Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

Tommy Derry

Online Job Search and Career Resources

Even though the OPCD’s office is open from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Friday, we realize college students operate on a different schedule. In order to ensure our tools and resources are available to Wake Forest students at any time night or day, we have identified a wide variety of quality resources that are available on our website 24 hours a day. Some of these resources are offered by reputable third parties and are paid for by Wake Forest (which would cost a student or alumnus hundreds of dollars if they had to purchase access on their own); others have been developed through partnerships with other colleges and universities; and some have been created by the OPCD team and are specifically designed for Wake Forest students.

Our foremost challenge is getting students to know about and use all these resources in their career development and job search process. Many students mistakenly think that DeaconSource is the only online resource they need and are left unhappy because it did not meet their expectations. DeaconSource is a very important tool that enables students to receive tailored information and news from the OPCD based on their interests, yet students still need to look further and utilize other resources to find what they really need.

Parents – you can help your student by making them aware of the online resources that fit with their interests and needs. Below is a list of some of the most valuable and utilized resources on the OCPD website.

Job and Internship Search 

  • Career Shift – Online networking tool that enables jobseekers to identify, research and cross-reference jobs and contacts.
  • Going Global – Features 33 Country Career guides, 43 USA City Career guides, corporate profiles and more than 600,000 internship and job listings within the USA and around the world.
  • The Internship Center – Online internship database that categorizes popular internships by city and career field.

Interview Preparation

  • Interview Stream – Practice mock interviewing from your computer any place, any time. Tailored questions are available by career field and you can get feedback on your mock interviews from friends, mentors, parents, career counselors and advisors.
  • STAR Method Worksheet – Interview preparation worksheet to help students organize their responses to behavioral interview questions by the Situations and Tasks they encountered, the Actions they took, and the Results they achieved.

Networking

  • Wake Forest Career Connectors – LinkedIn group of over 6000 alumni, students, parents, and faculty dedicated to providing advice and information to current Wake Forest students. Instructional videos guide students to build professional LinkedIn profiles. At least 50% of the Wake Forest student body is connected on LinkedIn each year.
  • Networking Tracking Tool – Pre-formatted Excel template helps students organize and track their opportunities and contacts.
  • Vault – Huge library of career and industry guides helps students in their research and exploration. Very useful before meeting networking contacts and conducting informational interviews in order to avoid asking basic questions and to be well-prepared for the conversation.

These are just a few of the many resources available to students. More online job search and career development tools and resources can be found on the OPCD website.

Tips for Success in the Global Marketplace

When I speak about what is required for colleges to better prepare students for the world of work, one important component is for educators to spend time with employers. This allows faculty and staff to better understand what is expected of students in internships and full-time jobs. In doing so, educators can modify curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences so that students learn and develop the competencies necessary to not only secure great jobs, but to be successful throughout their careers. In essence, I am promoting more ‘Employer-Education Partnerships’ to fully realize, and significantly elevate, the value of a college education.

With our strong employer relations team and their efforts, this type of partnership is occurring with greater frequency at Wake Forest. Last Tuesday, Wake Forest brought together higher education leaders from Wake Forest and other institutions, industry executives, and national experts to participate in the Diversity & Inclusion Symposium, commemorating Wake Forest’s 50th anniversary of racial integration. The symposium provided an opportunity for participants to share research, best practices, and ideas to prepare students to be effective employees in the 21st century diverse and global workforce.

At Wake Forest, we have begun to transform our own institutional culture by expanding our definition of diversity to include constituencies who have historically been underrepresented or underserved, but are now increasing in the nation and on our campus. While “diversity” used to be a code word for Black; today it also encompasses Latinos, Asians, American Indians, people of mixed racial heritage, women, women in STEM disciplines, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, multiple generations, first generation college students, religious pluralism, economically disadvantaged students, international students, recent immigrant groups, and other bounded social identity groups.

In an increasingly competitive and global economy, where talent is crucial to improving the bottom line, pooling from the largest and most diverse set of candidates is vitally important for organizations to succeed in our global marketplace. In addition, it’s crucial for organizations to create an inclusive environment and culture that cultivates diversity-inspired creativity and teamwork.

