Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why some recent college grads are not getting jobs

7 Reasons Why Jane Has No Job

I am sharing this blog post with you.  It is from a great blog called 9 Lives for Women by Kathryn Sollmann

Her blog is unique in that it shares information for women at all stages of life.  Here is a description:

Women lead many lives–both in and out of the work force. Read on to see which of the 9 work/life blogs applies to you, your daughter, your sister, your mother, your friends, your colleagues and all the great women you know and love. Click on each work/life stage to go directly to current blog posts.

Check out 7 Reasons Why Jane Has No Job-- it is great advice for any gender!

  1. Not enough time on the job search job.
  2. Too much emphasis on (and fear of) in person networking.
  3. Networking now and then.     
  4. Less than optimal use of Linkedin.
  5. A black-and-white resume with no color.
  6. Fuzzy job search strategy.
  7. Low-energy communication.

Happy Hunting!  Laura

Monday, January 21, 2013

How Many Cows Are In Canada?

Answering Crazy Interview Questions

Imagine you are in a job interview.  After answering a long list of typical questions the interviewer looks at you very seriously and asks, “How many cows are in Canada?”   What do you do?!?!

Believe it or not, wacky questions like this one are popping up in interviews more and more every day. Don’t Panic!  Heather Huhman of GlassDoor.com provides job seekers with some great tips to answering these types of questions in this article: How to Answer Oddball Interview Questions Check it out to learn what's important when answering, "A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero.  What does he say and why is he here?"

Friday, January 18, 2013

What are Your Weaknesses? Tips for Answering this Tough Interview Question

What is your greatest weakness?

If your anything like me, you hear the word weakness and you run for the hills! The word weakness is loaded. It can throw you off if you are not expecting or preparing for this type of question in an interview.

The key to answering this question concisely and in a positive manner is to be prepared. The following are tips that can help you prepare.

*Some of these tips are based on a previous blog post on Career Chatter from 2010, but I thought they were worth mentioning again!

What employers are looking for with this question:

Are you Self-aware?

Are you aware of areas that you need to improve upon? Having this awareness shows employers that you will continually seek improvement in your job.

Are you actively thinking about how to improve?

Are you taking steps to make yourself better? This shows that you are intentional about improvement.

Will your weakness jeopardize your job performance?

Addressing the weakness question:

1) Think of weaknesses as being an area that you need to improve upon or are working on now.

2) Chooses a weakness that is not primary function of the job.

3) Do not choose “fake” weaknesses, such as being a perfectionist or expecting too much of others. Employers are looking for you to be honest about your weaknesses and self-awareness.

4) Choosing a skill as a weakness can be better than a personality trait. Skills are something you can improve, were as personality does not show much change.

5) Avoid giving a laundry list of weaknesses. In an interview you want to spend as much time highlighting positive experiences and assets you can bring to the organization.

6) Focus on the changes you have made to overcome or improve upon your weakness; provide a tangible example.

Using the STAR method to answer this question:

Situation: Describe the situation. State your weakness simply and factually.

*A good way to do this: I have a tendency to (weakness) when (under what circumstances).

Task: Talk about the challenge or task.

Action: Explain the action(s) you are taking. What are you doing to improve?

Result: Talk about the positive results. What have you learned from your weakness or how have you worked to improve?

Most importantly, do not get hung up on a question about your weakness. Taking time to reflect and prepare will help you be more confident when addressing this question in an interview!

If you have an interview coming up, set up an appointment for a Practice Interview with one of our Career Counselors!

Career Services Center

Holthusen Hall, First Floor 

Phone: (414) 288-7423


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Start the Semester Off Right: 5 Steps for Conducting a Successful Spring Internship/Job Search

As Meredith Reinhardt highlighted in her previous blog, winter break is a valuable time to update your resume and find job opportunities.  However, as it quickly comes to a close, it is important to remember that the internship and job search is a process.  What does this mean for your job/internship search?

1      Do not become fixated on one opportunity Keep searching for multiple positions of interest to improve your options and chance of finding a position well suited for you interests, values, and skills.  REMEMBER: THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES IN THE JOB SEARCH PROCESS, IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAXIMIZE YOUR OPTIONS!

