Resume Writing: A Great Example

Posted in Career Advice, Uncategorized

I work with a lot of college graduates and graduate students who looking for their first real jobs.  I am frequently asked about the need for a resume vs. curriculum vitae (CV).  Generally speaking, persons in technical fields with advanced degrees ought to only be concerned with CVs (a resume is too short to adequately represent scholastic, research and  technical achievements).  That said, a resume will suffice for 2-and 4-year college grads seeking employment whether inside or outside of their chosen careers.

Over the course of my career, I have reviewed thousands of CVs and resumes.  While I will admit I have seen more CVs than resumes (I am a scientist after all), I recently came across a resume that was excellent and can serve as a resume template (see below) for recent college grads!.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The resume writer used action verbs, great descriptive adjectives and clearly demonstrated his/her qualifications an easy-to-understand and concise manner. Hiring managers love this because they can rapidly determine whether or not a job applicant is a good technical fit for an advertised position.

Resumes that are constructed like this one will likely get to the next level whether that is a phone interview or even an on site one-on-one opportunity.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

Some Troubling Unemployment Statistics

Posted in BioEducation

By now, most people have heard that the average national unemployment rate has fallen from close to 9.0% to 8.6%—the lowest in almost three years. While this may be cause for celebration, a closer inspection of other statistical findings is necessary to get a real picture of American unemployment (notwithstanding the fact that unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanics are in double digits).

The source of these revealing stats was an article by Phyllis Korkki published in the New York Times this past New Year’s Day entitled “The Year of the Multitaskers’ Revenge” According to Ms. Korkki, while the overall unemployment rate is 8.6%, the jobless rate for persons who earned a college degree is 4.4% while the rate for those with a high school diploma is 8.8%. The unemployment rate for those individuals who did not graduate from high school is a staggering 13.2%. However, a more troubling statistic offered by Ms. Korkki is that less than 30% of United States population of 25 years or older has a bachelors or higher degree. To make matters worse, 30% of jobless Americans have been unemployed for a year or more.

Ms. Korrki contends that large groups of American will continue to be unemployed or underemployed unless more training and educational opportunities become available to the public. Further she asserts that if the long term unemployed do not get some government help than this groups risks falling so far behind that it will never be able to catch up.

Most analysts predict that unemployment rates in the US will remain high for five years or more. Like Korkki, I believe that the only way to reduce unemployment among non-college graduates is to fund programs that are designed to retrain workers for jobs in emerging technologies. Further, bringing manufacturing jobs from overseas back to the US will also help!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!

 

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall: Which Recent College Graduates Have the Highest Unemployment Rates of All?

Posted in BioEducation

It is no secret that recent college graduates are having a tough time finding work. However, not all college majors are created equal and the unemployment rates among different disciplines are likely to vary. To answer this question, a group of researchers at the Georgetown Center on Education and Workforce analyzed employment data for recent college graduates from an in-depth US census study entitled the American Community Survey conducted in 2009 and 2010. In the study, recent college grades were defined as workers (with college degrees of course) between ages 22 and 26.

The results of the study are shown in the graph below.

The data clearly show that among recent college grads, those who studied architecture have the highest unemployment rate at 13.9%. This finding was not that surprisingly given that the collapse of the housing and construction markets were mainly responsible for the ongoing recession that began in 2007. 

Unemployment rates were lowest among college graduates with training in education and healthcare. Again, these results are not that start. Again, these results were not startling because the US population continues to age (healthcare-related jobs) and the number of school-aged children skyrocketed in the past 20 years (education jobs).

Interestingly, the unemployment rate among engineering graduate, 7.4% is relatively high despite the fact that HR and employment experts contend that there is a shortage of engineers in the US.

Finally, unemployment rates among graduates with art degrees and those who possess degrees in the humanities and liberal art are still very high at 11.1% and 9.4% respectively. That said, maybe getting that MS or PhD degree in the life sciences was not such a bad idea after all!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Some Sobering Statistics About Today's Job Market

Posted in Career Advice

I mistakenly received the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) rather than the NY Times today and while I think that the WSJ is a great example of unabashedly biased journalism, there was an article in the publication about today’s job market that contained some interesting statistics.

The article entitled “Gloom Widespread As College Grads Face New Math” offered the following:

  • Unemployment among college graduates is 4.2% vs. 9.7% for high school grads
  • Eighty percent of recently-polled white male college grads believe the economy is heading in the wrong direction
  • Wages for employees with four-year college degrees fell 8.6% between 2000 and 2010
  • The unemployment rate for recent college graduates is 10.7% as compared with an overall unemployment rate of approximately 9.1%
  • More than 14% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 (ca. 5.9 million) are living with their parent and nearly 25% of them have college degrees

These are pretty sobering facts about the job market in the one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Is it any wonder why the Occupy Wall Street movement is gaining traction among American college age youths?   As recommended by the article’s author it may be time for Americans to follow the advice of the actor Peter Finch (Howard Beale) in the satirical 1976 movie Network

"I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs… And go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!"

