Archive for the “Career” Category


If you’re interested in working with non-profit, government or social enterprise organizations, then check out the newly launched Jobs for Change website started by Change.org.  The site allows you to search for the latest job opportunities in categories like Activism and Organizing, Communications, Graphic Design, Event Planning, Finance, Public Policy, and Marketing - and all at companies dedicated to public service.

Besides the latest job listings, Jobs for Change also give users the opportunity to get advice from college students, career advisors, and potential employers,  ask questions of expert career guides, and browse through a list of popular career topics. Not only is this a great resource for job-hunting, but it’s such a cool way to find opportunities where your talents can make a difference in the world.

nonprofit and social enterprise jobs

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If you’re just starting the summer job-hunt you could be frustrated by the fact that a lot of positions typically held by teens are now being filled by an older set.  It’s tough to find work out there these days, so in this economy what’s a teen seeking some extra cash to do?

As The Wall Street Journal reports in their story Cupcakes and Cattle Breeding: Teens Turn to Summer Start-Ups, many teens are turning to their own entrepreneurial ideas to put some cash in their wallets and even add to their college funds.  Teens are going beyond the tried and true lawn-mowing services (which can still rake in a pretty penny) to trying ventures like web design and cupcake catering for birthday parties. And it’s worth mentioning that the experience of starting your own business could make for a great college admissions essay topic (hmmm…something to keep in mind for the future).

Start-ups, of course, can be risky since they require some seed money to pay for supplies and/or advertising, but here’s some tips from WSJ to get the most out of your start-up venture:

Find and fill an unmet need. For example, the skills many teens use every day can be marketable. On Elance.com, a Web site where freelancers’ services are bought and sold, demand among business clients for help establishing a presence on Facebook or Twitter is rising fast, a spokeswoman says. The site requires providers to be at least 18 years old.

Look for a low-cost niche. After a vendor knocked at Loree Greta’s door last summer in Austin, Texas, offering to clean her windows for $150, she suggested her 14-year-old son, Max (the brother of jewelry maker Marlo Adelle), make the rounds offering to do the same for one-third as much. Brandishing a long-handled squeegee, vinegar, buckets and newspaper, Max earned about $300 washing windows.

Find something you love. Jessica Cervantes, a Miami 18-year-old who loves to bake, grew tired of cleaning up cupcake messes and smeary frosting spots after birthday parties for her young cousins. So she cooked up a fancy cupcake on an edible cookie stick and is now selling “Popsy Cakes” for $30 a dozen. Although it’s tough cramming in baking and delivering orders with her homework, she made $6,000 last year for her college fund.

Expect setbacks. During Ms. Cervantes’s first few tries at making Popsy Cakes, “no one wanted to eat them,” she says. Mr. Hunt, a Web designer, says he tried at first to design an online game but failed. Even if you fail, he advises, “go for it. Don’t stop, because you will get somewhere if you try hard enough.”

Have you had success with a summer start-up of your own?  What made your business successful?

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One of the questions I get asked pretty frequently is, “Do I know of any good internships?” I usually first direct students to their college career center which should be a good resource for internships and potential jobs, but sometimes schools don’t have the best track record for advertising those opportunities to students.

Enter YouIntern.com, a very cool internship finder that connects potential employees with current students and offers student reviews of internships, which I think is critical.  It’s great to know whether that internship at XY publisher will actually give you a glimpse of life as an editor or if you’ll be relegated to the basement sorting mail–not an awesome way to spend the summer.  Landing a great internship or two or three can not only be extremely helpful in figuring out what career path you want to take (or not take for that matter!), but it can also give you an edge when it comes to applying for that job once you graduate. Since summer is just around the corner, now’s a great time to start searching for that perfect internship.

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Here’s a great opportunity for all you aspiring journalists! PBS along with MacNeil/Lehrer Productions is holding its annual YOU.report competition which invites high school and middle school students to submit journalistic video reports of no more than 5 minutes on the topic of: Made in Washington - How do decisions made in Washington affect your community?

1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes will be awarded in each grade (6th-12th), and the winning submissions will be featured in a national web campaign.  The postmark deadline for entries is March 31st, 2009, and more details about submission requirements can be found on the.News website.  Good luck!

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Today I’m featured in an interview with Dan Schawbel, the author of the forthcoming Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success (Kaplan, April 09) and publisher of both the award winning Personal Branding Blog and Personal Branding Magazine. We spoke about how college admissions has changed in the midst of our tumultuous economy, what admissions officers are looking for in applicants, and how social networking factors into the admissions process. Check out the full interview here, and while you’re at have fun looking around Dan’s site.  If you’re just about to graduate from college or thinking about your future career path, he offers some great tips and advice for landing a great job in this tough economy.

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Q: “I’ll be a senior in high school next year and still have no clue what I want to do. Help!”

–Brittney, 17, Calhoun, LA
A: Don’t worry; you’re not alone! High school goes by so quickly, and suddenly there are so many decisions to be made. Do you want to go to school? Get a job? Take a year off? Go to a four-year or two-year college? Try out a vocational program like cosmetology or fashion design?

