Category Archives: Career Guide

Types of Business Degrees Available

The type of degree that you decide to earn will depend upon your interests as well as your goals and qualifications. There exists a wide array of different individual course options. It is important to consider that a large number of business degree programs will emphasize one specific function such as communications, e-commerce or management. There are also business degree options that are broader in nature.

Associate’s Degrees in Business

An associate degree in business is the ideal option for an individual who has not yet decided to commit themselves fully to a bachelor’s degree in business or business administration. Students are provided with a solid foundation for further coursework in the field of business through an associate’s degree in business. This degree does provide the opportunity to enhance future career options as well as provide the opportunity for credits to be applied to a bachelor’s degree in business, if you decide to pursue such a degree in the future.

Depending on the program, an associate’s degree in business can typically be completed within about two years. Both campus-based colleges as well as online colleges offer associate’s degrees in business.

Bachelor’s Degrees in Business

Generally, most entry-level business careers require a bachelor’s degree in business or business administration as a minimum requirement. Students with a bachelor’s of business administration, or BBA, will receive the preparation they need to pursue a wide array of different entry-level positions in fields such as financial services, accounting, personnel resources, economics and sales and marketing.

Students who are already employed in such fields and who wish to advance their careers or those who would like to change from a different career to one of these fields may find that an online business administration degree could be the right choice. These types of programs are specifically designed for working adults. There are even some colleges that will award college credit toward your degree based on work experience or previous coursework.

Generally, a bachelor’s in business degree will require most students, who attend full-time, about four years to complete the degree. Some students who are able to take a heavier course load may be able to complete their degrees within a slightly shorter time-frame, while other students may find that it takes five years or even longer, depending on their individual schedules.

Master’s Degrees in Business

There are several different master’s degrees in business as well as business administration which are available to students in different areas of specialization. These degrees offer the opportunity to greatly enhance one’s career; providing opportunity for advancement as well as increased earning potential. A Master’s of Business Administration or MBA program is a popular choice. This program does often entail admission requirements that are more rigid than other types of master’s level business degrees. This is particularly true for business schools that are considered to be high-profile. Keep in mind that a MBA is not a universal requirement for advancing your career, but when an employer requires a broader range of knowledge, this type of degree may be preferred.

Most MBA programs require a bachelor’s degree as an entrance requirement along with business experience that is proven. One of the advantages to many such programs is that they are self-directed. This gives you the opportunity to select the types of courses that you feel would benefit you and your future goals the most. Many MBA programs are designed especially for working professionals who are seeking to advance their careers into upper management levels.

MBA programs vary in length. Students who are able to attend full-time may be able to complete their program in just one year. Students who are also working and/or have families may find that it takes two years or longer to complete the program.

Doctorate Degrees in Business

The highest degree level that can be achieved in this field is the Doctor of Business Administration. Through this type of degree program you gain the chance to choose the courses as well as the electives that will customize your research within a specific topic. More and more Doctor of Business Administration degrees are being offered online; although, it is important to point out that a large number of programs typically do involve residencies. Such residencies, though brief, provide a chance for students to confer with professors as well as interact with other doctoral students. Through the completion of a Doctor of Business Administration degree, students are usually able to achieve advanced leadership positions, consult or teach within their specific field.

The amount of time that is required to complete a doctorate in business will largely depend upon the schedule and needs of the students. Many students pursuing this type of advanced degree also work and have families. As a result, they are often not able to attend full-time. At a minimum, it typically takes about two years to complete this program.

Certificate Programs in Business

An undergraduate certificate is a good option when you wish to enhance your career or your education. Many working professionals choose this option when they feel the need to gain additional expertise within a particular area. These programs are self-contained and are typically short in duration. A certificate program can typically be completed with as few as 16 semester hours of credit. Certificate programs are commonly offered in fields such as accounting, e-commerce and marketing, just to name a few.

Dress for Success

When you are getting dressed for your next college lecture, it may be fine to sport the universal college uniform of flip-flops, a hoodie and pajama bottoms, but that definitely will not work when you are embarking on your career search. If you are a recent college graduate about to enter the professional workplace then it is important to make sure that you are dressing in order to make a positive impression during your upcoming job interviews.

Whether it is fair or not, appearances really can have a tremendous impact on a hiring manager’s first impression of a job candidate. When you take the time to dress professionally, it shows that you have good judgment as well as an understanding of the importance of the situation. It will also demonstrate your interest in the position as well.

Not sure exactly what constitutes business professional? Read on for style tips to help you get started dressing appropriately for your career search.

