A Doctoral Student’s Tips for Life Balance

Blog A Doc Student's Tips for Life Balance

An exceptionally challenging part of my life as a Walden student has been maintaining a healthy balance between school and career.  Like many Walden students, I have work and family obligations, and I must carefully structure my daily routine to accomplish the sometimes overwhelming amount of work and study.  Let me share four time-saving strategies I use to maintain a healthy balance.

Organize Space to Stay Focused
I’ve found that having a specific space set aside for my course studies works well.  While most of us don’t have the luxury of having a personal office and a work or school office, there is a trick I use to make it seem like two offices.  I have a folded sign that reminds me of my end goal of earning my doctorate, which is located next to my computer monitor.  When it’s time to study, I stand up my sign with “Dr.” in front of my name; when I’m at my desk working on non-academic projects, I fold it down.  This simple step serves as a powerful reminder of why I’m studying so hard and helps me stay focused on achieving my long-term goal.

Manage Time Wisely
Focusing on the here and now is the most important habit I’ve cultivated.  Some call it mindfulness, a habit of disciplining the mind to focus on what is in front of you, not the past or the future.  This takes practice!  One tool to help with this task is the Pomodoro technique, a popular way to give yourself a break and refresh your focus.  While it’s common to use 25 minutes of study and breaking for 5, you can experiment to find what works best for you.  On days when I feel sharp and on my game, I like to study for 30 and take 5.  On days when I feel sluggish, I may go 20 and 10.  Learn how to get started with Pomodoro to save time and get more done.

Maximize Technology Tools
Technology provides many great tools to assist with time management.  I prefer to use Evernote to organize my research, and Nozbe to manage my busy schedule.  Learn more about these tools to determine if they are right for you!  I have also found that using technology effectively requires personal habits that reinforce the strategies.  In other words, these tools will work only if you stay truly committed to your goals.

Say “No” or “Later”
I also consider a part of staying focused is being willing to say no when necessary.  If a friend wants to go out on Saturday night when you have a big paper due on Sunday, you may have to politely decline.  You can always tell her another Saturday night will work, but you need plenty of notice to organize your week in advance.  This approach will enlist your friend as part of your support group, an important strategy to help leverage your efforts.  Rewards, whether a night out with friends or a piece of chocolate for a great study day, are also great motivators to keep you energized.

I have discussed time management and technological tools to assist you in creating a productive space, rewarding yourself for work well done, and enlisting your support network for leverage.  Whether you are balancing your academic work, professional career, busy personal or family life; or a combination of all these factors, these tools can help you stay on track for long-term success. My final recommendation follows from the successful implementation of these ideas: enjoy the process!  Learning is a joyful experience, like feeling the excitement grow every day as you take small steps toward the finish line.  Deploy the strategies, enjoy the journey, and success will follow!

Written by Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson
Martin Culberson

Advertisements

Hands On Strategies for Reentering the Workforce

key with word "success"Have you been out of the workforce for a while due to a life event, layoff, or other reason?  Are you ready to return to work but not sure where to start?  Whether you are planning to return to the workforce after one year, five years, or even ten years, your #1 challenge is to close your employment gaps.  Start by taking an inventory of your existing knowledge and skills.  What do you have to offer potential employers?  What academic knowledge have you gained through your Walden program?  What new skills are you looking to build?  The Career Services Center website offers a Career Exploration area with self-assessments and industry research sites to help you identify your strengths and research employers.

Next, seek out strategic opportunities to cultivate new skills. Consider the following activities:

  1. Join a professional association in your target field and become actively involved. Activities may include volunteering at events, contributing articles to newsletters, taking on leadership roles, or serving on committees. Active involvement in a local chapter can help you connect with other professionals in your target field, gain current references, and apply your academic knowledge in a professional setting. Visit Career Services’ Resources by College, select your college, and view lists of professional associations to join!
  2. Find a volunteer opportunity that can help you sharpen your skills. Contribute to a nonprofit organization while supporting Walden’s social change mission.  Did you know that according to LinkedIn for Good, 41% of hiring managers consider volunteer work experience equally valuable as paid work experience?  Explore Career Services’ local and virtual volunteering sites and watch our webinar, Maximizing Career Success Through Strategic Volunteering, to identify the right opportunity for you!
  3. Create your own experiential opportunities through freelance, contract, or virtual employment. Do you know a small business owner who could benefit from your skills?  Is there a temporary agency in your area specializing in your target field?  What about researching virtual or flexible positions online?  Watch our webinar on Targeting Temporary, Virtual, or Contract Opportunities for out-of-the-box ideas on how to get started!

