Top 3 Most Asked Career Center Questions

September 10, 2013

Capella’s Career Center assists students and alumni to develop and implement their unique career management goals, resulting in measurable career outcomes. This week’s guest blog post is from Career Counselor, Jenna Parks, MA. She will be sharing her expertise from time-to-time. 

Jenna Parks, MA, Capella University Career Counselor

Jenna Parks, MA, Capella University Career Counselor

As students work toward advancing their education, a common motivator is their goal for career success.  The Capella University Career Center works to support students and alumni in all aspects of their career management as they pursue that goal.  Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions the Career Center receives from students and alumni.

How can I prepare my resume to best market myself as a candidate?

Customize your document!  You will likely have a different resume for each position for which you apply. As you read through the job posting, compare the required and preferred qualifications with your resume to make sure all of your relevant skills and experiences are highlighted.  Additionally, arrange the content so that your most significant experience is listed at the top of your resume.  One great way to do this is through providing an overview of your experience in a Summary of Qualifications section.

What is the secret to a successful job search?

Variety is the key!  Incorporate several different strategies and methods into your job search to make it most effective.  Don’t rely solely on online job boards.  Instead, tap into the “hidden job market” of unadvertised positions through networking.   Suggestions for connecting with others include attending conferences, conducting informational interviews, and making connections in online social networks, such as LinkedIn.

I’m trying to make a career change.  I know my Capella degree will provide me with the credentials, but how can I gain experience to break into a new field?

 Breaking into a new field can be difficult without related experience.  Demonstrate the ways your previous experiences can translate to your new field by highlighting your transferable skills.  In addition, think about how you can acquire new skills.  Some ideas include volunteering in a related role with a nonprofit organization, getting involved with professional associations in your new field, and seeking out work projects outside your current role.  You can also try working in a related setting.  Even if you’re not yet qualified to work in the position you ultimately want, this will help you gain experience in the field and get your foot in the door.

Find out more about job search strategies, creating job application documents, and planning for your career change in an upcoming Career Center webinar!

"3 Responses to "Top 3 Most Asked Career Center Questions"

  1. David P Martin says:

    I really think that you should place a lot more emphasis on ‘breaking in’ strategies. Many, many Capella students and alumni are seeking to change careers. Far too many of them are relying far too heavily on just the ‘new’ degree or academic credential to help them make that switch, then become very bitter to find out that the academic credential is only one piece of the total employment picture. In their frustration, they take a lot of anger out on the school, which is not fair to either the school or the individual. Any future emphasis that you could place on ‘the experience factor’ – how is works, and strategies for gaining that crucial experience – would greatly help future graduates and alumni.

  2. Vaughn Parker says:

    I was going to suggest that when doing a job hunt that professionals should learn how to “boolean search” to hone in on exact jobs, as well as consider taking up contracting work offered through temp agencies. Contracting normally pays higher than tempting, and although the name “contracting” might make one thing you’re obligated to fulfill the term of the contract; you’re not.

  3. Jenna Parks says:

    Great suggestions! Thank you for pointing them out and sharing this information.

    Gaining experience is absolutely an important part of breaking into a new career field. In fact, the Career Center has a Navigating a Career Change webinar on this topic, which will be offered next on October 15 at 12:00pm Central. If you know someone who is trying to make a career change with limited experience, we invite you to have them join us! Our learners and alumni also have access to additional career change resources on the Career Center page of iGuide. Thanks for raising this important point!

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