The Importance of Early Career Exploration

Candid Career LogoHow did you find yourself in your first job?  Did you take it for the money?  Was it the career your father or mother did?  Or did you simply not have a better idea?

Whatever the reason, it is too big of a decision to take lightly. Far too many students don’t have all the information to make the best choice or the information is hard to come by, boring to review, or even worse, fabricated.  Until now!

CandidCareer.com is the premier provider of career profile videos to educate students on the possibilities.  At Candid Career, we believe that the best career advice comes from the individuals that are actually doing the jobs every day, so that is exactly who we bring to you.  We also believe that young people love video. As video becomes more common for educational purposes, the ability to access honest career information and advice through video becomes essential.  The experience on CandidCareer.com is a convenient and non-intimidating one for students. After all, we know how much time they spend on YouTube!

Candid Career has recently partnered with LEAP (Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program, LLC) to add even more clarification on finding a college major and career path that matches the interests of a student.  CandidCareer.com is now part of the LEAP Fit 2 Flourish program.

For over 50 years, the Birkman Method® has been an industry leader in personality assessment assisting over 3.5 million participants with dialing into their hard wiring. This multi-dimensional tool focuses on measuring usual behaviors, underlying needs, stress behaviors and interests to reveal multiple ingrained personality dimensions. This information combined with a student’s academic profile directs the student in discovering best match, economically safe careers, the college majors that lead to those positions and the schools respected for these majors.

If a student can start college having chosen a major and career path confident needs will be met, interests embraced and stresses avoided then the 4-year graduation rate sky rockets saving thousands in future tuition.

Students take the 45-minute online assessment in the comfort of their home. Once your Birkman and LEAP Student Profile are complete, we marry the two sets of information into best-fit suggestions for the individual student. Families receive via email the full 55 page Birkman® results, the 24 page LEAP Fit 2 Flourish report including 3-5 best fit careers for exploration, 3-5 majors leading to these careers, 3-5 colleges respected for these majors.

Students can take these career suggestions and explore them on CandidCareer.com.  There are multiple search options when browsing through the thousands of videos on the website such as Industry, Career Title, College Major, College Attended, City, and State. Once students have found a career that peaks their interest, learning more is as easy as clicking play.  Industry professionals on the site speak to what they love about their careers and some of the challenges.  Professionals also give advice on how to prepare for their careers, such as college majors, course work and/or internships and training to consider.

CandidCareer.com and LEAP share a passion for helping students graduate on time with a job in a career path that excites them. The future is right around the corner, and those that prepare for success, are more likely to achieve it!

This post was provided by Neilye Garrity, Co-Founder of CandidCareer.com, who was a guest along with Lisa Mader, President of LEAP (Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program, LLC) on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on March 15th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Hofstra Career Center

What Good Is a Liberal Arts Degree?

Lightbulb over person's face.The colleges that I work with tell me that new students are flocking to get business degrees or specialized undergraduate degrees in nursing, education, engineering, or other majors that “guarantee” a job after graduation. Yet many students enter college without a clear idea of what they want to accomplish in their career, and stress over choosing the right major. As a result, half of all students change their major at least once during their college career, according to Dr. Fritz Grupe of MyMajors.com.

Parents are worried about their children’s choices, too. “What kind of job can you to get with an English Lit major?” is a common reaction.

The fact is that a liberal arts degree remains an excellent path to success, according to statistics published by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2010 and 2011, graduates with degrees in the humanities or social science actually had average salaries that were higher than those for science and math graduates. It is true that those with engineering and professional or pre-professional degrees made more right out of college, but this margin does not appear to hold up over time.

According to the Census Bureau numbers, by age 56 to 60 the humanities and social science graduates made about $2,000 more a year than the professional and pre-professional graduates.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what the average salary is if you can’t find a job. So what is the story for liberal arts majors? It turns out that even in the middle of this awful economy and job market, recent liberal arts graduates had an unemployment rate of just 5.2%, far below the national average for workers overall. This means that almost 19 out of every 20 graduates were able to find work. And this advantage appears to extend later in your career. In the same period, workers 41 to 50 years old with liberal arts degrees had an unemployment rate of just 3.5 percent, which is only slightly higher than those with professional or pre-professional degrees.

The fact is that our nation’s businesses – large and small – depend on a steady crop of young workers who are needed not for the facts that they learned in college, but rather the skills. Companies need employees with a strong work ethic, the ability to conduct research and analysis of information, problem solving ability, leadership and teamwork skills, and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively both verbally and in writing. These are the very skills that a liberal arts degree is design to teach.

Alfred Poor, Ph.D. is a speaker and a writer, and is the author of “7 Success Secrets That Every College Student Needs to Know!” He speaks to high school, college, and corporate audiences about the importance of career skills for young employees’ success at work.

