Final Thoughts

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It's a Wrap!
I hope you have a better idea of who you are, what you need to be satisfied, the career planning process, how to achieve your goals, and how to be a successful applicant. We have introduced you to tools that you can use now and in the future such as StrengthsQuest, the personal statement / Interview Stream, research tools on the web, informational meetings, and more. You may want to copy/bookmark some of the links so you have them for future use.

There are resources at CSOM, including the Edge and the Undergraduate Business Career Center, to support you as you continue your career planning process that you started in this course. I hope you make use of them to your advantage. During fall semester there will be career fairs, informational sessions and career events offered and now that you know how to use The Edge and other resources, take full advantage of what is available to you. Don't try to do a career search on your own.

Another resource I challenge you to make use of, not with U of MN, is If you have not heard of it before you need to get familiar with it. It is considered a social networking site for professionals, similar to facebook but MUCH more valuable than facebook. It is used by individuals for professional networking and job search and used by employers and recruiters to source candidates. My clients are finding it very valuable. Students are using it to find people in companies of interest to network with and find companies that fit their qualifications. Set up a site and connect with me! It is very easy. Let me know if you have questions on it.

Make sure that you have thanked the person who took time to meet with you for your informational meeting. Also, keep in contact with them and follow-up on the recommendations of contacts and ideas. They may end up to be very useful to you in the future.

April and I are in the process of grading all assignments. Check your grade book. Let me know if questions on any homework.

Please take a few minutes to complete the course post-test. Your feedback will be used to help us look at learning outcomes and what needs to be changed. This is the first semester for the online version of this class so we value your feedback. If you want, email me with ideas of what course content was valuable and what wasn't for you. Also I want to know technical issues that you encountered due to your circumstances and what we could do to overcome it.

I've enjoyed getting to know you through your discussions, journals, emails and phone/in-person conversations. Feel free to contact me or the Undergraduate Business Career Center should you have questions in the future relating to your career direction. I will be in the Graduate Business Career Center in Hanson Hall on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays if you want to stop by and meet in person.

Have a great rest of the summer and fall and...

Best of luck in all your future endeavors!


Introduction to Week 7

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Introduction to Week 7
I hope you found it interesting reading about the future trends in the business world. Remember, those are the author's ideas of what he thinks will happen. You need to look at what you see going on and make your own judgments. There will always be unforeseen events that will occur that change the predicted trends. This shows how you cannot plan your entire career now but need to be open to the changes in the environment. You just need to get your start and go from there.
Some of you talked about the changes in what an employee looks like and what the workplace is. An example of that is my own career. In the last year or so my career has evolved into what is called a "Portfolio Career". I hold several different roles with different companies which come together for a full-time position. I really did not plan it but it just came together. As the demand for career transition services decreased, my own coaching business became busier and other opportunities came my way. I have my own career coaching practice, contract with a career transition firm as they need my skills, develop/teach this course, teach another online course with UMN-College of Biological Sciences and recently started part-time as a career coach with the Carlson - Graduate Business Career Center during their busier times. With some of the positions I go to an office to do the work and often sometimes I work out of my home or, if I want energy from others, I will go to a coffee shop. Sometimes I go abit crazy keeping it all straight but it works for me. One of my values is maintaining the independence and flexibility which the situation gives me.

I added the multitasking article in Week 6 since I want you guys think about the pros and cons of it. With all the electronic distractions we are doing it more and more. I know many of you watch TV while on facebook, texting, doing homework and talking to friends. Can you give your homework the attention it needs? Does your friend feel like you are really interested in what they are saying when you don't give them your complete attention? Often when I read a student's paper and I see sentences that end in the middle of a thought or that do not make sense I assume they were not focusing on the task. We all need to do some multi-tasking but there are times when we need to focus our attention on one item.

Never send a resume without a cover letter, even if you just talked to the individual. If you email it you would attach both the resume and cover letter as separate attachments. In the email message you will just have a short couple sentences referencing the attachments and mentioning what position you are applying for.

The Action Plan is for you to take what you have learned over the past 7 weeks to the next step. Analyze the assessment results, including the StrengthsQuest, the careers and companies you researched, what you learned in your informational meeting, etc, etc. We also talked about your personal brand. What do you want employers to know about you? Pull it all together to create measurable SMART goals

Have a great week and, as usual, let me know if questions.