2       Schedule time in your calendar to regularly search for jobs, track application deadlines, and submit applications.  As a new semester begins and courses resume, it is easy to say, I will work on job applications later…. Only to find that the deadline already passed for your top choice job. Make the job search a part of your daily schedule without procrastinating from school work!

3       Customize your applications- Focus on the quality of applications and include company specific information rather than sending out massive amounts of generic resumes.  While this will most likely increase the time that you spend on an application, it will also increase your chance of being granted an interview. Like most of us, employers want to feel special!

.        Stay organized- Utilize desktop folders and Excel spreadsheets to keep track of job openings and the status of your job applications.  When employers contact you to schedule interviews, it is important to be able to access job descriptions and position details for each of your applications. As a result, you will be able to accurately express your interest in the position.

    Be aware of upcoming career events- Much like preparing for an exam, during the job/internship search it is necessary to do your homework about companies and practice interviewing techniques prior to a career fair or on-campus interview. For instance, the Reverse Career Fair will be taking place on February 12th (5-7PM) and the Workforce Career Fair (4-7PM in the AMU) is also quickly approaching on February 21, 2012. Begin researching about companies of interest that will be at Workforce through MU Career Manager.  Start the semester off on the right foot, schedule a resume/cover letter critique or practice interview today by calling the MU Career Service Center at (414) 288-7423.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Make the Most of Winter Break

You’ve survived finals week! The only thing on your mind is going home to sleep and get caught up on your favorite TV shows; however, winter break is a great time for career exploration, networking, and job search preparation.
Take advantage of these four homework-free weeks by:
1)    Updating your resume:
·         Add your most recent jobs and internships
·         Evaluate and revise position tasks and responsibilities

2)    Job Shadowing: This is a great way to meet with a professional within your field of interest. Job shadowing is an excellent way to explore various careers and gain first-hand insights about a particular career. The handout ‘Job Shadowing’ on our website provides tips on creating an effective job shadowing experience.

3)    Network: Whether you are at a family, friend, neighborhood, or company party over this holiday season, use this opportunity to make professional connections! Introduce yourself to new people, learn more about their careers, and communicate your career goals and aspirations. That professional connection could help you find a job someday!

4)    Looking for job opportunities: Take the time over break to check out what internships or jobs are posted on MU Career Manager. Hiring and recruiting season are in full swing; use your break to get a jump-start on the job/internship search process.

Career Services’ Online Resources are a great way to find additional information over break.
After break, stop by or call Career Services for additional assistance.
Marquette University
Career Services Center

Holthusen Hall, First Floor
Phone: (414) 288-7423

Most importantly, use break to rejuvenate and relax!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Networking: Put yourself out there!

Last month after boarding my flight to Kansas City for a family reunion, I began to think about the diversity of people sitting around me on the airplane, including the different places they are traveling and the reasons for their trips.  As an extravert, I occasionally find myself striking up conversations with fellow passengers and discussing a variety of topics from where they are going and the book that they are reading to learning about their job and hearing stories about their friends and families. 
As my bad traveling luck would have it, prior to taking off to Kansas City the pilot realized one of the computers was not functioning properly.  As a result we sat in the airplane and airport for an extra two hours.  While this time was filled with much grumbling from individuals on the plane, it also allowed me to get know some of the people around me.  Specifically, I talked in-depth with an IT consultant from Kansas City, a hotel director from San Diego, and an individual working for a professional sports organization in Milwaukee.  While this may seem like a random group of individuals, our conversations allowed me to learn a lot about their different lines of work.  Specifically, my conversation with the gentlemen from Milwaukee included discussing employees that work for him and their connections to Marquette. After explaining my role as a career counselor at Marquette, he stated that in the past Marquette students served as interns within his office.  At the end of the flight, I exchanged business cards with him and told him I would be in contact to further discuss potential internship opportunities that exist for students.  

While this may seem like a random chain of events, the moral of this story is that, in order to meet people that may help you with the job search, it is important to put yourself out there.  If you find talking to a stranger intimidating, you may want to begin with having a conversation with a friend or family member who works in a particular industry that you want to learn more about. Furthermore, they may know other individuals that can help you.  If you are already job searching, you may consider passing a resume along to individuals working within that field of interest.  Even if that individual does not know of any current job openings, they may have position open up in the near future or be aware of other companies that are hiring.  You never know who may be able to help you!
For more tips to becoming an effective networker, see the following link that Jeremy Eudaly mentioned in Networking in 7 Simple Steps. These steps can help you put yourself out there and become an effective networker.http://workbloom.com/articles/networking/networking-for-college-students-and-recent-graduates.aspx 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Jobs for people who...

