We provide career coaching to college students, new graduates. I have a 10 year background in corporate HR, and 15 years as an executive recruiter prior to starting this business two years ago. I understand what hiring managers want and how to prepare candidates to be successful in the marketplace. My partner is a career coach and Assistant Professor at Keene State College.

Edit: I had a technical problem for about 30mins. I am back now! Edit2: Still having technical problems but I am still answering as of 6:15! Proof: https://twitter.com/sue_launchingu/status/489576323946266624 https://twitter.com/sue_launchingu/status/490916204018544641

Comments: 109 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

K_Loggins12 karma

I have a number of questions but, in the interest of time, you can choose which you'd most prefer to answer.

  1. Is it a waste of time applying for jobs on sites like indeed/monster etc.? I have read that less than 3% of jobs are filled through this avenue.

  2. Do you believe Universities are behind the times. Recently it was reported that 100% of graduates from technical schools were being placed in full time employment, whereas 40% of college grads are either unemployed, underemployed, or working jobs that do not require a degree at all.

  3. Do you think college is truly worth it for everyone? As far as I can tell, there is large contingent of people who are objectively worse off because they went to college due to no career prospects and heavy debt.

  4. Because so many people are at the point where they would do literally anything for a job, employers can now pay exceedingly low wages. How do you view this issue?

Thank you for doing this, there are a lot of very cynical and depressed people out there that are dying for any advice.

LaunchingU_Founder7 karma

I don't think it is a total waste of time to use the job boards, but you have to realize that they are a very low yield activity. If you are going to use them remember: 1. Don't waste your time applying for jobs unless you are out of central casting in terms of the job requirements. If you don't have exactly what they are looking you are not going to get a response. I do think the hire rate is a bit better than 3%. In part it depends on the level of the job. 2. Don't take it personally when you don't hear back from posts that you sent in. Recruiters are completely overwhelmed with resumes. There is no excuse for not getting something that tells you that your material got to them and then another email telling you when the job is filled but you just have to remember that it is a low percentage shot. 3. Job boards are useful in giving you a sense of how the company thinks about a given role, what key responsibilities there are in a position etc. So if you have targeted a company as being a place you really want to work, one valuable thing to do is to look at the job postings to understand more about the skills and experience that they value. Then figure out how to network your way into the company.

I will try and circle back to your other questions later.

LaunchingU_Founder3 karma

I don't think it is a total waste of time to use the job boards, but you have to realize that they are a very low yield activity. If you are going to use them remember: 1. Don't waste your time applying for jobs unless you are out of central casting in terms of the job requirements. If you don't have exactly what they are looking you are not going to get a response. I do think the hire rate is a bit better than 3%. In part it depends on the level of the job. 2. Don't take it personally when you don't hear back from posts that you sent in. Recruiters are completely overwhelmed with resumes. There is no excuse for not getting something that tells you that your material got to them and then another email telling you when the job is filled but you just have to remember that it is a low percentage shot. 3. Job boards are useful in giving you a sense of how the company thinks about a given role, what key responsibilities there are in a position etc. So if you have targeted a company as being a place you really want to work, one valuable thing to do is to look at the job postings to understand more about the skills and experience that they value. Then figure out how to network your way into the company.

I will try and circle back to your other questions later.

escherbach9 karma

Which college subjects have the biggest over-supply of graduates vs demand from employers?

LaunchingU_Founder11 karma

You know this changes all the time and varies by location etc. Right at the moment for example lawyers are having a tough time. In the Northeast, people in manufacturing are finding it tough to find entry level jobs. But this is not how I think about the relationship between college degrees and employment. I think people should study what they love and that if they are willing to do the work and learn how their skills connect to jobs, build their network and become an excellent candidate, they can get a job in any field.

I was shown a great example the other day. A young woman had majored in Ancient Languages (not 100% sure that was the name of the major). She loved languages of all kinds and along the way had gotten interested in computer languages. She applied for an IT job and made a brilliant case in the interview that her facility with languages meant she was going to pick this up really fast. They hired her.

escherbach3 karma

Good for her!

btw you have enabled code formatting in your intro paragraph. This happens if you put 4 or more spaces at the beginning of the line:

 this text is now formatted as code and scrolls all the way across the screen even if you don't want it to :-) abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789


LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

Thanks, is it fixed?

Hawkingsfootballboot7 karma

A lot of people recommend not bothering applying for jobs on job boards; it is futile. Instead, they recommend building your network through volunteering, interning etc. For a lot of us, we need to pay the bills which means taking a low-wage job. This means working full-time with no financial wiggle room. How are we supposed to build our network?

LaunchingU_Founder4 karma

Job boards are not futile but they are very low yield and not enough to make a job search successful. And I get it - many people don't have the option of doing a low paying on unpaid internship etc. But there are lots of other ways to build a network that can help you. Here are some thoughts. Since I don't know where you are in your career I am assuming for this reply that you are an early career professional.

Create an Excel spreadsheet with the name and contact information of every professional person you know. This should include your professors, any ex-bosses and colleagues, your aunts, uncles and cousins as well as your parents friends and your friends parents. Star the ones with connections to your field.

