Power Your Job Search with Google Tools, Part 1

Staying organized is an important part of searching for a job. There are so many individual pieces of information you need to keep track of. What was that job opening you saw yesterday? And where was it? Which jobs have you applied for? What was the username and password you created for that job website? In January, one of our Career Center staff led a seminar on how to power your job search with Google Tools. This post is a quick introduction on how to do that.

  • In order to use Google Tools to power your job search you first need a Google/Gmail account. If you have a Google/Gmail account then go to Google.com and Sign in. If you do *not* have a Google/Gmail account then go to Google.com and Create account. Once you’re signed in, go into your Google Drive (drive.google.com).
  • On your Google Drive page click on New in the upper left. Then on Google Sheets. This will create a new Google Sheets.
  • Let’s take a moment and get oriented to what a Google Sheet looks like. Each sheet contains little rectangles called Cells. Cells are organized into Rows (which have numbers) and Columns (which have letters). Each cell also has an address based on its Column and Row, such as A1. You can click on a cell to add text, formatting, functions, and formulas.
  • Let’s add some headings to your sheet. You can use these or make up your own: Job Position, Company Name, Job Location, Salary or Hourly Rate, Website URL (so you can go back to that job listing), Notes, Progress. You can click on each cell to add text. You can also hit Tab to move to the next cell on the same row.
  • The next step is pretty cool. You can use your sheet to track the status of each application in your job search. One good way to do this is by using data validation. Data validation helps you control what kind of data you enter in your sheet. Data validation can create a drop-down list of items for each cell so you do not have to type in the same data every time.
    Click on the G above Progress. This selects that column. Then click on Data > Data Validation.


  • In the Data validation window next to Criteria click the box and choose List of items. In the box that says Enter items separated by a comma type a list of options separated by commas. For example Have not started, Resume in Progress, Submitted, Interview Scheduled, Offer received. Then click on Save. Congratulations! Now every cell on that column will have a little drop down menu.
  • As you enter on each row a new job opening, you can choose the status of your progress. Everything from Haven’t started to Offer received. Click on a cell in that column and try it.
  • Finally give your sheet a name. Click where it says Untitled spreadsheet and enter a helpful name for this sheet. Something like My Job Search 2020.
  • Your job search sheet is now ready for you to put some information in each row. So click on the + on your web browser  to open a new tab and look for some jobs.

    Continued in Power Your Job Search with Google Tools, Part Two

Written by Richard Wright

Here’s What’s New on Our YouTube Channel!

Happy September, everybody! Last month, we uploaded a bunch of new videos to help you with your job search. Let’s see what they were.

Seminars

Remote Job Interviews

In these unprecedented times, more companies are opting for job interviews over the phone or by video conference. In this video, Career Coach Anne Nowak talks about best practices and things to avoid when interviewing remotely.

Intro to Cover Letters

Sure, you’ve got a killer resume – but a cover letter is what brings your job application over the edge. There’s just one problem: you don’t know where to start! Resume Coach Lynnette Lee is here to help with this recorded seminar.

Job Search Basics

We started a new playlist that will help you with the very basics of searching for work in 2020, including tutorials on using a computer and the Internet.

Creating an email address

Career Specialist Case Duckworth walks you through creating a new email address at the ever-popular Gmail.

Creating good passwords

Passwords are like keys … well, sort of. Career Specialist Richard Wright shows you the dos and don’ts of good password creation in this video.

Job Application Walk-throughs

Dollar Tree

Lynnette Lee walks you through an application at the popular convenience store.

Lowe’s

If you’re interested in a career in retail or home improvement, Career Specialist Cynthia Payton will walk you through an application at the big-box store Lowe’s.

Job Search Resources

The Career Center’s website has a ton of job search resources, which Resume Coach Lynnette Lee walks you through in this video.

Job Interview Scenarios

Tell me about your computer skills

Anne Nowak and Lynnette Lee discuss good – and bad! – answers to this interview question, which is only getting commoner.

Website Reviews

Power to Fly

Power to Fly is a woman-led company that specializes in helping women land technical roles, with events, career coaching, and job boards. Anne Nowak reviews the site’s pluses and minuses in this video.

Conclusion

That’s all the videos we posted in August. If you have an idea for a video, or would like to request one, drop us a line, give us a call, or come in and see us!

Written by Case Duckworth

How to Build Self-Confidence for Job Search and Career Success

Job search can be a tough time for anybody’s self-confidence. Getting rejected for jobs or having the search taking longer than expected can eat away at our self-esteem. Here are some tips on keeping up your positive self-image even during tough times.

