Friday, November 10, 2017

6 Great Steps Toward Veteran Career Management Success

More than anything, military veterans want to feel productive and useful after their service. In
addition to the stress of transitioning into civilian life, many veterans are concerned about post-deployment career opportunities. The military offers awesome training, experiences, and education but it can be challenging to translate military experience into skills and qualifications that employers understand.  Below are a few practical ways to arm yourself for today’s job search:

1. Determine the job you want in the civilian market. Many veterans will leverage their skills from their time in the military to align with the civilian equivalent. Use these skills translators to help tighten your focus.
  
2. Play up your moments of brilliance. This is not boasting. Cite specific, performance-based achievements on your resume. Here is an example bullet point:
  • Saved company $100,000 yearly by developing new shipping and inventory system.
 Learn how to create effective accomplishment statements.

3. Build your LinkedIn account to highlight your Professional Headline. Your LinkedIn "Professional Headline" is the one-sentence description of you that appears below your name on your Profile.
It appears with your name and photo in everything you do in LinkedIn (make a comment, start a discussion, send an invitation to connect, etc.). “Civilianize” your military job title on your Profile so that employers will understand how your experiences can fit into their organization.

4. Join groups on LinkedIn that relate to the career you are searching for. Engage in conversations with other professionals to make connections and become well-versed in the industry happenings. Join WGU – Western Governors University Alumni and Students  group to connect with other WGU military veterans to build your professional network.

5. Develop a list of target employers and research each company you are interested in. Know what they do, how long they’ve been doing it, and what their current needs might be so you can target your resume and talk about how you can be their solution with confidence in your interview.

6. Go to job-fairs well prepared to network with targeted companies. Research companies and prepare thoughtful questions ahead of time so you are able to focus your day on making REAL connections with representatives, without wasting their time.

We are proud of and support all of our military veterans and have curated Resources for Veterans to assist you on this journey toward career success. We empower and encourage all WGU students and graduates to explore, develop, and actualize individual career paths by providing current resources and strategic guidance. Please do not hesitate to contact a career specialist for personalized student-veteran career assistance.

For personalized, one-on-one career support, contact WGU Career & Professional Development today!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

3 Tips to Starting Your Own Business

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit with dreams of owning your own business one day? With this in mind, WGU Career & Professional Development has compiled resources for students and graduates.


First, explore business ideas.
Many pathways can lead to a successful and rewarding business venture. Maybe you want to make a business out of your passion, or you have discovered an unmet need in the market. Perhaps you are interested in purchasing an existing business or franchise. Here are a couple resources that can help you determine which business idea might lead you down that path to success.
  • Entrepreneurial Aptitude – Select CareerBeam Self-Assessment Tools from the Self-Assessment webpage and complete the Entrepreneurial Aptitude assessment to help determine if entrepreneurship might be the right career path for you.
  • Market Research Tools – The Small Business Administration has a collection of free tools to help you find that competitive edge.

Next, do your research and make a (business) plan.
Once you have a solid idea in place, it is time to get to work researching the ins and outs of building a business. The U.S. Small Business Administration is a government agency that provides an array of free services for entrepreneurs. Are you unsure of how to write a business plan? Do have questions on how you are going to fund your business? Overwhelmed with where to start? Don’t worry! These resources provide valuable information on how to turn your idea into a successful business reality.
       
  • 10 Steps to Get Started – (Start here!) You will find tools and information related to creating a business plan, funding your business, and making key decisions to help you successfully get your business off the ground. 
  • Workshops & Learning Resources – Browse webinars and live workshop opportunities offered by SCORE, a nonprofit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Finally, build a support network.
Starting a new business can be exciting and rewarding, but unforeseen challenges and obstacles can also accompany the process.  Make sure to seek a support system to gain expert advice and to help maintain motivation and momentum. Get involved with your local chamber of commerce or small-business chapter. Find a mentor who can help you test your ideas, and seek information about the nuts and bolts of getting your business started. Here are a few places to start looking for support.
        
