Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guest Post: MU Senior with great internship

Allow me a moment for me to introduce myself. My name is Thomas McGlennen and I am currently a senior at Marquette University and will complete my double Mathematics and History majors in the spring. Now to the real reason everyone here is looking at this! Over this past summer I interned with Target for their Executive Team Lead Internship and I loved it! Interning at Target over the summer was a lot of fun as every day was completely different. I won't get into all the small details about the internship, but I thought as a fellow student it would be nice to have a first-hand account of my experiences there.

First off, the internship was not what I expected it to be at all. I was not given any busy work, didn't have to sort files, or go on coffee runs for the rest of the Team. Instead I was given keys to the store and real responsibility. The first few weeks there I spent learning the different work centers of the store, but right from the beginning I was on my feet and constantly being presented with new information. I worked with all the other ETLs (Executive Team Leads) in the building and they were continuously offering new ways to lead the team of about one hundred and fifty people and how to handle whatever may come throughout the day. What I found to be especially unique about my time as an intern was the constant feedback I was given. Every Friday I would meet with the STL (Store Team Lead or store manager) and he would give me feedback on what was going well as a strength and what were some opportunities I could work on the next week to improve upon. Target is all about developing its people and helping them grow to be better leaders, which to me was fantastic. I really learned that being a leader requires you to set the example as you are constantly in front of the rest of the Team. The fact that I was with the rest of Team and constantly interacting with people kept each day fun and interesting—no cubicle work here!

Now, it may seem fairly easy to set a daily agenda with a list of priorities for the Team to focus on, but as the day develops different situations and obstacles come up all the time. Trust me, if it can happen it will happen, which really adds an extra element of fun as each day is different from the next. One of the more eventful days during the summer happened when the city construction crews outside of the store managed to break a water main to the store. I spent a good part of the day driving around to the various construction crews around the area trying to figure out what had happened and why all the water to the store had been shut off. Occurrences like this really require one to be on their toes and able to use their critical thinking skills in order to approach and handle the random events of everyday.

My favorite aspect of my internship was the relationships I made with the other interns in the area and the friendships I made with the store Team. The people working at Target put a lot of effort into their jobs, but at the same time are great people to work with and the amount of respect I have for them is immense. They are a fantastic group of people which permeates throughout the entire company as everyone is more than willing to lend a hand. I hope this gives a little insight into my experience over this past summer. If any of you have any questions about my experience, or would like to learn more about the internships—or even ETL positions if you’re a graduating senior this December or next spring—available for this next summer do not hesitate to email me at: https://mail.target.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=28b1d35b857f4c1b841cb60dfd089348&URL=mailto%3Athomas.mcglennen%40target.com. I am currently a Campus Liaison to Marquette for Target during this school year and will be taking an ETL position this summer after graduation. I hope to hear from some of you soon!


Thomas McGlennenMarquette Campus Liaison G196 ¤Target


Target Careers. See Yourself Here. Learn more<http://sites.target.com/site/en/corporate/page.jsp?contentId=PRD03-000483>



  • Target scores top ranking of 100 on Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index – 2009

  • Target ranks 8th on Business Week’s “Best Places to Launch a Career” – 2009

  • Named “Top Socially Responsible Brand in Retail” – Alloy Media 2008

  • Target 11th, "America's Most Admired Companies" - Fortune Magazine 2008

Holiday Networking

With finals beginning to wrap up for yet another semester, most of you are preparing to head home for the holidays. This is always a fun experience, whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, or any other holiday. Most people I know have the one dreaded part of meeting with family and friends; the inevitable questioning. Everyone always gets it in some manner, the "Are you dating anyone?", "When are you guys getting married?", "When are you having children?", or any other variation.

Of course, the other fun question that comes about, especially in the college years, is "What are you doing after graduation?" You know it's going to come up at some point, so be prepared to meet the question head on and get something positive out of it. Let your family and friends know exactly what it is you are looking for in a position. Sure, they might not be in your field of interest, but it doesn't mean that they might not have other contacts you could use.

To be able to successfully tap into these contacts, you need to start with knowing what you are asking for. The more detailed you can be, the better off you are. You don't need to know exactly what job you want necessarily, but there is a big difference between "working as in a creative role with an ad agency" and "marketing". The second term is so broad that people that want to help simply won't know in which direction to guide you.

Don't be afraid to ask for help; your friends and family wouldn't be asking those questions if they didn't really care and want to help. Let them help you by telling them how they can. What better way to turn the questioning line into an experience with a positive outcome for you?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Creative Ways to Get Noticed in a Competitive Job Market

The conventional ways of finding a job are becoming less effective in today’s competitive job market. Some of you may have heard of guerilla marketing tactics. The basic idea of guerilla marketing is finding creative, unconventional ways to reach a target population. The concept of guerilla marketing tactics can easily, yet thoughtfully, be applied to anyone searching for a job. I refer to these as guerrilla job hunting tactics.

The following are some ideas to give you a better understanding of what guerrilla job hunting tactics are, which will hopefully get your creative juices flowing.

How to get your resume noticed and land that interview:

1. Delivering your documents in a creative way.

One example is The Coffee Cup Caper tactic: a paper Starbucks cup, full-color Guerrilla Resume, and a Guerrilla Cover Letter (asking to meet for coffee), shipped in a box.

Other examples:
  • One Michigan man mailed cover letters with two aspirins taped atop each. His opening sentence: “Your customer service headaches are over!” This message resonated with employers, who called to interview him.

  • A Las Vegas man mailed a paperweight and cover letter to an out-of-state employer. The paperweight was a miniature of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. His cover letter began: “Not everyone who lives in Vegas wants to stay in Vegas,” playing off the famous slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” He was flown to an interview in California.

  • One aspiring assistant basketball coach mailed the right hand from a store mannequin to the coach he wanted to work for. Rolled up and gripped in the plastic hand was his cover letter, which began: “I can be your right hand man.” He was hired.

(Examples taken from the StarTribune.com: Three Job Search Q & A: Michigan Edition)

2. Following up in fashion:

Instead of using email, arrange your thank you note to be hand delivered by a courier- or have your friend pose as one.
This makes you stand out from the other applicants.

3. Give employers another reason to hire you!

After the interview, go home and think of another way to show the employers you are the person for the job.

You could create a written plan of action for the first 3 months on the job. This proves you can do the work, by describing how you would learn the job, build rapport with employees/customers, and contribute to the bottom line.
Note: Have the plan delivered by FedEx, not by email.

Yes I know, some of the guerrilla techniques do take time; But think, is the time worth landing the job? The answer is Yes.

As winter break is upon us, use the extra time to start thinking of creative ways to get noticed and become a warrior in this competitive job market!

Here is a link to a great article on the guerrilla job search:

http://www.jobbankusa.com/CareerArticles/JobSearch/ca6806a.html

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trends Post #5: How to talk to employers and other people who might be able to help you get a job

... and other people who might be able to help you get a job

These tips and more can be found in our Networking Handout.

Questions to ask the contacts we discussed in yesterday's post include:

  • Do you know of any openings for a person with my skills?

  • Do you know of anyone else who might know of an opening?

  • Do you know someone who has a good network of professional contacts?

How to ask…

  • Jobs/internship availability:
    “I see that you work at XYZ company. I was wondering if you could let me know if any jobs/internships are available there for Fall/Spring/Summer?”

  • Advice about a career/company:
    “I’m interested in learning more about your company. Can you tell me more about what it is like to work there?”
    “I’m interested in pursuing XYZ career. Can you tell me more about what you do on a daily basis?”
    “I know this may not be your specialty but could you please give me the contact information for someone in your company that does XYZ?”

  • Getting the name of the person recruiting:
    “I’m applying for XYZ position at your company and was wondering if you could give me the name of the recruiter?” ALWAYS say “please” and “thank you”

Now what? Contact those referrals with something like this:

“Dr. Ron Doe suggested that I contact you regarding questions I had related to your career in civil engineering. Dr. Doe is a professor of mine at Marquette University. I am currently a sophomore in Civil Engineering and am preparing to apply for co-op positions. I was hoping you could tell me more about what you do on a day-to-day basis so I can learn more about possible careers in the field.”

For linkedin... one example...

