Thursday, February 19, 2015

Career 101: Is that REALLY the job you want?

Have you wondered what it might be like to be an Emergency Nurse? How about a Computer Programmer?  If you are gleaning all of your knowledge of what a Crime Scene Investigator actually does from watching reruns of CSI, you may encounter a rude awakening when you go for your education and actually land yourself in that job.

Informational interviewing is a foundational step within career exploration. While you are in your own investigative place as a student you would be wise to conduct informational interviews of people within the potential careers/jobs that you think you might enjoy. The informational interview communicates the first hand experiences and impressions of someone in the occupation, and is directed by your questions. 

Steps to conducting an interview of this type consist of:

1. Identifying a person that is currently employed within the field
2. Calling to request a visit with them while they are on the job  

The amount of time together is negotiable.  You could spend an hour or you could plan to spend a day.  Please be respectful of the professional’s time when making your request.  Determine on your initial phone call if you might like your visit to include a departmental tour or perhaps a day long “job shadow” appointment.  These may be items that your contact person can arrange.  Also, regard the time together as a business appointment.  Dress should be business casualand be sure to have a planned set of questions to ask.

Questions can vary based on what you wish to glean.  Sample questions include: 
  • What are the best and worst things about this career? 
  • Why might somebody leave this career? 
  • What are the things that it really takes to be great in this career? 
  • What is the smartest way to obtain training in this field?
An extensive list of possible informational interview questions is available here, but this is your chance to ask anything you'd like about your desired career. Plan to take notes while with your interviewer, being careful not to detract from the conversation. After your appointment, create an outline of themes from your questions asked. This can then carry you forward into next steps with your career exploration.

Now that you know about informational interviewing, get out there, do some networking, and make an appointment to speak with someone doing your dream job! 

Karen M. Lingrell, M Ed
Assistant Director of Collaborative Programs
USG eCore and eMajor

Thursday, February 5, 2015

60 Seconds with eMajor student Nate Wright

What is your home institution and major?
Currently, I attend Valdosta State University, and I am pursuing a degree in Organizational Leadership.

How many eMajor courses have you taken?
To date, I've taken 7 courses with eMajor.

Why is completing your college degree important to you?
 I think a college degree is a necessity in today's society. The job market is extremely competitive, and so many of my peers are seeking top notch positions. When I look back on my life, I want to know I finished everything I started; I want to check the box on paperwork that asks if I graduated. If I do not finish, that box will haunt me with any application I submit. Mortgage, jobs, insurance, etc.

When is your expected graduation date?
My expected graduation date is June of 2015; however, I am completing a concentration in Public Administration. This will be complete in December of 2015. Go big or go home.

What are your career goals?
Currently, I work in Human Resources. My goals include finishing this degree and moving to a Master’s program. I hope to obtain the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification as well.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I first wanted to be Batman. When I found out that was not a possibility, I dabbled in multiple majors or career paths. No matter what major I would choose, I realized everything came back to people. Every path came back to assisting others. So... This is why I work in Human Resources and seek a degree in Leadership.

What eMajor class has been your favorite and what class are looking forward to the most?
So far, I really appreciated ACE2050 (Communications for Business). This course touched tremendously on the tasks that I complete on a day to day basis. The information accurately depicted the things everyone will need in the workforce. Also, it reviewed certain grammatical skills that one may forget over time. The refresher definitely increased my confidence with professional writing. I most look forward to ENGL 3030 (Professional Writing). Two reasons: First, this is my last English course. Second, I feel this will make my writing even better.

How would you describe the instructors you’ve had in your eMajor classes?
 I have so many friends who seek a degree but opt out because of nerves. I had friends explain horror stories of professors who were unjust. I've yet to experience this in eMajor. Every professor has executed all courses with understanding and offered assistance in any way possible. I've had the most pleasurable experience.

Besides being a college student, what do you spend your time doing?
 When I am not working or working on homework, I really love restoring trash objects into treasure. For instance, turning an old dresser into a Pottery Barn inspired television stand. I also love to spend time with friends and family. Also, I really love sport and especially college football and Nascar.

