Thursday, December 13, 2012

Make the Most of Winter Break

You’ve survived finals week! The only thing on your mind is going home to sleep and get caught up on your favorite TV shows; however, winter break is a great time for career exploration, networking, and job search preparation.
Take advantage of these four homework-free weeks by:
1)    Updating your resume:
·         Add your most recent jobs and internships
·         Evaluate and revise position tasks and responsibilities

2)    Job Shadowing: This is a great way to meet with a professional within your field of interest. Job shadowing is an excellent way to explore various careers and gain first-hand insights about a particular career. The handout ‘Job Shadowing’ on our website provides tips on creating an effective job shadowing experience.

3)    Network: Whether you are at a family, friend, neighborhood, or company party over this holiday season, use this opportunity to make professional connections! Introduce yourself to new people, learn more about their careers, and communicate your career goals and aspirations. That professional connection could help you find a job someday!

4)    Looking for job opportunities: Take the time over break to check out what internships or jobs are posted on MU Career Manager. Hiring and recruiting season are in full swing; use your break to get a jump-start on the job/internship search process.

Career Services’ Online Resources are a great way to find additional information over break.
After break, stop by or call Career Services for additional assistance.
Marquette University
Career Services Center

Holthusen Hall, First Floor
Phone: (414) 288-7423

Most importantly, use break to rejuvenate and relax!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Networking: Put yourself out there!

Last month after boarding my flight to Kansas City for a family reunion, I began to think about the diversity of people sitting around me on the airplane, including the different places they are traveling and the reasons for their trips.  As an extravert, I occasionally find myself striking up conversations with fellow passengers and discussing a variety of topics from where they are going and the book that they are reading to learning about their job and hearing stories about their friends and families. 
As my bad traveling luck would have it, prior to taking off to Kansas City the pilot realized one of the computers was not functioning properly.  As a result we sat in the airplane and airport for an extra two hours.  While this time was filled with much grumbling from individuals on the plane, it also allowed me to get know some of the people around me.  Specifically, I talked in-depth with an IT consultant from Kansas City, a hotel director from San Diego, and an individual working for a professional sports organization in Milwaukee.  While this may seem like a random group of individuals, our conversations allowed me to learn a lot about their different lines of work.  Specifically, my conversation with the gentlemen from Milwaukee included discussing employees that work for him and their connections to Marquette. After explaining my role as a career counselor at Marquette, he stated that in the past Marquette students served as interns within his office.  At the end of the flight, I exchanged business cards with him and told him I would be in contact to further discuss potential internship opportunities that exist for students.  

While this may seem like a random chain of events, the moral of this story is that, in order to meet people that may help you with the job search, it is important to put yourself out there.  If you find talking to a stranger intimidating, you may want to begin with having a conversation with a friend or family member who works in a particular industry that you want to learn more about. Furthermore, they may know other individuals that can help you.  If you are already job searching, you may consider passing a resume along to individuals working within that field of interest.  Even if that individual does not know of any current job openings, they may have position open up in the near future or be aware of other companies that are hiring.  You never know who may be able to help you!
For more tips to becoming an effective networker, see the following link that Jeremy Eudaly mentioned in Networking in 7 Simple Steps. These steps can help you put yourself out there and become an effective networker. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Jobs for people who...

Okay, I strive to be the best at my job.  I'd like to think I'm a great career counselor, I run a cutitng-edge office, I am at the top of my game.  What I've realized along the way is that being the best doesn't necessarily mean being number one at everything.  Being the best means knowing how to use your resources.  I have recently been introduced to one GREAT resource. 

Here is another push to get you to visit Career Thoughts.  This section of the site includes jobs by interest.  It's so helpful.  I love it and I think many of you will love it too.

Check out these titles:
You can't miss this!

Again, thank you Kevin Spence


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Get a Job With No Experience

Five college career counselors share their advice with you to answer this question:

What is one piece of advice you would give to students who graduate without any kind of work history?

Today we’re joined by Andrea Lowe (University of Wisconsin – Madison), Pam Ehlers (Oklahoma State University), Matt Ishler (Penn State University), Laura Kestner-Ricketts (Marquette University), and Jen Busick Stewart (Oregon State University).

find out here:
Learn more about Kevin Spence who started the site: Career Thoughts after a wonderfully, winding career path of his own.  I know you will relate to his story
Thanks Kevin!  Laura

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So, have you decided on a major yet?

The holidays are upon us. And for most that means spending time with family and friends during lovely festivities. Gatherings of loved ones can be greatly enjoyable, until someone asks you that dreaded question, "So, have you decided on a major yet?" For students who are undecided, that question can just about destroy their appetite; as if everyone else hasn't been asking you the same question since you enrolled in classes.