  • SCORE Business Mentor – Search through thousands of volunteer business counselors throughout the United States.    

Although you will certainly require support beyond the scope of our services, contact the Career & Professional Development team for career management support and assistance to help you achieve your goals. You took a leap of faith to earn your degree; this can be one more success-chapter in your life!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"Back to School Night" Success for the K-12 Teacher

Calling all Teachers!  As the 2017-2018 school year gets under way, remember to set aside some time to prepare for your Back to School Night/Parent Open House—the success of the evening depends on what you put into it!  This night is designed for parents and teachers to connect and work together for the success of their students.  Many teachers don’t spend enough time thinking about how to use this night to their advantage.  Below are some suggestions to get the most out of your evening!
  • Promote the evening as much as you can.  This is your one chance to get all your parents together in one spot to educate them about your class.  Send notes home in folders, use email and texting options, make sure it’s on your school marquis and if you have the time, call parents to invite them or use robo-calling web resources if your district/school allows it.
  • Make your classroom inviting with student work samples, vocabulary word walls and posters that reinforce your classroom curriculum.  Take the time to straighten and wipe down your desks, empty your trashcan and make your own desk look presentable.  It is always a nice touch to have the students create something for the parents upon their arrival.  A note or drawing from the child to the parents is always a hit.  The reverse also works well---give each parent a post- it-note for them to write their child a note and leave on their desk for the next day.
  • Prepare your attire.  Look like the professional you are.
  • Arrive early so you are not rushed and have time to prepare your materials.  
  • Check your technology if you plan on using it for your presentation. 
  • Prepare your textbooks and classroom resources to show parents how to help their child.
  • Create a parent sign in station to obtain current, accurate parental contact information.  Ask for their email, phone, work phone and inquire about their preferred method of contact.  Consider having a few extras at your sign in station:  Some hand sanitizer, mints or small chocolates, flowers, pen, paper and business cards to make everyone feel welcome.  Likewise, create a “kid station” with some crayons, paper and books for parents who bring their child to your session. This keeps them occupied without disturbing your session.
  • Have your business cards with your contact information available.  If you don’t have business cards, put your information on the board and encourage parents to snap a picture of it with their cell phone for future reference.
  • Have an agenda for yourself of exactly what you want to cover during your session and stick to it. Ask parents to hold their questions until the end so you can cover what you need to.  Be sure to include a little information about yourself and not just your classroom.  
  • Spend some time talking about your grading policy.  Parents want to know how you will assess their child so they can assist at home.  Be sure to include any extra help/tutoring sessions available to them.  If you have an on-line grade book, provide them information on how to set up an account and any tutorials so they can use this resource successfully.
  • Prepare a handout to distribute to parents at the end of your session.  It should contain everything they need to know about your class:  how to contact you, classroom resources, on-line resources, your discipline procedures, your homework policy and anything else unique to your particular classroom.  You could also include important, upcoming dates (testing, field trips, etc.) so parents can block off their own calendars, accordingly.
  • Keep your gradebook/computer closed.  Encourage parents who want to have more in-depth conversations with you to set up a parent-teacher conference at a later date.
  • Compose a thank you email the next day to all parents who attended your session.  Send a different email to all parents who didn’t attend letting them know what you covered and providing them the same information.  Put the handout you created in student folders and include it as an attachment to both emails.  
  • If you are unable to attend Back to School Night, let your parents know through as many communication channels, as possible.  Consider taping an envelope to your door which contains a handout for parents to take in your absence.  If you are able, you could offer to host your own Back to School Night session at a later time at your school or via a web based meeting space.
For other great professional development tips, visit the WGU Career & Professional Development Center and check out Hey Teach!, a digital publication for educators that offers printable materials, advice from veteran teachers, infographics, cartoons, and other cool content and resources.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

