To Be Your Student

Graduating from a traditional, four-year college, I didn’t have the privilege or experience of learning from the skilled professionals at Arizona Automotive Institute, Platt College, and South Texas Vocational Technical Institute. While I was able to learn many of the same important life lessons you instill upon our students – professionalism, sacrifice, service, leadership, respect and discipline. I cannot help but wonder how great it would have been to be one of your students.

  • To work side-by-side with a master welder bending molten metal
  • To learn medical ethics and patient care from nurses who have experienced the joy of life and sadness of death throughout their career as part of their calling, credo & DNA
  • To sweat under the hood of a tractor trailer or automobile with someone who could tear an engine apart and rebuild it in their sleep
  • To trace the veins of a patient with a Medical Assisting Instructor on route to a perfect stick
  • To replicate a sterile operating environment ensuring the field and formation exceeded the expectation of a seasoned Surgical Technologist
  • To roll egg whites delicately, flip a crepe perfectly, or flambé a dessert elegantly as my chef instructor stood watching with admiration, pride and nervousness
  • To properly learn dosage calculations, effectively administer air management techniques and recite recent revisions to medical record coding
  • To be on the roof of a commercial building identifying faults in an air conditioning unit with an instructor who knew the problem before we took our first step up the ladder
  • To take impressions and fabricate crowns, as a Dental Assisting Instructor stood by as a mentor & cheerleader
  • To mimic the graceful motions of a Professional Massage Therapist as they outlined a flawless Swedish technique
  • To sit completely awestruck in a class where a general education or CAS instructor was able to effectively connect theory to reality, and reality to my career aspirations

While my list of missed educational opportunities is long, as the President & CEO of Ancora Education, I have had made up for it through my many interactions with each of you – our esteemed faculty.

As we close out National Teacher Appreciation Week, I know I am a better person for working with, and learning from, each of you. As a company, we stand in complete admiration of your contribution and commitment to student success. You are the reason our educational model works. You are the reason our students work. Their experience, in your presence, creates life-long opportunity, tangible change, and a better future.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Zawisky

President & CEO

The Most Important Thing to Take on an Interview

The day has arrived and you are preparing for your first interview. You have worked hard to learn a new skill. You have studied and passed your certification exam. You have a copy of your diploma, transcript and certificates demonstrating great attendance and grade point averages in your portfolio. You have multiple copies, ready to leave one behind for anyone that asks. You have prepared an award winning resume. Your interview attire is perfect- clean and ironed. You have studied the top 10 questions you could be asked on an interview and you have prepared answers for all of them. But, there is still something missing. Self-Confidence.

The one thing that will win an employer over is a candidate that possesses self-confidence. Self-confidence is a magnet for success. It means that you believe in your own skills, goals, and ability to succeed. In an article posted in the Time Management Ninja, the author lists 10 reasons that self-confidence leads to success.

 10 Reasons That Self-Confidence Leads to Success:

  1. The Drive to Start Things – Confident people start things. They are not shy about striking out on a new idea even when those around them are still pondering it.
  2. The Ability to Stand Up for Oneself – Confidence allows you to stand up for yourself in a fair and consistent manner. Otherwise, you may find yourself unheard or unfairly treated.
  3. The Ability to Say No – Confident people have the ability to say “No” where appropriate. They do not take on unnecessary or inappropriate work or obligations.
  4. The Ability to Say Yes – And at the same time, confident individuals say “Yes” to opportunity. They do not miss new options because they are shy. I have seen individuals pass up opportunities (even promotions) because they didn’t think they were “worthy”.
  5. Confidence Overcomes Fear – Lack of confidence can lead to paralysis from fear. Fear of failure. Fear of what others think. Fear of the unknown. To succeed, you need the confidence to face and overcome your fears.
  6. Believe In Themselves – Self-confidence means believing in yourself. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” He was right.
  7. Set the Bar High Enough – Confident individuals set the bar high and aim high. Lack of confidence leads to weak goals, setting the bar too low, and mediocre results.
  8. Stretch Your Limits – Confidence lets you know your limits and test them. By stretching your limits you increase them. You are stronger than you think.
  9. Confidence Asks Questions – Confidence allows you to ask questions, even when others are silent. Confidence even lets you “ask for the job”.
  10. Believe In Winning – Confident people believe in success. And more importantly, they believe in their ability to succeed.

As you prepare to land your new career opportunity, consider the most important thing you can take with you, self-confidence. When you believe in yourself, you stand out in the crowd and you will always have good success!

To ensure that you’re prepared make an appointment with your Career Services team.

Written by: Shaundra Hamilton, Ancora Education – Vice President of Career Services

Land the Right Medical Assistant Job for You

Before moving to Fort Worth, I was gainfully employed as a medical assistant in Austin, Texas. The family practice employed five providers in total, three physicians and two nurse practitioners. I look back on this time fondly, as I couldn’t have found a better fit to start my career. The work was intriguing and fulfilling. I learned about differing techniques, odd medical anomalies, the inner workings of insurance companies, countless lessons on people in general, and so much more. While my professional skills and personality made me the right candidate for the position in that office, I like to think my prep work helped get my foot in the door. These are the top five things helped me land the right Medical Assistant job for me.

