About Laura Morrow-Jacobs

Laura Morrow-Jacobs, Career Consultant/Marketing Specialist with Career & Leadership Development at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, advises UW-Whitewater students pursuing internships and assists employers with UW-Whitewater intern recruitment. Laura is a firm believer in the importance of career-related work experience, having benefited from it personally. As a graduate student, she completed three internships, and she was even gaining what turned out to be career-related experience as an undergrad through three separate student leader positions. She hopes that all students pursue some form of career-related work experience before graduation. In her opinion, it is never to early to start preparing - even beginning to plan as early as freshman year! Laura loves to discuss internship search strategies with students and is excited to hear about students’ successes in their internships. UW-Whitewater students are doing amazing work! Laura has been a professional at UW-Whitewater since 2006. She has been a member of the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) and participant in the NSEE Experiential Education Academy. She is also active with the Milwaukee Area College Internship Consortium (MACIC), currently serving as Web Manager and having held leadership positions as Secretary, President-Elect, and President. Laura graduated from UW-Madison with a BA in french and political science. She received her master’s degree in counseling from UW-Whitewater.

Our Ultimate Career Fair Checklist

September is a big month for UW-Whitewater students seeking internships and post-grad jobs. We should just call it “Career Fair Month,” since two of UW-Whitewater’s on-campus career fairs – Accounting Career Fair and Hawk Career Fair – take place in September.

Career Day

Preparation is crucial to have a successful career fair experience. Our ultimate career fair checklist will guide you through the next few weeks and help you make your time at the career fair productive.

  • Join our Facebook event page for the Hawk Career Fair. Registration is not required, but we will be sharing helpful career fair tips and event updates on the page. Keep yourself in the loop.
  • Understand and develop your goal for attending the career fair. Are you looking for an internship or job? Are you looking to explore different career options and companies? Are you hoping to network with employers you would like to work for in the future? Your goal will impact how you work the event.
  • Find out which employers are attending the fair. Visit the “Career Events & Workshops” tab in Hawk Jobs to view the list of employers coming to the Hawk Career Fair.
  • Create a prioritized list of employers you are interested in talking to. With 100+ employers at the Hawk Career Fair, there is no way you can meet with everyone.
  • Research the employers on your targeted list. Know their primary products/functions. Understand the industry. Be able to state why you want to work for them.
  • Develop specific, informed questions for your target employers. Base your questions on your research.
  • Prepare your 30-second introduction. Practice telling your career story in 30 seconds or less. Convey your knowledge of the company and express your interest in them. Identify what makes you a strong candidate.
  • Practice your handshake. A firm, confident, and appropriate handshake makes a great first impression.
  • Update or put together your resume. Work with one of our career counselors/advisors one-on-one or stop by one of our Resume Doctor events. Once your resume is employer-ready, make plenty of copies (enough for the employers on your target list plus at least 10 extra copies).
  • Put together your career fair “look.” Professional dress is recommended, but business casual is the minimum requirement. For ideas, check out our Pinterest boards on “What to Wear.” Purchase a professional portfolio/padfolio to keep your resumes and notes organized. And make sure you choose comfortable shoes!
  • Using the notepad in your portfolio/padfolio, write down notes and questions. Make a list of key points from your employer research along with the questions you intend to ask. And make sure you have a pen to jot down additional notes at the fair.
  • Plan to arrive at the career fair early. When you check in, you will receive a printed list of employers and their location in the gym. Take a moment to map out your game plan for visiting employers before stepping foot into the gym.
  • Silence your phone. IF you bring your cell phone with you to the fair, quadruple check that you have either silenced it or turned it off before entering the gym. You don’t want your phone to ring mid-conversation, and you don’t need to fuss with your phone at all during the event. Give the employers your full attention.
  • Work the fair alone. Employers really don’t like students who travel around the fair in a pack. You might come to the fair with friends, but network on your own.
  • Review your notes and questions before approaching an employer. You only have a short time with each employer, so be ready to go.
  • As part of your strategy, consider starting with employers who are lower on priority list. Use these conversations to warm up before approaching your top choice employers.
  • Approach each employer with confidence. Extend your hand to shake the recruiter’s hand, make eye contact, and introduce yourself.
  • Close conversations by discussing next steps. Ask about the hiring process and how to apply for opportunities*. If you aren’t looking for a job, ask about how you can learn more about the organization and/or set up an informational interview. Ask for a business card and the recruiter’s preferred method of follow-up. Don’t forget to thank them for their time.
  • Take breaks. Write down notes from your conversations, jot down follow-up actions, and collect your thoughts for your next conversation.
  • Write thank you notes to the employers you spoke with. Send your notes within 48 hours of the event. It is completely acceptable to email a thank you.
  • Complete any special follow-up actions. This includes applying online for positions you are interested in, signing up for interviews, or attending any employer-hosted events (ex. information sessions).
  • Reflect on your career fair experience. What went well? What could you improve upon for the next event?
  • Keep in touch. Career fairs are really just large-scale networking events. Reach out when you have a question or to follow up on a position you’ve applied for. Consider connecting with the recruiter on LinkedIn (but make sure to build a great student LinkedIn profile first). Create a professional contact spreadsheet or database, and add the contact information you gathered at the fair.