LinkedIn’s Top Ten List of Best Locations to Work

LinkedIn’s Workforce Report for June 2017 has identified the top ten cities with the greatest job growth. LinkedIn analyzed 138 million workers in the U.S. who have active profiles and over 20,000 companies that use LinkedIn to recruit talent in addition to other labor sites that research today’s workforce. The following list can help identify localized employment trends to help you with your job search and career management:
  1. Seattle
  2. Denver
  3. Austin
  4. Portland
  5. Charlotte
  6. Tampa/St. Petersburg
  7. West Palm Beach
  8. Nashville
  9. Las Vegas
  10. Dallas-Ft. Worth

Industry hiring is up across the nation in areas such as Business, Healthcare, Finance, Engineering, Technology, Non-Profit, Education, and more!  This is a good time to create or update your own LinkedIn profile. Contact the Career and Professional Development Center for assistance and a review of your LinkedIn account so that you can present the best impression possible. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Emerging Job Market Trends

The world is changing rapidly and as a result, the way employers hire and the expectations of professionals are also changing. Members of NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) recently discussed emerging trends in the workplace and how these trends are impacting both new and seasoned professionals.

Overall, the job outlook has improved. However, competition is still a major factor in the job market so taking steps to make sure that you are enhancing both your job skills and soft skills is a must. One key observation is that professionalism is still a critical career indicator. Research shows that while many graduates are well-educated, there is the perception that they are inadequately trained because of a lack of social skills. Professionalism cannot be neglected as part of the job search and so taking time to understand proper business etiquette can serve you well. The WGU Career & Professional Development Center can help with preparing for job fairs, business mix & mingle events, and networking with potential employers.

Additional insight was provided regarding employer trends including:

  • 53% of employers are concerned about competition for talent
  • 64% of employers prefer to hire people with relevant experience
  • 71% of employers are actively promoting diversity
  • 75% of professionals, typically in mid to high level jobs, identify as passive (not actively seeking a new position) and employers are looking for ways to tap into these candidates
  • Employers are focusing on engaging with talent via social media and technology
  • Employers are proactively managing their brand and want to be identified and recognized as employers of choice
  • Employers are increasing salaries and offering signing bonuses for premium candidates
  • Employers are recruiting via branding and social media, and an increase in video interviewing is starting to emerge 

You have already made a step in the right direction by deciding to pursue and complete your degree. Being aware of the latest career trends can be another helpful resource. We invite you to contact WGU Career & Professional Development to discuss your goals and to begin working on a plan that will help you to stay on top of your career.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

3 Simple Tips to Help Your Teacher Cover Letter Make the Grade

Does the cover letter even matter? Will the hiring manager even read it? Should I spend time and effort in creating another document when I already have my resume?

Well, “yes” is the short answer to all of the above questions. But think about it. Would you pass up an opportunity to discuss your skills and interests directly with the hiring manager of your dream job? Probably not. The cover letter provides a similar opportunity to make a positive first impression, and catch the attention of your potential future employer.

With a few general tips in mind to guide your writing, you can easily get started on creating a cover letter that not only makes the grade, but also helps you stand out as a top candidate. Here are 3 simple suggestions that we think are particularly important:

1. Let me introduce myself (as someone who has done my homework).”

It is not exactly a shocking concept, but notice the emphasis on the word introduce here. Too many cover letters simply repeat what is already stated on the resume. You have the chance to stand out by designing a cover letter that briefly expands upon your qualifications, as they relate specifically to the position of interest. Make your introduction impressive by showing that you have done your homework, and highlight what you have learned about the school or organization. In other words, what is something that you like about the school, or position, and why are you excited about it?

Opening paragraph checklist:
  • Introduce yourself briefly, and include position of interest 
  • Highlight that you have done your research, and share why you are interested in this specific teaching position 
2. “This isn’t about me…it’s about you.”