Dear Name:
I am currently a [year in school] at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin studying [Major/Minor]. I’m graduating this May and looking to start my career in the (be specific) field and am looking to connect with professionals in [State] for networking purposes. I have past experiences with [list broad experiences]. Your [specific] background on Linkedin is very intriguing. I was wondering if you would be willing to answer some questions I have about the (specific) field or offer any advice to someone in my situation.
Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.


Name (signature)
Marquette University, May 2010 Graduate[List college]

You can do that, right? Need help, practice, or a some motivation? That's why Career Services is here. Call or stop by for an appointment!

Now what are you waiting for?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Trends Post #4: Small Employers.. who they are, how to find them


"Small employers are the backbone of the college labor market and they expect to increase hiring over the next 10 months," says Dr. Phil Gardner in his Recruiting Trends report.


I gave you a brief description of who is hiring in the last post. SMALL EMPLOYERS. So how do you find jobs at these somewhat elusive organizations?

First, here is where you won't find jobs with small employers (and why):
  • Career Fairs: due to their small number of employees, being away from the office and spending a day at a career fair to hire one person is not a good use of their time.

  • On Campus Interviews: really, same reason as above.

  • Anywhere it costs to post a job: newspapers, for-profit job boards (Monster, Career builder, etc.) why... you can probably figure that out for yourself. MU Career Manager does not charge employers making it easier for all employers to attract MU students!

Now, here are some first steps in finding jobs with SMALL EMPLOYERS:


  • If you're not connected, then you're not going to like this but NETWORKING is the key. This doesn't mean that if your uncle or sister or neighbor isn't "in-the-know" then you are out-of-luck. Anyone can be connected. The trick is knowing HOW to capitalize on those connections.

  • Having a Linkedin account isn't enough; you have to know how to use it. Read this, Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job. It's ancient in Internet-time but I think it is still relevant.

  • You will first have to FIND the small employers. The Career Services Center has lists and lists of the biggest XYZs but that won't help you in this search. Instead, use one of our great resources, Reference USA. You can search for organizations by size, industry, and location which is exactly what parameters you need in this economy.

Who cares whether or not the small organizations you are pursuing actually have jobs posted! Either way, do the following:

  • Make a list of organizations based on industry (think outside the box... would a manufacturing company hire a communications major? They might if they needed publicity! or had customers! or were in the news!), size (<500), location(remember, you can go ANYWHERE!)

  • Research at least 20 of them. Since they are small they may not have their own web pages (don't judge, give them a break!, maybe offer your web-skills) so you will have to research using resources such as Vault (accessed through out career gateway) and by searching media sites for news about the org.

  • Use your connections to see if someone you know knows someone who works at one of your targeted orgs. CONTACT THEM!

  • Develop a targeted cover letter (or email message...using complete sentences)

  • Talk to them about how your skills will help them do something better. Be specific.

Okay, that's a lot for now. I'll go into more details on HOW TO DO THIS tomorrow on my next post.

Until then... enjoy this quote by Ronald Reagan which is still true today...

Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.


THINK small!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trends Post #3: Who is hiring?

Companies who are more likely to increase hiring are organizations:
  • With 500 or less employees AND
  • In the Non-profit, manufacturing, and retail sectors AND
  • Recruiting across the entire US or South Central, Southwest, and Northwest regions AND
  • Those using social media, internship programs, and direct contact with faculty

Let's talk about expectations and compromise.

Could you find your dream job after graduation? Possibly; if you create it yourself (see post #2). Most likely you will have to make some compromises regarding your career. Don't think you are the only one who has ever had to do this. Compromise is part of life (and relationships but that's another blog!).

What you can do:

  • Be open to small organizations, many of which you may have never heard.
  • Be open to location. You can always go back home. Your twenties are a good time to explore the region, the country, and the planet. If Texas has a 6% increase in jobs... then get out your cowboy boots and head south!
  • Be open to job openings that fit your skills but may not require your exact major or the career you pictured for yourself. Do you think I grew up wanting to be a career counselor? But now I wouldn't trade it for any other career.

You do have a choice... either sit back and wait for something to fall into your lap (unlikely and rather a bit boring) or get out there and find something by BEING OPEN!

Ride 'em cowboy!

Laura

Social Media and the Workplace

Society has responded in various ways to the changing times with social media both positively and negatively. With today’s social media crazed teens, schools have gone to the extent of banning cell phones from the classroom, and banning Internet sites they deem inappropriate.

Oftentimes text-messaging and Internet surfing in the workplace are frowned upon, and those against the new social media trend argue that social networking at work hampers business productivity.

The article The Greatest Generation (of Networkers), written by Jeffrey Zaslow, poses a new look at the social media craze of today’s youth.

Rather than engaging in long phone conversations much like older generations, today’s youth have gained beneficial qualities through the use of the Internet and sending short messages via text-messaging.

Although some argue that social networking at work reduces office efficiency, this article expresses how social networking enhances people’s social skills and ability to succeed in the workplace in areas such as connecting with the right people, having the ability to optimize, prioritize and gain easy access to information.

Some believe this generation has been blessed with the gift of multitasking and having the ability to stay connected- but how much is too much?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trends Post #2: What Employers Want

Flexibility

And no they don't mean your ability to do the downward facing dog!

Employers are seeking candidates across all majors who can slide into a variety of positions as needed or can adapt quickly to changing conditions; a mix of technical and soft skills.

Companies are repositioning themselves for more Internet business and seek candidates with acumen in this area.
  • Web 2.0 is BIG BIG BIG.
  • Employers are just beginning to tap into this marketing tool.
  • I know YOU know how to tweet, blog, post, etc.... let employers know too.

What you can do:
  • Include your social media skills on your resume. List examples of appropriate, entrepreneurial-like uses of social media.
  • Think in terms of how organizations might better use these tools to spread the word, to make money, to find more customers...
  • Got a great business idea? Pitch it to everyone you know. Ask them who they might know who might be interested.
  • Here is a great example and inspiration...

A Walking Advertisement: Jacksonville, Fla., Man Makes a Living Wearing T-Shirts for Marketing Company that Takes Advantage of Social Media

Tweet tweet! Laura

Want to Volunteer Abroad?

Many people, college students included, dream about the opportunity to spend time abroad doing great service work. The problem is, most of the time it never develops further than just that, a dream. But what about for those students that do aspire to go overseas and devote their time to a cause? Recently we had the chance to sit in on a presentation by Zahara Heckscher, who has spent the last 20+ years of her life volunteering overseas. She was able to provide a number of quick tips for making a volunteer experience materialize. Here are her 10 main tips:

1. Do it.

There are always reasons why not to do something; commit to going abroad and half the battle is finished.

2. Study your motives and expectations.

As good as your intentions might be, you will not singlehandedly save the world. Figure out what specific goals you want to accomplish and set out to do so.

3. Do your homework.

The more advance knowledge you have about the area, the programs available, and the experience, the better prepared you will be to make a positive impact.

4. Don't rule anything out.

You might not find the perfect experience right away, but you could find an organization that really needs your assistance, a place in which you can make that impact you desire.

5. Volunteer before you go.

You're going to be able to offer so much more if you have volunteering experience here in the States. It doesn't matter where you volunteer, just get used to the environment.

6. Plan for your return.

You'll be getting a great experience; think about how you can take that experience and spread the word about it once you're back in the United States.

7. Study the language.

It's always easier to help when you can communicate, right?

8. Expect to make mistakes.

No one is perfect. Simply try to minimize the big mistakes and work to rectify the small ones that do come about.

9. Keep a journal

You'll want to remember your experiences and how you got them so that you can share with future volunteers.

10. Get your shots and take care of your health.

Make sure you have all the required immunizations necessary. If you are planning on going to less developed nations, bring extra medicine to help fight off illness while you are there. You can't be effective if you aren't functional!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Trends Post #1: The college market has hit bottom!

The college market has hit bottom! Companies expect to hire an average of 30 individuals per company; this is a limited number of jobs. The competition is fierce! The talent wars will continue as employers elevate the performance expected of new entrants.

