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Stories and advice to help you start or finish your degree

Granite State College Blog

5 Steps to Finding Work You'll Love: Career Planning Tips

Posted by Career Services on Jan 10, 2017 8:13:12 PM

If you're stuck in a job that's not a good fit, you've probably caught yourself thinking about your "dream job." You may have wondered what it would be like if going to work was among the highlights of your week instead of the low points. It might sound like a fantasy, but having a position that feels right can be a reality. How? The key to finding work you'll love is knowing yourself and then using that knowledge to find local job opportunities that fit you.

Woman working at laptopThe Career Planning Cycle

The first thing to know about career planning is that it's an ongoing process. There will be many points in your life when you'll face a decision about making a job change. Whether it's a choice you've made yourself or circumstances that are beyond your control, following the steps below should lead you to a spectrum of related career options that will be right for you.

Step #1: Self-Assessments

Typical online career self-assessment tools lead you through pointed questions that reveal the types of work environments and careers that fit you best. During this process, you'll learn what makes you tick, what you enjoy, what skills you have, and what you value in the work place.

Career assessments can give you a feel for what matters, but having them interpreted by a professional Career Advisor, can give you in-depth insights. An Advisor can shine a light on things you may not have considered such as any disconnects and overlaps in your interests and skills, or the importance of workplace values. For example, do you require a sense of accomplishment, or the ability to innovate? If these workplace values aren't being met in your career, you likely won’t be satisfied.

Another key area of concern that assessments can reveal are your "burnout zones." A burnout zone is when you’re skilled at a task or set of tasks but are not interested in, nor enjoy those tasks. Many people working in a burnout zone don’t quite realize why they’re so unhappy at work. Working this way can lead to career unhappiness and yes, burnout, which is why analyzing your career assessment with an advisor can be so enlightening. 

Step #2: Analyze

The next step in finding work you’ll love is to analyze everything you've learned through your self-assessment and begin to narrow your search for a career path. It's important to remember that your future career path won’t necessarily be just one position, but can instead consist of several occupations that fit into a spectrum of related career opportunities. Many career planning systems can help you use your assessment results to find these occupations. Next you can narrow this list by researching what skills, education, and experience are required for these positions.  

Step #3: Research

Once you've narrowed your career field options, it's time to research employers in your geographic area that offer your desired occupation. Through your research, you'll learn about the skills and experience these employers look for in a potential new hire. It's also an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the company's values and culture, and reflect on whether or not it's a good match for you. For example, if the ability to innovate is among your top workplace values, a highly traditional firm may not be the fit. Once you've narrowed your list to several options in your area, it's time to make sure you're ready when the right job comes along.

Step #4:  Prepare with a Gap Analysis

With your career move in mind, you'll want to closely analyze what skills (both technical and interpersonal),  experience, and education are necessary for this career path. Once you've identified any gaps, you can find ways to gain additional experience and skills through internships (in-person or virtual), volunteering, work-study, exploratory course work, or part-time positions. Don't worry: there are many ways to creatively gain experience even while working full-time. A meeting with your career advisor can give you a variety of options that will work with your busy schedule.   

Step #5:  Find Your Next Big Opportunity

Now that you understand your interests and workplace values, it becomes a lot easier to find a handful of career options, and ultimately a position that will keep you satisfied. Coupling this information with occupational research in your geographic area and the lessons-learned through your self-assessment ang gap analysis, can allow you to holistically look at your career and your future. From here you can begin applying and interviewing for specific positions aligned with who you are and what you value. Soon you’ll be excited to go to work each and every day to a new position and company that will match who you are at a fundamental level. And that’s exciting news!


Request an appointment with a Certified Career Advisor


Tags: Career transitions, Finding your passion, Career

A Key that Opens a Specific Door: Customize that Resume!

Posted by Career Services on Nov 8, 2016 8:46:06 AM

In today’s job market, resumes and cover letters are still one of the best ways of making a first impression. However, gone are the days when one resume that explains your job duties and employment history is enough. Hiring managers are looking for a resume that speaks to them and the position they’re filling. And, they’re being highly selective.

keyboard-resume.jpgHave you ever applied to a position only to find the door to a new job remains firmly locked? Why are you unable to open the door? The reason may surprise you. It’s because many job seekers don’t spend the time to finely craft the specific key that opens that lock. Your resume is that key and if well-crafted it can result in doors that open!

So how exactly do you craft that resume that lands you that big interview? 

Here are 4 tips to customizing your resume to get results:

Analyze the Job Posting (Be an Investigator)

The first task to customizing your resume is to thoroughly analyze the job posting. Use your investigative skills to create a list of things they’re looking for including the following:

  • Years of Experience
  • Type and level of Education
  • Skills and Expertise

Use the list as a checklist, do you have each requirement? If yes, make sure your resume contains each of these very important pieces.