If you truly feel like doing this maybe you ought to find your way down to the Occupy Wall Street protest!!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!

 

How Online Courses Can Help You Secure a Job

Posted in Career Advice

The job market is rough, and many in the field of science, whether they are a chemist or a biologist, are having difficulty obtaining a position. Unless you want a low-paying tech or lab position there isn’t much currently available, especially if you don’t have an advanced degree. However, many recent college graduates are beginning to find that taking a few online courses can greatly increase their odds of being hired.

For years, online colleges carried poor reputations, but that stigma is rapidly fading. As current professionals are having to obtain additional education on limited schedules, and the internet as a source of knowledge is becoming more trusted, a degree obtained from an accredited online college is now viewed by much of the population as being just as viable as one received from a traditional university.

Employers no longer scowl at online degrees either. In fact, many are beginning to believe that those who obtain degrees online, or those who simply add to their education by taking a few courses, may actually be more valuable than traditionally educated individuals. Seeking additional education online may actually make you more enticing as a job applicant because managing your own education says multiple things about your character.

The Educational Benefit

The main reason why anyone seeks out additional education is to obtain the skill set they need to succeed. By taking online courses you will gain more knowledge of your industry which will make you a more appealing candidate for employers. You will have a more well-rounded understanding of your field, and by taking the classes may secure the additional education needed to look better than another deserving candidate.

The Personal Benefit

Struggling to find a job is no easy task, and at times it can be really rough on your self esteem. By pursuing additional education, you are able to achieve personal goals, and gain greater confidence in your knowledge and abilities. Having both of these attributes will make employers more likely to hire you. Plus, taking the additional courses will keep your mind fresh and will also keep your occupied and focus during your down time.

The Professional Benefit

From an employer’s perspective, those who are willing to manage their education on their own are self-starters. They are motivated individuals who now how to set goals and obtain them. Online classes aren’t like typical on-campus classes, and require students to remain focused on the tasks at hand. There is no one there to remind them of due dates and constant assignments. Employers know this, and know that anyone capable of getting good grades or a degree from an online university is a driven and organized person, which is what many employers are looking for.

The job market it tough, but your college degree isn’t to blame for your lack of employment. Thousands of people have lost their jobs or are struggling to find position all over the United States, and the poor economy isn’t helping. The fact of the matter is that the lacking economy has made it hard for anyone to find a job whether they are a biologist like you or a math teacher.

However, all hope is not lost. There are still plenty of well paying positions in the biological field, and you can still find one in one of the various public and private firms that are still hiring. Just keep in mind that there are hundreds of others seeking the same position you are. To get ahead you simply have to be more competitive and make yourself more enticing to employers, and increasing your knowledge by taking online college courses may be the first step in the right direction. 

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!

Why American College Grads Cannot Compete With the Rest of the World

Posted in BioEducation

For the past two decade or so, government officials, business executives and many education “thought leaders” have publicly lamented the deteriorating quality of the American educational system. While K-12 educators and administrators have unduly taken much of the heat for our educational shortcomings, the real problem may lie with the quality of undergraduate education in America. To wit, while a growing percentage of  American high school students are attending college, many of today’s college graduates today are noticeable deficient in communication skills and, perhaps more importantly, in their problem solving abilities. And, unfortunately, this troubling trend is beginning to takes its toll in life sciences graduate programs where a growing number of life sciences PhDs are great technicians but fail miserably as independent science investigators. This is because colleges and university administrators and faculty members are driven more by financial considerations as compared with their obligations as teachers, educators and mentors. Put simply, despite their non-profit status, many colleges and universities act like “for profit” companies where, in many cases, financial gains are more important than the products that they produce! 

With this in mind, Richard Arum, a professor of sociology and education at New York University and Josipa Roksa an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia detail the decline of the American undergraduate education experience in a book entitled “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.”  While I have read the book, I did read an extremely revealing and troubling article that the authors penned in this past Sunday’s New Times Opinion section entitled “Your So-Called Education.” 

In the articles, Arum and Roksa describe their findings from a four-year long study in which they followed the progress of several thousand students in more than two dozen diverse colleges and universities. Students were evaluated by taking the Collegiate Learning Assessment test (an officially recognized academic assessment tool). Based on their research a whopping 45 percent of students after two years and 36 percent after four years showed no improvement in learning. Their conclusions:

“Large numbers of the students were making their way through college with minimal exposure to rigorous coursework, only a modest investment of effort and little or no meaningful improvement in skills like writing and reasoning.”

