Friday, May 27, 2011

Coker College SIFE Video Shows Highlights

One of the newest organizations on the Coker College campus is the Students Involved in Free Enterprise. This is an organization that Dr. Wyatt, Coker's, was involved with as the chair of the Business Department at Drury University.

This year's SIFE group had some major success and this video gives a quick highlight tour of some of these successes.

I expect this group will continue to do exciting things both on and off the Coker College campus.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mitch and his falcon in S.C. Living

The bird man from South Carolina Living on Vimeo.
Mitch Brantley is part of the Coker College community. If you look around the campus and find yourself commenting on what a beautiful place it is, you will then not have to look too far before finding Mitch and some of his colleagues as they work on the landscaping and other items that make this one of the most beautiful campuses in South Carolina. And, Mitch has some interesting activities that are part of his life away from the campus.

The imbedded video from South Carolina Living gives you a quick idea of his falconry expertise. They make a special note as to how falconry is more a way of life than a hobby. But, that does not mean Mitch does not have some hobbies. As him sometime, How many ringers in a row? He is a very competitive in horseshoe tourneys and you can sometimes watch that expertise at Byerly Park in Hartsville, where there is a modern competition site.

The Coker College campus is full of interesting individuals contributing in so many different ways to one of the most vibrant learning communities you will find.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer is job hunting season for Coker College grads

Coker College had an impressive graduation a couple of Saturday's ago. And, for many Coker College seniors, this was the tim to begin to looking for jobs. I spoke to several who were still hoping they could enjoy their last summer before the "real world' and have a real vacation. It is more than a guess that the reality of having to find a way to put the degree to use in making a living is kicking in.

In my classes and in our one-on-one discussions I will often tell students that I have found finding a job is just about the hardest job I have had. In today's economy, even as it gets better, this still appears to be the case. One of our former Coker students just announced on Facebook that she has just been offered and taken her first job. She has been in graduate school since her graduation. The company that hired Shannon has made a great decision.

And, the other day I had a call from a good friend who has a job opening and a couple of my former students were in the running. He had a short list of about five who were being considered for that opening. It was a list that had been shortened significantly from a large number of applicants. What kept some of the people off the short list?
-- Resumes that exceeded one page
-- Resumes that used long paragraphs of explanations instead of bullet points
-- Resumes that were not complete
-- Resumes that had errors
In several of the classes that I teach that I consider "professional" we include discussion on the job search. We include discussion on the above resume errors but like most of what we learn in life, we have to keep being reminded.

Just today I got one of those sort of junk emails about jobs. It had a major lesson that kept it from being "junk" in my mind. The person writing the email asked an important question. Is the resume for you or is it for the employer? The right answer to that question is a variation of the lesson most of my students repeat in their sleep -- Know Your Audience. The person writing that email was selling resume-writing services for those who were still writing for themselves.

Also today, PR Daily had an email where they asking PR people about what they tell recent grads who are in the job hunt. One of the unusual but totally on-target pieces of advice was "to say hello to people" - lots of people. Most people get jobs through networking and we tell students that is not something they should fight -- they need to learn to network. We talk about networking books. We talk about elevator pitches and when we put job-search plans together, these activities are part of that hard work that goes into the hard jot of finding a job.

As I was writing I received call on my mobile that was a reference check from someone who may be hiring a former student. The competition for this particular job is intense. There were 134 job applicants. The 134 were whittled to 12. I think the hiring person said the 12 were then trimmed to five. There were at least three rounds of face to face interviews. There was a writing test and there are still three strong contenders for the job. I was delighted to recommended my former student. She was a good student who understood the value of hard work. She was a student who took full advantage of the Coker liberal arts education and then went on for her Masters. If they hire her, she will prove herself in the work place. As the person doing the hiring said she told applicants, it is hard for them and it makes her job a bit more difficult because of the supply but it sure does mean she has the ability to choose from a lot of very strong candidates. That is a message the students get when we discuss the job hunt. Times are frequently hard. The economy is frequently out of kilter and you have to equip yourself to be competitive.

This is the job hunting season so keep your ears open. If you know of jobs that are available tell people who may know people in the hunt. If you are hunting make sure people know you are in the hunt.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Graduation today - could it be you?

There is a strong group of people who in just an hour or two are going to be Coker College graduates. As one of their instructors, I want to again say congratulations.

As I thought about this ceremony, I also thought of a nephew who is just graduating from college this year in Illinois. "It took me longer than most," he wrote on his Facebook page, "But I am doing it." Mark has children, he is not a traditional student but he persisted and got his degree.

I am wondering about those in today's audience at Coker. I will bet there are some moms, dads, husbands and wives of some of these grads who are saying, 'Man, I wish I could get my college degree." At the risk of being a bit crass on this celebratory day, the answer to that wish is YOU CAN. Coker College has an exciting program for students who cannot attend during the day. Many of today's graduates will be happy to tell you how you can realize that dream. And, my bet is they will not mince their words when they tell you it takes work, sacrifice and a bit of bravery. Today, they will also tell you how much it means to accomplish this goal.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coker Singers on the big Stage

photo caption -- Coker Singers perform at Kalmia Gardens during Earth Day 2010.

Dr. Will Carswell, director of the Coker Singers and the Coker Chamber Singers announced this afternoon that the Singers will be performing next April with the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. This is going to be a tremendous honor for both the Singers and the College.

This is the announcement that Dr. Carswell shared:


I wanted to share some exciting news with you. Yesterday the Coker Singers were officially invited to join the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony next season. The April 2012 concert is the season finale for the SC Philharmonic and is sure to be a sell-out. This is a rare opportunity for our students to perform a monumental work in the history of Western classical music. And it's pretty cool for me too since I have never had the chance to prepare this work!

The performance next April will mark the fifth time the Coker Singers have performed with the SC Philharmonic since 2006 and the ONLY college or university choir to have sung with them during that time. Congratulations singers!

Will Carswell

William Carswell, D.M.A.
Associate Professor of Music
Director of Choral and Vocal Studies

Monday, May 2, 2011

Coker Graduates Give Some Advice to Continuing Students

caption -- One of the interesting projects of this academic year was some site-specific dance routines that were part of Hanna Beard's honors research project.

"Remember that things take time. Just because you don't get your dream job right after graduation doesn't mean that it won't come. Be patient and have fun figuring things out. A job is a job until the right one comes along."

As students and faculty approach finals this week, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the advice given by Coker College Communication grads who were graciously took part in my sabbatical survey of graduates. Since there were more than 60 responses of 84 possibilities, I will use this space over time to try get most of the advice in. I really do appreciate those grads who shared their ideas, words and time to complete that survey.

"I will complete an MBA in the next two years. In my case, i wanted some real-world experience before completing a masters of MBA. i would recommend to business students to get some real-world experience; the theoretical business you learn from course work."

You can see that the advice coming from graduates covers a variety of ideas. Here's another than when I might say it will mean one thing but coming from a graduate I think it has a much deeper impact:

"Take full advantage of internships- My first boss told me that he was impressed that I actually had experience in my field of study. In today's job market, it's probably even more important. Accept the fact that you have to start at the bottom and do it with a positive attitude- I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed people my age and younger come into the workforce and expect things (raises, job titles, jobs within the company, vacation) to be given to them instead of working for it. Proof your resumes and writing samples. When I was features editor for a newspaper, I was shocked by the terrible resumes and work that people would submit."

With our seniors getting ready to end their four years at Coker, this last piece of advice is probably a good one to end on for this blog:

"Savor your college, because time is fleeting."