Start reaching out to them and telling them that you are attempting to get into ____ field and share a bit about the experience you do have here - even if it is only the courses you took in school. Ask them if they would be willing to spend 20 minutes with you doing an informational interview so that you can learn how they built their careers and get advice from them on how to best move forward. Please take a look at the blogs from my website listed below regarding how/why to do informational interviews. These conversations can be invaluable.

Also find the associations and other groups associated with your field and join the ones closest to you locally. Get involved in their activities - most of them will be after normal working hours.

I know how challenging it can be but if you are persistent in building and working your network you can find a way into your field.

Zhurial2 karma

This is exactly what I did. My school has a database with all alumni, their degree, employer, etc. I contacted close to 100 with a 22% response rate. I asked for information on getting in to the industry, and I ended up with a dream job

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

Terrific thank you very much for sharing your networking story and congrats on getting a dream job!

smilenowgirl5 karma

What is your advice for finding a job in a small town that doesn't necessarily have a big industry for it? I have a film and writing degree and I cannot find any writing or film jobs. I do not want to move to LA or New York, however. I am currently a cashier.

LaunchingU_Founder5 karma

You don't have to move to LA or NYC to build a successful career in the film industry (if that is in fact what you want to do, many people pursue careers outside of their majors), we know many people in our small city that write and make films right here. We even have our own film festival!

If there are no building blocks in your town for a film career you may have to make a geographic move, but it doesn't necessarily have to be to the big city. In fact, many smaller production houses in out-of-the-way places have a hard time finding qualified employees and would be happy to hear from someone with your expertise.

At the end of the day you'll need to weigh your commitment to film against your commitment to your current town.

We encourage you to network heavily with people in your industry. Your college's career center should help you as an alum, and may be able to introduce you to alumni from your college that are already successful in the film industry. You may need to offer to volunteer your time at first in order to network your way into a full-time job.

PurpEL5 karma

Have you noticed the graduates having a hard time getting a job are not looking beyond their home town?

LaunchingU_Founder4 karma

Actually we have found that many new grads are relatively open to relocation if there they can connect with a company that has a great opportunity and will relocate a new hire. Very large companies with strong new grad hiring programs are willing to relocate early career professionals but beyond these companies it can be really challenging to get hired for a position across the country as a new graduate.

We know students who in the spirit of adventure have relocated to an area where they want to live and then found jobs there. It seems to have worked well for them! We encourage our students/new grads to be open to opportunities wherever they are - jump in and get started!

sarelcor5 karma

I'm 6 years out of college - I graduated with a BA in English Lit, with a concentration in editing/publishing (with internships and 2 years experience in that field). I do not have a teaching certificate.

I was living in the Midwest with few to no opportunities in my field, so started working as a pharmacy tech to survive. I've been trying to get back into my field since graduation, but have only been able to get pharmacy-related job interviews, even after moving the Dallas metro area.

Going back to school is not an option, as I'm already weighed down heavily with student debt and barely making ends meet as it is. I really do not want to spend the rest of my life as a tech - I've already improved things by accepting a position in pharmacy billing, but the brightest parts of my day are when I'm given tasks that involve my English skillset - particularly when I was recently asked to rewrite, edit, and format a cross-training for my department.

Am I pretty much out of luck getting back into publishing after 6 years? Or is there something I can incorporate into my resume that will get me more than the standard "Thanks, but no thanks" rejection email?

LaunchingU_Founder3 karma

I don't think you are "out of luck" for getting back into publishing, but that is a shrinking industry and I am not sure that Dallas is a hot spot for publishing. But - there are certainly a lot of roles that require excellent written and verbal communication skills that you can position yourself towards. I am thinking of positions in communications, human resources, marketing etc. These kinds of roles are important in both corporate and non-profit type of organizations.

When you are looking to transition from one career area into another one you need to network with as many people as possible to get help on making that transition. You may need to look for opportunities to offer pro bono services for awhile, if you are new to the area, as a way to build up your contacts.

Certainly look for more opportunities to do the kind of cross-training projects you referenced above and make sure that they are prominently displayed on your resume. Also, if you are currently in a large company, think of asking to talk with human resources about opportunities to make a lateral move into roles that are more aligned with your career goals. Look at postings on their job board and offer examples of positions you might be interested in. Good Luck!

_LondonCalling_5 karma


LaunchingU_Founder3 karma

Hi - can you tell me what your degree is in, how you did in school and what you want to be doing?

_LondonCalling_8 karma


LaunchingU_Founder2 karma

I know many young people who are not attached to a specific career area but share you desire to work with smart people in a creative environment. You have lots of choices - but you do have to choose.

There are creative businesses or non-profits with smart people in them but you need to focus on a skill that brings value to these areas. Your English degree says you can write and probably communicate well verbally and there are plenty of roles in that need those skills but you need to sit down in a chair and get engaged.

I would start by finding companies or non-profits that you are interested in, then figure out the kind of openings they have and be willing to take an entry level position to get in the door. Go for the meaning first in that it seems to be what motivates you. Also start networking to find people with connections to that business. You will need a very positive, 'put me in coach' elevator speech as part of how you sell yourself into that environment.

Last point - office work (unless it is connected to a business that matters to you), dog training and waitressing are not likely to bring enough challenge/creativity to you to keep you engaged. Figure out something that you would be doing if money were not an issue and go pursue that. You have the support of your family so make this time count!