A wise UW-Whitewater Admissions Counselor once shared with me his hope of all colleges and universities to one day change their verbiage, so that undecided students could be referred to as "undeclared" students. At first I didn't understand his logic, until he further explained, "The student has decided to come to college, they just haven't declared a major, therefore being more-so undeclared than undecided." Brilliance! 

To all of those undeclared MU students, don't fear, Career Services is here to help you answer that question. There's many different steps one could take in choosing their major but an option many don't consider is class observations. After you've taken preliminary steps in figuring out what your top majors of interest are, the true exploration begins. Of course you want your major to be an avenue into your future career, you also want it to fit your interests, skills, and values.

So here's what you do:
  • With each major of interest in which you have, find at least two classes to observe
    1. Utilize CheckMarq "Schedule of Classes and Courses Catalog" to browse classes by subject
      • Note: I'd advise observing an introduction course and a higher level course
    2. Once you've found a class that sounds interesting, click on "view class sections"
    3. Find a date and time that work for your schedule (most classes are offered multiple times per week)
    4. Make note of the instructor(s) teaching the course
    5. Send the instructor(s) an email requesting permission to come and observe their class (be specific with date and time)

There are many immediate benefits to observing a class. So, if you have time in your schedule and you are in the process of choosing your major, take my advise, observe. The added bonus is that at the end of the class, you don't have homework :-)

~*~Happy Holidays~*~

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My First Networking Event

I remember not knowing what to expect as I walked into my first networking event, yet was extremely excited for the advice I would receive.  I had the chance to talk with several professionals about their current careers and where I saw myself in five years.  The event was an overall success but there were three main things I took away from the day:

1. Do not be afraid to say what you actually want to do with your life even if it’s a crazy answer! I am always hesitant telling people I want to work for a record company because I think they are going to laugh at me.  But I can tell you that no one has ever laughed and I have actually received great advice on how to move forward.  Networking events are all about meeting new people and sharing experiences so do not be scared to share what you want your future to look like!

2. Really listen to the critiques and recommendations you receive. Most professionals you talk with at networking events have more than likely been in your shoes once or twice. They will have the best advice about what to improve upon whether it is how your resume looks or your handshake.  These events are meant to be learning experiences!

3.  Actually do something with the business cards you obtained.  Instead of leaving them in a pile on your desk, follow up with everyone you met. Sending out an email with a question or a thank you to a professional you met shows you care and are invested in your future.  Everyone at networking events is more than happy to help otherwise they would not have attended the event in the first place! Do not fear taking the next step.


Watch and Learn: Career Spot Videos

We all love watching online videos of cats, music parodies, and unbelievable human stunts. Online videos are not just for entertainment anymore—why not watch videos that help further your career preparation?
Career Spot has fun educational videos that highlight important topics in job search and career preparation. These videos provide an entertaining way to learn about job search techniques, such as how to prepare for an interview, how to start the job search, what to wear to an interview, and how to use social media in the job search! My favorite video is called “Interview the Interviewer.” Check it out on the CSC Homepage!
CareerSpotsThese Job Search and Interviewing videos are a great way to be introduced to career topics and can be found on the Career Services Homepage. Look for the Career Spots logo!
Career Services has many other resources that can further your knowledge and preparation for interviewing, job/internship search, and career exploration. You can set up an appointment with a career counselor by calling (414)288-7423!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Phone Interviews - Tips for Success

A growing number of employers are using phone interviews as a part of their recruiting strategy.  In other words, it is pretty likely that you will be asked interview over the phone at some point during your job search. A successful phone interview is key to landing a face-to-face interview and ultimately landing a job. Consider the following tips to make a great impression over the phone:

Use a land line if possible. Cell phone signals can be choppy.  Taking advantage of a land line helps to minimize the risk of disconnection. If a cell phone is your only option be sure your phone is fully charged, and you are in a location with excellent reception. 

Minimize distractions. Take the call in a place where you will be uninterrupted.  Avoid noisy public places such as the AMU or Starbucks. Communicate to your roommates that you will be completing a phone interview in advance so they can make appropriate adjustments to provide you with a quite space if needed.

Consider time. Prior to the interview find out how long the call is expected to last. Then allocate an additional 30 minutes beyond this time in your schedule just in case the interview goes  long.  Finally be prepared to answer the phone 10 minutes ahead of schedule in the event that the interviewer calls early.

Utilize notes. Your interviewer can't see you. Jot down notes and print a copy of your resume and the job description. This way you can easily reference any of these items as you speak.

