November YouTube Video Roundup

Another month, another Video Roundup for the Career Center’s YouTube page!  While you were busy cooking for your (socially-distanced) Thanksgiving holiday, we were cooking up some helpful and delicious videos to help you in your career!  Let’s have a look.

common job applications

How to apply for a job at circle k

Career Specialist Case Duckworth walks you through applying to the convenience store chain in this video.

how to apply for a job at whole foods

If you’d like to try your hand at organic grocery stocking, cashiering, or food preparation, this walkthrough, by Career Specialist Richard Wright, is for you.

how to apply for a job at popeye’s

If fast food is more your speed, Career Specialist Cynthia Payton has you covered.  In this video, she’ll walk you through the steps of applying to a job at Popeye’s Chicken.

work-at-home job boards

we work remotely: a Work-from-home website review

In this video, Career Coach Anne Nowak talks about the good and the not-so-good about working from home through We Work Remotely, a job board site that focuses on remote and work-from-home jobs.

resumes and cover letters

Cover letters 2.0

In this follow-up video to her [Introduction to Cover Letters] video, our Resume Coach, Lynnette Lee, shows you advanced techniques that will really make your cover letter stand out to employers.

moocs (massive open online courses)

coursera: an in-depth mooc review

In this first of his In-Depth Look at MOOCs series, Rick Wright walks you through Coursera, one of the more popular MOOCs on the Net.

udemy: an in-depth moc review

Udemy is a great online learning portal that’s free with your East Baton Rouge Parish Library card.  Rick shows you how to sign up and what goodies await in this video.

job interview questions

how to answer, “tell me about a time you went above expectations”

Job interviewers will routinely ask about your previous professional life, both the good and the bad, and you should be ready.  In this short role-play video by Anne and Lynnette, they show you good and bad answers to this question.

job search basics

how to file for unemployment in louisiana

During the pandemic, we at the Career Center have been seeing more and more people come into our office to apply for unemployment benefits.  While that’s not *exactly* our mission, we’ve been doing our best to help, and Anne has made this video walking you through the basics of filing for unemployment in Louisiana.

Written by Case Duckworth

October YouTube Video Roundup

We’ve been fairly busy this month on our YouTube channel – we’ve uploaded more seminars and application walkthroughs, we’ve posted a video about a new offering from Microsoft, and we’ve started a new playlist for our Spanish-speaking patrons! Read on to see just what we’ve been up to in October.

Resumes and Cover Letters

special resume rules for ex-offenders

If you have a criminal record, creating your resume may be especially challenging. Certified Resume Writer Lynnette Lee talks you through the best approaches in this video, including choosing a template, handling an unstable work history, and disguising your incarceration.

ATS: Avoid the black hole

When you apply for a job, you’ll usually be entered into what’s known as an Applicant tracking system, or ATS: software that companies use to store, sort and search through applicants. Sometimes, it can feel like a black hole – but not if you know how to avoid the pitfalls. In this video, Certified Career Coach Anne Nowak talks about what ATS is, how it works, and how to structure your resume to ensure you’re seen.

Videos in Spanish / en Español

Contreseñas buenas

For our Spanish-speaking patrons, Career Specialist André de la Fuente has translated the Creating good passwords video. It covers the basics of password usage, and gives tips on how to think of strong, easy-to-remember passwords.

Para nuestros usuarios de habla hispana, el especialista en carreras André de la Fuente ha traducido el vídeo titulado Creating good passwords. Parece que cada aplicación de trabajo tiene requisitos diferentes para las contraseñas. El proceso puede ser confuso. Pero no te preocupes – este vídeo te guiará a través de los pasos para crear una buena contraseña.

Career Success

Advance your career with MOOCs

Career Specialist Rick Wright’s seminar on popular Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOCs, shows you how to learn new skills for free or a much lower cost than traditional education, but with many of the same benefits. Rick covers four of the biggest MOOC platforms in this video: CourseraEdXUdacity, and Udemy.