- Nancy

Introduction to Week 6

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Introduction to Week 6
I don't know about you but this class has really gone fast. Only 2 more weeks left. I hope through the informational meetings, careers and company research assignments you are getting a better idea of what position and company will fit you. Think of what will fit your interests, values, strengths and who you are. What environment will appreciate you for who you are so you don't need to conform to fit to their expectations?

Some of you may have a low grade for an assignment or an assignment not turned in. You may redo the assignments to achieve a satisfactory grade. The weekly agendas and the "Assignment Point Distribution" are very clear about assignment expectations. Remember that you need to achieve 84% of the course points or you will need to retake the class.
The goal of the resume assignment is that you will have a final draft by the end of this class to use with employers that will reflect you and your background / skills most effectively. Developing a resume is a process and typically takes a few iterations to get a good final version. Your resume is often your first impression with employers so it really needs to be hot! You should strive to achieve 30 points so it is the best that it can be. I have been supporting mid and upper level employees with their resumes for over 15 years so have reviewed many resume over the years.

I hope that you found the informational meeting to be very helpful in gathering a personal perspective in your area of interest. Some of you have commented that you were surprised that your contacts were not working in the area that they got their degree in. That is very common. I was at a conference a few years ago and the speaker asked how many in the audience of about 100 were doing what they had planed to do when they were in college. Only one person raised their hand. Did you know that most people change careers 4-7 times during their working life? I am actually in my 3rd career. Most people don't have a direct straight line to their career they end up doing but they figure it out along the way. We will be grading the informational meetings this week.

This week we will look at future trends and interviews. As entrepreneurs, business owners and career-oriented individuals we need to be looking out for what is going on around us. If we have our heads in the sand then our areas of expertise may become obsolete and not even see it coming. Think of Block Buster Video who have been essentiallyreplaced by the advent of Netflix and The Red Box; Bookstores, like Border's, who did not create a eBook as Barnes & Noble did (the Nook) and couldn't compete with online book sales. As individuals in the business world we need to do the same thing. Keep our eyes and ears open to changes around us and consider how they will effect our career direction. That goes back to John Krumboltz's idea of "planned happenstance." We need to plan but be open to unforeseen changes that come up around us. As "The Shift Happens" video talks about, the position you may have after college may not have even been invented now. Even right now with the economy as it is, there are areas that are really growing and areas that are doing very poorly. We can not leave it up to our companies and managers to look out for our careers. What is best for the company we are in may not be best for us. We need to take control for our own future direction.

On the UBCC site there are many interviewing resources including the ability to do a mock interview on campus. It is very important to spend some time preparing for an interview so you come across polished and the best "you" that you can be. Prepare answers to questions they may ask, questions you will ask, and list of what you want them to know about you. Many people say that by the time you go in for the interview, they know whether your technical skills are a fit or not. They are looking to see if you can fit in with their team, can you be managed, and is your personality what they are looking for. As you did with your resume, back-up what you say about yourself with facts, examples. You state the facts so they can make the opinions. The STAR interview response method is a great way to do that. The STAR Interview assignment should be a great way to prepare you for future interviews.

Again, let me know if you have any questions on any of the assignments or if you want to talk over any career-related concerns.

Introduction to Week 5

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Week 5 Introduction

I am finishing up the grading of the personal statements. I hope you guys are starting to use that to introduce yourselves. I assume you will refine and develop it as you become more comfortable with it. It should start to become more conversational and natural. Be careful of getting off track with background that is not important to your target audience. You are giving them information about yourself to get information that will be helpful for your career direction. You never know who they may know or what knowledge they may have that may be helpful for you.

I hope the career research you did on the positions of interest was helpful for you. If you explored positions that interested you, I suggest you seek people in that field to gain more knowledge of what that career is really like. Getting first hand knowledge of what the role is actually like is much more beneficial than reading about it. April and I will be grading those papers in the next week.

I have also begun looking at your resumes. It is so important that your resume emphasizes what you want employers to know about you, same idea as the personal statement. We will work in the next couple weeks so you have a usable final draft. Let me know if you have any specific questions on your resume as we work to improve it.

