As important as a college degree is when it comes to the amount of earnings one can expect to earn during a career (the Pew Research Center in 2010 found that college graduates earned about $1.42 million over a 40-year career, a full $650,000 more than someone who has just a high school diploma), the traditional college experience isn’t for everyone.
Some 18 year olds – or their parents – know that a four-year college experience right out of high school isn't the path they want to take, so they take some time off and go directly to work or in to the armed services.
Still others have been working for a while and decide they want to pursue a four-year degree in their 20s, 30s, 40s, or even 50s and beyond, when work and family obligations make going to classes during the day exceptionally problematic.
Even those who could attend college degree courses geared to working adults may find it difficult to attend in-person classes in the evenings.
So attending courses at an online career college makes sense for these types of individuals.
What are some other great reasons to choose an online career college, no matter what your age or personal/work circumstances? Read below for just a few.
- Accelerated Programs. Many online degree programs offer accelerated programs, allowing students to complete their degree in a matter of months or in a couple of years.
- Variety. Online colleges today offer students a great variety of majors from hospital coding to business management to transcription.
- More and more colleges that are fully accredited by respected accrediting bodies now are offering online degree programs. Why is this important? Earning a degree from an accredited college shows employers that your online degree is just as valuable as a degree earned going the traditional route. Let us repeat: your online degree is just as valuable as a degree earned going the traditional route.
- Flexibility. Online degree programs often allow you to go at your own pace. This means that you decide when to study, for how long and where.
- Affordability. Earning a degree from an online career college program usually is far less expensive than a traditional on-campus program. After all, classrooms don’t need to be lit and heated, professors can teach from the comfort of their own home, there’s no dorm room to live in (and pay for), there are no commuting costs, and there are no cafeteria meals to buy. Online courses save colleges considerably, and they can pass that cost savings on to you!
If you’d like to learn more about how our online college programs in medical transcription,physician based billing and coding, and non-medical transcription courses, online hospital based coding training, and more, contact one of our recruiters today at (888) 207-1637 or
Today I’m sitting in my chair trying to think of the best New Year’s Blog ever and it seems that everyone is writing the same blog about great New Year’s Resolutions and how to stick with them throughout the whole year. So I’m NOT going to write that blog, but rather, I’m going to write about resolutions not to make! So here are my top 10 resolutions that will probably go badly and what to try instead!
- Get in Shape. Who thinks about getting in shape in January?! I write this while the weather people are predicting an arctic front about to hit us full steam ahead. Even going to the gym requires leaving the house! Instead, how about doing 10 push-ups when you get out of bed, and 10 push-ups before you go to bed. Oddly enough it will lead to adding sit-ups and crunches before you know it!
- Eat Healthy. Here’s the rub - healthy is a subjective definition. Try using a free journaling app such as My Fitness Pal to see what you actually eat now. Maybe you are eating healthy, maybe you are just getting too many calories. The other day I actually decided not to eat that cookie because I was too lazy to enter it in the app.
- Quit Smoking. Such a wonderful resolution, but ever so hard! A better resolution would be to research stop smoking programs. There are many free and effective ones such as Smoke Free NY. So for this one, instead of saying you are going to quit smoking say you are going to get help!
- Get Organized. Small steps here…when looking at your mountain of papers littering your desk, kitchen, or living room, it’s a daunting task. Instead of saying you are going to get organized, try going to an office supply store and getting a good shredder, some file folders and some labels. Each day, before you do your push-ups and go to bed, take the top 5 papers off the pile and shred them or file them.
- Get Out of Debt. That’s a rather daunting a task! In order to manage this herculean effort it boils down to paying more on your debts which means either spending less on other things or generating more income to pay off said debt. Therefore, a much more reasonable resolution is to create a budget. Need a guideline? Visit CNNMoney for the basics.
- Go Back to School. In resolution number 5, one of the ways to help with debt was to increase income. To do that you are going to need some skills! Be smart about it and consider a career school, such as Mildred Elley, where you only pay for classes that apply to the new career that you are considering. Underwater basket weaving need not apply.
