New Resource: Digital Assets eBook for Students

I have big and exciting news!

Over the last few months, I have spoken to tons of you who have requested more content and student resources related to career and professional development.

As a recent college graduate who has gone through the internship and job search process on numerous occasions, I understand how difficult it can be to find reliable, up-to-date, and fun to read student resources on how to be successful in this area.

So, rather than just creating a normal blog post that might get lost in the swing of things, I decided I wanted to spice things up.

To do that, I created a student resource in the form of an eBook!

omg
professional ebook

It's called "Let's Get Professional: A Student's Guide to Creating BOSS Digital Assets". My eBook is designed to walk you through every single step that you need to take in order to successfully create and/or spruce up your digital assets, with the ultimate goal being to help you become more attractive to potential employers to land those internships and jobs!

This student resource is split up into three main modules: the resume, the cover letter, and the LinkedIn profile.

Each section features the basics of how to actually create that specific digital asset, along with many personal anecdotes, do's and don'ts, links to specific resources, formatting guides, and templates, and so much more, for less than $10.

insights

>

>

>

starbucks

That's right. For the cost of just two Starbucks coffees, you can snag my eBook and all of those fabulous insights for yourself!

I know how much we all love Starbucks (or maybe you're a Dunkin fan, it's all the same in my book!), but think about the long-lasting value in 75 pages of resources, in comparison to the fleeting satisfaction of two caffeinated, albeit tasty, drinks.

As I mentioned, I was (very recently) a student myself, which means that I know how much random expenses can easily add up. If you're not sure whether or not my eBook is worth the price, just wait, because I haven't even mentioned the best part!

I know that words by themselves can be powerful, but more often than not, actually having someone there by your side to help you through the process makes it a whole lot easier.

So, by downloading Let's Get Professionalyou will also receive a digital coupon to redeem a FREE 1:1 session with me to get even more help in refining your digital assets.

I believe that covers just about everything you need to know about my newest student resource release.

Ready to invest in your professional future? Click here to unlock the insights!

I promise you won't be disappointed 🙂

Sincerely,

Ayden

How To: Craft Your Dream Career

Throughout the month of December, I teamed up with my friend Yamini over at Hallo to put on a series of virtual events all dedicated to Leveling Up Your Lifestyle in 2021. One of the events was all about how to craft your dream career. In this workshop, we discussed a wide range of topics, all related to how to identify possible career paths and how to get started with turning those dreams into a reality.

In this short post, I am going to highlight some of the key points and major takeaways from our discussion, as well as provide links to the presentations and to the virtual event itself so you can watch it later, in case you missed it!

Craft Your Career

Key discussion points

The term career is quite a broad one.

Generally, it is the part of your life that is related to employment, and the sum of the various jobs you have held/will hold throughout your life, and it’s completely what you make of it.

A great starting point for crafting your dream career is to lead with your strengths. This means:

  • Making a list of your strengths along with areas of improvement
  • Being sure to consult colleagues, professors, friends, and family for unbiased opinions on where your strengths lie
  • Keeping in mind that your strengths and weaknesses can include things such as personality traits, mindsets, and soft skills (not just hard skills!)

Key questions to ask yourself in relation to your career and goals:

  • What do you enjoy? This should include hobbies and what you do in your free time.
  • What are your priorities? Some people prioritize money, others prioritize work-life balance, job security, or career advancement. Decide what yours are!
  • What are your wins thus far? What have you accomplished in your life to date? What are you proud of?
  • What subjects did you gravitate towards in school? Trips down memory lane can be very telling of what you may or may not enjoy in the future.

What makes a “dream” job?

While each person’s dream job or career might look different, these are some of the generally agreed-upon components of any dream job:

  • It’s engaging. 
  • It helps others. 
  • You’re good at it.
  • It lacks major negatives.
  • Supportive colleagues.

Ways to explore career pathways can include:

  • Using the Internet - network on LinkedIn, attend Hallo sessions, read up and watch videos on different industries/career paths
  • Talking to people - informational interviews, job shadows, etc.
  • Seeking exposure - take career assessments, search for jobs, just because!

