The one tip to remember for academic and career planning success is:

Are you having trouble remembering all the different strategies for doing well in school and developing a successful career plan? Too many tips to keep track of? If you’re looking for one golden rule to remember, here it is:


1. Meet with your academic advisor…EARLY! Be aware of priority advising dates for the fall (Sept/Oct) and spring (February/March). Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule an appointment with your advisor. If you do, you’ll have limited meeting time options to choose from. Arrive EARLY for the advising appointment. Otherwise, you won’t have time to address all of your questions.

2. Register for classes…EARLY! You’re not the only one who needs that math course, English course, computer course or humanities elective this semester. Other students are also trying to coordinate class schedules with work schedules. Waiting until the last minute only ensures that classes you need or particular class times you want will be full.

3. Decide which program you want to pursue…EARLY! Research CPCC’s academic programs that interest you. Learn about the programs’ course requirements, competitiveness, desired GPA, necessary exams, etc. Narrowing your focus saves you stress and lets you focus on your studies. You’ll also save money by not taking classes that end up being unnecessary in the end.

4. Focus your career goal…EARLY! If you’re tired of family and friends asking about your career plans, take time to figure them out. Career planning doesn’t happen overnight. Researching career paths that compliment your personality, interests and skills takes time. A career counselor can help navigate this process. The sooner you get started, the more time you have to make a meaningful decision.

5. Develop a resume…EARLY! Yes, even recent high school graduates should have a resume. It’s a living document that you build as you gain more experience and develop new skills. Don’t wait until your graduating year, when you’re doing a job search, to start a resume. At that point, your resume should only need fine-tuning.

6. Research job opportunities and companies in your area…EARLY! Do you know what the regional job market is like for the field you’re pursuing? What companies are hiring? Learning this information earlier makes your job search easier. Resources like Career Coach and CFNC can help.

7. Start using LinkedIn…EARLY! LinkedIn is Facebook for professionals. But here’s the catch; don’t wait until you’re a professional to start using LinkedIn. This will be a go-to job search resource, but it won’t be helpful if your LinkedIn profile isn’t properly completed and you haven’t begun establishing contacts or joining industry-related groups.

8. Prepare for interviews…EARLY! Know what to expect in an interview, from the questions you can expect to the questions you should ask. Career Services offers fantastic interview prep materials, from mock interviewing to in-print and online resources.

9. Show up for the interview…EARLY! But not too early! Arriving 15 minutes prior to your interview is appropriate. Showing up an hour early is rude. If you’re late and you don’t call or offer an explanation, the employer doesn’t have to conduct the interview. And if they do, it’s likely out of courtesy – a job offer isn’t likely.

10. Send a thank you note or email after the interview…EARLY!  Within 48 hours is best. The interview is fresh in your mind and the employer – who is anticipating receiving a thank you note– will still remember you.




7 job search tips you can learn from the World Cup

  Even if you’re not a soccer fan, you’re likely aware of the sport’s major event currently taking place in Brazil. The World Cup captivates billions of futbol fans across the globe. It’s estimated  that one out of three people worldwide will be enjoying the matches over the next month.

In the spirit of the world’s game taking center stage, did you know there are seven career and job search tips you can learn from the World Cup?

1. Back up your stats. Being qualified on paper only goes so far. Spain was heavily favored to repeat as World Cup champions this year. Yet, they were eliminated in the first round of play. England’s roster consistently sports talented players, but they haven’t won a World Cup since 1966.

When you’re job searching, a solid resume highlighting your skills gets your foot in the door. But job offers are made based on how well you interview to convey your qualifications for the job.

2. Start preparing early. The World Cup takes place every four years. Yet national teams start preparing for the next event mere months after the current matches end. Finding the right career path and implementing a successful job search take time. Don’t wait until the weeks before – or after – graduation to prepare.

3. Know that others can help you.  Teams advance out of the first round of World Cup play based not only on their own success but how other teams in their group do. Fans find themselves rooting for one country to help their own. In job searching, networking is the way others help you in your career development. Just like in World Cup play, relying on others is a strategy you can’t ignore.

4. Use many tools to create a winning strategy. Job seekers can’t rely solely on one job search tool to get a job. It’s like a soccer team relying completely on their goalkeeper to win the game. Job boards like employmeNC provide great job leads, but you also need to incorporate other resources like networking, on campus recruiting and job fairs.

5. Develop a parallel career plan. When one of the US team’s essential players – Jozy Altidore – was injured in their first game, the coach immediately substituted a player and implemented a plan. If internal or external circumstances prevent you from reaching your first career goal, what other options are you considering and what do you need to do to achieve them?

6. Remember that luck plays a part. Some World Cup teams have an easier time advancing into the next round literally thanks to the luck of the draw. You control many elements of your job search. But luck is a factor. Being in the right place at the right time, being the more qualified candidate, etc. Someday this will be you.

7. Believe that with hard work, dreams come true. John Brooks, a backup player for the US team, literally dreamed two nights before the first game that he scored the winning goal. Brooks entered the game when starter Matt Besler was injured. His dream from the night before came true when his goal led the US team to victory. Half the battle of job searching is believing you can do it.

