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Recent Stories From Our Blog
16 May 2013 - 8:37 pm
What does your online presence tell potential employers about you?
Did you know that employers are using sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to learn more about their candidates applying for jobs?
According to a recent Microsoft survey, nearly 80 percent of employers research job applicants on the Internet. When asked why employers use social networks to research candidates, 65 percent said they do it to see if the job seeker presents himself or herself professionally.
Is your online image professional? If not, your online profile could hurt your chances for getting hired. In a recent Forbes article, employers said they chose not to hire someone because of evidence of drinking and/or drug use on his or her social profiles. Other reasons they decided not to offer the job: the candidate’s profile displayed poor communication skills, he or she bad-mouthed previous employers, made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion, or lied about qualifications.
In order to keep your online personality from hurting your chances at gainful employment now or in the future, you need to follow three simple tips.
For more information about career coaching contact your Ivy Bridge College success coach or the IBC career consultant.
10 May 2013 - 7:05 pm
Last weekend was a weekend that I will not forget. I had the pleasure of participating in the 125th Commencement of Tiffin University with numerous Ivy Bridge College graduates. It was the first time that I got to meet in person some of our amazing students (now alumni).
I enjoyed visiting with our students and their family and friends and talking about their college adventures – their accomplishments, challenges and future opportunities. I left Tiffin feeling energized because our students consistently astound me with all that they accomplish while attending college online.
The events of last weekend caused me to reminisce about my own undergraduate graduation. For me that was 22 years ago (oh, my!). I remember having feelings of great accomplishment! Neither of my parents graduated from college so they too had a great deal of pride that day. I remember feeling excited about my future, but honestly I was also probably feeling more scared. It was a time to launch my career, but as I think back to those days I recall I had very little knowledge about how to get started in my field.
Over the last 22 years I’ve been blessed to learn a great deal about this important subject. Today I want to share with you three important tips – things I wish I had known when I graduated from college. They are designed to give graduates a foundation to begin their quest for a successful professional career path.
1. Embrace lifelong learning
Thinking back, I can honestly say I was a good college student. I got good grades and enjoyed learning – especially in the classes related to my major. BUT, during senior year I came down with a mild – well maybe a major – case of “senioritis.” The thought of continuing my education after graduation did not at all initially appeal to me. I remember my advisor saying, “You should consider graduate school.” He mentioned that this would open more career options for me and allow me to advance in the field of education. He was right.
Earning a college degree is a huge accomplishment! I challenge you to continue. Keep striving to learn more – more about your field, your industry, yourself and the professional workplace. Find ways to advance your education. Earn a bachelor’s degree, maybe even a master’s, a certificate or simply attend training classes or professional development workshops in your field.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” - WB Yates
2. Find a mentor in your field
A mentor is a professional adviser who agrees to provide expertise to mentees in order to help them build and succeed in their career by developing their skill set and experience. Mentors also help newbies connect to other professionals in the field. In my early years in higher education I had some awesome mentors. They were like professional friends who gave me advice and coaching on subjects that where often not discussed in the classroom or in work meetings.
Seek a mentor in your network. Start small with someone you might already know – maybe a former boss, friend of your family or community leader. Mentoring can start with simple meetings. If at all possible try to meet in person, but in the busy world we live in this might be hard. If you have a relationship with someone far away you can still have a successful relationship over the phone, through email or maybe even through Skype. (Give it a try – it’s free!)
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” - John C. Crosby
Volunteering can help you develop or refine specific skills in anticipation of a job search. Volunteer experiences are great places to enhance skills with computers, organization, writing, leadership, problem solving, project planning, office administration and much more. Some volunteering opportunities provide extensive training programs that can really enhance your knowledge base of your career field. I took advantage of several volunteer opportunities while I was in college. One volunteer program my senior year led me to choose my career path in education. When you get involved in volunteer work you get the chance to meet new people and really grow your network. These contacts can serve as great resources for job leads, career advice and mentoring.
I suggest starting with your local community. Follow your passion. Volunteer opportunities are everywhere. Some good web sites to look at for volunteer opportunities include www.volunteerMarch.org, www.Idealist.org, and www.SERVEnet.org.
“Volunteering can be an exciting, growing, enjoyable experience. It is truly gratifying to serve a cause, practice one's ideals, work with people, solve problems, see benefits, and know one had a hand in them.” - Harriet Naylor
College graduates are often filled with many emotions. I know it’s not easy to know what you want to be when you grow up and even more challenging is getting started. But don’t sit on the sidelines too long. Get in the game! Keep learning, find a mentor and volunteer.
