Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Archive for the ‘Internships’ Category

Vault’ s Careers Blog is Moving

leave a comment »


An announcement: after almost a year on WordPress, we’re discontinuing Vault’s Careers Blog on WordPress. But don’t worry: you’ll still be able to get your fill of career information and advice on Vault.com–where our blogs are going from strength to strength.

Our full blog lineup on Vault.com is as follows:

Vault’s Careers Blog
Vault’s Law Blog
Consult THIS: Consulting Careers, News and Views
In Good Company: Vault’s CSR blog
In the Black: Vault’s Finance Careers Blog
Admit One: Vault’s MBA, Law School and College Blog
Insider Career Advice from SixFigureStart
Innovate with Influence: Global High Tech

Thanks for reading us on WordPress.

We hope to see you over on Vault.com soon!

–The Vault Editorial Team

MBA Specialization vs. General Business Skills: Should You Specialize in Sustainability?

with one comment


Recently, Vault’s own Aman Singh asked a really interesting question: “does CSR require generic business skills or an MBA in sustainability?” In other words, is it worth specializing in sustainability as an MBA or are you more likely to get a job in CSR if you really have those managerial skills down pat? Her answer revolved around another question (and so the endless questions begin!), “Well, what do you mean by ‘require’?”

Should you get an MBA in sustainability in business school?

The oddity [in the data] is that sustainability solutions like energy efficiency, LEED and HVAC require specialized knowledge and highly technical skill sets. Executives, however, seem to be placing a premium on more generic business skills such as increased knowledge and awareness of sustainability efforts, the ability to think systemically, the ability to understand complex legislation around sustainability, and financial analytic skills.

Basically, even though you need a very specific skill set in order to do good CSR work, companies esteem generic business skills instead. This contradiction led me to a whole slew of questions, with which I promptly started pestered my colleagues.

First, I went to Aman herself, to figure out what this means for MBA students who hope to find jobs in CSR. She explained it to me from the company’s perspective:

The reality of the current market is that an MBA is good for generic management skills, not specialization, when it comes to sustainability and CSR…. Companies say they don’t necessarily need someone who has done two years in-depth study on CSR guidelines and regulations. They have more value for someone who has managerial skills–someone who can lead departments and work sustainability into their role as an accountant, an analyst, etc. And unfortunately this is where the paradox remains: They like sustainability on the graduates’ resume, but they don’t want it to be the main focus. Even employers who started out looking for candidates with sustainability concentrations aren’t really looking for that as much. They want to talk about it and ensure corporate responsibility, but they don’t expect this dialogue from job candidates.

So, what if you still want to specialize in sustainability? How can you avoid getting pigeon-holed and weakening your job prospects?

Well, I think it depends on how you brand yourself. You can have the specialization, but you can also make sure your resume talks about more generic management skills and say, consulting or financing skills, depending on where you want to go with your MBA. The graduates I spoke to really emphasize all their CSR work on their resumes–they have a blog where they talk about CSR; they’re active on Twitter; they’re volunteering and doing some nonprofit work as well; their internship was focused on sustainability–so in the end, their resume is really a full page of sustainability credentials. And if the company does not want you to focus on that, it could work against you.

Last, but not least, I was curious about her predictions of the future. Do you think, I asked, that as the market rebounds, more of those pure CSR jobs will start to emerge, or do you think that people are going to get accustomed to this integration of CSR with other general business skills?

I think it’s going to be the latter. They’re going to say, “Come in as an analyst and do your job responsibly and remain ethical within the company’s values.” A lot of companies don’t even have CSR-focused departments; they understand that corporate responsibility is a cultural thing and not just the responsibility of one department, but they’re not quite sure how to make that happen.

Craft your resume around your MBA specialization to get the most 

job offersThen, I started in on Carolyn C. Wise, to get a better idea of whether or not it was worthwhile to specialize at all.

When it comes to specializing, it’s very much about what you’re going to do with it afterwards. You hire someone with an MBA rather than someone who got, for instance, an MA in Environmental Studies because you want those general management skills. You want someone who has taken finance classes, who is going to be really good as a manager, an accountant, a brand manager. But if you want them in a sustainability role or to create a sustainability strategic plan, you’ll want the sustainability skills as well.