- Get a Better Job. Another tough one! To increase your chances of a better job, you’ll need to promote your skills (or get some new ones by getting some career training) and network, network, network. So let’s change this resolution from “Get a Better Job” to “Rework Your LinkedIn Profile.” Remember to add your school to this one. Your alumni network can open major doors for you. Oh, and don’t forget to clean up your Facebook page while you are at it. According to a survey by careerbuilder, 1 in 3 employers reject applicants based on Facebook posts. This survey was done in 2012…I wonder what the statistic is now!
- Volunteer. Again, a very robust and ambiguous resolution! Fortunately a great first step for this one is to post on Facebook. Just post a status update that you are thinking of volunteering and ask if anyone has any great ideas for places or organizations that need help. Be careful though, you never know when a volunteer position may put you in touch with a great job opportunity! Feel free to post this request on our Mildred Elley Facebook Pages. We have lots of followers that can put you in touch with the right people.
- Stop Procrastinating. This one, to me personally, is impossible! So if anyone has any great ideas to help with this one please post below in the comments! (If this post makes it up by midnight, I will be popping that champagne cork for sure.)
- Take time for yourself. This one is tricky. The first thing you need to do to attempt this one is define what that means. Do you want to relax, do you want to improve your mind, do you want to go on an adventure? Sit down and really decide what that means to you. From there the path to taking time for yourself will make sense to you and only you.
Have the happiest of new years and may 2014 bring you peace and prosperity!
Want to get started on number 6?
Here's a brochure! Remember...small steps!
The process of earning your Practical Nursing education certificate might seem daunting, and that is perfectly okay. Nursing education is challenging, but also extremely fulfilling. It feels good to overcome a challenge, and even better to know that the end result of your nursing education will be a career in healthcare. Some people, it seems, were simply born to be nurses. Nursing is one of those “dream professions,” which will come up whenever you ask a group of young people what they want to be when they grow up. Many of those same young people carry that desire over all the way through educational programs, and into their careers.
It is also fitting that earning your PN certification is challenging, as the nursing profession itself presents unique challenges unseen in other professions. It is important, though, to look at nursing education as an achievable challenge, not an impossible one. Chances are you have some friends or family who are nurses, and all of them went through the same training as you will. Ahead, you will see some tips on how to achieve success in your nursing education, enjoy the process, and work your way toward a rewarding career in healthcare.
Usually the “have fun” tip comes at the end of this type of list, but it is important to lead off with it, given how many people have probably told you that nursing education is hard work. There is no getting around the fact that nursing school will require hard work on your part, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the process. If you are interested enough to enroll in nursing education, chances are you will find the subject matter involved interesting, once you get going. Practical Nursing programs also presents a unique opportunity to meet and befriend people with similar interests.
Set Aside Study Time
Many nursing students have families or full-time jobs, which, combined with attending classes, can make finding time to study a difficult proposition. While it is perfectly okay, and even encouraged, to take any opportunity that arises to study, it is also important to set aside regular blocks of time for studying. This will help you develop sound study habits, and give you a time in which all you have to think about is the material in front of you.
Set Goals for Yourself
Whether it is putting in extra time to nail down a particularly difficult subject, or simply brushing up on a topic you are comfortable with, it is important to set learning goals. The key is setting goals that are both challenging and able to be achieved. Goals don't have to only be about work habits, either. You may want to set a goal of regular interaction with a professor you respect, or making new friends on campus. Setting goals will help you stay disciplined, and give you an added sense of satisfaction as each goal is completed. When things get frustrating, try to remember that as long as you persevere, you will reach the ultimate goal of PN certification.
Yes, it's cliché to say it, but there really is no such thing as a stupid question. While you are in school, take advantage of the expertise your professors possess. There is no better time to seek clarity on a difficult topic than when you are in school. Besides, chances are if you have a question about something, then someone else in the class does too.
