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Understanding and Using Your Strengths

Say what you want about positive psychology, but recent findings in the field support the idea that happiness fuels success, not the other way around. And who doesn’t strive for success? Since utilizing your strengths contributes to happiness and happiness influences achievement, let’s talk about YOUR strengths!

Knowing your strengths

Taking a values or strengths inventory such as VIA gives you a vocabulary that is useful in effectively articulating your strengths—an invaluable quality in the job search. Since those who are rarely introspective spend little time in self-reflection, tools like VIA offer a path to starting that internal conversation. The VIA survey takes approximately 15 minutes and asks participants 120 questions to get an idea of their character values. Once complete, you receive a report of your individual order of character strengths.  

Understanding your points of strength make you more aware and apt to use them. According to Lavy … 

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What is Nonverbal Communication?

No matter what environment you are in – a job setting, an interview, a networking event; your nonverbal communication is equally as important as what you say.  In fact, I’d argue that it is MORE important.  Take this example:  your supervisor asks you to come in on a Saturday to complete a project, and you say “yes”.  However, you say it with an obvious eye roll.  While you are being agreeable, he will know that you are unhappy with the idea of working on the weekend.  Our gestures often say more than our words and can indicate our true feelings. 

“Nonverbal cues” refers to all communication between people that do not have a direct verbal translation.  Examples of these are body movements and facial expressions.  These nonverbal cues are extremely important in the work place because how others perceive you impacts … 

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Consider a Professional Mentor

Have you ever wondered what your classmates are talking about when they refer to their mentor? Why are they important? And how do you go about finding one?

A mentor could be younger or older than the mentee, but what sets them apart is the mentor's level of experience or depth of knowledge in a particular area or field. A mentorship program is beneficial for personal development as well as professional development. Typically a mentorship program would include a person of less experience and a person of more experience sharing ideas and thoughts over the area of interest.

Aside from building a professional relationship with someone in the workforce, mentorships may provide you with new skills, knowledge, contacts, or even new job opportunities. More than likely, if you find a mentor that is really interested in your professional development, they will become more of a career coach helping you build … 

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When to Use Your Major GPA

If you are like most students, you know your cumulative GPA.  If it is high, you’re probably satisfied with it and will willingly supply it to any recruiter who asks.  If it is not as high as you'd like, and a recruiter brings it up, it can potentially create some uncomfortable moments, even causing you to break out in an audible sweat.  You start silently yelling at yourself for not taking your history classes more seriously. 

All is not lost.  If you have worked hard in your engineering classes, with strong grades reflecting that hard work, then it is likely that your major GPA is significantly higher than your cumulative GPA.  You can calculate your major GPA, and present it to a recruiter with confidence.  (But be sure to present it as your major GPA; it is never okay to mislead or lie to … 

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Managing Job Search Stress

Are you stressed out with your job search? You are not alone! Frustration and tension can often be side effects of searching for a job. Here are a few tips that will help you conquer the process:

Analyze your search.

You should create a long-term plan for your search, recognizing that it may take several months to land a position. ECS recommends that students apply to 30 postings per semester. Setting a weekly application goal is a great way to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Poor time management can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. If you plan ahead and make sure you don’t exceed your limits, you’ll find yourself calmer and more focused.

Students should also be persistent with the job search. Remain constant with your networking efforts – attend information sessions, career fairs and follow up with recruiters you meet after events. Also, bring your best self to interviews- … 

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