I had the opportunity to moderate a panel of employers on the topic, “Defining Core Cultural Competencies for Graduates Entering a Global Marketplace”.  The panel agreed on several key actions that students should take as they enter the workplace for internships, full-time jobs or graduate school.

  • Find a mentor. When 75% of executives link their career progress to mentoring, it’s apparent that mentors are especially important for students transitioning into their first full-time job or into a new organization. Many students find their new work environments very difficult to navigate because it is so different from the college campus environment, relationships and expectations. A mentor can provide perspective, advice, and information on how to navigate obstacles, understand the office culture, and how to take advantage of opportunities. For more information, read this article featuring advice from Dr. Allison McWilliams, the director of Wake Forest’s Mentoring Resource Center.
  • Understand and appreciate the organization’s culture. A memorable analogy was made by panelist Debra Langford comparing new hires joining an organization to players joining a team. As a member of the team, there is a uniform you must wear, a coach you must obey, and a set of team rules you must follow. Too often, students ignore culture in their job search and mistakenly think that they will have the same freedoms at work as they did in college. Students must seek out information about an organization’s culture to ensure they will be a good fit; and once on-the-job, they must fit in with the culture in order to earn the opportunity to gain more responsibilities.
  • Understand what differentiates employees (it’s not just knowledge). Over the last decade with the availability of information via the internet, employees can no longer define their value by just what they know. Increasingly, the most valuable employees are the ones who know what information is important (critical analysis and discernment), enlist the cooperation and support of others (interpersonal and relationship-building skills), present their arguments in persuasive ways (communication and influencing skills) and work in diverse teams and think with a global perspective (teamwork and cultural competence). Students who develop these competencies while in school and early in their careers will quickly find opportunities and be competitive for opportunities in the future.

Preparing for the Summer Internship

So your child has just landed his or her internship for the summer. Congratulations! A pat on the back or a celebratory dinner is certainly in order, but don’t let him or her make the mistake of believing that just getting the internship is enough.

College students have more reasons than ever to make the most of their summer internships. According to a recent report by Michigan State University and the Collegiate Employment Research Institute, the importance of internships has steadily increased over the last decade and they are now many organizations’ primary source of talent recruitment.

In an internship, performing well, developing transferable skills and fostering strong relationships are crucial. Even if a full-time job offer does not follow, managers of high-performing student interns often become the students’ biggest advocates in future job searches. With the transformed global knowledge-worker economy of the 21st Century, the stakes and the competition are higher than ever.

The first step towards a successful summer is preparation. In order to help students hit the ground running in their internships, here are some tips developed by Patrick Sullivan, our Associate Director of Career Education & Counseling and affectionately known in the OPCD as the “Intern King”:

  1. Know what to expect – Get as familiar as possible with the environment in which you will be working. If you haven’t already, download a Vault Career Guide from the OPCD site and review the information in the book to get more familiar with the industry and setting in which you will be working.
  2. Be prepared – If you have a working relationship with someone at the organization where you will be employed, contact them to ask about the kind of tasks you will be doing during the internship. If you recognize that you need to build up a particular set of knowledge or skills, find ways to build those competencies.
  3. Do your research – Begin to follow the news related to the organization and subject area on which you will be working. Seek out articles in newspapers and magazines. Set up a Google News Alert on the organization, your functional area, notable executives and any other topics your research indicates will be important during your employment. You can set these searches to deliver news on daily, weekly, or ongoing basis.
  4. Plan ahead
    • Find Housing: The OPCD has identified to numerous seasonal housing sites and resources organized by city. Click this link to find housing in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, NYC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Texas, and Washington, D.C and other locations.
    • Prepare a Budget: Utilize tools like CashCourse or Mint.com to set a budget and track your spending.
    • Learn about your city: Use local websites, newspapers, and contacts to learn about transportation, events, restaurants and other things to do in your neighborhood and city. Connect with alumni and classmates via the LinkedIn Wake Forest Career Connectors group to ask for help and advice in your new city.


