify two realistic ways your current skills could benefit the organization.
    • Generate some extra ticket sales
    • Reduce set costs
  3. Email the contacts you identified. Include a cover letter and your résumé. Explain why you are interested in this field and their business specifically. Let them know of your love of theater, how much you admired their recent production, and how you could contribute.
  4. Prepare for a phone conversation. Know what you could contribute to the organization, and ask what they need. Be flexible. You want to reduce the production budget, they need you to work on publicity? Adjust.
  5. Discuss a particular goal for your internship. A goal (e.g., reviewing expenses or identifying inefficiencies) will provide focus and add marketable skills to your résumé.

Have a plan: Green PR student

Steps to a dynamic internship

Example: public relations major aiming for organic farm internship
  1. Start searching for opportunities 3-6 months in advance. Applying your skills in unexpected contexts can broaden your appeal to employers. Check out farms locally and further away (some may provide housing).
  2. Identify two realistic ways your current skills could benefit the organization.
  3. Social media campaign:
    • Raise awareness of benefits of organic food production
    • Attract customers
  4. Email the contacts you identified. Include a cover letter and your résumé. Explain why you are interested in this field and their business specifically. Outline briefly your communication experience, why you care about organic farming, and how you could contribute to their business.
  5. Prepare for a phone conversation. Know what you could contribute to the organization, and ask what they need. Be flexible. While you may be fired up about a Twitter campaign, the farmers may be more interested in website content.
  6. Discuss a particular goal for your internship. Establish realistic metrics in for social media engagement, page views, etc., and ways to measure your impact on farm sales.
The Art of Change


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The job prob: Making the most of your major

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Picking your major or minor can be stressful—especially if you feel your career might depend on it. You’re likely to grapple with a range of factors, and prioritizing them can be challenging. You might be wondering how to weigh the following:

  • Your career interests and future marketability
  • Your academic strengths and passions
  • Input from your parents, professors, mentors, and friends

First thing to know: If you’re not sure what path to take, it’s okay. About 75 percent of students change their majors at least once before graduating, according to Dr. Virginia Gordon in The Undecided College Student (Thomas, 2007). For help strategizing, read on.

Your academic strengths

Why play to your strengths?

  • Better grades
  • Higher confidence
  • A more enjoyable college experience

Expert guidance
“While college is a time to explore and try new things, it is also a time to recognize and develop your talents. Knowing yourself and what you’re good at is extremely important in finding a career that’s a good match,” says Dr. Gigi Simeone, pre-med and pre-law advisor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Student’s story
“Experiencing academic success encouraged me to pursue an art history degree. It felt good to do well. I ultimately worked harder and got more out of my degree,” says Holly G., a 2011 graduate of Marymount Manhattan College in New York.

Your passions

 #1 factor
Students’ own interests are the most important factor in how they choose their major, according to a 2014 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Why it works 
Studying what you love is fun and motivating. These students graduate with higher GPAs, studies suggest.

Expert guidance
If your passions and academic strengths don’t translate directly into specific jobs, “make sure to take classes outside of your major to broaden your thinking and show some versatility,” says Nicolette Sherman, vice president, NA People and Organizational Development, at Sanofi North America, in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Personal interests are an even more important driver for older students. This might be, in part, why many students switch majors after their first or second year.

Your career plans

Have some idea what you want to do with your life?
Research those fields to help you choose your major. “My thoughts changed when I shadowed certain professionals for a day. People are happy to help you get more exposure, and they’re a great resource for questions,” says Kate B., a fourth-year student at Winona State University in Minnesota.

Is a specific major essential?
For some lines of work, such as accounting or engineering, it’s essential that you earn a related undergraduate degree.

For other professions, it’s about the broad skills your major helps you develop. “What’s going to help most is being able to showcase how their major has helped them take information in, process it, apply it, and communicate,” says Nicolette Sherman, who is also president of the Boston chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.

Your earning potential

Sometimes the money is about the major
Some majors secure higher-paying jobs, reports the National Association of Colleges and Employers, like:

  • Chemical engineering
  • Computer science
  • Mechanical engineering

But not necessarily
Your future success can depend more on your skills than on specific subject matter. For an example.

Expert guidance
“There are excellent books and online resources identifying first jobs and alumni career paths by major,” says Nancy Burkett, director of career services at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. “But we also let students know that how their career path will evolve is certainly up to them—and it’s not determined by their major.”

The gender gap

Certain majors lead to better-paying jobs after graduation—and women are underrepresented in those subjects.