To be honest, it is about both you and the employer but the emphasis should be on what you can do for them. How can you help support the school’s mission statement, and help them reach their goals?  Based on your review of the job description and school, what do you believe are the most important aspects of this specific teaching position? What does this school really value? Stand out by sharing how your background and skills could potentially help the employer achieve their goals.

Middle paragraph(s) checklist:
  • Include 1 or 2 middle paragraphs that highlight how your qualifications make you uniquely prepared to help the school or organization achieve success
  • Focus on specific experiences and skills, rather than colleges/universities that you have attended
3. “I am excited about this position, and I would love to share more!”

Your enthusiasm about this specific position should be clear. Summarize your interest again, provide your preferred contact information, and request an opportunity to share more about yourself in person. After all, the ultimate goal of the cover letter is to help you stand out, and to land that interview. So ask for it!

Closing paragraph checklist:
  • Restate your interest in the position
  • Thank the employer for their time and consideration
  • Offer to interview at the employer’s convenience
  • Refrain from telling the employer that you will contact them to schedule an interview
  • Include your preferred contact information
  • Keep your cover letter to one page, and use professional formatting (See Cover Letter Guidelines for sample formatting and additional tips)
Use this set of recommendations to help stimulate your writing, but also don’t forget about your own message. We all have individual strengths and experiences that we bring with us to any position. Make sure to take the opportunity to make the cover letter your own!

For more help with cover letter writing, be sure to review the Cover Letter Resources on the WGU Career & Professional Development website. Once you create your letter, feel free to send us a draft for review (email your attached cover letter in Microsoft Word format to careers@wgu.edu). We are here to help!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Take the Lead: Tips for First Time Managers

You have your degree. You bring solid experience and expertise to the job. Now what? Management may be the next step in your career. This new role can be exciting and intimidating. The excitement of being a leader and putting your managerial skills to work is what you have been striving for but the unknown of what might be lurking around the corner can also be overwhelming. When asked about fears and concerns, first time managers have said that they worry about losing friends who were once peers but now they are direct reports. Others have worried about not being successful at their new role. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider this new chapter of your career.

You Are Not Alone. Identify other managers who you respect who can act as mentors. These mentors have been around the block, they have “been there, done that”. They can help side-step any landmines along the path to leadership. Set up an informational interview. This can be a mid-morning coffee break or lunch once or twice a week to explore strategies, discuss lessons learned and even set goals to help hone your skills. Joining professional associations can be another way to tap into other’s experiences.

Embrace feedback. It is important that your team trusts you and can depend on you to guide them. Active listening and genuine empathy can go a long way to instill and nurture that trust. Ask questions of your team and allow them to be honest with their answers.

Coach for Success. Do not wait for annual performance reviews to give feedback to your direct reports. Establish a consistent one-on-one meeting with each team member. This is a time for constructive criticism as well as praise. These meetings can be very productive to build trust and gain respect. This is an investment of time and energy but well worth it.

Strike a Balance. Managing processes and supervising employees takes time and energy. Not only are you responsible to make sure that the job is done well, on-time and within budget, but that your team is healthy and happy. Be careful not to spread yourself too thin. If you are too consumed by meetings and tweaking work processes, then you risk neglecting your team. If, on the other hand, you are too busy with your team, then you can risk having a mediocre work-product and shoddy performance. Track how you spend your time to see if there is a reasonable balance or a need to adjust accordingly.

Take Notes. One great way to record your lessons learned while on the job, as a first-time manager, is to keep a log or “Leadership Diary” of your daily experiences. This can be a fun way to reflect on your growth.

Visit the WGU Career & Professional Development website for additional professional development resources to assist in developing your managerial skill set. For personalized professional development tips or individual career assistance, contact your career advisor today! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Create a Public Resume in CareerBeam

Struggling to find time to make your next career move? Have employers contact you! A key feature of CareerBeam is the ability to make your resume visible to employers. As the WGU Career & Professional Development Center continues to build strategic relations with employers, more employers are utilizing CareerBeam to search for qualified candidates and post positions for WGU students and alumni.