Make a 1:1 Match (Give ‘em What They Want)

In addition to making sure that you have the basic requirements an employer is looking for, you’ll also want to pull out specific job duties, tasks and skills. For each job duty in the ad you’ll want to make a 1 to 1 match between experiences you have and job duties they require. List these items as bullet points on your resume. If you don’t have the exact experience, determine if you have related or transferrable skills and tasks and use those instead.

Choose Keywords and Industry Terms (Be a Parrot)

Industry terms and phrases are also important as you’ll want to mimic their job ad in your resume by using their specific terms and phrases when explaining your skills and expertise. For example, instead of writing as a skill, perhaps they’re looking for blogging or content creation. Make sure you use the words they use to gain their attention.

Key words are doubly important as many companies today are using software to run a first pass on applicants. This software scans resumes and cover letters for key words and phrases that the company deems important. Don’t get left behind during that first pass because you didn’t use the right language.

Customize by Career Stage (Know your stage)

Your career stage can play a big role in how you create your resume. Are you just starting out in the world of work with little to no professional experience? You’re a Career Launcher. Or are you looking to change career paths? You’re a Career Changer. You could also already be in the career path you desire and are looking for a promotion. You’re a Career Advancer.

The resume style you choose can help you highlight your most valuable skills, expertise and experience in a way that gains attention. So which style is right for your stage?

Career Launcher:

A combination resume is likely the best fit to make your abilities stand out while minimizing the fact that you don’t have many years of professional experience. First, you’ll want to create a summary of you as a professional that briefly (2-3 sentences) narrates your accomplishments, coursework, education to date and any volunteer, internship, work study or other applicable positions held that are specific to the job for which you’re applying.

Below your summary, you’ll list your skills both technological and interpersonal, add in relevant coursework (making sure it’s actually relevant to the position you’re applying for and not a laundry list of courses) and highlight your education.

You can also make the most of what experience you do have in an Accomplishments section, grouping your acquired skills and accomplishments by type, such as Marketing, Leadership, Communication, or Teamwork rather than listing accomplishments as bullet points for each employment history item. At the bottom of your resume, be sure to include any work history you do have including dates of employment.

Career Changer:

A combination resume can work well for Career Changers too. As most of your experience lies in a different field, it may be helpful to highlight recent coursework, education, volunteer, internship or work study experiences as well as accomplishments grouped by type like the launchers, including those that are transferrable from your past career to your future career. Don’t forget to include a professional summary!

Career Advancer:

A chronological resume is a great choice for a career advancer. Its chronological style allows an Advancer to showcase career advancement in their field over time, showing an increase in accomplishments, skills and responsibility with each subsequent position. An Advancer should have an excellent professional summary, an education section to feature any advanced degrees pertinent to a promotion within the field as well as skills both technological and interpersonal.

You’ve Got the Key, Now Open the Door

Using the tips above, you’re well on your way to customizing your resume into a key that opens a specific door. With applicable industry keywords, job accomplishments that are a 1 to 1 match to those in the ad as well as a resume that highlights your expertise by your career stage, you’re sure to open the door to a new fulfilling career soon!

Request an appointment with a Certified Career Advisor

Tags: Career transitions, Adult students, Career

Using Social Media to Benefit Your Job Search

Posted by Career Services on Nov 3, 2016 9:23:00 AM

Do you have an online presence? A Facebook page, LinkedIn account, personal website, blog, or other social media account? It might sound strange, but not having online accounts could be hurting your job search.

Girl on comuter with social media iconsYou could assume that having no social footprint is a better option: if there’s nothing to find, there’s nothing that can negatively impact your job search. However, this off-the-grid strategy sends an entirely different message to employers. Does this applicant lack tech skills? Do they have poor knowledge of how today’s world communicates?

Today’s employers are recruiting online and when they receive applications, they’re following up with an online search to learn out more about you. Bottom line: social media accounts give you a big opportunity to shine.

Your online accounts can boost your chances of landing a job by giving employers more positive information about you that goes above and beyond your resume and cover letter. Online accounts can speak to your character, your communication skills, your industry ties and knowledge, your work history, education goals, and personal interests.

So how can you boost your chances of having an online presence work to your advantage?

Your LinkedIn Profile

At the very least, each job seeker should have a professional LinkedIn account.If there’s only one account you put your time and effort into, make this the one. A LinkedIn account is like an online resume which may also include photos, documents, presentations, videos, course work, skills, volunteer work, education and more.

In addition, one of the most powerful tools that LinkedIn offers is the ability to connect and network with colleagues and peers. These connections are vital! Not only will you be able to find and make connections to hiring managers of jobs you’d love through LinkedIn, you’ll also be visible to recruiters looking for specific skills, talents and experiences.