What you can do: Make a plan!
  • Create your career goal. Whether you are seeking an internship, full-time job, or plan to go to graduate/professional school... you need a career goal. As i often say, in areas of dating and career, the "I'll take anything" approach NEVER WORKS!
  • Know your skills. Why would anyone want to hire you? Make a list of at least 10 skills that you think employers seek. Need help? Click here.
  • Become an expert in YOU! Being able to sell yourself and your skills in an interview is one of the most important skills you can have. Be ready to let everybody know whay they should hire you!

Recruiting Trends Conference: 2010 Employment Outlook

Marquette University’s Class of 2010 Employment Outlook
The 2009-2010 Recruiting Trends Report

Each year members of the Marquette University Career Services staff attend the annual Recruiting Trends Conference in Chicago. This conference features the research of Dr. Phil Gardner, a nationally known economist from Michigan State University. Dr. Gardner’s Recruiting Trends report describes the opportunities and challenges faced by 2010 college graduates based on a recent national survey of 2500 diverse employers. The college labor market is a reflection of the overall state of the economy and as such we anticipate another challenging spring semester.

Every day for the next two weeks I will blog, tweet, and post highlights from the Recruiting Trends Report Summary.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why I Do What I Do

College, to me, was an up and down time of fun, uncertainty, learning, frustration, independence, love, confusion, change, set-backs, and growth. My college experience began when I filled out an application for Marquette University and, when asked which college/program I was interested in, I selected all but one or two. I was admitted to the (then) Master of Physical Therapy program and was on my way (…and VERY excited that I would not need to make any more decisions for 6 years.).

I started out as a Human Biology major (similar to Biomedical Sciences), but had a rude awakening during Organic Chemistry II when I spent every waking hour studying and managed to score a 29% on my first test and a (much improved) 42% on my second test. Needless to say, I dropped the course and changed majors to avoid undesirable academic consequences. I swapped my major for my minor and continued on in Psychology.

I loved psychology. I still love psychology. And I had a great psychology professor named Dr. Berkowitz (currently enjoying life at the University of Missouri - St. Louis… oh, and he co-founded ComedySportz—cool, huh?). One particular encounter stands out to me when I think about Dr. Berkowitz. One day I was in his office for my semesterly advising session. As we were talking, he looked at me and said, “Why are you in the Physical Therapy program?” I had been wondering the same thing lately, but was so scared of the possibility of not knowing what I was going to do for the rest of my life, that I became really defensive. Wouldn’t it have been interesting if I would have engaged in that conversation, though?

After a lengthy journey with many detours, I look at where I am now and know that I am in the right place. Would I trade in my path? No, because it is mine and made me who I am today. Do I recommend doing things the way I did them? Probably not. I truly believe my journey led me here and I found my way to this place in order to help students be more intentional about their path. That doesn’t mean that you have to have any answers; it just means that you need to put some thought into what you are doing at each stage of your life, start thinking about goals, and really experience life. I do what I do so I can help young people explore all that life has to offer and, hopefully, be a guide for each student on their own personal journey.

I see life now as a time of fun, uncertainty, learning, frustration, independence, love, confusion, change, set-backs, and growth… and I am loving every minute of it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Trib Talks CSC

Tony DiZinno of the Marquette Tribune wrote a great story about the upcoming Career Fair and how to prepare for it. The story is running in today's edition, and even got the centerfold article! There are plenty of great quotes, not only from some of us in the office, but also recruiters. As an added bonus, the Trib shot footage of our Career Fair Prep workshop Monday night, and there is a video component available on their website with even more valuable insight.

Be sure to check out the article and start your preparation process for the Career Fair!

http://marquettetribune.org/2009/09/17/news/career-fair-cl

Monday, September 14, 2009

Busy Week in Career Services!

Now that we're all back in the swing of things, CSC is putting together an event filled week before the Career Fairs next week. There will be no shortage of opportunities to learn more about us over the next five days, so take full advantage and get yourself prepared for a successful job search now!

Our upcoming events are listed below. If you have any questions about these events please feel free to contact us at 414-288-7423.

Walk-in Hours; Daily 12pm-2pm, Holthusen Hall
- Get your resume, cover letter, etc reviewed without having to set up an appointment. This service will continue on throughout the semester.

Extreme Makeover: Resume Edition; Daily 2pm-4pm, AMU First Floor
- Meet with a member of the CSC staff to get assistance with your resume in preparation for the Career Fair next week.

Career Fair Prep Workshop; Monday 9/14 5pm-7pm, Raynor Library Lower Level
- Learn how to make the most of your experience at the Career Fair from our staff and one of our most active recruiters. Bring your resume to have reviewed while you are viewing the presentation. Pizza will also be provided.

CSC Open House; Friday 9/18 11:30am-1:30pm, Holthusen Hall
- Not familiar with what CSC can do for you? Stop by our CSC Tailgate Open House to learn all about how our office can help you find and manage a career. There will be plenty of traditional tailgating games, and you can potentially win many prizes, including an iPod!

We hope to see you all this week!

Monday, August 31, 2009

True Grit

Not only is it a fine John Wayne film, it is also a critical piece of any success story.

One of our employers recently sent me this article that discusses how the concept of grit developed and has since evolved. It's a fascinating read on how even the most basic of achievements are accomplished over a span of time, rather than instantly. We might think right now that the concept of gravity is pretty straightforward, but in Newton's time they had no idea. Apparently it took years and years of research for him to prove the concept of gravity, rather than just an apple falling on his head.

So how does this pertain to you and your job search? Well, for one, the article stresses how in the long run, those who have success aren't necessarily the ones that are told how talented they are, but the ones who are told how good their effort is. When you are looking for an internship or a full-time position, you will often be met with some adversity along the way. The "gritty" job seekers will, according to the study, be able to fight through these obstacles easier. Furthermore, those identified to have more grit are less likely to switch jobs as often.

Now, it's important to not mistake grit for being stubborn. A job seeker with grit will fight through until their goal is met, but may change the path they take along the way. A stubborn job seeker will get so focused in on one idea that they have no way of changing their methods. If you can develop grit, it will help you along the way. You'll see that a notice that the position was filled is a stimulus to network more or refine your resume and cover letter.

It may seem sometimes that things fall into place for some people. It might be the case for a select few, but for most of them, it was utilizing their grit and doing the advance legwork that made for a smoother process down the line.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

20 Things About Me...



Name: Bethany

Nickname: "B"

How old is the picture above?: 4 years old

Job: Career Counselor at Marquette University's Career Services Center

Main Duties: Supervise Career Interns and Graduate Assistants, meet with students regarding their career path, create cute marketing materials, plan Salad Wednesdays, critique resumes on MU Career Manager, and sometimes teach a job search strategies course (ARSC 1050)

Past positions held at CSC: Office Associate, Graduate Assistant, Member of Party Planning Committee

Degrees: Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from MU & Master of Arts Degree in Counseling from MU

Favorite CSC Event of the Year: Open House in September! (And yes I do coordinate it...and yes it is awesome...and no you don't leave without at least getting some free food and giveaways)

Beverage of Choice: Hello, my name is Bethany and I am a diet coke addict...

Traveled outside of the U.S.?: Mexico and it's a long story...

Favorite Season: Winter (don't judge me!)

Wish all students knew: You don't have to know what you want to do with the rest of your life...TODAY

Wish I would have known when I was in school at MU: Go to classes!, join more organizations and participate in events, and what you plan on going to school for isn't necessarily what you will enjoy most

Best thing about the CSC: The people! We are willing to help students and alumni succeed and have amazing student workers and interns to also help.

Most excited for in the 2009-2010 school year: I'm having my first baby in November! (although 3 others have had a baby recently...so not big news around here!)

Biggest lesson I've learned from meeting with MU students: Each path is different, each personality is unique, and each person is inspiring in some way

Favorite item in my office: (besides the Dwight bobblehead) I love our new student giveaways for this year - fancy business card holders!

Liaison to which college: College of Communication (which if I HAD to go back to school, I would also major in Communication Studies)

Something NEW I'm in charge of this year: e-news!!! You will be seeing videos in this year's e-news...probably more of us than you want to see!

What I'm most excited about today?: Students are moving back in...Love that time of the year!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Take Control of Your Career

When job searching, one of the first things people generally learn about a position is based upon the job description. This is always a great reference point for the basic guidelines of a job. It details what your duties are/would be in a clear and concise manner. It is the baseline of a performance review.

