Ways to help the Earth while job searching


Did you know that Earth Day began in 1970? Did you also know there are simple ways to help the earth while doing your job search?

4 ways to help the planet while job searching

Volunteer. Employers embrace applicants who have volunteer experience listed on their resume. Additionally, volunteering gives you the opportunity to meet with people working in a variety of industries, providing the chance to network. Look for volunteer opportunities with an environmental focus.

Reduce the amount of paper you use. From virtual to-do lists to electronic storage services like Dropbox, there are plenty of ways to keep your job search organized without sacrificing trees. Your smartphone offers lots of job search apps to make the process eco-friendly. Business cards are still handy for job searches so why not consider the digitized version? Whenever paper is necessary, select the recycled kind.

Search for suits with sustainability in mind. Your work wardrobe doesn’t have to be 100% new to be 100% effective. Search thrift and consignment shops for gently used clothing options. Another option? Shop online. Studies show that shopping online may reduce energy consumption by 35%.

Add some green to your home/work space. Give your job search space – whether it’s a home office, living room or bedroom – a green makeover. Use a power strip for all of your hardware, making it easy to power on and off with the flip of a switch. Power down the computer when you’re done working for the day. Add some indoor plants to the setting that absorb indoor air pollution and increase the oxygen flow in your work space.

4 ways to help the planet every day

Ditch the plastic. Almost 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year worldwide and 90% ends up in landfills rather than being properly recycled. From shopping with reusable bags to avoiding buying plastic water bottles by the case, where could you make a difference?

Say no to junk mail. 28 million gallons of water are used each year to produce and recycle junk mail. These unwanted mailbox advertisements can be reduced and eliminated.

Reduce your Ecological Footprint. The Ecological Footprint is a tool that measures how much of Earth’s resources you use to maintain your current living practices. Take the Ecological Footprint quiz to see how earth-friendly you really are and see what changes you could make.

Toss the e-waste properly. E-waste is any garbage that contains electronic devices (cell phones, laptops, televisions, etc.). When you simply throw them away with the rest of your trash, they end up in landfills and their hazardous materials (lead, mercury and cadmium) seep into the ground or are burned into the atmosphere. Find an E-waste recycling center near you and dispose of these items safely.




7 reasons why job search success is never guaranteed

Your career“I want to study the academic program or major that guarantees a job with a good salary after graduation.” This is a common request career counselors repeatedly hear from students.

There’s just one problem: Job search success is never guaranteed, regardless of what you study. Here are seven reasons why.

“Hot jobs” come and go. Yes, STEM is all the talk right now, and health care jobs usually make the Top 10 list of opportunities. But what’s always constant about the world of work is how often it changes. In 2008, job titles such as cloud specialist, digital marketing and app developer didn’t even exist.

The job market differs from city to city. Geography can impact your job search. The job market for dental hygienists is different in Charlotte compared to Chapel Hill. The salary is slightly different, too. Studying Simulation and Game Development is key if you want to work as a video game designer. But more opportunities exist in California and New York than they do in North Carolina just by nature of the industry.

Interests affect abilities. If you don’t enjoy an area of study, your ability to succeed in it can be limited.  Before you decide to work in a STEM-related industry, it’s important to know what STEM stands for (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Next, you have to decide if you actually enjoy any of those disciplines.

Abilities affects employ-ability. If you’re struggling in your classes, you may struggle in your job. Companies who hire welders look for candidates who can safely and effectively do the job. A candidate who has difficulties with class assignments may be overlooked.

Success in academics doesn’t guarantee success in the job search. During the job search, if you can’t connect with employers and impress them you will not receive a job offer, no matter how solid your academics are.  Job search steps include writing a standout resume and cover letter, networking, knowing what jobs to search for (and where to find them) and presenting yourself well in a job interview.

Lifetime careers are a thing of the past. It’s rare to retire with the first company that hires you. It’s even unusual to retire in the first career path you choose. Most people change career paths as their interests, skills and roles change.

Not all careers are connected to one particular major or academic program. You might be surprised at all of the career options graduates of different four-year college majors and associate degree programs pursue.


Avoid these 13 job search mistakes

Every job search is different. Not all industries use the same hiring methods. But job search guidelines exist that everyone should follow, regardless of where, when and how they’re applying for jobs.

