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?

-well educated
-achievement oriented
-civic minded
-technologically adept
-want immediate gratification
-have high expectations
-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!!

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!