The other thing I always say when it comes to MBA specializations is that you don’t want to close yourself off. One of the fears is that if you specialize in sports management or marketing or any of the other specialties offered by your business school, that you won’t be able to get other jobs. If you’re totally set on one type of job, then absolutely specialize–particularly if you worked in that industry before. For instance, if you worked in the business development department for an NBA team and your plan is to return to that team after you complete your MBA, then specializing in sports management makes a lot of sense for you. But if you are a career-changer, and you don’t know precisely where you want to go, specializations can sometimes hurt rather than help.

As it turns out, the institution from which you receive your MBA makes also makes a huge difference when it comes time to decide whether or not you want to specialize.

Job prospects and employment opportunities after your MBA very much depend on prestige. If you go to Harvard Business School, you have much more flexibility in the area in which you focus most of your electives. This applies for Columbia, Booth, Wharton, Tuck, Hass, all the top schools. If you’re going to a smaller or less prestigious or regional MBA program, then what electives you take, what grades you get, and how applicable the skills you learned in a specialization are will have much more impact after you graduate.

And finally, a bit of advice:

If you’re considering specializing and you’re a first-year student, you should definitely check out the professional and student clubs associated with that specialization. Talk to those MBA students, particularly the second-years, about what they studied, how they’re applying it, what jobs they’re looking at, and what the recruiting process is like for them. You should check out all the professional clubs of all of the specializations that you’re considering, because that will really give you a sense of what it means to specialize in that arena, and what the experience is going to be like when you’re looking for a job.

–Written by Madison Priest, Admit One</em

Job Hunting: Time for Millennials to Get Off the Fence?

with one comment


The New York Times reports today on a particularly depressing aspect of the recession: evidence that the latest generation of workers to emerge from college is finding it difficult to get work, and is simply being left behind by circumstance.

Opening with a snapshot of one 24 year old job seeker’s struggle to find work, the piece hits on many of the issues facing young careerists today. While generational differences are played up, however, one of the main themes that emerges is the idea of expectation: the job seeker in question chooses to pass up a $40,000 a year job because he worries it might “stunt” his career. His father and grandfather, meanwhile, tell tales of their own careers that involve largely getting started by accident and maneuvering as best they could once they were in a field.

That underlines a fundamental difference in approach—and attitude—that bodes even more ill for the current crop of graduates than the woeful unemployment figures suggest. We’ve all read the stories about how the millennial generation expects to be able to shape their lives to a degree that previous generations (my own included) would have found unthinkable. While it was difficult to grasp that concept prior to the recession, seeing it in action at a time when 9.5 percent of the country’s willing workers can’t find an open position is particularly jarring.

The article makes obligatory mention of the fact that millennials “are better educated than previous generations and they were raised by baby boomers who lavished a lot of attention on their children”—even going so far as to use this point to explain the “optimism” of the generation in the face of the recession. What it doesn’t sufficiently explain, however, is how that “better educated” generation can rationalize that not getting any experience of the corporate world at all is better than working a “dead end” position with the opportunity to at least make some contacts and bolster a resume.

Of course, a member of a different generation explaining the inherent danger in that kind of logic always runs the risk of being accused of being too down on the younger set. With that in mind, then, perhaps the most compelling reason is the graphic to the left that accompanies the Times piece, which shows that unemployment among the millennial generation—18 to 29 year olds—”approaches the levels of that group in the Great Depression.”

If that’s not enough to make one rethink a strategy of waiting for something better to come along—and risking falling further behind at every step of the way—not much will.

A Non-Profit Career – Not a Bad Idea

leave a comment »


Everyone has dreams of either saving the world or making lots of money; and many of those people believe that there is no way to accomplish one task without forsaking the other.  This belief has led many people to shy away from a career at a non-profit…until now.

Vault Guide to Nonprofit Careers coverIn addition to President Barack Obama’s call to public service, the need for skilled job seekers in this sector has grown as individuals coping with a tough economy turn to nonprofits for unemployment assistance, workforce development, healthcare, housing, and food distribution.  As a result, Black Enterprise noted that wage and salary jobs in this growing sector are projected to increase 14% over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Black Enterprise Magazine, which interviewed Vault.com for their latest article on Nonprofit Careers, also adds that there are currently about 1.4 million nonprofit organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service, mostly as 501( c ) (3) tax exempt “public charities,” under the following categories: charities, foundations, social welfare, or advocacy organizations; community-based organizations; professional and trade associations; and religious organizations.  Nonprofits are out there, but are they worth pursuing?