Women are relatively scarce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM fields), reports the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Most significantly, female enrollment is lower in certain especially lucrative majors, including:

  • Computer science
  • Physics
  • Engineering

Increasing women’s participation in STEM fields is key to reducing the gender pay gap. Go for it.

Your learning style

Identify how you learn best
Prefer hands-on labs, large seminars, group workshops, or small classes? Investigate suitable majors or minors.

Do your homework
Research professors and students’ evaluations on courses required for a prospective major. Which classes and professors seem likely to work for you?

Ask questions
Meet with professors. See if the department community is a good fit. Professors also have connections to industry and other professional fields, and can provide tips or recommendations.

What do students consider very important or somewhat important in choosing their major, minor, and electives?

98%   Personal interests and passions
95%   Own strengths and challenges
92%   Building specialist skill set or knowledge
90%   Increasing appeal to potential employers
87%   Future earning potential
69%   Reputation of a course or professor
66%   Guidance from advisors & other mentors
35%   Input from family and friends

CampusWell survey, November 2014.
2,100 students answered this question.

Your postgraduate education plans

You up for more?
Do you want to go to graduate school, medical school, or law school? While it may seem premature to start thinking about postgraduate plans, the decisions you make during college can affect your academic opportunities after college.

Watch out for the prereqs
For example, if you plan to attend med school, you must fulfill certain pre-med requirements as an undergrad. Students aiming for a graduate degree in nutrition are likely to need credits in chemistry and physiology.

Too much?
If you’re feeling overly restrained by your postgraduate education goals, talk to your academic advisor or careers counselor about your options. In addition, realize you will likely have half a dozen or more jobs over your lifetime.

“Just because you chose teaching as a major or profession doesn’t mean you cannot work in the technology industry as an educational consultant (for example) later on,” says Amy Baldwin, director of University College at the University of Central Arkansas, Little Rock.

Student Interviewing

Specific course requirements

Check out the Must Do classes
For your top subject contenders, research the course requirements. Do they excite you, terrify you, or make you want to stay in bed watching reality shows instead?

Student’s story
“I was so excited about majoring in philosophy because of the specific courses that were required. They were classes I would have chosen to take regardless of my major, which made my educational experience way more fulfilling and pleasurable,” says Josh B., a 2013 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Personality, politics, & practicalities

Personality
Students who are well matched with their major are more likely to graduate on time and achieve better grades.

Political orientation
For example, students with more liberal views are more likely to choose a non-science major.

Parental income
Students from lower-income families are more commonly concerned with:

  • Tuition costs
  • Internship opportunities
  • Career preparation

Students from higher-income families are more typically focused on:

  • Academic prestige
  • College surroundings
  • Social factors

Practicalities
For students who commute to college while working or raising a family, the timing of courses can be the most important factor.

“The timing and locations of classes played a huge role in my course selection process… I had to be strategic about what fit my schedule,” says Anna C., a 2012 graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Faculty can make a big difference, for better or worse

Students are more likely to major in a field where they’ve had an inspiring professor in an introductory course, according to the American Sociological Association (2013).

Expert view
“Faculty can positively or negatively influence student taste for a field–some compelling teachers can get students engaged in fields that they previously disliked, while other, more uncharismatic faculty can alienate students from entire bodies of knowledge, sometimes permanently.”
—Christopher Takacs and Daniel Chambliss in How College Works (Harvard University Press, 2014)

A student’s story
“I sought out professors who loved what they taught,” said Becca M., a 2012 graduate of Columbia University in New York City. “It encouraged me to be more engaged with the material, and I did far better in classes taught by dynamic professors.”

Making the most of your major


Get help or find out more

Campus Viewpoints: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Careers and majors: College Review

Choosing a major: Princeton Review

Getting from college to career: 90 things to do before you join the real world Lindsey Pollak (HarperCollins, 2007)

Where recent grads are working: Stanford University


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The job prob: How learning to lead can help you succeed

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Midterms month: time to evaluate our national or local leaders, get into bitter online arguments, and even vote. But as much as we complain when our leaders fall short of our expectations, we all know that leadership is a profoundly important resource in both civic and professional life. And even if we’re not headed for politics, we’re all headed for the job market.

In the context of your future career, you might be wondering:

  • What exactly is professional leadership?
  • What will leadership skills mean for my career?
  • Which personal characteristics are the most important for leadership?
  • What if I don’t have a “leader’s” personality or skill set?
  • How can I gain leadership experience as a student?
  • How can I present those skills to future employers?

For stories of two students who developed their leadership skills in different ways, read further.