Follow the steps below to create your public resume today!
  1. Review the brief Resumes 101 webinar for resume best practices.
  2. Select a Resume Type that aligns with your career goals. If necessary, you are able to reorder the resume sections so that the sections most relevant to your career goal are listed first. You will always lead your resume with a Professional Profile. Once the Create Resume button is selected and you are taken to the resume template, resume sections can be deleted that do not align with your experience and qualifications.
  3. Fill in each section. If you already have a strong resume, you can copy information from your current version into the resume builder. 
  4. Rename your resume by clicking on the green Rename hyperlink on the right-hand side of the page. The following name formatting is suggested: Last Name, First Initial. Industry Name Resume (McNally, L. IT Resume).
  5. Set your resume to Public. You can toggle between setting your resume to Private or Public. The default setting is Private. To change your profile to Public, click on the red Private button, select Make This Resume Public, and Save Settings.
     
  6. To make updates and edits to your resume, click the Edit button in the section you want to edit. Add new information or look to the right to edit information already included in your resume. 
  7. In addition to making your resume public in CareerBeam for registered employers to view, you can also download your resume in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format to share with other employers!
  8. For additional feedback to ensure a strong resume, download you resume as a Microsoft Word document and submit if for review to careers@wgu.edu.

Monday, May 8, 2017

May Celebrates Nurses All Over The Country



We celebrate nurses all over the country this month. You want to make sure and celebrate yourself as well! One way to start that celebration is to take some time to reflect on why you became a nurse and think about what you can do to continue developing in your profession.

Nurses tend to be a humble group. They do so much for so many people and add value that is incalculable in many ways. As with any profession, however, you can sometimes get stuck in the daily pressures of the job and lose sight of the reason why you became a nurse in the first place.

It is important to take time to reflect on the “Why?” of what you do. It can help you re-dedicate yourself to your profession if you have been in a rut or identify new areas for career progression and growth.

Complete the following exercise.

Write down why you are still in the profession. Take time to observe how you have grown and evolved over the years and then reflect on what that means to you. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
  •          Why did I decide to become a nurse?
  •          Where do I want to be in 5 years?
  •         Is my current job satisfying?
  •          What one thing could I do this year to positively impact my current work?
  •          What is one thing I could this year to begin moving into an advanced role?
  •          What are my strengths and how am I using those strengths in my career?
You may decide that you want to advance to the next level or maybe even try a different specialty. You might be surprised how taking time to reflect and then setting  goals based your observations can help re-energize you!

For more information on setting goals or developing professionally, please contact the Career & Professional Development Center. Happy Celebrating!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

6 Tips to Consider in Finding Work-From-Home Opportunities

Today’s technology has made it easier than ever to connect to the world from the comfort of, well, just about anywhere! After successfully completing a degree from the comfort of home, WGU students and alumni often consider working remotely as well. Review the tips below to assist in identifying remote opportunities that align with your career and lifestyle goals.

1. Working remotely should not be the only reason you want the position. If you put on your resume or state in an interview that you are interested in the position because you want to work from home, you will NOT get the job. Research the company culture, mission, goals, and achievements and demonstrate what you can bring to the organization. If you only express interest in the flexibility of the position, the employer will quickly pass you by.

2. Target specific companies. Each year, FlexJobs creates a list of the top 100 companies that offer work-from-home opportunities. Explore this list and other companies you may be aware of that offer virtual positions and create a strategic plan to get your foot in the door with companies of interest.

3. Network. After identifying companies of interest, leverage your network (don’t forget to join the WGU – Western Governors University Alumni & Students group on LinkedIn!) and schedule a few informational interviews with contacts who are in remote positions and/or working at companies of interest.