PlayItOffLegitt5 karma

What is your best advice for a recent college graduate with a broad degree such as psychology or communications?

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

Start by narrowing down your career interests through informational interviews and job shadowing. Ask everyone you know in those fields about their work experiences, what they do day in and day out, what they like, don't like etc. Think about your own strengths and experiences and and what you enjoy doing everyday.

Now you have to begin to tailor your resume to specific areas within these fields and learn how to tell stories about your experience that connect with the requirements of the positions.

Now you are ready to ask your network to begin connecting you with people in the field who may be in a position to hire you. Good Luck!

pericardia5 karma

I just graduated from college and just started applying to for jobs in the career path of my dreams! However, my parents did not want me to work while I was in school, so I have NO outside job experience (other than as a research assistant for the university I attended).

Would it be wise to, while I am living at home and looking for a job I love, look for a temp job? How do I go about doing that? What is the typical type of payment for that job? Etc. Thank you!

LaunchingU_Founder3 karma

Hi - first of all the research assistant role counts as work experience. So make it as big as you can on your resume without feeling like you are misrepresenting it. List your responsibilities, any accomplishments and the skills your developed.

in terms of how to best use these next few months, if your parents are able to support you for a bit longer, this is a very good time to consider doing an internship, that may be low-paying or unpaid but will be in your field. I don't know what your career path is (feel free to let me know!) but anything you can do to gain experience right now would be very helpful. Also think about joining associations relevant to your field and offering your services pro-bono for short project based work.

If you need to get a job right away, or you don't get a great job by the end of the year then it is important to have some type of job on your resume. It can be part-time from a resume stand point. If you have administrative skills there are probably temp agencies in your town that can help you find work like that - and the market is not as bad as it was a year ago. Good Luck!

indiealternative4 karma

Hello, and thanks for taking the time to post an AMA!

I'm currently in my final year studying business and economics for my undergraduate degree. I have some experience, a decent resume, and have practiced professional skills and interviews often. However, I'm finding it extremely, overwhelmingly difficult to find internships. Is networking the best way to get in? I'm also interested in HR but have been unable to get into a HR internship as well.

LaunchingU_Founder3 karma

I am going share some thoughts, and yes most of them will involve networking, but it would also be helpful to know what you have already tried. But here you go: 1. The squeaky wheel gets the grease on campus so work your connections at school hard. Professors have contacts in their field of study and if you are a strong student they should be willing to introduce you to people and help you get an internship. Career services should be able to help and some colleges have strong alumni networks that are willing to help students with internships as well as job opportunities 2. Think about contacting the Chamber of Commerce in your town and ask them if you can offer your services to their members. This is especially appealing to them if you need little or no compensation for the internship – but be honest regarding what you need. Make up a sales pitch for yourself and ask them to send it out. 3. Consider doing the same thing for a local Small Business Association. 4. Don’t forget non-profits. They are always starved for resources and you may well get a shot at a meaty project. I would call the Director of the non-profit directly and make sure to do your homework on them before you place the call.
5. Make a list of all the professionals you know in the region where you want to do your internship. Create an elevator pitch about what you are trying to do and call them or email them explaining what you are looking for and ask them if you can spend a few minutes on the phone with them getting their advice.

GenericAtheist3 karma

What is your perspective on the value of a masters/graduate degree in today's workforce?

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

It depends. Sorry, I know that's a frustrating answer! I have two graduate degrees and would not be qualified for my amazing career as a college professor without them.

Many professional fields require a degree, and if you are quite sure you want to go into that field you'll need to get the degree. In other cases is not quite as clear the value of the degree.

If you don't know what field you want to go into, the worst thing you could do would be to jump in a get a graduate degree. It's much better to get actual experience in a field and really know exactly what you want to do and the reasons you need a degree before jumping in.

If you tell me what your field is and what degree you're considering, I'd be happy to offer more specific advice.

GenericAtheist1 karma

I'll be teaching elementary education and English abroad for 2 years as I've just recently graduated with a bachelor in linguistics and teaching English as a second language. I'm considering getting my masters in teaching English as a second language as while job searching I saw that there was a significant difference in pay with and without it. I would also not have to pay tuition, but it would just be 2 years I'd have to put in schooling again.

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

Right it would be 2 years of school but it is free and am I correct in assuming that you would be able to do it part-time while you work abroad? If you have the band width to take that on it is a fantastic opportunity to build some very marketable skills.

Giefbeef3 karma

Hi Susan,

Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA. I'm a 29 year old who's just finished a masters in marketing. I undertook this masters to re-orientate myself career wise. I've been working with small firms on their marketing on a pro-bono basis while I've been in college, but I lack experience working in larger companies. I'm worried that my age and relative lack of experience will make me unattractive to corporate employers. Is that fear realistic and is there anything I can do to make myself more attractive to a corporate employer?

LaunchingU_Founder4 karma

you are welcome! Can you give me a bit more information re: what your undergraduate degree is in, what work you have done and the type of work you have done pro-bono? I don't think your age is an issue.

Giefbeef2 karma

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I'm glad to hear that you don't think age will be an issue.

My undergraduate degree was in Economics, Politics, and Law. I worked for 2 years as a personal assistant in a business consultancy which dealt mainly with SMEs. While working there, I learned a lot about business in general, as well as how small firms operate.

