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Get the advice you need to successfully start your career.

This blog presents guidance on topics such as making the most of 1stGig, writing appropriate cover letters and resumes, developing solid interview strategies, negotiating a starting salary, deciding about graduate school, and much, much more. It is interactive as well as informative: If you have questions or comments about what you read here, or if you have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered, just let us know.

Is college worth it?

It depends on how you spent your time and how much debt you accrue, among other factors. (Read more)

What is the difference between a job, a career, and a calling?

It can be helpful to know which category you fall into as you search for employment. (Read more)

How can I build my personal brand?

Over the past few years, many recruitment specialists have emphasized the need for everyone to build a personal brand. But what is a personal brand? How do you go about building one? And why is it important? (Read more)

Attracting Millennials: What’s an employer to do?

As an employer, what are policies you can put into place to help attract and maintain millennial workers? (Read more)

Should I go to graduate school right after college?

In recent years, many students have opted to go to graduate school directly after they completed their undergraduate education. For some, that was a decision made after research about the career they wanted, but for many, it was a default position. They didn’t know what they wanted to do—or they couldn’t find a job—so they went to graduate school. (Read more)

Is an income-sharing agreement right for me?

We all know that a college education can be a very expensive proposition. More than two-thirds of college students in the U.S. graduate with some type of debt, and the current average amount that is owed by graduates with debt is close to $40,000. Some people have suggested an alternative to student loans that has gained notice in recent months because Purdue University has become a supporter. That alternative is the use of income-sharing agreements, also known as human capital contracts. Under an incoming-sharing agreement, an organization will provide funds to a student for college expenses in return for an agreed-upon percentage of their eventual income for a set number of years. Although the formulas that create the arrangement can be complicated and will vary significantly, some students have found this to be a valuable resource. (Read more)

How do I adapt to my new work environment?

Research has shown that everyone goes through a process of socialization when entering a new professional environment, and this process consists of four stages: anticipation, confusion, adaptation, and acceptance. These stages are consistent regardless of age, experience, or profession, but as you go through them with each new job—or if you change from one job to something very similar—the initial stages may get shorter. In your first encounter with this process, the stages can last a long time,  but knowing what to expect within each stage can help you get through it. (Read more)

What do millennials want?

We’ve all heard the stereotypes about the millennials — the generation born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s: We’ve heard that they’re unmotivated, that they’ve been overprotected by helicopter parents, and that they feel a sense of entitlement that older generations find offensive. However, most of such assertions are based on anecdotal evidence. Does the stereotype really reflect the millennials? (Read more)

Repaying your student loan

If you have a student loan, you have entered the world of finance in a way that can affect your entire future. A student loan is typically a fairly significant debt, and failure to manage your money and repay your loan obligation can follow you throughout your life. What you need to do is make sure that you understand all your options. (Read more)

What are some of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make?

If you ask ten Human Resources professionals what they think is the biggest mistake that job seekers make, you’re likely to get ten different answers. But if you ask them to list the top five, you’re going to see some mistakes show up over and over. Avoiding the seven mistakes listed below can put you ahead of many other applicants and will demonstrate that you should be viewed as a serious candidate. (Read more)

Congratulations on your graduation! What’s next?

If you recently graduated from college (or are about to graduate from college) and you’re not quite sure what happens next, you’re not alone. Roughly 80% of college graduates do not have a job lined up prior to graduation. What that means is that the weeks following graduation can be a really frightening time, especially if you, like most college students today, have student loans that will soon come due. The best thing you can do at this point is keep calm, don’t panic, and make some plans. (Read more)

How can I make the most of my internship (or co-op) experience?

Several years ago, I asked a group of students who had just completed internships to tell me what advice they would give to a someone who was about to begin an internship. While there was a lot of variation in their answers, there were several consistent themes that can help you make the most of your workplace experience. (Read more)

What can I do to improve my chances of making relevant connections through 1st Gig?

While you have no way of knowing which employers have posted jobs on that would interest you, you should have some idea of the type of job that you’re hoping to find. The more you know about that type of job, and the more you are able to provide evidence showing that you meet requirements for those jobs, the more likely it is that you will get matched with one or more employers looking to hire someone with your attributes. (Read more)

What would make me happy at work?

Several years ago, Gallup conducted a nationwide survey of workers to assess job satisfaction, and an astonishing 70% of the people who were polled said that they didn’t really like their jobs! Given that you will spend about a quarter of your adult life at work, you don’t want to be in that 70%. So what can you do to avoid it? You can start thinking now about the factors that would make you like—or hate—your job. I’m going to pose some questions to help you think about those factors, which may be able to help you conduct a more narrow—and more fruitful—job search. (Read more)

Why Summer Jobs Matter

A few months ago, President Obama published an article on LinkedIn about why his first job mattered. In the article, he describes his experience scooping ice cream when he was a teenager. He says, “My first summer job wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it taught me some valuable lessons. Responsibility. Hard work. Balancing a job with friends, family, and school.” I completely agree with that position, and I think you can learn those same lessons with any job you hold, whether it’s a summer job or a part-time job during the school year. But I think that if you are thoughtful about both the jobs you choose and the way you work at those jobs, you can gain a lot more. (Read more)
Susan M. Katz
Student Career Placement Consultant

Susan M. Katz, PhD, is 1stGig’s Student Career Placement Consultant and the author of Start Your Career: 5 Steps to Finding the Right Job after College.  She is also Associate Professor of English and Internship Coordinator at North Carolina State University, where she developed internship courses for both undergraduate and graduate students. Her courses help students prepare for the job search process, identify their strengths, and consider a variety of potential career paths. Her first book, The Dynamics of Writing Review: Opportunities for Growth and Change in the Workplace, describes some of the processes that newcomers must go through as they enter the workplace and adapt to organizational conventions.