Finally, following companies and individuals as well as posting comments on industry related posts is an important aspect of networking and displaying your strong interest, commitment, knowledge and communication skills.


Your Facebook account can be fun, but it could be something that you’ll want to keep professional or private. Research the privacy settings on Facebook and make sure that your posts, comments, and photos, if too controversial or private, are kept private so that they don’t negatively affect your job search.

If you’re looking for a job that requires you to use social media on a daily basis, having an open profile showcasing your professional use of the tool could be a better option. Make sure you know what face you want to present to employers and use your privacy settings accordingly.

Instagram, Twitter, Blogs, and more!

If you have other social media accounts, these too will need to be kept private or professional as you see fit. If a job that interests you requires writing or blogging, a professional blog makes sense. If it doesn’t, you may not want your personal blog, Twitter, or Instagram account found by employers. Again, use discretion in how you use your accounts and determine what purpose they serve.


A short and sweet professional about.me page could be a benefit to you during a job search. About Me is like an online business card, with a bit more information and pizazz. Creating a compelling professional summary and including links to other social media accounts that highlight you may be just the way to help employers find out more about who you are and what you can do. Consider About Me your online hub, directing employers where you’d like them to go.

Professional Website or Portfolio

It may be appropriate to have a professional website or portfolio where employers can learn even more about you. In other words, a place where you’ve curated your best work and are proactive in making sure you’re in control of what employers see.

In addition to your LinkedIn profile, your website could feature information about your skill set, ability to communicate, as well as share examples of your professional work such as documents, images, presentations, videos and more.

Ask employers to review your site as part of your resume or cover letter. This will give you another opportunity to showcase your skills and accomplishments that goes above and beyond the limited space on these essential first impression materials. Don’t let a chance like this go to waste! If it’ll help your job search and give employers concrete examples of what you can do, take advantage!

Know Your Status

Your online presence can either hinder and hurt or benefit and highlight who you are. Make sure you know what your online presence is saying about you!

Is it saying that you couldn’t be bothered to create an online presence and are unfamiliar with today’s technology and communication? Are your social media profiles saying controversial or private things you wouldn’t want an employer to know? Or are your accounts working for you, promoting your skills and accomplishments by showcasing real life examples of what you can do?

Before you begin your job search, make sure you know your online status and use that knowledge to your advantage to wow a hiring manager and land a job you’ll love.  


Request an appointment with a Certified Career Advisor

Tags: Career

8 Project Management Courses You Can Take this Winter

Posted by Granite State College on Oct 31, 2016 2:25:00 PM

MS in ProjectManagementIf you're interested in exploring a Project Management class during the Winter Term, here's a quick summary of some of the courses being offered.

PM 800 (Online, Portsmouth)
Project Management Seminar
Project Management Seminar is a survey course introducing project management as a profession and an academic field of study. It provides the foundation for more advanced project management courses. It serves as a pre-requisite to other courses in the degree program unless permission is granted based on previous work and/or academic experience. The student is introduced to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), published by the Project Management Institute. The course examines key tools and methodologies currently in use to manage large, complex projects; explore how these tools and techniques can be used to assess the overall status of a project and its variance from the project plan; and evaluate alternative recovery scenarios. Students are introduced to the roles of project and program managers in current business enterprises and to the triple constraints of scope, time and cost. 

PM 804 (Online)
Leading Teams
Project leadership is the process of motivating people to achieve project goals, usually in a dotted-line organizational setting. The success or failure of the project, and by extension the project manager, is dependent upon the project manager’s ability to assess the team as a whole (strengths and weaknesses), and then apply that analysis to the individual team members and to the project. Within the course, students survey and discuss multiple methodologies used to evaluate project teams. Students analyze how organizational dynamics and structure impact the project manager, limit or increase their power, and influence their ability to perform their job.

PM 809 (Online)
Global Project Management
Global Project Management addresses the growing demand for project management across international boundaries. The environment requires project managers and their teams to develop an awareness of and sensitivity to a field which is becoming increasingly more diverse through the lenses of culture, economics, and politics. Students will examine multiple distribution channels, outsourcing and unique pricing policies. Students will also discuss the need for adaptive procedures to account for unique sales and management styles, legal settings, and the expectation of the target environments.

PM 810 (Online)
Change Management and Communication
This course provides students with an understanding of the principles of assessing change, managing change and employing the communication tools necessary to implement change effectively. Issues regarding client satisfaction, morale and relationships will be explored. The effective project manager must possess skills in adaptability to ensure that projects are responsive to changing conditions and that all stakeholders receive appropriate communication. This course develops a thorough understanding of strategic change and communication within organizations.