I've spent the past 2 years working as the secretary for a small chamber of commerce. That role has been very versatile, and has included sales, PR, marketing and event management work. It was a very hands-on job, and gave me quite a breadth of experience.

I've worked pro-bono with a local gym who had very little in the way of structured marketing. I helped them to design and implement a marketing plan. I still help them plan and run Facebook marketing campaigns on a monthly basis, as well as assisting them in content creation.

I've also worked pro-bono with a local election candidate, who was ultimately successful in his campaign. I helped him structure his campaign, as well as running his social media presence and creating his content.

LaunchingU_Founder2 karma

You have certainly done a range of things and that work in addition to your advanced degree give you some nice credentials. My guess is it has also given you some good connections. One thing that can surprise people about their connections though is you absolutely have to ask them for the help you want/need. They typically aren't paying enough attention to figure it out for themselves.

I would start by listing all the connections that you have - put them on an Excel spreadsheet and include their contact info and how you know them. Although having people in marketing on that list is helpful, cast a wide net because someone who is a CFO in a company will know marketing people. Craft a short elevator speech about what you are looking to do and what your experience in that area has been. Ask them if you can come talk with them (offer to bring the coffee!) and talk about how you can transition from your current role to one that is more clearly in a marketing function. Tell them you are especially interested in getting into a larger company.

Ask them for advice/feedback on your resume and on your presentation. Ask them to be candid. Ask them questions about how they got started, who they really respect in the marketing field locally and most importantly, ask them if there are other people that they think it would be useful for you to talk with about your career goals. If they give you names ask them if you can use their name when you contact the person they are suggesting to you. You should also ask to connect with them on LinkedIn - and shout out to everyone looking for a job - you should be on LinkedIn - if you aren't already connected with them. Ask them if you can keep in touch with them about how the search is going. Within 24 hours of the meeting send them a thank you email.

I recommend that you do dozens of these - let the world know what you are looking for. You will also hopefully get useful feedback on your resume and your presentation in meetings/interviews.

In terms of packaging your self for a corporate employer - look on the websites of the companies that you are interested in at their job postings. That let's you see how they structure their marketing roles and you can figure out how to connect your experience to the jobs they are looking for. In your resume the more you can quantify the impact of your marketing work, whether it was paid or free, the better it will look.

I hope this was helpful and I am rooting for you!

Moon15002 karma


LaunchingU_Founder2 karma

Hi Moon1500

I took a look. In general it connected me to a range of jobs that were in my interest areas but it was pretty general in it's analysis I think. It may be helpful to someone who is really just getting started. How have you used it and what about it was helpful to you?

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

I have not run into it but will take a look and let you know what I think during the week. Thanks for the suggestion.

TryNstopME0242 karma

Any advice for someone who recently started college at 28?

LaunchingU_Founder5 karma

Congratulations - you are in a fantastic position to get the most out of your college education. By all means use your experience and understanding of yourself to guide your class selections and eventual major. Professors will be happy to have someone more mature, with depth of life experience, contributing to the class. Get to know your professors, contribute liberally and encourage younger students to rise to your level of engagement with the course material. Keep your network from previous jobs and experience alive as they may be useful down the road.

pericardia2 karma

Also, I received a 3.95 GPA in college and graduated summa. I have been putting summa down on my resume, but should I be putting my GPA as well?

LaunchingU_Founder3 karma

Well you are a rock star! By all means put both on your resume. Although they both refer to the same accomplishment you get to put it up twice.

jesklash2 karma

I have a Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance and a lot of experience with office work and administrative duties, but don't tend to hear back after sending resumes, is there a creative way to spin my degree to make me more marketable? Or any general advice for those with degrees in the fine arts? Thank you so much for your time!

LaunchingU_Founder2 karma

What kind of work are you looking for now? Do you want work relevant to your degree or are you trying to move into more of an office setting? Write me back so I can offer some direction that is focused on what you are trying to do.

jesklash1 karma

I would love to find some sort of work in arts administration, but I don't often hear back from those positions. I'm interested in any kind of receptionist/assistant work in the present. Also, thank you so much for taking the time to respond!

LaunchingU_Founder2 karma

I am going to sound like a broken record here - but since you are wanting to move into somewhat of a new field then responding to a posting etc. is unlikely to be a successful route for you. I would start to target some organizations that you want to move into and then start going on informational interviews with people who can introduce you to someone who can introduce you to someone in that field. I have written several responses here about informational interviews to network your way into a role, but you can also find several blogs on our website that talk about how to do them and why they are important.

In terms of the receptionist/assistant work, is there any experience in your past, in school even that you can use to show that you have skills in these areas? If not consider doing some pro bono work to get something on your resume. Good luck!

jesklash1 karma

Thank you much, I appreciate you coming back to give advice.

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

no worries - good luck!

SomeCallMeWaffles2 karma

For-profit colleges have a reputation that it's hard to over look. Do employers tend to have a negative view on for-profit graduates?

LaunchingU_Founder5 karma

We have a negative view (unfortunately) of many of these schools. However, that may not be the case for all employers. Are you considering a for-profit because of the higher acceptance rate? It may be better to attend a community college first, and then transfer into a non-for-profit four-year college.

If you are going to, or are currently attending a for-profit college then maintaining a high GPA, getting and being successful at great internships, and holding other leadership positions on campus are critically important.

