A Face-off with Finance


Thanks to Angie Lira, Senior Career Advisor, for this creative graphic

I haven’t taken a math class in more than 30 years. Balancing my checkbook has been all the math I needed – until now. These days I’m facing off with present values, future values, net present values, and the Dividend Discount Model. I’m in a doctoral level Finance class, which is like climbing Mount Everest without a sherpa or climbing experience!

I know – there are infinitely more important things going on in the world right now – Executive Orders, Cabinet nominations, and world-wide marches. Absolutely! I watch Robert Reich’s “Resistance Reports” nightly and I’m tracking Twitter for the latest breaking news.

However, just in case this article helps others struggling with their own Mount Everests, here it is.

There’s a saying, “Leap and the net will appear.”

When I posted a plea for Finance help on Facebook, a friend suggested I consult local non-profits. I reached out to my local SCORE chapter. A retired finance executive called me to discuss the time value of money for more than an hour! I contacted an alumnus from our university via LinkedIn to ask whether he would consider tutoring me. He is very skilled at explaining financial concepts in layperson’s terms, and we had a very helpful Google Hangout discussion. When I offered to pay for his time, he refused, saying this was his way of “paying it forward.”

I reached out to my instructor – we met via Skype on a weekend. His helpful Excel spreadsheets and explanations made things so clear that I aced my next quiz. I must be catching on now. I just ran a complex course work assignment by a tutor in our university’s Academic Skills Center. He’s a finance expert and he said it looked like I was on the right track. Amazing!

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Director, Career Services Center and DBA Student                         Originally published on LinkedIn, February 6, 2017



Finding Hope and Support Through Career Transition


Have you experienced an unprecedented event that permanently changed your life and career?  If so, you are not alone. Rhonda is an EdD alumna who had a successful career in education administration until a family member became ill.  To care for her loved one, Rhonda left her position as a Program Administrator and assumed the role of a full-time caregiver for several years.  During this time, Rhonda completed her EdD program and wrote a doctoral study on first-generation college students that identified hope as a critical factor in student success.  As she attempted to re-enter the workforce and find meaningful work, she maintained her sense of hope through advocates, friends, and the Walden community.  Her relentless commitment to following her dreams and sharing her vision with others resulted in a “perfect fit” position working for a faith-based nonprofit committed to stopping human trafficking.

How did Rhonda gather positive energy from others to find the right opportunity?

Finding Supporters and Job Search Advocates
When Rhonda made a long-term commitment to complete her EdD and make a difference in the world, not everyone in her life was supportive of her efforts.  To succeed in her doctoral program and job search, Rhonda decided to surround herself with people who embraced her vision, including dedicated friends and her doctoral study chair at Walden, Dr. Tom Cavanagh.  She also connected with Walden’s Career Services Center where she received networking tips, interview strategies, and job search tools that elevated her confidence.  She reached out to multiple nonprofit organizations and universities for informational interviews and became skilled in sharing her career goals with others.  Rhonda periodically updated her advocates on her progress and personal growth.  Her open heart and sincere gratitude motivated others to provide valuable leads, tips, and job search strategies.

Rekindling Friendship and Faith
One day, Rhonda was driving to another city for an informational interview.  While on the road, she remembered that a former pastor and dear friend lived a few miles away from her route.  She picked up the phone and invited him and his wife to dinner.  During the dinner, the pastor mentioned a nonprofit organization working to stop human trafficking.  Rhonda decided to reach out to this organization for an informational interview based on her interest in their faith-based mission.  Shortly afterward, she met with the organization’s founder and made such a positive impression that she was invited back for a series of four interviews and, ultimately, hired to develop curriculum and courses for professionals and agencies working to stop human trafficking in Thailand.  Rhonda’s new role allows her to live her mission and apply her writing and analytical skills to make a difference in the lives of women and children.  Currently, the nonprofit is exploring new ways to utilize Rhonda’s skills, including developing programs in the U.S.

What are Rhonda’s next steps?  She is looking for new ways to strengthen her connections with people and organizations she encountered through her career transition.  Ultimately, her mission is to generate hope for others who are facing challenges and searching for a more meaningful life.  She encourages Walden students who are in career transition to never let go of their dreams, find advocates who can generate ideas, and reach out to Career Services for help.  She said, “[Career Services] gave me the hope and encouragement I needed that led to the path I was destined to take.  I could not have reached my goals without this support.”

Are you in career transition?  The Career Services Center is here to help!

Need additional support through life transitions?  Reach out to Walden’s Student Assistance Program.

Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services


“A New Year, A New You!”


What are your career goals for your degree?  Are you targeting a new job, a career change, a raise, or a promotion?  Are you earning your degree to stay competitive in your field?