Later this spring, we’ll ask Patrick for his top ten tips for a successful summer internship. Stay tuned!

Are You in the Book?

A necessary step towards being hired for either a full time job or internship is getting your resume in front of a prospective employer. With the Internet, employers are inundated with hundreds, and sometime thousands, of resumes for every job opening. It’s close to impossible to stand out from the crowd. The Office of Personal & Career Development helps Wake Forest students get an edge by creating resume books for targeted employers who express specific interest in our talented students.

This year the OPCD is creating over 50 resumes books by class year, location and career field. For example, we have resume books for sophomores and juniors interested in the Washington, D.C. area, seniors and graduate students interested in Education, sophomores and juniors wishing to intern in Georgia and seniors and graduate students interested in staying in the Southeast amongst others. Students of all class years can submit their resumes.

Employers representing a wide range of industries and careers receive our resume books. Last year’s employers included: Ameson Foundation, Center for Creative Economy, Citizen Schools, Family Dollar Stores Inc., Google, Harris Williams & Co., Hawkes Learning Systems, Intel Corporation, Peace Corps, Plato’s Closet, Sageworks, Inc., The Home Depot, The New England Center for Children, The Weather Channel, Urban Teacher Center and more.

Parents, encourage your child to submit his/her resume in one or more of our resume books. It is very easy way for students to get their resumes in front of employers in their desired career field or location. Students will be able to submit their resumes between March 18 – 22nd. Below are  instructions for how to submit a resume to one of our resume books which you can send to your student.

  1. Login to DeaconSource.
  2. Select “Documents” and “Publish a resume” in the top menu.
  3. This will take you to all the available resume books.
  4. Beside each book, there will be a dropdown menu that will allow you to choose from resumes that you have already uploaded to the system.  It’s best to tailor your resume to the targeted book. Stop by the OPCD office for a resume review if you are unsure or have questions. To submit your resume, select your resume and click “Save.”

2012 First Destination Data

Each year, the OPCD surveys graduating seniors to acquire the first destination outcomes of the graduating class within six months after graduation. We strive to capture information about every student, but we typically are able to capture the first destination information from 75-85% of each class. The following results are based on the 828 student outcomes we received this year, representing 78% of the class of 2012.  The best news is that 95% of the class of 2012 either had a job offer or a graduate school acceptance within six months of graduation demonstrating the impact of the significant investment and transformation of how personal, career and professional development is delivered at Wake Forest.

As the media, politicians and general public debate the value of college and President Obama promotes his College Scorecard, I think that it’s time for colleges and universities to be more transparent and informative about the outcomes of its graduates. Many colleges do not reliably gather and report this information each year. So it is high time to initiate new procedures and policies to obtain and report this now mission critical information on many college campuses. Everyone wants it and expects it, so why don’t we share it with them?

At Wake Forest, this outcome information is readily available on our website, including the first jobs of our last 5 years of graduates for every major. We share this information with our faculty and they appreciate knowing the wide range of jobs our students secure no matter what they choose to major in. We plan on adding more types of career-related information and metrics over time.  Our aspiration is to provide a model that other colleges and universities can follow to be more transparent and accurate in communicating their value proposition.

Until then, prospective student applicants should proactively ask probing questions about how their college-of-interest invests in the college-to-career process for EVERY student. Also ask admissions and career center representatives for their graduates’ First Destination outcome data and trends.  Remember to ask about the survey response rate as you’ll find that most colleges’ data is not representative of the entire student body.

Overall Results

95% of reporting graduates are employed or attending graduate school.

