**To watch the video of the panel discussion, please click here.

When it comes to setting themselves apart from other job seekers, one of the unique challenges faced by the increasing number of military veterans entering the civilian job market can be described, literally, as a language barrier.

Military lingo is filled with words and acronyms that are not commonly used in the civilian world. (Do you know what the CINCPAC is?) So it’s no surprise that when a veteran creates a résumé, it might seem as though the document were written in a foreign language. And often, the skills that can make a veteran stand out—skills such as leadership and resources and personnel management—are lost in military speak, perhaps derailing a job applicant’s candidacy prematurely.Continue Reading

UMUC’s December Career Events

UMUC’s December career topic is social sciences! Your UMUC Career Services office will host four career webinars to help UMUC students and alumni navigate the social sciences industries. These brief online sessions can help you obtain the knowledge, tools, and confidence needed to take your career to the next level. There will also be an employer session with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Checkout the details for each event below, and use the links provided to register!

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UMUC’s November Career Events

UMUC’s November career topic is accounting and finance. Your UMUC Career Services office will host four career prep webinars to help you get ready for the next step in your professional journey, and will also host an employer session with Rose Financial Solutions. These brief online sessions can help you obtain the knowledge, tools, and confidence you need to take your career to the next level. Checkout the details for each event below, and use the links provided to register!Continue Reading

Tips for Making a Successful Mid-Life Career Change

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Sometimes changing careers or jobs is unexpected. Downsizing and layoffs are no longer rare but common practice. This can cause you to start to doubt your abilities and value in the workplace, especially if you are an older worker. What must be remembered is that your skills and talent are needed and wanted by employers. The following 8 steps will help you make a successful transition:

1. Meet with a career professional. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible so that you can begin developing a new career plan. Even if you do decide to take some time off before starting a job search.

2. Focus on your strengths not your weaknesses. On your resume show how you brought value to the previous role by quantifying your accomplishments wherever possible. When interviewing let the employer know through examples how you brought value in your previous position.

3. Show that you are always learning new things. This can be demonstrated on your resume by including any current education and training. When networking or on an interview mention relevant volunteering or hobbies that give the impression that you are active and vibrant. Employers want people that are not afraid to learn a new task or take on a new role.

4. Use social media. Tweet, friend and connect. According to AARP 94 percent of 1,855 recruiters and HR professionals surveyed in one study credited LinkedIn as the essential source for recruiting.

5. At a minimum you should have a LinkedIn account. There are tutorials and YouTube videos available to help you understand to set up and use your account.

6. Take care of your health. You may have more time now to focus on exercising and healthy eating. Make sure that you getting enough rest and keeping stress to a minimum.

7. Network with everyone. Don’t overlook contacts. You never know where your next job lead will come from. Meet casually with friends and family, including those outside of your inner circle. Take every opportunity to get out socially.

8. Develop your 30-second commercial. Perfect it until it becomes second nature. So when you begin putting an elevator pitch together, nail down the best way to describe your field and the type of job you’re pursuing. Until you can clearly explain the type of position you want, nobody can help you find it or hire you to do it.

Rhoda Smackum is a UMUC Career Advisor for the office of Career Services.

Paving the Way to a New Career

A friend of mine, who I admire, wrote this profound statement on her social media status, “Don’t let one goal end without setting another in motion.” I immediately thought that it was timely advice for many college students transitioning to a new career. Have you thought about your career transition after graduation? What do you want to get out of your degree? Here are some tips on career planning ahead.

It’s Your Career: Own IT! News Flash: Having a degree in _____(you fill in the blank) is not your instant meal ticket to success. When you hear someone say, “This degree has done nothing for me,” it’s probably a result of poor career planning. Remember in life you’re guaranteed nothing, so be intentional about your next move. Very few people get handed opportunities so create a path to collide with them.

Apply Patience. Your first job after graduation may not be exactly what you always dreamed of, but proper planning will help ensure that it’s at the very least a building block. Most recent graduates obviously lack experience so seek opportunities to gain experience prior to the completion of your program if possible through internships, volunteering, or participating in professional organizations.

Ready or Not Search Early. Keep a pulse on industry trends and what the market demands so you can prepare and align yourself accordingly. Starting your job search before you’re ready will do just that. It will be easier for you to discover where to look, who to connect with and uncover resources along the way without the pressure of finding something immediately.

Write It Down. Whether you create a formal plan, flow chart, journal, or simply list your goals, writing them down will increase your chances of following through. When choosing your career goal don’t write something down because it sounds good. Ensure that it’s connected with your desire and passion. Do not let your present circumstances detour you from dreaming big.

If you’re thinking, “I wish I would have gotten this advice earlier,” it’s not too late to implement these tips. Remember what lies ahead in your career depends on the plan you laid before. Ready or not…set….GO PLAN!

Cathy Francois, MBA, GCDF; Cathy is a Career Advising Specialist for Career Services at UMUC. She is passionate about connecting the UMUC community to their dream jobs. 


Networking Isn’t a Four Letter Word.

Networking can be hard. When I was a kid, no one told me that I would grow up and have to go into these rooms with other people who would throw these little stiff pieces of paper at me and then expect me to call them. I missed out on the class where they told me that I would have to go to these events to have awkward moments in the name of becoming a better business person. Truthfully, maybe if I had been warned, I might not have gone. But, the other truth is that I probably wasn’t warned because most of my teachers didn’t like this “necessity” of business life either.Continue Reading