In addition to building new skills and experience, these strategies can help you gain current references and letters of recommendation, make new connections, stay up-to-date on trends, and strengthen your professional brand.  If you are not ready to return to full-time work right away, they can also help you test out the waters and decide which opportunities are right for you.

After you’ve gained experience through professional associations, volunteering, and other experiential opportunities, you will be ready to share your new skills with your networking connections and potential employers.  Visit the Career Services’ Resumes and CVs tab for videos and tips on how to enhance your application materials.  It’s never too early (or too late) to start taking steps to reach your career aspirations!

Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services

Webinar setup photo Dina

Updating My LinkedIn Profile

DAN'STAKE

Graduate Assistant Dan Ambrosio is currently pursuing his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree at Walden University. In Dan’s Take, he shares his perspective on career management from a student’s eye view. Dan lives in Germany where he teaches business English. He enjoys traveling, studying, riding motorcycles, and working out.

 

LinkedIn is an excellent social networking website to connect with business professionals around the world.  In terms of job seeking and career decisions, LinkedIn is an ideal platform to promote a professional profile.  Whether individuals are looking for a new job or advancement in their careers, LinkedIn will help to achieve those goals.  First and foremost, it is imperative that your LinkedIn profile is current and up-to-date.  The more detailed you are in your profile, the greater the appeal will be to potential employers.  I, for example, was struggling with ways to improve my LinkedIn profile, so I decided to set up an appointment with a Walden Career Services Advisor.

A Career Services Advisor will definitely help you revamp your LinkedIn profile.  I received excellent tips on how to go about revamping my LinkedIn profile.  There are, of course, many career related topics you may discuss during your appointment, but during my appointment, we focused on LinkedIn.  For example, we decided to include an in-depth summary that would promote my skills and experience that correlate to my career goals.

LinkedIn Before and After

It can be quite difficult to know the best ways to promote yourself on LinkedIn.  Since social media websites are easily accessible, potential employers tend to view your profiles long before they see you in person.  Due to this, it is important that you make yourself stand out from others.  It is also important to tailor your profile according to the industry and job you would like to pursue.  You not only have to promote your strengths, but you must also discover your purpose.  While this may be challenging, a Walden Career Services Advisor can help make it easier to figure out the best ways to meet your goals.

Before my appointment, I had not thought much about the importance of creating an effective brand.  Whether someone is looking for a job or not, an updated LinkedIn profile can be very beneficial. My profile picture (which was from 2010 when I was an undergraduate student), was very outdated.  My new profile picture was taken a couple of months ago.  I also created a headline and wrote a short summary about myself.  Since this is one of the first things that potential employers will see, it is important that you mention things that illustrate your value as a professional.  I also updated my current employment status and included work descriptions for all of my previous jobs.  This information allows potential employers to understand my skill set.  Endorsements are also a great way to highlight your skills and strengths.  In addition, since I have spent some time abroad, I included a language proficiency in German.  Since my focus is on marketing, I also included a marketing plan that I developed for a group project in one of my marketing courses.  Depending on your area of expertise, it is beneficial to include projects and accomplishments that are related to your skills and career goals.

I am very pleased with the way my LinkedIn profile turned out, and I will continue making improvements and adjustments as needed. I highly recommend scheduling an appointment with a Walden Career Services Advisor for questions you may have regarding job searches, social media, career advancement, and other career management topics.  I greatly improved my LinkedIn profile as a result of the appointment, and I believe my improvements add value to my professional profile and network.

Written by Dan Ambrosio, Walden DBA Student, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Blog Dan Ambrosio

Dan’s Take – Residency Networking

DAN'STAKE

Graduate Assistant Dan Ambrosio is currently pursuing his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree at Walden University. In Dan’s Take, he shares his perspective on career management from a student’s eye view. Dan lives in Germany where he teaches business English. He enjoys traveling, studying, riding motorcycles, and working out. 

Residencies are an excellent way to network with faculty and classmates.  Fortunately, I was able to attend my first residency early on in my doctoral program and had the pleasure of meeting many fantastic people.  I was actually surprised to see this many people attending a residency and was very satisfied with my experience.  The faculty were extremely helpful, and the information has helped me to better prepare for my course assignments and particularly for the final doctoral research project.  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet my classmates, many of whom are experienced business professionals with very interesting backgrounds.  I was not only able to learn about their careers and professional lives, but most importantly why they chose to pursue a doctoral level education with Walden University.