Employment by Function

The 566 employed graduates’ positions are reported in the following functional areas:

*Other includes functions each with less than 2.1% of respondents: Accounting, Actuarial, Advertising, Athletics/Coaching, Creative, Customer Service, Entrepreneur, Fundraising/Development, Human Resources, Insurance, Legal Services, Logistics/Transportation, Manufacturing, Military, Nonscientific Research, Operations/Production, Professional Athletics, Public Relations, Real Estate, Religious Occupations, Scientific Research, Writing/Editing

Industries

The 566 employed graduates’ positions are reported in the following industries:

Graduate School

217 graduates reported attending graduate or professional schools:

Life After Wake Forest

Guest post by Kory Riemensperger (’13)

When it comes to senior year, the second semester can be a time of intense pressure.  Not only must seniors maintain their grades, ensure they have enough credits to graduate, and handle all the commencement details, but most of them are feeling the pressure, both internal and sometimes parental, to find a next step after an undergraduate degree.  Sometimes that means moving on to graduate school, but for many, it means finding a career.

“My last winter break was great for relaxation and reflection,” says Dale Ruffin (’13), “but now that I’m back for my second and final semester as a senior, I’m overwhelmed by the prospect of starting my first real career search.”

While some students may line up potential employment before the end of their final semester, Carolyn Couch, Associate Director of Career Education and Counseling in the Office of Personal and Career Development (OPCD) suggests this is simply a result of different career paths.

“Don’t panic,” Couch says. “Many students will come to the OPCD and say that they’re concerned that their roommates already have job offers – but the simple fact is that different industry interests involve different search timelines.  Students with accounting majors, for example, are recruited early in the fall; while other industries hire on a just-in time basis.”

The trick is to stay focused and avoid stress. The annual OPCD destination data survey shows that of the 78 percent of Class of 2012 Wake Forest graduates who responded, 95 percent were either employed or in graduate school within six months.  Instead of obsessing over the progress of friends, seniors should seek out potential employers and make direct contact– this highlights them as a proactive and interested hire.

Networking

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 70 percent of jobs across the nation were found through networking.  These career opportunities are not advertised, so a great network is key.

“Some students may have a negative reaction to the idea of networking,” says Couch, “They perceive it as exploitative, when in reality it is no worse than the research they do before they apply for a position.”

The social networking website LinkedIn is a powerful tool that Couch and her colleagues in the OPCD recommend to students. Couch and her colleagues offer students tips on how to use it to the best advantage:

  • Make sure the information on your resume matches the information on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Choose a professional-looking photo for your profile picture.
  • Find alumni to network with by conducting an “advanced search” for Wake Forest University,
  • Browse Wake Forest related “groups” on the site for those that match your industry or geographic location.  The largest – the Wake Forest University Career Connectors group – has over 6,000 members and is growing every day.

“When you find the profile of an alum that catches your interest, reach out to them through the site’s message feature, asking for guidance, tips, and advice.  If they’re from the area, invite them to talk over coffee, or ask for an informational interview” says Couch, “Networking should focus on gathering information, so this isn’t the time to ask for a job. Build a relationship instead.”

Practice makes perfect, and students feeling even the slightest bit unsure about future job interviews may want to schedule a mock interview.  These meetings reveal strengths and weaknesses before a true job interview, so prospects can be ready to market their skills efficiently.  Couch says around 125 students have already requested a mock interview this year, representing a 62 percent increase.

Finding Posted Job Openings

Students can and should seek out advertised job openings as well.  There are a considerable amount of job search engines and posting sites online, though the OPCD recommends a few select ones.

DeaconSource is Wake Forest’s private site for undergraduate students.  The service lists jobs and internship openings from employers who specifically want Wake Forest applicants.  New jobs for diverse career interests are added every day, so it’s vital to stay connected; e-mail alerts can be set up to send the latest job offerings.

With a completed profile in DeaconSource, the OPCD will also send tailored information to students based on their career and geographic interests.  It is important that students keep their profiles updated so that they don’t miss out on valuable information regarding events and internship/job opportunities.  If a student’s resume or cover letter needs reviewing the OPCD offers regular review sessions throughout the year.

Another recommended site is Indeed.com, which aggregates job listings from thousands of websites, including job boards, newspapers, associations, and company career pages.  It is another efficient way for students to specifically search for entry-level jobs by geographic region and industry.

The OPCD also subscribes to sites specific to certain industries and career interests, such as international opportunities, public relations, journalism, conservation, environmental education and advocacy, human rights, public policy, politics, and public affairs.  Login information for these websites is available in DeaconSource.