Below you’ll find 13 mistakes that people often make in a job search. You’ll increase your success chances by avoidingto do list these common errors.

Only using online job boards. Not all job openings are posted online. Include other job search techniques like networking and career fairs.

Believing that networking isn’t necessary. Some industries post online job opportunities more than others. But talking to people is still the primary way people learn of employment options.

Having resume typos. Review your resume forwards and backwards and have another person look it over. Don’t rely on spellcheck.

Not sending a cover letter. Cover letters take additional time to write but it’s worth it. If you’re asked to send a cover letter you should follow directions and do so.

Not researching who to send the cover letter to. Avoid addressing a cover letter or email “To Whom It May Concern.” If you know the company name, find the phone number and call. Ask the person who you should send your cover letter to (give the job title or reference number if provided).

Failing to complete application steps. Employers will provide step-by-step instructions for applying to a job opening. Follow them.

Forgetting to tell your references that they are your references. You need to ask your references if they are okay with this role. If they say yes, let them know when you have submitted their contact information so that a phone call from an employer doesn’t surprise them.

Showing up late to an interview. Allow enough time to arrive at your interview 15 minutes early. Traffic, car problems and illness happen – call the employer as soon as possible if you will be unable to attend the interview. Explain the circumstances and politely ask to reschedule.

Not practicing for an interview. When it comes to answering interview questions, don’t “wing it.” Practice commonly asked questions ahead of time. Employs expect you to do this.

Answering “no” when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. Employers also expect you to have questions to ask them. If you don’t they assume you’re unprepared or uninterested.

Forgetting to send a thank you note after the interview. Send a thank you email within 48 hours to each person who interviewed you. If the other candidate sends a thank you note and you don’t, guess who probably gets the job offer.

Not responding to requests for a second interview. An employer may have second interviews with candidates. If you’re contacted for a second interview be sure to reply.

Letting an employer know if you decide not to accept a job offer. When an employer offers you a job, you’ll be given time to review the offer and think about it. You’ll call to accept the job offer, but don’t forget to call if you choose not to accept. An email is also appropriate.


Get ready for EmployUP!

It’s just over one month away, taking place March 3, 2016 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

It will be held at the Grady Cole Center, adjacent to the CPCC Central Campus.

“It” is EmployUP, the largest hiring event of the year for CPCC students, alumni and community members.

Previously known as the CPCC Career Fair, EmployUP aims to connect job seekers with Charlotte/regional businesses and organizations that are actively hiring. But this is not your typical CPCC Career Fair.  Check out what you can look forward to at this year’s event:

  • Employers hiring for full-time job opportunities: Over 50 companies are attending this year’s event. All of them are hiring for full-time positions.
  • Companies targeting A.A.S. programs: Attending companies are hiring students and graduates specifically from CPCC’s A.A.S. programs.
  • Networking opportunities for undergraduate and transfer students: Undergraduate students and students who plan to transfer to four-year institutions can meet and network with regional employers who you might be working for someday.
  • Free professional photos: CPCC students and alumni can have their professional headshot taken to be used on LinkedIn, your online portfolio or professional website.

Take time before EmployUP to prepare for the event. Over the next month plan to:

Check back to the Career Services blog each week from now until EmployUP for detailed tips on how to make this event a successful job search strategy. Stay tuned to Career Services on Facebook and Twitter for more up-to-date information. Check out the Career Services Pinterest page for helpful boards that include details about attending companies as well as resume, interviewing and professional wardrobe ideas. Bookmark the Career Services homepage for helpful information, too.

It’s time. Get ready for #EmployUP16!

15 Career “To Dos” to accomplishment over winter break

You’ve worked hard this semester and winter break is within sight. It’s obviously a time to regroup and relax before gearing up the spring semester’s arrival.

The semester break is also a great time to accomplish some items that might be – or should be – on your “career to do” list. Find some time before returning to school in January to check these items off your list.

Volunteer. In the spirit of the giving season take a day to give back to your community. The personal fulfillment is an eye opener. Additionally volunteering serves well in the job search.

Practice an answer to the question “Can you tell me about yourself?” This is the opening question at practically every job interview, career fair interaction, informational meeting and so many other career-related interactions. A well-crafted elevator speech can help you get started.