But what if the formal job description doesn't contain everything that you hope to get out of the job?

This will happen to most people in the course of their career. Job descriptions, while great, are not necessarily the most organic documents. You might be a year or two into the job and feel that you are looking for more responsibility or additional experience within the position. This is natural, but you need to be proactive in obtaining these additional duties. Identify areas in which you seek to gain experience, and approach your supervisor with a plan. If you can detail what you want to take on, and how you feel you can do that, you will have far more success in getting that additional responsibility.

This is advice that goes beyond pure job responsibilities as well. Companies are always looking for people that can take charge and show leadership skills. Doing this will demonstrate your capabilities and enthusiasm. When it comes time for a promotion, the proactive member of the team is generally going to have a better chance than someone who waits for things to happen before acting. Which one do you want to be?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Your Career Services Center Director

We thought it would be a good idea for you all to get to know the MU Career Services staff better. I'll give you a brief background with some other tidbits.


I was born and raised in Nebraska (Go Big Red!) I received my B.A. from a small private school, Nebraska Wesleyan University and my M.Ed., from the University of Maine.


I have been a career services professional since the fall of 1994 (were you students born yet?). I have worked in college career centers in Maine, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, and at Marquette since January 2002.


I love the work I do as it is such a privilege to hear the very private career dreams and goals that students and alumni have. Empowering students to pursue these career goals is a passion of mine. My job also gives me a good mix of working one-on-one with students in individual appointments, teaching a classroom of students in career planning or job search classes, presenting in front of large groups, and planning cutting-edge events for students.

I am so fortunate to have found my dream career. I can't imagine doing anything else.


Personally I am about to embark on what I anticipate to be the greatest adventure of my life so far. I am expecting the birth of my first child, a little baby boy on August 19. I know my life will be turned upside down and I look forward to the joyful surprises ahead.


I live in a little yellow house with my cat Lily. I love pizza, am getting used to not having cable., enjoy good fiction, watching an involved movie, and perusing women's magazines in my backyard garden.


I'll be out of the office learning how to be a good, patient mother until November 12. Until then, happy careers!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Let's be honest...

So, we have all had a time in our lives when we have had to make a decision in the moment about if we are going to lie or tell the truth. I remember, as a kid, my parents asked me if I had left fingerprints all over the television screen. For some reason I thought I would get into a lot of trouble if I confessed, so I lied and told them that I did not. Within minutes my conscience got the best of me and I admitted the truth.

I have held several different jobs during my career and I can remember a number of times when I caught someone in a lie. It always amazes me that people think that lying will turn out better than owning up to something and telling the truth. It can be hard to admit a mistake, but there are ways to handle situations proactively so you are not caught in an awkward situation.

For example, let’s say that you make a mistake. You may really want to try to cover it up, but if the truth comes out you are going to look pretty bad. In this type of situation, I have always seen things work out better if you are willing to own up to your mistake, apologize once or twice, and present solutions to remedy the error. You are human and humans make mistakes from time to time. Trying to blame others or cover up mistakes is only going to tarnish your good name and possibly irreparably damage your relationships at work.

I know I have been lied to by people I have worked with and I have never trusted them in the same way I once did. Be brave and tell the truth—it will work out better in the end and you will sleep better at night with a clear conscience.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Promising Young Youth

I spent this morning with two of my staff members and 171 high school students... in one room... for 90 minutes. They were loud, they were silly, sometimes they weren't paying attention so we had to blow a whistle and throw them candy... but boy were they inspiring.

Each year the Career Services Center in conjunction with Marquette University's Public Affairs Office hosts students from the Earn and Learn Summer Youth Internship Program.

I always say that the best part of my job is having the privilege of hearing students share their personal goals and dreams. These student participants were no exception.

The workshop we facilitated walked them through a series of activities helping them contemplate their interests, skills, and values and how those fit into careers.

Asking someone to think about and share a dream career (one you dream of doing without worrying about skill level or income) is often tough. These students weren't shy at all... here are some the goals and dreams they shared. I hope they inspire hope as well as laughter for you as they did for me.

  • Move to Africa, learn how to build drums, move back to the US and open a drumming shop for making and learning to play African drums
  • Marry LeBron James
  • Become a professional musician and teach at the college level
  • Become a scientist who works on stopping the spread of AIDS
  • Join the police academy and become a detective in New York City
  • Own a $7 million home and charge people to come see the inside
  • Become a medical doctor and open a free clinic in the neighborhood where I grew up
  • Open a residence for teen mothers that includes a clean, safe place for them to learn how to best care for themselves and their babies

We have so much promise in our youth. We have so much promise in ourselves as well. Never stop pursuing your dreams!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What NOT to do

This morning I was interviewed by a reporter for The Wisconsin Radio Network regarding etiquette and mistakes people are making in their job searches.

While I find the most egregious acts of indiscretion tend to get the most hype; therefore they seem so commonplace, it is the common mistakes people might be making that could be keeping them unemployed.

It's often fun to share these appalling stories only to help us feel that we might somehow be superior and therefore have a better chance of securing the position.

If this is what you need, then read this: 43 weird things said in job interviews.

But remember this advice: your skills, experience, and professionalism will go much further in getting you the job than some outrageous stunt to stand out. Be yourself, be creative, but don't get caught up in being known as the____________ guy/gal (fill in with outrageous activity such as scooter, crazy hat, singing resume, subway sandwich wrapped in resume, baby shoe...)

Well you get the idea. And if you don't get the idea, then call us to schedule a mock interview. We'll get you headed in the right direction!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Simple Things Make All the Difference

In the workplace, there are always a million things happening at any given time. You have reports to complete, clients to speak with, political drama to tend to, and so on. One thing to remember is that, despite all these huge things that may be going on at any one point, it is the little things that can shape perception of you in the office.

Little things are just that; small, seemingly inconsequential things that aren't terribly important. One such thing that many people have been guilty of over the years is clicking "Reply All" instead of just "Reply". I've worked at a place before where someone clicked reply all seemingly every time they sent an email. Most of the time it wasn't a big deal at all, but it was certainly a little obnoxious to get repeated emails that had nothing to do with you. This person was not a bad worker by any means. In fact, that person was very capable with what they did. The sad truth is that, because of a small mistake like that, people took this person far less seriously than they otherwise would have.

Make sure at whatever job you have that you take care of these little things. You don't want to garner a reputation because of something ultimately inconsequential.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I thought I had heard it all!

True story:

2009 graduate of a top ten university interviews for an investment banking position in Connecticut. It is his second interview with this firm. After a one-hour interview, the recruiter says that he believes the candidate is a good fit and he will pass his name and info along to his manager. But before he proceeds he asks a very common question...

"Do you have any questions before we move to the next step?" asked the recruiter.

"No; I don't think I do." The candidate looks down at the desk between him and the recruiter where his padfolio and cell phone are resting and says, " Mom? Do you have any questions?"

THE MOTHER WAS ON SPEAKER PHONE THE WHOLE TIME!

I could list twenty reasons why this is an appalling story. I'll spare you my rant.

You can do this on your own. After having sought support, coaching, and all of the other resources available to you, you must interview and get a job on your own. You can do it! And if you need a little help... you know where to find us!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Going To Door County For Work

Yes, we actually do/did that. Since Wednesday we've been on a retreat in Bailey's Harbor with WIPCCC, a professional organization that we belong to. Now, not being from Wisconsin, I didn't truly get what the whole big deal was with going "up north". It seemed to me that being in Wisconsin was quite clearly up north to begin with. It's pretty nice though I must say.

Meeting with our colleagues from the other private colleges in Wisconsin is always a good experience. Being able to share our experiences and ideas with others from similar institutions gives us a chance to grow professionally. Sometimes you can get so accustomed to the way things are always done in your workplace that you forget about other approaches; this is a good time to refresh your brain.

One topic we looked at in-depth was how to provide better counseling service to all by adapting for cultural differences. This doesn't just mean ethnic differences either. One of the cases we addressed revolved around an older person in an unskilled position that may be facing a layoff after 35+ years on the job. I think working on these skills will be able to help us help all of you. We already attempt to provide the best service that we possibly can, but just like anyone else, we can always get better. It might be in a situation working with an international student, or it could be working with a student trying to meet parental expectations. Either way, through attending seminars and other professional development opportunities such as this gives us the opportunity to become better at what we do, and really, isn't that the goal of everyone in their job?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Whatcha Gonna Do With Your Life?