  1. Be a detective. Before an interview, find out everything you can about the practice. Read reviews on Yelp. Look over the company website. I even Facebook and LinkedIn stalked people that worked there after the first interview. You can prepare a list of questions for your interviewer not only to gain vital information on the position, but also to show that you care about the role. Learn about the providers. The practitioner(s) you are supporting can drastically change your job description. At one practice, the Medical Assistants were assigned to different providers daily. One Nurse Practitioner wanted me to get in and out of the rooms with little more information than the patient’s vitals and medication lists. She would get very agitated if I spent more than 5 minutes with the patient. Another doctor wanted a full medical history with vitals taken and labs processed before she entered the room. The best decision is made when you know the job, what is expected of you, and the medical personnel you will support.
  2. Know your ideal position. Some openings for Medical Assistants are desk jobs. The position requires very little face to face interaction with patients. They need someone to solely process referrals or prescription refills. Another position may have the MA only rooming patients. Most places I came across had a mix of both, but know what you want to do or are okay with doing before wasting everyone’s time. I once attended an interview with a vague job description at an allergy clinic. When I found out the position entailed being cooped up in a lab mixing homeopathic allergy tonics and Fedexing them to patients, I was no longer interested.
  3. Identify your values and trust what your gut tells you. If you don’t believe in homeopathy, you shouldn’t work for an office whose main course of treatment is homeopathy. Watch how the leaders treat other employees. If the thought of an abrasive personality in a manager makes you ill, don’t take the job. You will quit or be miserable, which would ruin an otherwise fun, interesting, and gratifying career. After moving from Austin, I hastily accepted a position with a family practice in a well-to-do neighborhood. While it was called a family practice, it was one stop shopping for some of the patients. While I was occupied with little Johnnie’s strep throat, Mrs. Cooper scowled impatiently across the lobby to get her Botox injections. My next patient would be getting his HCG injection equipment.  I was supposed to teach him how to inject the horse hormones to stave off hunger on a 500 calorie per day diet. I was annoyed by the fact that doctors were incorporating beauty treatments at a family practice, but I was horrified that a doctor’s office would embrace a dangerous and inefficient weight loss scam like the HCG diet. The practice manager explained to me that the patients wanted these things, so we had to comply to keep their business. I could not sell gimmicky healthcare and found a new job quickly.
  4. Volunteer in a medical environment. Start NOW. Lack of job experience will make a resume sparse and sad, but a year of volunteering in a hospital or nursing home can beef up the CV and get your foot in the door for an interview. This will also give you the opportunity to network in the medical community. I was a birth doula for a fantastic organization that helped women with little or no support when having a baby. It was fun, rewarding, and later got me into an amazing practice.
  5. Smile. Of course you smile when meeting for interviews, but amp it up.  Smile when you make the calls. Smile at patients in waiting rooms. Smile at the receptionist; she will hopefully be a future coworker. Smiling lowers stress, releases neurotransmitters responsible for euphoria, and makes you look more attractive and sincere. Don’t force it. If you aren’t in a cheerful mood, reference something in your mind that makes you grin. Practice smiling. I’m not making this up. Google it!

To find your ideal Medical Assistant position, be as prepared as possible. Check out the office, people, and philosophies of the practice to verify this is a position you want. Volunteer to network, look better on paper, and feel like a decent human being. Then SMILE because you will find the best opportunity for you.

Written by: Megan McCatty, IT Administrative Assistant – Ancora Education

Study Techniques That Compliment Your Learning Style

shutterstock_217035208_renderedStudy, study, study. Do you find yourself studying excessively, but your grades aren’t reflecting all the effort you’re putting in? Then maybe you aren’t studying in ways that compliment your learning style. Contrary to popular opinion, textbooks and lectures might not be the only way to prepare yourself for an exam.

What is a learning style and how does it effect me?

Learning style has to do with the different ways that people bring in and absorb new information. Knowing your learning style can help you use your strengths when studying.

Ever wondered why you do well in some classes and not in others? This may depend on your learning style. Whether taking a regular class or studying for a major exam you can greatly increase your productivity by tailoring your study habits to compliment your particular learning style.

You might be a Visual Learner if…

If you never forget a face, but have trouble remembering people’s names then you might be a Visual Learner. If you’d rather watch the movie than read the book, you might be a visual learner. Visual learners process information best when it’s presented to them visually.

Study tips for Visual Learners:shutterstock_280433198_rendered

Take detailed notes

Whether you are sitting in class or reading a text book, make sure to take lots of notes. By taking copious amounts of detailed notes you give yourself the ability to review what was covered later at your own pace, and the act of note-taking itself contributes to your absorption of the material.

Watch a video on the topic

Like I said before, if you’d rather watch the movie, then maybe you should. Now this doesn’t mean go watch the new Star Wars movie instead of studying. It means finding videos online that cover what you are studying. Whether you Google a short clip to answer a particular question or you use an online learning resource like Khan Academy, you will find videos to be strong study aids. Note: Make sure your videos come from reputable sources.