First, remember that it is always better to be overdressed for the interview than underdressed. Think about what you would wear to visit your grandmother or someone else of that same generation. If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see you in it, then you shouldn’t wear it to an interview. Avoid any clothing that is suggestive or revealing.

When it comes to accessories, be aware that they can be wonderful for accenting your clothing, but they can also destroy your chances for landing the job if you overdo it. Keep your accessories to a minimum and when in doubt, keep your accessories conservative.

It can definitely pay off to do some research regarding the office culture of the company where you will be interviewing. If you know someone who works there or who has interviewed there previously, you might even think about asking them about the office dress code.

In addition, be aware that there are some items of clothing that should be avoided regardless where you will be interviewing. These items include mini-skirts, flip-flops, jeans, sneakers and t-shirts. Along those same lines, make sure that your grooming and hygiene are impeccable. Your hair should be clean and well groomed, as should your nails. Also, avoid strong aftershave or perfume that could be overpowering to someone with allergies or asthma. The general rule of thumb is that you need to be presentable and polished when you arrive for your interview.

Keep in mind that you need not spend money you do not have for clothing in order to dress appropriately for an interview. Even if you are on a budget, you can purchase a few pieces that can be mixed and matched along with what you may already own for great professional results. Look for timeless and classic pieces such as button-down shirts, pants and simple black dresses.

Making the Transition between College and Career

You have finally done it! You made your way through college, have a degree and you are ready to make your mark on the world. Once you are ready to enter the professional world, you may find that things are somewhat different from the world of college. The time period between graduating college and embarking on your first professional position is typically a crossroad. This time can be daunting as well as exciting and overwhelming for most college graduates. Below are some steps that will help to make the transition between college and the professional world much easier.

First, begin by making certain that you have determined the direction in which you want to go next in your career search. While it would certainly seem that you would be 100% certain about the next step after spending several years in college; that is often not the case. This crossroad time period is often the best time to make sure you understand the best type of career that will suit you. Give thought to whether you enjoy being around people or prefer to be on your own. Take into consideration all of your interests, dislikes, weaknesses and strengths when planning your next career step. Take the time at this point to focus your direction on those fields that match your talents as well as your interests.

Always make sure that you have done your homework. You may have thought that you were finished with homework once you had your degree in hand, but that is not the case. Employment candidates who take the time to research the companies that interest them will often have the best competitive edge as well as odds of landing the job they want. Look at the company’s web site and review news articles that talk about current trends and activities of the company so that you can learn as much as you possibly can.

Do not forget to assemble all of the tools you need for your career search. You will need a resume, cover letter, and a portfolio that focuses on your work. Taking the time to develop a professional resume and cover letter will be time well spent.

Spend some time networking. Even with the popularity of the Internet, the importance of networking should not be overlooked. In fact, networking can be one of the most important things that you do when looking for a job. Utilize any resources that are available to you, including your college’s career placement office, former professors, your parents’ friends, neighbors and friends who may already be in the working world. Do not be afraid to ask your contacts for assistance. You may be surprised at the doors that are opened to you through networking.

Don’t Panic, Practice

If you are approaching graduation or you have already graduated and you are experiencing a severe case of panic as you face the prospect of finding a job, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. This is actually a fairly common experience for most college graduates. Rather than dwell on your concerns, it is much better and more productive to spend the time converting your fear into positive action that will increase your chances of landing a great job. Get started with these critical activities.

Focus on expanding your industry specific skills. Many college students make ends meet while looking for their first professional position by working a part-time job. That is great, but do not overlook the opportunity to volunteer for different projects or even request additional responsibility at your current position. Even if the job you currently hold is not exactly in the same field in which you are looking, consider ways in which you can develop skills that are specific to the field in which you ultimately hope to find a job. For example, if your degree is in marketing, volunteer to research marketing strategies at your current position. Your current employer will likely appreciate the initiative and the experience will provide you with real world industry specific skills that you can use as you look for a permanent position within your field. Taking advantage of the opportunity to build your resume and your skills as you look for a job rather than waiting for the phone to ring will pay off in valuable professional dividends.

In addition, spend some time identifying as well as marketing skills that are transferable. Many students make the mistake of believing that just because their previous experience has not been within the same field that they do not have relevant work skills and experience. This is not so. It really does not matter whether your degree is in liberal arts or biology; you have gained some great skills throughout college, including communicating, critical thinking and problem solving. When you stop to give some thought to your activities throughout college as well as through part-time work and volunteer projects, it will become clear that you have picked up some great transferable skills that will look right at home on your resume.