How and when do you make time to spend on your school work?
I worked full time while completed 19 semester hours. I earned a GPA of 3.9. People look at me as if I'm an alien or not human. The fact is, I am human. When I'm on lunch break at work, I read the chapters. I take several road trips with friends, and I write my papers in the back seat between destinations. Also, I push myself to do school Monday through Friday, so I still have a social life on weekends. I think the key in maintaining homework is to stay ahead. I sit every Monday and map out any assignments due and create a schedule. I think about what I can do even if I am not on the computer. I use technology to my advantage. I can access the site from my mobile phone or IPAD. This saves so much time while posting discussion posts, etc.

Who or what inspires you and why?

Abraham Lincoln stated, "The best way to predict the future is to create it." I believe if I want a comfortable life and career, short term sacrifices equal long term happiness. The thought of vacationing in the Caribbean, buying a dream home, and my family make me strive to be the best I can be. I can't change the past, but I can change my future. I push myself and try to set an example for younger siblings.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Career 101: Planning Your Next Move

Are you stuck in the crossroads of switching your major?   

Are you finding yourself enrolled in classes but having no clear direction of where you might be heading after graduation?  

Has a significant other inquired with the dreaded question: “What are you going to do with your life?”

If you had a head nod to any of these questions then I hope to offer some quick advice on career planning to get you stepping in the right direction.   For 6 years I worked as an Assistant Director of Career Services at another Georgia institution.  I have many memories of students who would come to my office the Monday after graduation and remark “Hey, Mrs. Karen, I need a job!”   Some of those students had never taken advantage of the fine services we offered previously.  At the conclusion of many an appointment I can recall that most, if not all, of the visitors emphatically declared, “Man – why did I not come here SOONER??!”

As an online student, I know that you are super busy.  You’re juggling coursework, maybe a part time or full time job, family obligations…. just LIFE!  However, are you putting “2 and 2 together” that the whole purpose for your education is to find out what you might want to do with that LIFE?   It is crucial that you spend some energy and time exploring your options.  

Taking the time to investigate and decipher your strengths/skills along with possible career fields and actual jobs is foundational to your post-graduation plans.  Many students think this can be done pell-mell.  In reality it deserves significant time and focus. 

I wish I could say that there is ONE pathway to take but the truth is there are many fabulous ways to glean knowledge.  I would be remiss if I did not direct you first and foremost to a most logical spot. Valdosta State University’s Office of Career Services  is where I found this direct link to virtual career related concepts.  Here, you’ll find practical resources including putting together a resume and preparing for a job interview. It is also wise to take a look at the steps outlined for career planning, which includes a handy outline of what to pursue during different intervals of your post-secondary experience.

If you are the one who has no earthly idea what you might like to do “when you grow up,” I will suggest that you begin with some fundamental questions as put forth by Debra Davenport (Executive Professional Mentor, Licensed Career Counselor & Employment Agent).    What do I really feel passionate about?   What do I love to do so much that I would do it for free?"   Answering those questions will help drive your search.  She goes on to state that “Your career should be a natural extension of who you are as a human being.”

Another career expert, Marty Nemko, Ph.D. (Contributing Editor, Careers, U.S. News & World Report) asks different yet just as compelling questions.   “What do you think you would prefer in your ideal job?  Working with data?  Working with people?  Working with words?  Or working with concrete objects?”

This article was designed to get you thinking about how to begin career exploration steps. Do your research, and let us hear your plans in the comments below!

Karen M. Lingrell, M Ed
Assistant Director of Collaborative Programs
USG eCore and eMajor

Monday, December 8, 2014

60 Seconds with Kimberly Hobbs - Organizational Leader and eMajor Student

She defines success very simply as "Putting forth your very best effort in everything you do." She exudes positivity. She is an inspirational, confident woman and an all-around great role model to her daughter and nephews. Meet eMajor student,  Kimberly Hobbs...

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a child there were quite a few careers that I thought I wanted to do when I grew up. My career choices were an astronaut, a veterinarian, and even a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader! Although none of these ideas came to fruition, I am pleased with the career that I am in now because it allows me to help people as a Grant Writer & Administrator.

What is your college major? Organizational Leadership

Why did you choose eMajor? I chose eMajor because of the convenience of online courses. The fact that I could finish my degree without having to attend classes on campus, but could instead participate in classes according to my schedule was the reason I decided to enroll. I graduated high school in 1987 and have attended college off and on since then trying to earn a four-year degree. However, attending classes on campus while working and raising a family was difficult and my pursuit of an education always fell by the wayside. However, because eMajor affords me the ability to attend school around my everyday schedule, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will complete my degree this time. 