SomeCallMeWaffles3 karma

I attended a for profit college and got an associates degree at the high price that comes along with such colleges. I graduated about a year and a half ago and just now got a job in my field (web programming). I had a hard time finding a job and ultimately it was networking that won a position.

Now that things are stable I'm thinking about a four year degree. I can't imagine another two years at the same for profit is going to help me much, but I'm pushing 30 and not sure my past academics are up to snuff. I barely passes high school but I got 3.5 in my for profit two year degree.

Am I best off with private collage again, a community college degree that is only tangentially related (all the local school offers), or continued efforts in self improvement and networking?

LaunchingU_Founder6 karma

Don't assume you can't move into a non-profit four year college. If you had a 3.5 in your previous program I believe a four year program will take you.

But before you invest more money to get that four year degree I would get out and talk with all kinds of people who are in the kinds of roles that you are interested in getting into in 5-10 years and see whether the four year degree is going to be important to that goal. It could be that in your field additional certifications or technical training will end up being more valuable. By all means continue to network and develop relationships in your field. If you have a moment can you share here how you used networking to get into your current role?

DaSchmorgisborg2 karma

How important is GPA compared to involvement with other things like internships?

LaunchingU_Founder5 karma

They are all critically important! Keep your GPA as high as you can. If it's late in the game, and your GPA is lower, try to raise your GPA for your final year or semester. Internships are the next most important thing you can do to make yourself a strong candidate. Your internships should provide REAL on-the-job experience, not just busywork. Internships allow a hiring manager to see you in a work environment, and they provide a proven track record of you as an employee.

Whether it's your internship, or your GPA or your college activities, what is important is that you can tell a story of accomplishment that is relevant to the job you're looking at. Part of building a resume is highlighting the stronger aspects and downplaying the weaker components.


What kind of goals do your most successful students/grads have, from what you can see?

LaunchingU_Founder3 karma

Our most successful students/grads have clarified what they are looking for through introspection, networking, job shadowing, etc. They keep their goals somewhat flexible but focused. They start career planning early and put time and energy into job and career planning along with finishing their coursework. We have seen some students cut back their time on extracurricular activities in recognition that they need to dedicate time each week for career development.

Once you have clear goals, it's building a network, building a resume, getting really good at interviewing - it's developing a plan and working the plan. It's not rocket science, but it is work (we think it's fun work!) and it requires focus to be successful in moving from college into career.

b0rn2sparkle2 karma

I completed 2 of the 3 calc classes and am beginning to take starter chem and bio classes. I am aiming to become a cardiac surgeon but am not sure what jobs I should look for before med school to give me a good headstart. Do you think I would have a better chance going to school through the air force or volunteering at a hospital (or any other suggestions)?

LaunchingU_Founder2 karma

It sounds like to us that you are early in your college career - is that correct? If so the next couple of years will tell you a lot about whether you want to go to med school or not. In addition to taking the required courses (and doing well in them) we suggest that you do a ton of networking with physicians in a variety of medical disciplines, including cardiac surgery. Ask people in the networks you develop if they will do informational interviews with you. Include professors in this process. See our blog (links below) for more information on informational interviews. Through this process you will get a lot more information about the best internships, volunteer opportunities and other steps you can take to maximize your career potential in the medical field.



khowabunga2 karma

What is the best advice you could give to incoming college freshmen?

LaunchingU_Founder5 karma

I love talking to incoming freshmen!

First I tell them that their grades do matter. I know so many students that have gotten off to a really slow start their freshmen year and then spend the rest of their time at school catching up. They won't matter five years after you graduate but they do matter in getting that first job.

I tell them to explore. Unless they have known since they were 10 that they wanted to be a Vacuum Repair Technician, I suggest that they spread their wings and take some classes that they are interested in but have not really explored. Part of exploring is also going over to Career Services and letting them help you with career interest testing. I know that everyone loves to hate career services on campus, and they are not all created equal, but they all have something to offer in this vein.

Get to know your Professors. There is a ton they can do for you to help you zero in on what you want to do when you graduate and they can connect you with people in your eventual field of interest.

and...don't leave your laundry in the machine. -SH

boogieidm2 karma

How rewarding is your job?

LaunchingU_Founder6 karma

It is incredibly rewarding. I decided to do this because my clients knew my background and asked me to talk to their kids who were graduating and didn't seem to know how to make the move into the workforce. It turned out that there were often such simple things they could do to focus in on what they loved, get people to be interested in helping them and find a job where they can thrive. I found myself paying more and more attention to this work, and now it is my career. I made this move because I love this work.

boogieidm2 karma

That's the best comment.

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

Thanks, I think so too!

msx81 karma

How is your work impacted, if at all, by some recent graduates' high student loan debt?

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

The reality of high levels of debt has a significant impact on our work as students can feel very panicked if they don't find something right away. We work hard to get students to focus on these issues well before they graduate so that their ability to pursue their dreams is not completely curtailed by the reality of their debt. There is so much students can do before the graduate to make themselves more marketable and building a strong network is a good place to start.

msx81 karma

There is so much students can do before the graduate to make themselves more marketable and building a strong network is a good place to start.

Thanks for answering. I think this is a really good piece of advice -- networking is key. What else can students do to make themselves more marketable?