There is an old saying (one of my very favorites) most often attributed to Woody Allen that "90% of life is showing up." Allen's point is a good one. Show up – get involved! Your adventure continues.
For more strategies for career success contact your Success Coach or our Career Services Consultant.
7 May 2013 - 11:03 pm
Our mission at Ivy Bridge College is to provide you with a high-quality, affordable associate degree and a smooth pathway for you to transfer to a first-rate four-year institution. To help you on your way, Ivy Bridge has established transfer agreements with over 150 colleges and universities throughout the U.S., and here on The Bridge blog we’ve been highlighting these partners to help you get to know them better. This month we’re featuring CityU of Seattle.
If you're interested in learning more about any of our transfer partners, please schedule a meeting with your Ivy Bridge College success coach who can discuss next steps as you move forward with your educational and professional goals. Here’s to your future!
CityU of Seattle
From the beginning, CityU has been about giving real people the real tools they need to succeed in the real world. CityU believes in a practical education, where students learn from experienced professionals and the people who know what it takes to succeed in career marketplace. CityU is one of the Northwest's largest private nonprofit universities, with 45,000 graduates and counting.
Locations: CityU offers courses at a variety of campuses within Washington state, internationally, and online. International campuses include Canada, Mexico, Czech Republic, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, China, Vietnam, and Australia.
Environment: Ground campus courses, online platform, or a mix of both.
Schedule: Quarterly, 10-Week Sessions
Start dates: October 1 (Fall), January 1 (Winter), April 1 (Spring), July 1 (Summer)
Programs and majors:
BS Information Systems
BA Applied Psychology
BS Business Administration
BS Computer Systems
BS General Studies
BA Human Services
BA Education (Elementary)
BA Education (Special)
BA Early Childhood Education
If you're interested in a program not listed here, talk to your Ivy Bridge College success coach about other options at CityU that may be outside of the regular transfer agreement.
Transfer office contact:
Director of Admissions
Who are CityU students? Some students take the traditional go-to-college-get-a-degree-and-a-job route. Some don't. Continuing education means different things to different people, and CityU is open to your point of view. CityU was one of the nation's first to focus on the needs of working adults. They understand that you want more options, fewer hassles. That's why they offer flexible, self-directed programs that fit your life and how you want to learn. Work online, in a classroom, or a little of each.
Tuition and Financial Aid: CityU is a private, not-for-profit institution. The costs associated with the operation of the university and its academic programs are supported primarily by tuition and fee revenues. Tuition rates vary depending on your program.
Scholarships: CityU has a number of different scholarships, from need-based to merit-based.
Best known for: CityU is a convenient alternative to state and private schools.
School community: Students have a wealth of opportunities to become more involved in student life at CityU through student run organizations like Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE). SIFE brings together a diverse network of college students, academic professionals and industry leaders from around the world to focus on a shared mission of creating a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of free enterprise. You can also take advantage of the multitude of study abroad programs available and connect to all the happenings through the CityU Blog.
Alumni network: CityU hosts an amazing network of alumni who are eagerly involved in the community and continue to grow within their career. Their ever-growing alumni association boasts many benefits including career services, life-long learning, events, discounts and preferred partner opportunities.
To learn more about your transfer options with our 150+ four-year transfer partner schools or to get more information about transferring to CityU, contact your IBC success coach.
2 May 2013 - 11:07 pm
What could possibly be more intimidating than writing a resume? Writing a cover letter! At least that’s the way I felt when I prepped for my first big job hunt. I actually never knew that a cover letter was required for most (if not all) applications. Did you? But, it’s true! Today, a cover letter and resume go hand-in-hand. In fact, a cover letter can be an excellent addition to your resume, and help you sell yourself to potential employers in a way you never considered before.
But how do you write a powerful and persuasive cover letter? Well, the amazing Career Services Department at Ivy Bridge College has come up with some wonderful tips to help guide you through this process. Follow the guidelines below, and before you know it, you’ll be hitting the streets with a solid cover letter and a confident attitude to boot.
First, think about your cover letter in three distinct parts:
Each of these parts is vitally important to the overall structure and effectiveness of your cover letter.
A. Beginning – Use this part of your cover letter to grab your reader’s attention! Tell them a little bit about yourself and why you are writing to them. But, remember to leave them wanting more so you pique their interest and encourage them to read the rest of your letter.
B. Middle – The question this portion of your letter should answer is “Why should I hire you?” You can answer this question by matching your qualifications with the job requirements listed in what we call a “T-format.” Do your best to match your qualifications with those detailed out in the job description. Be careful not to copy these requirements word-for-word, but try to match them as closely as possible. Here’s an example of the T-format:
C. End – In this section, make sure you convey your interest in meeting with the organization to discuss the position in further detail. And finally, remember that your mother taught you it is always polite to say “Thank You.” So, don’t forget to thank the reader for their time and consideration.