Answer the phone with your name and a smile. Providing your name makes it clear that the interviewer is speaking to the correct person.  Appropriate greetings include "Hello John Doe speaking" or "Good Afternoon this is John Doe". Smile as you speak to create a pleasant tone of conversation. Taking this approach demonstrates your professionalism and creates an aura of positivity.

Dress up & sit up. Even though the potential employer cannot see you, dressing up for the interview can help you to get in the right frame of mind. Such confidence can only improve your performance. Additionally, don't forget to sit up or stand up straight during the interview to help keep yourself alert and professional.
Be cognizant of pauses.  Because the interviewer cannot see you, he/she cannot take cues from your body language as to whether you have paused momentarily or  have completed an answer.  Keep this in mind as you speak.

Get the name and contact info for the interviewer.  This will enable you to promptly follow up with a thank you note. It will also help you identify your interviewer should you have the opportunity to meet him/her at a face-to-face interview.

Practice and do research. Most face-to-face  interviewing tips apply to phone interviews.  Check out Joel O'Brien's  Become a Star Interviewer  and my Interviews: Practice (& Research) Makes Perfect for additional interviewing tips.

Following these tips will help ensure you present the best version of yourself!

Don't forget, you can always schedule an appointment or practice phone interview with a career counselor in Marquette's Career Services Center by calling (414) 288-5302.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Employers are hiring, employers are hiring!

Are you looking for an internship or full-time position to start now or this summer? If so, you're in luck!
So many employers are hiring. Right now, there are 791 full-time positions and 585 intern/co-op positions posted on MU Career Manager!
Listed below are just a few employers hiring as we speak. To view more job postings, check out resources like MU Career Manager, and LinkedIn.
City Year Corps Member
City of Chicago Public Service Intern
Kohl's Careers
Consolidated Graphics Leadership Development Program
Baird Investment Banking Intern
Teach for America Corps Member
Direct Supply Careers
Chicago Festival Association Production Intern
For help on your job search, contact Career Services at 288-7423 to make an appointment. We are here to help!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Popular Brands Don't Lie

Often times when I'm at home, I find myself incredibly happy that DVR's were invented so I can skip past commercials. I'm probably not alone in that sentiment.  As a result (or maybe just because I'm getting older and more out of touch with popular culture), I don't know as many of those wonderful advertising slogans as I once did.  I know they're out there, but I can't necessarily make that instant connection between some words and a product.  It's not that different than a recruiter who can't make the difference between the words on your resume and who you really are.

But what I really want to focus on today is the message behind some of the best known slogans out there, and how it ties into what you should do in your job search.

Just Do It
Nike is everywhere.  It's hard to go very far without seeing that swoosh on some piece of clothing.  We all know Michael Jordan and his iconic image, and the brand's trademark saying: Just Do It.  Is there really any better message to have about a job search?  Sure, it's very direct, but ultimately every single one of us has to buckle down and just do our search.  Certain parts are definitely easier than others, and those aren't where we need the inspiration.  It's in those other moments where we don't want to write another cover letter, or don't really feel like calling to chase down a lead that we need to remember those fateful three words.  Nothing bad will come from it, and by powering through you might even be able to achieve more than you ever realized (in this case a dream job or internship).

Think Different
Much like Nike in the apparel world, Apple is omnipresent in the technology world these days.  It's hard to go places without seeing or hearing about an iSomething.  And what Apple has told us over the years is to Think Different.  This is something that can be challenging at first, but with some effort, you can turn yourself into a more compelling candidate.  Thinking different can even take various manifestations.  You can change your approach to how you conduct a search in terms of attitude, method, timeline, and many other places.  You can change the way you market yourself.  You can change the types of companies you target.  You can change your communication style.  The key is to think about how you can get out of your usual methods and find ways to better yourself through your methods and actions.  But before you can take action, you have to look deep into yourself to find where you can improve, and Career Services can help with that.

When You've Got It, Flaunt It
Ok, so I didn't know this one as well until I was doing research on slogans, but Braniff Airlines hits their message on the nose with this slogan.  Way too often I see students hold back, especially in interviews.  WHY????  If you're out there looking for a job, and you have some great skills and traits, you need to show them off!  Like I always tell my students, it is not the time to be shy or humble; it is time to shout from the mountaintop about how awesome you are!  If you have the skills, be proud of them, use them in your examples, and definitely don't hide them.  It's tough sometimes because we're always taught to be humble, but lay it on the line.  You sure don't have anything to lose, and I don't know of too many employers that aren't interested in confident employees.