Residencies give students the opportunity to network face-to-face.  Typically, students are divided into their respective doctoral programs.  In my case, students were primarily grouped by specialization.  This was advantageous for networking because we already have a common interest.  The typical conversation starts by asking people where they come from and if it was their first or second residency.  I happened to speak with two gentlemen who had already been to their first residency.  They both suggested that I attend a seminar about developing a problem statement for my doctoral research project.  This was not a mandatory course, but had I not gone, I would have missed out on some very valuable information.  I found it beneficial to get to know as many people as possible to get a feel for what my (DBA) program is all about.  Since I am a bit younger, it gave me a better idea as to what potential careers I could pursue when my program is completed.  In addition, since we are all experiencing a virtual learning environment, residencies allow the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff in person.  This was very helpful so that I could become more personally engaged with Walden employees.

Two residencies are required for DBA students. This is a great way to not only get questions answered, but most importantly to establish relationships with faculty and classmates.  I am very excited to go to my second residency.  I know I will also be better prepared and will have more ideas for my doctoral study.  Overall, I would suggest taking advantage of networking at residencies as much as possible. One of the best ways for me to follow-up was to connect with my new contacts via LinkedIn.  Exchanging phone numbers and emails were also common.  I highly encourage you all to get out there and be social.  I wish you all the best with your future residencies!

Written by Dan Ambrosio, Walden DBA Student, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Blog Dan Ambrosio

 

Meet Our New Marketing Graduate Assistant: Dan Ambrosio

photo Dan Ambrosio

Dan Ambrosio

Please join me in welcoming our new Marketing Graduate Assistant, Dan Ambrosio!  He is currently working on a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) with a concentration in Marketing.  He began taking marketing courses while pursuing his MBA in international business.  Having developed a passion for marketing, particularly in the areas of health and wellness, Dan decided to further develop his skills.

While Dan is a fairly new student, he says that he has enjoyed his Walden University experience so far.  “I was fortunate enough to attend my first residency during my second week of my first course.  The residency allowed me to interact with faculty and classmates and it helped me to get a better understanding of Walden and the Doctoral program I am in.” He said, “I believe that we can all learn from one another and Walden does an excellent job of creating a challenging and rigorous academic environment.”

 One of the things that Dan likes about his new position in Career Services is learning more about our services and resources. He expressed that he hopes “to reach out to Walden students and help them as much as possible to utilize the great benefits of the Career Services Center,” and “provide students with the tools and information to help them succeed during and after their studies.”

He shares his favorite Career Services resources:

  1. Career Connections Events:  This tool allows students the opportunity to interact with students, faculty and alumni.  It is an excellent way for students to discuss aspects of their careers they may want to improve or change.
  2. OptimalResume:  Creating a powerful resume can make a big difference in a job application.  OptimalResume provides students with the resources to appeal to potential employers so that they can increase their chances of getting a job.
  3. Appointments:  Walden Career Services Staff are always available to help Walden students succeed during and after their degree.  The Career Services team will provide students with information pertaining to career options.  This is a great way to open the door to unlimited career potential!
  4. Interviewing Resources:  This is a great resource at Walden because it allows students to explore in-depth information pertaining to interview questions, tips, and preparation.  First impressions are very important which is why it is necessary to understand how interviews typically work so that you can be confident and prepared.

 Dan currently lives in Germany.  After completing his bachelor’s degree with a double major in English and German, he booked a one-way flight to Germany where he lived for over three years.  During that time, he taught business English at Inlingua Language School.  He traveled to over 18 different companies in northwestern Germany where he taught business English.  He moved back to the United States in October 2015 and lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for a year and a half, and then moved back to Germany in April 2017. Dan plans to eventually return to the US again to begin his career in marketing.  He enjoys traveling, studying, riding motorcycles, and working out.

Written by Angie Lira, Senior Career Services Advisor, and Dan Ambrosio, Career Services Graduate Assistant

photo Angie Lira      photo Dan Ambrosio

Welcome Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson!

Martin Culberson

Martin Culberson

The Career Services Center is thrilled to introduce our new Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson, who brings many years of experience in educational technology and website design to our department.  In the following interview, Mr. Culberson shares his background, passion for technology, and favorite career resources.

Dina Bergren: What program did you complete at Walden and what degree are you currently pursuing?

Martin Culberson:  I completed my M.S. in Education–Integrating Technology in the Classroom degree in 2015, and I am currently pursuing my Doctor of Information Technology (DIT) degree.

 Dina Bergren: What do you enjoy most about being a Walden doctoral student?