Build a Network
Talk to Someone Who Has Been There
Networking isn't only about setting up contacts for potential future jobs, though that's important, too. You can also network with your fellow students. For many people, studying in groups is easier than studying alone. Even if you prefer studying alone, it is helpful to spend some time with your peers. It will give you a chance to look at subject matter from a different point of view, while presenting the opportunity to make some new friends!
Sometimes the best thing you can do when you are feeling overwhelmed is talk to someone who has already been through the process. Whether it's a family member, friend, or total stranger, most practicing nurses will be happy to lend an ear to the nursing student. A practicing nurse can give you reassurance, answer questions, or even just allow you to vent.
Overall, nursing education is in many ways a personal journey. Not everyone studies, learns, or succeeds in the same way. While the tips above provide some general guidance, your best bet is to learn what works for you, and stick with it. It may take some trial and error, but by putting in the effort you will be well on your way to becoming a Practical Nurse in no time.
Interested in becoming a practical nurse? Click below to download a brochure on Mildred Elley's Practical Nursing programs!
Practical Nursing Program
Practical nurse training is essential for having a career in the field of nursing—and may even be helpful in the field of general care taking. More specifically; training will give you the skills that are vitally necessary for understanding some of the clinical terminology and assessments that will allow you to be able to work alongside seasoned medical professionals, and do so comfortably and efficiently.
Nursing is much more technical than the layman would think; each piece of medical equipment is very, very expensive and important, with very specific functions; it's important to be properly trained and familiar with every piece of equipment before ever attempting to handle one — you could damage the equipment, or worse— you could harm a patient!
Alongside that, a practical nursing program will teach you the essential techniques required for aiding patients. There are very specific and specialized techniques involved in nursing; even for seemingly mundane things - like helping an elderly person out of bed safely. Without the proper training, a nurse could hurt themselves or a patient.
But there are also techniques in spotting ailments which are then the nurse's responsibility to report to the doctor; a trained nurse can spot potentially life-threatening ailments that are easily overlooked by people not trained to look for them.
Furthermore; working alongside medical professionals requires a certain level of know-how and comfort with certain situations that can be very difficult to bear if you haven't been drilled on what to do. Doctors and staff working at hospitals and care institutions can be extremely difficult to follow if you're not familiar in theory and careful in practice.
Practical nursing training will get you acclimated to this kind of working environment before you ever end up in a situation that would cause problems or confusion for you or others.
Training truly is the essential first step into any career in nursing; the medical technology has changed to very specific and technical roles that require previously established familiarity; there are practical techniques that have been traditionally developed over time that a nursing professional will have to be caught up on in a scholastic environment before they deal with patients; and the modern medical working environment is a very specialized field that will also require the establishment of familiarity and professionalism.
Look around for universities that you may be able to attend, or technical colleges. If you can't get in to either of those or have a tight budget, there are even online courses and degrees offered for very low prices.
The general idea is to start with something you have some personal calling for; if you're keen on taking care of the elderly, start by applying for a geriatric or retirement home-like institution once you're finished with training. If you're more into helping those who are in dire need right after some sort of accident; you might want to apply for the trauma division of your local hospital.
Practical Nursing is generally a "round-the-clock job," so there's plenty of work hours that need filling, and furthermore the medical industry as a whole is expanding— so it's very possible to find work with relatively little experience past training. In fact it's easiest to start simple with something you're familiar with.
Due to the vast array of different nursing careers; there is quite a bit of difference in the pay for one type of nurse to another. A personal living assistant does not need as much experience to get started, but they get paid a considerable amount less than surgeon's aids. Though, if you ask high-level nurses, it's not unlikely for them to have started out with something like personal living assistance.
Once you have completed the initial practical nursing program, there may be a few courses you might have to take here and there if you're going into different categories of nursing, but mostly it's an experience and connections career. The quality in nurses shows very, very much— so keep a great, respectful and helpful attitude towards patients and you will be noticed by staff. From there it's possible to go almost anywhere in the world; everyone needs to be cared for in at least two parts of their life: beginning and end—nurses are here to do that job; so the job will never go away. The possibilities are almost endless if you're willing to push them as far as they can go as a nurse.