So while you're watching your favorite programs, and happen to see some ads every now and then, think about how that message can really factor into your own life, and specifically your career.  You'd be surprised how well the messages match sometimes!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are You Looking for an Internship or Job...But Not Sure How to Start?

Did you know that employers have started to hire for summer internships and full-time jobs?! It's never too early to start your job search and Career Services is here to help!
Not sure how to get started? Well, networking is how 80-90% jobs are obtained so this is a good place to start. The #1 way to start networking is by using LinkedIn, a professional networking site.
Our favorite LinkedIn expert, Lindsey Pollak, posted a great blog on the best way to network with alumni using LinkedIn. Marquette has thousands of proud alumni, many of whom are willing to help students with their job search.
Take 5 minutes to read Lindsey's great advice:
Lindsey outlines the best way to make contact with alumni, what not to do and even includes a sample professional message.
Need assistance on LinkedIn? Stop by our office or make an appointment with a career counselor to learn more!
Happy Networking!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 Steps To Interviewing From a Students Point of View

As students doing everything we can at the chance of landing our first job or internship, an interview can be terrifying. You can read all of the etiquette sites you want about what to wear and how to act. But, here are a few steps from a real student who has really been through it. 

1. Act confident (even when you may not be)
With the way things in the economy are today, us students cant take any chances. We have to apply for everything and anything that comes are way. So, it is not uncommon that we may feel under-qualified for the position we are asking for. Don’t let that stop you. Take a deep breath and truly believe that you deserve and will excel at the position. It will show through during the interview. 
2. Don’t practice too much

One of the worst things a student can do before an interview is have a script of everything that they are about to say. Having such rehearsed responses makes it sound like you are some job hunting robot. Now, this is not to say that you should not think about potential questions and responses. It is important to be prepared, but it is equally important to make a connection with the interviewer and this can only be done when there is a conversational tone and friendly environment. 

3. Don't take yourself too seriously (aka SMILE!)
The fact is that people want to hire people that they like and get along with. So, be likable! Smile a lot, make comments about your surroundings like “your office is really great,” ect. In short, humanize yourself,  and make the interviewer want to be your friend.

4. Know what you are good at, and make it apply to everything they need you to do.
It is important to know that any skill that you have is transferrable to something else. So, instead of saying that you are good at analyzing spreadsheets, say that you have the unique ability to compile information and solve problems. Spreadsheets are an industry skill, where analysis and problem solving are life skills. 

5. Say thank you!
I am not saying that you have to write a two page thank you note on your mothers nice stationary, but you should take the time to send the employer a message through email, linkedin or a quick note that says that you appreciate their time. It will let them know that you value their time and are serious about the position.

So, there you have it. Real advice from a real student. Now go out and get that job!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interviews: Practice (AND RESEARCH) Makes Perfect


‘Tis the season of interviewing!  This fall the Career Services Center has been hustling and bustling with employers seeking to hire Marquette students for internships and full-time positions. Are you ready?
The key to a successful interview is both practice and research.  Last week, Joel O'Brien discussed how to practice for interviews using behavioral based questions in his blog post How to Become a Star InterviewerCheck it out for some excellent tips!  Today's post focuses on the other element of interview preparation – research.

The bottom line is that employers expect that you will arrive to the interview with knowledge about their company.  Learning about the organization demonstrates your interest, showcases your ability to research and also shows initiative.  In addition, investigating the company helps to prepare you for interview questions such as: What do you know about our company?   Why do you want to work at our company?  Tell me what you know about our organization. Why would you be a good fit for our company? 

There are many rich sources of information about organizations.  Here are a few ways you can investigate a potential employer prior to your interview.

  • Review the organization's website and news releases.
  • Use your network on LinkedIn (or otherwise) to identify contacts who work for the organization.Then reach out to these individuals to get an inside scoop on the company.
  • Look the company up in Reference USA a database of over 12 million organizations.
  • Create a Google News Alert so that each time an employer appears in the news you receive an email with links to these news stories.
  • Join industry groups on LinkedIn to stay abreast of current trends.
  • Follow the company on Twitter.

Suggested areas of research include:
  • Recent news surrounding the organization
  • Corporate culture
  • History of the organization
  • Types of products/services offered
  • Reputation
  • Locations
  • Size and organizational structure
  • Philosophy
  • Prospects for growth or change
  • Major competitors
  • Promotional activities
  • Current industry trends/issues
  • Mission and vision of the organization

With ample research, in addition to practice, you will be ready to impress as you interview this fall and beyond.

For one-on-one coaching on how to prepare for an interview, consider scheduling an appointment in our office:  (414) 288-7423.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Need a plan for after graduation? Not sure where to start?

