Getting Your Career in Gear for 2014

January is the month of resolutions, as the turn of the calendar page often kicks starts new diet, exercise, finance, or other personal goals. Some individuals focus on career-related achievements. For those in the latter category, Excelsior College’s career specialist Maribeth Gunner is there to help.

Gunner, director of career services at Excelsior College, has over 15 years of experience in career development. She’ll answer questions on career advancement, job prospects and more during the Troy Record Live Chat on January 16 from 5:30 pm to 6:30pm. The chat is free, open to the public, and questions are also accepted in advance or live.Gunner recently sat down with Excelsior Life to preview the event.

Excelsior Life: Can you explain how self-discovery can help a person find the right career path? Gunner: Self discovery is one of the most important building blocks in your career development. Through self-assessment, you can learn more about your interests, strengths and values, and gain a greater understanding the jobs and careers that match your personality, skills and aspirations. There are many helpful career assessment tools and techniques that can get you started on the road to self discovery.

Excelsior Life: What are some job search tools and techniques you recommend for students and those seeking employment?

Gunner: One of the most beneficial technique job seekers should leverage is networking. Approximately 70 – 80 percent of jobs are not advertised, so networking is a great way to position yourself for these opportunities. Also, a customized resume and cover letter are essential, as well as polished interview skills.

Excelsior Life: We often hear employers looking for candidates that are the right fit. What does this mean? Any suggestions to finding the right fit?

Gunner: Hiring and training new employees requires a significant investment of time and resources. Employers want to be sure they choose someone who will be successful and have longevity in the job. To do this, they often will ask behavior based interview questions, which focus more on the candidate’s past experiences instead of their potential for future performance.

Candidates should become familiar with this type of interview style before they engage in the interview process. Also, candidates should remember that while the employer is interviewing them, they should also be interviewing the employer. When you arrive at the interview, take note of the work environment. In the interview, ask the hiring manager about things like professional development and advancement opportunities, as well as employee satisfaction and turnover rates. Make sure the job and the work environment are commensurate with your overall values.


Alicia Jacobs
About Alicia Jacobs 298 Articles
Alicia Jacobs is Excelsior College’s Director of Communications and Community Engagement. She responsible for internal communications, public and media relations, employee and community engagement. She assists with special projects, events, committees on behalf of the President's Office. Jacobs career includes television production, broadcast media, healthcare, renewable energy, sports & entertainment, hospitality and higher education. She is also an Emmy Award-Winning TV Producer. During her career, she has worked for three international charities. Her work with non-profits continues today as she leads community engagement initiatives for the College including the Annual Excelsior Cares Volunteer Week. Outside of work, Jacobs is community-minded. Jacobs is a graduate of the University at Albany and earned her Master of Arts, communication with concentration in public relations from Western New England University. She is also a graduate of Excelsior College's Leadership Academy.

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