Advance your career with Microsoft and LinkedIn Learning Certifications

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us are out of work or looking for a new career that’s more remote-friendly. Microsoft, LinkedIn, and GitHub have put together a new resource that’s free or reduced-price for a limited time, which provides training and certifications in a number of tech-related and remote-first fields that have been growing recently. Career Specialist Case Duckworth takes you on a short tour of the portal in this video.

Job Search Basics

Email etiquette for the job search

Everybody uses email nowadays, especially hiring managers. If you want to be hired, you’ll need to know and execute good email etiquette. In this video, Certified Resume Writer Lynnette Lee provides tips on everything from creating a good email address to formatting and writing emails to make the best e-impression.

Common Job Application Tutorials

How to apply for a job with the US Postal Service

In this video, Career Specialist Cynthia Payton walks you through the surprisingly involved application process to the USPS. Be sure to watch it if you’re interested in a pretty stable career in a quasi-governmental organization.

How to apply for a job with Target

Career Specialist Cynthia Payton walks through the process of applying to retail giant Target through their website in this video.

Written by Case Duckworth

Covid Killed Your Career?  Rejuvenate It with a “Reboot”

If you’ve been laid off due to COVID, don’t miss this valuable opportunity to gain new job skills at a reduced cost through the Reboot Your Career Program.

What is it?

The Reboot Your Career program is designed to support workers who may be unemployed due to COVID-19 to re-train for available jobs on high-wage career pathways. Governor John Bel Edwards prioritized federal CARES Act funding for this critical initiative, which is available now through the spring of 2021.  So act fast!!! Learn more at their website.

How does it work?

Some of the great aspects of this program include:

  • Reduced tuition
  • No application fees
  • Short term training

After completion of the program and upon receipt of certification of completion there are monies set aside to reimburse tuition costs from $300 to $350 through EmployBR. Some of the most coveted programs within the craft division even include NCCER certifications.

What programs are offered?

There is a wide variety of in-demand training opportunities including: healthcare, transportation and logistics, information technology, manufacturing, construction, and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers.

You could get trained to become a nursing assistant, medical records and health information IT specialist, automotive body repairer, heavy equipment and tractor-trailer operator, truck driver, web developer, welder, structural metal fabricator, carpenter, electrician, or wastewater treatment plant operator, to name only a few.

A listing of all careers within this program is available here.

How do i apply?

To apply contact Ethel Germany at germanye@mybrcc.edu

Written by Cynthia Payton

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

Career Pathways Program Returns!

Would you like to go back to school for more career skills training, but you just can’t afford it?

Three years ago, we wrote a blogpost about the Urban League’s Career Pathways Program, an innovative program that provided participants funding for college and vocational school. Today, we are pleased to announce the return of the Career Pathways Program!

Who’s doing it?

The Career Pathways Program is sponsored by the Office of Workforce Development, a department of the Urban League of Louisiana, which is the local chapter of the nonprofit National Urban League.

What help do they offer?

  • Tuition assistance towards an associate’s degree or vocational certification from Baton Rouge Community College or a local accredited vocational school.
  • Meetings with a personal case manager to help you determine your career path and monitor your progress during the schooling.
  • In-depth job skills training on subjects like resume writing and job interviews to help you find a job in your new field once you graduate.

What kinds of degrees do they help with?

The program is only available for degrees/certifications in high-demand industries, including:

  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Computer & Information Technology
  • NCCER Construction
  • Customer Service
  • Retail

How do I register and qualify?

The Baton Rouge office is currently accepting applicants. To register, you can:

  • Pre-apply online at www.urbanleaguela.org/strive
  • Call (225) 831-1501
  • Visit them at 445 N. 12th St. in downtown Baton Rouge.

To qualify, you will need to:

  • Provide the following documentation: a state-issued ID, your Social Security card, your birth certificate, proof of residence, and proof of income.
  • Take a TABE assessment, which Urban League will provide.
  • Agree to complete 4 weeks of career readiness skills training at the Urban League office.

Written by Lynnette Lee

College Scholarships: What You Need to Know

The Career Center recently hosted a seminar on helpful tips when applying for scholarships. Guest presenter Meagan Davenport, an academic counselor with experience in college advising, offered insights about what she has learned throughout her experience of interacting with high school students. Here are some of the main takeaways in case you missed it:

why is this important?