PM 801 (Online, Portsmouth 6-week course)
Project Planning & Scheduling
This course addresses project scheduling challenges in the current economic environment. Studies have shown that nearly 75% of commercial projects are deemed not to have met the expectations of their funding sponsors. One reason is the inability to achieve the committed schedule. This course examines state of the art planning and scheduling tools and techniques. It also explores the application of the Earned Value methodology as a tool to determine and quantify current project status and as a tool to predict future project team performance. Specific emphasis is given to current deterministic and probabilistic scheduling techniques. Students learn the interrelationship and planning dependency between scheduling and risk assessment, project constraint analysis and the application of diverse scheduling methodologies. The course explores the impact that proprietary technologies; limited resources, competition, and bargaining agreements might have on the planning and scheduling decision making processes. Dependency management, particularly discretionary dependencies and their impact on the scheduling process is discussed in detail. Pre-requisite: PM 800 Project Management Seminar.

PM 803 (Online)
Cost & Budget Management
Cost and Budget Management will examine current cost estimating techniques and commonly used tools that can be applied to evaluate project alternatives: break-even, life cycle costing, net present value and others. Students will learn to apply the earned value methodology to describe a project status for both schedule and cost in terms of the dollar value of work performed. Students will also investigate how financial elements such as cost categorization, depreciation, net present value and project duration can impact the project decision making process. Pre-requisites: PM801-Project Planning & Scheduling and PM802-Risk Management.

PM 807 (Online, Portsmouth 6-week course)
Project Quality Management
Project Quality Management is critical in today’s complex project management endeavors. It is also a dual track effort as it must address both project quality and project management quality. Students will review the history of the quality efforts from Deming, Juran, and Crosby in the setting of the original quality efforts, international competition, and the concept of six-sigma as initiated by the Motorola Corporation in response to that threat. Students will examine multiple quality process improvement efforts and their impact on the business world: Prevention over Inspection, Continuous Improvement, Voice of the Customer, Just in Time, and others. This course is compatible with and will cover a subset of the Six-Sigma methodologies and practices. Pre-requisite: PM800-Project Management Seminar.

PM 808 (Online)
Project Management Capstone
This integrative capstone is the final course in the Master of Science in Project Management program. All other required coursework must have been completed prior to receiving approval to register for this course. Students in this course will have the opportunity to apply the principles learned to the entire program of study and will demonstrate competence by integrating and applying those skills to a real-world scenario. Students will apply knowledge in a group case study setting while documenting the decision making process, and will analyze methodologies and rationale for selecting those methodologies in a project log including templates designed and used, case study analytical results, and decision outcome analysis/results. Pre-requisites: All required coursework.


Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.

Tags: Online classes, Project management, Course highlights

Chief Allen Credits Granite State College for Career Success

Posted by Granite State College on Oct 11, 2016 12:07:10 PM

Originally from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Michael Allen joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from high school. His service led him to New Hampshire. When Michael's active duty service ended, he retired from the military and transitioned to a career with the Rochester Police Department, where he's built an impressive career in law enforcement.

Chief Allen: Granite State College AlumA decade into his career with the Rochester PD, Michael crossed paths with a former police officer from a neighboring community, who happened to work at Granite State College. They began a conversation that inspired Michael to evaluate his college options and, ultimately, to attend Granite State College.

Getting my bachelor’s degree was one of my lifelong goals. What I didn’t know, is just how close I was to achieving it.

When Michael met with his advisor, they discussed his prior college experience, which included an associate degree as well as a few college courses that Michael took while deployed. They went over the various training Michael had completed both in the U.S. Air Force and while on the Police Force. This combination of prior learning presented the opportunity for him to get considerable college credit to apply towards his bachelor’s degree.

I knew that earning the credential of a bachelor’s degree was important. I was the Deputy Chief in the department at the time. I didn’t want there to be any question that I was the most qualified candidate for the job when the Chief of Police position became available.

Just as Michael was nearing the completion of his bachelor’s degree, he learned that Granite State was on the cusp of introducing its first master’s degree: the M.S. in Project Management.

Getting my bachelor’s degree gave me a thirst for learning. I was inspired to continue on my journey and I decided that a master’s degree was the next step.

With a career devoted to public service and criminal justice, Project Management may not seem like an obvious choice. However, it aligned with Michael’s greater vision for his professional development.

I knew law enforcement. I knew public safety. I wanted something different. Project Management was intriguing. I knew I could apply it to my current job as a Deputy Chief and that the skills would be applicable to the future Chief of Police position I aspired to.

Michael was able to draw many connections between his Project Management coursework and his role at the Rochester Police Department.

I began to apply the project management methodology to everything I did, whether it be putting a budget together or implementing a new technology to the department.

In early 2012, the City of Rochester’s Chief of Police formerly announced his retirement. One week later, the police commission unanimously named Michael Allen the new Chief of Police. The interview committee noted that it was an easy decision: “The new chief has integrity, more than 20 years’ service on the department, and is very highly educated and is currently working on his master’s degree.”