I know exactly WHAT I want to do, it's more of a question of WHERE I will start my career. Similarly to many students out there, I am now stepping out into the unknown. I have my Master of Education degree, I have completed my time at Marquette and I have no idea where I will find a job or when I will find one. Despite being an amazingly wonderful support network, the staff at Career Services can't create jobs for me out of thin air.

A few weeks ago I was terrified of the idea of unemployment. I couldn't imagine my life without 14 hour days spent on campus. I'm a planner and I didn't have a plan. Like I said, terrifying.

Thanks to my wonderful support network assuring me that I will be OK, I finally came to realize that some time to relax wouldn't be so bad. Then I started piecing together a plan. Once I get home I will be volunteering with university career center and hopefully working a part time job at a sporting goods store. I will finally have time to visit with family and friends and not have to cram them all into a 48 hour weekend. I can read books, I can run, I can take up yoga, I can cook, I can spend so much time with my 1 year old nephew that he'll finally remember who I am! Most importantly, I can recharge my batteries so that when I do find that job I will be 110% ready and even more apt to appreciate employment. I will also have time to really focus on my job search. The idea of sitting on my sister's couch doing nothing was terrifying but I'm really not the "do nothing" type.

So if you are caught in a similar situation, my last advice as a Marquette Career Advisor is to do what you need to do to stay motivated and focused but take time for yourself. Be the absolute best, most positive volunteer or part-time employee another organization has ever seen! You never know where it might lead you. Unemployment isn't as scary as it seems. It's another time to learn a life lesson and focus on what is important.

And visit the Career Services Center. They're patient and understanding of all situations. I don't know what I would have done without them. They are open all summer and still want to help you too!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Resume turned Road Kill

For the last few months I have had a blue flash drive on my key chain. This important piece of hardware is home to all of my job search materials and as of just a few weeks ago, all of my final projects for graduate school. I have constantly been telling my coworkers how relieved I'll be to be done with school and employed so I can finally remove that flash drive from my key ring. I kept it there to stay organized and to avoid having to commute 20 minutes if I forgot a paper that I needed to print at school.

This past weekend I was running errands and got a phone call later in the day from an unknown number. My poor blue flash drive had fallen off of my key chain in a parking lot. Needless to say it looks like computer hardware road kill and was likely run over by a few cars before being found. A very nice man picked it up and was able to upload my resume in order to find my phone number and return it to me.

There is a lesson to be learned in all of this. I did in fact just backup all of the files on this flash drive last week so, in reality, I did not need it back. It is extremely important to backup important documents for school or your job search! Save your resumes and cover letters and job search spreadsheets in multiple formats in order to avoid a momentary heart attack when you realize your precious blue flash drive has turned into road kill.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We're on Twitter!

Hope everyone's having a great summer so far, whether its in an internship, a "real" job, fun summer work, or travelling to places throughout the world.

Being the hip, happening people that we are, we've finally joined Twitter. We'll be updating it each workday, and if you're lucky, maybe even sometimes on the weekend with quick tips, interesting articles, and alerts about what is going on in our office. Sign up and follow us (@MUCareerChatter) for even more great insight than you get here at the blog, just more concise!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

People are Getting Hired and 55 Ways to Get More Energy

With all of the headlines college students seem to be bearing the brunt of this bad economy.

Each day the Career Services Center staff receives e-mails, phone calls, and drop-ins from students who are now employed and have been engaged in their job searches since early spring. These students have availed themselves to the many resources and support provided by the Career Services Center. I'm not saying we're the magic bullet to finding a job, but every resource helps.

The point is, students are getting offers, are being accepted into post-graduate volunteer programs, and are getting into graduate/professional school. It's not easy, but it's not impossible either.

Call us today for an appointment at 414-288-7423. We can talk by phone if you have already left the Milwaukee area. We're here to help you succeed.

In the meantime, I'm sharing this great post from one of my favorite daily blogs, Zen Habits. This is actually a guest post on Zen Habits from Greg Go.

55 Ways to Get More Energy

Here are some of my favorites but check out the whole article here with explanations and how-tos. Learn about the book 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.

2. Rock out loud.
5. Have a piece of chocolate.
7. Hit up the water cooler for inconsequential banter.
9. Wear brighter colors.
10. Take a power nap.
11. Flirt.
20. Sniff some citrus.
23. Play to relax.
27. Stand up, stretch and take a couple of deep breaths.
28. Get your world organized.
29. Look on the bright side.
34. Listen to tunes while you work.
41. Get a massage.
45. Take a walk outside.
48. Have a laugh.
52. Get a good night’s sleep.
54. Socialize.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What About Professional Organizations?

Have you ever been reading something and you suddenly see a veritable alphabet soup of acronyms in front of you? Sometimes these will just be simple abbreviations, like SCUBA. If you're reading something related to careers (and since you're on our blog, I tend to think you might have that inclination!), there's a good chance that the acronym is in reference to a professional organization.

Of course, the question then becomes, why would I join one of these professional organizations? If you recall an earlier post I made, I talked about how getting involved with groups in your realm of interest can benefit your job search process. I'd like to believe that you have a considerable interest in your field of choice. Involving yourself in professional organizations in your field will help you to build connections and network with people of similar interests. Get involved on a committee or sub-committee within your organization. The more you involve yourself, the more ingrained in the industry you will become. Additionally, your own personal knowledge level will increase considerably by working with professionals from other companies.

The best part about professional organizations in terms of a job search is that you can truly get involved at any point in your career. Many colleges have campus branches of professional organizations. For example, there is a chapter of the American Marketing Association here at Marquette. Getting involved with these groups now might be able to give you a leg up when it comes time to find that first professional position. But even if you don't join while you are in college, you can still jump into that world later in life. And as any student has met with me can attest to, I'm a huge proponent of giving anything a try at least once, because you never know if that experience will be the one that ultimately pays off for you.

If you need assistance finding a professional organization that fits your interests, Wikipedia provides a good starting point. It's not exhaustive though, so if you don't see the one for you, let us know and we can help, or simply google "professional organizations (your field)". I'd bet you find something...

Monday, May 11, 2009

No Internship? No Problem!

Now that all of you are done with classes for another academic year, most of you are set to work in one manner or another over the summer. While those of us in the "real world" work year-round, and therefore basically always know what we're going to be doing during the summer, the average college student spends a good portion of their spring semester seeking out a summer position.

Usually what many students, and especially sophomores and juniors, are searching for in the summer is an internship. These positions are desirable because they give students a chance to work with a company and gain experience in their field of choice. They also are increasingly becoming a primary method for companies to acquire full-time talent.

But what if you don't have an "internship"? Are you doomed to a life in your parent's basement?

Well, maybe, but it wouldn't be because of that. It's not just about having the intern title on your resume. Look at what skills your desired field requires. Once you identify those, you can find any sort of summer position that will help you hone those skills. BusinessWeek has a great article on this with examples of students that have turned "regular" summer jobs into a valuable piece.

Sure, the intern title is great, but remember what the ultimate goal is. As long as you can put yourself in position to get that job after graduation, you'll be on the right path, fancy title or not.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Clique Clack

Remember back in high school when everyone had their own little clique? Whether it was the football team, the actors, the smart people, or anything else, everyone seemed to gravitate to their own specific group. Well, guess what, as much as you might have hoped that all that was left behind, odds are you'll still see these dynamics in the workplace.

What you need to do, as a new professional, is to try to position yourself outside of these cliques. You don't want to get labeled as "one of the slackers" or something along those lines because of who you associate with. There are many different kinds of cliques in the workplace, and you should familiarize yourself with each of them. Observe what takes place each day for the first couple weeks, and identify what the general office opinions of the different groups are. Ideally, you'll notice that your workplace doesn't have established cliques, and you can proceed on with your career.

Try to make sure you integrate yourself with everyone in the office. You might have your favorites, which is natural. If you can build an environment where everyone is open with their colleagues, your productivity and longevity with the organization will likely grow as well. It won't be easy, but its a great thing to practice as you grow in your career.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Not Too Late!