Paying for college is a problem that has become all too common. Students are taking out more loans in order to get a degree that is needed in today’s workforce. In 2018, the average student graduated college with at least $37,000 in loans with an interest rate of 5%. Scholarships have become more necessary as the struggle to pay for college grows. Applying to scholarships can relieve some of the financial burdens of going to college.

When do I start looking for scholarships?

You should ideally start looking at scholarships at the beginning of your senior year. There are scholarships available at the beginning of the year that continue yearlong. The earlier you are able to start applying for scholarships, the more scholarships you will be able to apply to.

Helpful tips:

This is all a numbers game. The more scholarships you apply for, the more money you could potentially be awarded. It gets easier after your first 7 applications. Make a deadline list or calendar to keep track of all of the scholarship due dates. This will help you prioritize your scholarship applications.

Start with the easiest ones to fill out. There are some scholarships for which you only need to fill in your information without any essay, recommendation letter, or other attachments. These are less time consuming and can easily be completed in one sitting. When you are on a scholarship website, fill out the optional questions and use the filters. Students who do this are twice as likely to find more scholarships.

Do not be afraid of those small amount scholarships. These are less competitive scholarships, so you have a better chance of winning small amounts. Every dollar you receive in scholarships can help. Those small amounts can easily help pay for textbooks.

Apply to the essay scholarships! Considering a lot of students do not like to write essays, there is a smaller selection pool for these opportunities. This gives you a higher chance of earning money for college. The essay should fit the theme of the scholarship and should include personal aspects, such as achievements, issues you feel strongly about, academic plans or major of study, or mentors and influences in your life. Make the structure and foundation of your essay reusable so that you do not have to write a whole new essay for each scholarship.

Have a professional email address to use for scholarships as well as college applications. Clean up your social media as well. Although colleges may not look at your social media accounts, some of your college jobs or work study opportunities might. It is just good practice to have a clean social media account and email address.

online resources:

Beware of scam websites! You should never have to pay money to get scholarship money. These are not true scholarship websites. You can also connect with your school counselor about local scholarship opportunities.

Here are some legitimate scholarship websites that are very user-friendly and helpful:

Written by Meagan Davenport

Freshman Year for Free™

Do you want to get the equivalent of a year of college for free?

This might just be possible through the relatively new and innovative non-profit organization Modern States Education Alliance. Modern States is not a college and does not grant college credit directly. Instead they are taking advantage of the college credit by exam system, such as Advanced Placement (AP) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP). https://modernstates.org/freshman-year-free/

how it works

Modern States partnered with top universities and created online courses that prepare students for the AP and CLEP exams. The online courses claim to teach in a few weeks what the same college courses would take one or two semesters to achieve. These online classes are basically test prep courses. However, it is entirely free to register and take them. After completing a class it is then up to the student to register for and take the respective AP or CLEP exam on their own. Through a voucher system Modern States will reimburse the exam fees. This way it is possible to take a year’s worth of college credit entirely for free. Take a look https://modernstates.org/about-us/who-we-are/

a word of caution

Modern States is open about not every college accepting AP and CLEP credits. They include a feature on the website where you can check which university accepts those credits, and, in the case of AP, what the minimum acceptable score is. https://modernstates.org/affiliated-universities/universities/  In any case it is recommended that you check with your college of choice directly also. While some colleges do accept CLEP and AP, they might be limiting the number of credits they are willing to honor. Or they might accept AP/CLEP for Biology but not for Calculus for example. The website will not go into such detail for each institution.

advantages

Regardless of the above concerns, this is a legitimate way for many students to start working towards a college degree. It can be useful to current high school students or recent grads, as well as adults who are looking to start college for the first time or continue their previously interrupted studies. Current college students who wish to get through their degree faster than the normal four years could benefit from this initiative as well.

If you are unsure where your college or career path will take you, the Career Center can help. You can call us at 225-231-3733 or visit in person at 7711 Goodwood Blvd. We also have a number of CLEP study guides available for checkout.

Written by Anne Nowak