As a student begins the job search, Couch suggests that they schedule a meeting with a career counselor.  With their mentor, job seekers establish two important career tools – an action plan and a job search strategy.  These documents help prevent any unexpected procrastination and keep students focused on their job search.  This relationship is in high demand among students.  The number of career counseling appointments has already seen a 28% increase over last year.

“Sometimes it just helps to be accountable,” says Couch, “a plan and a guide to help you follow-through give the best chance for success.”

Kory Riemensperger is a senior English major from Wilmington, N.C.

Look Beyond The Job Boards

When parents, faculty, or generational researchers are asked to provide a few adjectives about students, one commonly offered is “wired.” Today’s students have grown up with the Internet, can adapt to quickly evolving technologies, and (sadly) some even go to bed bathed in the glow of a phosphorescent screen. This comfort with technology provides students with some advantages, but students must be careful to not rely on technology in ways that promise results, but in fact, are not as valuable as perceived.

Many students look to internet job boards as a primary method for job or internship searching. While the Internet is good for researching organizations and opportunities, it’s not the most successful way for securing jobs.  Over 70% of jobs are obtained through networking; and less than 20% are obtained through job boards.

Students need to be aware of several issues when utilizing job boards.

  • Not all job postings are created equal.  A recent Wall Street Journal article, Beware the Phantom Job Listing, points out that “many open jobs are never advertised at all, or are posted only after a leading candidate—an internal applicant or someone else with an inside track—has been identified.”  While this “hidden” job market might frustrate job seekers, it demonstrates the weakness of relying solely on positions posted online.
  • Recruiters receive numerous online applications. Thus, they frequently rely upon Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen candidates.  This means that an application may get screened out and never be seen by a recruiter. Or the resume is buried in a database of thousands, never to be seen.
  • Networking remains the best way to secure a job. Students should not rely solely on job boards as most jobs are still secured through relationships. Students should be encouraged to attend networking workshops and events.  Working with an OPCD career counselor, they will develop a comprehensive job search strategy. The New York Times article, In Hiring, a Friend in Need Is a Prospect, Indeed, conveys how organizations are increasingly leveraging their own employees and their network to find new hires.

The propensity for students to over-rely on job boards has muddied their understanding of the value and purpose of DeaconSource, our system for communicating with students and also providing some job and internship opportunities. The primary benefit and function of DeaconSource is that when students have completed their profile to indicate their career and geographical interests, the OPCD can send students tailored messages with educational information, resources, workshops, events and opportunities – and relevant to their class year. This insures that students don’t miss important news and opportunities in their areas of interest which will help them stay on track to identify and achieve their career goals.

Although there are many opportunities in DeaconSource listed by employers who post jobs there, the number and types of opportunities is small relative to the thousands of opportunities available across all types of sources.  Students should check out the OPCD website for additional valuable sources for job and internship opportunities.

If students do not have a DeaconSource profile or have not updated their preferences, they are missing out on critical information which is relevant and necessary for their career development. 66% of all students have a completed profile, so make sure your student is not left out!

Encourage your student to create a DeaconSource account today, yet remind him that he cannot rely solely on DeaconSource, nor any other job board, in his search. Emphasize the importance of networking and the role it plays in the job attainment process. If you have contacts that might be helpful for your student, make the introduction. And make sure your student has a LinkedIn profile and is tapping into the Wake Forest Career Connectors group.  Armed with this advice, your student will appropriately prioritize his job search time and efforts and will have a much greater chance of securing a promising summer internship or full time position.

Career Trek Recap

In December, the OPCD partnered with career offices at the University of Chicago and Stanford University to offer Career Exploration Treks to Washington, D.C., Chicago, and San Francisco. They offered students from each school the opportunity to explore a city, select industries, and network with alumni from all three schools (see this blog post from October for additional details).
We are especially excited that the treks were a valuable experience to students at different stages in their personal and career development. They provided seniors, who were actively looking for jobs, the opportunity to network in person with alumni, yet provided general information for underclassmen who are still identifying potential career fields. By all accounts these treks proved to be an enormous success, but what better way to share with you the impact of the treks than through our students own words.