Are you still searching for a full-time position or internship? It's not too late!

Employers continue to post great positions on our online site, MU Career Manager. Employers who post on MU Career Manager are specifically looking for MU students and alumni.

Also, job searching just got easier on MU Career Manager! After you do a search, you can create Job Agent, which is now separate from the saved search feature. The job agent will email you once a job is posted that meets your criteria.

If you need help with MU Career Manager, stop in during our walk-in hours, every Monday-Friday from 12pm-2pm. We are also open during finals week and the whole summer, so please stop in or make an appointment with a career counselor!

Good luck on Finals!

What They're Saying About You

In a few weeks many of you will be leaving the safe haven of Marquette, venturing out into the "real world" and a new life for yourself. This is both an exciting and scary time, as everything you know and are familiar with is changing. You can't just skip anymore if you don't feel like going. You probably won't be living around all your friends. On the plus side, you won't have massive group projects to stress over. At least not for class purposes...



One thing that is important to know as you go out into the professional world is how our generation, the Millenials, is viewed. What is the 50 year old going to think of you before you even start? Knowing this, and in turn managing your office persona appropriately, can give you a huge leg up in being a successful professional.

So, what is everyone saying about you, the Millenial?

-sociable
-optimistic
-talented
-well educated
-collaborative
-achievement oriented
-civic minded
-technologically adept
-want immediate gratification
-have high expectations
-overconfident
-diminished interpersonal skills

These are just some of the many stereotypes of this generation. Clearly not all will apply to every person, and it may be that only a few fit with you. As long as you know that, until you prove otherwise, these are the things older generations will assume about you, you can begin to craft your own place in the office and begin a successful career.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back In My Day...

So who hasn't heard their parents or someone older start a sentence like that? Even I may or may not have done such things, and I'm hardly what I'd consider ancient (yet).

The simple fact is that we all live in the present. What each of you needs to do is take advantage of just that. I'm sure everyone is aware that the economy is not what it was a few years ago. There's nothing any of us can do about that right now though, especially since I'm assuming President Obama and Tim Geithner haven't added us to their daily blogroll quite yet. We're working on that one though...

If there's one thing that even older people will concede about this generation, its that we are technologically adept to say the least. The good news is that the world is moving more and more to a place where technology is king. Utilize those skills to make yourself more marketable than 40somethings who may have more experience.

Anyone who's ever met with any of us can tell you that if there's one thing we stress, it's networking. Every single day more people are moving their networking abilities onto the internet, a forum that most of you will find more familiar and comfortable than the Gen X'ers and Boomers that are also on the market. Platforms such as LinkedIn are gaining new users by the hour and are becoming the central point for many people's networking experience. You might not necessarily find a job directly through LinkedIn, but you can almost certainly find levels of success.

Times are always going to change. Our parents had to use card catalogs and typewriters to write papers during college. They definitely didn't have LexisNexis or even Google, two tools I know I heavily leaned upon during my college days. Our kids will probably laugh at the concept of dial-up or even not having phones without internet. But we can only live in the present. Currently you have that advantage over other job seekers of understanding social media and knowing how to use it to your maximum benefit. It's the way the job searching world is going at the moment, and I'd think you want to take your place at the head of the line.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Don't Wish Your Life Away"

The infamous words of my Dad anytime I start to complain about how eager I am for school to be over or for winter to be over or for some big event to come along. Although I can't wait for classes, papers and job hunting to be in my past, my Dad is right. These last few weeks of college (or in my case last few weeks in Milwaukee after 8 years living here) can be a bittersweet time. Sure you're bogged down with school work and job hunting and are having trouble staying motivated but remember that balance is key to making it to the end. Recently I've realized that even though I am eager to leave Milwaukee, I have also met a great deal of good people here and will be sad to say good-bye to certain things. I'm making time for what is important and have been getting out to catch up with friends and take study breaks much more.

Four years ago when I was about to graduate with my bachelor's degree, my roommates and I took advantage of that time together. In the weeks before graduation we did everything from eat and study and get tattoos together. We were excited school was coming to an end but sad that each of us would be in a different city upon graduation. One thing I wish I knew when I was graduating was that life would change..a lot...after college. I stayed in the area but all of my best friends left. Whether it was starting a full-time career or continuing on to a Master's program each of us struggled initially to adjust to the new environment. Just remember that it takes time to re-adjust to working full-time or living in a new city but once you get accustomed to it, you'll be just fine.

Bottom line...make time for what is important including friends, family, job searching and finishing school strong...take advantage of this time while it lasts and find balance in everything!

Friday, April 17, 2009

the job search is like dating


So...if you are "in-the-know" you have probably heard about Pecha Kucha. Basically it means presenting information on 20 slides for 20 seconds. If you want to know more go here and see a great example here.

This is a presentation I did for a bar-full of drunken people and Marquette and MIAD employees at the Sugar Maple. It covers the similarities between the job search and dating.

Just some tips for those of you navigating either or both!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A View From the Left Coast

Well, maybe LAX would be a little more accurate description of my location...

I've been out here in LA the last few days, and sure enough even on vacation I find myself noticing things related to careers. Besides it getting really cold today (I would have thought that going to California would mean I wouldn't be cold at any point wearing long sleeves and jeans. And anyone in our office can tell you my opinions on what weather should be anyway...), the trip has driven home to me two very different things that can be applicable to all you Marquette students as well.

For one, everyone knows all the stereotypes of people that work at restaurants in LA; they're struggling/prospective actors waiting for their big break. Once my sister and I got through playing the always fun game of guessing what parts we think they are seeking, I decided to just go ahead and ask some of them. I figured I had nothing to lose, especially since I had already received my food. The common theme was that most of them were in fact hopeful actors. They agreed that it wasn't easy, and in the perfect world they wouldn't be working as a server. But each one of them said it would be completely worth it if it led to them getting that break they are seeking. As one of them put it, "You can't give up on your dreams. I'd be miserable always wondering if I could have got it if I wasn't doing this right now."

It's a good lesson I think. One thing I always like to point out is that your first job isn't always going to be your dream job, and it almost certainly isn't going to be your last job. You might want to become a Vice President of Marketing, but you aren't going to get there straight out of school. What you can do is to take the steps to get you to that job years down the line. Sure, it's not the idyllic thing, but if it gets you where you want to be, isn't it completely worth it?

The other thing I noticed is that students from all over the country are still looking intently for jobs. I was at the Jeopardy! College Tournament (my sister is going to be on, you should definitely watch) this week, and seniors from everywhere were in the same place many of you are, still trying to figure out what happens a month from now after graduation. Even kids from "name" schools were in the same predicament. One even asked a producer if they were hiring! The basic thing to take out of this is that it doesn't necessarily matter how smart you are or where you went to school. If you are persistent in your search, you can have success.

And of course, that's where we can help...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

When I Grow Up I Want to Be...

With graduation in the near future, I am sure many of you are hearing "Remember when you wanted to be..." from your parents. Anything to make you blush, right? Recently I asked friends and co-workers to tell me what they thought they wanted to be when they grew up as part of a more light-hearted blog entry.

For some the dream was a little unrealistic:
"[I wanted to be] a duck. I liked to swim as a kid and I wanted to fly. I failed at that goal."

"When I was two, I wanted to be a fire truck when I grew up. They were red, loud, and helped people—nothing could have been better than that! When I realized that I could not become an inanimate object, it broke my heart."

For others, some things just didn't work out:
"[I wanted to be an] architect...then I realized you needed to be good at math!"

"My first dream job was to become a massage therapist. Then I realized touching strangers would be gross. Then I wanted to become a chef. My uncle, who is a restaurant chef, told me that made me his favorite niece and he constantly encouraged me to pursue it. I spent much of middle and high school playing with recipe books and making some delicious but often disastrous-looking dishes. Peer pressure to go to a 4 year college mixed with food allergies and tummy troubles made me realize becoming a chef was not for me but cooking is still my favorite hobby and I'm absolutely fascinated with nutrition and watching the Food Network."