In the past, high school teachers and even the students themselves would have been blamed for their pitiful lack of academic progress. However, Arum and Roksa contend that the problems do not lie not with the students but with college presidents, administrators and in many cases faculty members. For example, the authors note that:

“While some colleges are starved for resources, for many others it’s not for lack of money. Even at those colleges where for the past several decades tuition has far outpaced the rate of inflation, students are taught by fewer full-time tenured faculty members while being looked after by a greatly expanded number of counselors who serve an array of social and personal needs. At the same time, many schools are investing in deluxe dormitory rooms, elaborate student centers and expensive gyms. Simply put: academic investments are a lower priority.”

Perhaps even more troubling the authors contend that:

“The authority of educators has diminished, and students are increasingly thought of, by themselves and their colleges, as “clients” or “consumers.” When 18-year-olds are emboldened to see themselves in this manner, many look for ways to attain an educational credential effortlessly and comfortably. And they are catered to accordingly. The customer is always right.”

Finally, a change in federal student loan legislation has contributed to the problem:

“The funds from Pell Grants and subsidized loans, by being assigned to students to spend on academic institutions they have chosen rather than being packaged as institutional grants for colleges to dispense, have empowered students — for good but also for ill. And expanded privacy protections have created obstacles for colleges in providing information on student performance to parents, undercutting a traditional check on student lassitude.”

Although the authors provide a couple of “self help” ideas to begin to address the problem, in my opinion, the only effective solution is to place higher academic standards and demands on undergraduate students and a greater premium on learning as compared with student convenience and satisfaction. Like it or not, the notion that the “customer is always right” should have no place at institutions of higher learning.  Finally, college and university administrators must seriously reconsider what the REAL mission of their institutions is: to place learning ahead of financial gain.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!

 

Twitter As An Educational Tool?

Posted in BioEducation

Twitter was largely ignored by college-age students after it was introduced over three years ago. At that time, Facebook was on the rise and texting appeared to be sufficient to meet the needs of much college students. Nevertheless, over the past year or so, university researchers have begun to assess Twitter as an education tool in addition to the role it has played in shaping today’s social media usage. 

According to a recent study published in the Computer Assisted Learning, Twitter can apparently bolster student interest and engagement and grade-point average. The study followed 125 undergraduate health studies majors at a public mid-sized US university. Half of the students used Twitter whereas the other half (control) group did not. The results of the study showed that Twitter users had an average GPA half a point higher than their non-tweeting counterparts. Also, the tweeting cohort more frequently participated in class and sought out their professors to discuss course material outside of class. 

Tweeters mentioned that Twitter was a less intimidating means to express themselves in large classes. In other words, Twitter was a less anxiety ridden means to ask questions during lecture. And, perhaps more importantly, Twitter users had much greater access to instructors outside of class. Also, instructors we able to send out tweets during lectures to keep their students engaged and awake! After all, who doesn’t look at their cell phones when they are vibrating and buzzing?

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Tweeting  

 

Why American Math and Science Education is Failing

Posted in BioEducation

Sunday marks the beginning of “American Education Week”, the observance which was started back in 1921. It was created by the National Education Association (NEA) and other groups because 25% of World War I draftees were illiterate.

While a lot has change in the US since 1921 and the literacy rate has drastically improved, the quality of the American education system, especially in math and science, continues to be suspect and in many instances is failing its citizens. Much of this failure is rooted in skyrocketing college tuition costs which prevents many Americans access to an adequate post secondary education. 

Most politicians contend that education costs are too high and spending on education must be capped. However a quick look at some facts (provided by an article in USA Today written by its founder Al Neuharth) paints a much different picture

  • Families are spending an average of $64 billion annually to send 13.9 million students to public colleges and universities
  • For the past 10 years, the US has spent $1.1 trillion per year on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; an annual average of more than $110 billion

As Mr. Neuharth aptly points out: $64 billion annually for higher education versus $110 billion per year for wars!

Is it any wonder that American students continue to lag in science and math preparedness as compared with much smaller countries where higher education is free or heavily subsidized by their respective governments? Think about this the next time you hear politicians and conservative talk show hosts about America’s dwindling competitiveness in math and science.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!

 

Facebook 101 for College Students: How to Successfully Manage the Behemoth

Posted in Social Media

I have tried to steer clear of the Facebook frenzy mainly because I don’t like the platform (it is too unwieldy) and frankly, pretty boring. I would be lying if I said I don’t have several accounts and regularly use it to advertise some of my own entrepreneurial ventures. After all, how can 500,000 million users be wrong? 

However, with the release of the movie The Social Network and Mark Zuckerberg’s recent foray into saving Newark, NJ and secondary education, it is getting difficult to avoid entering the fracas (not to mention that it is good for SEO).