In Michael’s capstone presentation, he focused on the implementation of social media in the police department.

It has blossomed into a valuable and successful program in our department. We’re solving crime and we’re building relationships in the community through the use of social media. We’re building more trust in the community. It’s a huge resource.

Michael is proud to share how he’s benefited from his education. Not only did he achieve an early goal of completing his bachelor’s degree, but he also met a major career milestone and furthered his education with a master’s degree.

What I’ve learned at Granite State College made me a better Deputy Chief when I was going through the program, and it makes me a better Police Chief today.

Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.

Tags: Alumni, Project management, Military, Career, Capstone presentations

Why YOU Need Career Services

Posted by Career Services on Sep 30, 2016 11:33:31 AM

Career Advising at Granite State CollegeFinding fulfillment and satisfaction in the job tasks we complete every day is a huge part of what makes our lives happy and prosperous. If we're in the wrong career path, it can have negative consequences for our wellbeing.

This is why planning our career development is so important for every professional, as we spend so much of our lives working!

It's critical for everyone, at every stage of their career, to take time to strategize each career move through determining interests, researching the current job market, and trying different experiences along the way.

We offer specific services aimed at the three major career stages at Granite State College:

  • Launchers: those just starting out with little professional experience,
  • Changers: those looking to change career fields and
  • Advancers: those looking to advance or stay current within their current field

When you have an advocate who can give advice based on your career stage, it's a huge benefit. That person is your personal Career Advisor. Don't you deserve every advantage when making important life planning decisions?

Here are 6 ways career services can help support YOU:

Assessment Tools

Career Advisors can offer career assessments that help determine your interests, values, abilities, and more. Each assessment will walk you through a series of pointed questions aimed at learning more about you.  

Assessments are an essential part of career planning as even seasoned professionals may not consciously know what they value in a workplace. Assessment results allow you to vet potential companies and positions according to your own personal and unique values and interests. A Career Advisor can help you analyze these results and determine what sectors of the business world and what positions are right for you.

Career Exploration

When you've had a chance to understand your career direction through your abilities, values, and interests you'll begin to learn about all the different career opportunities that exist in your geographical area. From there, you can target specific employers and learn about their needs. This research is crucial to learning what positions have a bright future, are currently in demand in your location and will match your interests and values.

Your Career Advisor may also suggest you narrow your search for a specific career through informational interviews or job shadowing. Together you'll consider factors such as work environment, salary level, required education, and expected job growth. Spending the time on this step will give you a definite indication of which positions feel right as you gain more experience and knowledge.  

Career Planning

Once you have an idea about the career you'd like to pursue, your Career Advisor will help you lay out a plan to achieve your goals. They'll help you determine what educational steps and major will give you the best results, then lay out how best to gain experience through networking, volunteering, or internships.

Your Career Advisor will also advise you on what tech skills, certifications, and licenses are needed to help you land that first position. Once you're on your way, they can guide you through your next moves from promotions to new positions or career adjustments and changes.

Resume & Cover Letter Enhancement

Writing a resume and cover letter that will land you an interview is an art form! And it's one that most of us have yet to master, even those of us who have been doing it for years. Resume expectations change over time and  different occupations require different types of resumes, so it's essential to learn the ins and outs of good resume and cover letter writing from a professional so you can be successful in today's business world.

Through working with your Advisor you'll learn to present yourself in the best possible light by choosing a specific resume format, using action words to explain your experience and writing a cover letter that sells you! With amazing first impression materials, you'll be able to put your best foot forward toward a satisfying career.

Interview Prep

Interviewing is a very important part of the job search process and knowing how to prepare for an interview is a huge skill to master. Often job seekers wonder, what questions will I be asked? How will I respond? What's the right way to answer that question?

A Career Advisor can help you by providing mock interview experiences as well as providing ideas on how to prep and answer the most common questions. They can even help you determine what to wear and what to expect throughout the process. 

Job Boards/Recruitment

When you're engaged in your job search it can be challenging to find jobs that would be of interest to you and stay on top of creating unique resumes and cover letters, applying, and interviewing.  Searching for a career can be a full-time gig!

Your Career Advisor can help by suggesting ways to streamline your approach such as employment services that can suggest positions for which you may be both qualified and interested, career recruitment job boards to check frequently or networking opportunities, including those on social media, that you can help you expand your influence.

So…Why do YOU need Career Services?

We're all working within a very competitive job market, where only the best and brightest are obtaining positions and promotions.  It's important to learn how you can stand out by knowing your strengths, as well as understanding how to present yourself in the best possible light. 

A Career Advisor can help you learn to be intentional in your career planning and development which can enhance your chances of meeting and exceeding your career goals. Throughout the process you'll learn more about yourself and the types of work and work environments that are most likely to make you happy and content. Consider career planning your road map to life and career satisfaction!


