Tag Archives: career

Never Stop Looking for a Job

I have worked for the Career Development Department for a little over a year. I really enjoy the job I have and the work I do. As a college student, I spent most of my time on the internet anyways so it wasn’t a huge shift for me. Now I just focus my attention on the internet and I get paid for it.Its a solid gig. Besides the obvious benefit of gas money, I have taken a lot from this job. My position has forced me to become more familiar with both Career Development and Social Media. Two knowledge-sets that are invaluable as a young adult preparing to enter the real world. In short, I really enjoy my job and it is perfect for me in this season.

However, I have not stopped looking for a new one since the day I got hired. But why?

Why would I look for a new job if I love the one I have? As I mentioned, it is perfect for this season, but I do not know when this season will end. I know for certain that it is a short lived position. I graduate in May and a new, bright-faced student will take over the reins. I also know that this is not where I want to be forever. I love Social Media, but it is not my calling. It is a means to an end and has already given me valuable skills in my desired field.

Jobs are meant to serve your career. Career development is about progressing your career for the long-term. Every job you have, temporary or permanent, expands your reach and prepares you for the next step.

I still spend 30-60 minutes a day job hunting online. Part of the benefit of my job and desired field (Film Production) is that it allows me to work short or temporary jobs, as well as working from home. My unending job search, has landed me Social Media work for two companies other than Biola, weekend jobs on Film sets, and a handful of consultations and interviews.

Jobs come and go, which is why it is important to always be on the lookout. You would hate to miss an incredible opportunity because you took a month off from the search.

It is important to be loyal to your employer. Do not hop from job to job every couple of months because something better comes up. But if you work hard and pay attention to the market, an opportunity may present itself that is worth the switch. If you are working in retail or food service, but really want a job in marketing, you would hate to miss an entry-level position or internship because you stopped looking.

There is definitely a balance between being content in your work environment and looking for the next step. Enter every work day with the intention to give it your all and never see any work as “unimportant because it is temporary.” At this stage in our lives, every job is temporary. We are preparing for our careers. Work hard in whatever you do and always be looking for doors to open. God has a way of guiding our paths through college and then through our careers. Stay faithful to him in knowing that his timing does not always align with ours. Sometimes it is when we need a job the most, sometimes it is when we already have two or three.

Career Expo Recap

Last Thursday the Center for Career Development hosted their annual Career Expo along the Fluor Fountain walkway. Every spring representatives from businesses, schools, and non-profits connect with students on our campus. This year’s Expo was a huge success with over 50 organizations talking with job seekers about internships and work opportunities.

Lots of great connections were made. Half the battle of landing a new job is getting a face-to-face with someone who has a job to give. The Career Expo helps expedite that process by bringing the employers to Biola students/alumni.

The event was a lot of fun. There was food, candy, jobs, and resumes galore. Hopefully everyone who attended was able to make a solid connection. We can’t wait to see the success of students who were able to arrange meetings.

Enjoy some pictures from the event and let us know what you want to see next year!

Thanks for a great Career Expo! Can’t wait for next year!

How to Find a Mentor

It is always beneficial to have someone helping you through important decisions. Whether you are trying to pinpoint a career, pick a major, or land a promotion. Statistically, people with mentors are more likely to ask to be pushed or request a raise than those without one. Often times we need the extra motivation to make us take the plunge. Unfortunately, finding the right mentor for your situation is not always easy.

Here are 8 steps to help you find a mentor:

1 || What do you want in a mentor:

The first step in finding a mentor is deciding what type of mentor you want. Are you looking for a strictly business mentor, a spiritual mentor, or a general mentor to help guide you through the day-to-day of life? Do you want someone inside your workplace who can help you take the right steps to advance? Or someone with specific knowledge on a business challenge – asking for a raise, dressing well, or preparing for an interview? These are all questions you have to ask yourself.