Use Flashcards

Flash cards will help you learn the subject using repetition to ensure you retain the knowledge. There are many apps available if you don’t feel like making your own flash cards. Apps such as Chegg Flashcards and Studyblue allow you to keep score and track your stats so that you know what areas you need to focus on.

 You might be an Auditory Learner if…

If you find you enjoy humming aloud or talking to yourself, you might be an Auditory Learner. If you remember words to songs and notice sound effects in movies, then you might be an Auditory learner. This just means that you study best by listening. Auditory Learners tend to perform the best in classes that emphasize lectures and class discussions.

Study tips for Auditory Learners:

Record your lecturesshutterstock_272450690_rendered

Recording your lectures allows you to listen to them again when trying to study. There are many apps available.

Verbalize what you’ve learned.

In the same way that visual learners learn from writing notes, auditory learners can solidify their learning by verbalizing what they’ve learned. Put it into your own words, this helps you to truly grasp the subject and remember it longer.

Read aloud

Read aloud whenever possible. After reading a chapter, summarize it out loud.

Use Mnemonic Devices

A mnemonic device is a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something. Using a mnemonic device can make remembering dull or difficult to learn material such as numbers, formulas, dates, terminology, or concepts easier and maybe even a little fun.

Work in Groups

When working in a group you can discuss the subject and better absorb the material. You can also quiz each other.

You might be a Tactile/Kinesthetic Learner if…

If you hate using an owner’s manual when you buy a new gadget or reading the instructions to put together IKEA furniture, then you might be a kinesthetic learner. If you tap your feet to music and can’t sit still in lectures, you might be a kinesthetic learner. This means you comprehend information best through hands-on learning. Kinesthetic learners tend to do better in labs than in lectures.

Study Tips for Kinesthetic Learners:girl typing on laptop with socks

Apply what you’ve learned

If you’re studying from a textbook, you can get frustrated pretty quickly. To combat this frustration and better understand the material you covered, look for practical applications for what you’ve just learned.

Take short study breaks

Rather than forcing yourself to sit and study for long periods, break up your study sessions into 30 minute increments with 5 minute breaks in between to stand up and move around. This can be beneficial to all students, but especially for kinesthetic learners.

Keep your hands busy while studying

Believe it or not, kinesthetic learners study and comprehend information better when their hands are involved. It can be as simple as holding an object, like a stress ball, while studying or typing out your notes.

What to keep in mind

 No matter what your predominant learning style may be, it’s important that you keep in mind that it’s just your predominant, not your only learning style. Most of us are a mix of all three.  Don’t be afraid to try methods from other learning styles as well. The goal is to find what methods work best for you.

 Find Out Your Learning Style

You can find out what your preferred learning style is by taking the assessment found here.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Ancora Education

NOT NETWORKING = NOT WORKING

shutterstock_194022155_renderedIf you are clever at small-talk, have the confidence to insert a positive personal story that almost fits into a conversation, and can manage to sound smart when discussing news, business, and sports, you are a good networker. If you prefer to talk to people you know, don’t know how to keep a conversation going in an uncomfortable situation, and don’t like the pressure of always being “on,” then you my friend, are NORMAL!

Whether you love to network or hate to network, your career just might depend on it. “Networking” in the professional context, means talking and relating to people for the sake of improving your career. But guess what? Your best network is the people you already know!

I have had 7 jobs in 20 years (large and small companies, several you have heard of), and 5 of the 7 jobs would not have happened if it weren’t for my friends. Here are the 7 jobs, and who got me the “in” I needed to land an interview.

  1. IT Consultant – My sister, and my best friend’s wife were both employed at my targeted employer. They got my resume to hiring managers.
  2. Process Manager – A friend that I met during my first job left and got a new job at a new company. He told me about the role and got me in the door.
  3. Product Manager – Someone I barely knew from a co-ed 4-person beach volleyball league.
  4. Product Manager – Monster.com. Yep, no help on this one. But my resume worked now that I had “Product Manager” on it.
  5. Regional Director – High School friend I had kept in touch with and hounded about jobs over the years. He finally came through.
  6. Project Manager – CareerBuilder.com. Yep, no help. Miracles do happen.
  7. Product Strategy Director – Someone from a parent-company that I was in training with for 5 days. During training he was impressed with me (so don’t act like a clown during training–you never know who could be of help to you later).

The key for me was that I let everyone mentioned above know I was looking for work, and what kind of work might be good for me.

When I was “in between jobs” do you know what kept me sharp, gave me confidence, and helped me practice those uncomfortable conversations with strangers? Job networking groups. Guess how many job offers I got through a networking group? Zero! Would I go to one again, and did I see it help other people get jobs? Absolutely.

Look for groups like this one:

http://careerdfw.org/J/

Consider clubs and groups for employed individuals. People with jobs are better at helping people get jobs!

http://www.networkafterwork.com

Join your local Rotary club.

Join your local Chamber of Commerce

But most importantly, network with friends, family, and family friends!

Written By: Dan Morchower, Product Strategy Director – Ancora Education