  Request an appointment with a Certified Career Advisor


Tags: Career

Meet Our Program Director for the Master of Science in Leadership

Posted by Granite State College on Jul 15, 2016 10:51:34 AM

It's been three months since Kathy DesRoches stepped into the role of Program Director for our Master of Science in Leadership. We had a chance to sit with Kathy and learn more about her experience, special interests, and what excites her most about representing Granite State College.Kathy DesRoches, Program Director for the Masters of Science in Leadership

Tell us about your professional background.

Prior to joining the Granite State, I worked at Manchester Community College (MCC) as the Director of Workforce Development where I connected numerous companies with New Hampshire Job Training Grants, which provided training for thousands of employees across New Hampshire.

What's your educational background and as a student, what was your favorite class?

I received a master's degree from the University of New Hampshire and a Doctorate in Education from Plymouth State University.

One of my favorite classes was in my doctoral program. It was called Vision: Synergy and Synthesis. It was a summation of everything we had learned. It incorporated each of our courses and their take-aways. We created vision boards that explained our plans for our final project. There were great group discussions and interactive lectures.

What was the focus of your doctoral research?

I focused on how we can build educational programs to support women in politics. During the time of my research, New Hampshire became the first state to elect an all-female delegation. Our Senators, members of Congress, and Governor were all women.

What advice do you have for emerging leaders?

Improve your listening skills and focus on your emotional intelligence. This can help you become more self-reflective, be more aware towards others, and make you a much stronger leader.

And what are some things that people can start doing today if they want to become more self-reflective?

This is a nerdy answer: meditate. It's a good way to become more self-reflective. People tend to think, "I can't meditate. My brain works differently and I just can't focus." We're all capable of meditating. It's a skill everyone can learn.

When you were a child, what were some of your goals and aspirations?

When I was a kid, there weren't many choices open to women. I could become a wife, school teacher, nurse, or secretary. All the school teachers I knew worked in the same little town where I grew up (Lee, NH). Back then, I watched the Mary Tyler Moore show and I decided I wanted to become a secretary. She lived in the city and worked as part of a team on a newspaper so to me, it was much more exciting than the other options.

What are you listening to in your car right now?

Again, nerdy. I listen to audiobooks on my Kindle.

Who are some of your favorite authors or thought leaders and why?

One is Jennifer Lawless and another is Richard Fox from Loyola Marymount University. Jennifer Lawless studied under him and they both write about leadership for women in politics.

Also, Joseph Raelin. He wrote Creating Leaderful Organizations, which all of our graduate students read when studying leadership. He writes about developing a different brand of leadership that will carry us into the 21st-century where leaders will serve at the same time and all together.

What excites you most about working in the Office of Graduate Studies?

I like working with students on capstone projects and helping with research. Right now, I'm working on a project in graduate studies where we will slowly incorporate more Open Educational Resources (OER). This will help bring the most current research and knowledge to students, as well as the additional benefit of cost savings through the use of free OER resources.

What’s your favorite thing about New Hampshire?

It depends on the day! New Hampshire is small so everybody knows everybody. It's relatively easy to get on a call and get an appointment with whoever you're hoping to meet. Over the years, I've networked extensively and I enjoy helping students make connections, too.

How do you define success in your new role as the Program Director for our M.S. in Leadership?

My top goal is for our program to be recognized as one of the premier leadership programs in the country.

Any final words of advice for prospective graduate students?

If you want a master's degree, it's within your reach. We have people who will help you. The professors are really passionate—they'll support you.


Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.

Tags: Leadership, Graduate studies

In Her Own Words: Sandra Uses Career Services to Chart her Next Move

Posted by Granite State College on Jul 1, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Blog_Img_Sandra_Hickey_v2.pngCreativity through writing and art has always been very important to me. From a young age through high school I could be found expressing myself through drawing, painting, journaling, and telling stories.

But when it came time to choose a degree program after high school, I wasn’t sure how to combine a career and my passions. So I obtained the only degree that made sense, English. But as graduation neared I began to wonder, what kind of job would I get with my degree?

At the time, I didn’t know which way to turn, so I accepted a position as an Administrative Assistant. It wasn’t until several years later when I was tasked with managing a website that I realized that writing and art were moving into the digital realm and were making a big impact on how businesses and non-profits were marketing themselves. 

This was a revelation. Maybe there were ways to use my skills online?

I have to admit, I was intimated that first time I updated a website in 2007, but soon I was learning all I could about HTML, CSS, creating beautiful cover photos and collages with Photoshop, and writing copy for the web. I was officially hooked! I could use my creativity to help my employer market themselves!

After my realization that this was the field for me, I immersed myself, completing two certificate programs in graphic design and web development and taking on more projects at work, including designing posters and flyers, starting a Facebook page, and adding popular pages to our website.