Just a reminder that I have not given you a grade for the "Plan for the Informational Meeting" until you let me know the scheduled date so I know you are continuing with the process. You may need to contact the person several times before you get a response. Also, call one or two other contacts in case the first is not able to meet within the timeline of the class. Let me know if you will need to turn in the report late due to their schedule issues. Make sure that you send a thank you soon after the meeting to your contact person. You should also check back with him/her every 6 months or so to let them know where you are at and basically to keep in touch. Make sure you follow-up with any names they suggested you contact. For this class you only need to do one informational meeting but I suggest you continue the networking process and meet with more professionals. You have stepped out of your comfort zone by meeting with one professional so keep it up!

Use this week to research companies that may be a fit with your interests, personality, values and career direction. I suggest you explore both large corporations and small/mid-size companies. Your personality may be a better fit for one or the other. The company industry will make a difference for you also. As you are exploring these companies think about where your fit is.

We are on the home stretch of the class, only 2 more weeks of the class left. Let me know as we go along if you have any questions regarding your career search.

- Nancy

Introduction to Week 4

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Review of Week 3
I hope you are starting to use your presentation talk to introduce yourself to others. The more you use it the easier it gets. Everything goes back to what your personal brand is, which includes your talk, your LinkedIn page, your resume and the summary on your resume. What are the key things you want others to know about you? You will also adapt it slightly depending on who you are talking to.

I have looked at all the plans for your informational meetings. It looks like you all have done a great job finding people who will be beneficial for you to talk to. If I have not given you a grade then you need to let me know when you have it scheduled. You may need to email/call your contact 2-3 times before they return your call. It is not that they are not interested in talking to you but they just have other pressing priorities. Let them know that you are really interested in talking to them and not that you are just fulfilling a requirement for a class. You also may want to contact other people in case your first choice doesn't come through. Remember the actual summary of the meeting is due end of Week 5, August 7th. I have opened the "Informational Meeting Report - dropbox" so you can start submitting the report if you have had your meeting. Don't forget to thank them and hopefully you will periodically keep in touch with your contact. It is much easier to contact someone you spoke to 6 months ago than someone you haven't talked to in 3 years.

Week 4
Hopefully, at this point you are getting a better idea of what you need in a position to be satisfied; Now you just need to figure out what positions will utilize your strengths, your values and who you are and that will be a plus to the position. Many of you have mentioned that you know what you want to do for a future position but I need you to keep your options open to explore 3 positions that may fit who you are. What is it that you want to know about a position? Working conditions, salary, job outlook, working environment, trends in the field, employment options, required experience or education, etc. We want you to explore these positions enough to know if it might be a good fit for you.

This week we will also start work on your resume. Before you start working on it though you need to consider what you focus is for your resume. It is not just a list of everything you have done in the past. This is a common mistake many people make. Since employers only spend about 10-20 seconds looking at your resume the first time it needs to be very easy to read and include only the pertinent information, only what is important to where you want to go. You will want to focus on any leadership experience you have had in the past, whether it is leading/training others or leading projects. What else have you done in the past that will support you in where you want to go? Focus on your accomplishments. You may get these from your work experience, volunteer work, sports or other activities you have been involved in, and/or classes you have taken. Use the resources you have in the readings and the UBCC for the resume development. I have been developing resumes for mid to upper-level professionals for over 15 years so we will work through it until you have a working resume you can use at job fairs, networking meetings and to apply for positions of interest. Keep in mind that too many people use their resume as a crutch. Don't depend on your resume to talk about your background for you, use it as a "leave behind". If you are in front of them they want to hear in your own words about your background. You need to be able to talk about your accomplishments as you did in Week 3.

No video this week.

- Nancy

Introduction Week 3

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Review of Week 2
I am continuing to read your journals and respond to your writings. Many of you mentioned that you are frustrated with not knowing what you want to do career-wise. That is very normal. Allow yourself to figure it out as you go along. John Krumboltz says you are undecided but open-minded. You do not need to figure out your whole career today but you just need to get your start. Figure it out as you go along. Did you know that people typically change careers 5-7 times in their lifetime? I am actually on my 3rd career. My background is I have an undergraduate degree in Special Education, I taught for a few years and found it did not give me what I needed to be satisfied. I was offered a position as an ophthalmic technician and after a year decided the medical world was not a fit not for me either. At that point I wanted to get into more the business world so I went back to get my MBA degree. Since then I have been in the training/career development field ever since in various capacities. When I find the current position is not satisfying for me I know it's time I need to make a change so it fits me. I am still making use of my teaching background but in a capacity that fulfills me. I am at a point where I really love what I do!