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

They can have real accomplishment stories from their prior work experience or their activities at college. Hiring managers need help in believing that new graduates are going to bring value to the role. They would much rather hire someone with 2+ years experience. But, if you can show them on your resume and in the interview that you have found a way to bring value to the jobs or the roles that you have had on campus you start to stand out. Even the most mundane jobs provide opportunities to make an impact. I know a young woman who scooped ice cream locally, doesn't get more mundane than that but she was a marketing major and she recommended some marketing ideas to the owner. He implemented them, they helped and she was able to point to work she did that grew a small business. That kind of thing is gold on a resume and in an interview.

madisonlib1 karma

What types of services do you offer?

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

We do one-one coaching with our clients. Occasionally we do some small group sessions but mostly it we work individually. We work face to face when geography permits and via Skype or the phone when it doesn't. Our initial session is free and it lets us get a strong picture of what our client wants and what work will be most helpful. We then create a road map with our clients that outlines the work that will help them become a strong candidate. This typically includes helping them get clear on their career objectives, build a network, develop a strong and compelling resume and develop great interview skills.Then we work the plan!

somepurduefan1 karma

Hi. I have two bachelor degrees from Purdue. A BA in Psychology, and a BS in interdisciplinary science. I graduated with the most recent degree in 2006. I've been applying for professional jobs since 2000. Not only do I not get interviews. I don't get even a response. This has led me to work low wage jobs such as telemarketing, customer service, data entry and so on. My current job is a part time temp data entry job I've been doing it for almost 2 years. There is no opportunity for advancement nor being hired on full time. How can I improve my odds of getting a salary paying job? Graduate school is not an option.

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

Thank you for writing to us. We know that there are many people in your position, and we consider it an honor to be able to try to help you in any way that we can.

First, as of today, your temp job is just what you do to earn money - but your primary job is learning about yourself, researching jobs and careers, and getting your career on track. I suggest being very organized about this - start a binder where you collect information on various careers, jobs and organizations that sound interesting to you. As you talk to people and network, save notes on each conversation. Track your connections and stay in touch with your network as it builds.

If you can, try to view the last years in a positive light. I'm sure you've gained a lot of varied skills and have success stories. Write down everything that has been positive about every job you've had - what you learned about yourself, other people, and how to work hard and efficiently.

Most jobs today are found through networking, rather than through blind job applications. So networking is critical as you move forward. Tell everyone you know that you are ready to make a change and ask for their help in finding connections that might lead to a professional career. When you learn about specific job openings, you'll need to do the work of determining how your personality and previous experience qualify you for that job. Then you'll need to tell that story clearly and with confidence to those who are in a position to help you get that job!

We wish you all the best of luck and are pulling for you!

OreoBlizzard121 karma

Hello, Susan and Emily! Gosh, I hope you're still available to answer questions.

What is your advice to someone who doesn't know exactly what they want to do in life? I'm 21 and I've graduated college with a BA in Business Admin back in December 2013, and feel so lost. Are there any exercises I can do or websites to go to to find what careers might work for my interests and personality type?

Thank you both so much!!

LaunchingU_Founder2 karma

Thank you for this question and believe me, you are not alone in feeling lost.

First, I would suggest that you consider your current primary job to be learning about yourself, researching jobs and careers, and getting your career on track. I suggest being very organized about this - start a binder where you collect information on various careers, jobs and organizations that sound interesting to you. As you talk to people and network, save notes on each conversation. Track your connections and stay in touch with your network as it builds.

I suggest talking to everyone you know about their careers, especially your friends and family who are happy in their jobs. What do they like about them? What do they do on a daily basis? Can you imagine doing that work? Start attending networking groups like a young professionals association and ask people there these questions. If something sounds interesting ask if you can visit their workplace for an informational interview or job shadowing experience.

There are many testing resources available to you - if your college has a career center, don't forget that they will still help you as an alum. We sometimes use the testing that comes with Strengths Finder as a starting point with our clients, but that is just one tool of many.

Best of luck on this very important work - and have some fun with it too!

madisonlib1 karma

What do you typically charge? Does it depend on the services? Do you have a list of services you provide?

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

It does depend on the services. Feel free to go to my website where there is a way there for you to send me an email to get a free 30 minute consultation. Then I can learn more about your situation and the support that would be most helpful and tell you more about how I work and charge. I look forward to talking with you.

Dogg_041 karma

I would really appreciate it if you could answer my question! I recently graduated with a BA in Psychology and a BS in Business Administration. I plan on going to graduate school in Fall 2015 for Social Work. Luckily, I found a job at a mental health facility. My goal is to work at this facility until Fall 2015 when I go to graduate school.

The only problem is that I am not very happy with this job. There are a lot of reasons why, but it basically comes down to poor management, un-professionalism among coworkers, etc. The way I got this job was by calling the company and asking if I could job shadow. After I job shadowed, they offered me a position. So pretty much, I cold-called my way into this job.

I've been trying to look for a different job now, due to my unhappiness with this workplace. However, none of the other companies (all mental health facilities) allow job shadowing. My efforts to get my foot in the door with any other company have failed. I'm wondering, what are some ways of standing out to other applicants? I was thinking of sending a typed letter to the HR rep for each company, highlighting my skills and education and discussing the exact ways in which I would be of benefit to the company. What are your thoughts of this? I would really appreciate any advice.