“Roles and responsibilities I had never had before”
Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps

William Edwards, 19
University of Central Arkansas in Conway
Degree: Health sciences/physical therapy

Program
The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) provides men and women with an opportunity to prepare for service in the Army. “We make leaders from day one,” says Major Todd Gray, associate professor of military science at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. Students who enroll in the ROTC “learn not just how to lead in the Army, but also at any company as soon as they graduate.”

More information.

What & why
William, a native of Texas, had turned down several soccer scholarships. He wanted a new way to challenge himself. “In the ROTC, I was instantly put into new roles and responsibilities. I had to organize my team and make sure they had all their equipment, showed up on time, and did their jobs. I was responsible for leading them from day one. In this program you learn to do things differently and take criticism.”

After
“I have surprised myself in my abilities to do things that I didn’t know I could do, like being a good time manager and commanding respect from my cadets.”

New goals
“I am committed to finding more opportunities to push me harder than I would push myself, whether that means taking on larger responsibilities each year, or something as simple as being the first to go at a task.”

Advice
“ROTC is a great thing to do and you can try it out without committing to it. Trying new things can’t hurt you.”

“Ideas are easy, practice is hard”
Disability advocacy academy

Lydia Brown, 21
Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Degree: Arabic major, psychology minor

Program
The Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) Summer Leadership Academy brings together students on the autism spectrum for training in disability advocacy.

More information.

What & why
“We should be celebrating the diversity of students with disabilities, rather than trying to ‘cure’ them” (a concept known as neurodiversity), says Lydia. She was concerned too about the barriers to higher education facing students with disabilities. She helped create the No Wrong Door project, a listing of resources for students with disabilities; organized letter-writing campaigns, boycotts, and protests; and drafted legislation. When her school announced a panel on autism, she successfully advocated for the inclusion of an autistic person.

After
“I developed a much clearer idea of what leadership looks like. It is very easy to organize people around an idea, but very hard to put it into practice.”

New goals
“I founded the non-profit organization Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective to fill the gaps that still exist for students with disabilities.”

Advice
“Find leadership programs that line up with your values and passion.”

Interviewer shaking hands

Which qualities do you most admire in our national leaders?

“I admire people who do not strive for fame but work hard fighting for human rights and equality.”
Dana G.*, fourth-year student at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
*Name changed for privacy

“I admire anyone who knows the value they bring to the table. Everyone has different sets of skills and talents. Also I respect those who know when to let others shine and step back.”
Jorge Z., third-year student at Edgewood College, Madison, Wisconsin

“I admire any person who not only looks out for our country financially but also socially. America is one of the newest countries that holds any power in the world. I pride myself on our ability to accept differences and be pro-social change.”
Elaine R., fourth-year student at Towson University, Maryland

“Anyone who is self-sacrificing. Who puts themselves last. Who does not have an agenda.”
Laura E., University of West Georgia in Carrollton

Which US politicians do students most admire—and most despise?

Most admired:

  • Hillary Clinton [D] Former Secretary of State
  • George W. Bush [R] Former President
  • Elizabeth Warren [D] Senator
  • Barack Obama [D] President
  • Ron Paul [R] Former Representative
  • Bill Clinton [D] Former President
  • Ronald Reagan [R] Former President

Most despised:

  • Hillary Clinton [D] Former Secretary of State
  • George W. Bush [R] Former President
  • Barack Obama [D] President
  • John Boehner [R] Speaker, House of Representatives
  • Mitt Romney [R] Former Presidential nominee
  • Sarah Palin [R] Former Vice Presidential nominee
  • Paul Ryan [R] Representative

Source: Student Health 101 survey. 750 students responded to this question.

Students’ top leaders: dead or alive

  1. “My mother”
  2. Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. Barack Obama
  4. Jesus Christ
  5. Abraham Lincoln
  6. F.D. Roosevelt
  7. Mahatma Gandhi
  8. Nelson Mandela
  9. Ronald Reagan
  10. Bill Clinton
  11. “My father”

Source: Student Health 101 survey. 780 students responded to this question.

Which personal qualities do students rank highest for leadership?

  1. Confidence
  2. Communication
  3. Honesty
  4. Ability
  5. Organization
  6. Respect
  7. Decisions
  8. Good listener
  9. Trustworthy
  10. Empathy
  11. Patience
  12. Motivation
  13. Caring
  14. Reliable
  15. Open-minded

Student Health 101 survey, June 2014

How learning to lead can help you succeed


Get help or find out more

What is "leadership" and what makes a good leader?: Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute

Leadership characteristics: University of Oregon

Komives, S.R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T.R. (2013). Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wagner, W. & Ostick, D.T. (2013). Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference. [Student workbook.] San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Maxwell, J.C. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership. Nashville, TN: Thomas Neson.