While the popularity of Facebook continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly difficult for new and even long time users for figure out how to successfully use the platform. To overcome the difficulties and complexities of Facebook, the folks over at CollegeCrunch.org posted an article to help college students (and others) makes Facebook “less annoying” to use. 

I find this extremely ironic, since college students were the first Facebook users and mainly responsible for its meteoric rise in social media circles! 

10 Ways to Make Facebook Less Annoying 

While Facebook has grown and evolved a whole lot from when it first was created, it seems as though it also seems to be losing some popularity. People who have had Facebook for years have noticed the drastic changes and numerous page layouts and defaults that have changed Facebook in recent years. The following changes could help Facebook turn around its image and be a little less annoying:

1. Friend requests procedure
Unless you have some major privacy settings set on your account, it’s fairly easy for anyone you know- or don’t know for that matter, to send you a friend request on Facebook. The problem arises when you don’t know or care to be friends with that person and you ignore their request. You can then be bombarded by repeated attempts which can be annoying and creepy. Making it impossible for someone to send you a friend request once you have denied them, would make the Facebook procedure a lot less annoying. 

2. College students only
When Facebook first started, only college students and staff were able to join and create profiles. Facebook required you to have some type of university administered email that had to be verified before users could join. Now that just anyone can join, it allows all sorts of people you don’t want to be friends with send you friend requests. When you start getting friend requests from your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and then people you don’t even know you begin to wish Facebook went back to just letting university students and staff in on the network.

3. Limit status updates
Everyone has someone on their Facebook that updates their status and informs you of every step along the way in their day. Not only can documenting their day on Facebook become extremely annoying, it’s also an open door for other people to know where you are and what you are doing. We don’t really need to know who’s eating what and with whom, who’s fighting with their significant other and how drunk someone is, it’s best to limit the amount of times a person could update their status a day- it would be a lot less annoying and probably stop a lot of people from yelling at their computer screens or phones. 

4. Eliminate Farmville
While Farmville and other games on Facebook seem to have plenty of followers, the people that don’t play these games shouldn’t have to be subjected to constantly view their progress in the game. A group has even been started on Facebook that invites discussion and provides info for those that hate games entitled "I don’t care about your farm, or your fish, or your park, or your mafia!!!" That group alone has over 6 million members, and is a sign that the elimination of that game and many others would make a lot of people on Facebook less annoyed. 

5. The layout wasn’t changed so often
If you’ve been a user with Facebook over the last several years you’ll know that the layout is changed quite frequently. It seems as though just as you are getting used to the current layout, it is changed again and you are left wondering how to navigate through things and don’t know where to find certain settings, applications, and general things on your home page or profile. Plenty of Facebook users find this extremely annoying, as sometimes it takes days to figure out and get used to the new layout, for it only to be changed and relearned in a couple of months.

6. Easier and more understandable privacy and account settings
It seems that anytime you are trying to customize or change privacy or account settings, its not very easy to navigate through. It would help a great deal if the privacy settings were clear enough to where you do not have to individually manage settings and type in every single person’s name in your blocked or not blocked lists. It seems as though anytime you want to change something in your privacy settings, it’s going to take a while, and that can be very annoying.

7. Categorize picture tagging
As if picture tagging wasn’t a chore in itself, the fact pictures can not be tagged in separate groups can be very annoying. Since most of us on Facebook like to limit our profiles from certain friends, coworkers, or family members, it’s kind of annoying that you can’t also group and tag your photos in some way so that they can be under different categories. That would save a lot of time and frustration when uploading and tagging pictures.

8. Block applications, event invitations, etc.
We’ve all been all that point when our notifications are nothing but event invitations, invitations to join a certain cause, or to join a certain group. If you are one of the ones that finds this annoying, you can modify your settings so that you don’t receive a notification whenever you receive one. It would probably just be less annoying to be able to block all invitations in general, because even if you modify your notifications, the events and invitations will still show up on your home page.

9. Don’t accept just anyone
While some people feel bad denying friend requests with people they don’t know or would just not rather catch up with, being choosy with who you decide to accept as a friend is pretty important. Accepting someone just because you don’t want to feel bad or don’t want them to keep requesting you is going to annoy you more when you can’t stand to see their walls, status updates, and photo albums. So, keep it easier on yourself and don’t accept people you’d rather not having anything to do with.

10. Delete your account
If you really are at the breaking point with Facebook and find yourself so annoyed with it all the time, there are two options. You can either limit the amount of times you login per week so that you dont have to be bothered and annoyed by people’s pictures, updates, and wall posts, or you can delete your account all together and never worry about Facebook annoying you again.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Following!!!!!!!