About the Blog

This blog and its resources are here to assist all students throughout their college years and into their careers. Blog is moderated by a Certified Professional Career Coach and Master Tutor Trainer. Site moderator, Neil O'Donnell, is an EOP graduate of Buffalo State College and can be reached at odonnenp@buffalostate.edu.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Getting the most out of jobs over winter break

Okay, so the semester is over and you're wondering what to do with your time?  First, it is important that you get some downtime.  In other words, take time to relax.  Additionally, it would be wise to find a part-time job to build up your cash reserves (and help build up savings for paying off loans). That said, regardless of where you work (a family restaurant, Burger King, Barnes & Noble, a shop in the mall, etc.), finding good experience for your resume is something to strive for.  When you work, consider the following:

1) Is there an opportunity for supervising other employees?

2) Can you assist with developing or managing a company's website, Facebook page or Twitter feed?
 Can you develop a Facebook page or Twitter feed for the company you work for?

3) Can you help with advertising for the company (putting up flyers, posting info through your own Facebook and Twitter pages, etc.)?

4) Can you assist in helping to organize the office files or create an Excel database for client/vendor contacts?

5) Can you help lead the reorganization of a supply/store room?

These are just some of the questions to ask your employer to gain valuable skills (skills to broaden your skill sets AND beef up your resume).  Specifically, looking for leadership and management opportunities is important as is finding any chance to be part of a creative process (advertising, coming up with a new lunch special, leading a charity drive through an employer, etc.).  These may seem trivial, but such actions could be just what makes you stand out from the crowd in the future when you apply for a job.  Take care, and Happy Holidays!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Registering for the Spring Semester

So, it's past the midpoint of the semester, and while you're feeling relaxed, you need to remember that registering for Spring classes is here.  That said, it's time to get prepared for registration, and here are some reminders for all students planning to take classes next semester:

1) Pay off any balances or fines (overdue library books, etc.).  If you don't make arrangements to take care of even minor bills you may not be permitted to register (the longer it takes you to register, the more likely it is the classes you wanted will be closed.  If you owe a lot of money, speak with the Student Accounts Office about setting up a payment plan or see if the hold can be lifted long enough for you to register for classes.

2) Declare your major.  If you are not registered for a major and you know which major you wish to pursue, declare it immediately.  Why?  If you are not officially in a major you may be blocked from registering for classes in the respective major.  Again, this could delay your ability to register.

3) Meet with your department advisor to go over your major and general studies requirements.  Yes, many students have a good understanding of what their degree requirements are.  However, getting feedback from an advisor could help a student pinpoint classes outside the major which complement the student's career goals.  Make sure you go over your degree audit with your advisor and ask any questions you have regarding degree requirements.  The Academic Advisement office at your college should be able to assist you as well.

4) Look up classes before the first day you can register.  Be prepared with your first options as well as back up classes (just in case the classes you wanted fill up before you can register for them).  While you are at it, register the first moment you are allowed to, because classes fill up quickly.

5) If a class you wanted to take is closed, contact the class professor and request to be added.  In some cases, professors are fine with letting a few additional students in.  In other cases, professors keep a waiting list of students to add should space fill up.  The sooner you contact the professor the better.  Remember, professors are often prohibited by departments and/or the college from adding additional students so don't be upset if a professor informs you he/she cannot add you.

6) After registering, look at your degree audit to verify the classes you registered for fulfill the requirements you anticipated they would fulfill. Not every Biology class fulfills a college's Natural Science requirement just as not every painting class fulfills a college's Art requirement.  You need to make certain the classes you chose fulfill requirements.  If you don't, you could end up taking a class that fulfills no requirements, which may require you to stay an extra semester.

7) Register for at least 12.0 credits of coursework you have never attempted before.  Many financial aid sources require students to attempt and often complete 12.0 new credits a semester in order to maintain aid.  If you have any questions regarding this, contact financial aid immediately.  If your plan is to graduate in four years, you will need a minimum of 15.0 credits a semester.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Midsession Review

Believe it or not, the halfway point of the Fall 2014 semester is upon us.  Now is the time to, if you haven't done so already, to evaluate where you stand in each of your classes.  What grades have you received?  What is your current overall average in each class?  Have you turned in all assignments?  Can you still turn in late assignments?  What projects remain and what are their due dates?  When are final exams and what will the exams cover (are any of your finals cumulative meaning they will cover material from the entire semester)?

It is important to make decisions about withdrawing from a class or taking a class Pass/Fail with the guidance of your academic advisor.  If you don't know who your academic advisor is, stop by your major department and ask.  It is crucial that you do this midsession review to assure where you stand.  If you are uncertain of your overall grade or about assignment due dates, ask your respective professor(s).