Shankman, M.L. & Allen, S.J. (2008). Emotionally intelligent leadership: A guide for college students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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The job prob: Forecasting your future in the job market

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How can you maximize your career prospects in our fast-evolving professional world? How can you use your time at college to position yourself for the job market you’ll face after graduation? The Job Prob, our monthly series, guides you through the steps.

IN THIS ISSUE
How is the professional world treating new graduates, anyway? What can you expect?

NEXT MONTH
Leadership skills: What they’re worth to employers, and how to get them.

Rain or shine?

We’ve all heard the reports of rising unemployment, slow job growth, and a bleak job outlook for recent graduates. The net worth of young adults has declined in the last thirty years, according to the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research organization. This forecast has been unsettling to college students who are banking on landing that perfect (or at least decent) job after they graduate.

But your job prospects are brighter than you might have realized. While some occupational prospects continue to decline, the overall job market is looking up—especially for recent college graduates.

Students can use their college years strategically, acquiring the skill sets, practical experience, and networks that will position them for success in their careers.

To capitalize on this pick-up in employment prospects, use your college years strategically.

The full list of occupations with the fastest job growth

Increasing opportunities

Field Specialties Median salary range Prospects
Engineering* Petroleum, aerospace, computer, chemical, mechanical, civil $62,100–95,300 Very good
Health care** Registered nursing, home health aides $31,150–90,930 Very good
Construction* Electricians, insulators, bricklayers $29,670–39,170 Good
Education** Childcare workers, teachers $19,510–53,400 Fair
Food services** Cooks, fast-food workers $18,260–20,030 Fair

Sources
* https://www.naceweb.org/s04162014/top-paid-majors-class-of-2014.aspx?land-salres-lp-1-spot-tpaid-05092014
** https://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_104.htm

Diminishing opportunities

Field Specialties Median salary range Prospects
Woodworking** Model makers, pattern makers $28,470–31,510 Very poor
Photography** Process workers, processing machine operators $19,500–23,280 Very poor
Textile** Machine setters and operators $21,620–24,290 Very poor
Broadcast journalism** Reporters, correspondents, news analysts $35,870–55,380 Poor
Agriculture** Ranchers, farmers $69,300 Poor
Postal services** Mail carriers $53,100 Very Poor

Sources
**https://www.bls.gov/ooh/

Mostly sunny

Nineteen of the 30 occupations that are projected to grow the fastest in the next eight years require postsecondary education, according to the US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics. “The employment scene for new graduates looks good,” says Tiffany Johnson, associate director of career services at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

In addition, hiring is picking up overall.  The class of 2014 will benefit from an eight percent increase in hiring over last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Of the 20 fastest-growing occupations, 70 percent are in a health-related field—in part because our population is aging—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is good news for graduates in the sciences and health-care fields. Other growth industries include government, finance, insurance, real estate, and retail trade, according to NACE.

In case of a rainy day

There is rough weather ahead for certain occupations. Jobs in fields such as agriculture, postal services, photography, and broadcast journalism—where technological advances have displaced workers—are declining significantly.

Your academic résumé

Students who are not majoring in hot fields can round out their skill set and improve their marketability through strategic choice of courses. “If you are a liberal arts major, you should absolutely follow your passions. That said, even though you might not love business or accounting or marketing, it’s valuable to have a course or two that at least exposes you to a different kind of language. You’re in a risk-free environment: Why not take the opportunity to learn something new and challenge yourself?” says Nicolette Sherman, vice president responsible for human resources, at Sanofi North America, a leading healthcare company.

Practical experience and initiative

Employers are looking for candidates with practical experience, such as internships. They also value graduates who have developed their leadership and communication skills, or participated in international exchanges that demonstrate cross-cultural awareness.

“When I look at resumes I’m interested in how savvy people have been about how they invested their discretionary efforts,” says Ms. Sherman. “You’ve got to be able to show you’re going to take the initiative, that you have drive and passion, and you are motivated by your interests.”

Follow The Job Prob for:

  • Strategic choice of courses
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Practical experience
  • Building your network
  • Revitalizing your resume
  • Leveraging your online profile
  • The job hunt

Top 5 growing fields

  • Engineering
  • Health care
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Food services
Forecasting your future in the job market


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