Explore career information sites. Now’s the time to research those career and academic major websites you’ve wanted to visit but didn’t have the time to because of class work.

Complete an informational interview. Talk to someone working in a career path that’s of interest to you. Ask questions to help you better understand the nature of the job.

Shadow someone in a profession of interest. In addition to talking to someone in your profession of interest, why not spend a few hours in their shoes?

Check out job postings in your career field. Whether you’re just exploring career fields or soon to be entering your chosen profession, start browsing job openings to know what employers are seeking in their new hires.  

Begin or polish your resume. The Career Services Career Guide can help. Email your resume draft to Career Services in January or schedule a resume appointment to receive feedback.  

Write a sample cover letter. Job seekers understandably focus on perfecting the resume, but you can’t forget about the cover letter. Check out the Career Guide’s guidelines and cover letter samples.   

Identify your professional weaknesses – and ways to improve them. No one is perfect. Employers will ask you what areas of improvement you have and what you’re doing to improve them.

Do some soul searching about your academic and career plans. Are your original career and academic goals still in line with your current interests and skills?

Clean up your social media sites. Make sure your online presence is one that you’d feel comfortable with potential employers and future coworkers seeing.  

Create or update your LinkedIn account.  LinkedIn is the #1 professional social media site. Not having an account means you’re missing out on prime networking and career activities related to your industry.

Set up an EmploymeNC account. This is the online job board and career resource for CPCC students and alumni. Take time to establish your account now so you can actively start using it during the spring semester.

Establish your reference list. Who will serve as your references in your upcoming job search? Assemble a list of 3-4 professional people now who will help you sell your skills to employers.  

Begin building your professional wardrobe (including accessories). Take advantage of post-holiday sales to start purchasing clothing and accessories you’ll need for your interviews and role as the new hire.  





What is career readiness and do you possess it?

Many college students believe that the college degree is their key to career success. It’s the knowledge gained in the classroom that makes them the qualified candidate for the job.

This is true…somewhat.

Yes, understanding concepts and topics specific to your chosen profession is important. But preparing for the world of work involves much more than earning a degree, certificate or diploma. The National Association of Colleges and Employers has outlined what makes a college student ready to successfully transition from college to career. Check out the seven skills below and determine your career readiness. Ask yourself how you measure against other graduates and job seekers. What are things you could do to improve the skills you currently lack?

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving: Employers want new hires who can receive information and use it to solve problems. They hire candidates capable of examining ideas and interpreting facts and data to make decisions.

Oral/Written Communications: All industries require solid communication skills. Being able to clearly and concisely share information through writing (emails, memos, documents), public speaking (talking in front of a group) and interpersonal communication (one-to-one or small group meetings) is essential.   

Teamwork: Can you successfully function within a team? Can you manage conflict? Are you able to work with people of diverse cultures, races, religions and viewpoints? Your individual contributions are important, but companies function in teams.

Technology: Computer skills are used in every job setting. It’s the type of computer work and amount that varies.

Leadership: Are you able to lead others either by being in charge or setting a good example of a strong work ethic? Can you prioritize and organize your responsibilities? Do people look to you as someone who can motivate them to be involved?

Professionalism: The employee who is always late to work or doesn’t submit projects on time won’t be an employee for long. Neither will the employee who refuses to understand the importance and effect of professional conduct in a work setting, from the way you talk to the way you visually present yourself.

Career Management: Students who are ready to join the world of work after college know how they want to contribute and what they’re capable of doing. Thus, they know what jobs to look for and how to apply.  During the job interview, a solid candidate can discuss their strengths, skills and experiences in relation to the job opening.  

Look for ways you can improve skills, from taking a computer course (technology) or public speaking class (oral communications) to visiting Career Services (career management, professionalism).


9 tips for a successful online job search

Searching for jobs online will be a component of your job search. As printed materials dwindle, so do classified sections. When employers post job openings they do so on the company website or an online job board. If you aren’t comfortable doing an online job search, it’s time to become familiar with the concept.

Here are nine elements to a successful online job search.

Create a professional resume. Technology may have updated the job search resources, but a solid, professional resume is still essential to your job search. Follow the tips and samples listed in the Career Services Career Guide.