Self Confidence is a learned behavior

According to famed motivational speaker Tony Robbins, self-confidence is “the feeling of certainty that you can accomplish what you set out to do.” And it is a learned behavior! In his words, “The truth is that you are completely in charge of how you feel, including whether or not you feel confident. Confidence is not something that people are born with or simply have – it’s something you can create.” Gerald Schiraldi, author of the Self Esteem Workbook, points out that “the love and approval of others do not equal self-esteem. Otherwise it would be called other-esteem”. So, how can we increase or strengthen our self-esteem?

A healthy mind in a healthy body

It’s harder to feel self-confident when we feel physically unwell. Self-esteem builds on the basics of enough sleep, a good diet and exercise. Good posture and standing up tall also improve our feeling of power and agency. Try powerposing!

Retraining the brain for self confidence

Self-confident people know that they are the narrators of their own story. They take full accountability and have the belief that it is in their power to achieve what they set out to do. Since this belief in oneself is trainable, let’s look at a few exercises that can help everybody to build up their self-confidence.

  1. Practice the Golden Rule in reverse. We often talk to ourselves more harshly than we would to other people. Resolve to treat yourself as you would treat a good friend or loved one.
  2. Practice self-compassion. Use mindful awareness of emotional distress. Recognize self-critical thoughts without accepting them, e.g. “there is a critical thought – it’s just a thought”.
  3. Use “even though…nevertheless” statements, rather than labeling yourself. For example: Instead of “I’m just not good at this,” say “Even though I am not very good at this right now…. I nevertheless am on course and moving along” or “…. I nevertheless still enjoy trying” or “… learning nevertheless still feels adventurous”.
  4. Rewire your self-talk. “I’ll never succeed” turns into “success is exerting effort and moving in the desired direction”. “If only I‘d….” turns into “Next time I’ll….”. “I hate this about me” turns into “What an interesting quirk; I’m going to work on that”. “I’ll probably blow this” turns into “I’m not afraid to try, because my worth comes from within”.
  5. Create an inventory of your accomplishments. Everybody has accomplishments to be proud of. Write yours down and remember how good it felt to achieve them.
  6. Make a playlist with music that builds you up.
  7. Surround yourself with people that build you up. Avoid people that make you feel small.

There are many TED talks that give great examples of the techniques outlined above. Here are some to start with:

Niko Everett: Meet Yourself

Kari Romeo: Teach Your Inner Critic a New Story

Written by Anne Nowak

Advancing Your Career with MOOCs

In February, the Career Center offered a seminar about MOOCs. In case you missed it, here are some of the main takeaways:

what is a mooc?

Imagine being able to go back to college – without all the expenses of tuition, room, and board. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. MOOCs are online college courses available to anyone with access to the internet. MOOCs can help you advance your career by learning in-demand skills. Many MOOCs are free – if you want to watch and learn. Many only charge fees if you want to earn a certificate or credential. MOOCs that allow you to earn a degree are more expensive – but even then they are less expensive than a degree program at most universities.

how can i use moocs to grow my career?

A growing number of businesses and companies recognize credentials from MOOCs. Many MOOCs are backed by prestigious universities and/or partner with prominent corporations. MOOCs can be an inexpensive way to learn new  skills that will help you grow in your own profession, or position yourself to transition to a new career. Here are a few tips to help your chances that an employer will appreciate your having taken a class.

  • Focus on courses that are clearly related to your field of work. For example, if you are a programmer, take courses on Python, rather than Tibetan Religion.
  • Earn a credential – such as a Certificate or Nanodegree or Series Specialization. These are usually not free but are still less expensive than tuition.
  • Take MOOC courses that are backed by prestigious universities. You can put the name of that university on your resume. For example: Verified Certificate of Business Leadership, Harvard School of Business (through Coursera), 2019

  • Make sure you can demonstrate the skills that the course teaches. Many MOOC courses or series of courses require you to turn in projects. What matters most to potential employers is that you can do it. If you take a MOOC course about Python programming, demonstrate that you can program in Python. Increasingly, employers care less about credentials and degrees, and more about what you can do.

the big five mooc companies

Coursera

Coursera is perhaps the most prominent. Courses are free for registered users, although there are fees for different course licenses. You can earn Course Certificates, a Specialization Certificate (after taking a series of courses), and even full degrees such as a Master of Business Administration, Master of Computer Science.

edX

EdX is another prominent MOOC. You can audit courses for free, or pay a modest fee to earn a certificate. You can earn a Certificate of Achievement, X-Series Certificate of Achievement, Micro-masters Course Credit, Professional Certificate, Micro-Bachelors, or even an Online Degree.