Okay, I strive to be the best at my job.  I'd like to think I'm a great career counselor, I run a cutitng-edge office, I am at the top of my game.  What I've realized along the way is that being the best doesn't necessarily mean being number one at everything.  Being the best means knowing how to use your resources.  I have recently been introduced to one GREAT resource. 

Here is another push to get you to visit Career Thoughts.  This section of the site includes jobs by interest.  It's so helpful.  I love it and I think many of you will love it too.

Check out these titles:
You can't miss this!  http://careerthoughts.com/jobs-by-interest

Again, thank you Kevin Spence


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Get a Job With No Experience

Five college career counselors share their advice with you to answer this question:

What is one piece of advice you would give to students who graduate without any kind of work history?

Today we’re joined by Andrea Lowe (University of Wisconsin – Madison), Pam Ehlers (Oklahoma State University), Matt Ishler (Penn State University), Laura Kestner-Ricketts (Marquette University), and Jen Busick Stewart (Oregon State University).

find out here:
Learn more about Kevin Spence who started the site: Career Thoughts after a wonderfully, winding career path of his own.  I know you will relate to his story
Thanks Kevin!  Laura

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So, have you decided on a major yet?

The holidays are upon us. And for most that means spending time with family and friends during lovely festivities. Gatherings of loved ones can be greatly enjoyable, until someone asks you that dreaded question, "So, have you decided on a major yet?" For students who are undecided, that question can just about destroy their appetite; as if everyone else hasn't been asking you the same question since you enrolled in classes.

A wise UW-Whitewater Admissions Counselor once shared with me his hope of all colleges and universities to one day change their verbiage, so that undecided students could be referred to as "undeclared" students. At first I didn't understand his logic, until he further explained, "The student has decided to come to college, they just haven't declared a major, therefore being more-so undeclared than undecided." Brilliance! 

To all of those undeclared MU students, don't fear, Career Services is here to help you answer that question. There's many different steps one could take in choosing their major but an option many don't consider is class observations. After you've taken preliminary steps in figuring out what your top majors of interest are, the true exploration begins. Of course you want your major to be an avenue into your future career, you also want it to fit your interests, skills, and values.

So here's what you do:
  • With each major of interest in which you have, find at least two classes to observe
    1. Utilize CheckMarq "Schedule of Classes and Courses Catalog" to browse classes by subject
      • Note: I'd advise observing an introduction course and a higher level course
    2. Once you've found a class that sounds interesting, click on "view class sections"
    3. Find a date and time that work for your schedule (most classes are offered multiple times per week)
    4. Make note of the instructor(s) teaching the course
    5. Send the instructor(s) an email requesting permission to come and observe their class (be specific with date and time)

There are many immediate benefits to observing a class. So, if you have time in your schedule and you are in the process of choosing your major, take my advise, observe. The added bonus is that at the end of the class, you don't have homework :-)

~*~Happy Holidays~*~

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My First Networking Event

I remember not knowing what to expect as I walked into my first networking event, yet was extremely excited for the advice I would receive.  I had the chance to talk with several professionals about their current careers and where I saw myself in five years.  The event was an overall success but there were three main things I took away from the day:

1. Do not be afraid to say what you actually want to do with your life even if it’s a crazy answer! I am always hesitant telling people I want to work for a record company because I think they are going to laugh at me.  But I can tell you that no one has ever laughed and I have actually received great advice on how to move forward.  Networking events are all about meeting new people and sharing experiences so do not be scared to share what you want your future to look like!

2. Really listen to the critiques and recommendations you receive. Most professionals you talk with at networking events have more than likely been in your shoes once or twice. They will have the best advice about what to improve upon whether it is how your resume looks or your handshake.  These events are meant to be learning experiences!

3.  Actually do something with the business cards you obtained.  Instead of leaving them in a pile on your desk, follow up with everyone you met. Sending out an email with a question or a thank you to a professional you met shows you care and are invested in your future.  Everyone at networking events is more than happy to help otherwise they would not have attended the event in the first place! Do not fear taking the next step.