Week 3
Think back to how you have found your positions that you have held in the past - I would assume that majority of them were found through your contacts, people you know who knew you were looking for a new position or that you let them know you were looking. That is how majority of people find their positions; about 80 - 90 %. Most jobs are not found via Monster and the hundreds of other job posting sites. Make use of those unplanned happenstance opportunities by letting others know who you are. Think of it as you are giving them information to gain information. You never know who you come across who may be a business owner or manager in a company that interests you or who may know someone who can help you.

This week you will create a 2-minute talk to discuss your background / direction at job/career fairs and with professionals and others you come across. This is to answer the question, "What are you looking for?", "What are you doing?' or "what's new?" Typically, it is even shorter than 2 minutes. You include only what is important. Start out with your general area and then more specific information. I have included some great articles to support you in this assignment.

The other assignment for this week is getting your informational interview scheduled with someone in your field of interest. Many students find this very intimidating but very helpful. Much more informative than just reading about what a position is all about. It is very important that you start "putting yourself out there" for job leads, direction and guidance. Use your 2-minute talk to introduce yourself to the person you would like to meet with. Try to meet with your contact in-person rather than on the phone. You want to establish a long-term contact with this person, hard to do over the phone. Let me know if you are having problems finding a contact in your field of interest and I will see if I can help you in this process. The alumni contacts on The Edge would be a VERY last resort basis.

I encourage you to sign up for and explore "LinkedIn" for contacts in companies. Then connect to me if you want!

Keep in mind all assignments for week are due next Sunday, July 24th. No discussions this week. I will open up both parts of the Informational meeting (see week 5 for the actual report from your meeting). To clarify, the plan for your meeting is due end of this week and the actual report from your meeting is due end of week 5.

- Nancy

Introduction to Week 2

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Review of Week 1
I hope you enjoyed reading and thinking about how "chance" can impact your life. Not everything in you life can be planned or scripted. The idea is to be open to opportunities as they become available. Please read the comments I made to your first journal entry since that is the way I can support you in your career development. Continue to explore "the Edge" since we will use it again for later assignments and as you pursue "life after college".

Introduction to Week 2
In Week 2, you will explore who you are and what you need to be satisfied in a position. You will have an opportunity to think about your interests, strengths, personality and values. You need to make sure that you incorporate what is really important to you, who you are, in your career direction. Hopefully, the assessments this week will help you think about what will best fit who you are. This week assignments should help you develop your own personal brand, or what is it that you want others to know about you. We will talk more about this next week.

Our values are what guide us in our decision making throughout life. An example of someone not getting their values met in their position was a Project Manager I worked with recently. She worked for a company, Alliant Techsystems, who manufactures weapons for the military. She was very unhappy in her position not because she didn't enjoy the work but because the products she was involved in did not fit in with her values. She did not believe in the products that she was involved in. She transitioned to an environmental company where she did very similar work but the products fit her values that were important to her. After she made this change she reported that she was very happy in her new position.

You will also take the StrengthsFinder and choice of other assessments. See agenda for detailed instructions. When taking any of the assessments make sure that you have some quite uninterrupted time without the distraction of other people, tv, facebook, cell phone, texts, internet browsing, etc, etc. Focus on the assessment so you can really think about who you are. Go with your first gut feel and don't think about each question too much. Keep in mind is that the assessments are not similar to telling your fortune. You need to take the assessments with a grain of salt. You need to confirm that the results are actually true for you. Ask someone close to you who knows you well before you rule out the results as not true for you. I hope you will find the assessments interesting.

Looking Ahead to Week 3
As listed on the syllabus, you need find a professional in your area of interest to sit down with and conduct an informational meeting. One of the assignments in week 3 is to have your plan for the meeting set including a person and date scheduled. I'm giving you a heads up so you can start working on this. The actual follow-up report from the meeting is due in week 5. This assignment is usually very stressful for students but they also report that after they do it that it was VERY beneficial for them. By talking to people in your field of interest is the best way to find out what it is really like. It is important to start getting used to interacting with professionals and push yourself to get out of your comfort zone. You need to allow yourself to be uncomfortable to be able to grow and develop.