FutureLearn

Although FutureLearn is one of the more prominent MOOCs, it is based in Great Britain and not well recognized outside Europe. You can pay $199/year for unlimited access. You can earn Micro-credentials and even online degrees (bachelors, masters, or post-graduate certificates which are more common in Europe).

Udacity

Udacity is fairly well recognized because you can earn Nanodegrees (after taking a series of courses usually over 6-12 months). They are one of the more expensive MOOCs, charging $400/month or $1436 for four months.

Udemy

 

With Udemy you can earn Certificates of completion. They charge modest fees for each course.

Final thoughts

If you are interested in advancing your career with MOOCs, do some research. Find out about the reputation of different MOOCs, how much employers recognize them, and which kinds of programs they offer. A good website to do research about MOOCs is MoocLab. It has articles and discussion boards where people sometimes debate the worth of different MOOCs and the credentials they offer.

Written by Rick Wright and Lynnette Lee

Here’s What’s New on Our YouTube Channel!

July was busy for us here at the Career Center! We officially launched our YouTube channel and have a number of videos already there. We’re going to update you on the first Monday of each month as to the newest content, so here’s what we’ve uploaded so far.

Seminars

Mastering the Job Interview

In the first video of our Seminar Series, Resume Coach Lynnette Lee recreates her usually in-person seminar, Mastering the Job Interview. It covers important topics such as what to wear to an interview, how to comport yourself, and what to expect.

How to Spot and Avoid Job Search Scams

This video is a recreation of Anne Nowak’s seminar. In it, she talks about common employment scams that prey on desperate job-seekers, and shows you how to spot and avoid those scams.

Creating a winning resume

In this “winning” seminar, Lynnette Lee shows you how to write and format a resume that’ll be sure to get you noticed by hiring managers. This video covers how to format your resume, what words and phrases to use, and how to order and present your work history to get the best results.

Choosing a Resume Template

Did you know that the Career Center has a page chockablock with resume templates, free for you to refer to and use, at all stages of your career? Lynnette Lee walks you through which one to choose in this video, depending on the type of job you’re looking for and the type of work you’ve done in the past.

Recession-Proof Your Job and Career

Let’s face it—due to COVID-19, the economy is gearing up for a recession. Anne Nowak shows you how to keep your job in the uncertain times ahead in this seminar.

Job Interview Scenarios

Entering a Job Interview

In this role-play video between Lynnette Lee and Career Coach Anne Nowak, they show you what, and what not, to do when entering a job interview and introducing yourself.

How to Answer: “Tell Me About Yourself”

The dreaded open-ended interview opener, “Tell me about yourself,” has confounded job seekers since time immemorial. In this video, Lynnette Lee and Anne Nowak role-play different scenarios to show you how to answer this question like a pro.

How to Answer: “What is Your Greatest Weakness?”

This might be the most-lampooned of all interview questions, but it still gets asked by hiring managers and interviewers. Lynnette and Anne team up to show you what answers work and which ones don’t.

How to Answer: “What are Your Greatest Strengths?”

In this video, Anne Nowak and Lynnette Lee act out how to respond to one of the trickiest questions in an interviewer’s toolbox.

How to Answer: “Why do You Want to Work With Us?”

Here’s a hint: the answer isn’t “I like money.” In this video, Anne Nowak and Lynnette Lee walk you through the right and wrong ways of answering this evergreen question.

Application Walkthroughs

How to Apply for a Job with East Baton Rouge City-Parish Civil Service

Career Specialist Rick Wright shows you how to apply for a job with the City-Parish Civil Service in this walk-through video, so you can apply to your civil service dream job in no time.

How to Apply for a Job at Domino’s

In this video, Career Specialist Cynthia Payton walks you through applying for a job at the ever-popular pizza chain, Domino’s.

How to Apply for a Job with Dollar General

Career Specialist Case Duckworth guides you through the process of applying to work at one of the nation’s leading retail chains, Dollar General.

Work-from-Home Website Reviews

Rat Race Rebellion

Anne Nowak reviews on of the best work-from-home job board websites, Rat Race Rebellion. She’ll show you how to find a good job to do in your spare time or as a full career, as well as what to look out for and avoid.