The start of a new year is the perfect time for career-related self-assessment and goal setting to recharge your batteries.

Ask yourself three simple questions:

  • Will you have work or volunteer experience to qualify you for your future career goal at graduation?
  • Are you proactively building your network and your knowledge of the latest trends in your field through professional associations, LinkedIn groups, and social media sites like Twitter?
  • Is your resume updated with your latest experience, your current degree program, and the expected date of completion for your degree?

Would you have a few minutes to learn how our Career Services Center team can help with these strategies?  We invite you to watch our short “Meet Career Services” video to learn how we can support you in kick starting your career this new year!

For information on upcoming webinars and other programs, please visit our Career Center website.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and productive 2017 from the Career Services Center Team!

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Director of Career Services


Nine Tips from a Higher Education Faculty Recruiter

Helpful Tips. Magnifying Glass on Old Paper.

If your career goal is to teach in higher education, we have advice for you directly from Andrea, a Senior Faculty Recruiter for Walden University. She has spent countless hours reviewing applications and searching for talented instructors to fill faculty positions.

Here is her advice:

  1. Apply for positions that match your academic credentials, experience, and career goals.
  2. Watch college or university websites for open positions. They often post on their own website before posting on the large job boards.
  3. Seek out programs that are growing or institutions adding new programs, for example, the recent growth in Nurse Practitioner programs.
  4. Keep in mind that an institution can often receive up to 150 applications for one open position depending on the requirements and candidate pool. To get an interview, you need to show that not only are you qualified but that you are one of the best-qualified applicants.
  5. Update your LinkedIn profile. Use keywords relevant to your field and experience. LinkedIn is the go-to tool for recruiters to search for talent.
  6. Have a clear, concise, and well-organized curriculum vita (CV). Use a traditional format with:
    • A short tailored summary showcasing your professional and research focus.
    • Your education section at or near the top of the document.
    • Your experience in chronological order with your most recent experience first.
    • Keywords relevant to your field; recruiters use applicant tracking systems to search large numbers of CVs for keywords related to the education, knowledge, experience, and skills required for a position.
    • Publications and professional presentations if you have them; these sections are important and will help you stand out from other applicants.
  7. Use the college or university’s applicant tracking system to apply and to check the status of your application. It is ok to reach out through email with questions or to let an internal contact know that you submitted an application, but keep emails to a minimum.
  8. Prepare for the interview well in advance.
    • The initial phone interview is intended to screen applicants for a fit with the organization’s culture and to check that the compensation is in line with the applicant’s expectations.
    • Prepare to give a short sample classroom presentation via video, Skype, or live as part of the interview process.
    • Prepare to discuss your academic and professional experience; include examples.
    • Share your enthusiasm for teaching.
  9. Be patient, the process can take months.

We thank Andrea for sharing her advice!

You can find more information about finding a position in higher education at Career Services Doctoral Resources  and view higher education job postings at Higher Education/Online Learning Job Opportunities page

Written by Denise Pranke, Senior Career Services Advisor


Top 10 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

linkedin networking

LinkedIn is the number one professional networking site.  Here are 10 ways you can improve your profile for career management and job search success:

  1. Update Your Profile Photo

Make sure you have a professional headshot photo that lets your personality shine through.

  1. Communicate Your Unique Value Proposition in Your Headline

Write a headline that reflects the different “hats” you wear as a professional, your professional passion, or what sets you apart from other professionals in your field.

  1. Use the Summary Section to Tell Your Story

The summary should be more personal than the resume and written in the first person. Highlight your background, major accomplishments, professional passions, and describe your goals.

  1. Customize Your Public Profile URL

Make your LinkedIn URL easier to share by making it shorter.

  1. Click on Profile.
  2. Click Edit Profile.
  3. Click on the “settings” icon to the right of your URL.
  4. Under Your public profile URL section on the right of the page, click the “edit” icon.
  5. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  6. Click Save.


  1. Be Strategic with Groups

Choose 2-3 groups of interest to join.  These can be alumni, skills, or professional groups.  Recruiters are known to seek out talent in groups.

  1. Ask for a Recommendation

Recommendations are essential to a solid profile.  Reach out to former colleagues or supervisors, clients, professors, or vendors.  Make sure that you ask someone who knows you well to write a solid recommendation.

  1. Connect with Coworkers and Walden Classmates

LinkedIn is all about building and cultivating your professional network, so reach out to those around you and invite them to connect.  This is an easy way to build your network.

  1. Share Your Professional and Academic Accomplishments

Attract attention by adding visual representations of your work to your profile.  Upload videos, images, documents and presentations.