Again, assignments and readings can be found in the Agenda for Week 2.
Have a great week!


Introduction to Week 1

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Welcome to University of MN, welcome to Carlson School of Business, and welcome to Career Skills for Business Management. I'm Nancy Fraasch and I am very excited to be teaching this course. I look forward to getting to know each of you this summer through your writings. This is the first time this class is being taught completely online and I have enjoyed creating it for you over the last few months. This course will support you with search strategies, resources and knowledge about yourself and the world around you to be able to intelligently create your career direction that hopefully fits who you are.

About Me
A little background about myself. I have been in the Career Management field for about 20 years. I was a special education teacher before getting my Master's of Business Administrative (MBA) degree. Besides teaching career development courses for the University of Minnesota, I also have a career coaching company where I support individuals with their career direction and strategy. I have a background with an international career transition firm supporting individuals who have been laid off from companies. In my roles I support individuals in assessment (figuring out who they are and what career direction may give them what they need to be satisfied), networking, resume development, search strategy, interviewing and negotiation.

Our Course
Our Moodle site is our classroom where we will be interacting with one another. For this type of learning environment to work, it is important for everyone to fully participate in all online course activities and to keep up with the posted deadlines. We will use class discussions to discuss ideas and thoughts with others in the class. We will also make use of online journals that are shared with only myself and April, our TA. All the readings, assignments and other necessary information for the week will be outlined in the weekly agenda. I will use this introduction blog for almost like a mini class room lecture to emphasis important ideas.
Since this course is only over 7 weeks it moves rather rapidly so it is important that you keep up with the class. Keep in mind that the UMN guideline is that students put in 3 hours weekly (over a 14 week semester) for a one credit class so some weeks I expect you may put in more than 3 hours.

Please read the syllabus and "Assignment Point Distribution" on top of course site. You will be expected to complete all assignments in Week 1 including pre-test, weekly readings, The Edge assignment, journal, and discussion. This week you be asked to introduce yourself to the class. This will lay the groundwork for future interactions with each other. I expect all discussions to be open, thoughtful, respectful, and on-topic. Write your main discussion post by THURSDAY so you and the rest of the class have time to read and reply to 3 other students' posts before SUNDAY BY MIDNIGHT. If you are late, points will be docked and you will miss out on the discussion. I believe that you not only learn from the instructor, the readings and exercises but also from each other. I do read your discussion posts but very rarely add my input, because I really want you to be in charge of the discussions.
This week, you will also be writing your first journal entry. The journal is a conversation between just you and me. You'll be assigned a topic based on what we are covering in class. For my part, I will read your journal and send you feedback, which will be visible to you in the assignment and as a list of comments in the grade book.

Week 2 will be open by Sunday AM of the second week of class. Each Monday morning we will move on to a new topic. In week 2, you will examine who you are including your strengths, interests and what's important to you. You will learn how to introduce yourself to professionals and conduct an informational meeting with someone in your field of interest. We will research companies and careers that may satisfy you as a profession. We will create a final draft of a resume to use and a sample cover letter. You'll also learn about setting goals, and seizing opportunities. Finally, you will learn how to research careers of your interests.

You'll find this course to be very different from your other courses. This course asks that you take time to think about yourself, your future and how you can best set yourself up for success. The course is mostly about YOU. I hope you will use what you already know and what you will learn about yourself during this course, think deeply about your goals, really open your mind to exploring career opportunities, and discover valuable resources that will help you succeed.

Feel free to contact me anytime for any questions or concerns you may have. If you have general questions that may interest the class you may post them to the general Q & A. Read through the syllabus this week. It describes what I expect of you, what you can expect from me, and how we will communicate with each other.
I will release course materials throughout the semester similar to an in-person course. Participation in online discussions is vital to this class because you have much to learn from each other.

Please check the course web site on a regular basis, at least 3 times per week. New weeks' materials and messages from me will appear by Sunday nights. During the week, I will be reading your work and posting feedback /announcements to the website.
This is a class that you get out of it, what you put into it. Don't do the assignments for me but do them for you, your future. I believe this class is the least important for your degree but could be the most important for your future. My goal for you is to get a much better idea of what you need to be satisfied in a position, which careers may give that to you and how to get there. I wish you success in that mission!

- Nancy