Friday, October 29, 2010

Résumé Reconstruction

Whether you’re seeking full-time employment or an internship, most employers require you to provide them with a résumé. While incorporating previous jobs and internships relative to the position you’re applying for seems effortless, what about those jobs that don’t as easily relate? For example if you’re applying for an accounting internship position at Harley Davidson and you currently work at Applebee’s as a waiter, the correlated skills aren’t so obvious. Well, there’s actually a pretty simple solution to this problem.

In the “Work Experience section of your résumé, use different headers to divide your experiences into those in which are career related (Career Related Experience) and those which could be categorized as other experience (Other Work Experience). Doing this creates a more coherent Work Experience Section.

So, how do you list your responsibilities for that “unrelated job?” What if I said there was no possible way to get around that problem? I’d be fibbing!!

Every activity in which you partake provides you with a skill or skills that employers’ value; they’re called Transferable Skills. Reflect on your position at Applebee’s; it’s not simply what you did, but how you did it. Here’s a scenario, a group of five friends come in to eat, their orders are really specific, they continuously complain about the food, and to top it off, they leave you a lousy tip. By keeping your temperament and treating them with the same respect you exhibit to all the tables you’re serving that night, you’ve displayed tolerance in a stressful situation which is a personal transferable skill. Or, let’s say you’re the employee who gets along with everyone, most of the time, you’re displaying the ability to interact and work effectively with co-workers and superiors, which is a human relations and interpersonal transferable skill. Allow yourself some time to think on these and if you’re still having trouble, feel free to stop by the Career Services Center (Holthusen Hall, First Floor). We’re here to help J

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tell me about yourself

In my daily work I help Marquette students and alumni develop their interviewing skills. The question I like to start off with in many cases is "Tell me about yourself." It seems like such a simple question, but this is one that throws many people off because it is so open ended. The nature of this question is intentional. How you answer it can show how prepared (or underprepared) you are for the interview. Additionally, your answer can give the interviewer a quick summary of your skills, knowledge bases and traits that match the position. Doing this in a concise, yet informative, way takes preparation.

The question "Tell me about yourself." really means "Tell me about yourself in relation to the position you are interviewing for." That means that employers are interested in the information about you that relates directly to the position that they are trying to fill, so this is not the time to tell your life story. An answer to this question typically lasts between one and three minutes which means that you will need to be concise and prioritize what you choose to share with the employer. The key to being concise is preparing in adavance and practicing out loud either with family, and friends or perhaps a practice interview in career services.

To get you started I have an example of one strategy to answer this question using a fictional Career Counselor position at Marquette. I have divided the question into three sections (opening statement, middle content, and closing statement) to help give the ambiguity some form. After each section description and example, I give a few main points.

Opening statement: The opening statement can be something very simple, such as stating your degree and briefly describing your skills and experience in the profession thus far. Experience can include internships, volunteer work, or other experiences where you have gained professional skills, as well as jobs that you have had in the industry.

Example: I have a masters degree in psychology as well as six years of experience working in the higher education industry. My experience includes career counseling, academic advising, and mental health counseling.

Main points: This part is pretty basic, I simply stated my degree and then breifly summarized my experience. I included this because it sets up what I am going to talk about next. I also considered what experiences are most relevant to the employer. Through my research I know that counseling skills and experience in higher education are both important so I highlighted those first.

Middle content: This is where you could talk about what specific skills or attributes that you bring to the position. A nice addition to this could be to touch on what sets you apart from other candidates.

Example: I bring strong counseling skills as a result of my education and work experiences as well as a passion to help others reach their potential. I developed my counseling skills through working in a variety of settings inside and outside of higher education. Inside of higher education I have worked with both traditional and non-traditional students, each of which have different needs. As a student, I also served as a mental health counselor in a community counseling clinic. I beleive that the diversity of my experiences gives me a strong set of core counseling skills as well as exposure to a variety of different counseling scenarios and perspectives. My passion to help others stems from my personal path of initially striggling with career choice, but overcoming that obstacle through utilizing my resources such as career services. The combination of those experiences have lead me to the counseling profession and career services.

Main points: In this section, I wanted to talk about my counseling skills, but also how I developed those skills. In my case my diverse counseling experience is something that I wanted to highlight. In addition to counseling skills I wanted to touch on my passion for helping others and why I am interested in career counseling. This helps make the connection for the employer that I am both skilled and passionate, which will motivate me to excel in my role.

Closing statement: The closing statement is where you bring it all together and make the connection between the skills/attributes that you just mentioned to the position.

