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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Learning the Right Skills for your career future

As an anthropologist, I never imagined that I would go on to provide Web support to businesses, students and professionals. Heck, I never expected to have 1 blog let alone multiple blogs. While I have always been handy with unraveling the secrets of computer software, I had to learn new skills when I decided to take my professional writing career online. So, what did I do? I asked bloggers what programs they preferred (and why) and then experimented with various blogging programs until I was comfortable with administering a blog and creating its content. As you can see by the photo of my pet chipmunk, I have also learned about editing images, creating Vlog posts and a number of other techniques for reaching people online!
One second after taking the photo, Chip spit out all the seeds in his mouth.
Regardless of the career path(s) you take, keeping your skills up to date and learning the skills needed to pursue your career interests is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!
So, how do you determine what skills you need or will need? I'm glad you asked! Talk to college professors who are experts in fields related to your career path and also reach out to professionals off-campus who are experts in whatever field you are seeking to enter (college professors can often help guide you to off-campus professionals that would be willing to answer your questions and provide career guidance).

Taking such action will help you in gaining a better understanding of your chosen career (or careers) while starting a network of contacts within the field. These contacts often lead to job offers after graduation. Just food for thought! Take care.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Summer Break... Almost

For most college students, final exams are a week away (or students are in the midst of finals). Remain mindful of the need to study for exams and put in the time to finish each project (and each class) as strong as possible. If your professors didn't give out study guides for finals, ask them for one or develop your own and ask the professor to review it.

Put in the time now. Then, after all exams are done, enjoy your summer. Best wishes to all.

Below: 'Flat Top' the squirrel, who just completed his last exam and is enjoying the summer break.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Importance of Connecting with Department Faculty

The guidance given to students by their department’s faculty is crucial in helping students in determining which classes (especially major electives and free electives) would best position students for career success. Also, when applying to graduate school or a job, students will often be required to submit 3 to 5 letters of recommendation. In these instances, it is the department faculty from a student’s major department that generally hold the most weight when being considered for admission or hire. Finally, faculty from a student’s major department have valuable insight into the fields they teach in, knowing what jobs, internships and volunteer experiences best prepare a student to be ready for success (and ready to compete for jobs after graduation). For all these reasons, EVERY student should be speaking regularly with department/major faculty beginning freshman year.

All too often, students leave college without having established a good relationship with faculty tied to the student’s major. This often leads to students completing a degree and/or minors that are poorly suited to a student’s career goals. On the flip side, students who are connected with department professors and are asking questions are those who often have a significantly easier time navigating their undergraduate years as well as graduate school AND their ultimate career.

Do you have 3 professors in your department that could provide you with a glowing recommendation today, a recommendation that clearly identifies your strengths and accomplishments? If not, you have some work to do.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Importance of electives to your career

As we near the midpoint of the semester, and students start thinking about Spring Break and then summer, I just want to mention something career-related that is often overlooked as the academic year nears its end.

The ‘All College Electives’ or 'Free Electives ' and Major electives you need in order to complete your degree can play an important role in obtaining jobs and promotions after graduation. YES, those supposedly ‘waste of time’ classes can give you a serious edge over your competition for jobs if you select classes that will provide useful skillsets for down the road. How do you figure out what classes would be advantageous to you, career-wise? Speak with your professors in your major and ask them what courses both in and outside the major would best prepare you for your career path? Listen to their advice and investigate recommended courses. You can also speak with me or another career counselor
, but speaking with your major professors is critical for their industry knowledge AND because such interaction will help you build a connection with professors (remember, you will need them as references AFTER graduation).

By the way, you need to do well in those recommended classes, so remember to utilize your college's tutoring services. The tutors there can give you insight into the course material and help you excel on tests. Take care.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Conferences: Education Beyond Classes and Networking

Classes are crucial for your long-term academic and career success, that includes utilizing tutors and mentors at EOP's Academic Center for Excellence. That said, all students should be looking beyond the classroom for additional information, networking opportunities and career-related learning. A recommendation to every student is to speak to your department advisor (or the chair of or a professor in your major) and ask about any local conferences that are coming up. Conferences are day to week long events where professionals from around the region or country present their current research. First, the information presented at these conferences often provides insight into changes coming to your field (knowledge of these changes can give you an edge over others in the field). Second, attending conferences is a great way to gain a better connection with your department professors as conferences often open the door for a student to be mentored before, during and after the conference (these connections often lead to your gaining great references for graduate school or jobs).

There is third thing of importance with conferences; they are great ways to network with professionals. Conferences offer students and professionals a chance to connect with other students and professionals in your field. The bounds that are often formed at conferences can lead to job offers in later years! By the way, conferences can be expensive. Yet, some colleges and universities will pay for a few students' conference fees (speak to your department to see if they will sponsor you for a conference). Local conferences for smaller organizations are often less pricey and more manageable for student budgets so look locally if money is an issue. Take care, and goes ask your department about conference opportunities. I mean... like TODAY!  :)