While attending Baruch College, I had to take a mandatory internship class and while others in my field were taking internships at Sports Illustrated, I felt I could get more experience working at a nonprofit community newspaper.  On my first day on the job, I was given a story about a pharmacy that had burned down and immediately relocated to a bigger location across the street.  Within a month, I had my first front page story about the Bronx River cleanup.  And before my internship was over, I was attending City Hall hearings on the controversial water filtration project that resulted in a renaissance for New York City parks.

I chose experience over name recognition.  As Carolyn C. Wise, Vault’s senior education editor, noted in a recent Business Insider story on the perfect internship program, “The prestige of a program is the obvious resume gold star, but if you’re making copies and coffee all summer the name won’t matter.”  The experience I gathered at the nonprofit helped me become an expert in various fields when I became an editor for another for-profit paper.

Later, when I decided to leave the paper, after eight years on the job, numerous raises, and a sale to a prestigious media empire, I took a position as an associate manager for public relations at a major nonprofit and ended up making more money with better health benefits, clearly debunking the myth that nonprofit means low pay.  Vault’s career experts point out in the Black Enterprise piece that senior management and mid-level positions at nonprofits are competitive with salaries at major corporations.

With that settled – what kind of jobs are out there in the nonprofit sector?  If you are a writer of any kind, there are a number of great opportunities available, especially when you consider how important grant writing is to obtain the funding necessary to keep nonprofits afloat.  If you have management skills, nonprofits will need your decision-making abilities.  For every field in the for-profit sector, there is a potential job in nonprofits.

The Black Enterprise piece is a very helpful resource.  If you know a particular nonprofit company, check their website.  Also, Vault has released its first Guide to Nonprofit Careers, offering a realistic look at what to expect from nonprofit jobs, the types of nonprofit jobs available and what companies are leading the pack, along with the usual cover letter, resume and interview tips many come to expect from Vault guides.  There are plenty of resources at your fingertips.  Let your preconceptions go.  There is a new path to career success waiting for you.

Four Tips to Get Your First Job Ever

leave a comment »


Hopefully if you’re graduating from college, you have at least one internship stint under your belt. But what if you don’t have any work experience at all? You spent your summers on an anthropological dig in Boudreaux, for example. It’s unlikely that your skills dusting ancient bones will translate easily to the corporate world. So I’m not going to lie: it’s going to be an uphill battle convincing employers that you have what it takes to hack it at their organization. But it’s not impossible.

College student applying for first job with student resume I asked Connie Thanasoulis, former recruiter, co-founder of SixFigureStart and esteemed Vault blogger about how to find a new job if you don’t already have one–in fact, have never had one. “Recruiters and hiring managers always feel that a person with a job has more posture,” Thanasoulis says. “With that said, you could learn to have more posture. I once coached an employment lawyer who had never had to look for a job before. His wife did well in her job so income was not a problem. But he said that he lost all his posture and confidence. I had to talk him down from the ledge!”

While the job search of an employment lawyer is quite different from someone straight out of college, the same “posture and confidence”-building techniques are the same. Here are four tips recent grads and other inexperienced job searchers need to understand:

Four Tips to Get Your First Job Ever

  1. “You have skills that are necessary in the marketplace,” says Thanasoulis. No matter where you are in your career. “Make a list of your top 10 skills and quantify them–give an example of each skill in five or six bullet points.”
  2. “You have significant and measureable accomplishments” as a college graduate. Think of your academic experience in terms of accomplishments and make a list of your top five: Did you start a new club? Did you volunteer in an interesting way? Were you a research assistant on a professor’s project? These are real, quantifiable accomplishments that will look good on your resume.
  3. “You will find a job.” Even if it’s not your ideal job, it’s a valuable step in your career. Says Thanasoulis: “The first job is so key because you learn so much. Then you can take your skills to the next level.”
  4. “It’s just going to take some time…but you will get there!”

So chin up. Figure out exactly what your accomplishments and skills are–you probably have more than you think. Good luck!

–Posted by Carolyn C. Wise Admit One,

Vault.com Offers Free Job Search/Career Management Webinar – April 30, 2010, 12-1pm

leave a comment »


Despite news that first-time jobless claims have taken a dip last week, the national unemployment rate continues to hold steady at 9.7%.  Finding a job is still a priority for so many Americans and Vault.com is taking another step in its quest to help them get back to work with another in a series of broad-based free webinars that will allow job seekers to ask former recruiters anything.