So there you have it! The ultimate career fair checklist. Even though it’s a little long, don’t be afraid. Start working your way through the list now, and you will be a career fair star by show time!

* Don’t be discouraged when employers direct you to apply online. Very rarely are you applying for a job AT the career fair. The career fair is where you meet recruiters face-to-face and make a good impression. Some employers take note of whether or not an applicant visited them at the fair.

Photo by Tulane Public Relations.

Summer 2013

Even though it’s summer, Career & Leadership Development still offers all of our regular career services to students and alumni. In fact, summer can be the perfect time to seek out career assistance:

  1. Career Staff have clear schedules. If you’ve ever struggled to get an appointment during busier times of the year, you will have your choice of meeting times during the summer months.
  2. You have time to complete career “assignments”. When you leave a career appointment, you will likely have some stuff to do. This ranges from starting a draft of your resume, revising your resume, doing career research, searching for opportunities on Hawk Jobs, etc. The hustle and bustle of the fall or spring semesters makes it hard to pencil in these to-dos. During the summer, you have a lot more time to get stuff done.
  3. Be better prepared for the year ahead. Next year is your year for an internship. You plan on attending the Hawk Career Fair at the end of September. You graduate in December 2013 or May 2014. All of these are important reasons to go into the new school year with a great resume, polished online image, and internship/job search plan in place.

Summer Career Services Available To UW-Whitewater Students & Alumni

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To schedule a summer appointment, contact Career & Leadership Development at 262-472-1471. If you are on campus, you can stop at our front desk in the University Center (Room 146, up the ramps/stairs across from Freshens). While most appointments occur in person, our staff is also open to phone and/or Skype appointments. Simply specify your needs when you schedule. And don’t forget about all of the resources on our Career Resources website.

Wishing all our readers a fun and relaxing summer break!

Jump Start Your Resume

We all have to start somewhere…with our resumes, that is. Resumes don’t just happen. They are built over time as you start and complete experiences that move you forward in your career. Once you enter college, it’s time to get cracking on that resume.

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Here are some tips for starting your resume from scratch. Keep in mind that some of these tips might help you with a resume you’ve already started.

  • Start with a blank Word document. As many students discover, Word comes with resume templates. In fact, I wrote my first resume using one of them. DON’T DO IT! Word resume templates can be spotted a mile away, and they will not make a good impression. Create your resume truly from scratch – You’ll thank me later.
  • Outline the basic resume sections. Starting with an outline of sections will help in two ways. First, it’s much easier to remember your experiences when you have “blanks” to fill in. Second, if you haven’t had much or any experience, you will have an idea of where to start gaining some. Basic sections for a resume include:
    • Education
    • Experience (for jobs, internships, long-term volunteer positions, etc.)
    • Computer Skills
    • Activities (for organizations, sports, short-term community service, etc.)
    • Honors & Awards
  • Begin writing down your experiences for each section. Fill in what you can on your resume. When you run out of information, stop. Now that you’ve started your resume and have an idea of what goes on it, your memory might produce more content when you least expect it. Whenever you remember something else that should be on your resume, write it down as soon as you can, either as a note to yourself or right into your document.
  • Give your resume draft a face lift. At this point, your resume is in a skeleton form. It’s just a document with a bunch of information listed. Eventually, you need to polish it and make it look pretty. One of the best ways to start is to meet with a career advisor. In Career & Leadership Development, career advisors can steer you towards good sample resumes for ideas. If you really love the look of a friend’s resume, mimic the formatting on your resume. Everyone’s resume will (and should) look a little different, so there are a lot of formats out there. You just want to make sure you use or develop a good one.
  • Go over your resume with a career advisor. If you haven’t already done so, meet with a career advisor to go over your resume. This step will start taking your resume from the minor leagues to the majors in a hurry.