Over the years, nursing has become a highly valuable career option for the men and women who love to help other people. If you find yourself considering a career in healthcare, a practical nursing program may be for you.
To get started you’ll need to choose and complete one of the practical nurse programs offered by a practical nursing college. You’ll learn how to evaluate, plan and implement care for patients suffering from certain conditions, as well as how to offer them the comfort and support they need to regain their health. Here are 10 reasons why practical nursing could be right for you!
1. Personal Satisfaction: Nursing can be a stressful occupation at times, involving long shifts, temperamental doctors and patients, and life-and-death scenarios. However, the fact that you are making a difference in people’s lives every single day can be really rewarding.
2. Job Security: As people live longer than before, an increasing number of individuals need medical services for longer periods, which means that nursing care facilities, outpatient facilities, doctor’s offices, general and surgical hospitals, and home health services require more LPNs from one year to another. As a result, the graduates of practical nursing programs can find numerous nursing jobs, regardless of where they live in the U.S.
3. The Affordable Health Care Act: Our country is already facing a nursing shortage. When adding in 32 million people who will soon have health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act, there will be an even greater strain on the healthcare system. This possibility may even prompt some healthcare providers to encourage their nurses to level-up their education with possible tuition assistance in the future.
4. Second-Career Opportunity: Offering high salary levels, the nursing field offers a great second career choice, which is typically appropriate for single parents who must support their families on one income or for people who need an additional source of income.
5. Flexible Schedules: Thousands of graduates of practical nursing college programs enjoy some truly flexible schedules that allow them to work day, evening, or night shifts, part-time or full-time shifts, which range from 4 to12 hours. These schedule options give you the opportunity to combine your career with different educational programs or family-related responsibilities.
6. Flexible Locations: People need quality healthcare everywhere in the world. This means that you can pursue a nursing career not only in the U.S., but also in a foreign country. Currently, many hospitals in Europe, Middle East and Asia are searching for LPNs, who are able to offer patients top healthcare services. Regardless of whether you plan to travel across the country or across the globe, there is one thing you can be sure of: a nurse is always needed.
7. Competitive Salary: Since LPNs are in high demand, most healthcare facilities offer high salaries and competitive benefits not only to attract new employees, but also to retain the best ones. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, depending on experience and location, an LPN can expect a median salary of $40,380 per year.
8. Professional Development: Once you graduate, you have the opportunity to complete a variety of educational programs. This means that you can study to move laterally (you can opt for specific programs in order to become a medical assistant, for instance) or to move up (you can choose a management program, which allows you to get into nursing management).
9. Jobs During Recessions: Although countries all over the world are fighting with a stubborn recession, hospitals still have to function. For this, they need medical staff. And since a recession brings along high levels of stress, which means that more people fall sick, there is still a high demand for LPNs.
10. Collaboration and Independence: Nursing is one of the few career choices that offer collaboration and independence at the same time. Although practical nursing college programs prepare you to work in teams, you will always enjoy a great deal of autonomy. And if you decide to complete advanced educational programs, you can become a manager, a researcher or an educator – three career options that give you even more independence.
Today, Mildred-Elley offers a comprehensive Practical Nurse Certificate Program, which provides the education and skills you need in order to work as a practical nurse or to pursue other career options in the growing health care field. With three campuses offering nursing programs, one is bound to be right for you!
Trying to decide on your next career move? Looking for the right training for your dream job? What educational option is right for you?
1. Money. It all comes down to value! Whether you go to a four year school or an accredited career college that offers fast, quality educational programs like medical assisting, practical nursing (LPN), business management, paralegal studies, massage therapy, or the many other courses of study available, you will still make the same entry level salary. AND the student loan for tuition at a 1 or two year school is going to be WAY less than the student loan for a 4 year college.
2. Class Sizes. Cavernous lecture halls spring to mind in the average 4 year institution, while the career college tends to have classes that take place in specially designed rooms that are similar to what you’ll find in the real world – Medical office settings, massage therapy labs, you name it, the career college setting is designed to look like the real world.