Many students are so busy with school, work, campus activities, or life in general that all of a sudden they realize that have no clue about what they are going to do after graduation. That, of course, can be an overwhelming experience. If this sounds like you, Career Services is here to help.

Helping students determine their path after graduation is one of the most common situations that we address. Of course we tailor our assistance to each individual’s needs, but here are just a few ways we tend to help students
  • Assist you in choosing a  career path that fits you (assess interests, skills, and values).
  • Help you learn how to communicate with professionals in fields that interest you.
  • Work with you to develop a job search plan (establish the what, when, where, and how).
  • Provide individual assistance along the way.
If you are not sure of what you need or where to start just call 414-288-7423 or stop by to make an appointment.  We would be delighted to hear from you.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Everything You Need to Know About References

Your applying for a job, the application asks you to provide a list of references in addition to your resume and cover letter. References…
Deciding who put on a reference list can be difficult. When thinking about your future references consider these points:
When should I gather references: Throughout your academic, job, or career experiences you should be collecting contact information for people who could serve as references in your future job search.
Who should they be: You want references that are from diverse pools of experience, for example a chemistry professor, your supervisor at the Brew, or your faculty advisor for the Biomedical Sciences Student Association. Your references should be familiar with your skills, goals, career direction, and achievements. Identify a professor, supervisor, advisor, or coach that you have a relationship with and are in contact on a regular basis. It is never too early to start thinking about you could be a reference!
What makes for a good reference: References should be able to identify personal and professional characteristics that you have demonstrated. It is great if they can speak to how your actions, contributions, and efforts will benefit a future employer. You want the job, so don’t choose someone that only has mediocre things to say about you!
When selecting individuals as references, make sure you TALK with them IN PERSON! This will provide a good opportunity for you to communicate about the positions you are applying for and some of the skills you are planning to highlight. You could say: “I have a few job interviews coming up, could I use your name as a reference?”
It is also important to be respectful of their time, as they have busy lives too. If you need a letter of recommendation, talk with your reference at least a month in advance. Provide them with a resume, a description of the position you are applying for, and a stamped & addressed envelope; this will make the process even easier!
Keep your references in the know; fill them in on the status of your interview (they want to know when they could be contacted).
THANK YOUR REFERENCES! They put in time and effort on your behalf, their recommendation may have even landed you the job!

If you need additional assistance formatting your references for your application, check out the Career Services Center Online Resources (link below) or stop by Holthusen Hall for Walk-In Hours: Monday-Friday 12pm-2pm!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Effective Interviewing Techniques: Be a STAR!

Now that you have attended the Career Fair, followed up with employers, and been offered an interview, it is time to prepare yourself for the actual interview.  Interviews are one of the most nerve-racking experiences you will have to go through in your job search.  The secret to effective interviewing is similar to learning how to play a sport or musical instrument….PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!  The more you practice the easier and more natural interviewing will become.

While all jobs and all interviewers are not the same, there are certain questions that are usually asked of candidates during an interview.  These questions fall into two categories:  “the getting to know you” questions and “the why do you want this job” questions.  While companies are looking for different things, most employers look for candidates with the following characteristics:

1.            Communication skills (verbal/written)                                   
2.            Honesty/integrity                                                                        
3.            Teamwork skills (works well with others)                             
4.            Motivated/ willing to take initiative                                      
5.            Strong work ethic                                                                     
6.            Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)                          
7.            Analytical skills
8.            Flexibility/adaptability
9.            Computer skills
10.          Self-confidence
11.          Leadership skills
12.          Organization skills

                *Skills provided by 2007 NACE Job Choices Employer Survey
Behavioral-Based Interviewing

A common method for employers to check and see if you possess these skills is through behavioral interview questions.  Behavioral based interviewers believe that past behavior is an accurate predictor of future behavior.  They concentrate many of their questions on situations that candidates have encountered in the past.  What they want to hear is an illustration of your behavior.  To maximize the effectiveness of your answers, try using the STAR method.

S              = Describe a situation.   
T              = Talk about the task. 
A             = Explain the action you took.
R             = Talk about the positive results, quantifying if possible. 
                   (RESULTS are very important, but commonly forgotten)


·         What is the most challenging situation that you have faced?
·         What accomplishment has been given you the greatest satisfaction?
·         What are three of your strengths?  (Provide an example for each using the STAR method)
·         What are three of your weaknesses? (Reflect how you already have or can improve)
·         Describe a time when you have disagreed with colleagues, how did you handle it?

Once you have practiced and feel confident in your ability to accurately and passionately share your experiences, be a STAR and rock the interview!