Some are a work in progress:
"When I was little, I wanted to be a fire women and fight fires, just like my dad! I thought it would be cool drive around in the big red truck, slide down the fire pole, and to be THE woman at the department, showing all the men who was boss. However, I realized as I grew up that firefighting was more than putting out fires, sliding down the fire pole and hanging out with dalmatians. Apparently, you have to risk your life and arrive at car crashes as well! (Although, now that I've learned that Shannon wanted to be a firetruck, I think I have chosen the wrong career path!)

Once I decided that I didn't want to be a firefighter, one of the next things I set my sights on was to be an orthodontist! I loved how I enjoyed going to the orthodontist and I appreciated all of the confidence my great smile gave me. Add in to that, that I LOVED working with the kids and I thought I was set. I loved every minute of my experiences shadowing and working with Dr. Gordon, my orthodontist, and his staff. However, as I discovered when I job shadowed a dentist, this profession was not for me! I loved doing the orthodontic side of things, but when I job shadowed a dentist, I realized that I would not be able to extract teeth or do root canals. YUCK!! And who wants to hear "I hate coming to see you (the dentist)!" everyday? Not me!

Luckily, I have so many options to fall back on. Now, all I have to do is choose what my next 'childhood' dream will be! I think I'll forever have 'childhood' dreams that change and progress as I grow older and find out more about myself!"


And for others, their childhood dreams are still a part of their lives:
"Over the course of my life I have had many career aspirations including (but probably not limited to) interior designer, nurse, architect, personal organizer, psychologist, closet designer, screenwriter, homemaker, doctor, teacher, physical therapist, and academic advisor. As a career counselor, I have found my perfect niche and am lucky to be able to learn more about all of these professions and more!"

"[I wanted to be a] dancer. I couldn't ask for a better job!!!!" (Yes, she is a paid, professional dancer.)

Always remember that your childhood dreams helped make you who you are today. They can make for some good laughs, great hobbies or even your ideal career!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Meet Uline

As part of our efforts to help you learn more about the employers seeking to hire you, we will be highlighting organizations periodically.

Here's our first entry, introducing you to Uline. Uline is the leading distributor of shipping, industrial, and packaging materials to businesses throughout North America, headquartered in Waukegan. Feel free to explore the organization further at their website, and learn about some opportunities they may have for you.


When It Rains, It Pours

In her last post, Kristin talked about having to be patient in your job search. And you know what, she's absolutely right. Talk to any of us, we can all tell stories of our own search processes, many of which took far longer than we would have liked. What helps in being patient is the knowledge that when things start to turn around, they do so in a hurry.

I'm sure we're all familiar with that wonderful feeling of being overwhelmed when every single exam and major paper/project falls on the same week. I, for one, certainly don't miss that part of college. But that phenomenon is not unique to just the academic world. You'll see the same sort of patterns occur in your job search as well. The primary difference is that you'll ultimately be happy that everything is happening all at once in the job search. I know I was.

Much like many of you are right now, this time last year I was on the job hunt. I started in earnest in mid-February (you should probably start sooner, my relatively late start was because that's when the jobs for my field were posted). I couldn't even begin to tell you how many resumes and cover letters I sent out. Some of them were definitely reaches, but I sent them out anyway.

And then nothing happened. For quite a while actually. So I kept on scowering the job postings and tried to utilize any contacts my supervisors had.

And for a while, still nothing happened. I'd describe it in other terms, but since this is a professional(ish) blog, I'll just say it was "not fun".

But then one day I got a call from some number I didn't immediately recognize. I'd gotten a phone interview! I nailed the phone interview (obviously because I practiced my interviewing skills in advance) and got invited for a campus interview. Finally things were turning around. Little did I know then that a couple days later I'd be getting another call from a different school for an interview there too. After a long time of nothing happening, I suddenly had 2 on-site interviews in a week, with another phone interview or two mixed in there.

Neither of those ended up working out, but they were good practice. The unsettling thing was that I wasn't hearing back from anywhere else either at that point. Basically I was back to square one again. But sure enough, once I got one other call to come in for an interview, I got another for a different interview. Even when I came up here to Marquette to interview, I had been on a different campus earlier in the week.

The point of all this is that when the good things start to happen in your job search, they will avalanche. Who knows why things happen this way, but you'd be surprised just how often they do. So when it does happen for you, and it will, be excited. Come in for a mock interview or any other help you need so that you can turn your flurry of interviews into a flurry of offers. Because guess what, even that part of the job search process tends to follow the pattern as well. Talk about a great problem to have...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Patience is a Virtue

I know, I know; I dislike this phrase just as much as you do. My mom always told me this growing up, as well as “Good things come to those who wait.” While I didn’t understand this at the time, I understand it now. Many of the very best things that have happened in both my professional and personal life have come after hard work, perseverance, faith, and of course, patience.

I have talked to several students lately who are frustrated because they are waiting to hear from an employer after an interview. They know the hiring timeline, but are so excited about the opportunity and anxious to land a job that they can hardly wait to hear back. I understand how they feel; I was in their shoes just last spring when I was interviewing and trying to land my dream job in higher education. Here is some quick advice:

1) Make you follow up with your interviewer(s) appropriately
and do follow up via phone or email if you have not heard back from the employer after the appropriate time has passed. For example, if they told you would hear back from them in 3-4 weeks, and has been 3 ½ weeks and you have not heard back yet, it is fine to make a follow up call or send an email. One student told me recently that she heard you can never call an employer to follow-up. I assured her that it is fine to follow up, but you need to do so appropriately and use your best judgment. For example, you could follow up by placing a call to the recruiter or hiring manager and say, “Hello, my name is (your name) and I interviewed for the (position name) with (person you interviewed with) on (date). I am still very interested in this position and wanted to check in to see if the hiring timeline has changed.” This shows both initiative and interest.

2) Don’t stop looking for other opportunities that interest you. To quote one of our panelists from Career Week, “Make sure you have many balls in the air.” Use your resources (both at Career Services and elsewhere) to keep searching for other positions, go to networking events and talk to your friends and family who might be able to connect you with potential employers.

Most importantly, keep at it and don’t give up! :)

Good luck!!
Kristin

Friday, April 3, 2009

CSC In the News

On Monday night we held our first speed networking event in conjunction with the Alumni Association. 100 students and 100 alums came out to mix and mingle, building their networks in the process. The Journal-Sentinel showed up as well to see how students are approaching this new job market.

Here is the article, and watch the video too to see our director, Laura, chime in on the event!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"If I could go back..."

If you weren't at our Life after Marquette panel last night...you missed out! We had recent graduates from MU talk about what they would do the same or differently if they could go back to where you all are sitting.

Here is what we learned:
1. Get an internship!!! Even though one of our panelists has a great position now, he really wishes he did more to get experience before graduating.

2. Join something, Join anything. Whether it be student organizations or Intramurals or MU activities - just get involved. They ALL wished they did this more.

3. Talk. Anyone, anywhere (but not about Anything). Some of the panelists talked about how they wished they shadowed more, did informational interviews with professionals in the field, and in general - just did more to find out about companies, the field, and potential positions.

4. Do less "assuming" and more "exploring". Many of them discussed the fact that they ended up in a company or career they had not necessarily expected. You might think you ONLY want to work in an agency or go to law school - but keep an open mind. They LOVE what they are doing but definitely didn't expect it!

5. Seriously...just go to Career Services (and no, I swear I didn't make this up). Coming back and seeing all that we do for students they wondered why they didn't meet with a counselor. Whether you think you've got it figure out or you are freaked out that you didn't start anything - we are here to help - so use us!

Don't you want to look back and say "I wouldn't change a thing!" If so - make sure you are on track and come visit us.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Career Week!

Welcome to our biggest week of the year: Career Week! From now until Friday, we'll be hosting a number of great events to highlight different career fields and opportunities. And as incentive, if you attend 4 events during the course of the week, you will receive a free padfolio.