In my personal life, I took things to another level. I wrote and self-publishing a novel, started a corresponding blog and social media accounts to market that novel, and began working as a freelance graphic designer. I jumped in feet first into the world of digital marketing and social media.

The only problem was that I still wasn’t able to land the full time job I really wanted.

So I strategized ways that I could make myself more marketable to employers and decided that I needed a more specialized education. I already had one bachelor's degree, but I had earned my degree before digital marketing and social media were on the horizon.

After doing some research, I found the perfect program for me at Granite State College: the Digital and Social Media degree!

While taking several online courses, I received an email from my advisor about Career Services. It struck me as I read that email that career services was exactly what I needed to help me in my career transition. It was free for students and was sure to give me excellent professional advice on how to make my career change a reality.

I started by taking the Career Development and Life Planning (APST 505) course with Jan Coville. We completed self-assessments, learned strategies to market ourselves including updating our resumes and cover letters, and set goals. We also read articles about recent changes in the job market, which included learning about how careers are changing in the digital age. It was a great experience and I learned more than I expected.

But my most valuable take away was that I needed more hands-on experience to help bolster my chances of landing a job.

I took what I learned in class and started looking for flexible volunteering and internship opportunities to gain experience while still working full time. Luckily, I wasn’t alone on this journey as I now had Granite State's Career Services department by my side! Jan checked in with me regularly to see how I was doing and sent me job, volunteering, and internship opportunities.  It was amazing to have someone there offering advice and support!

After a bit of searching I found one opportunity, and Jan suggested a second. So for the past six months I've been volunteering my time at a local non-profit using my graphic design skills to create marketing materials for their events and I've been working with the Marketing and Communications Department at Granite State College to write blog posts, consult on commercials, write tweets, and more.

With the help of Granite State's wonderful Career Services department, my volunteering efforts and an eventual degree in Digital and Social Media, I’m well on my way toward my goal and can’t wait to land that first job in the field I’m so passionate about!

My advice to students:
Reach out and grab whatever help you can on your journey toward your degree and a new career.
 Career services, trainings, courses, networking, internships, and volunteer experiences can really expand your horizons and prepare you for the change you want to make. Get out there! Flexible arrangements do exist! 




Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.

Tags: Career transitions, Adult students, Finding your passion

10 Career Tips for #MarCom Marketing Majors

Posted by Granite State College on Jul 1, 2016 10:00:00 AM

The Marketing and Communications is a field that's always evolving and there's always something new to learn. Getting your marketing degree is an excellent way to launch your career and here are a handful of tips to help you engage at a deeper level with your career path. 

10 Career TIps for Marketing Majors1. Never Stop Learning

Are you the type of person who would remain a student forever if they could? Well, in the field of marketing, you can kind of get away with this. Throughout your career, you'll always have to find ways to keep your skills sharp. In the '90s, marketing professionals didn't have to worry about social media—does that mean that these individuals just stopped working? Of course not! They found ways to embrace the emerging technology (and combine it with their rich experience) to push their careers to a new level.

Here are a few resources marketers use to learn about new trends and skills:

Website Analytics
Take Google Analytics Academy Courses to learn how to measure the impact of your website.

Paid Search
Learn how to start a successful paid search campaign with Google AdWords Essentials. For a more in depth experience, pursue an AdWords certification.

Inbound Marketing
HubSpot offers a free Inbound Marketing certification that covers a variety of topics, such as: blogging, social media, SEO, email marketing, and more.

If you prefer an in-person experience, see if there's a conference you can attend to learn more. As a student, seek out a discounted student rate to help make the experience affordable for you. Some student discounts reduce the price to as low as $250, while other options are pricier. Check out Forbes 7 Marketing Conferences You Don’t Want to Miss in 2016, and a quick search online will display dozens more.

2. Plan for the Future
You never know where your career will take you. Maybe one day you'll want to earn a master's degree in management. You could be drawn towards the analytical side of marketing or writing original content. To help keep your options open, you may want to strategically think about your course selections as an undergraduate major. For the MBA-bound marketing majors, be sure to take statistics as an undergraduate to help prep for yout future studies. If you love blogging, perhaps take a few extra writing courses to help craft your voice. 

3. Find Experience
If you don’t currently work in marketing, there are ways to get experience. At Granite State College, our Career Advisor helps students find flexible arrangements to volunteer or intern at companies remotely. If you have a favorite nonprofit organization in your community, find ways to get involved. You'll be able to learn from their staff and offer some ideas based on what you're learning in class. The key to being successful in any of these opportunities is consistency. If you can consistently contribute your time and talent to an organization (even if it's a few hours each week), you'll prove yourself to be someone they can count on and opportunities will come your way.