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

That's fantastic that you were able to job-shadow and use it to get a job! Not so fantastic that you are unhappy with the job, however. Thank you for posing these questions. I do think it is critical that you gain work experience in a job that you like before applying to graduate school. You want to be very sure that social work is the right path for you, especially given your unhappiness with your current job.

Writing letters to HR managers when there is not a current opening in a company may not be a great way to get someone's attention. If there are job openings, however, go ahead and apply - work hard to make sure your resume and cover letters are perfect, and if there is ANYONE you know at the organizations (check your LinkedIn contacts - you never know who knows who!) see if they can help you make a direct connection with HR.

A great resource is your undergraduate institution's career center and possibly the alumni center as well. They can help you find out about job openings, and also put you in touch with other alums who are in the social work field. If an organization doesn't allow you to job shadow, ask to do an informational interview instead. Networking with alumni is a great way to learn more about organizations and find out about job opportunities.

You should also looking into social work professional organizations, to see if there are any networking events where you can meet people face-to-face.

LinkedIn social work groups could be helpful, join them and ask lots of questions.

As you already know, cold-calling is a tough route. I think you'll get more mileage from the networking efforts described here. Best of luck to you!

Wildfaux1 karma


LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

ok it is a great question - but tell me are you in college now and if so what year and if not what are you doing? This will help me be focused on the right stuff when I answer your question.

pamplemus1 karma

what should i do about my low GPA? i got terrible grades (between 0.75-2.0 per semester) for the first two years of college due to some serious mental and physical health problems. however, i have since recovered and over the past 3 semesters, i've earned a 4.0, a 3.7, and a 3.9. do you think my recent high GPAs will make up for my low overall GPA? believe it's currently 2.85ish. how should i explain the extreme discrepancy? i'm hoping to get an internship soon and ultimately go to grad school /;

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

Congratulations on the improvement in your GPA! You will need to craft a great story explaining your shift in GPA. It should highlight your improvement rather than any negative experiences you've had in the past. Work on this story, and test it out with an advisor at the career center at your college. Unfortunately employers may have some biases against health problems, so you'll want to avoid going into any detail at all about your past - focus on your more recent successes.

For job applications that do not ask directly for an overall GPA, put on your resume "Junior/Senior GPA: 3.9" (Or something like that.) If they ask later for more detail, tell the story you've crafted.

For jobs that do require your overall GPA, your cover letter will need to start with the story you've crafted, again staying very positive and highlighting your GPA number from your recent semesters.

You will also need to really kick butt in the internship you get! Focus on how far you've come and know that you are on a great path now. Make the most of your internship, jump on every opportunity while there to add accomplishments and skills to your resume. Take on more than your boss asks you for (if you have a menial job now, you can already start doing this.)

Best of luck, I'm thrilled for you that you've made such positive changes and your health is on track.

resultswillvary1 karma

I'm starting university next year and I know I'm still a bit too early for your field of work but a little advice would be great. I want to pursue a career in Engineering but English is also a really strong passion of mine and I would love to be an editor. There are not a lot of universities in my country, it's very tiny, so choices aren't that wide in the first place. Only one university allows a conjoint degree for me to explore both degrees BUT I don't like their engineering program. Another uni has a much better one. I want to be able to explore both areas of my interests. At the same time, I obviously still need to think about which one would give me better opportunities in the future when looking for a job. Do you think I should just forget about the BA and focus on engineering esp in terms of job prospects? I don't know. I'd love to hear some thoughts.

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

Sorry it has taken me a while to get to your question and your question is a tough one. I tend to advice people who have broad interests such as yours to put yourself in a position to explore both on an undergraduate level.

For me the question comes down to what you dislike about the engineering program at the school where you can get a degree in both Engineering and English. I would expect that the individual programs in both English and Engineering might be a bit less strong in a program like this but are they strong enough? Often a program is as strong as you make it and if you are actively managing your education and getting and staying connected to professors and pushing for internships and interesting project work then you can make it a good program for you.

If you manage your transition from college to your career and you come out of college with a strong track record you can find opportunities in both fields. Going strictly by the numbers the world is very hungry for strong engineers but it doesn't make sense to be a gainfully employed Engineer who wishes they were an Editor somewhere. It sounds like you need more time to sort these interests out.

Given your interests I think I would opt for being somewhere where you can explore both as an undergraduate. To really get the most out of your programs though you are going to have to push hard for what you need.

Best of luck to you whatever you choose!

iTerrence1 karma

Hi there! I'm not sure if this is still ongoing but I have a question. :)

In your opinion, do you think it is better to take a pragmatic approach to finding a career? That is, start with something that will earn you money and stability, even if it's not something you are particularly interested in (but not outright hate) and then work towards your dream job/ passion after getting settled?

Or is it better to work towards a profession that you like but is known to not provide as well financially or have as much job security (for most people) from the get-go? (Ex: Acting, artist, musicians, restaurant owner,) I have friends who choose one or the other but I'm split down the middle. Recently I'm leaning towards being pragmatic: having a stable job but trying to explore outside of it. I want to work to live, but I also want to live comfortably as an adult. I don't want to be a starving artist, but I also have dreams and goals I'd like to accomplish someday. What are your thoughts?

