Experts Reveal Smartest Moves and Biggest Mistakes Job-Seekers Make in Quest for Career Success Today

Alexandra Levit Hosts Industry Leaders at Conference to Identify Path to Career Success

NEW YORK, August 19, 2010

What are the most important steps you can take to advance your career in today’s job market? This is the question experts tackled today at a special conference sponsored by DeVry University and hosted by renowned author and career columnist Alexandra Levit.

“There is an overwhelming amount of information out there about employment, career field growth and retraction, and, much of it paints a bleak picture for those who are looking for a job or want to advance in their current position,” said Levit. “I worked with DeVry University to put together this conference so that we could cut through all the complex statistics and trend information, and offer people actionable advice.”

The In-Demand Careers Conference, held at DeVry University in New York, N.Y. (known in New York as DeVry College of New York), featured an interactive panel discussion, online course and career assessment tool demonstrations.

In addition to Levit, the panel included Michelle Mercurio, national associate dean of career services at DeVry University; Erica Orange, vice president of the leading futurist consulting group Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc.; Kathleen Frawley, chair of health information technology at DeVry University; and Lindsay Lindstrom, academic developer evangelist at Microsoft Corporation.

“We‘re pleased with the conclusions that were drawn from today’s discussion and appreciate all of the insights that experts shared with us,” said David J. Pauldine, president of DeVry University. “We sponsored this conference as part of our commitment to career-focused education and hope that these insights will help anyone who’s looking to advance in their professional development.”

Levit and the group of industry specialists participating in the DeVry University Conference identified the biggest mistakes and smartest moves for career success.

Job-seekers don’t use their time on social media networking sites wisely.Too much time is spent trying to create a presence on every social media website causing networking overload rather than meaningful connections.

The Smart Move: Instead, job-hunters need to find the right places to connect. Focus on places that offer the best quality and quantity of contacts and companies you are interested in and build on those connections to increase your network. It is not necessary to become a member of every hot new networking site. Consider what purpose each site serves as it pertains to your career goals. Choose wisely.

Job-seekers constantly look at what’s hot now instead of long-term employment trends. Being unaware of which industries have the greatest growth potential is a missed opportunity for many people.

The Smart Move: Understand where the job opportunities are and will be by looking at statistics and broad trends. For example, healthcare management and technology will thrive in the coming years due to an aging population and a focus on providing care to those who have not traditionally been able to afford coverage.

Job-seekers are overly focused on making new connections. They tend to overlook existing and former contacts in pursuit of new ones when networking.

The Smart Move: Revisit old contacts and resources. Networking is not just about creating new contacts. For example, your college career office is a relevant resource for jobs, even if you graduated many years ago. Also, reconnect with former colleagues, supervisors and clients, whether you are using them as a reference or not. They should be an active part of your network too.

Job-seekers consider gaining new skills an impossible undertaking. Many rule out returning to school due to time commitments or expense.

The Smart Move: Do your research and understand what new skills could be good for your career and the best way to get them. For people who are looking to fit career-related education into a life filled with other responsibilities, options exist like the flexible online and in-classroom learning options offered at DeVry University.

Job-seekers confuse demonstrating digital savvy with using casual tech-talk. ‘lol,’ ‘ttyl’ and a range of emoticons and acronyms, or tech-talk have a growing presence in the vernacular of job-seekers. The new abbreviations have moved from being typical of friend-to-friend digital communication to use in interviews and on resumes, often replacing professional communication which employers view as critical.

The Smart Move: Demonstrate that you can balance both tech-talk and formal business communication. Before tweeting, ask yourself whether the 140 characters potential employers might see will add value and show that you will be a professional asset to their company. Take the time to write formal cover letters that demonstrate advanced communications skills. Demonstrating an aptitude in ‘bi-lingual’ communication shows employers that you can advance the company’s goals through multiple channels.

Job-seekers do not have a well-defined personal brand. Today, just communicating that you’ve got the skills necessary for a job is not enough. With so many people applying for the same job, job-seekers need to think about how to stand out. This is particularly true of recent college graduates who have had little experience in trying to differentiate themselves outside their academic world.

The Smart Move: Create a strong and memorable personal brand that sets you apart and remains consistent regardless of your career path. Ask for feedback from personal and professional contacts to identify how you are perceived, your work style, your strengths, what makes you different, etc. Make sure that your social media online and in-person networking reflects your brand. Younger job-seekers should consider taking on multiple internships to learn about where their real passion lies so they can create and live a personal brand that really represents them.

Job-seekers only look to older adult contacts as mentors. While having an older mentor certainly helps to provide career guidance, they can lack a fresh perspective on new trends and technologies that are valued by employers.

The Smart Move: Look to younger friends, family or professional contacts as mentors, especially those that are early adaptors to new technologies. Employers are looking for innovative thinking and younger mentors can explain new technologies and provide a unique way to look at the world around them.

Find more information including video and images from the career experts involved at and

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About DeVry University 

DeVry University strives to close society’s opportunity gap by preparing learners to thrive in careers shaped by continuous technological change. Founded in 1931, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs onsite and online within six areas of study: Accounting, Business, Healthcare, Technology, Liberal Arts, and Media Arts & Technology. DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC, The university’s Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation. To learn more, visit