Remote Planet

If you were laid off or found yourself with a lot of extra time on your hands during the pandemic, remote-work websites might help you find a way to make some extra cash. Anne Nowak walks you through one of them, Remote Planet, in this video.

Flexjobs

Flexjobs is a little different from other work-from-home websites: it requires a (paid) subscription. Anne Nowak discusses the benefits and drawbacks of that model in this review.

If you’d like to see more content like these videos, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. And if you’d like to suggest a topic for a future video, please call us at 224-231-3733.

Written by Case Duckworth

Micro-Internships with Parker Dewey

One of the many casualties of the 2020 CoVid-19 pandemic has been the summer internship. What had been a valuable tool for college students to get their foot in the doors of well-paying and meaningful jobs, and for employers to find and vet new talent – the 10-week internship – has become nearly impossible to implement in the age of social distancing and working from home.

As with so many other aspects of our lives, CoVid-19 might have only exposed the existing flaws in the current internship methodology.  That’s what Jeffrey Moss, the CEO of Parker Dewey, thought when he founded the company in 2015. Parker Dewey pioneered the concept of what they call “micro-internships,” which are 5- to 40-hour assignments posted by companies that are open for college students and recent graduates (“Career Launchers,” in the Parker Dewey nomenclature). We at the Career Center recently heard about the program and listened to an interview with Moss, and have compiled a list of pros and cons to Parker Dewey and the micro-internship framework.

A note: The East Baton Rouge Library Career Center and its employees are in no way affiliated with Parker Dewey. We’re posting this to help our college student and recent graduate patrons who might be interested in working with Parker Dewey.

Pros

You get paid!

The cliché about college internships is that it’s a lot of running around, getting coffee and dry-cleaning, and not getting paid for it – you’re supposed to be grateful for getting your foot in the door. Parker Dewey gets rid of that – their business model is to act as a contractor for their client companies, hiring out for jobs that their clients don’t have the time or resources to do with their own employees. So they charge a fee to their clients, skim a percentage off the top, and pass the rest on to the workers – what they call “Career Launchers.”

You can try out different kinds of jobs.

In all the press we’ve read surrounding Parker Dewey – including the interview we sat in on – Moss relates the story of one of the college students working for him who compared micro-internships to dating. Doing short-term work – each job is between five and forty hours – for a multitude of different companies enables students, who are just starting their professional lives, to “play the field” of different industries, different roles, and different careers before deciding where they want to spend the bulk of their careers.

Parker Dewey is pretty hands-off after facilitating the meeting.

Even though student workers are paid by, and technically employees of, Parker Dewey, Moss said that they like to stay as hands-off as possible after giving the employer and worker each other’s contact information. If you work for a company and they want to hire you for something else afterward, or even ask you to join them full-time, they don’t have to go through Parker Dewey to do it – which is nice, especially when a lot of other online facilitating companies like Uber, Rover, etc., will kick users off if they continue their relationship outside their platforms.

Cons

It’s only open to college students and recent graduates.

The limitation to college students and graduates is pretty typical for internships, but it’s still a limiting factor here. Traditional internships also have technical reasons why they’re only open to students, such as their scheduling and lack of pay, but these micro-internships don’t share those limitations. In this light, limiting the hiring pool to just students and recent graduates seems artificial – there are plenty of older people or non-college-graduates who want to try a new career, or to make ends meet between jobs, and they’d benefit from micro-internships too. Maybe Parker Dewey is trying to keep the applicant pool small and manageable.

You are working for parker dewey, not the actual company.

When you enter your work at the micro-internships on your resume, you’ll need to use Parker Dewey’s name as the employer, since they’re technically who you worked for. In the interview with Jeffrey Moss we watched, he said you’re welcome to note the types of projects you did, and usually you can mention the companies you worked with there. But sometimes, you have to keep that secret too – so a micro-internship might not be as good for padding out your resume as a traditional internship can be.

So far as we can tell, Parker Dewey is the only company really in the micro-internship space.

While Parker Dewey seems like a good company that is “mission-focused” (Moss said that multiple times in his interview!) in providing students with quality internships, it would be good if they had some competition in the space. The only other one we could really find was something called Riipen, which seems more focused on providing a pipeline for schools – meaning it’s only available for students at universities who subscribe to their service. Parker Dewey, on the other hand, is open for anyone to use – we were even able to create an account, although we probably won’t get any micro-internships.

If you have worked with Parker Dewey before, or know of another micro-internship company, let us know!

Written by Case Duckworth