In my opinion, one of the biggest things to remember when writing a cover letter is that it should be unique for each job you apply for. Many times, people will create one generic cover letter and send it out to countless postings. But all that really says to an employer is that they are just another job on your list, and you’re really not serious about their opportunity. Take the time to sculpt your cover letter to match the requirements of that specific job. In today’s economy, that personal touch could be the difference between a follow-up call or none at all.
If you’re still skeptical about the importance of a cover letter, consider the following. Each and every employer has their own preferences. Some employers will not even look at your resume if they are not impressed by your cover letter. Think about that. So much emphasis is put on the creation of your resume, and while the resume is extremely important, if not paired with a powerful cover letter, your chances at that job could go out the window. So, think about this possibility the next time you’re not feeling up to updating your cover letter. Is that 15 extra minutes of free time really worth not making it into the review pile?
Finally, there are a few final key items to keep in mind when putting together your cover letter:
With these tips in mind, writing a cover letter should be a cinch. But remember, if you would like any additional help, or would just like someone to look it over, your Success Coach is there to help you.
26 April 2013 - 12:11 am
Good news for criminal justice majors! Employment opportunities within the criminal justice system are projected to increase from 2013-2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Below we'll give you 9 tips on how to successfully compete for a job in the criminal justice field.
Your degree in criminal justice is not only valuable but versatile. With a criminal justice degree, you may find yourself working in state and local law enforcement, the federal government, corrections, forensics, courtrooms and law firms, education, nonprofit organizations, corporations and many other industries. Additionally, advanced technology and increasingly complex legal issues have led to specialized work in technology, computer security and intelligence.
Your associate degree from Ivy Bridge can help to prepare you for entry level opportunities in criminal justice, while a bachelor’s degree from one of our partner schools will give you the education to launch into more specialized fields.
In addition to your college degree, hiring managers in the criminal justice field look for a variety of skills, qualities, experiences and professional certifications. Take note of some of these important strategies to be sure you’re prepared to contend in a competitive job market!
For additional help with your job search or future plans please contact your Success Coach or the Ivy Bridge Career Services Consultant.
23 April 2013 - 7:55 pm
This week we’re not only talking about ending the term strong (GO FOR THE GOLD!), but preparing for next term. It is important to reflect on the successes and challenges of each term in order to prepare for the future.
I’ve been asking my students what they did well this term and we’ve been making a plan to continue doing it the next term. As they say: “Don’t fix what ain’t broken!” Many of my students vow to continue working 48 hours ahead. Several students used instructor feedback to continue improving themselves. Some were simply ecstatic to be able to turn in every assignment on time. Whatever the biggest success of the term is for you – keep doing it next term!
Every student has had a bad term. Sometimes life gets in the way of schooling. Instead of wallowing in the feeling of failure at the end of a difficult term, it’s best to look forward and make sure that the same challenges don’t stop future successes. Many students seek to improve their time management, study habits, or even the basic effort put into assignments. Reaching out to your support system for help in watching children, buying a planner to improve time management, or setting up your own study area could make a huge impact on your future grades. It is ineffective to make excuses for what went wrong this term – our time is better spent preparing to meet the same challenges in future terms, but with a plan to overcome them. As my father always said, “Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.”
No matter what the outcome of this term is, be sure to take the time to reflect on what steps you took to be successful or what steps you will take next term to be successful. The last week of a term is not just the end of a class, but the beginning of your preparation for your next class.
18 April 2013 - 8:01 pm
Oftentimes when we go to an interview we are focused on all the things we need to do. Sometimes it’s equally or more important to pay close attention to things we should NOT do. Avoid these 5 job interview no-no's to ensure you make the right impression.
1. Don’t be caught unprepared
Interview preparation is very important. First do your homework on the organization and job. The Internet is a great place to start. Look at the organization's home page, review the company mission statement, company history, products and services, management, as well as information about the company culture. The information is usually available in the “About Us” section of the site.
Knowing about the job will help you prepare a list of your qualifications so that you can show, point by point, why you are the best candidate. Additionally, ask co-workers, friends, and family about the organization, and about any personal contacts at the organization they might have. Prepare some questions before going to the interview, but be spontaneous enough to ask other questions as they occur to you in the interview. Also check the company's LinkedIn profile and Facebook page, if they have them.
