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 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.