It is also a good idea to spend some time practicing your interviewing skills while you are looking for a job as well. Even if you have a great GPA, a wonderful resume and impeccable references, they will not get you very far if you are not able to present yourself effectively in an interview. If you have gone for several interviews but still have not received a call back, it can definitely be worth it to spend some time practicing your interview skills.

Is a Business Degree Right for Me?

When considering the pursuit of a degree in business, it is important to take into consideration that this industry typically involves working with numbers and statistics on a regular basis. Therefore, you should feel comfortable with math. It is also important for business majors to have the ability to see the broader picture within organizational structures. Business majors must be able to consider not only the group goals but also the rough data and be able to make plans that will facilitate and moving projects forward. Concise written as well as verbal communication skills are also a must. In addition, candidates for a business major should be excellent at team work and be able to work well under pressure, often for sustained periods of time.

Business degree programs typically include courses in finance, accounting, quantitative analysis, management and computer applications. In addition, you will likely study ethics, organizational behavior and culture, social interaction, change management and business oriented research.

Introduction to the Business Industry

The business industry is far more varied that many people realize. A variety of different functions can be involved within this industry, including some of the most obvious such as marketing and management. In the last few years there has also been an increased demand for business majors in many other sectors as well, such as international commerce, government, arts, health care and non-profit organizations. The principles of business can be an important foundation at all levels for political, economic and social systems.

With a degree in business, you will be able to apply your education to almost any industry imaginable in addition to possessing the knowledge and skills needed to start your own business. Many business students begin their professional training with a business administration degree or undergraduate business degree before proceeding to graduate school to earn a Master’s of Business Administration, or MBA. This field certainly does not exclude working adults, as many adults choose to pursue their education while taking online college business courses, allowing them the opportunity to advance their career or even change careers.

Through a business degree, students are able to receive a broad exposure to all of the most important elements that are involved in a fluently functioning organization. While a business degree does not offer the specialization that is seen in other degrees that are more targeted, such as accounting or finance, there are definitely advantages offered by the generalist approach that is provide through a business degree. Students who are interested in the field of business, but who are not yet certain in which area they might wish to specialize will find that a business degree offers them the insight they need to fine tune their Search for the ideal career.

Your Career Search-How to Get Started

One of the most difficult things for any college student to accomplish is to determine the career field they wish to enter. When you are not yet ready to enter the professional world, it can be extremely difficult to search for a career. There are a variety of different ways in which you can find not just a job, but a career that will suit you. The first thing that should be done when searching for a career is to put pen to paper and begin narrowing down the possibilities. You might begin by considering the types of working conditions in which you think you could work best. Would you prefer to work indoors in an office environment or outdoors? Do you like the idea of traveling or would you prefer to be based in one location? You should also give some thought to whether you prefer to work independently or with people. Also, think about whether you would prefer to dress-up to go to work or you like the idea of wearing casual clothing to work.

Once you have given thought to these areas, it is time to take your career search a step further. It can also be helpful to take an interest inventory. You can find these online as well as in your local college career center. An interest inventory will give you an idea of the areas in which you have the highest interest and guide you in the direction of possible careers that you may find to be suitable. This can be a great way to narrow down your options if you find that you are interested in a variety of different fields. You might also consider taking an aptitude test to determine specific career fields in which you may have the most aptitude.

Once you have a few possible ideas, it is time to harness the power of the Internet. Take the time to research various types of jobs and career through career search sites. You can discover a wealth of information about practically any type of career or job online. It is also a good idea to talk to a few people who are involved in the types of careers that you think might interest you. This is a great way to gain information and research those careers in order to determine if they might truly be right for you.

Another great career search tip is to volunteer in a variety of different capacities. If you have strong interest in many different fields then this can give you a personal one-on-one idea of exactly what that career involves. Volunteer positions also provide you with excellent work experience which you can later list on a resume for either an internship position or a career position once you have graduated college.

Why you Need to Customize your Resume

Unfortunately, many college graduates make the same critical mistake in their career search; they blast off as many resumes as they can to as many employers as they can find and hope that one of them hits a target. This might work in darts, but it is rarely successful when launching a search for your first job. The problem with this strategy when you are looking for a job is that one size really does not fit all.

What many job seekers fail to realize is the sheer number of resumes that are submitted for any single position. Employers and hiring managers are often inundated with piles of resumes and applications. Like everyone else, they also have other duties to which they must attend. This means that they spend as little time as possible going through those piles of resumes. As a result, if you want to stand out, you need to make sure that your resume stands out first. If you do not take the time to customize your resume to the particular job for which you are applying then you will usually find that you never hear anything at all about that job.