  1. Showcase Professional Expertise and Writing Skills through the Self-Publishing Feature

LinkedIn makes it easy to share your knowledge through its self-publishing feature.  You can write a book review, share how you have applied your learning to the workplace, or write about your subject matter expertise.

  1. Utilize the New ‘Open Candidates’ Job Search Feature

LinkedIn lets users privately alert recruiters that they are open to new job opportunities. On the Jobs tab, go to Update your preferences to indicate:

  • The types of jobs sought
  • Preferred experience level
  • Locations desired
  • Preferred industries
  • Preferred company size

Updating your profile using these 10 improvements could make the difference between being overlooked for a position or called for an interview.

To learn more ways to improve your LinkedIn profile and experience, view the Career Services Center’s LinkedIn Webinar Series.

 By Nicolle Skalski, Senior Career Services Advisor



Steps that Led to Finding Higher Ed Adjunct Teaching Positions


Are you pursuing your doctoral degree with the goal of teaching in higher education?  Tarana, a Doctor of Business Administration student, shares with us what she did that led to two offers as an adjunct instructor― one at a community college and one at a four-year college. She had been applying for non-academic positions with no response, so she reached out to Walden Career Services and made an appointment.  She said by meeting with a Career Advisor, “I gained a wealth of knowledge on how to reduce clutter on my resume.”  She took the advice about her resume and applied it to her curriculum vita.  To “test out her newfound knowledge,” she applied for a higher education adjunct teaching position posted on a job board. She kept her CV focused on her expertise and experience “essential” to the position.  Within a day, she received an invitation to interview.  With one success, she was motivated to try for another position and her strategy worked again!

This is what Tarana discovered through working with a Career Services advisor:

Clean Up Your Curriculum Vita:

  • Use consistent and clear formatting throughout so that the document looks polished and professional.
  • Include a brief professional summary focused on relevant skills and experience.
  • Edit out irrelevant information. Irrelevant information distracts the reader from what is important.
  • Include “streamlined” statements that start with a strong action verb and describe your achievements and accomplishments.
  • Add special sections such as “Conference Presentations Delivered.”

Prepare for the Interview:

  • Research information about the student population and policies of the institution that affect classroom dynamics. Know the mission of the institution.
  • Review the job description and requirements and use them as your guide.
  • Prepare questions to ask during the interview such as “What student services are available to support students?”
  • Practice answering scenario type questions such as “What would you do if a student was caught plagiarizing?”

The time and effort that Tarana invested in strengthening her curriculum vita and preparing for her interviews worked! She received two offers and accepted both positions. Her final advice is to: “Take advantage of Walden’s Career Services, their advice is “absolutely priceless.”

We thank Tarana for sharing her story, and we wish her much success in her DBA program and her new adjunct teaching positions!

For more information on creating a curriculum vita and searching for a higher education teaching position visit the Career Services Center Doctoral Resources.

Written by Denise Pranke, Senior Career Services Advisor


Time Management Tips for New Doctoral Students

Cynthia Hickman, a Walden Alumni Ambassador, will be awarded her Ph.D. in Health Services, in January 2017.  She is our guest blogger for this post.


The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) journey is a gratifying experience that will mold your life and career. You must assume personal accountability to achieve a successful outcome. Commonly asked questions are, “What is the first step in the dissertation or Capstone process?”  “What steps do I take from there?”  Addressing these issues early can support your timely completion of your doctoral degree.

Here are three tips that supported my success in my Ph.D. journey.

1)    You must be proactive.

Controlling your Ph.D. journey begins with personal accountability, information, and the required tools associated with your academic program. As a new scholar-practitioner, you must act in anticipation of future program expectations and needs.

2)    Know the necessary documents for your program.

Every program has required documents, which are tools needed along your doctoral journey to be successful.  I advise you to read these documents early in your program. For Ph.D. programs, click here. For professional doctorates, click here.

At the start of my program, I printed:

  • the writing template,
  • the rubric,
  • the checklist for the research design under consideration,
  • the Institutional Review Board (IRB) application,
  • the Committee Member Nomination Form.

3)    Select Your Committee Early (6-month window). 

If you know your research interest, starting the selection process for committee members is a valuable and proactive step. Your prospectus course positions you to enter the dissertation shell with a firm blueprint for your study. Committee members are excited when scholars take this initiative.  It helps you decide how to develop the chapters that make up your dissertation.

I hope you find these tips helpful as you advance along your doctoral journey!

Written by Cynthia Hickman, Walden University Ambassador, Ph.D. in Health Sciences expected January 2017; M.S. Nursing completed December 2009 

For Writing Center resources and tips, please visit these links:

Doctoral Capstone Kits from the Writing Center

“Top 5 Things to Know Before Writing Your Dissertation“ Blog Post