3. Flexible Schedules. Most 4 year colleges offer classes at certain times of certain days and if you can’t get there, you are out of luck! Career colleges tend to take into account the working student schedule and offer night classes, and sometimes even weekend classes.
4. Start Your Career Faster. While those 4 year colleges are adding on interest to your student loan, your job opportunities as a student are pretty limited. A two year associate’s degree or a career certificate will get you in, out and on your way to a career - not just a job.
5. Location. 4 year colleges tend to be dorm based and this adds on massive room and board costs, not to mention trying to find parking! Career colleges or two year schools tend to have nice big FREE parking lots. And bunking at your own home is awfully nice!
6. Employment. Employment for Americans with an associate's degree or some college has increased by 578,000 the past six months to 35.2 million, while payrolls for those with at least a bachelor's are up by just 314,000 to 46.5 million, Labor Department figures show. But don’t think that no education is better than that associates’ degree or that certification! Employment for people with a high school diploma or less has remained stagnant. If you need to get your GED, as well as an Associate’s Degree to join the ranks of the gainfully employed, consider a career college such as Mildred Elley, where you can get your GED and your associate’s degree in as little as 2 years!
7. Irrelevant Classes. Need to fill that physical education requirement for your four year college? For some bizarre reason basket weaving will do just fine, yet you have to fork out the tuition cost for that class too…even though you may never use the skill again. In a career college, you’ll take classes that are focused on your career. You’ll get hands-on training in the skills you need to start working on day one.
8. Job Growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most of the fastest growing occupations require less than a two year associate’s degree.
While the traditional 4 year college was the way to go in the past, today’s students are looking to work smarter not harder. The 2 year or career college, may be the way to go for you!
What questions do you have about career college? Click here to speak to a career counselor.
Yahoo! Education just came out with the “Eight Hot Careers to Watch in 2013” which - I am so very pleased to announce – named Medical Assistant as the NUMBER 1 hot career to watch this year!
I am rather excited about it because not only is our medical assisting program available on our Pittsfield, Albany, and NYC Mildred Elley campuses, but we offer two versions of medical assisting, both Clinical Medical Assistant and Medical Office Assistant. The Albany and NYC campuses even offer Associates’ Degrees in Medical Assisting.
Medical Office Assistants tend to do more of the administrative work in running a medical office. They tend to handle tasks like making appointments, answering phones, calling in prescriptions for doctor’s and handling insurance billing. Sometimes they even handle transcription of a physician’s dictations. Typing skills are crucial for this position.
A Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) on the other hand usually greets the patient, handles the taking of vital signs, updating charts and making sure exam rooms are prepared properly. Other duties a CMA may perform could include drawing blood, performing EKGs.
After doing a little more digging, I discovered that the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook says that “Employment is expected to grow by 31 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will stem from physicians hiring more medical assistants to do routine administrative and clinical duties so that physicians can see more patients.”
Training to become a medical assistant takes about a year if you want to graduate with a certificate, or you can go for 4 more months and complete the Medical Assisting Associate’s Degree.
If Medical Assisting sounds like a career that might be for you check out Mildred Elley’s Medical Assisting Page where you can download a brochure and contact an admissions representative to talk about Medical Assisting as a career.
So you’ve got the interpersonal skills down, you’re willing to kick your work ethic into high gear, you landed the interview, now what are you going to wear?
The Suit: Go classic, not trendy. Exception to the rule, cosmetology grads should definitely dress to the 9s in the latest trends. Do research on the company, don’t go in blind. Can’t afford the perfect interview suit? Check out Suit Yourself, in Pittsfield MA which offers suits, and better yet, fashion advice for those ready for job interviews. Also a quick side note, for women that wear a suit with a skirt the overwhelming vote is YES wear pantyhose.
The Shirt: For the guys, choose a conservative button down shirt and tie, yes, you have to wear a tie. And flannel doesn’t count as a button down. Ladies, do not show your cleavage. Please! Save that for clubbing. If you are wearing a classic suit, you shouldn’t have to worry about your bra straps showing, but for cosmetology students, if you go trendy, do the shake test with your outfit to make sure your undergarments don’t slip into view. Don’t forget to check your waistline in the back!