It’s super important to be constantly searching for ways to build upon and upgrade your skills to be the best you can be.

Some ways to do this include:

  • Take academic classes that fall in line with your interests
  • Supplement your academic learning with outside courses or boot camps
  • Take on all the work experience you can get
  • Read up on topics you’re interested in by subscribing to newsletters and blogs
  • Consider starting up a relevant side hustle

Networking is...

the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.

  • Why it’s important - can lead to business and professional opportunities, and can help you learn more about an industry of interest first-hand
  • Where to start networking - LinkedIn, family, student organizations, campus events
  • With whom - role models, people who work at organizations or in positions you are interested in

At the end of the day…

Do what makes you happy - even if you don't know what that means for your career yet!

Thinking About Business or Law School? Read This.

Whether you’re a student who is currently preparing to apply for an MBA or Law program, or you are just in the process of considering the idea, it’s likely that you have spent at least a little time thinking about how to ace those exams (talking GMAT and LSAT here). As you should, because for many programs, your score on those exams is one of the key deciding factors on whether or not you get accepted! 

Of course, there are other pieces of the puzzle that help to determine the outcome, like GPA, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. However, it is important to recognize that having an outstanding test score to submit along with those other pieces can help to offset any “iffy-ness” in any of the other categories.

gmat-test

So, we have determined and confirmed the importance of having strong GMAT or LSAT test scores to submit with the rest of your application. But how are you going to actually achieve those high scores? 

Well, because each and every student is different, it is likely that no two study strategies (from beginning to end) are completely alike. However, here are a bunch of questions you might want to ask yourself before (or during, if you’re there) the process to help shed light on how to use your time wisely and see overall success: 

  • What is my study style like? 
  • How do I prefer to learn information? 
  • What type of test-taker am I?
  • What is my timeline for studying/when do I want to take the exam? 
  • How many times should I plan on taking the exam before submitting my best score?
  • How strong is my application in terms of the other “pieces of the puzzle”? 
  • What is my target score, based on the schools that I want to attend? 
  • What is the minimum score that would likely be accepted from any of my top choices?

I could easily go on and on with this list, but those are definitely some of the most important questions to ask yourself (and to fully answer) before moving on to step 2, which is choosing a prep course (and maybe even an admissions consultant if you’re an MBA applicant). 

giphy (1)

Now, you might be asking me, why can’t I just study for the GMAT or the LSAT with my own study plan? My answer is that yes, you certainly can. However, most students end up, at some point in the process, joining some sort of prep course to help give them the professional guidance and structure that is often necessary to perform well on these types of exams. 

While not every student will end up enrolling in a prep course, it is extremely common because these types of courses often do a great job at helping to guide students through the study process. If you are a student who is thinking about (or currently) studying for one of these exams while also trying to balance your undergraduate degree, a job, or any number of other things, then enrolling in a prep course can be a load off of your shoulders because it means one less thing that you need to mentally plan out, not to mention the studying itself! 

If you think that investing in some sort of prep course for the GMAT or LSAT is the move for you (which I think it is, too!), it is super important to make sure you check out all of your options before taking the plunge into any given program. They are expensive, after all! So, if you’ve made it this far, be sure to check out these resources to help you decide which prep course is the best fit for you:

Best GMAT Prep Courses 

Best LSAT Prep Courses 

Keytodoor

Finally, I know that I didn’t touch on MBA consultants in this post as much as I focused on prep courses, but if you are applying for an MBA, this might be another thing that you want to consider. An MBA consultant can be a great resource to help you refine the aspects of your application, such as personal statements, letters of rec, and work on interview prep. 

A consultant will also help you to find schools that are a good fit for you based on your profile, and guide you in marketing yourself to those schools in the best way possible. To cut down on the work that YOU have to do, check out this list of the best best MBA Admissions Consultants

That’s all on MBA and Law admissions and testing for now! If you could use some scholarships to help you offset the costs of your current or future program, be sure to also take a look at some of these articles for some scholarships that you may be a good fit for:

Full-Ride Scholarships 

Scholarships for Women 

Scholarships for Hispanic Students 

Introducing Acadium, the Coolest Way to Gain Remote Work Experience

While we mainly focus on scholarships over here at Access, we love to connect you with as many helpful resources as possible. Our team is always excited to partner with awesome companies who have a similar mission of helping you to succeed in all aspects of your life. So, without further ado, I want to introduce our newest partnership with Acadium, the coolest way to gain remote work experience and kickstart your career. 