One of the reasons that many people take this approach is that they feel that basically any job will do after they have spent the last several years in college. The problem with this is that mangers are looking for someone who is really interested in the position, not just someone who is looking to take any job that comes their way. Put yourself in the manager’s shoes. Who would you rather hire? Someone who put the time and effort into writing a resume just to apply for that particular job or someone who is simply submitting the same resume they have also submitted for the last two dozen jobs for which they applied?

Keep in mind that it is really the details that are noticed in a resume. If you take the time to look at the job posting, you will see that there are plenty of clues regarding the skills, experience and educational background that the employer is seeking in the ideal candidate for the position. When you identify those characteristics and then highlight them on your resume, you will have a much better chance of standing out from the competition.

While customizing your resumes, and even your cover letters, will take more time than using the one size fits all approach, it is definitely worth it. Rather than having to send out tons of resumes during your career search, you will be able to immediately improve your chances of landing the right job far sooner than you might expect.

What to do After your Internship

Many students make the same mistake when it comes to internships; they focus on getting the internship and fail to realize that once the internship has ended there are critical steps that need to be taken. Internships can be an excellent coup to include on your resume once you are embarking in the professional world and starting your career search. In order to make the most of your internship, there are steps that should be taken immediately after your internship has ended to maximize its potential for future use.

First, you need to spend a bit of time evaluating what you learned in the internship. The real goal of an internship is to give you some real world experience that can help you to determine whether you would like to do that type of job after you graduate. Did you find the duties to be dull and boring or did you find them interesting? What about that actual field? Do you think that you would even like to be in that field? Finally, consider the work environment. Were you pleased with it? By answering these questions, you can gain an idea of whether this is a career option that you would like to consider further or whether it is something you would like to completely rule out.

Beyond taking stock of what you learned during the internship, you also need to go ahead and take the time to update your resume. If you wait to do this you may find that you have forgotten critical pieces of information. Take the time to write down all of the duties that you performed during your internship. Even if they seem trivial, go ahead and write them down. It is also a good idea to make note of particular areas of expertise to which you were exposed during your internship.

You should also make sure that you go ahead and send thank you notes to your primary internship supervisor as well as any other individuals with whom you worked closely during your internship. Make sure you mention how they made your internship valuable and what you learned from the experience. Even if it turned out that you did not care for the internship, you should still follow-up with a thank you note.

If you find that you enjoyed the internship then you might think about contacting those persons you met during your internship periodically to make sure you remain fresh in their minds. This can prove to be an excellent networking resource in the future. Finally, go ahead and request letters of recommendation now as they can be critical when you start on your career search.

Selecting the Right Resume Format

Does it ever seem as though your career search is a catch-22 situation? You need to get a job in order to get experience in your chosen field, but in order to get a job you need experience. It can certainly be discouraging when you find yourself in this type of situation. Take heart, though. Even if you do not have a wealth of experience behind you, you can still have a good chance at landing the job you want by choosing the right resume format to suit your situation.

There are two very effective resume formats for college graduates who are looking for entry-level positions in their career search. These resume formats are the functional format and the combination format. The chronological resume format may be the most traditional resume format, but the problem with this resume is that it does emphasize work history and that can be a problem when you are just starting out in your career.

The functional resume format is often a good choice because it emphasizes skills that are related to your field while downplaying your actual work history and chronology. The functional resume format utilizes categories that will highlight your skills rather than using dates of employment.

A combination resume format is a type of chronological resume format, but the difference is that it begins with a qualifications summary in which you can emphasize your most important and relevant credentials. The sections of your combination resume should be organized strategically in order to best highlight your qualifications. The most relevant categories such as your education and volunteer experience should be placed before your work history with this resume format.

Keep in mind that even when you lack work experience you can make up for it with your motivation and other valuable characteristics. Consider what you have to offer a prospective employer. It is often a good idea to spend some time researching the job you hope to land in order to determine the abilities and skills that are frequently listed as desirable in job descriptions. How can you benefit your employer with your abilities and attributes?

Regardless of whether you choose to use a functional or a combination resume format, it is important to make sure that you provide prospective employers with a compelling reason to hire you. You can do this by describing internships and extracurricular activities that are relevant to the career goal you hope to achieve. Another effective method is to weave in skills that would be valuable to employers such as technical capabilities, foreign languages, creative problem solving and interpersonal communication skills. In terms of experience, you can cover volunteer work, part-time positions and internships.

Even without actual real world experience in your targeted field, it is possible to put your best foot forward by selecting the right resume format and using it to your best advantage.