He is dedicated to delivering practical information that you can put to use right away. You can contact him on Twitter at @AlfredPoor, on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/alfredpoor, on Google+ at google.com/+AlfredPoor, or through his website at www.alfredpoorspeaker.com.

This post was provided by Alfred Poor, Professional Speaker and writer, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on March 1st, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Airik Lopez

Campus Quad: Transforming How University Students and Administrators Connect and Communicate on Campus

If you ask college students from across the U.S. how they got involved in their campus community, a common theme emerges – it was chaotic and difficult.  Many will cite resources such as list-serves, campus posters, word-of-mouth and Facebook and they will also describe them all as noisy, impersonal and ineffective.

We created Campus Quad with one core mission – to deliver a transformative mobile communication network designed exclusively for colleges to help students engage in campus life and navigate a more meaningful path to graduation.

Today, on nearly all of our college campuses, there is a major communication gap between students and the administration.  Students arrive at school fully immersed in an app-driven mobile world of texting, photo sharing and location-based services.  So it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re shocked and disappointed to discover their college is still using paper posters, 30-year old list-serves and external social media channels flooded with mass amounts of information that hold no relevancy to their campus life.  Universities also tend to rely heavily on email as the major avenue of campus-to-student communication.  This, too, is a dead-end as students simply don’t use email so valuable campus information languishes untouched.  This gap will continue to widen as the generation raised on mobile hits colleges this year and next.

From a business perspective, the college mobile engagement market is ripe for innovation, particularly within the mobile enterprise sector.  Sure, universities can use popular social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, however, these platforms are not private and perhaps even more important, the rich and meaningful engagement data remains locked in the proprietary “black box” owned by those corporations.

This is where Campus Quad solves a real and universal pain point.  It connects students and administration in real-time with a mobile communication network that resonates with the “always connected” lifestyle that students have become accustomed to and are highly proficient with using.  In essence, we help universities speak the social mobile language of the generation they serve and give them a critical lens – both macro and micro — into their student body.  Campus Quad is the first mobile communication network that collects ancillary engagement data then returns that information in useful analytic dashboards that enable universities to assess and measure students’ engagement and experience.  It has become invaluable in helping universities improve and enhance student resources and services.

Students get started on Campus Quad simply by creating an individual profile on their smartphone and joining their university’s exclusive Campus Quad community.  This allows them to instantly see and tap into what’s happening around them by selecting student leaders, clubs, campus services and campus organizations they would like to “follow.”  An “Explore” feed also displays all campus event flyers and photo streams by time and location so students can easily discover new avenues of interest, too. The benefit to the students is immediate as they have the pulse of the university community in the palm of their hand.

Staff, administrators and faculty are equally excited about Campus Quad.  Even the most established campuses share one common challenge — the struggle to connect and communicate with students about campus resources, events and important academic deadlines. Campus Quad provides one unified communication platform to reach students instantly and directly on their mobile phone.  From content creation and mobile delivery, to broadcasting to campus websites and external social media channels, Campus Quad allows administrators to access student engagement data via a web-based dashboard and summarize essential information at-a-glance.

Campus Quad welcomes the listeners of College Smart Radio to visit us at http://campusquad.co.  Whether you are a student or campus administrator, Campus Quad can increase student engagement on your campus.

This post was provided by Frances Cairns, the Founder and CEO of Campus Quad, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on January 4th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Campus Quad

Avoiding “The Twilight Zone from College to Career”

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 11.13.54 PMEvery fall, three million U.S. high school grads begin their journey into “The Twilight Zone from College to Career”, where 80% of students are unsure about their major, 50% will change majors, and 63% will take 5+ years to graduate. After their college graduation, 50% will accept jobs that do not require their degree, nearly 50% will boomerang back home to ‘recover’, and 70% will average $35,000 in college-related debt.

Despite those challenges, 98% of these new college students lack a documented career plan. Wrongly assuming that a college education is the silver bullet for career success, the primary focus is on funding college and getting in “the right school”. However, both students and parents are distracted from the real goal of a college education: to launch a better career.

Unknown to most parents and students is this fact: for every two college graduates, there’s only one true college-degree level job available in today’s market. Students who want to compete for those few precious jobs will need relevant work experience.  Choosing a career path as early as possible can create opportunities for summer jobs and a stronger professional network, while validating students’ career choices and improving their academic performance.

How do we focus students on the world of work? Stephen Covey said it best: “begin with the end in mind”. Parents should increase the focus on what it takes to get their student out of college. Students should view college as one important step on their journey to a better career, not a destination point to earn a college degree.  The university career center should be the first stop on the college tour, and universities should require freshmen to submit a career plan.