The webinar, slated for Friday, April 30, 2010, from 12 to 1 p.m. coinciding with the traditional lunch break, is designed to provide career information, advice and resources to help students entering the workforce and employed professionals land their next job.  The monthly free webinars offer users a taste of what is offered during the more focused webinars offered each week at $27.  Last month, over 1,000 participants signed up for the free career guidance. You must register to participate.  Go to http://www.vault.com/SixFigureStart.html.

“Despite signs of an economic recovery, job seekers still find themselves in a challenging and highly competitive marketplace.  Vault has a long history of providing the critical insight and information to enable high potential candidates to build and execute a well planned job search strategy.  Vault’s proven tools help candidates identify the right industry, the right role and the right company,” said Claude Sheer, Vault CEO.  “Our career experts will pack this one hour session with experiences and strategies built over a combined 40 years of career management experience.”

Vault career experts and SixFigureStart co-founders Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio and Caroline Ceniza-Levine are former Fortune 500 recruiters who have led staffing groups at Citigroup, Warner-Lambert-Pfizer, Merrill Lynch and Time Inc.  Together, the duo will be on hand to provide resume writing, interview preparation, and other job search-related advice.  They are prepared to answer the toughest job search quandaries for those at the executive level to those beginning their first job search.

Participants can look forward to discovering answers to some of the following questions:

  • I am losing jobs after getting to the final round of the interview process.  What am I doing wrong?
  • How do I respond when a job posting asks for a salary history and requirements?
  • I am working full-time.  What’s the best way to manage time during a part-time job search?
  • I am miserable in my new job after less than six months.  How can I leave without damaging future prospects?

“The job search is tough and only candidates with exceptional job search skills are getting placed,” said Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio.  “Taking part in these webinars will give you the edge needed to beat the competition, and there is a lot of competition out there, from the employed to the unemployed; and let’s not forget the college graduates that will be hitting the job marketplace in May.  Get all the critical advice you need during your lunch break.”

While this webinar is free, space is limited and filled on a first come, first served basis.  Vault encourages all participants to go to http://www.vault.com/SixFigureStart.html for more information and to register immediately as each webinar is announced.  Submit your questions in advance to info@sixfigurestart.com or pose them during the webinar.  Questions submitted in advance will be answered first.

15 Best Green Tech Startups Have Jobs Galore–and Not Just for Green Specialists

leave a comment »


CNBC recently ran a feature on The 15 Best Green Tech Startups. The list was hand-picked by Greentech Media Editor-in-Chief Michael Kanellos, and represents his selection of companies in the green-tech field that are most likely to “make it.” Assuming that “making it” leads to hiring, we’ve taken the liberty of checking out each of the 15 companies and identifying positions with each.

As you’ll see if you scroll down the list, most of the positions aren’t “green” jobs at all. These aren’t firms seeking environmental engineers or carbon reduction gurus to lead them out of the wilderness. They are, for the most part, companies attempting to do what any other company does: make a profit and grow. They’re just seeking to do it from green technologies and alternative energy. As such, the people they’re seeking to recruit aren’t so much green specialists as business specialists. Bottom line: if you have legitimate skills and experience in your field–whether it’s accounting or project management–these firms want to hear from you.

So if you’re interested in a career with a firm that has a strong chance of going places in the coming years, you could do worse than peruse this list and check out some of the vacancies on offer. Please note that this list is far from exhaustive–most of these companies have more opportunities than we have listed, and are likely to be adding more as the weeks and months roll on. Check their websites for more details.

BrightSource Energy

Silver Spring Networks

Tesla Motors

Solazyme:

Bloom Energy:

Enphase Energy:

SmartSynch:

Nanosolar:

Adura Technologies:

Bridgelux:

Hara:

  • Consulting Services Manager
  • Product Marketing, Manager or Sr. Manager
  • Software Engineering Intern

Recurve:

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT POSITIONS

“…the opportunity to contribute across the full range of the product, including CRM and process support, building modeling, solution recommendation and impact modeling, construction project management, and environmental monitoring.”

LS9:

Laurus Energy

No openings on their website at this time.

Purfresh:

No openings on their website at this time.

Posted by Phil Stott. Research by Alex Tuttle, Vault.com

For more on green jobs and technology, check out In Good Company, Vault’s CSR blog, and your source for all things related to green careers.

Written by Phil Stott

April 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm