Monday, January 11, 2016

Is 2016 Your Year to Advance Your Education?

So, you’ve obtained a Bachelor’s degree. Perhaps you’ve started your career, perhaps you’re still hunting for a satisfying position, or perhaps you’re looking for a job change. Thinking about going back to school? RIT has you covered. Here are some reasons to acquire a Master’s degree (or even a PhD) from your alma mater, along with a brief overview of some of the programs we offer.
1.       Advance within your field. RIT awards Master’s degrees in programs such as design, visual communications, business, communications, mathematics, engineering, NTID, and more, hosting 70 in total. Let us say, for example, that you have a B.S. in computer science, and are looking into the M.S. program here. You can take courses within clusters having to do with robotics, cryptography, big data, and more, all culminating into a thesis or project and public presentation.  If you think this sounds similar to your undergraduate studies, you’re right: the layout of the programs are somewhat alike, but the materials studied allow you to advance current skills and move up in your current company, or potentially obtain a higher position even at entry level.
2.       Take advantage of the convenience factor. Most RIT graduate courses are taught in the late afternoon and evening. That way, you can enroll as a part-time or full-time student, and still work at your original or a new position during the day.  Additionally, adult and continuing education programs here allow transfer credits, offer certificates, and have partnered with the Yellow Ribbon Program. RIT faculty, staff, and fellow students make it possible to work and attend school simultaneously.
3.       Connect with company recruiters. As an alumnus, you are most likely aware of our career fairs. Although alumni are welcome to attend, it would not hurt to inform a potential employer of your Master’s candidacy and studies. It is optional for most Master’s students to complete a co-op, but researching what attending companies are looking for may ultimately lead you to see that they value a continuous pursuit of more training and education.
4.       RIT provides tuition benefits for employees of the college and for eligible family members. Do you or does someone in your family work for RIT? You could obtain a tuition waiver up to 100 percent! The majority of RIT graduate programs are 30 or more credits in total, so depending on your status as an employee, you could take between 6 and 12 credit hours per term with the benefits provided. Click this link to find out more about your eligibility to enroll in courses using the benefits.
5.       Increase the amount of research you engage in. RIT is heading in a more research-oriented direction, and with that comes a significant focus on graduate students and their work. Several programs end with a thesis or project, such as computer science mentioned above. For instance, RIT graduate Nate Fisk created the Rochester Cyber Safety and Ethics Initiative prior to his graduation, which explores and seeks to correct internet security concerns.  Sanjay Mathur sought to assist consulting companies with his project, Improving Customer Satisfaction in the Telecom Industry Through Improved Project Selection Methodologies. Wherever your interests lie, departments encourage passion projects and outside research, particularly at the graduate level.

Want to learn more? Check out all of our graduate programs on the web! 

By Hayley Johnson, RIT Career Services, Graduate Intern

Friday, November 6, 2015

Top Trends in Resume Writing

Hunting for the perfect position? Seeking to change careers entirely? Fresh out of your undergraduate or graduate studies? Consider these developments in the resume-composing realm to revamp your list of accomplishments.
1)      Digitization: You know about the importance of LinkedIn, the value of your presentation on social networking sites like Facebook, and that taking advantage of free cover letter and resume critiquing sessions. But have you considered the inclusion of videos, social media campaign examples, or mobile-friendly copies? Certain alum, of course, will know that a digital portfolio is often preferred for certain applications, and previous co-op experiences or passion projects will have helped with that. For others, however, if you are applying to more non-traditional industries, start-up companies, or even simply a general job posting, consider adding electronic elements that award your accomplishments a modern twist. An employer may rely on smartphone technology to view your resume, so ensuring that yours is accessible is also key. A recent article from Inc. notes that some companies are now using Instagram to engage in a process known as “purple squirrel hunting,” in which they pursue the most qualified candidates that may be already working, thus they would require less training. With you cooperative education experience, this could prove advantageous to the average job-seeking RIT graduate.
2)      Design: Innovation in resume formatting is certainly more applicable to some program graduates more than others, but it is nonetheless attractive and becoming increasingly popular. Consider adding colorful, but not too overpowering, images such as timelines that track accomplishments, charts that compare project growth, pictures that note where you hail from, photographs of major influencers, and the like. As long as text is still the main component, and there are not too many sections, infographics can add a unique element to a resume that extends beyond traditional templates found simply via popular search engines. Stick to a one-page limit, but lay out your profile in a more creative manner.
3)      Highlights: Facebook recently unveiled a new feature that attaches star icons to events such as starting a new position, a marriage, the birth of a child, et cetera, and these occasions are what one sees when scrolling through another user’s profile from years past. Why not do something similar with your resume? At each previous position, mention key projects that you assisted with or developed, and note your specific role(s) at any given point. Additionally, include awards received or other forms of recognition and promotion from whom you report. Achievements are just as important as job titles; what did you add to the organization that could transfer over to a different company?
Start over: This may sound intimidating, but imagine deleting everything in your resume and starting from scratch. Which successes can you remember that would highlight your assets? Which are less important or relevant? Starting from the beginning can allow for a completely new layout and order of accomplishments, stemming from a new mindset when switching career paths or simply looking for a different position. Ensure that you have a copy of the original resume to copy certain items from, but do not resort to sticking the exact outline use.