2 || Check with your employer, school, church:

Next you can start asking around depending on what you’re looking for. Most large employers have a mentorship program in place. If not, talk to potential mentors or people with mentors and ask them how they got connected. The same goes with your school. A lot of majors at Biola have a mentorship program. Talk with your department director and see if you can find any information. Professors are also great people to talk to. Whether they are a potential mentor themselves or not, they will have an idea of who to talk to. If you are looking for a spiritual mentor or at least someone with the common bond your church is a great place to look. Talk to your head pastor or college leader about whether or not they know of any elders or long-time attendees who may be interested.

3 || Practice your pitch:

In a way you are trying to land a job. You are asking someone to pay you with his or her time and advice. You have to be willing to promote yourself so they buy that it is worth their energy. This is no time for modesty. Show potential, talk about your accomplishments, and your drive to succeed. Sidenote: steer clear of the formal request. “Will you be my mentor,” is corny, plus it sounds like a lot of work and responsibility.

4 || Make it fun:

For the same reason we avoid formal requests, we also want to make it fun. A worthy mentor is going to be more interested in helping you if you make it sound like fun. Less like work and more like an opportunity to grow a friendship. Express interest in their wisdom, as well as their fellowship.

5 || Start with a single question:

The best way to enter into a mentorship is by posing a single question as opposed to regular meetings or official titles. When you have found a potential mentor, approach them with a particular question about your work. Ask them about switching careers or their thoughts on your resume. Later approach them with another question. Eventually, this pattern will develop into the regular meetings you are hoping for.

6 || Return the favor:

Don’t forget that mentorship is two-way street. The exchange needs to be mutual. There is a lot that you can learn from each other. In fact, many older Businessmen and women seek younger mentors for advice with technology and media. Use this opportunity to return the favor if they have any questions about the digital world you’ve grown up with.

7 || Be a mentor:

Being a mentor yourself will give you a better understanding of how to interact with your own mentor. You will also see the limits of mentorship from their viewpoint. You don’t want to expect too much of them. Check with your school and local non-profits for opportunities to volunteer.

8 || Listen:

Always be willing to listen. Sometimes the initial reaction is to defend yourself, but the purpose of a mentor is to receive sound advice. Ask honest questions and expect honest responses. Listen intently.

Content taken from Kerry Hannon’s article on Forbes.

How to Find Purpose in Your Career

Finding a career with purpose is a scary task. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the possibilities and lose sight of the important question. What gives you purpose? Is it accomplishing a specific task? Doing something that’s never been done before? Helping someone in need?

Purpose is not limited to non-profit.
Although humanitarian work is wonderful it is not the only means of finding purpose in your career. Creating a career out of purpose is often confused with working in a soup kitchen or on the missionary field. Frankly, this is not the case. There are countless companies that provide goods and services that fulfill a unique purpose.  You could work for Clif Bar and find purpose by providing healthy alternatives to millions of Americans. You could work for Google and be on the cutting edge of innovation; daily releasing services that have never been offered before.  You could work for TOMS shoes and play a part in social change through their infamous one-for-one program. There are a number of companies that solve the problem of career and purpose.

Define the fulfillment.
What is important to you about your work environment? Are you seeking a specific lifestyle? Do you want long hours, fridays off, or the opportunity to travel? What do you see as your ideal day-to-day? Do you want to be surrounded by colleagues or clients? Or would you rather work alone? Who do you want to report to? What kind of problems do you want to be solving? All of these questions account for your purpose in a career.

Push past the mundane.
The final thing to remember is that all jobs have mundane tasks. No matter the position there will be times when you do nothing but make phone calls. Everyone has to go to meetings and talk about the budget. There is simply no way around it. Do not let the tedious work that comes with any job discourage you from sticking with it.

There is purpose in every career. The ultimate goal is to find a job you are passionate about, that drives you towards your purpose. Define what brings you purpose and then find a career that feeds it.

"Liberal Arts" & Leadership Jobs

You may have heard it said that the liberal arts prepare people for leadership. But what exactly does that mean? Before coming to an understanding of how liberal arts equip individuals for leadership, it’s important to know what leadership in action looks like. Susan de la Vergne in her article, The Liberal Arts and “Leadership”, stresses that leadership doesn’t always equate being in charge. Instead, it “describes a collection of characteristics and abilities that employers are desperate to find in both candidates and employees.” She gives the following examples of what leadership at work looks like:

1. People who can visualize, from several different perspectives, what needs to be done next (on a project, for example) and can describe it to others.

2. People who sign up to do what’s needed, who demonstrate initiative.  They say, “I’ll do that!”—and then they do.

3. People who are relatively comfortable with ambiguity, e.g., conflicting priorities, changing interpretations of “the facts,” or inconsistent direction given by managers who simply forgot what they said last week.

4. People who aren’t surprised by their colleagues’ strange behavior or by individuals’ or groups’ emotional reactions to everyday news and events on the job.  They understand something about human motivation.

5. People who work well with others from different national cultures, not just that they’re pleasant and accepting of all nationalities, but that they understand the differences in communication, conventions, and social interaction and how that all plays out on the job.

How the Liberal Arts Prepare Employees

de la Vergne elaborates on a few points:

Visualizing and describing work to be done—calls on imagination and communication.  It takes imagination and an understanding of human behavior to think through [what should be done, who will talk to whom and what the issues really are in a given business situation], abilities developed in a liberal arts education.  It also calls on the abilities to write and speak clearly, to carry forward on the ideas and plans generated in the meeting.

The third one, about ambiguity, is something liberal arts students are much better prepared for than their counterparts in vocational majors.  Engineers and computer science majors, for example, specialize in determinism.  It’s either right or it’s not. That’s why they’re good at designing bridges, calculating satellite performance, determining load capacity. But many situations in business aren’t like that at all.  They’re murky, conflicted, ever-changing.  Students who have studied culture, history, art, and language aren’t uncomfortable with situations where there can be more than one right answer, more than one #1 priority.  The liberal arts aren’t about correctly predicting an outcome—as business likes to and engineering must.

de la Vergne also says that those “whose education has prepared them broadly as communicators, analysts, researchers, readers and people who understand something about human behavior are likely to say “yes” to many opportunities.” They are often better at taking initiative because nothing seems too far from their “expertise.”

What skills do you think are necessary in leadership? Do you agree that liberal arts students may be better equipped for leadership than vocational majors? Why or why not?

Read Susan de la Vergne entire article: The Liberal Arts and “Leadership”.

College World vs. Real World

Did you know that college students average 8.3 hours of sleep a night, while professionals average 7.7 hours? This may seem surprising; while in college you feel like you’re constantly working on something, staying up late and are exhausted. But in reality more professionals are working over 40 hours a week and getting less sleep than students. Similarly, students average 3.6 hours of down time per day, while professionals only average 2.6 hours a day.

Concern about appearance, however, is the biggest difference between students and professionals cited on the infographic below. Professionals judge each other heavily by their outward appearance. It can make the difference in being chosen for a job, promoted, or can lead to job loss. On the other hand, how often have you rolled out of bed, thrown on a t-shirt and gym shorts and ran to class, bed-head and all? It probably hasn’t ruined your grades or done other major damage…at least not yet.

Have What It Takes to Work From Home?

If your goal is to have your own business and work from home, there are six “B”s that Jobacle thinks you need to incorporate into your way of life to be successful. Here they are:

Be Passionate
Passion is the most important thing you need when you start out on your business venture. Be passionate about making money, be passionate about being your own boss, be passionate about taking off on your own, and, best of all, be passionate about the job you are going to do. While you’ve probably spent your entire life simply being satisfied with your work, you now need to become excited and thrilled. Getting up in the morning should be a pleasure rather than a task. This can be accomplished by choosing a job that you actually like and working to keep your attitude up-beat.

Be a Planner
You can’t just jump blindly in the world of working for yourself. Owning your own business takes plenty of fore-thought and you should learn to plan for even the most unusual circumstances. Before you give up your day job to start working at home, write out a game plan. If you’re not great at planning, get together with some good friends or close family members who could give you insight. Not only will this prepare you to start your own business, but it will also give you planning practice which will help your work life.

Be Frugal
Just because you’re going to work as a freelance writer does not mean you need to go buy a new laptop, printer, scanner, and fax machine. The beat-up laptop you grabbed at the church yard sale will work just fine. Plan to start small and to use very little money. There will be plenty of time for spending the big bucks when you’re actually bringing in the big bucks!

Be Organized

Keep the things you need for your work separate from the things you use personally. Carefully arrange all of your tax information along with receipts, agreements, and important documents. A filing cabinet is a definite must.

Be Your Own Boss
Just because you’re working on your own doesn’t mean you should give yourself permission to laze in bed until noon. When you’re working for yourself you have to learn to be your own boss. Give yourself set times for work and don’t skip for an extra hour of sleep; set goals for yourself and stick with them; reward yourself for work well done.

Be Focused
Remember how you’re supposed to serve your clients and the role that it plays in your life. Writing out your own business mission statement is a good way to get started. Write it when you start your self-owned business career and then when you’re down or feel uninspired, revisit it to help you refocus. It will help motivate you.

Know of any other “B”s to added to the list? What tips do you have for self-employed individuals?

Thanks to Jobacle for these tips.

175 Career-Related Films

Here’s a list of films (alpha-order) exploring various aspects of finding direction in life, living one’s values, or other career-related ideas. Feel free to add your own films! *Note that some films may have content that doesn’t fit with Biola’s values.*

  1. 12 Angry Men
  2. 180 South
  3. 212 Degrees
  4. Akeelah and the Bee
  5. Almost Famous
  6. Amazing Grace
  7. American President
  8. Antz
  9. As it is in Heaven
  10. August Rush
  11. Bab Aziz
  12. Babe
  13. Babette’s Feast
  14. Beautiful Dreams
  15. Bee Movie
  16. Bella
  17. Bend It Like Beckham
  18. Best Years of Our Lives
  19. Billy Elliot
  20. Blind Side
  21. Blue Crush
  22. Braveheart
  23. Breaking Away
  24. Bucket List
  25. Chariots of Fire
  26. Cheaters
  27. Cinema Paradiso
  28. City Slickers
  29. Cliff Hanger
  30. Coach Carter
  31. Cool Runnings
  32. Chronicles of Narnia
  33. Danny Deckchair
  34. Dark Days
  35. Dave
  36. Dead Poets Society
  37. Death of a Salesman
  38. Defending Your Life
  39. Defiance
  40. Devil Wears Prada
  41. Doc Hollywood
  42. Drop Dead Fred
  43. Drumline
  44. Ed Wood
  45. Elizabeth
  46. Emperor’s Club
  47. Empire Falls
  48. Empire Records
  49. Erin Brockovich
  50. Everything is Illuminated
  51. Euphoria
  52. Everyone’s Fine
  53. Facing the Giants
  54. Field of Dreams
  55. Finding Forrester
  56. Fireproof
  57. Fisher King
  58. Five Easy Pieces
  59. Freedom Writers
  60. Front of the Class
  61. Glengary Glen Ross
  62. Godfather
  63. Good Will Hunting
  64. Greatest Game Ever Played
  65. Greenfingers
  66. Happy Feet
  67. Heart and Souls
  68. Homeless to Harvard
  69. Hoosiers
  70. I Am
  71. I Am David
  72. Iron Jawed Angels
  73. It’s a Wonderful Life
  74. Jerry McGuire
  75. Joan of Arc
  76. Julia and Julia
  77. Kabluey
  78. King of California
  79. Kingdom of Heaven
  80. Kissing Jessica Stein
  81. Kramer vs. Kramer
  82. Lars and the Real Girl
  83. Last Holiday
  84. Last Samurai
  85. Lawrence of Arabia
  86. Legally Blonde
  87. Legend of Bagger Vance
  88. Lemonade
  89. Life is Beautiful
  90. Local Hero
  91. Long Way From Home
  92. Lord of the Rings
  93. Lost in America
  94. Man of La Mancha
  95. Man on a Wire
  96. Man Who Planted Trees
  97. Marvin’s Room
  98. Mass Appeal
  99. Meet the Robinsons
  100. Men of Honor
  101. Miracle
  102. Mother
  103. Mr. Holland’s Opus
  104. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
  105. Mrs. Doubtfire
  106. Mulan
  107. Music of the Heart
  108. My Left Foot
  109. Normal
  110. Office Space
  111. October Sky
  112. Off the Beaten Path
  113. Off the Map
  114. On a Clear Day
  115. One Night with the King
  116. One Week
  117. One Week Job
  118. Open Road
  119. Patch Adams
  120. Patriot
  121. Pay it Forward
  122. Peaceful Warrior
  123. Pleasantville
  124. Pollack
  125. Post Grad
  126. Prince of Egypt
  127. Princess and the Frog
  128. Pursuit of Happyness
  129. Ratatouille
  130. Reality Bites
  131. Regarding Henry
  132. Remember the Titans
  133. Revolutionary Road
  134. Riding in Cars With Boys
  135. Rookie
  136. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  137. Rudy
  138. Saint Ralph
  139. Say Anything
  140. Schindler’s List
  141. Secret
  142. Seven Years in Tibet
  143. Shine
  144. Simon Birch
  145. Sleepless in Seattle
  146. Stand and Deliver
  147. Star Wars
  148. Stranger Than Fiction
  149. Talk to Me
  150. The Boys
  151. The Man and His Dream
  152. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
  153. The Mighty
  154. The Mission
  155. The Temp
  156. Tim Elmore’s Habitudes
  157. Tin Men
  158. To Kill a Mockingbird
  159. To Live
  160. Tortilla Soup
  161. Toy Story
  162. Tucker
  163. Ultimate Gift
  164. Up in the Air
  165. Wall Street
  166. Whale Rider
  167. What the Bleep Do We Know
  168. Whip It
  169. Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
  170. Willow
  171. With Honors
  172. Wizard of Oz
  173. Working Girl
  174. Working 9 to 5
  175. World’s Fastest Indian

Source: Culled from many different people including, (1) a related LinkedIn discussion post with contributions from nearly 40 career services professionals and, (2) Callings Movies by Gregg Levoy.

Improve Your Listening Skills

Good listening skills are worth honing at any point in your life. When you’re in job-search mode, they can be even more crucial to improve. Active or focused listening, as it’s often called, is something most people don’t practice, and studies suggest we only remember between a quarter and a half of what we hear.

Active listening requires you to not only hear the other person but also to understand what they’re saying. Whether you’re interacting with your spouse, boss or an interviewer, these key elements of focused listening will help you.

Pay attention. Try not to be distracted. Even if the person you’re talking to has an ugly tie or isn’t focused them self. Hone in on both what they’re saying and what their body language is telling you. Make eye contact, avoid preparing your response while they’re talking and focus all of your energy on the current discussion.

Show you’re listening. Body language speaks volumes; attention to non-verbal communication can help you become a better listener. Make a point to nod occasionally, smile and positively respond with your face. Also maintain open and inviting posture (don’t fold your arms). If you’re confused by something the person says try summarizing it back to them. Start by saying, “so what you’re saying is…” or something similar. This will show that you’re paying attention and will also give them the opportunity to clarify anything that they may have communicated poorly.

Defer judgment. Don’t interrupt or start responding to the question before the employer finishes. Doing so makes the other person feel like you don’t care about what they’re saying and that you’re not listening. That’s the last thing you want, whether you’re in an interview or talking with a loved one!

Respond Appropriately. Demonstrate you’ve been listening and paying attention by providing an honest, candid and respectful reply. Again, body language plays into this. 60% of communication is non-verbal and studies show that people are more likely to believe your body language over your words when the two don’t match up.

Practice your listening skills as often as possible – any time you have a conversation! Focused listening will improve your relationships and it will also improve your memory. When it comes to your career, your listening skills will make a huge difference and help you stand out in a crowd – exactly what you need in a competitive market.

Do you practice focus listening already? Share how it’s helped improve your relationships and career below!

For more on this topic see: Improve Your Listening Skills to Win the Job