What is Acadium?

Acadium is a free online resource that provides you with the opportunity to find an apprenticeship across a wide range of disciplines related to the digital marketing space. These 3-month long apprenticeships require a maximum of 10 hours of work each week and are entirely remote, which means you have the ability to expand your options in terms of possible companies to be matched with.

Acadium offers apprenticeships across a wide range of areas.

How does it work?

Start by exploring the potential apprenticeship opportunities on Acadium to see if any of them catch your interest. Then, you will create your free account and profile on Acadium and submit it to their team so they can learn a little more about you. 

Once your profile has been approved, you will have the opportunity to chat with mentors who have open positions and apply if you are interested. After you find a mentor and company that is a good fit for you, you can sign your contract and get working!

I don’t have any work experience. Can I still find an apprenticeship?

Yes! Little to no work experience is required to start an apprenticeship with Acadium. The most sought-after qualities that mentors look for in potential apprentices are strong work ethic, eagerness to learn, commitment, and communication skills. 

Plus, if you are lacking digital marketing experience, Acadium offers completely free online courses that can help to provide you with the foundation knowledge necessary to get started.

Statistics on student satisfaction with Acadium

What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship through Acadium?

The three main benefits include getting some great mentorship from your company leader, gaining experience in the industry and role you are working in, and finally, being equipped with all of the resources (think: professional network, connections, and skills) you need to help you jumpstart your career. 

There is also the potential for apprenticeships to turn into full-time working positions once you are ready to enter the workforce. Plus, the fact that the entirety of your work experience is remote allows you to complete your apprenticeship from anywhere!

This all sounds great - where can I get started?

Ready to get started? Amazing! Head over to the Acadium site to create your free account and see what’s out there. 

Finding Employment During COVID Times

Lessons Learned From Being an Unemployed Recent Grad in the Middle of a Global Pandemic

When I began my senior year of college, I would say I was 75% excited and 25% stressed. “Why stressed?” you may ask. I was stressed because I knew that it meant the hunt for my first post-college job was quickly approaching. From talking to older friends and from the palpable competitiveness of the other students in my class in the UW-Madison School of Business, I deduced that securing a job as early on in the year as possible was the key to both a sense of security and enjoying senior year. So, in my natural type-A manner, I decided to start (and successfully complete!) my job search ASAP!

The leaves fell off the trees that lined campus, the lake had well frozen over, and I returned to Madison in January after winter break — jobless. While I was definitely disheartened with my situation, I didn’t let it get to me too much because I knew that most of my peers wouldn’t lock down a job offer until some point during the spring semester.

Fast forward to the middle of March: I was frantically scrolling through LinkedIn every minute of the day, researching companies and potential job opportunities, preparing for interviews, and hoping that I’d luck out with at least one of the hundreds of applications I submitted. Then, practically overnight, the pandemic and the immediacy of sequestering indoors hit. Thousands of companies that were just hiring yesterday quickly took down all open roles. Opportunities basically vanished into thin air, leaving me with only one thing: the understanding that the search for employment would be the most difficult challenge I’d ever faced and something so novel that I had no direction on how to navigate it.

My career was reduced to a shot in the dark.

Screen Shot 2020-09-28 at 7.32.22 PM

During the first few months of lockdown, as the world was beginning to adjust to the “new normal,” I had my head down, spending more time than ever applying for jobs (even as they became incredibly scarce), polishing my resume until it gleamed, and figuring out how to make myself more marketable to potential employers. Those months, while they seemingly went by slowly at first, began to blur together into one uninspiring mess.