Grooming: For guys, please shave or trim that beard and get a haircut! The objective is neat and tidy. If you don’t take time to practice basic hygiene, what are you going to do with my TPS reports? Also cut your fingernails and scrub your hands clean, no dirt under those fingernails please! Ladies, 80’s big hair is out. There, I said it. If you want to keep the hair big and fluffy for your personal life, put it up in a bun. Again the goal is neat and tidy.
Portfolio: Don’t bring it in a manila folder, notebook or other halfhearted attempt at assembly. I want to see something you take pride in, with beautiful organization. Yes, how you organize your portfolio will tell if you have those organizational skills I want.
Makeup: Go conservative. Again, Cos grads are always the exception to the rule. For business and medical fields, a little goes a long way. Use daytime eyeshadow, maybe a little lipstick and you’re good. Be cautious with mascara, if you tend to touch your eyes or you could sweat, it may run. Yuck! Oh and lay off the glitter! Also, If you can cover your tattoos, give it your best try. You may love them, but it’s the hiring manager’s opinion that counts.
Shoes: This is tricky for women, for guys it’s easy: don’t wear white socks or sneakers, make sure that your shoes are polished and don’t have holes in them. For women, flats or pumps with a reasonably low heel. Don’t go for the stilettos, shoes with lots of bling, sneakers, flip-flops, or Uggs.
Perfume: If your interviewer has to hit her inhaler because of the perfume you over-used to cover up the smoke smell, that’s a bad sign. This may sound weird, but have a friend smell you. Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to smell yourself if you are used to it!
And one final word of advice, do a test run in your outfit. Sit down, stand up, bend over and make sure everything stays where it should. If you still aren’t comfortable or confident, come on in to the Office of Career Services at Mildred Elley. They are the experts and can help you get that job!
You've landed the perfect job, now keep it!
In this economy, jobs are on the scarce side. This means that people are competing for your job even if the position is filled with your shoes! If you've got a job that you like, pays the bills, and has room for advancement, let's make sure you keep your job and keep that resume growing.
I own my own business, actually I own two, and I work for an established company with hundreds of employees. I figure that gives me a pretty unique perspective on the inner workings of companies. One of the things I want to share is that the number one thing we want out of our employees (and our Mildred Elley Students) is work ethic.
So what exactly IS work ethic? According to Chron.com, “A strong work ethic is vital to a company achieving its goals. Every employee, from the CEO to entry-level workers, must have a good work ethic to keep the company functioning at its peak. A work ethic is a set of moral principles an employee uses in her job. Certain factors come together to create a strong work ethic.”
- Go Above and Beyond – Some employees do just the bare minimum to keep their jobs. When times are good, these people can skate by, but they won’t be getting any raises or promotions. If you have a strong work ethic, you will take pride in your work, and do the best you can, proving yourself to be an invaluable employee. Be the person that everyone goes to for help. This will make you indispensable to the company.
- Responsibility – Make deadlines and meet them. When you’ve got a deadline to make, make it. Work late or come in early if you have to. Avoid “time wasters” such as Facebook, chatting at the water cooler, gossiping, long lunches, too many smoke or coffee breaks. I know a few people who manage to look extremely busy, but get nothing done.
- Teamwork – Have you ever experienced working with someone that doesn’t pull their own weight? This person often takes credit for work that her team member completed. Don’t be that person. If you are dealing with this type of person, make sure that you complete the work for the good of the company, but then make sure that your boss knows you did the work, not the dead beat.
- Get Healthy – This may seem beyond your control, but people that constantly call in sick aren’t helpful to a company. Get plenty of sleep, eat properly, quit smoking, lay off the caffeine, exercise, and for those occasions when you are really sick and contagious, stay home! Don’t take out the entire office with germs, especially if you have the ability to work from home.