Example: I'd love to bring my skills and experience to Marquette University. I am looking for a position in a university that has high standards and I know that Marquette values excellence, faith, leadership, and service and so do I. These values are what draw me to Marquette. I believe that my skills and experiences as a counselor, passion for helping others, professional skills, passion for the career counseling profession will fit well in this position and the Marquette community.

Main points: In this section I applied what I learned through my research to connect my experience, skills, and attributes to the employers needs. I then gave a final plug to my skills. I mentioned these specifc skills as a result of my research (i.e. online research, informational interviewing, visits to campus, etc.) which helped me to determine which ones that I have are a match for that specific employer.

Being such an open ended question there are many ways to navigate your answer. The example I gave is just one way. If you are a Marquette student or alum and who would like to develop or improve your intervewing skills, the Career Services Center is here to help. Just call 414-288-7423 to schedule an appointment.

Jeremy Eudaly

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Attend a career fair from home?!?

Yes, it's true!

On Wednesday, November 10, Marquette students and alumni can meet with over 30 leading employers without ever leaving home.

As an active member of the Big East Career Consortium, the MU CSC is promoting a unique opportunity. Only students and alumni from Big East schools can visit the booths of participating employers, learn about job and internship opportunities, submit resumes, and chat with recruiters in real time.

Wondering how a virtual career fair works? Check this out

From November 11-19, students will still be able to visit employer booths and submit resumes to the employers of their choice.

Although you can't reveiw the available positions until Nov. 10, we are told over 9,000 jobs are available in Healthcare, Education, IT, Engineering, Finance, Sales, and Marketing.

Participating employers include: Procter & Gamble, Lockheed Martin, Aon, ADP, First Investors, Geico, Graybar, Hertz, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Peace Corps, Progressive, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Rocket and Space, Vanguard, Verizon Wireless, Waste Management, and many more. Many of these employers do not formally recruit at Marquette....even more reason to register and check it out!

To attend the event, just register at

One lucky student will win an Apple IPad just for registering!

Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m. CST, *On demand until Nov 19th
Location: Anywhere with internet access

*On demand means recruiters may or may not be online, however students can still visit employer booths, view/apply for jobs, submit resume, and send recruiters a message.

If you have any questions, please contact our office.

Good luck!

The Future-Jobs-O-Matic!

I remember once sitting in a Recruiting Trends Conference when the speaker said that if people in my profession (career center professionals) didn't "get with the program" and "step it up", our jobs would be obsolete. My co-worker looked at me with concern and I remember saying to her, "He's not talking about us, he's talking about all the older people who have been doing the same thing year after year without changing. We have nothing to worry about."

Perhaps I will soon eat those words because lo and behold, the Bureau for Labor Statistics (yes they still call it a bureau) has unveiled the
The Future-Jobs-O-Matic!

The Future-Jobs-O-Matic! is your key to Careers of the Future. Find the job you have — or the job you want — and the Future-Jobs-O-Matic! will tell all. Give it a whirl.

So many students I see aren't really interested in "figuring it all out." They really do want someone, sometimes anyone, to tell them what to do. I always relied on the Magic 8 Ball in these circumstances, but now we have the
The Future-Jobs-O-Matic!

Check it out for yourself. Let me know what you think. And if you need to talk, give us a call. 414-288-7423!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

The eight-week course I teach, Career Planning and Decision Making (ARSC 1040), just wrapped up last week. I always look forward to reading the final reflection papers from the students in the course because each student shares something that… well, that I wish I would have known when I was 20.

“Over the course of the last eight weeks I learned more about myself than I would normally in a year.”

“Changing my mind is not a bad thing; it’s my future and I can shape it anyway I want.”

“I have gained a lot of personal insight into who I am as a person and what I need in a career.”

“Making the most of college by joining various organizations and volunteer groups will not only help you towards a career goal, but it will help shape you as a person.”

“I want to take a couple of exploratory classes in areas that I have found are well-suited to me.”

“I am making an effort to try things that I haven’t tried before so that I will be able to make an intentional career decision.”

“It is not as hard as I thought it would be to get an internship and make contacts in the career world.”

“This class helped reduce my fears about choosing a career path and helped me identify the skills and processes necessary to get there.”

“It’s unusual for me to say something like this, but I don’t know where I’m going career-wise, but I am waiting for my experiences to light the way for me.”

“Along with earning good grades, I want to find a healthy balance in my life with respect to school, socializing, and extracurricular activities.”