Know your search criteria ahead of time. What’s your salary range? What geographic location are you targeting? Are you looking for full-time, part-time or contract work? Answers to these questions help narrow your search.

Use keywords in your search. When looking through online sites, use keywords and phrases from your industry. Doing so helps narrow the search.

Use different keywords in different searches. Changing one keyword could mean the difference between seeing a job posting or not. If you search for jobs with the word “mechanic,” you may not connect with a posting that uses the phrase “auto technician.”

Look for sites that update listings frequently. If a site only updates jobs monthly, you could miss out on opportunities the weeks in between.

Find out the site’s privacy policy. Some sites may sell members’ information to advertisers which at the very least increases the spam in your inbox. There are plenty of sites out there that you can stay clear of ones like this.

Watch for fees. Avoid sites that require payment to register. Some sites offer free basic services but charge a fee for advanced features. Research the features to find out if the cost is worth it.

Look for targeted job boards. Employers may post jobs on websites targeted to their specific audience. Targets could include industry-specific, college-specific or other demographics.

Don’t focus your job search to online resources only. While technology has made it easier to browse a variety of websites, online job searching should only be a small part of your job search. Networking is still the number one job searching resource; face-to-face communications remains a critical component of a successful job search.

Announcing Career Services Central Campus Drop-In Lab

Wednesdays and Thursdays, Central High Room 332

  • Search online job sites
  • Complete online applications
  • Write a resume and cover letter
  • Receive resume feedback and get answers to job search questions from an on-site career counselor

Tips for completing a job application

When applying for a job, you may be asked to complete a paper or online job application. This is a standard form that summarizes your work history, eligibility and education. You’ll likely complete a job application when applying for part-time jobs.

Listed below are typical sections you might see on a job application, along with tips for providing the information. It’s helpful to have everything gathered in a document beforehand (dates of employment, contact information, salary, etc.) so you’ll have it easily available when completing your application.

Personal information – Full name, address, phone number/email, felony convictions

  • Provide your complete name.
  • Don’t forget apartment numbers, city/state and zip code.
  • Provide a professional/appropriate email address and make sure the voice mail message for your listed phone number is appropriate.
  • If you have a felony conviction you must say so. You’ll have space to list the nature of the conviction. Consider writing “will discuss at interview” in the box. Another option is to attach a document to the application that briefly and clearly explains the facts of the conviction and focuses on your positive qualifications for the job.

Job information – Position you’re applying for, work availability, salary requirements.

  • List the specific job you’re applying for.
  • Be honest about your availability. If you can’t work weekends, don’t check “yes.”
  • Research salary ranges for the position to which you’re applying so your stated requirements won’t be too low or too high.

Education – Name/location of schools attended, degree/diploma, graduation date

  • Start with the most recent school, including those you’re currently attending.
  • List “Diploma” for high school section (or GED).
  • State the type of degree(s) you are pursuing or have earned (AAS, AS/AA, BA/BS, etc.)
  • Include month and year of completed and pending graduation dates.

Employment History – Company contact information, supervisor’s name, dates of employment, salary, reason for leaving

  • Even if the company no longer exists, provide as much contact information as you can (former location for example).
  • Include the month and year for your dates of employment.
  • List your hourly wage or annual salary.
  • Be honest about your reason for leaving. If there were extenuating circumstances, write “See attached” in the space provided and attach a document that briefly explains the reason.

References – Contact information of at least three people who can serve as an employment reference

  • Locate references ahead of time and confirm their willingness to serve as your reference.
  • Use professional references only, not family members.

Some final tips before completing and submitting your job application:

  • Use a black or blue pen for paper applications (not pencil or other colored pens).
  • Write clearly and legibly. Proofread for errors. Consider using correction fluid (Wite-Out) to paint over mistakes on a paper application. If there are numerous mistakes, ask for or download a new form.
  • Type any documents of explanation that you plan to attach to the application.
  • Be honest about all information you submit on the application. With background checks and interviews, any hidden truths will eventually surface.
  • Submit a resume with your application. It shows a level of professionalism that employers appreciate.






EmploymeNC: 7 reasons it’s your #1 job search site

When looking for job opportunities, you can’t rely on job boards alone. Job searching requires a multi-strategy approach. Your list of resources should also include networking, career expos and social media.