Yes, half a semester remains, and there is certainly time to get support from tutors and professors if you have not done so already.  However, time will start to fly.  Don't delay asking questions and getting answers any longer.  Best wishes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

General Résumé and Cover Letter Samples

Hi everyone:

I have found a lot of students (and professionals long out of college) complaining, understandably, that not much time was spent in providing undergrads with career advisement.  Well, that ends now.  Here, in this Fortress of Career Advisement, I will be periodically posting sample résumés and cover letters with the intention of posting samples for a wide range of jobs/careers.  For today, I attached a few basic résumés and one sample cover letter (see attached).  Important things to remember are the need for clean résumé copy (a lot of open/white space and an easy to read font).  Eleven to twelve point font and Times Roman or Garamond are preferred types for me.  For new college graduates without much experience, a functional resume, highlighting skill sets, is likely a better way to go rather than the chronological style.  Regarding the lack of a career/job objective, that is not an oversight.  I like many résumé writers find those to be a waste of valuable résumé real estate.  If you do include a job objective, it should be after personal information and be specific to the job being applied to such as:

To secure an internship in human resource management with XYZ, Inc. 

In future posts, we will further examine each component of résumés and cover letters.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Study Skills: Getting Back to the Basics

Hi Everyone!  So, are you caught up on your reading assignments and homework for classes?  Have you attended every class this semester?  Have you started doing research for your final papers/projects in your classes?  No?  You haven't?  Well, now is the time to get up to date as the weekend is here.  Think about it, we are close to the end of the first month of the Fall semester and summer is a distant memory.  This is not the time to be lazy.  Get active and productive.  Here's a few reminders to help you get the proverbial juices flowing:

College Study Skills: The Essentials

1)   Recognize your responsibility to study and prepare for classes.  Nobody is going to complete your papers, homework and tests for you.  If you don’t put in the time nothing will get done.

2)   Spend time every night to go over the notes you took that day.

3)   Prioritize/Manage your time.  Use a daily planner to help you plot out tests, quizzes, term papers and other assignments.  Continually look the planner over.

4)   Read, Read, Read!  Read all assigned textbook chapters.

5)   Read some more!  Read novels, short stories and other sources (newspapers, magazines, etc).  Reading a variety of material will make you a stronger reader, something that will help you better understand the reading you do for school.  Reading can also be a good source of entertainment.

6)   Study in as quiet and well lit place as you can find.

7)   If you need help, ask you’re a parent, teacher or tutor for assistance.  There is no shame in asking for help, because we ALL need it at some point.

8)   Develop your own test questions to study from.  Creating your own tests and quizzes to study from is an effective way to prepare for the real thing.  For additional benefits of this approach, ask your teacher to look over the sample test you made in order to get feedback.

9)   Find time to relax each day!  All the studying in the world won’t help if you’re exhausted.  Take time to read a book, watch one of your favorite TV shows or spend time with family and friends each day.  Just remember to get back to the books after taking a break, because you are still responsible for completing the work and understanding the material.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Before Drop/Add Ends

Hi everyone!

Welcome Back!!!  Now, before you enter the Labor Day weekend, it's time to do a quick assessment regarding your classes.  For students receiving financial aid, are you taking enough credits???  Students generally need a minimum of 12.0 new (not previously attempted) credit hours to be full time.  Are you taking enough credits???  Additionally, some financial aid requires students to complete a certain amount of credits each semester and accumulate credits at a certain rate.  With the credits you are currently registered for, will you be completing enough credits to maintain your financial aid for the Spring semester???  If you are uncertain, go speak with financial aid office representatives NOW!

Best wishes to all!!!  :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Welcome Back!

Hi everyone:

As students start returning to campuses around the state, I wish to welcome everyone back!  For new freshmen EOP/HEOP students, it's great to have you here within the EOP/HEOP family.  Please know that the staff and your fellow EOP/HEOP students are here to help you along the way.  As for this website, here you will find a number of resources to help you throughout your college journey and beyond.  Feel free to send me any questions you may have, and as always, never hesitate to ask your EOP/HEOP counselors and staff for help if you need it.  Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.  That said, I again welcome you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Interview Tips - My Guest Blog Post up Now

Hi everyone:

I have a guest post that was just posted, which covers 5 interview tips for job seekers.  Check it out when you get a chance.  Also check out the great resources at the host site: https://jobmob.co.il/


Resume to Interviews is a career services company founded in 2007 that provides professional LinkedIn services, including company pages for businesses and LinkedIn profiles for individuals.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blog Changes

Hi everyone!  Changes happen, as we all know too well.  As of now, I will be switching my main EOP/HEOP Blog to this page.  I will continue to offer the same academic and career advice, so don't worry.  As for this summer, I hope you are all safe, rested and finding time to relax.  Recharge those batteries for the Fall semester or for the job market (for you graduates out there).  In preparation for the Fall semester, remember to do your best to save money for books and other semester expenditures such as food, bus fare, etc.  As for books, if you know what books you need for the coming semester (and you are absolutely certain you are not going to change your schedule), look for the books now - you might be able to find some great discounts.  That said, enjoy the summer.