This week, Career & Leadership Development will be hosting our first Resume Doctor events for the semester. Drop by for a quick resume review. No appointment is necessary. We see students on a first come, first served basis.

All you need to bring with you is your resume and any questions you might have. Don’t have a resume yet? Stop by and pick up one of our sample resumes to help get you started!

Photo by Justin Cook.

Hooray for Winter Break!

I don’t know how you feel, but this semester seemed to fly by faster than ever before. It has been a busy semester in Career & Leadership Development, but it’s all a good kind of busy. Just like you, we appreciate the short break between semesters. Amidst taking some time off, many of us will use the break to tackle projects that demand our full attention.

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Over your winter break, you might wish to do the same. Have you been putting off career-related projects because of work, classes, or your social life? Winter break is the perfect time to do some of this work. Here are some ideas for your to-do list:

Do your career homework. Homework?? On break?! Don’t worry, this “assignment” should be enjoyable. Take time over the break to make some decisions on your career direction and the next steps you should take. If you are at the point of trying to decide on a major, explore the career possibilities linked to the majors you are considering. Then, do a little more research on the careers that sounds interesting. Start developing a Plan A, B, and C for career paths.

Develop a career plan for the spring semester. Without overloading yourself with too much to do during the spring semester, identify a few things you can easily accomplish that will get you closer to your career goal. The beginning point for creating your plan is understanding what employers in your field will be looking for in new hires. Here are some ideas for gaining the skills and background employers will be seeking:

Need more ideas? Check out this post from YouTern: Your Back-to-School Checklist Will Never Be the Same

Work on all of those traditional career tasks we tend to put off for later. Add content to your resume (or start writing it if you don’t have one). Spend time building or improving your LinkedIn profile. Create and order networking cards. Whether looking ahead to summer internships or that first job out of college, you’ll want all of these pieces in place for applications, career fairs, networking events, etc.


If you are working on any of these things over the break and have questions, we are still here to help. Our counselors and advisors are taking appointments, and most of us are open to phone appointments, too. You can also email us, which works particularly well for resume reviews. Just contact Career & Leadership Development at 262-472-1471 to schedule an appointment or find our direct contact information here.

Other Winter Break Posts:

Photo by Jarek Zok

Plan Your Perfect Career: Careers in Event Planning

Gaining in popularity over the last few years, event planning is a hot career track for many students. How do you break into the field? What exactly does an event planner do? Is it the right career for you? Let’s take a look.

Event Planning Is NOT Party Planning

Event planners work with special events of all kinds. Some events are social and some are business-focused, while others fall somewhere in between: Celebrations (ex. weddings), Education (ex. conferences), Promotions (ex. fashion shows), and Commemorations (ex. memorials).

National Association of Government Labor Officials Conference

But being the event planner for any special occasion is far from just planning a good party. Some of the responsibilities that fall to an event planner are:

  • Conducting research
  • Finding a site and arranging for food, decor, and entertainment
  • Sending invitations and arranging for necessary accommodations
  • Hiring employees to work the event as well as coordinating and supervising their activities

As you can imagine, being the event planner for a huge, national convention would require a lot of work and thousands of tiny details. A small wedding, on the other hand, might not be as overwhelming. However, event planners often work with very personal events – weddings, anniversary parties, memorials – that require a sensitivity to the emotions of the clients involved.

What Makes a Good Event Planner?

As with any field, certain skills and qualities are necessary and/or desired. Event planners should:

  • Have strong organizational skills and possess excellent attention to detail.
  • Be confident, flexible, and hardy. Planners are in charge of entire events, and things can go wrong. One must be ready for last-minute changes.
  • Be able to make decisions, immediately at times.
  • Have superior communication skills. Planners are working with vendors, staff, and their clients. Sending and receiving the correct messages is integral to ensuring everyone is on the same page. Tact is also important. Sometimes event planners have to break bad news to their clients.
  • Enjoy working with people. Event planning is a very people-oriented field.
  • Possess creative talents. Events often include some element of design, so creative skills are helpful. But creative skills also help with those last-minute snafus.

How to Start Your Career as an Event Planner

Earn a degree in a related field. Some great choices are communications, public relations, marketing, and management.

Look into internships with organizations that offer events frequently. Think about convention centers and hotels/resorts. Also, consider nonprofit organizations. Many nonprofits hold events and fundraisers for their causes.

