Monthly Archives: October 2013

LinkedIn and the AggieNetwork

The value of LinkedIn has increased yet again.  Now that LinkedIn has partnered with colleges and universities to launch the “Alumni” piece, school connections and networking are skyrocketing.  As a Former Student (that is what we call ourselves) of Texas A&M University and a current Career Coach at this dear institution, I could not be happier to see this partnership blossom.  Texas A&M University knows the value of current and former student networking.  Our Association of Former Students does an amazing job keeping our Aggie family strong.  Anywhere you travel in the world, the Aggie Ring is easily noticed.  So why not take it virtual.  These types of partnerships between colleges and universities and LinkedIn are growing everyday.

Of course Texas A&M has a website for alumni which also provides opportunities to connect with fellow current and former students, but the partnership with LinkedIn has taken it to a whole new level.  You can now connect your LinkedIn URL and profile to your AggieNetwork account.  In addition, I can go to LinkedIn and find Aggies through this resource using their Alumni section.  My online Rolodex just got even stronger.  We still share business cards, but gone is the day of worrying about maintaining an up to date physical Rolodex.

There is a saying here at A&M that Aggies love to hire Aggies, and I’m sure other schools feel the same about their own schools.   When you become a student at A&M, you join a network that is thousands and thousands strong.  Tapping into the AggieNetwork for any current job seeker is imperative.  It is widely known that networking is the best way to find a job.  The AggieNetwork builds and strengthens relationships between current and former students.   This Network has proven time and time again that employed Aggies love to help current students achieve their career goals.  Let this Network work for you and return the favor once employed by paying it forward to our future students.

Before you stop reading my blog today, please do the following:

1.  Log into the AggieNetwork (or your collegiate alumni organization) and connect with your LinkedIn account if this feature is available.

2.  Log into your LinkedIn account, click on Network, and click on Find Alumni.

3.  Reach out alumni based on your interests and goals, connect for guidance and networking, and build your professional presence.



Negotiating Internship Offers

Typically internship salary offers are not up for negotiation.  Funding for internship salaries usually comes from a completely different budget pool than full-time salaries and are fixed making it very difficult for companies to provide salary adjustments for interns.   With that said, companies do not use an internship salary/full-time salary formula when making offers. Graduate level salaries are evaluated in a much different manner.

How does a potential intern know if their offered salary may be up for negotiation?  Here are some tips when evaluating your internship offer:

1.  Is the internship part of a formal and established program?  For companies with formal internship programs, interns are almost always brought into the company receiving equal pay packages.

2. Has a bonus, relocation allocation or living stipend been attached?  Be sure to consider any additional benefits when reviewing your internship offer.  If a company is providing you living expenses or a company apartment for the summer, remember that these funds are a part of your salary/benefit package.  Some companies may offer a smaller salary if living expenses are provided.

3.  Was the selection process for the internship highly competitive?  If you were among thousands of candidates experiencing multiple interviews, it is extremely unlikely that you have any foundation for negotiating your internship offer.

4.  What is the opportunity itself?  If you are seeking to intern with a smaller company, a start-up business, or a “foot in the door” industry, such as sports, make sure that your salary expectation and the opportunity itself are comparable.

5.   Is the salary a good offer?  This may be the most important point of all to consider.   If the internship provides an opportunity for a full-time offer in your chosen field and industry, focus on the long term opportunity rather than the short term gain.

Internships are meant to provide you and a prospective employer an opportunity to evaluate each other for a future partnership.  Be careful not to focus on salary when a long term career opportunity is being considered.



Career Rx: Take a Break

I just returned from a wonderful vacation break and agree that some time off is the best prescription for recharging the career batteries.  While not many people are happy to see their vacations end, it is always nice when a person can return to work with a clear mind to create and tackle new ideas and projects.  I am no exception.  I did something I very rarely do when on vacation…I did not check my email.  GASP!   Did I pay a heavy price when I returned from my vacation?  Oh yes.   An astronomical number of emails awaited my immediate attention upon my return, but I stand firm in saying it was worth it to unplug.  And let’s face it, it is probably good for our colleagues and clients to have us re-energize.  *SMILE*

Whether you truly enjoy what you do with your career or not, you will be susceptible to burnout if you do not find a way to relax your mind.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about my work while away.  Of course I did.   But the break was exactly what the doctor ordered for me.  Now I am back renewed.

How often do we tell ourselves that we cannot take a break?  Do you tell yourself that you can’t take even a few days to relax your mind?  We have brainwashed ourselves into thinking that we can not separate.  Technology and those handheld devices have changed our lives in a million ways and not always good.  But, you know what?  Those little devices do, in fact, have an off button.   I was shocked to see that mine worked.

Even if you do not have the funds to travel, have you ever thought of taking a few days for a StayCation?  Just stay at home?  Yes!  I’m a huge fan of StayCations myself.

No matter what works best for your lifestyle, it is important for you to take time to clear your mind and rid yourself of the dust that can fill your head.  We spend such a very large portion of our lives at work; therefore, it is important that we pay attention to keeping ourselves energized and focused.

Career Management is about navigating opportunities for advancement, and part of that navigation includes identifying and addressing opportunities for improvement.  Every battery needs to be charged at some point, and your mind is no exception.  Take a break and unplug every now and then.  You will love the results.