Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Creating a Job Hunt and Career Building Strategy

Job readiness and career coaching sessions for current students and alumni are common in many colleges and universities across America. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend one of these events at the University of Utah Career & Professional Development Center recently. 

The day was divided into morning breakout sessions and afternoon networking. The three morning sessions offered participants choices of two different topics to explore every hour. For me, in all cases, choosing between which of the two to attend proved to be quite a challenge as all of the sessions were varied and all intriguing (to see the entire listing of sessions, scroll to the bottom of the post to see the day’s agenda). In this post, I will share highlights of the seminars I attended, hoping some of the lessons I learned can help you in your job search whether you are a recent graduate, new to the job market, or a seasoned professional. 

Session 1: Robot Resume Review: Writing Resumes for Applicant Tracking Systems 
For the first breakout session, we could choose between learning about Application Tracking Systems (ATS, here after) or Networking and Small Talk. Since I recently attended the Center’s session on small talk (see this post), I opted for learning about the complex world of ATS. I was more than satisfied with this session as it truly lived up to and surpassed the description on the seminar brochure (view the brochure at the end of this post). If you’re interested in the top three interesting tips I learned in this session, click here

Session 2: Navigating the U.S. Job Search 
I opted to choose this session due to my passion and interest in working with international students and expats with their career guidance. I was really looking forward to learning something new, and I did! While looking back, it seems quite simple. However, sometimes the simple things are often the most difficult ones to think of and apply. 

In this session, we learned how to counter objections prospective employers may have about employing international students and visa issues. To read more about this tip along with a helpful approach to starting this discussion, click here

Session 3: Negotiate for What You’re Worth 
Ann House, Director, from the University of Utah Personal Money Management Center co-facilitated this session with Career Coach, Francine Mahak from the Career & Professional Development Center . I found it utterly fascinating that the university has this department, which is separate and distinct from the Financial Aid Office. Ann shared a thick workbook with us on negotiation strategies and presented many helpful and practical tips. 

Sessions 4 & 5: Lunch Panel & Networking 
From 12-2, participants enjoyed learning from each other. From 12-1, participants ate lunch while a panel of recruiters fielded questions from the audience. From 1-2 and beyond, we interacted in a round robin of networking. I found this networking activity enlightening and fun. The audience was broken up into four groups. Each group had one of the recruiters from the panel. Each group was allowed to interact with a selected panelist for 15 minutes, then at the end of each 15 minute block, the group members would move on to a different panelist, sitting with him or her and ask questions. In many ways, I enjoyed this round robin much more than I thought I would and much more than the panel discussion the previous hour, as we got to talk to more people and learn about what bought people from various career levels to this conference. 

Overall, this was a well-planned and very informative day. I can’t say that at any point I was bored, sleepy or disinterested. The day’s pace was perfect and kept me interested all day long. I hope this was true for the rest of the attendees as well. 

Thank you again to the team at the University of Utah Career and Professional Development Center for letting me attend this amazing event! For prospective, current and past students, do not hesitate on accessing the center for your career development needs. They are awesome, resourceful, and ready to help! 

Read more about what I learned at this conference: 
3 Tips to beat the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) 
How to Counter Objections for Employment as an International Student in the U.S. 
Salary Negotiation Tips 

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