2. Don’t bad-mouth a past employer
Your old boss was a jerk. The company was awful. You hated your last job. Might all be true – but the interview is no place to air your dirty laundry! Trash-talking makes you appear caddy, untrustworthy and even disloyal. It’s a small world – you never know if your interviewer might have a relationship with someone at your previous employer.
3. Don’t bring your cell phone
Simply put – leave the phone in your car! It is not appropriate to answer your cell phone or make calls during an interview. Leaving your phone in your car will eliminate the possibility of an embarrassing and unprofessional situation to develop which could cause you to lose the job altogether.
4. Don’t talk too much
The employer doesn't need or want to know your whole life story. Don’t overrun the conversation and don't ramble – simply answer the question. Keep your answers succinct, to-the-point and focused. Let the employer control the flow of the interview. If they want to know more they will ask.
5. Don’t dress too casually or inappropriately
You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. Our Dress for Success Guide can give you all the specifics. You want your dress to create an impression that can complement your credentials and give you an extra edge over the other applicants.
Dressing inappropriately can work both ways. You will certainly want to wear a suit if you are interviewing for a professional position, but when interviewing for a summer job at your local theme park or for a position as a lifeguard, for example, dress accordingly in neat and casual attire. If you aren't sure what to wear, visit the business and watch employees coming in and out of the building to see what they are wearing, or ask your contact at the organization about the dress code. Always remember these key words – neat, clean and conservative are best!
17 April 2013 - 7:26 pm
Ivy Bridge College has been named Best School for Adult Students by About.com’s 2013 Continuing Education Readers' Choice Awards. We are proud to accept this award and excited to share the news with the Ivy Bridge community!
What makes Ivy Bridge stand out as the best?
Our flexibility and convenience make Ivy Bridge a natural contender, but what really sets us apart are our support services that take into account the unique needs of adult students. At Ivy Bridge, 65% of our students are 21–40, and 22% are 41 or older. Whether it's only been a couple of years or it's been a decade or more, returning to school after a significant break and combining school responsibilties with those of family and work can present challenges that require extra support. Free career counseling and tutoring, a dedicated success coach, one-on-one interactions with instructors—these resources provide the support that many returning students find necessary as they navigate the path to college completion.
We are proud to be recognized for our contribution to the success of adult learners. Please join us in celebrating Ivy Bridge College as the Best School for Adult Students!
16 April 2013 - 6:17 pm
This week I’m advising students to be sure that they take some time for themselves. Even if it’s only twenty minutes in a bubble bath, going out for lunch, or taking the time to catch their favorite TV show. Excellent life balance is critical.
Being a star student, husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, worker, manager, professional is important, but constantly working hard with no breaks can lead to burn-out. Everybody should take the time to decompress, relax and remember that the most important role that we fill in life is ourselves.
Life balance is difficult for any college student. As a first generation college student, I was studying hard, working part time to afford school, attending class at scheduled times, and trying to have a social life while I was getting my bachelor’s degree. Many of our students are facing challenges that I never had to face – raising a family, working full time, advancing in their jobs, taking care of elderly family members, or all of the above. Luckily, here at Ivy Bridge College of Tiffin University we have a flexible class schedule that accommodates our students’ needs! I always advise students to work 48 hours ahead – just in case something happens. By being able to complete school work at your own pace, students have room in their schedule for life’s emergencies such as a sick child, power outages, or the next episode of Game of Thrones premiering.
My students have told me that they plan to catch episodes of Law and Order, spend time playing with their children, go see a movie, and window shop this weekend. These students truly understand the importance of taking time to relax in the midst of the flurry of assignments, discussions, and extreme knowledge gaining that is college life. So, this weekend (once you’re ahead in your classes) take some time for yourself doing whatever you enjoy. Come Monday, it’ll be time to hit the books again!
11 April 2013 - 11:30 pm
Jobs in the accounting field are expected to see a growth rate of 10 to 19 percent during the decade ending in 2020, according to O-Net Online. "For degreed individuals with experience and skills, there's a big demand for accounting talent," says Paul McDonald, a senior executive director at Robert Half International.
While unemployment hovers just below 8%, the jobless rate for many positions in accounting and technology ranges from 2% to 5%. Salaries in those fields are also projected to grow 3.7% in 2013, according to Robert Half's 2013 Salary Guides. Compare that to the 3% raises expected in the broader labor market.
So if you're eager to land a new job, achieve a promotion, or secure a raise, 2013 might be your best chance since 2007 to get ahead -- especially for accounting majors.
Here are some tips to improve your career outcomes in the accounting field.
For additional help with your job search or future plans please contact your Success Coach or the Ivy Bridge Career Services Consultant.