 Martin Culberson:  I enjoy the pattern of conducting hours of research punctuated by collaboration with peers and instructors who are doing the same.  This activity may sound tedious to some, but my goal is to make the research come alive and that’s exciting!

 Dina Bergren: What is your technology background?

Martin Culberson:  I’ve always been interested in technology.  As a boy in the 70’s, I built a science fair project featuring punch cards, something I had learned when reading about IBM.  In the 90’s, with the explosion of the computer age and internet, I spent a lot of time working on hardware.  I naturally evolved into software and, in 2013, I designed and programmed a Learning Management System (LMS) for a large K-12 school.  It was a fascinating project and, by simply using a little bit of creativity, I came up with an algorithm that was a big step forward.  This experience led to an interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality, two fields holding much promise for education. 

Dina Bergren:  How do you hope to contribute to the Career Services Center as a Technology Graduate Assistant?

Martin Culberson:  The Career Services Center team have great ideas for building a more dynamic website.  A great website is really the convergence of creative and technical skills into a cohesive presentation.  There should be a dynamic factor in the style, constrained by an aesthetic vision that hints at the underlying depth of real substance.  My hope is to contribute to this creative and technical effort in a meaningful way.

Dina Bergren:  What are your top 5 favorite resources on the Career Services Center website?

Martin Culberson:  My top 5 resources are:

  1. Resumes and CVs tab/OptimalResume. This information is real-world, and it works. I’ve rebuilt my resume and cover letters with these resources and will use OptimalResume in the future.
  2. Quick Answers. If you haven’t tried this tool, I highly recommend it.  Use the Quick Answers box on the Career Services Center home page, type in “resume,” and look at the great information you immediately get for this topic.  QuickAnswers is a powerful search tool.
  3. Webinars. The archived webinars resource is very popular with Walden students, and with good reason.  I’ve used the cover letter and LinkedIn webinars to improve skills in those areas.  The Archived Webinars section is another example of how Career Services delivers real-world tools to address students’ needs.
  4. Quick Start Videos. I watched a video on interview strategies before a sweat-inducing final interview last year.  It was very helpful and gave me confidence in my strategy.
  5. Career Spotlights. It is inspiring to see real people achieving the same goals you hold.  A smiling face and a story of success are great motivators to get you through the tough times.

Dina Bergren:  What do you like to do in your free time? 

Martin Culberson:  My girlfriend and I both have very busy schedules, so we look forward to movies, nice meals, and day trips. I also enjoy writing, and recently published a science fiction novel – I’m now wrestling with the sequel.  Also, I’ve been into strength training for many years, and find lifting heavy weights to be good therapy for a day spent studying!

Dina Bergren:  Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

Martin Culberson: I’m very happy as a student and graduate assistant with Walden.  I encourage everyone to visit the Career Services Center and look around!

 

Written by Walden Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson

Martin Culberson

Edited by Associate Director of Career Services, Dina Bergren

Webinar setup photo Dina

Eleven Tips from a Corporate Recruiter

Helpful Tips. Magnifying Glass on Old Paper.

My professional development plan includes attending monthly meetings of the professional organization, Career Planning & Adult Development (CPAD). I enjoy attending these early morning meetings the first Friday of the month and connecting with colleagues in the career development field. Last month’s CPAD speaker was a corporate recruiter who shared information on the hiring process from her perspective. Here is a summary of her advice for job seekers:

  • Focus on the requirements of the position and the company. Compare your resume to the job description, and show how you are an excellent fit.
  • Include your geographical location on your resume.
  • Include a cover letter that states the position of interest.
  • Referrals are “golden” so if you know someone at the organization, let them know you are applying for the position and ask for a recommendation.
  • LinkedIn and Indeed.com are [my] most common sources for applicants.
  • Check your “Junk” email. Important emails can go into your “Junk” folder, and by the time you see them, it may be too late.
  • Respond quickly, ideally within 4 hours; 24 hours is too long.
  • Every interaction with the recruiter is important.
  • Be prepared to verbally articulate how you are a good fit and your interest in the position.
  • Check back no more than once per week; email is best with a brief statement reminding the recruiter of your interest and your qualifications.
  • See the recruiter as a partner in the process.

Keep in mind that hiring managers expect recruiters to send them highly qualified candidates who fit the requirements of the job and culture of the organization, so the more you can show how you are an excellent fit, the higher the odds that your application will result in an interview.

For more information on career management and job search strategies, view Career Services’ Quick Start videos at http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/careerservices/quickstartvideos

Written by Denise Pranke, Senior Career Services Advisor

Denise