Get involved with event planning on campus. Some UW-Whitewater examples include SEAL Internships, the UWW Event Planning Organization, and the Young Auditorium. And those are just a few of many great opportunities around campus.

Check out these additional resources to learn more about or to find opportunities in event planning:

Are you trying to pursue a career in event planning? What successes or struggles are you having?

Getting Warhawks to Work

Welcome to Career & Leadership Development!

Welcome to Career & Leadership Development

Another year begins, and with it comes….

  • Four different career fairs
  • Lots of resume “doctoring”
  • More internship and job searches
  • Interviews here, there, EVERYWHERE

The career counselors/advisors in Career & Leadership Development are ready to help you make progress towards your career goals! How exactly can we help? Let me tell you!

Career Counseling/Advising: We have five career counselors/advisors on staff to help you with your career development. Not sure what you want to do when you graduate? You can meet with a counselor to discuss options connected with your major and interests. Know what you want to do, but not sure if you’re doing everything possible to get there? A career advisor can work with you on a plan that will help you achieve success. Career questions big and small is what career counseling/advising is all about.

Job Search Strategies: Getting a job doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes work, and your search is basically a job in itself. Meet with a career advisor to plan your search – identify key job search strategies for your career field, have your resume reviewed, practice interviewing, and more.

Career Fairs: Every year, the UW-Whitewater campus hosts four career fairs. First up are the Accounting Career Fair and Hawk Career Fair. The Hawk Career Fair is the largest fair of the year, with upwards of 100 or more employers attending. Mark your calendar now for Wednesday, September 26, and get more information on Hawk Jobs and Facebook.

Hawk Jobs: Looking for a job on campus or around Whitewater? Looking for an internship? Looking for a job for after graduation? Hawk Jobs is your one stop shop for work opportunities. Not sure how to navigate the system? Meet with a career counselor/advisor for a quick overview.

This is just a sample of the ways we can help you with your carer plans. Schedule an appointment today: Stop by our office in the University Center (Room 146 – up the ramps/stairs across from Freshens smoothies) or call our main desk at 262-472-1471.

And be sure to connect with us on Twitter and Facebook for access to a ton of career advice! Best of luck with the year ahead, and let us know how we can help you with your career needs!

Take Charge of Your Career This Summer

Welcome to summer break! The time off from classes makes for the perfect time to do some career planning, and following are some steps you can start with over the break. Remember, our career advising staff will be here all summer to help, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

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Explore Your Career Interests

Take advantage of your downtime by exploring career options. Start with a resource like the University of Tennessee’s “What Can I Do With This Major?” website to see what kinds of careers might connect with your area of study. Take your research another step and learn about different kinds of jobs on Inside Jobs. As you narrow down your list, consider setting up informational interviews with professionals in the field. Not only are informational interviews great for learning more about a particular career, they are great for building your professional network.

Prepare for Your Job/Internship Search

Jump start your job or internship search for next year by putting all the pieces in place this summer. Resume need work? Make edits to your resume (or create your resume if you don’t have one yet) and have a career advisor take a look at it. Not in Whitewater this summer? No problem! You can email your resume to us for review – Send it to career@uww.edu and an advisor will respond with feedback.

Once your resume is in tip-top shape, move on to the other phases of the job/internship search. Hopefully, your resume will eventually score you interviews. Be an interviewing master before the time comes by scheduling a mock interview with a career advisor.

Finally, start planning your overall search strategy. There are lots of ways to find an internship or job. And the more tactics you employ, the more likely you’ll be to see success. Again, consulting with one of our career advisors is the perfect way to start.

Save the Date…

Speaking of the job/internship search, be sure to save the date for the 2012 Hawk Career Fair:

  • Wednesday, September 26th, Noon to 4:00pm, Williams Center Gym 1.

Connect with UWWCareer

Keep in touch with us this summer through social media. We’ll be sharing helpful information to keep you on track with your career planning: resume/cover letter tips, interviewing advice, job search strategies, and actual job postings.

If you’re at the internship stage, our Internship Coordinator shares internship-specific information on Twitter – @uwwinternships – and on Pinterest – pinterest.com/uwwinternships. And be sure to follow this summer’s intern bloggers on the UWW Internships Blog.

Again, we’re here to help through the summer months. We’re available to meet with you in person, on the phone, using Skype, or via email. The Career & Leadership Development office is open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the summer. The best way to schedule an appointment is by calling (262) 472-1471.

Photo by e pants