- Customer Service – In recent years we have been talking about internal customer service. This is being able to work effectively with your fellow co-workers. Is there anyone that you dread dealing with? This person has bad internal customer service skills! Make sure you aren’t the one that grumbles when people ask for help!
At Mildred Elley, our Career Services Department tries to teach our students about communication skills and work ethics. We call them “Soft Skills.” These are skills that are hard to learn. Unless you’ve grown up with these soft skills drummed into your head, it can be hard to acquire them. It’s almost like changing your personality! But, if you can become that person who has great interpersonal skills and a good work ethic, you’ll have a great chance of getting hired and keeping that job.
A while ago I was listening to a Mildred Elley graduate lament to several of us about not being able to land a job. She graduated with A’s and B’s in her classes and had great technical skills. Unfortunately, she kept getting passed over for a job. On paper she was fully qualified, not a single typo on her beautifully formatted professional resume and a cover letter to die for and landed interview after interview.
So why no job offer? To everyone else in the room it was obvious—her interpersonal skills needed some work! To put it bluntly, she was a whiner. So how do YOU make sure you have great interpersonal communication skills so you can nail that job interview? Here are my top five ideas:
1.) Whining is a huge turn-off to employers. Other examples of turn-offs are arrogance, entitlement, rudeness, lack of punctuality, defensiveness and dishonesty (yes, interviewers can tell if you are lying). The hard part is figuring out if YOU do any of these. What you say may sound just fine in your head, but what other people hear may be completely different. Video tape yourself to make sure that you don’t have any of these traits. Mildred Elley’s Career Services Department conducts mock interviews for our students and graduates. This is the perfect time to put that cell phone camera to use. When our mock interviewers give you feedback, you can pull up the video and see exactly what they mean. When you play it back, make sure you occasionally smile. Look at your body posture, are you open? Or do you keep your arms crossed over your chest? Listen carefully to your voice… Is it pleasant? Or does it sound like you’re taking on the DMV?
2.) The ability to use the English language is critical. When a candidate says “Me and so and so…” I finish up the interview quickly and give that person the “Thanks, we’ll be in touch” speech. When a person doesn’t use proper grammar, it sends a signal to the interviewer that the candidate isn’t professional. So how do you fix your language skills if they are subpar? The web has tons of self-help sites. Just do a search for “Improve your grammar skills.” I bet there’s even an app for that!
3.) Before I hire someone, I like to test their written communication skills via email. Lots of times those perfect resumes are proofread and fixed by someone else. My favorite test is to have the candidate attach something to that email, such as a references list. When they send it over, I’m looking for a properly written email that followed my directions to the letter. This is a way to test a job candidate’s ability to read, understand and follow directions. I also want to see “Dear Ms. Brothers: Attached is the list of references you requested. Sincerely, Jane Doe.” not “Hey, here’s that list u wanted.” I want an employee that can be counted on to be professional. I bet lots of other people do too!
4.) Turn off your cellphone in the parking lot. I know it sounds obvious, but candidates are often using their cell phones in the waiting area. It’s not the fact that they use their phones that is the issue, but think about what that does to their posture. Head down, shoulders slumped, what kind of impression does that leave on a potential employer? Turning your phone off also prevents interruptions. If you leave it on vibrate, and it buzzes through your whole interview, is that employer going to assume you’ll be dedicated to you position or is he or she going to think you have a whole lot of drama in your life?
5.) Let me round this out with a discussion about Social Media. It sort of falls more in a mass communications category rather than an interpersonal one, but before you even think of applying for a job, do a quick search on your name. We used to call this “Ego-Surfing” but now it’s more of an essential. Find out everything there is out there on the web about you and make sure there isn’t anything that can be construed as unprofessional. You’ll be amazed at how savvy employers are at summing up a candidate just from an internet search. Make sure your results paint a professional picture.
I welcome constructive comments and other tips for job searchers and students alike - a rousing discussion is good for the brain! Let me know what you think about the article, or any ideas for future articles. Make sure you subscribe to the Mildred Elley blog to stay up-to-date on future articles!