All of a sudden, the calendar read “May 9th.” I found myself sitting in my living room, outfitted in cap and gown, watching my commencement from the couch where I was sprawled out with a bottle of champagne to keep me company. This was a far cry from what I had envisioned all these years: head held high, strutting across the stage with my gown billowing behind me, accepting the diploma I had paid for in not only tuition dollars, but also in innumerable all-nighters, languorous study sessions at the library, a sky-high stack of essays, an avalanche of assignments, and many, many moments of self-doubt and near-defeat.

All things considered, it was still an exciting day full of celebration (although I regretted not being able to jump around in Camp Randall). However, that pang of worry from the back of my mind eventually emerged, taunting me: “Hey Ayden, guess what? You just graduated from college, and you’re still unemployed!”

I was one of those people. Great.

Screen Shot 2020-09-28 at 7.32.30 PM

Shortly after graduating, I was still losing sleep over being unemployed until, low and behold, the clouds gave way, the angels began to sing, and heaven sent a startup opportunity right to my doorstep.

I was offered the chance to design a website that would, after several hours of brainstorming and iterations, become Access Scholarships, a scholarship discovery site which provides all students (think: high school, college, grad school, etc.) the opportunity to easily search and apply for scholarships to help them finance their studies.

Other cool features of the website include a blog (run by yours truly), a student deals + discounts page, and links to resources, apps, and tips to help students optimize both their success and happiness during their academic careers.

After the successful launch of Access Scholarships, I came on full-time to not only manage the site but also to build out the brand. One of the coolest things about working for a startup, as I have come to learn, is that your opinion truly matters. Every blog post, every email campaign, and every decision is made with my input considered. I can propose ideas and run with new initiatives with relatively no filter or red tape, a sort of flexibility I doubt I’d have at a big, established firm or a ubiquitous corporation.

A few months ago, if you had asked me how I felt about being unemployed, I would have started breathing into my handy, (always at arm’s length) brown paper bag to quell the anxiety. I thought I had missed the boat.

Not having a cushy, corporate job lined up post-graduation meant I was doing something wrong. Now, I realize the error in adopting such a narrow-minded approach.

I now feel not only content and re-energized with my current situation, but also incredibly grateful to do impactful work that I also find enjoyable, especially during a time when job opportunities are few and far between!

I’ve made peace with the fact that there is absolutely nothing wrong with graduating from college without a job offer in hand, both under normal circumstances and especially during a global pandemic. There is no “right” path to success and everyone has their own time zone. Attempting to religiously follow someone else’s path or forcing yourself to adjust to someone else’s time zone is a recipe for disaster.

Everyone is unique, so it naturally follows that their career trajectory would be, too.

Screen Shot 2020-09-28 at 7.32.38 PM

For those of you who are still in college or knee-deep in the job hunt and finding yourself in the frazzled headspace I was in just a few months ago, here is some advice.

Set aside some time to check in with yourself.

Answer the following questions:

  • What type of work do I think (or know) I will enjoy doing?
  • What types of opportunities excite me?
  • Is there a particular cause that I am passionate about?
  • What do I want to become really good at?
  • Do my interests lie within working for a specific company, a certain industry, or a type of role?

*Pro-tip: Once you’ve answered some of the questions above, check out this article on how to optimize your job applications to ensure that every application you submit does justice to your candidacy!

Wrapping Up

In hindsight, if I could change one thing about the way that I searched for jobs in college, it would be the ability to access a user-friendly application to help me not only apply for jobs but also to learn more about the companies I was applying to and have candid conversations with the people who worked there.

Enter the room, Hallo!

Screen Shot 2020-09-28 at 7.32.47 PM

Hallo is a career services platform that has granted students with all of those things that I was wishing for, and more. The service is centered around providing students with the opportunity to easily connect with potential employers through virtual (and free!) career events. Students can speak with and learn from companies across a wide range of industries, finding answers to those difficult career questions I posed above and making headway towards the job opportunity that is right for them. The remote nature of the platform is a blockbuster feature, especially during COVID times as in-person career fairs and networking events are indefinitely on-hold.

Hallo arms students with all of the resources they need to progress in their career journeys and thrive!

If you’re a student, and you ever find yourself in my shoes, recite this mantra:

“There is not ONE path. There is not even the RIGHT path. There is only YOUR path.”