Thursday, December 22, 2011

Professionally Developing over Winter Break

Campus is fairly empty around this time of year as many students have traveled away from campus to celebrate the holidays, or simply enjoy almost an entire month off from school. I do though advise you, do not utilize your entire break sleeping and catching up on your favorite TV dramas.

Winter break can be an amazing time to job shadow a professional in your career field of interest. Especially for those of you looking to relocate back home (outside of Wisconsin) after you've completed your degree. Job shadowing is beneficial to those exploring various career paths, those exploring specializations within a career field, those interested in a particular company/corporation, as well as those simply looking to make an inside connection with a specific company. The benefits of a job shadowing experience are invaluable - getting an inside glimpse into a company/profession, networking with professionals, getting your name out there (self-branding), receiving professional development advice, and maybe even feedback on your resume.

Making the request of a job shadowing opportunity may feel odd to some but fairly natural to others. For those who aren't comfortable reaching out to professionals they've never meet before, there's a softer approach - ALUMNI. Finding an MU alumni in your career field of interest could be as easy as browsing through the LinkedIn Marquette University Alumni Association (MUAA) group. The majority of MU alumni greatly enjoy connecting with current MU students and other alumni - if they didn't, they probably wouldn't have joined the group.

So take the plunge, set up a job shadowing experience over break!

Need additional assistance with this process, check out the Job Shadowing handout online ( And please do keep in mind that the MU CSC Career Counselors are still hard at work on your behalf during the winter break, so feel free to give us a call at (414) 288-7423 to set up an appointment over break or for next semester.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The REAL reasoning behind the 60 second elevator pitch!

So you know how we are always telling all of you to fine tune your 60 second commercial/elevator pitch when at career fairs and networking events?  Seth Godin, an expert on marketing yourself, gives such great and simple advice below.  Use it in your next encounter where you have to introduce yourself professionally!

No one ever bought anything in an elevator

The purpose of an elevator pitch isn't to close the sale.

The goal isn't even to give a short, accurate, Wikipedia-standard description of you or your project.

And the idea of using vacuous, vague words to craft a bland mission statement is dumb.

No, the purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you're with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.

Read more of Seth Godin's Blog and check out his website.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Six Degrees of Separation

There is an idea that any two people in this world are connected by only six degrees of separation, or six personal connections. I recently attended a conference in St. Louis related to my career field. Like most conferences, meeting new people is the main event other than the educational programming sessions. The idea of six degrees of separation was in full force at this conference, which was a great lead into networking.

As many as 75% of jobs are not available publically. Most employers prefer referrals from employees or other people they know since they know people that have experience and are reliable. Currently networking is the main resource people and students are using to find jobs. With the semester winding down, and the prospect of several weeks of no homework and tests, start thinking about the people you will be running into over the holidays and semester break. Between friends, family, old high school friends, former employers, and distant relatives, plan to spend some time networking over break. You never know who people know and what opportunities are out there! Maybe you are just six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Career Fairs - The Big Debate

The Career Services Center is hosting, not one, but two career fairs this spring.  We often hear concerns from students when promoting career fairs.  I've listed some arguments (along with my own counterarguments) 

Argument 1: "The companies aren't currently looking for students with my major."
Counterargument 1: Fair argument!  The thing is, even if they don't have your major or position you are seeking listed, this doesn't mean you can't talk to them about opportunities.  True, they might say "we aren't hiring for that right now" or "I only hire for a specific department".  But you can't tell me they won't have SOME sort of contact for you.  If they don't or aren't willing to share this with you, well then maybe it's not the type of company you want to work for anyways? 

Argument 2: "I've never heard of anyone that got a job from a career fair."
Counterargument 2:  You are right, I've never heard of a person who got offered a job AT the career fair.  The point of a career fair is not to walk out with a job - that's just crazy.  The point (one of many), is to get an INTERVIEW or at least a lead in your job/internship search.  I have heard of plenty of students getting interviews from a career fair.   

Argument 3: "I have work/school/internship during the career fair."
Counterargument 3:  Legitimate.  So if you can't rearrange your work/internship schedule and if your professor does not allow you to miss for the career fair, there are alternatives.  Within the career fair guidebook and online (MU Career Manager), we have the companies attending the fair along with contact information.  Now I don't have to tell you how difficult it is to get a phone number or email address of an actual HR person these days, do I?  The career fair guidebooks are priceless and you can contact any of those employers listed to let them know you aren't able to make the fair but would like to apply for the position.  It's a great idea to contact them BEFORE the fair if possible so it shows your drive. 

Argument 4: "I don't know what to do or say when I actually GET to the career fair - it all seems too overwhelming.  I feel more comfortable searching and applying for jobs online."
Counterargument 4:  I was right there with you when I was in school!  Had I known there was a resource like Career Services to help prep me for events like this, I would have actually GONE to events like this!  You can get your resume critiqued , practice your 60 second commercial, and go over the whole career fair process with a career counselor.  Just call 414.288.7423 or drop by Holthusen Hall, 1st floor to make an appointment.

Argument 5: "The recruiters just tell us to apply online.  I can do that without having to wear a suit to my classes."
Counterargument 5: That is frustrating to hear, isn't it?  OK, what we have heard from several recruiters is that it's a company policy that everyone applies within their system.  Heck, even current employees have to apply within the system for a new position.  The policy may be the same for every candidate applying but you can really stand out from every other candidate in other ways.  Impress them at the fair!  I recently heard a recruiter say, "candidates who stop by our booth at the fair are automatically considered for an interview."  After knocking their socks off at the fair, FOLLOW UP!  This is where most students drop off - so you just emailing your resume/cover letter or calling after the fair puts you at a definite advantage!

Pretty convincing?  If you saw good points in my counterarguments...even if you rolled your eyes - here are the spring career fairs for you to at least think about attending.  We get great attendance at these events, so yes, some students do actually see the usefulness but we always love to see those numbers increase.  The point of my blog is to (hopefully) show you how career fairs are a great OPPORTUNITY.  When opportunity knocks...answer!

Reverse Career Fair Registration is Open! Tuesday, February 7, 2012
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
AMU Ballrooms

What is a Reverse Career Fair?
Employers consistently ask for exposure to Marquette University student organizations and access to student leaders. A Reverse Career Fair is an excellent opportunity for student leaders to showcase their professional skills and the values and skills gained as a result of being involved in student organizations.
Student Organizations: More Information | Registration