The choices can be overwhelming, but it’s important to think through your options so that if you do, say, want to go to college, you’re not missing out on any important steps you need to take to get there. The first question you need to answer is whether or not you want to continue your education after high school. (If your answer is yes, skip to the next paragraph.) If you don’t want to continue your education beyond high school, then you can start looking into job opportunities during your senior year. But if there’s any part of you that might want to go back to school at some point, then make sure you don’t slack off during senior year. Colleges will still take into consideration your high school transcript even if you apply several years after you graduate.

If college or a two-year program is something you see in your future, then make sure you keep up your grades and meet all the basic requirements for admission (i.e., take the necessary math, English, science, and foreign language classes; sign up for standardized tests). Apply to a variety of schools, so that you keep your options open after you graduate. You can always decide in the spring of your senior year whether or not you want to go directly into a four-year college, take a year off, or do a two-year program at a community college or vocational school.

Visiting campuses or programs during your senior year may help you figure out what you want to do after you graduate. Sometimes you just don’t know until you see the possibilities that are out there! Good luck!

For more of my answers to your college and career questions, check out Seventeen’s College Q&A!

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Q: “I’m artistic, so I think I want to be a graphic designer, but I’m not 100 percent sure what they even do. I don’t want to try to get into that field if I end up realizing it’s not as fun as I had hoped it would be.”

–Angelia, 16, Louisville, OH
A: If you’re artistic with a keen eye for details, then graphic design could be an exciting and fulfilling career. It’s also one of the hottest growing jobs right now, so your chances of getting hired out of college are pretty awesome. Basically a graphic designer is responsible for the visual look of a company or product. This could include designing everything from the company logo, stationery, presentation folders, film graphics, animation, flyers, product catalogs, advertisements, and Websites to magazine or newspaper layout. Graphic designers may work in a larger design or advertising firm, be an in-house consultant for a corporation, or do contract work for individual clients on a freelance basis. The job can be incredibly creative since a designer is responsible for coming up with fresh ideas for reaching an audience with eye-catching concepts. If you’re interested in a particular career but not sure you’ll actually like it once you get in the trenches, then try it out during a summer or semester-long internship. And for more information about graphic design, visit the American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA) website. Also, check out these schools that offer accredited graphic design programs:
Arizona State University
California Institute of the Arts
Carnegie Mellon University
Maryland Institute College of Art
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
Parsons The New School for Design
Pennsylvania State University
Pratt Institute
Rhode Island School of Design
San Francisco Art Institute

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And I mean that in the most positive way possible! The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania is a launching a new site Knowledge@Wharton High School for students interested in business careers, and it looks to be a pretty awesome networking and information portal. The site will feature articles, videos, podcasts, and interactive elements that “will explore such topics as starting a business, managing money, running a sports team, playing the stock market, going green, finding an internship, becoming a fashion buyer and volunteering for a non-profit, just to name a few.”

The site launches in February 2009, but if you want to get involved before then you can enter the Knowledge@ Wharton High School essay contest. Winners will receive prizes like airline tickets, computers, and printers, as well as an opportunity to take part in the February launch event. Essays are due December 1, 2008. For more details, visit Knowledge@Wharton High School.

So what do you think about this program?  Would you be interested in getting involved?

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StartupNation has announced the winners of the 2008 Dorm-Based 20, America’s top 20 college-based businesses and the young entrepreneurs behind them.  Some of the highlights include Affordabook, a place to find college textbooks on the cheap; Note2Home which helps parents, coaches, and teachers keep in touch with students and their crazy schedules; and my favorite is CaptainU, a site designed to connect high school athletes with college coaches to facilitate the whole recruiting process–it’s a pretty genius idea from University of Chicago’s Michael Farb.

Cooking up an idea to change the world in your dorm room?  Throw your name in the hat for the Dorm-Based 20 2009 Competition.  What’s the upside of being a winner besides joining the ranks of other college entrepreneurs like Michael Dell, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame?  The Dorm-Based 20 winners will get extensive national promotion on leading national TV, radio, online and print media outlets, and publicity for a start-up is pretty priceless.

So what’s your great idea?  Wait…don’t tell me.

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As the fall college application process gets underway, there’s one more thing you should add to your application checklist:

Clean up your social networking sites!

According to Kaplan’s recent survey of 320 top U. S. colleges, 1 out of 10 admissions officers looked at students’ social networking websites as part of their application review, and 38 percent of those surveyed said what they saw had a negative impact on their admission decisions.  And it’s not just college admissions officers browsing the web, would-be employers also admit to using social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to gain insight into job seekers.

So, if you’re applying to college or a job in the near future, here are some tips to ensure your online impression is a good one:

Edit Your Pics–First off, make sure your profile picture doesn’t contain any offensive, illicit, or illegal behavior.  And while you’re at it, go through the rest of your pics and either delete or make private any other photos you wouldn’t want to show off in a job interview. It may seem obvious, but even that hilarious pic at last week’s party could give off a less than responsible image.

Stop Posting About Your College or Job Plans–You may be super excited to tell your friends that USC is your top choice school, but if a college admissions officer reads that on your page it may unwittingly bias their decision to admit you.  So keep the college and career talk limited to IM, chat, or a private message.

Maintain Your Privacy–Of course, the easiest way to make sure you keep tabs on who’s viewing your pages is to change your privacy settings so that your profiles are only visible to friends.  And then if an admissions officer or potential employer friends you, you’ll have the heads-up to either edit your profile or deny the request.

Have your social networking pages ever backfired for you?  What do you think about employers and college officials checking out your profiles?

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