4. Remember the Bottom Line
As you learn more about marketing—and maybe even get involved with volunteering or interning—think critically about the work that you're doing and how it connects to the bottom line. How do the marketing activities generate revenue, earn new customers, or increase brand awareness? If you can start to make these connections early on as a student, you'll be prepared to contribute at a higher level.

5. Know How to Market Yourself
In marketing, it's easy to become a jack of all trades and master of none. While you should develop an understanding all components of the marketing mix, work to specialize in one or two. This will make it easier to market yourself when searching for job opportunities.

6. Experiment on Social Media
If you haven't had the opportunity to manage a company's social media, don't let that stop you: create your own opportunities. If you love sports, follow the big game's hashtag during the action to see how things trend. Look closely at the Twitter feeds of some of your favorite brands to explore their approach and see what messages capture the most attention.

7. Brush Up on Copyright
Whether you need music for a video or an image for a blog post, at some point you'll be in a position when you need to curate content from other sources to support your marketing project. Become familiar with what you can and cannot use, and how to attribute credit appropriately.

8. Network
Your local Chamber of Commerce offers Business After Hours to help connect you with local business, but if you seek a more marketing-focused networking event, search for Meet Ups or User Groups to attend. For example, designers can look up their local Adobe User Group. There are 125+ groups internationally including two in New Hampshire (Nashua and Durham), and two online.

9. Find Professional Associations
The American Marketing Association has nationwide networks, including a Chapter in Boston. Public Relations professionals can look into the Yankee PRSA, New Hampshire's local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

10. Stay Inspired
While the tactical side of marketing is extremely valuable, so is the creative side. Be sure to continue to nurture your creativity. Find a blog, podcast, book, or thought leader who inspires you and apply the lessons learned. 

The #MarCom field moves fast and it can be overwhelming. Remember to have fun, keep learning, and look for support to strengthen your marketing career.


Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.


Tags: Finding your passion, Student success tips, Career

Unforgettable Memories from the 2016 #granitegrad Ceremony

Posted by Granite State College on Jun 9, 2016 1:56:50 PM

As always, our 2016 Commencement ceremony was one to remember.

Here are a few of our top moments from a wonderful day!

Governor Hassan and President Rubinstein

1.  Hosting Governor Hassan

Governor Hassan is one of the New Hampshire's leading advocates for affordable, high-quality public higher education. That support was evident in her remarks. She recognized that our population of working adult students is uniquely prepared to serve as leaders. She encouraged the Class of 2016 to continue to support their New Hampshire communities.

 Brian graduates in 2016

2.  Celebrating YOUR Success

When you finish your degree, there's often a career goal on the horizon that you're hoping to achieve. At the Commencement ceremony, our faculty and staff were delighted to hear about the graduates latest career updates.

Brian Bussiere, an aspiring educator, landed his first job teaching math and is looking forward to starting his new job in the fall.

With multiple locations across New Hampshire and online courses, it's not often we can get together and celebrate in person--.

Staff  volunteer at the 2016 graduation ceremony in the rain

3.  The Show Must Go On

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

This may be the United States Postal Service creed, but we felt like it applied to our special day, too!

The Class of 2016 and their loved ones broke out their umbrellas to brave the rain to support each and every #granitegrad. The staff put on ponchos to help the graduates register for the day and quickly get to their seats under the pavilion.

The weather never stops our Postal Service, and it sure didn't stop our graduation.

 Creative graduation cap

4.  #GraniteGrad Style

Dozens of creative members of the Class of 2016 showed their personality by customizing their graduation caps.

We thought this graduation cap really captured the spirit of our ceremony:

The dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
- "Over the Rainbow," Judy Garland

 Sisters graduate together

Mother graduates, supported by her daughter

5.  Family Matters

It's inspiring to hear how family members inspire each other to finish their degrees!

Sisters Patricia and Janet graduated together at the ceremony. Patricia earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Janet finished a B.S. in Criminal Justice.

Michelle Couture Harrington and her daughter are no strangers to pomp and circumstance: Michelle completed her associate degree, while her daughter graduated from our sister institution, Plymouth State University, just a few weeks ago.


6.  Finding your SUPER POWER

Our student speaker, Katherine Graham, shared an empowering story of how she found her inner super powers, and encouraged the Class of 2016 to do the same.

I have the ability to connect with people and empathize with them so I can understand where they are and help them achieve their goals. It is my superpower. I use it daily, sometimes without even realizing it. With this superpower, I have learned to leave my ego at the door. Connecting to someone and having them trust you when they are vulnerable is a great honor and there is no better feeling in the world to me. I want more of that. That is what I move towards in my future. So I ask you, what is your superpower? How will you take your knowledge, experience, and God-given ability to change the world into a better place?

Of course, this is just a few highlights from an unforgettable day. Check out our image gallery to see more of our favorite #granitegrad memories from our 2016 Commencement Ceremony.


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Tags: Commencement, Commencement 2016