What are your career plans beyond eMajor? I have been very blessed in my career and I have a very rewarding job as a grant writer/administrator. My plans beyond eMajor are to continue to help people through grant writing. 

What is something cool you've learned this semester in your eMajor class? In my Introduction to Public Administration (POLS 3600) class, we had a case study about the debate over chocolate milk in Florida lunchrooms. There was a debate between the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture about whether or not chocolate milk should be served to school children. It was interesting to me that politics plays a role in so many things, even school lunches.

Where is your favorite place to visit in the USA? Washington DC. It is a beautiful city full of history and politics, two of my favorite things.

Who in history would you like to spend an hour with and what would you talk about? Dr. Martin Luther King. He was an amazingly brave man who had a vision of equality and worked tirelessly to spread his message. I would want to talk to him about his experiences and about how he changed America.

What song makes you sing when driving in your car? Why? Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves.  It is definitely old school, but every time it comes on the radio, I want to roll the windows down and sing because it is a happy song.

The most used appliance in your house is...........? The stove/oven. I enjoy cooking and consider myself somewhat of a foodie.

Who is the biggest inspiration for your education? My daughter. She is just completing her freshman year at VSU. Her desire to pursue her education inspired me to enroll in eMajor and to finish my degree.

Is there anything else interesting you would like to share about yourself? I am thankful that eMajor is available to non-traditional students such as me. Because of its availability, I will finally be able to complete a degree that I have been pursuing for 25+ years. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rhiannon Bond - Student, Mother, Wife...Oh My!

What is your occupation?I am currently a stay at home mom. My husband is deployed to Afghanistan so I decided being home with my son, Liam, and taking online classes would be best for him. 

What is your college major?
I am an Organizational Leadership major with an emphasis in Public Administration.

Who is the biggest inspiration for your education?
I would have to say that my mom always told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be and that was a huge inspiration. She always talked about how much fun school was and encouraged me to always do my best and I would succeed.

What are your career plans beyond eMajor?
Hopefully my family will be stationed in another country and I will have the opportunity to work on a base in public administration. I can't wait to get back into a professional environment.

What are two things most people don't know about you?
I am named after a Fleetwood Mac song, my daddy really loved Stevie Nix and all her music. Being named after one of her songs was as close as my mom would let him get. I am the first of my immediate family to graduate from high school.

Your definition of success is..............?
Happiness. I feel like no matter what you are doing in your life professionally, as long as you are happy I consider that success.

What are you planning on doing when it gets warm? 
I plan on playing outside a lot with my son, Liam and my dog, Hukaah. Once my husband returns we will be outside enjoying ourselves as a family.

What would you tell the 10 year old you?
"Stop tattling on your brothers so much. It's not fair that you should share all their secrets just because your mom bribed you with cheese." Psst...Cheese was my favorite.

What is your least/most favorite word?
"Slice" UGHHHHH!!! That word just sounds like it causes so much pain.

My favorite place to visit in the United States is.........? Why?
I wouldn't say that I have a favorite place to visit, but my favorite place to drive through is Chattanooga, TN. There is a part as you drive through where there is a beautiful lake on the right side of you, and a mountain on the left side. Its right around a curve and I think its absolutely beautiful.

What is something interesting about you that those in your class would not know, that you would like to share?

Even though you can't tell from your computer screens, I am a very outgoing person. I love to have fun. My favorite jobs are being a mommy and a military wife.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