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

This is a question that is on so many people's mind so thanks for asking it!

To me this isn't an either or question. When someone tells me that they want to be a musician or an actor one of the things I want to understand about them is their tolerance for risk as those careers often involve less stability and it can be harder to support yourself in these careers in the style you might want to become accustom to. That has to be balanced against the depth of their passion in the given area. Then the question of student loans etc. has to be factored in to the conversation. It is important to look at all these questions as you are making these kinds of decisions.

Many people opt for working for a couple of years to "give it a try" and have a fall back career that they can move into if they don't catch fire.

Another way to look at this - lets say that you are passionate about theater and have done a lot of acting. There are other careers you can have in the theater world that keep you in touch with something you are passionate about without having to take the riskier role of trying to make it as an actress - and of course you can still act on the side! Or let's say you love to paint. You can paint for your whole life but earn your living working in a museum or representing other artists, or opening a children's museum or teaching art in a high school. I have a friend who is a wonderful musician/song writer who also books bands into a restaurant that he and his wife owns. Still writes great stuff and is around music all the time but earns his living by providing a great venue for musicians. Works for him.

So it is a complicated, personal decision taking in the whole person and balancing the passion with the risk levels someone is comfortable with etc. It can also ebb and flow with different stages of your life. Sorry I can't give you a simple answer - it is a complicated question. Good Luck!

Commander_Shepard_1 karma

I'm a Business Administration student with an Emphasis in Computer Information Systems. I'm trying to find an IT internship, preferably in Database Administration, but things are difficult. What strategies would you recommend to help me get my foot in the door?

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

Great question. Great choice to have a concentration within your BA degree. Internships can be difficult to find because there is no one way to find one. Some people just get lucky, while others struggle for months. I just wrote a blog post about them, so watch for that in the next day or so at LaunchingU.com.

In the meantime, check with your college's career counselors and professors first to see if they can help you find connections. Ask for help finding alumni from your college in the career you are interested in. The college that I work for has a alumni mentoring program - they set students up with an alum in the field they are interested in who can help them navigate internships etc. If your college doesn't have such a program, someone in your career center or alumni center may be willing to help you find a mentor more informally. It doesn't hurt to ask!

See if you can identify a few "dream organizations" that you would love to work for. Work on identifying contacts in that organization - ask everyone you know if they know someone who works there.

Tell everyone you know you are looking for an internship, and explain how you would be an asset as an intern. Most people really want to help young people out who are just starting their careers - especially if they know that you are a hard and willing worker - but they don't know that you need help until you ask!

riotofcolor-1 karma


LaunchingU_Founder2 karma

Well, we certainly agree that the meaning of the word "career" has evolved over the past 50 years. Careers are the ways in which we as individuals connect with the market economy and earn our livings. My grandfather (EP) worked for one company from his early twenties until his retirement. This form of career is now quite rare. Now careers involve multiple transitions, across jobs, organizations, and even industries. They may involve geographic changes as well.

The transition skills that one learns through graduating college and moving into the work world will be used multiple times throughout your career. If you put time and effort into building career transition skills when you are young, you will reap the rewards over the long term.

lexisayok-1 karma

What tactics do you employ to obscure the fact that the leadership of the United States is doing nothing about the complete lack of opportunities for the debt-swallowed millennial generation, whose completely fucked? In other words, do you perpetuate American dream mythologies or do you challenge students to fight for a better future through substantial political changes?

LaunchingU_Founder3 karma

I encourage everyone to be substantially involved in working for political change regarding issues that matter to them - but my work is here on the ground helping this generation find meaningful work where they will thrive.

papipapichulo-6 karma

  1. Grad school begins in the fall: Masters in Accounting My undergrad GPA was about a 3.3 (accounting), on my resume, what should i put as my GPA for my grad school, and should i eliminate my undergrad GPA off my resume?

  2. For both: What was your favorite thing you did this month?

  3. Full time MBA or part time MBA?

  4. Susan: have you ever dated/had sex w/ a black guy?

  5. Whats your view on the current Ukraine crisis

LaunchingU_Founder1 karma

Ok a five-point question:

  1. Are you asking if you should keep your undergrad GPA on now that you will be in grad school? If so I would say yes for right now - since it is above a 3.0. I don't suggest putting GPAs on if they are below 3.0. Once you have a GPA for graduate school - especially if it is higher than a 3.3 put that on and leave off the under-graduate GPA. If your undergraduate GPA was above 3.5 I would say keep it there. I know - big distinctions for small differences but that is how they are viewed in the business world. If your grad school GPA is low take them both off.

  2. Had a wonderful birthday with family/friends - SH An outdoor classical concert in Solomeo, Italy. -EP

  3. It depends on a whole lot of things. The advantage of a full-time program is just that - it is full-time and you can really immerse yourself in the program. You will also do an internship that can/should be critical to your learning, your resume and your contacts. Often, but not always, the caliber of the faculty is stronger at a full-time program. On the other hand the part-time programs can have professionals with rich and varied backgrounds in the program. This offers a different and perhaps broader learning opportunity. Big point - it is usually more affordable and sometimes you can get an employer to pay part or all of it. Also it is probably better or at least as good to go part-time in a very strong program then full-time in a much weaker program.

  4. N/A

  5. My view is it is sad and stupid.