“During the first week of the class I had no idea what I wanted to do with my future and my career, but now, eight weeks later, I have an idea of what would be best for me.”

“Some people don’t necessarily know what they are bound to do until the time is right. Plus, it’s okay to switch majors or deviate from a determined path. It’s a learning experience.”

“My career goals are still being shaped into a form that is not yet known – and I’m comfortable with that.”

“I know the next few years won’t be easy by any means, but they are the experiences and times of your life that will be with you forever.”

I used the words of J.R.R. Tolkien as my title for this blog because I think he got it just right... and the words my students shared in their final papers were also just right.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Relic in the Digital Age

Technology surrounds us everywhere we go these days. It even continues to improve at an impressive rate. Not all that long ago, radio was king. Then Video Killed the Radio Star. Phones always had cords at one point. Cordless phones were the next step. Even in that area, we've come a long way from the Zach Morris phone to the Droids and iPhones of today. I'm even typing this post on an internet page. We might think that the internet is just another everyday tool, but even 20 years ago college students were having to actually go to the library to do research for homework rather than simply using Google.

Through all these changes, there is one piece within the job search and business world that has resisted the technological revolution: the business card. Here in the CSC, we're entering the time of the year when cards are being traded at a rapid rate. The Career Fair two weeks ago had a plethora of business cards moving from recruiters to students. Even now with our On-Campus Recruiting in full gear there is a daily exchange of the tiny pieces of cardstock.

The question is though, what do you really want to do with these cards? Sure, you could just start an incredible Rolodex, but even then, what's the point? Well, for one, you have the contact information of someone in a company that you presumably have an interest in. If you haven't already followed up with that person, I recommend you do so now (or at least once you finish reading this post). One recruiter that we've spoken with has spoke in amazement at how few students actually follow up with him. They really do appreciate it, and as long as you're not saying anything overly crazy, it should only help your cause in the job search. Even after your search is complete you can still utilize your business card collection to maintain and expand your network. Your next job is most likely not going to be your last job. Those contacts you make now could pay dividends in the future. Keep them warm at a very minimum.

Now, if you want your own cards, Career Services can help. Through the end of the semester, simply stop by our office and ask to fill out our form. We'll provide you with up to 30 free cards in one of two templates. This only goes through the end of the fall semester though, so don't delay!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Dreaded Phone Interview

The Dreaded Phone Interview

If you’re anything like me, phone interviews are probably not your favorite part of applying for any job. However, with many of us conducting internship or job searches all across the country, a face-to-face is not always possible.

The majority of phone interviews used to be short and sweet, generally consisting of qualifier questions. But now with the amount of applicants, phone interviews have become tough, and oftentimes you may find yourself speaking with the actual decision maker. In order to stay in the running, preparation is essential.

With such a competitive job market, the following tips will help you ace that job interview.


Create a cheat sheet. The great aspect of a phone interview is that you can have your notes in front of you to help guide your answers. Have a copy of your resume in front of you, as well as a list of key achievements in previous jobs.

Also have a list of answers to commonly asked interview questions (What are your greatest strengths, career goals…) and don’t forget the ever so popular behavioral interview questions. (Give me a time when…)

Do your research. Knowing about the organization shows that you are truly interested in the position. Be on top of any current news or awards the company recently has received. Understand their mission. Think of it as an early opportunity to show how your interests and values fit with the organization.

Create the right atmosphere. Treat the interview like an important meeting. Have a space set aside that is free of distractions. Keep a glass of water nearby in case you need to clear your throat, and of course, make sure to use the restroom before the call. Keep a pen and paper on hand.

Dress nicely. Wearing professional clothes and taking a serious approach to the call will help you maintain a professional attitude regardless of your surroundings.

Check your voicemail. Make sure your voicemail includes your full name, and sounds professional.

Practice makes perfect. As with all interviews, practicing your answers beforehand helps you prepare for common interview questions.


Confirm the caller’s name. This is important for following up after the interview.

Be professional and polite- you could be speaking with the company president or the administrative assistant. Either way your attitude will play a large role.

Remember that the other person can't see you. If you need to stop speaking in order to write something down, don't just leave the interviewer with a bunch of dead air. Say something like "Please excuse me while I write that down." Also let them know if you need time to think. Just like any interview it is good to have a succinct well thought out answer rather than droning on.

Avoid the simple yes or no answers. Add selling points at every opportunity.

Pace the call. Let the caller do most of the talking, without interruptions. Never start answering a question before the caller has finished speaking. You may jump the gun and answer a question you thought they were asking, but could be completely off. It is also rude to interrupt, and you don’t want your answers to sound too rehearsed. Try to always pause before answering, for a more natural flowing conversation.