Here are the events this week, and for additional information on each event please visit our website

Monday:

Post Graduate Volunteer Opportunities Panel, 12-1pm, AMU 254
Science Careers Panel, 12-1pm, AMU 252
Life After Marquette, 4-5pm, Career Services Center
CIRCLES Speed Networking, 5:30-7pm, AMU Ballrooms, REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Tuesday:

Technical Careers Panel, 12:30-1:30pm, AMU 252
Non-Profit Careers Panel, 12:30-1:30pm, AMU 254
Long Distance Job Searching, 4-5pm, AMU 227
Creating Your Portfolio Panel, 4:20-5:35pm, Weasler Auditorium
Majors Fair, 6-8pm, AMU Ballrooms

Wednesday:

Communications Careers Panel, 12-1pm, AMU Ballroom D
Non-Traditional Careers Panel, 12-1pm, AMU 305
Finding an Internship, 4-5pm, AMU 252

Thursday:

Environmental Careers Panel, 12:30-1:30pm, AMU 305
Rotational Programs Panel, 12:30-1:30pm, AMU 313
Professional Networking Using LinkedIn, 4-5pm, AMU 313

Friday:

Careers in Government, 12-1pm, AMU 305
Entrepeneurial Careers Panel, 12-1pm, AMU 313
Getting a Job with the Social Security Administration, 1-2pm, AMU 305
International Careers in the Federal Government, 2-3pm, DS 105

We hope to see you at these events all week!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

10 Ways The Job Search Is Like Marathon Training

As everyone around here knows, May will be a big month for me. Not only will I be graduating with my Master's degree but I will be celebrating Memorial Day weekend by running my first marathon. Here are 10 ways I think the job search is like my marathon training:

1) Commitment to the long run- Progressively building muscle and endurance as well as making connections going through the job search process can take a long time. Each involves commitment from the start, making goals and making time for the training, networking and applying. Overall dedication is key to success in either way.

2) Networking helps- Whether its tweeting about what to eat after a long run or how to break into the book publishing industry, there is no better way to gather information than doing your research and networking with those who have done it before or do it on a regular basis. Social media websites (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) can all be very useful in getting connected to others with similar interests or career goals.

3) Take care of yourself- The job search can be mentally draining, marathon training can be both physically and mentally exhausting. The key to survival is listening to your body and to yourself and knowing what you need to give 110%. Whether it's a rest day off of training, visiting a career counselor for some help, having a good cry or a eating homemade meal from your mommy, do what you need to do to feel refreshed and ready to go!

4) Dress for success and come prepared- You're not going to show up to a marathon wearing a business suit and you certainly aren't going to wear your running shorts to a job interview. It is also important to remember what you need for the event, whether that's copies of your resume for an interview or your recovery shake for your post-race snack.

5) Details count- Careful editing of your job search materials, including all e-mails and other correspondence, and paying attention to the details in a job description and your interview responses are important things to pay attention to in the job search. Similarly, in order to prepare for a marathon, you need to track mileage and nutrition. Things that might seem obsessive to some people are what may make the difference between your accomplishments and their's.

6) Take set-backs in stride, celebrate victories- Who doesn't have an off day once in a while? Don't get defeated if you have a bad run or an interview doesn't go as expected. Learn from the experience and move on. Also remember to celebrate all victories as small as some may be!

7) Stay positive and keep the ultimate goal in mind- You have to continuously have a goal in mind and stay focused in order to get there. Remember why you are doing what you are doing.

8) The Sprint- Sometime quick and speedy gets the job done. A short, speed training day will help improve your overall time in running and sometimes a quick search of job postings will lead you to the job of your dreams. The application may be due tomorrow so being prepared ahead of time will make even your shortest race a victorious one!

9) The Long Run- Interviewing can be as exhausting as a marathon and either can take up to a full day. Getting your rest and preparing ahead of time will help you in the long run.

10) Be PROUD of yourself- Whether it is a job offer or a finisher's metal that you walk away with, be proud of how far you've come and what you've achieved! You may not finish in your goal time and you may not get your dream job at first, but you've made it through the first step on to something that you can build on for the future!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cover Letters Count

I was talking to a professor last weekend who told me that when he left his two-year post doctoral fellowship at Stanford his supervising faculty told him that the only reason he brought him to interview for the position was because he WAS THE ONLY CANDIDATE WITHOUT A TYPO ON HIS COVER LETTER! Subsequently, he was hired and is thriving in his field; all that because he wrote a strong, well-written cover letter.



There is always debate among career counselors and recruiters alike as to how important a cover letter really is. I consider it an essential job search piece as it can be a strong writing sample demonstrating a candidate's skill in communication. These days, when communication can be whittled down to a LOL or BRB, any demonstration of this skill is highly valued.



Whether ten people read your cover letter or just one, it's important that it be perfectly written and include these three main points:
  • Catchy introduction... why you are applying
  • Strong pitch... your skills, experience, and passion for the position
  • Call to action... what you want, how to reach you

Don't underestimate the power of a cover letter!

For tips on writing your cover letter click here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Job A Day Keeps Unemployment Away

Or so we would hope at least.



One site that I've been looking at recently is One Day One Job. This site is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Each day the author takes a look at entry level jobs in a different organization. Today is actually their 500th job featured on the site (at least assuming I counted properly among the archives).



The thing I enjoy most about One Day One Job is that they look at organizations of all shapes and sizes. Sure, they've profiled huge organizations like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Draftfcb, but they've also looked at some very unique companies as well, such as CustomInk or Thunderhead Alliance.

They even featured I Can Has Cheezburger? Yes, the Lolcats people.

One Day One Job is great about giving recommendations on how to apply for positions at these organizations, and they really do tend to focus on the interests of the current college student/upcoming graduate. I promise you can find something on this site that would be of interest to you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Be Careful on Twitter

Namely, don't do this!

The same goes with Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. You have to assume anything you write, even on someone else's page, is going to be found. The internet doesn't forget...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Recipe For Success

I was reading through some discussions on LinkedIn the other day and saw an article posted that presented an idea that forced me to think a little bit outside the box. Although the overall premise was focused more toward professionals seeking a new job, there were some tips that I would strongly recommend to any student as well. The author called it his "recipe for success", and since creativity isn't necessarily my forte, I decided to use that title as well.

The recipe for success is a very simple four step process that anyone can implement.

1. Make a list of all the things you love doing or things that intrigue you that you'd like to try doing. This is brainstorming so don't limit the list or judge it; write down everything you can think of.

2. Separate the activities you do with people from the activities you do alone. For example, gardening, reading, meditating, and writing are alone activities. Volunteering to run a fundraiser is with people.

3. Look at the activities you do alone and figure out if you can (and want to) do them in a way that includes other people. For example, join a garden club. Or a reading or meditation group. Or write something that other people read (a blog counts!). If you can (and want to) make them activities that include other people, keep them on the list. If not, then cross them off the list.

4. Now's the fun part: Spend your time doing things you love (or have always wanted to try) with other people who also love doing those things. If possible, take a leadership role.


These are all things that any college student can do. Getting yourself out there doing things you enjoy will showcase you in a positive light. When people see you doing things you enjoy, they see the best side of you, which is the side you always want to portray in your job search. And like always, you never know who might have that golden connection that lands you the dream job, so you may as well look around while having a good time!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Your barn door is open...

When I was a sophomore in college I took a drawing class. Our professor was a professional body builder, a tall black man named Willie who was one of my favorite teachers ever. His career choice seemed so opposite of what one might expect from a man of his stature but once I saw his passion, not only for drawing and ceramics, but for teaching college students, I knew he was right where he needed to be.

One day when we were learning "line drawing" he gave us a short 10 minute lecture on the process. While he was speaking I noticed that his fly was down. I'm sure everyone saw... there were about 20 students in the class. As soon as he was done with his lecture, we were getting our supplies and starting our drawings. I approached him and told him that his fly was down. He thanked me and quickly zipped up.

As soon as everyone was starting their projects, Willie asked the class how many of them had noticed his fly was down. No one answered but many chuckled and looked around as if they had noticed. He pointed out that I was the only one who told him; and how much he appreciated me for that.

In my years since then, I have had many opportunities to share in similar moments... a crumb on the face, a spill on a blouse, and one of my favorites: a booger in the nose; sometimes I was the victim of such minor embarrassments.

Remember the golden rule? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. While it may seem awkward and impolite, you are doing others a favor by letting them know. Be respectful when letting someone know; just as you would want them to be.


Thanks to my experience years ago with art professor Willie, I will keep on closing barn doors, one at a time!