Academic advisors can save you money (plus 8 other finance tips college students should know)

  It’s interesting that financial planner is a job title, because everyone should know how to be one. College students are no exception. In fact, as tuition costs rise and the cost of living increases, college students need to be financial savvy now more than ever. Here are 10 tips to get you started.

1. Create a tight budget and stick to it. Debit cards let people spend money more freely without thinking about where it comes from, where it’s going, or how much they’re spending. Establishing a budget helps you know how much money you’re spending in a month and where the money is being spent. Smartphone apps or software programs can help you get started.  

2. Meet with an academic advisor when selecting courses. Yes, it could save you money. Advisors know about course requirements, course sequences and course availabilities. It’s their job. If you self-schedule, you might register– and pay- for courses you don’t need. That’s money down the drain.

3. Don’t wait until the last minute to register for courses.  Know when the next semester’s registration begins and plan accordingly. If you wait until the last minute, you run the risk of a course being filled that you may have to take during an additional semester. That’s additional money that you wouldn’t have had to spend if you had registered early.

4. Focus your academic and career goals sooner rather than later. The sooner you select your academic program and solidify your career goals, the sooner you’re on track to graduation and employment. Having a plan helps you avoid taking unnecessary courses.

5. Search for scholarships. In addition to merit- based/academic and need-based/financial scholarships, you can obtain scholarships based on criteria such as geographic location, gender, culture, ethnicity and other factors. Resources like CFNC, and Federal Student Aid are just three of many online resources. Be sure to check with local churches and community organizations.

6. Avoid spending “a few bucks” each week. If you eat lunch out two times each week, you could spend an average of $320 per semester. Pack a lunch instead.

7. Put money-sucking hobbies on hold. Coffee shops. Shoe shopping. Going to the movies. Everyone has interests that cost money (some more than others). While in school, reduce or eliminate leisure activities that cost money. Instead of weekly outings to the movies, make it a special once-a-month event.

8. Use credit cards sparingly. Credit cards can actually help your finances- when used sparingly and correctly. Using credit cards wisely (paying them off in full, staying within your credit limit) actually helps improve your credit score. A credit score is used to determine many financial transactions, such as purchasing a car or house. Using credit cards incorrectly (not making payments, carrying too much debt, opening multiple credit cards) hurts your credit score and your financial future. Use credit cards for emergencies only.

9/ Start a savings account. You don’t need to deposit huge amounts at one time. Five or ten dollars per week is a great start. The key is not touching it. Open an account that doesn’t have a debit card attached to it. If you have to make a trip to the bank to withdraw money, you’re less likely to do it.

Financial planning is a learned skill. Too many college students think the learning takes place after earning the degree. Not true. To pave your way to financial stability, the learning should start now.




You’re hired! 11 tips for acting professional on the job

  You made it. You’re no longer a job seeker, you’re a new employee. Interviews are over, a job was offered and accepted and you start work on Monday. The show’s over, so you can kick back and relax the professional behavior just a bit.

Not so fast.

You obviously made a good impression during the interview process. Here are 11 ways you can back up the hiring decision.

 1. Behave professionally. There’s a difference between being fun and being disruptive. You know the employee who spends more time in coworker’s offices, constantly talking off-topic and telling stories and   jokes and rarely getting any work done? Don’t be that employee.

 2. Dress appropriately. Ask about the office dress code and comply accordingly. This includes guidelines for facial hair, jewelry, shoes or other accessories.

 3. Keep your work space professional. Artwork on the wall or family photos are fine as long as they aren’t abundant. But you can’t expect coworkers to take you seriously if your cubicle or office resembles a high school locker. If you aren’t sure of guidelines for office décor, ask.

4. Be on time. If your day starts at 9:00 am, plan to arrive by 8:45. Conversely, don’t repeatedly sneak out the door 15 minutes before your work day ends.

5. Don’t gossip. There’s a difference between getting to know your coworkers and talking about them. Learning an office’s work history is one thing; getting the dirt about what goes on is another.

6. Maintain a good performance record. Reasons that people are let go from a job can include frequent absences, missed deadlines, customer or coworker complaints or unprofessional behavior. Don’t make it easy for an employer to let you go.

7. Limit personal phone calls, emails and text messages. You might need to take or make personal calls at work. Everyone does. But texting friends throughout the day or spending a great deal of time on the phone aren’t appropriate.

8. Learn to take criticism. All employees have areas of improvement. Your supervisor’s role is to help your career development, which includes recognizing what skills you can improve on. Don’t take the feedback personally. Learn from it.

9. Do your job well. Whatever your duties and responsibilities, do them to the best of your ability. If you don’t know how to do something, ask for help, rather than making excuses for why you didn’t do it.

10. Treat everyone with respect. The administrative assistant deserves just as much respect as the director. Smile and say hello to coworkers no matter what their job title is.

11. Offer new employees guidance. When you’re an established staff member don’t forget what it felt like to be the newbie. Pay it forward when a new employee is welcomed to the group.

Most would agree that job searching is tough. Just remember that after you’re hired you can’t let your professionalism slide, or you’ll be back to the job search sooner than you wanted to be.