Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thank You!

Two simple words that can have quite the impact!

Thank You acknowledges your gratitude, your appreciation, and your gratefulness towards something in which has been done for you or towards you. As young children, saying thank you was drilled into our everyday lives - oh come on, don't tell me my parents were the only ones enforcing the please and thank you rule.

Well, oddly enough, they were on to something! As we've all grown up quite a bit since then, saying thank you sometimes slips our minds, admit it. Here's when it should never slip your mind though: DURING YOUR JOB SEARCH. Sending a thank you letter, in typed, handwritten, or e-mail form could be the difference between you getting an offer or not. Let's say there's two candidates (you being one of them) and you're both similarly skilled and capable of doing the job; sending in a professional thank you letter may lean the interviewer further in your direction.

A thank you letter offers you the opportunity to restate your top skills and make mention of those things you may have forgotten about during the interview. Send your thank you letter(s) out within 24 hours of the interview, and lastly, be sure to send a thank you letter to everyone in which you met with that day.

The same tactic can be used when you've conducted an informational interview or shadowed a professional; the verbiage may change but the foundation remains the same.

So, in the spirit of the holiday season, let us remember the importance of those two little words - Thank and You.

~*~Happy Holidays All~*~

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Knowing & Owning Your Skills

PSST… those of you hoping to begin a career after graduation read this!

A very wise person once told me that a résumé gets you an interview, and an interview can
then lead to you getting a job/career. Now I know we’ve all heard before, from some person or another, to just try our hardest and put our best foot forward during interviews. Here’s the problem with that, if your résumé is not impressive enough to get you the interview, you’ve just missed out on your opportunity to wow the interviewer(s) in person.

So you ask, “How do I create a résumé that will shine above the rest and put me closer to the top of the interviewing list?” There are countless ways to make it happen, one being, knowing and owning your skills. MU CSC very recently had an On the Road event that presented the topic of “Identifying and Building Your Skills.” We learned that employers have standards, along with expectations. They desire for potential new hires to possess good communication, technology, critical thinking, problem solving, and leadership skills, just to name a few. A significant amount of job descriptions will list (directly and indirectly) the skills new employees should have.

So now you ask, “what does this have to do with my résumé?” Well, here’s a simple exercise to aid you in pulling all of those pieces together:
  1. Grab a blank sheet of paper and write down all of the skills and job qualifications the employer has mentioned in the job description
  2. Now place a check next to each skill/qualification you feel as if you possess
  3. Next, think of an experience, or two, in which you’ve displayed that skill
  4. Last step, and most important, incorporate those skills into your résumé so that
    employers can clearly see why you’re the ideal candidate for the job.

That’s it! With three easy steps you’ve just intensified and enhanced your résumé.

WAIT”, you scream, “I’m not sure if I can do this on my own.”
My reply, “No worries, that’s what the MU CSC Career Counselors and Advisors are here for.
Either stop by – Holthusen Hall, first floor – or give us a call at (414) 288-7423 to set up an appointment.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My First Professional Interview!

I just had my first professional interview experience and I survived! When I first saw that the company I was interested in was going to be interviewing on campus I knew that I needed to update my resume in order to highlight the qualities I have that the employer was seeking. In order to prepare for the interview I was sure to know everything on my resume and have answers to the commonly asked questions located on MU CSC's homepage. With the help of my current supervisor I also came up with several of my personal/work experiences where I "worked as a team," "did project management," and "overcame an obstacle" so I would be ready for any behavior based questions. I wanted to be sure I had lots of different things to talk about so that I wouldn’t be repeating myself and so there wouldn’t be any awkward silences. But I think the most important thing I did to prepare was being ready to be excited about the interview. I tried to turn my anxiety about the interview into excitement. And I really think my enthusiasm took me beyond my qualifications for the job. A positive outlook made this stressful interview a positive experience for me, and I think for my interviewer as well since I got a second interview! So my advice for anyone else about to embark on their very first interview is: over prepare, show enthusiasm (even if you are too nervous to feel it at the time), and have lots of questions! Even if you feel like your questions were already answered by the interviewer, try to rephrase them or make them more detailed. I felt like my interviewer really knew how interested I was in the job because I asked plenty of question. And GOOD LUCK!

Monday, November 7, 2011

I was an Arts & Sciences Major...

I would have loved an event like this!  

I was a Psychology major and knew I was going to go to graduate school right away but I really would have figured a lot of things out earlier had I attended an event like Career Essentials for Arts & Sciences Majors.  I still had to interview for the graduate program and sell myself and my skills, which I was NOT prepared for.

Whether you are early in your career exploration or in the interview process - this workshop will give you tools to walk away with!  Plus, free snacks and beverages is always nice :)

No matter what your major or class year - stop by!  No RSVP is required.

Email with any questions!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Post-Graduate Service: Personal & Professional Growth

Recently I was down in New Orleans, Louisiana for the wedding of one of my sorority sisters from college. In between doing a second-line parade down Canal Street and shoving my face with the most delicious cake I’ve ever eaten, I had some down time to meet up with a friend of mine that is doing a year of service in New Orleans. After graduating high school he deferred his enrollment to a 4-year institution out west and moved to an economically distressed neighborhood in New Orleans, mainly caused by Hurricane Katrina. After growing up in the comforts of the Chicago-land suburbs, his new environment was an adjustment, but he is learning something new every day and has come to appreciate what he has and what he has been given in life.
Post-graduate service is an option for students after finishing college and before going out and finding their first job. This is a viable option if you are looking to serve others or to gain a better understanding of the world. There are practical and personal benefits to doing a year of service. Development of leadership skills, cultural education, gaining a better insight into oneself, and work for social justice are just some of the intangible benefits one can gain from volunteering. There are also some tangible benefits as well including student loan deferment, paid room and board, and resume building/work experience that can not only help with a job search later, but also with admission to graduate school. Check out our list of post-graduate service organizations at: .There are dozens of organizations to fulfill any interest.
While I think of my friend spending 12-hour days helping build houses for families that have lost everything in the wake of a natural disaster, I know he is growing personally through the experience of caring and giving of his hands and heart. He will hopefully bring back the mentality of the importance of creating strong partnerships and aligning with the needs of his community, whether that is to campus next fall or to his first job after graduation.