5 Ways to Sit in the Front Row of Your Online Class

Some students feel invisible in their online courses, and don't do as well as they could. But there are clearly ways to get noticed, making sure the professor knows exactly who you are. Here's our top five:
  1. Get personal. Many courses have an introductory week when students share information about themselves. Reveal a bit more than your major and why you're taking the course. Tell about your job, your kids, your hobbies, and a couple of really interesting things about you. Reveal a bit more throughout the course.
  2. Post first or very early each week. The first responses to a discussion posting will typically get noticed more than the ones that approach the deadline. It will usually impress the instructor that you're early and on top of your game.
  3. Raise your hand. Pose questions to the instructor. Don't be obnoxious, but ask the instructor a question every week or so related to the content. It's even okay (and intelligent) to question or disagree with the content that's presented.
  4. Address people by name. When you're responding to a classmate or an instructor, something very magical happens when you use their name. For example, say, "Dr. Smith, I found your analysis of the Clinton years very interesting," or "Sally, that must have been a difficult experience for you."
  5. Provide your instructor with useful feedback some time during the course. If there is something negative to be said, sandwich it with something positive. For example, you might say, "Dr. Smith, I so much appreciate the depth of feedback you have given me on my written work. It has really improved my writing. I would like to express my concerns about the amount of group work that we have in this class. While I appreciate the engagement with other students, I believe that I would be more successful if one of the three group projects were independent. This is a great class, and I have enjoyed your anecdotes." You might be surprised, but most instructors will really welcome this.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

60 Seconds With Grant Roberson - Dalton State eMajor Student

1. What is your occupation? I work at a local power company, EPB, in Chattanooga, TN in the Field Services division.  I mainly focus on the fiber optic services like TV, Internet and phone service.  I troubleshoot problems that our fiber optics customers are having within their fiber network like TV signal issues, internet and phone issues. 

2. What is your college major?
My college major is Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership.  I was originally going for a Bachelor of Business Administration at Dalton State College before the eMajor program was offered. 

3. Why eMajor?
I needed the eMajor program because I work full-time, and it is impossible to take more than 6 hours per semester face-to-face.  It was taking me forever to finish and it was going to take me at least another 2 years to finish.  I am so thankful that DSC is a part of the eMajor program because now I will graduate summer after only being in this program for less than a year!

4. Who is the biggest inspiration for your education?
The biggest inspiration for my education is me. I know how that sounds but hear me out.  I have had crappy jobs most of my life.  When I graduated high school I went to the carpet factory. (We are in Dalton you know!) After 1 year of hard labor I decided I could do something better for myself.  I went back to Dalton State College to get my Associate's degree so I could get a better job.  I got my Associates degree in 2 years and shortly after I obtained a decent paying job.  Finally, I had something I could be proud of and since then I have excelled with my degree.  I wanted to go back to get my Bachelors degree so I could advance in my career and go even further and make even more money.  I pride myself in having a very good work ethic and I work extremely hard.  I know I can achieve anything because I have been there and done that and have seen the fruits of my labor.
5. What is something cool you've learned this semester in your eMajor class?

Something cool that I have learned is that I find it more interesting and I feel like I learn more because I have the material at my hands at all times.  Some of the discussions we have really feel like you are in the class and are getting to know the other students.  I have learned a lot about myself as a learner.

6. What three words would you use to describe one of your online instructors?

These are more like 3 statements vs. 3 words:
1. Very smart
2. Easy to communicate with
3. Involved

7. Where is your favorite place to visit in the USA?
My favorite place to visit is anywhere that has a beach and for adventure I have started hiking the Appalachian Trail. I love to hike and my friends and I will take week long hikingtrips and love being outside.  We started the AT this year and have completed to first 21 miles and will do another 20 mile section later this year. 

8. What kind of mood are you in right now, and why?
I’m in a great mood because I know my life is heading in a very positive direction and I can't wait to finish my degree to get my reward for all of those years of hard work.

9. Your favorite study spot?
My favorite study spot is my couch.  Believe it or not, I like to have the TV on and have it on mute while I study.

10. What is something your online classmates don't know about you?
I guess they do not know how funny I can be.  I have a lot of stupid-funny jokes that I tell so I think I'm pretty entertaining. 

11. What are your career plans beyond eMajor?

My career plans after eMajor is to further my career here at EPB.  This company is so amazing, and we have a culture here that only Google would know about.  EPB cares so much about its employees and always tries to make everyone comfortable.  There is always continuous opportunity and they make you feel important and always make you feel proud to be a part of this great company.  My goal would be to get into leadership either in power or fiber optics.  All I know is that I will get an opportunity to shine, and when I get it I will run with it!

12. Is there anything interesting you would like to share about yourself?
I'm just a regular guy trying to make it. I feel like nothing but good is ahead of me with my eventual graduation with a bachelor’s degree, potential advancement and a loving family.