“After attending the Career Trek to Washington, D.C., my eyes were opened to the professional environment in Washington, D.C. as well as the standards across the country. Each company and industry was very upfront and clear as to what they expected from a student coming from any school in the country. I have become much more aware of what research to perform and what steps are necessary to take if I am truly interested in any field we visited. Wake Forest provided the three schools that participated a fantastic way to become directly included in those various industries. This trip allowed companies to provide students the opportunity to find out what was required of an employee with their firm and what would best prepare students for this transition into the post-undergraduate world.”

– Sophomore, Undeclared Major

“I went on the CPG trek to Chicago and visited six companies, including Barilla, ACCO Brands, McDonald’s Corporation, Wrigley, SymphonyIRI Group, and The Cambridge Group. At each company a few employees gave a brief presentation about what the company did, and at the end we had Q&A. These visits were very informative as I received some great insight into the work culture of these companies and why the employees like to work for them. By the end of the trip I discovered that a career in CPG is actually not for me. However, I realized from visiting the CPG consulting firms, Symphony IRI and The Cambridge Group that consulting is a job that fits my skills and interests. This is very useful information because now I can better target my job search. Overall, the trek was a very valuable experience and I would recommend it to students of any year as it is a good opportunity to learn more about an industry and network with professionals.”

– Senior, Economics Major

Other students articulated important insights regarding their own career development knowledge, mindset and plans:

  • “The trek demonstrated to me the importance of organizational culture in my career search.”
  • “The trek showed me that business does not have to be boring! Now, I want to work in California!”
  • “Through conversations with alumni, I realized I will need an MBA for the career I want.”
  • “The trek illustrated that everyone moves from company to company – your first job certainly won’t be your last, so I don’t have worry if my first job isn’t a perfect fit.”
  • “I learned that lots of employees began their careers working for large companies to benefit from their training programs or other opportunities, but then transitioned to smaller, boutique organizations. This opened my eyes to the number of pathways available to me to reach my end destination.”

We are pleased that 45 Wake Forest students were able to benefit from these treks at various cities around the U.S.  We will conduct similar treks in the future and are committed to developing and offering other ways for students to continue to learn about the wide variety of careers in the wide open world of work.

Parents – if your student is yearning to explore and discover possible career interests and options, encourage him/her to connect with Wake Forest alumni, high/prep school alumni, your friends or acquaintances and conduct an informational interview or job shadow.  For more guidance on how to do this, direct him/her to our web page on networking and informational interviewing.

OPCD February Events

February is jammed packed with career related programs and events! As students look towards their summers and graduation, the OPCD is providing numerous opportunities for students to interact with employers, learn more about different career fields, and acquire important job and internship search skills and strategies.

Advertising, PR, Marketing Career Field Week (February 4-8th)

Many Wake Forest students show an interest in advertising, public relations and marketing each year (over 12% of the Class of 2012 took jobs in these career fields). To help students better understand these career fields and learn how to get their feet in the door, the OPCD held an Advertising, PR, and Marketing Career Field Week the week of February 4. An alumni panel of industry veterans shared their experience, the dynamics of their jobs, organizations and industries, and important job search and career management advice. Students met the Director of Corporate Communications at Krispy Kreme, the Broadcast Producer for Marketing & Advertising at Mullen and the owner and creative director of full service event planning, design and styling firm. Later in the week, 25 students took a field trip to Woodbine Advertising Agency to speak with professionals and get a hands-on view of life in advertising. Last year Woodbine hired summer interns among the students who visited last year!

Media, Entertainment, Publishing Alumni Panel (February 20th)

Another top career field reported by students is Media, Entertainment, and Publishing; in fact, over 7% of the class of 2012 entered this career field after leaving Wake Forest. An alumni panel of industry professionals will speak with students including the current Editor of Daily Health News, who previously held editing positions at Seventeen Magazine, Family Circle Magazine, and Good Housekeeping Magazine; a Sales Assistant at Disney ABC Television Group who is the primary, multi-day part assistant for thirty clients on the largest agency account; and an Affiliate Manager for NBCOlympics.com, who previously served as the Online Editor for Martha Stewart Living Radio.