4. Use a variety of search terms. Remote opportunities are on the rise and there are a variety of search terms you can use on job boards such as indeed.com to identify opportunities. Make sure to include your location along with the search term for the most accurate results.
  • Work at Home or Work from Home 
  • Telecommute or Telecommuting 
  • Virtual or Remote 
  • Freelance or Consulting 
  • Home-Based
5. Visit job sites specific to remote opportunities. Some sites to consider include:
  • FlexJobs – FlexJobs is a professional job service to help you find the best flexible jobs available, safely and easily. Every job is hand-screened and legitimate. Guaranteed. There is a subscription fee for this site. 
  • We Work Remotely – A great place to find and list jobs that aren’t restricted by commutes or a particular geographic area.
  • PowertoFly – Join the community connecting women to companies that care. Offers in office, flexible, and remote opportunities with family-friendly benefits and competitive pay.
  • GitHub Jobs – GitHub has a category devoted to remote jobs on their website. These are all development-focused, with listings from all over the world 
  • HigherEd Jobs – HigherEd Jobs has a category devoted to remote jobs in education. 
6. Consider positions that are not remote but may have the opportunity for flexible scheduling and/or remote options after you have established yourself as a trusted employee. Once you have proven yourself as a valuable and hard-working employee, employers can be more open to schedules and/or work locations that are less traditional.

For individualized assistance in putting a strategic job search plan into place, contact the WGU Career & Professional Development Center. We are here to help!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

NEW Resource: Hey Teach!


Hey WGU student and alumni educators! Don't miss this great new resource brought to you by WGU. Hey Teach! is a digital publication for educators that offers printable materials, advice from veteran teachers, infographics, cartoons, and other cool content and resources.

Hey Teach! provides the resources to thrive - and the laughs to survive - as an educator. All resources fall under four topic categories:
New and awesome content is continuously added to the site and you can even submit your own questions! So, what are you waiting for? Head over to www.wgu.edu/heyteach and explore. If you find some things you like, jump over to social media and share!

For additional professional development tools or personalized career assistance visit the WGU Career & Professional Development Center today!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

WGU Industry Insider: Robert Keifer on Information Security

2016 included a slew of big hacks that caught the headlines creating a new level of hype around cyber security.  As an insider, I can tell you that we do not need any more hype… we need people who can and want to make a difference in Information Security. No one cares about identity theft until it happens to him or her. After the Target hack, shock waves could be felt by executives across the country as even their personal data was on the line. Overnight corporations began stealing people from the IT department to form security teams, or so legend would have it…

However, Information Security has been around before the Internet was even a twinkle in Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s eyes and not just in counter-espionage or physical security. Yet what I am seeing today can, at times, feel like the “Wild West.” In most cases, leaders in this industry have NOT been listened to and sadly vindicated. In some areas of IT security, 20-year-old standards and protocols are still applied for the sake of expediency and availability. In the past, engineers did not have to worry about outside threats as most hackers focused on financial institutions and governments but now even your refrigerator can contain personal data.

Information Security is at a unique crossroads in the technology world where it requires the same functionality of IT, yet it incorporates a deeper level of trust into the equation. Success in information security is not typically newsworthy. Success is keeping a company off the front page by preventing hacks and security breaches.

So, what to do? How do you break in to a career in Information Security? As someone who works with one of the strongest teams in the industry, let me tell you what has true staying power.

Belief: Especially in yourself, your substantive abilities, and your attitude for constant education and re-education. You will find quickly that this industry is not the type you can simply side step your way through.

Finesse: If you view the coding lab as a black hole or dungeon but still have the skills of a coder, then you might be a fit for this industry. Individuals in Information Security not only have to be constantly improving their skills and knowledge, but also must advocate for their solutions and initiatives - which means diplomatically interacting with the correct people and overcoming resistance. Security does not mean efficiency for larger organizations. You will have to be comfortable convincing people of things and “selling” them on the idea… especially since no organization is ever 100% secure.

Versatility: Since only about half of the millions of security jobs are being filled currently, that means that you’ll get to wear a lot of hats (and no, that’s not a reference to black, white, or gray hat hacking…XD). You can serve as the IT person for the IT department- the person they call on when they do not know how something works and at the same time you might be putting on your lawyer cap and aiding on the regulatory side- making sure companies are compliant with applicable laws related to Information Security protocols and procedures.