If there’s a smart place to cut college expenses, using free career quizzes is not the answer. Free career tests lack reliability, validity, and precision, and poor advice can be costly advice.  When it comes to college, parents are really angel investors in a very personal start-up venture, yet they spend more money on prom, graduation rings, and luggage than they do on professional-quality career advice. Remember that true financial success is measured by what happens after graduation.

uJourney Career uses the best professional career tools on the market and our system is affordable, because smart career planning is important for students. We help students to create a meaningful career plan uniquely for them, based on their personality type, values, giftedness, work interests, and more.  We help parents by minimizing the time and money spent by students in “The Twilight Zone from College to Career”.  We help universities more accurately match students to majors, gaining more motivated students, more graduates, and wealthier alumni.  Encourage your student to discover a personal, positive vision of their future today!

This post was provided by Jeff Cameron, President of uJourneywho was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on December 14th, 2013.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: uJourney

Collegefeed Helping to Solve the Millennial Employment Crisis

Collegefeed is a social network designed solely to help college students and new grads get hired.

Collegefeed is a social network designed solely to help college students and new grads get hired.

If you ask new grads Josh Mitchell from UC Santa Cruz or Matt Tu from Santa Clara University, they’ll both say the same thing – getting noticed by your dream company is almost impossible. But that’s exactly what has happened to both students just months after graduation, thanks to a new social platform called Collegefeed.

We created Collegefeed with one mission – to reinvent the job search process for college students and new grads. In a few short months, tens of thousands of students from 1200+ universities have joined. Career Centers at almost every top school like Stanford and MIT are adopting the platform. Huge employers like YouTube, eBay, Cisco and many more are paying to connect with students. Why?

There is an employment crisis for new college grads. Almost nothing has changed for how new grads start their careers over the past 20 years, despite huge changes with things like social media, the web, mobile, and other new technologies. However college tuition is rising dramatically every year, nearly 50 percent can’t get hired using their degrees and most new grads are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

From a business opportunity perspective, the early career marketplace is one of the least served areas – and one that is desperately in need of innovation. Sure LinkedIn is great once you already have some work experience, but new graduates don’t know how to start, who to follow or what to post. Facebook is great for sharing pics at the pub on Friday night, not becoming a professional. And grads send out hundreds of resumes on sites like Monster.com and never hear back.

That’s where Collegefeed comes in. Collegefeed has put a magnifying glass to the problem and developed a solution that is uniquely designed to solve the challenges of only first-time job-seekers.

Users take a few minutes to create a profile and then we work behind the scenes to offer students one-on-one support and actually help them every step of the way to start their careers. New grads and students don’t have a ton of work experience, but they’ve taken courses, done internships, projects, etc. that would be valuable if only they could communicate it effectively to employers. We connect them with jobs, discover cool new companies, start talking directly to employers, build a network of peers in their field and even win awards to pay back student loans.

And employers are just as excited about Collegefeed. Even the most established enterprises and the smallest startups have one thing in common – they all struggle to attractively brand themselves and capture the attention of the newest crop of college students and grads that are preparing to enter the workforce. Only a handful of companies have the resources to visit college career centers and campuses – and even they can only visit perhaps a few dozen of the more than two thousand U.S. universities each year.

Plus most companies employ a one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting, yet what is appealing to a professional two decades into their career is different than for a 21 year-old. New grads are curious about the corporate culture, what kind of people they can relate to in the company, the perks they will enjoy, and what kind of career path a company offers, whereas a mid-management applicant expects you to match their 401K and offer a great health plan. The reality is that if a company doesn’t tailor its brand presence in recruiting, they don’t appear relevant to the next generation of talent.

For employers, Collegefeed helps them find the perfect candidates from the newest crop of grads. We are essentially a “virtual career fair” where startups and huge companies can reach new talent. We also enable them to present an engaging brand image to those millennial job-seekers, to help them attract candidates from every school, every major and even every country. And once they sign-up, all of this info is sent to them automatically, so that they don’t have to invest more resources and time in recruiting.

We welcome listeners of College Smart Radio to check us out at www.collegefeed.com. Whether you are looking for work or looking for young talent, Collegefeed can help make the perfect match.

This post was provided by Sanjeev Agrawal, the founder and CEO of Collegefeedwho was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on November 2nd, 2013.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Collegefeed

14 Ways to Ensure You Graduate in Four Years

The average time to get a degree at a four-year college is about five years.

College seems to be taking longer and longer to get through.  The average time to get a degree at the (so-called) four-year college hovers at about five years, with only one-third of students graduating in four years and another third taking six or more years to finish.  The situation at community colleges is no better:  Only fifty-percent of students graduate within two to four years, while a full quarter take more than four years to complete their Associate degree.  All those extra years cost money and delay your entry into the work force.  It’s not all that hard, though, to complete your program in the traditional four or two years if you follow our fourteen tips for getting college done on time: Continue reading