Parent Council Round Tables (February 21-23rd)

Just before the Spring 2013 family weekend, over 20 members of the Parent’s Council will conduct roundtable discussions with small groups of students regarding their career fields and paths. Students will be provided with insight and advice from industry professionals to learn more about various careers and industries including financial services, human resources, law, education, entrepreneurial ventures, medicine, commercial real estate, psychology, and media.

International Careers Panel and Networking Event (February 25)

On February 25th, several alumni are traveling to Wake Forest to speak with students interested in international careers. These alumni are also developing a networking group for students and other alumni interested in international affairs. This helpful, entrepreneurial group of alumni will also be available after the panel to network for further conversation.

The College to Career Challenge: How to Land Your D.R.E.A.M. Job in College by Jullien Gordon (February 27)

Jullien Gordon, a high performance coach and consultant (and former student/mentee of Andy Chan), will be at Wake Forest on February 27th to deliver a presentation to students entitled, “The College Career Challenge: How to Land Your D.R.E.A.M. Job in College.” Mr. Gordon has been in the talent recruitment and development industry since 2007 beginning with his work as the Associate Director of Talent Recruitment for Management Leadership for Tomorrow. He is also the author of five books on career advancement, finding purpose, goal achievement, and closing the college-to-career gap to help young professionals discover their life’s work and make their highest contribution to the world through their daily work.

Internship Search Strategy Workshops

The OPCD is hosting Internship Search Strategy workshops every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout February from 4:00-5:00 pm in various locations around campus. These workshops are designed to teach students the crucial importance of internships during college, key strategies to find and secure an internship, and how to effectively market yourself via your resume, LinkedIn and interviews.

A Major Decision, Made Easier

Many undergraduate students grapple with choosing an academic major.  As one of the first big decisions they may make as young adults, picking the “right” pathway can feel like a daunting task – often believing that the “wrong” choice may result in a dismal career outlook after college. The beauty and benefit of a liberal arts college, however, is that our graduates are well prepared for the world of work with any major they choose.  With so many interesting classes and activities on campus…how does one get started narrowing down the options?  Identifying interests and values is the best way to get started.  The Office of Personal & Career Development offers a myriad of resources to assist students with the major and career exploration process.

We encourage students to get started with the major selection process by completing the Focus 2, a self-assessment that helps students pinpoint their skills and interests, as well as understand the robust intersection between academic majors and career options.  Here are the benefits of the Focus 2 and a few ways that your student can maximize their results today.

Self-assessments as a compass, not a road map.

A strong academic background paired with co-curricular activities and internship experiences allows students to explore their interests, talents, and skills, while reinforcing the marketable skillset they are developing while in college. We like to think of the Focus 2 as a compass, not a road map, for major and career exploration.  It does not measure what you are good at or what career you should pursue.  Instead, it is a tool that helps illuminate core values and preferred work and learning styles based on self-reported information.  The better you understand yourself, the more likely you are to feel confident making academic and career decisions along the way.

How can students access the Focus 2?

Step by step instructions to take the Focus 2:

  1. Log-in to your DeaconSource account (if you do not have an account, use your WFU email and click “Forgot Password” to create one). Click on Online Resources located halfway down the left hand side of the page.
  2. On page 3 of the Online Resources document, you will find the access code to create your Focus 2 account.
  3. Return to your DeaconSource home page and click the Focus 2 link found directly underneath Online Resources.
  4. Click the blue hyperlink above the log-in box to create a Focus 2 account (you must create an account before logging in).
  5. Once your account is created, log-in and take both the Work Interest and Values Assessments. Your results will be available immediately for your review.

I took it!  Now what?

We recommend that students attend a group interpretation session to better understand their assessment results prior to meeting with a career counselor to discuss next steps in the exploration process.  Students can visit DeaconSource to register for a group session today!