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Professional Buzz

Professional Buzz

Professional Buzz is a blog warehousing relevant information, tips and tools for students and professionals looking for career development and advice. Topics range from leadership and management skills to interpersonal communication and innovation in the workplace. The blog is written and curated by Associate Dean of the Graduate College, Anne Converse Willkomm – drawing on her academic and professional experience to provide insight into the latest professional trends, challenges and skills needed to thrive in today’s everchanging workplace.

Image of Rachel Mroz, featured in the center with other staff members in the Graduate College. Also in the image is the Grad College vertical sign.

Making the most of coop

I love to share student's thoughts on career development experience. Each year, The Graduate College, hires a Spring/Summer coop student - Drexel's commitment to experiential learning is heralded through our renowned coop program. This year, Rachel Mroz joined us and worked on the Communications and Events team under the direction of Sandra Strang, Director of Communications and Events. Rachel has done amazing work for us and I asked her to share her experience with the coop program. Although Rachel is an undergraduate student, the lessons she has learned and experience she has gained through her coop experience is also highly relevant to graduate students who opt to participate in coop.

Please enjoy reading more about Rachel's experience.

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Rainbow colored words stating "Make Things Happen" with a set of cogs behind the words and a silhouette of a person as if they are talking.

Bored at work? Then take initiative

While many employees are feeling a bit overwhelmed managing their position and responsibilities of other positions that have not been filled for either budget reasons or the inability to hire a qualified candidate, that is not the case for some. Over the past few months, I have heard more and more folks, especially those new to the workforce, comment about being bored or not having enough work to do. If you do not have enough work to fill your time, you have an amazing opportunity knocking on your door – don’t waste it.

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7 tips for gearing up for a job search

I’m going to be honest – searching for a job, whether you are just entering the field or looking to change positions – is not for the faint of heart! Over the past year, I have mentored and counseled a number of folks in their job search journey, and it is a process – in some cases, a long process. I want to share with you seven things to think about as you prepare to set forth on your job search journey, so you can ultimately be successful!

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White background with the word "Burnout" in black bold font with a hole burning through it.

4 ways to beat burnout

One can’t help but see post after post on LinkedIn about feeling the burn and I’m not talking Bernie Sanders. More and more employees, as well as students, are feeling burned out. And, in all honesty, why wouldn’t we all feel burned out. We have been tugged, pulled, and pushed for 30 months or over 900 days due to COVID. Then add in George Floyd, how could one not feel exhausted after watching the life literally be pushed out of him? And he was not the only one! There were the impeachment hearings, the election, hybrid work, which turned more into 24/7 work, and now there is Monkey Pox and if you get sick, some unspoken expectation has emerged that you just work from home. Finally, the heat - anyone who still denies our planet is heating up due to climate change, must be living 30 feet underground.

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Goal Setting in 6 Steps

As you scroll through LinkedIn, it is very likely about half of the posts are dedicated to people in your network announcing a new position or a promotion. Whether you just earned a promotion or took on a new role within your current employer or you are moving to a new company, now is a great time to do some goal setting!

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Women in the Workplace

While I typically do no write about “political” issues on this blog, like many women (not all – I acknowledge that fact), the recent SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe Vs. Wade, has left me reeling. Of course, this decision has a major impact on women’s health, but it also has a huge implication for women in the workplace. At stake are the ability choose and build a career, get promoted, be viewed and valued as a leader, etc. In addition, a woman’s right to privacy is also being eroded.

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Congratulations Graduates

I attended the Drexel graduation ceremonies over the past two days not as a faculty member or an Assistant Dean, but rather as a parent. I carefully listened to the words of encouragement and accomplishment, ones I have often delivered, and those words were wholeheartedly deserved. However, I also listened to graduates, deans, and guest speakers talk about this class, the class of 2022, and the resilience shown as this class entered college and graduate school with all the hopes and dreams of those before them. But life had other plans.

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Career Growth Questions to Ask Your Manager

Planning your career growth involves a strategic approach that pulls together networking, professional development, reflection, skill attainment, and a packaging of everything to present your best self. It also involves support from your current manager or supervisor. A good manager will understand that while they hired you for a specific role, part of their job is to help facilitate your growth into other more senior roles. But they can’t, and shouldn’t, do that in a vacuum. As an employee, you are responsible for your career trajectory and need to play the biggest role in growing your skills and experience, so you can move up. A key way to do this is by asking your manager, in your 1:1 meetings, questions about how to enhance your skills and grow your experience, so you can achieve your goals.

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What Kind of manager do you need?

I’ve written quite a bit about what it takes to be a good leader, but I have not focused on what kind of manager is right for YOU. Over the years, I have worked with horrible managers – throwing paper clips or worse at folks, mediocre managers who do little to assist you in growing and developing in your career, and a few who have been supportive and encouraging and work to help me achieve my goals. For the latter, I have not taken the time to think about what aspects of their leadership I needed at the time or which elements proved the most helpful.

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The Value of Experience

This may sound odd coming from an academic, but I find students sometimes focus too much on their credit-based work, forgetting about value of other experiences. Drexel is a leader in experiential education with our co-op program. And we know that our students who go out on co-op gain incredible advantages over their peers who don’t have a co-op opportunity. This experience offers advantages that translate into full-time job offers, higher salaries, etc. because students build an incredible toolbox of skills they can’t learn in the classroom. While Drexel does offer co-op opportunities to graduate students, it is not built into the academic plan of every program, as it is at the undergraduate level, but there are still plenty of “experience” opportunities available.

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Black and white image of 4 typed job descriptions overlapping one another at skewed angles

Should I Apply for This Job?

Over the years, I have counseled countless women and men in their job search. I have always found it interesting that women and men take a very different approach when it comes to deciding whether to apply for a specific position. Often, men will apply with fewer of the required qualifications than women. And my response to the women who won’t apply unless they have 100% of the qualifications is where is the room for growth in the position? In other words, if you meet every qualification the company is looking for, then shouldn’t you be applying for a more senior role? Let's look at three approaches to determining whether to apply for a specific position.

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Resume or CV?

In talking with students as they prepare to enter their career or change jobs because they have earned a new degree, I get asked which is better a short resume or a more comprehensive CV. It is not that simple.

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