Always ask questions. When it gets to the end of the interview, and the caller asks “Do you have any questions for me”, the answer is always YES. Even if they answered everything during the interview, come up with something. If you say no, it comes across that you are uninterested.
Interviews go both ways. Use this opportunity to learn more about the position or company. Only ask questions that you cannot research on your own. For example, if training in a specific software is required, ask how the program is used. Then if you get an in-person interview, you'll be able to highlight your proficiency with the software and your ability to use it as required.

Close the deal. At the end of a phone interview, make it clear that you are enthused about the position and that you would like to go further in the process. Ask about the hiring timeline, and when you should expect to hear back.

A few other pointers:
Don’t chew gum, or eat during the interview
Stand up, or sit up straight. Your voice sounds stronger
Avoid fillers such as “er, ah, um” This is very noticeable on the telephone
Smile- it comes through in your voice

Write a thank you note. Write a thank you note- either electronic or hand written. Your appreciation will help you stand out. In your note, recap your qualifications and emphasize your interest in the job. Make sure to do this within 24 hours of the call.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Straight from the Mouths of Employers

The Fall Career Fair has come and gone and overall it was a great success – employers were impressed with the quality of students at Marquette and students had the opportunity to meet with over 140 organizations! It was great to see so many students in attendance checking out leads for internships, co-ops, and full-time positions AND capitalizing on the opportunity to network with professionals in their field or who can connect you to someone in your field. So much of the job search depends on who you know and if you attended the fair, just think of how many new people you have added to your own network!

As with everything in life, there are lessons to learn and ways to improve next time. Try as we might – as your friendly Career Services Center – we can’t get every student to take all of our advice, so I thought I would take a moment to share feedback straight from company representatives who attended our fair. Perhaps you will find this useful as you prepare for the Health Professions Career Fair on October 26, 2010 from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. and the WorkForce Career Fair on February 17, 2011 from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. (both fairs will take place in the AMU Ballrooms).


Be Knowledgeable About the Company – mentioned by 43% of employers

At the very least you should visit the website of every employer you plan to talk to at the fair to learn about the company (What does the company do? What is their mission? What is important to the company and what feel do you get from reading their website?). After that, you should be able to come up with deeper questions to ask so the recruiter will know you have done your research and really care about learning more about the organization.

Dress Like You Want a Career as a Professional – mentioned by 22% of employers

We have said this until we are blue in the face… some students follow the advice and, frankly, look like they cared about finding a job and making a great first impression. Other students choose not to wear a suit… here are some additional comments employers had for those students:

“Wear suits – students need to remember they are making a first impression.”

“Professional dress makes a great first impression.”

“Dress appropriately as you would for an interview – not business casual.”

“Leggings are not appropriate attire for a career fair.”

…you get the point. Pick a suit that fits your personality and the field you are hoping to enter—there are lots of choices out there and not all of them are boring, stuffy, or uncomfortable.

Enthusiasm Makes a Great First Impression – mentioned by 16% of employers

This piece of advice will take some practice for most people. I absolutely know how hard it is to be enthusiastic when you are nervous. I actually hate networking because I get really nervous and have to work hard to figure out what to say… and I still mess up sometimes. HOWEVER, I know that if I am well-prepared and then make sure to take a deep breath and relax, always smile and give good eye contact, and act confident that things will usually go well. Oh, and a practiced handshake will do wonders as well! (Grasp hand firmly, pump once, and let go)

“Prepare an Elevator Speech – mentioned by 7% of employers

Nothing is more awkward at a career fair than when a student walks up to an employer with nothing to say… and “um, Hi… I’m Courtney… What does your company do?” is NOT a good introduction. Before a career fair you need to practice (out loud) your elevator speech. You should include what you are doing now (name, year in school, major), what you’ve done in the past (related or transferable skills to the position/company), and what you are hoping for in the future (an internship, full-time job, information about a contact in a department within the company); then end your introduction with a question (this question could be related to something your noticed on their website, learning more about the hiring process, or something the recruiter personally likes about the company).

“Bring a Resume – mentioned by 4% of employers

Some companies accept resumes at career fairs and some are unable to do so. That said, wouldn’t you rather look prepared if a recruiter asks you for one? Bring along at least as many as the number of companies you hope to visit and maybe a couple more just in case.

Heed the advice of recruiters and start working on these things now so you are prepared for the next fair you decide to attend!