By Hayley Johnson, Graduate Intern, RIT Office of Career Services & Cooperative Education

Monday, May 18, 2015

Considering a Mid-Career Change?

Are you thinking about a change in your career direction?  Are you currently between jobs or without a job?   It is tough to decide to make a change, and for many it is even harder to decide what you would like to do and then to commit to pursuing it.  The following ideas may help you get started on the process.
1)       Self Assessment- Why are you thinking about a change now? What options do you want to consider?
People consider a mid-career change for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes it is a process you initiate and sometimes it is not.   Perhaps you are seeking a lifestyle change or a more satisfactory work/life balance.  Maybe you are hoping for increased compensation or benefits.  Some folks are looking for more challenge or excitement (and some are looking for less!).  Perhaps you are looking for more direct ways to help others in the work you do.  A career values card sort may help you prioritize the most important factors for you in your work and your life.  I have found that a reprioritization of our values is often what leads us to contemplate a change.
Which of your interests do you want to focus on in your work?  An interest inventory may assist you in determining how your interests relate to occupational possibilities.  Here is the O*NET Interests Profiler that will generate some occupational possibilities for you after you answer some questions about your interests.
Carefully evaluate the skills and abilities that you have.  Identifying what you enjoy doing and are good at can be key to career satisfaction.  How can the skills you have be transferred to a new opportunity?  This blog about transferrable skills will give you some ideas about how to leverage you current skills into new opportunities.  The Skills Profiler takes you through a series of questions that allow you to identify skills and activities you have. This leads to a customized Skills Profile that includes:  a summary of identified skills and work activities, a list of occupations matched either to skills or work activities and a link to occupation profiles for more detailed occupational information.  The My Skills My Future website suggests occupations that might use similar skills to other jobs that you have had.
Some personalities are more attracted to certain occupations more than others.  If you have not already done a personality assessment that yields a Myers-Briggs personality type, here is a quick inventory that will generate it for you.  Then, you can go to the Personality Page website that has information related to personality as it relates to career choice, relationships, and personal growth.
2)       How do I find out more about the career options that appeal to me?
I would suggest that you first do research on reliable websites and in relevant books.  Two websites that are good starting places are the Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*NET.  It is also very helpful to get information from people who are already doing a job that you want to learn more about.  This process is called networking or informational interviewing.  LinkedIn can also be a very useful source of information.  Here is an article that introduces the benefits of using LinkedIn Alumni in the career search process.  Often information really is the key that will help you determine how interested you are in an alternative you are considering.
3)      What are the gaps between your current qualifications and occupations that appeals to you?  Are you willing to get more education and/or training?
If you determine that additional education or training would be necessary for an occupation that appeals to you, you have some serious thinking and planning to do.  In what ways could you obtain the skills:  a graduate degree, a college course or certificate, an internship or apprenticeship experience?  If you think you might go back to school for another degree, be sure to research the typical job outcomes for people who have attained that degree.
4)      Resist the “quick fix” to current unhappiness.
You are undertaking a big change.  Be careful and thoughtful in your self-assessment and information gathering.  Curb the impulse to make a quick change so that you can thoughtfully choose an option that is right for you.
5)      You don’t have to do this alone.  Be willing to ask for help and get support where you can.
The RIT Career Services Office has many services for alumni.  You may already be aware of those services if you have found your way to this blog.  We have a Career Services Coordinator who works with graduates from your RIT major.  Check our website or call our office at (585) 475-2301 to find out who your Coordinator is and get in touch with him or her.  Your Coordinator can help you assess the risks and benefits of making a mid-career change. 
There is lots of good information on our website that will assist career changers.  Here are two more sources of information from RIT Career Services that could be helpful:  Career Resources and Changing Careers.  And don’t hesitate to contact our office with your questions.

Carolyn DeHority, Assistant Director-Career Counseling, RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education