But for CPCC students and alumni who are using online job boards, EmploymeNC should be your go-to site because it’s more than just a job board. Here are seven reasons why you should bookmark EmploymeNC.

It’s only for CPCC students and alumni. The only way to access EmploymeNC is by using your CPCC login and password information. This cuts down the competition of others applying for the available jobs. It also means that employers posting jobs are actively looking for CPCC candidates.

Hundreds of full-time and part-time jobs are updated weekly. On average over 500 full-time and part-time job openings are featured on EmploymeNC each week. Employers regularly contact Career Services with job opportunities they want you to know about and all are directed to post their jobs on EmploymeNC.

Ability to save your job searches makes the process easier. When it comes to online job boards, having to apply to jobs one at a time gets frustrating. With EmploymeNC you avoid this hassle. Save your jobs of interest in a folder and apply to them all at once. Additionally, there’s no need to search the same types of jobs multiple times. After entering your keywords, select to have new job postings emailed to you that fit this same criteria.

Resume writing software. Creating a resume isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Career Services recommends that you create a resume from scratch that targets your specific career interests and best markets your skills and background. If you haven’t written a resume before, EmploymeNC offers a resume writing software called Resume Creator to help you get started. Unlike other resume templates, Resume Creator has templates designed by career services professionals that present your qualifications in a solid standard resume format.     

Free resume critique from a career services professional. Career Services wants you to put your best application forward; therefore, a career counselor automatically reviews each resume you upload into EmploymeNC. If there are any errors on your resume or opportunities to better market your background, you’ll receive an email with your resume attached that highlights the edit suggestions.   

Access to a Career Resource Library. EmployeNC’s Resource Library is filled with valuable career information about resumes, cover letters, interviewing and much more.  

Calendar of career events. Learn about upcoming recruiting events and Career Services programs. Check the box in your profile section to receive emails from Career Services about events as well.

EmploymeNC is a simple, effective online job board to use. Check out the video “Using EmploymeNC” that shows you how to upload your resume and search for jobs and highlights all of its features.  Get started today!



Spring graduates still job searching? Ask yourself these questions.

If you graduated in May and are still job hunting, you’re probably understandably frustrated with the process. Remember, job searching takes time. Although graduation day may seem a distant memory, the average job search can take months.

But it might be time to evaluate your tools and strategies, looking for changes that could lead to better results. Ask yourself the following questions as they relate to your job search to date.

Are you finding jobs to apply to? If you feel there are a limited number of available positions, examine ways to expand the list.

  • Expand your geographic region if possible.
  • Use multiple job search tools (online job boards, career fairs, social media, networking).
  • Search for different types of jobs. Your education and work experience may qualify you for positions you haven’t explored.

Do you receive calls for interviews? If the answer is no, your resume or application might not be effectively conveying your qualifications for the job.

  • Develop a targeted resume for each position you apply to.
  • Make sure your resume doesn’t have typos or grammar errors.
  • Use standard resume writing guidelines to produce a clean, concise document.
  • Submit a cover letter that effectively explains your interest in and qualifications for the position.

Are you getting interviews but no job offers? The good news is that your resume is getting noticed and employers are calling you for interviews. But if most or all of the interviews don’t lead to job offers, it’s time to examine how you’re presenting yourself in the interviews.

  • Practice answers to commonly asked interview questions.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Review the practice of Behavioral Interviewing, a common interviewing method used by many recruiters.
  • Ask the employer appropriate questions.
  • Send a thank-you email or note within 48 hours of your interview.

Can Career Services help? Yes! Career Services offers job search assistance to alumni.

  • Check out the Resources section of our website for many helpful online tools. View videos that offer tips on writing resumes, interviewing and more.  Use our online Career Guide that contains lots of helpful information about resumes, interviews and job search tools.
  • Visit Career Coach for regional-based job information. Search by CPCC degree or job titles to learn about the local job market for industries and view job openings in the area.
  • Use EmploymeNC, our online job posting and career information board that targets CPCC students and alumni. View hundreds of job postings.
  • Email your resume to Career Services to receive feedback or schedule a resume appointment with a career counselor at any CPCC campus.
  • Schedule a mock interview to receive interview tips from a career counselor.