There is great potential to make a large impact in Information Security, reaching far outside the walls the of the data center. You can make a difference in a person’s life - whether they will be able to retire (i.e. personal banking information secure), get that loan (i.e. bad credit due to identity theft), or even keep the food in their smart refrigerator safe. If you are the type that is ready to take on a life-long commitment to growth and development, we welcome you with open arms.

About the Author
Robert Keifer is a Talent Acquisition Specialist for Tevora, the nation’s premier management consulting firm specializing in information assurance, governance and compliance services and solutions. Tevora works with some of the world’s leading companies, institutions and governments to ensure the safety of their information and their compliance with applicable regulations.  Robert has increased the company size by 100% since joining Tevora in February 2015. In addition to recruiting, Robert has also created and implemented several successful employee development programs including the Tevora Consultant Development Program that incubates up-and-coming technology professionals into seasoned Information Security Consultants.

Tevora is currently hiring so if you think you have what it takes, take a look at their current openings. To learn more about working for Tevora, read WGU Alum Josh Heimendinger’s inspirational story!

For career resources and personalized career coaching, visit the WGU Career & Professional Development Center.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

6 Ways to Gain Experience

A common question from students and graduates transitioning to a new career is how to obtain to a new position in their field when the opportunities they are finding often require 2-3 years of experience. This can be a very frustrating conundrum indeed. However, don’t despair! Review the tips below to secure a position in your chosen career.

  1. Find an internship or volunteer opportunity. Securing an internship or volunteer position in your career area of interest is a great way to gain experience. An internship or volunteer position also provides you with the opportunity to build your network. It is not uncommon for an internship or volunteer position to turn into a paid position.
  2. Utilize LinkedIn. Networking with industry professionals is a great way to find out what employers are looking for and how to enter into a particular field. Connect with people at the organizations you are interested in and attempt to build relationships. You may also want to connect with people who hold positions you have targeted and pick their brains for advice regarding entering a particular field. Reach out to WGU Alumni in your desired field to conduct informational interviews. Conducting informational interviews with alumni is a great way to get advice on how to better align yourself with entry level employment in your field and to learn more about how they got started in the field.
  3. Search for keywords instead of job titles. Don’t give up on finding entry-level opportunities, just be creative in your approach. Instead of entering titles into job boards search specific skills. For example, if you are seeking an entry-level position in human resources, search for terms like ‘onboarding’ and ‘staffing’. Considering the fact that job titles rarely tell the complete story of a person’s duties, you may have to focus on the activities you would like to do at work as opposed to the title.
  4. Consider alternative options. You can always look into comparable industries for a smoother transition. Consider positions that will help gain experience with the end goal being to move to your field of choice later down the line. For example, staffing could be a good alternative to human resources. You can easily take your experience in staffing and move to a more human resources related opportunity down the road. If you are currently working, think about gaining industry experience from another department within your current company. Talk to people in your human resources department or your supervisor to see if there are any opportunities/help needed where you can gain experience. 
  5. Visit staffing agencies. Staffing agencies are yet another resource you can use to find entry-level opportunities. It is always good to have someone else working on your behalf to find openings for you. These companies have both long-term and short-term entry-level positions that can give your resume a much needed boost.
  6. Continue your professional development. There are many places where you can find free or cheap courses for continuous learning, including the WGU Career & Professional Development website. Some of the categories include communication, business acumen, strategic leadership, and conflict management. Not only will you gain knowledge, but completing additional coursework and trainings demonstrates your passion for your field and how you stay up to date on the latest changes in your field.

Be proactive in your job search and create opportunities by following the tips above. Don't wait around for a position to fall in your lap or solely depend your degree for entry. Get started today and contact your WGU Career & Professional Development specialist for individual assistance!